"Bohemicus" on the Ukraine
A popular Russian blogger's historical, cultural & geopolitical analysis of what's happening in Ukraine, written well before the war
Bohemicus, writing at bohemicus.livejournal.com, used to be one of the most widely-read conservative Russian anon bloggers on a wide array of topics, but mostly the beloved Russian genre of “speculative geopolitics”, with a whiff of conspiracy theory. Here’s a selection from his blog posts, written in 2013-2014, both before and after the Maidan, before and after the beginning of the Donbass War. At times prescient, at times cruel, we think that his POV is a valuable glimpse into what many Russians, especially the ones prone to independent-but-not-westernized thinking, think about the current conflict.
Please note that reproducing this text does not mean that we agree with everything he says.
If you live in America you probably know what a civil war is. Union versus Confederation. North versus South. Yankee vs. Dixie. Americans have lost more people in this war than in all foreign wars combined in their history. Do you understand what this means? In the war with the separatist Southerners, Americans have lost more people than in two World Wars, as well as the Korean, Vietnam and all the other wars combined. And they never regretted it.
While suppressing Southern separatism, Americans have reached the deepest depths of cruelty. What is described in "Gone with the Wind" is cute nonsense compared to what was actually happening. And they never regretted it.
Because without Dixieland, America is not really America. Ukraine is a Russian Dixie. Without Ukraine, Russia is not really Russia. Russian sovereignty over Ukraine must be restored at any cost. And Russians will restore it sooner or later. Even if they have to do terrible things to achieve it. And they will never regret it. If you are an American, then behave like an American. Look at the Russians and their actions as a mirror image of what Americans did in the very same situation. And don't squeal like Ukrainian separatists do. Don't embarrass your country and its great history.
From the Russian point of view, Ukraine is an integral part of Russia temporarily occupied by separatists. Other views on the subject are possible, but they by definition are deeply non-Russian. Without the Baltic States, the Caucasus or Central Asia, Russia remains Russia. Whether it remains Russia without Ukraine is debatable. And it's not about being brotherly nations. It's a geographic destiny.
Every single great power would've had the exact same opinion on the Ukrainian question if they were put in our place. In fact, they adhere to the same principle when it comes to disputed territories of their own of similar importance. France had lost Alsace and Lorraine and it had been waging wars for centuries to get them back. The British waged genocide on the unfriendly Scottish Highlander population to control the territory they considered to be their own. No serious country has ever stopped because of international outrage and will never stop. Therefore, the very question of "Will Ukraine accept Russia?" is humorous in its nature. Russians are completely uninterested in this. This territory is important to us, not the opinion of its population about us. Nothing personal, just geography.
Ukraine has signed its death sentence at the very moment when it abandoned Russian as their state language. Rejection of Russian culture and Russian history automatically followed suit. No European people has ever done such a bizarre thing. The question of independence is not related to the question of language at all. Look at the western hemisphere. All European colonists who gained independence preserved both the language of the former Metropolis and its cultural tradition.
Moreover, even the Irish, who shed rivers of blood in the struggle for independence from the hated British, retained English as the state language, leaving the Irish language as an exotic hobby for enthusiasts. In the normal course of events, the status of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine would roughly correspond to the status of Irish in Ireland. Or, taking into account its geographical localization in Galicia and in the surrounding areas, the status of French in Canada. That is, a regional language, and it cannot be a national one. If Ukraine wanted to be a full-fledged state, its only official language had to be Russian.
All the people of importance who were born in the Ukraine considered themselves to be Russian. Gogol, Chekhov, and Bulgakov looked upon "Ukrainianism" with good-natured irony - at best. Of course the inhabitants of today's Ukraine have all the rights to the cultural heritage of historical Russia, and even some special rights to Gogol, Chekhov, and Bulgakov. But Ukrainians chose to declare themselves separate from the Russians instead. That is, they disinherited themselves.
To be a European nation you need to have ancestors who in the XVIII century wore wigs with curls and not Turkish oseledets haircuts. I have said more than once that for a number of reasons the Age of Enlightenment is of key importance for understanding Russian history and culture in general. It is sad that the state does so little to study this era. Classical Russian culture would be enough for at least three hundred or five hundred million people. Maybe a billion. "Ukrainianism" is assembled from what was not useful to either Russians or the Poles. What came out of it was "Kobzar" (Shevchenko's poetry collection) as the central work, the Konotop Battle as the key event and other freakery - "Kshatriya Cossacks", "Zaporozhye Republic", "the constitution of Pylyp Orlyk". All of that wouldn't be enough for even a small Balkan country. Both Serbia and Croatia have a much more solid history and culture. What nation can you sustain on the strict diet of "Kobzar" and Konotop battle? Macedonia, maybe. But Ukraine is a country of forty million people. On its scale, "Kobzar" and Konotop are null. They voluntarily rejected the civilization they belonged to.
Choosing fake Cossacks with oseledtsy as their ancestors, Ukrainians became more alien in the eyes of Europeans than Turks. If we call things by their proper names - outside of the Russian cultural and historical space, Ukraine automatically turns into Africa. Since the Maidan, Ukrainians have invariably shocked Russians with their actions online and in real life.
Self-identification based on jumping on the spot ("who does not jump is a Muscovite") clearly resembles the customs of the Mau Mau rebels. Treating your own eastern compatriots as insects ("colorads") with their subsequent brutal murder in Odessa, it's like they copied the actions of the Hutus who began the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda by broadcasting calls to "exterminate the cockroaches".
The thin veneer of civlization left in such people is Sovietism. Svidomo-Ukrainians are Soviet people par excellence. Supporters of the Maidan and the current Kiev regime are ultra-Soviets teeming with russophobia just like the former Komsomol functionary from Dnepropetrovsk Turchinov. They bring down monuments to Lenin for one reason only - it's a Soviet tradition. The Soviets did it all the time throughout their shortlived history. They knocked down Trotsky's monuments, replacing them with Stalin's monuments, which, in turn, were also knocked down to replace them with Lenin's monuments. Now Lenin is being brought down to plant Bandera instead. By the way, they also raised the pathetic stinkard that was Bandera on their banner for one reason only - he's part and parcel of the Soviet myth. No one, except the Soviets, is even interested in this "hero".
There is a war between Russians against the Soviets in Ukraine. Because Ukraine itself, with its Soviet borders and Soviet Russophobia, is the ultimate product of it. To end the Soviet legacy on its territory the Ukrainian state should be abolished and the territory of Ukraine must be reunited with Russia.
The sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia have nothing to do with Ukraine. Europeans today are placing pieces in a game that will be played in ten years or even twenty years from now, on the other side of the world. Somewhere between 2025 and 2030 China will be ready for a military confrontation with the United States. American strategy is based on isolating China and surrounding it with hostile military-political blocs inlcuding Japan, Korea and other countries. As of now, under these conditions China will not risk taking drastic actions like an invasion of Taiwan. But the Chinese will stop trembling in their knees if Russia with its untold resources and either the second or third military potential in the world becomes an actual military ally to China.
The Europeans need to drive Russia into the arms of China today in order to throw America off the top of Olympus tomorrow. The time of nation-states is gradually coming to an end. It is possible that in the second half of the XXI century globalization will reach the formation of a planetary government. If not de jure, then de facto. And today it's debatable where this government will be located, who will get the role of the center of the world and who will get its provinces. There are only two real contenders for reaching the finals - Europe and America, and everything that is happening in world politics today is a murky reflection of their struggle for the main prize in the future. I suspect that closer to the finals it will finally turn into a savage free-for-all.
The idea of pitting the United States and the Soviet Union in a nuclear war was close to realization back in the early sixties, during the Berlin and Cuban crises. But they ran into insurmountable obstacles of a geographical nature. It was impossible to force the Soviets and Americans to exchange nuclear strikes exclusively through the North Pole without affecting Europe. For the same reason, ten years earlier, the Korean War never turned into World War III. Chairman Mao then declared that he was ready to sacrifice the lives of a hundred million Chinese in order to crush American imperialism. The problem was that even sacrificing the lives of two hundred million lives he would not be able to cause irreparable damage to America. Also a direct involvement of USSR in this conflict would mean an imminent distater for European livelihood. The idea had to be abandoned for a while.
But, as any film critic would say, after the end of the Cold War the fashion for film noir has returned. Replacing the USSR with PRC in the role of an American potential adversary will ensure that this conflict will not harm Europe as much. This is the practical implementation of the fashionable theory of moving the world center to the Asia-Pacific region. The half-century of pumping China with money, technology and stories about its greatness will continue in the following decade. It is likely that before the conflict with America, the Chinese will manage to fly to the Mars (there will be more noise around this event than around Gagarin's flight and Armstrong's walk on the Moon combined).
And then the Chinese will land in Taiwan or make an ultimatum to US. Americans will have to look for an answer to this challenge. If China is alone in this fight, US has all the assets to subdue its foe. But China coupled with Russia is a different beast altogether. They understand this perfectly well hence all their recent actions that seemingly make them look demented. What we are witnessing right now is not America falling into insanity, it is an attempt to disrupt the European scenario. By the way, it seems to me that the trigger of the current crisis was not this idiotic Maidan, but the British "ace in the hole" - Snowden who was sent to Moscow via Hong Kong. Ukraine was just randomly picked as a playground for the True Players.