ALERT: A unique view of Russian strategic thought on the Ukraine conflict from a Russian web site
by Konstantin Kevorkyan
ukraina.ru – The events taking place in Ukraine pose a number of military, economic and ideological challenges to Russian society. And if some of them are issues of exclusively domestic politics, then others will have to be addressed in varying degrees of interaction with the outside world.
Introduction to Zoology
One of the main problems at the moment is the “Ukrainian issue”. Previous mistakes in its comprehension, underestimation of its seriousness led over time to the need for a “special military operation”, which is very difficult. For example, it is unlikely that the most pro-Russian cities of Eastern Ukraine – Kharkov and Mariupol – were supposed to be turned into ruins.
It is not a fact that such stubborn resistance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was expected, otherwise, the escort columns of the Russian army at the first stage of hostilities would have had more serious cover (due to the lack of which some of them were defeated by the enemy). And, perhaps, the assistance of the Kiev authorities of the general population of Ukraine, in particular, the so-called “adequate people” (who had previously tried to observe the principle of “equidistance”), came as a surprise.
Thirty years of the separate existence of Ukraine and Russia is a long time, and even if the people are one (as President Vladimir Putin rightly believes ), the political nations have long been different. To modern Ukraine, many of its citizens feel attached not only ethnically, but also mentally – not only to the “wonderful Little Russian nature”, but also to the established political reality. Hence, in particular, the amazing phenomena of “Jewish bandits” or Russian-speaking Ukrainian nationalists. The Ukrainian political reality absorbs many citizens (and not only those of Ukrainian origin) who become servants of forced Ukrainization, de-Russification, everything that they call “decommunization” and “decolonization”.
Crowds of formerly Russian people renounce their own past, land, self-identification, because – in the absence of a long time on this territory of Russia – they simply have nowhere to go.
The enemy of Russia in Ukraine is not only neo-Nazi battalions or Russophobic politicians, but the state system itself, aimed at their reproduction. Not the Ukrainian people as such, but a “political nation”, nurtured and sharpened to fight against Russia. We must realize that the strategic task of the military operation is not only “demilitarization and denazification”, but the dismantling of hostile statehood in its current form. And since this structure was erected a long time ago and settled down, the task is not an easy one. Several generations of citizens of Ukraine (especially after 2014) were subjected to systematic, continuous, professional propaganda treatment, and some dreamed that they would greet the Russian Army with flowers.
With all the surrounding adversity, the industrious “little Ukrainian” adjusted his life in the new conditions and, as a rule, adapted to it (we are not talking about the elites who manage to adapt to any government). And all this in an instant turns out to be destroyed: whereby a fallen shell, whereby a looter who bursts in, whereby forced evacuation. Anger gives rise to rage, rage feeds the will to resist, virtual wins in the information war – confidence in an early victory over Moscow.
The consciousness of the Ukrainian “political nation” is extremely encapsulated; this was one of the main conditions for its reformatting. It is not for nothing that the Russian information presence has been declining throughout the decades of the existence of independent Ukraine, and at the moment our information flows differ dramatically. What is natural for us is ugly for them, what is nice for us is old-fashioned for them, what is sacred for us is hostile to them.
Now we are not talking about someone’s “rightness”, but about fundamental differences and forms of leveling them for the future, because these differences, as the practice has shown, deliberately deepen to the extent of the abyss, increase to the detriment of Russia, and in recent years have been used to create threats to its strategic security.
While the military and diplomats are doing their job, Russian society needs to accept a simple truth: the information war is a nationwide affair. By the way, in Ukraine this is well understood: not only the local “civil society” (as a rule, existing on Western grants), but also the widest sections of the population, joined the information war. Hence, there are so many people on social networks who sympathize with them in society and, as a result, a real mass hysteria.
The horizontal ties established by Maidans, grant-eaters and other “activists” are strong and quite effective. The perception and execution of the commands of the puppeteers has been brought to a reflex, as many residents of the Russian Federation could be convinced of when, as if by magic, they were bombarded with calls and messages about the alleged “atrocities” of the Russian army in Ukraine. This was precisely the appeal of local propagandists, but at the same time, the sincere desire of the Ukrainian layman to participate in the “defense of the Motherland.”
And the Motherland is Ukraine, and it is not Russia, but Russia is “backward and Asian”, and we are “progressive”, and they attacked us for no reason – therefore, our war is “fair”. If “victory will be ours”, then why give up?
The processing of the consciousness of the people of Ukraine in the nationalist spirit began literally from the date of the declaration of independence of Ukraine, and even earlier. The so-called “Rukh” (“Movement for Perestroika”) almost immediately fell under the influence of nationalists and actively pedaled in its propaganda the false thesis about Ukraine “robbed by Moscow” – that is, massively popularized the ideas of how much richer the Ukrainian layman would live if the Ukrainian SSR stopped deductions to the Centre.
Naturally, these primitive calculations ignored world prices for hydrocarbons and other industrial raw materials, spending on state defense, maintaining the social sphere, etc. language.
While yesterday’s nomenklatura, wealthy cooperators and bandits were dividing economic assets, the nationalists, with the support of the Bandera diaspora and foreign structures, stubbornly raked the media and education under themselves. Persistent work with the mass consciousness was supported by the creation of non-governmental structures, seminars, organization of youth camps, grants to “pro-Ukrainian” organizations, patronage of promising politicians, journalists, and public figures.
The results of the planned activities were affected very quickly. By the end of the 1990s, the anti-Russian stratum in Ukraine had become so influential and numerous that it was able to enter into direct confrontation with the current government. Later, she played an active role in the movement “Ukraine without Kuchma ” and the “Orange Revolution” (where anti-Russian slogans and sentiments were already fully manifested).
After the victory of the Orange Revolution, the policy of state nationalism received a powerful impetus, and the entry of radical nationalists into power became massive and virtually irreversible. The rollback under Yanukovych was short-lived and did not affect the anti-Russian foundation of “Ukraine-not-Russia”. The slogans and chants of the Euromaidan (such as “Who does not jump is a Muscovite”) are not a joke at all, not an accident, but a continuation of the Russophobic policy, which in response led to the Russian Spring and the falling away of Crimea.
After that, the absolute demonization of Russia and the dehumanization of Russians became only a matter of political technology. From now on, hating Russia (or at least its authorities) has become a sign of “good form” in Ukrainian society, an axiom of the Ukrainian “patriot”. And vice versa: to recognize the fair choice of Crimea and Donbass meant dooming your political career to failure, up to criminal prosecution for “separatism”.
By the beginning of the current military operation, Ukraine approached the beginning of the current military operation as a rigidly anti-Russian state, the previously dominant Russian language was expelled from the formation of public space, Russian information resources were marginalized, almost all opposition media were suppressed, and militaristic propaganda reached an incredible heat. Therefore, it is not surprising that the population of Ukraine met the Russians on the whole with caution (and in some places even with hostility).
Unfortunately, work on objectively informing Ukraine about the goals and objectives of the operation is not being carried out enough. If Kyiv has been persistently working with the public opinion of its country for decades, then the Russian Federation has clearly not done enough in this direction. For example, Poland alone annually took up to 30,000 Ukrainian students to study – significantly more than the Russian Federation, and obtaining Russian citizenship is still surrounded by such strange conditions that turn thousands of potential applicants away from it.
At the same time, Moscow stubbornly flirted with Ukrainian politicians of the evilest and nationalist persuasion. Russians in Ukraine felt that they did not have their big homeland behind them, and gradually took the Ukrainian rules of the game for granted.
Finding the mind
Without a real alternative, the collapse of a bad but familiar world is the essence of the destruction of a functioning society without future creation. And if we are talking about the revival of another Ukraine, then there is no need for people to lean out – the offended Bandera will soon return and exact from those who have leaned out in full.
And if a different configuration is envisaged, there is no need to rush either: it is one thing if the received territory becomes a “gray zone” without rights, it is quite another to join, say, the Union State. Until there is a clear and reliable perspective, there is no trust. If there is no trust, there will be no solid foundation for power.
The reconquest of lost positions must be started not waiting for a military victory, but immediately. And after achieving victory, in addition to “demilitarization and denazification”, we must not forget about the restoration of the Russian information presence throughout Ukraine. Not just the abolition of all kinds of bans, but the maximum promotion of Russian influence: from as yet banned information resources, books, films – to the Russian language itself and the equal status of its speakers.
Of course, bringing the Ukrainian media to life, implies certain features of personnel policy and, at first, strict censorship. Denazification of the education sector. At the same time, it is necessary to stop the financial flows that, through Western embassies, foreign funds and the local oligarchy, feed the muddy river of “political Ukrainianism”.
Tracking hostile activity in social networks (there is no doubt that it will be), and this is already a task for the criminal code. Inciting hatred on a national basis should be recognized as one of the most serious crimes, and for re-education, work on the restoration of destroyed cities will be enough; preferably not their own – so that everyone can broaden their horizons and comprehend the scale of the tragedy that has befallen Ukraine.
Naturally, open trials of war criminals, the opening of the archives of the SBU, lustration, bans on the profession. There is nothing excessive in these demands; in many European countries, this happened, say, within the framework of “decommunization”. The elimination of various toponyms associated with the Nazis and pro-Hitler collaborators, the complete and absolute ban on Bandera.
In the near future, Ukraine will face huge tasks of restoring the national economy, and here, apparently, elements of a mobilization economy, nationalization of the assets of a hostile oligarchy and a nationalist asset, massive assistance from the CIS countries and numerous sister cities cannot be dispensed with. Moreover, economic recovery should imply a general demilitarization of Ukraine.
The most important issue is the future state structure of reformatted Ukraine. And although we kind of concludes this review with this question, in fact, it is at the forefront. If the current territorial structure of the Ukrainian state is preserved, then it can be said with a high degree of certainty that the incredible efforts and lost lives were in vain – the basic foundation of current Ukraine will remain, which means that Russophobic and revanchist moods will triumph sooner or later.
After what happened, federalization will not help either, because it still implies the main, unifying center for making political decisions, and this center is a hostile, deeply infected Kyiv. Without a clear understanding of the future of the liberated territories, it would be naive to expect sincere sympathy from people on the ground and help from businesses to restore the economy.
The new future needs to be announced now, and if the promised future is the well-known “old” one, then there is no need to be surprised at the results.