AdSense

  • Latest News

    April 23, 2016

    The truth about Ukraine: Byshok's lecture at Brown University

    April 23rd, 2016 ~ Fort Russ ~
    CIS-EMO



    On April 12th, 2016, CIS-EMO political analyst Stanislav Byshok was invited by the Department of Slavic Studies to deliver a lecture on Russia-Ukraine relations at Brown University. The lecture was followed by Watson University's Senior Fellow Sergei Khrushchev's comments and a Q&A section. 


    Here's the full text of Stanislav Byshok's speech:

    Dear colleagues!

    Thank you everyone for coming, and thank you very much professor Golstein and the Department of Slavic Studies for inviting me. It’s my pleasure and privilege to be able to deliver a lecture on Russia-Ukraine relations here at Brown University in front of the future American elite. Despite the fact that this is my first visit to the land of the free, I’m no stranger to your country. I was raised on American science fiction and action movies. When I was a teenager, my favorite rock band was Metallica. I’m no stranger to the city of Providence as well. In this very city was born, lived and worked, and was buried my favorite English-speaking writer, whose grave I visited yesterday. The writer’s name is Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

    Lovecraft is prominent for his supernatural horror stories wherein there is no hope in sight, only darkness and crawling chaos. Nowadays, as we skim through mainstream media outlets, both in the West and Russia, we risk finding ourselves in a sort of Lovecraftian world. Monsters are surrounding us, and it’s frequently unclear how to distinguish between a human being like ourselves and a monster in disguise. From the Russian media perspective, the top monster is the US, the hegemon trying hard to control all the countries in the world and play them off one against another. From the Western perspective, the most dangerous threat comes from Russia which is trying desperately to regain its great power status, to reestablish the Soviet Union or even the Russian Empire. Russia’s current conflict with Ukraine is pictured as an apparent evidence of Russia being a hungry monster- hungry for other countries’ territories.

    It’s virtually impossible to cut a deal with monster, right? However, if we remove the Lovecraftian glasses, we’ll be able to get a much more diverse and complicated picture of the world we live in, especially when it comes to Russia-Ukraine relations. If there are no monsters then there are just different countries with their own aspirations, interests, needs, fears, and misconceptions which can be dealt with. In this case a compromise is possible. 

    In my lecture tonight, I’ll elaborate on the history and current state of Russia-Ukraine relations, assuming that there are no effects without causes, that ideas have consequences, and that actions may also have unintended consequences. I’ll share with you my personal experience of working in Ukraine and my personal concerns about what’s going on there now.

    First of all, what are the differences between Russia and Ukraine? I know that until very recently the majority of people in the West believed that Ukraine was either a region of Russia or some kind of Russia №2, for reasons unknown having its own flag, anthem, and statehood. Ukrainians are often uncomfortable when they hear something like, “You’re from Ukraine, yeah, I know Ukraine, it is in Russia, right?” The peculiar detail here is that even in Russia, until recently, the majority believed Ukraine to be a sort of “another Russia.” This conviction wasn’t based on ignorance or arrogance, but on the popular perception of the common history of the two peoples.

    So, what is Ukraine, really? And when did it begin? Ukraine gained independence by leaving the Soviet Union in 1991, for the first time in the entire history of that territory (I use the word “territory” because the Ukraine, Украина, means “the Borderland” – just like in Western Europe they have “the Netherlands”). There had been no independent Ukraine before the Soviet Union collapsed. In different times, various regions of what we now know as Ukraine were part of the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, and even the Byzantine Empire. Ukraine was made a united political entity only inside the Soviet Union.



    According to the official Russian historical narrative, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus share the common civilizational cradle in the medieval realm of Kievan Rus. Kiev is even dubbed “the mother to the Russian cities.” The Great Russians (великороссы), the Ukrainians (or the Little Russians, малороссы), and the Belarusians (or the White Russians, белорусы) of today are believed to be sub-ethnic groups of the Russian people. Popular opinion in Russia recognizes the independence Ukraine and Belarus gained in 1991, but there is still a sentiment that there were no credible reasons for Ukraine and Belarus having separate states.

    The official historical narrative of post-independence Ukraine is quite different. According to that, the only legitimate heir to Kievan Rus is Ukraine. The Russians and Ukrainians are neither fraternal peoples nor even friendly ones. According to that narrative, the history of Russia-Ukraine relations is actually the history of permanent national liberation struggle waged by the Ukrainians against Russian oppressors.

    In fact, Kievan Rus was dissolved in the middle of the XII century as the Mongol hordes invaded the region. Since the XV century the territory of today’s central Ukraine was controlled by Cossack warlords. In the XVII century, this territory was absorbed into the kingdom of Muscovy (Moscow). The unification passed voluntarily due to the following reasons. Firstly, at that time this territory had few options: belligerent Muslim Ottoman Empire in the south, belligerent Catholic Poland in the West, and Orthodox Christian Muscovy in northeast. Secondly, there were no language, cultural, or religious barriers preventing Cossacks and commons from assimilating successfully into Orthodox Christian Russia. Thirdly, last not least, Cossack elites didn’t lose their privileges after the unification – they were simply absorbed into Russia’s state bureaucracy and army. Unlike many other ethnic groups living in what would become the Russian Empire, Ukrainians were viewed by the government as well as by the people as being as Russian as themselves, hence the Ukrainians were treated without any discrimination.

    Up until the middle of the XIX century, there had been no “Ukrainian question” in the Russian Empire. Initially, the “Ukrainian question” was an issue of the language of public education in Russian Ukraine – whether it would be Russian or Ukrainian (the two Slavic languages are very close to each other and are mutually comprehensible). The government didn’t want to fund Ukrainian schools due to the reasons of expediency. If a younger generation of Ukrainians were to be fully incorporated into Russian bureaucracy, or military, or culture, or science, they would need Russian not Ukrainian. Another reason was a political one: the government suspected the development and spreading of a distinguished Ukrainian language as a first step to separatism.

    The issue of Ukraine’s autonomy was added to the “Ukrainian question” only at the beginning of the XX century. But even then the Ukrainian nationalists who lived in the Russian Empire didn’t want Ukraine to secede. Instead, they wanted the Empire itself be transformed into a democratic federation with Ukraine as part of it. Anyway, Ukraine’s autonomy was an aspiration of a minor part of Ukrainian intelligentsia whereas the majority, the commons, cared about land and labor, not about Ukraine’s independence.

    During the Russian Civil War of 1917-1921, rival armies and rival ideologies fought in the territory of today’s Ukraine. Some fought for a united Russia comprising Ukraine as its inalienable part, some fought for an independent Ukraine comprising all the territories where Ukrainian-speakers lived including those of Austria-Hungary and Poland, some fought for anarchy, and some for the victory of World Bolshevik Revolution. Bolsheviks prevailed.



    After their victory, they adopted a carrot and stick policy in what became Soviet Ukraine. The stick was repressions against those suspected of anti-Bolshevik activities. The carrot was the “Ukrainization” (украинизация).

    One of the pillars of the Bolsheviks’ domestic policy was overcoming the “Russian imperialism” which, they believed, had oppressed non-Russian peoples of the Empire for hundreds of years. Russia, Bolsheviks claimed, had deprived non-Russian peoples from their culture, language, and ethnic dignity. Hence, they launched a process of “rooting in” (коренизация) or, in Soviet Ukraine, “Ukrainization.” “Ukrainization” was aimed at what we would now call positive discrimination of Ukrainians. 

    “Ukrainization” was meant to overcome the “Russian imperialism” by promoting Ukrainian cadres, Ukrainian language, and Ukrainian culture. We won’t exaggerate if we say that the Soviet Union adopted an affirmative action policy long before it became mainstream in the liberal West. (There is a great book “Affirmative action Empire” by Harvard University professor Terry Martin which highlights the issue of positive discrimination in the Soviet Union.)

    The problem with “Ukrainization” was that the urban population of Ukraine was predominantly Russian- and Hebrew-speaking. So the Bolsheviks forced the urban intelligentsia and upper working class professionals to learn and use Ukrainian at work “so as to be understood by the proletarian masses of Ukraine.” But the masses frequently understood Russian better than they did Ukrainian. Hence the Bolsheviks launched a process of “liquidation of illiteracy” – making illiterate Ukrainian peasants learn Ukrainian instead of Russian.

    Then came WWII which claimed more than 25 million lives of Soviet citizens. During that period, the vast majority of Ukrainians joined the ranks of the Red Army and fought Nazi invaders shoulder to shoulder with Russians, Belarusians, and other peoples of the Soviet Union. However, a tiny minority of Ukrainians, notably Ukrainian nationalists from West Ukraine which at that time was part of Poland, collaborated with the Nazis. 

    Soldiers of the collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army and activists of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists were along with Germans responsible for the Holocaust in Ukraine as well as for the genocide of Polish civilians in Nazi-occupied West Ukraine. In today’s Ukraine, however, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army is officially glorified as the only legitimate Ukrainian military force in WWII.

    In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. According to Russian president Vladimir Putin, its downfall was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the XX century. It’s a common wisdom to point at economic factors, notably drop in oil prices, as the main reason of the Soviet collapse. From my point of view, it simply doesn’t add up. To assume that once oil prices dropped, different peoples began at once hating each other and desperately wanting independence, is, mildly speaking, too speculative.

    Did Ukrainians want to secede? In March 1991, a referendum took place in the Soviet Union on whether to save the Union. It was the first fair and free referendum during the whole Soviet rule. What did it show? 70% of Ukrainians voted in favor of saving a united country with Ukraine as part of it. The figure speaks for itself. By the way, in Russia proper the figure was the same.

    Anyway, Ukraine gained independence in 1991. What does any newborn state need besides a flag and anthem? It needs a nation. And an intensive process of nation-building was launched in Ukraine. The nation had to be built. And it was built on a negative identity: “we’re not Russians” was the main prism through which Ukrainian children were - and still are - taught to see the world. (By the way, in 2003 former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma issued a book titled “Ukraine is not Russia.”)

    According to a narrative Ukrainian children get used to in schools, the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Russians and Ukrainians began in the XII century. Russian history, culture, and even ethnicity have nothing to do with Ukraine. According to that same narrative, the full-scale genocide of Ukrainians by the Moscow state was launched by Russian emperor Peter the Great who forcefully sent best Ukrainian men to chilly northern swamps so as to build Saint Petersburg. 

    The very name “Russia” was stolen from whom we now know as the Ukrainians by Moscow, hence this people had to change their ethnic name to “Ukrainian.” Their very name was stolen! That doesn’t make sense, does it? 

    But it gives one an understanding of the depth of the victimhood complex and resentment. According to the same narrative, the great famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine was purposely organized by the Kremlin as part of an ages-old Great Russian masterplan of elimination of the Ukrainian nation. And so on and so forth. As we see, the mortal enemy of Ukraine has always been in the East.



    However, not everybody in Ukraine subscribed to that historical interpretations, notably Russian-speaking Crimea and South-Eastern regions of the country. Since Ukraine’s independence, these regions voted predominantly for candidates and parties they perceived as pro-Russian: first of all, the Communist Party of Ukraine, which, by the way, has been prohibited after the democratic Euromaidan revolution, and former ruling Party of Regions – the party of former president Viktor Yanukovych. The party doesn’t exist anymore.

    Two years ago, in 2014, an uprising broke in Ukraine under EU and nationalist flags. It began as a small protest against the reluctance of then-president Yanukovych to sign a free-trade agreement with the EU. (The pro-European protesters gathered on the central Kiev’s square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, hence the protest was dubbed “Euromaidan.”) 

    “Was it worth making a revolution?” you may ask. The protesters would answer that by refusing to sign the agreement the Ukrainian president effectively deprived the Ukrainian youth from their perfect European future. They would answer that if their country had signed the agreement with the EU, Ukraine would have been granted EU membership. 

    The protesters were convinced that the signing of a free-trade agreement would swiftly lead to rapid Westernization (whatever it might mean) of the country, economic growth, higher wages, visa-free travels in Europe, and, most importantly, job opportunities in the EU. 

    “This is naive!” you may respond. But the protesters wholeheartedly believed these things. I was there and saw it all with my own eyes. I recall young representatives of Kiev’s urban and sophisticated crowd telling me, with their eyes shining brightly, about the brilliant perspectives of Ukraine integrating into the family of “Europe.” Who prevented Ukraine from making that aspired democratic transition? The answer was simple and clear: Russia and pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine, especially the president.



    When the first sniper shooting took place in the Maidan square in Kiev, the protesters had already known who was to blame: the pro-Russian president, his government, and covert agents of Russia’s secret service who came to Kiev so as to help Yanukovych suppress the pro-European democratic protests. When asked how they actually knew who the snipers were, the protesters replied with full confidence: “Everybody knows it. It’s an obvious fact!”  

    The events related to the Euromaidan uprising and the war in Donbass that followed are closely linked to the mass media’s influence of public sentiments. From the onset of the Euromaidan protests, most Ukrainian media sources covered the events with a degree of sympathy which only expanded and increased, eventually becoming full support. 

    It began with moderate criticism of the government and hints at Russia’s involvement in the crisis. As the situation escalated, the media turned to explicit demonization of the president and those supporting him. 

    Pro-Maidan activists were portrayed as progressive citizens, students, or civil activists. Their opponents, on the contrary, were mostly depicted as criminal bullies from Eastern Ukraine hired by president Yanukovych to disrupt the peaceful and rightful Maidan protests. 

    From January 2014 on, news stories began to portray Maidan opponents as a danger for the society in general. Those who were loyal to the president “kept crushing Kiev,” “were attacking people with bats in Kharkov,” “have brutally beaten a pro-European teenager in Donetsk,” etc. Aggression expressed in the ongoing episode was presented in the media as unilateral and as coming exclusively from those supporting the current regime.

    At the dawn of Maidan protests, the media portrayed regions loyal to president Yanukovych, notably South-East and Crimea, as depressed, reliant on Kiev subsidies, economically unviable, and populated by Soviet-minded, primitive people disloyal to Ukraine. I remember standing in front of Ukraine’s map with a group of creative class folks in Kiev who would tell me pointing at Crimea, “They’re not real Ukrainians. 

    They don’t want to speak our language and they don’t share our aspirations. It would be better if you Russians took them back.” But then, in March 2014, as Russia did exactly what they wanted – took Crimea back, the whole narrative bifurcated.

    In March 2014, there was a referendum in Crimea whereas 95% of the voters favored Crimea seceding from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia. Russia recognized the results of the referendum, and Crimea became part of Russia. (The peninsula had been part of Russia proper before 1954.) The Russians and Crimeans call this event the reunification, in Ukraine and the West they call it the annexation. I’ve been to Crimea several times, including when it was part of Ukraine. Crimean people spoke Russian, loved Russia and associated themselves with Moscow, not with Kiev, especially in Sevastopol where the Russian Black sea fleet was based. 

    The Crimea referendum led to the Ukrainian media narrative bifurcation. On the one hand, the media went on condemning the Crimeans for their “betrayal” or even “worthlessness.” But on the other, the media began to claim that they’d always loved Crimea, that it was a wonderful ancient Ukrainian place inhabited by amazing people who took part in the referendum only at the barrel of Russian guns. When confronted with these apparent contradictions, my acquaintances among pro-Maidan Ukrainian and Russian journalists often accuse me of “supporting Russian aggression” and fail to answer. Ukrainian media narrative would bifurcate once again after the Donbass’s declaration of independence. 

    According to Stratfor, a “private CIA” as they dub it, Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is justified by understandable security concerns: “Contrary to popular opinion in the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not driven by crazed territorial ambitions. He is looking at the map, just as his predecessors have for centuries, and grappling with the task of securing the Russian underbelly from a borderland state coming under the wing of a much more formidable military power in the West.”

    By the time president Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, new terms such as “separatists”, “terrorists”, and “trash” had came into common use by the Ukrainian media. According to that, the only ones to be blamed for the unrest in the country were “pro-Russian agents” and “Putin’s tourists.” Euromaidan activists, including radical nationalists and right-wing football hooligans who actually fought with police and caused the whole unrest, were beyond criticism. Opponents of the new government, on the contrary, were demonized and dehumanized.

    On May 2, 2014, 48 anti-Maidana ctivists were burnt alive by the Ukrainian nationalists during the clashes in the city of Odessa. This tragedy was covered by the media and social networks in tones justifying the crime. Even at public hearings at the European Parliament two months later, wherein mourning mothers of those killed in Odessa were present, the young Maidan supporters wearing traditional Ukrainian vyshyvanka-shirts and waving Ukrainian flags told them in the face, giggling: “It was your sons’ own fault. They shouldn’t have messed with the wrong guys.” I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn't heard it myself. But I was there.

    The Maidan protests under EU and nationalist flags, the violent overthrow of the president, the Odessa tragedy, and especially its total approval by the new Ukrainian authorities who publicly endorsed “patriotic behavior” of the murderers, lead to subsequent unintended consequences. It triggered a revolt, or a counter-revolution, in East Ukraine’s Donbass. In two weeks after the Odessa massacre, the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics proclaimed their independence. 

    The Ukrainian mainstream media swiftly came up with new derogatory names dubbing Donetsk Donbabwe and Lugansk Luganda. Their residents were portrayed as if they were poor inhabitants of distant African states deserving neither sympathy nor understanding. But these were Ukrainian citizens.

    The new pro-Western government launched a “counter-terrorist operation” to suppress the counter-revolution in Donbass. Simultaneously, volunteers from Russia and other countries began to arrive in Donetsk and Lugansk so as to support the self-proclaimed republics. However, some Russian and West European volunteers, predominantly adherents of racist ideologies, began to arrive in Kiev so as to support what they perceived as “the holy crusade of white European race,” embodied in post-Maidan Ukraine, against  “Asian” and “Soviet-minded” pro-Russia rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk. 

    I will not dig deep into details of the conflict, but there are just numbers you need to know to get the point. To date, there are about 2 million refugees who fled Donbass, the majority came to Russia. According to Ukrainian authorities, there are 10 000 casualties of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbass to date. According to the German intelligence, the figure is more than 50 000. Can you imagine it in today’s Europe? Not in Syria. Not in Libya. Not in Afghanistan. In Ukraine! Both the rebels and the regular Ukrainian army are accused of war crimes, including unlawful executions, torture, rape, and cruelty against civilians. 

    How did things come to this? Sigmund Freud wrote about “narcissism of small differences.” It means that the communities with adjoining territories, similar habits and languages, are more prone to outbreaks of mutual hatred and violence. It is psychologically somewhat easier to utterly hate those who’re slightly different from us than those who’re totally different. Those with small differences are perceived as distorted reflection of ourselves, and we detest them just because of that. This idea may give us the key to understanding of not only the conflict in Donbass, but also of the overall troubled Russia-Ukraine relations.

    Moreover, if we go on with psychoanalysis, we’ll make use of the concepts of “projection” and “projective identification.”What is projection? Humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. We constantly attribute negative characteristics to our political opponents as well. Take Russia and Ukraine for example, or for that matter the Democrats and Republicans here in the US. 

    Projective identification is a form of projection. In this case the person not only attributes his or her negative characteristic to another person, but he or she also behaves in such a way that the object of projection is somewhat compelled to respond in a way confirming the initial projection. If you constantly and obsessively and aggressively accuse me of being, say, Russia’s secret agent, I may eventually put on a T-shirt with Putin and begin waving a Russian flag in front of you. And what will you say to that? “Gotcha!”

    Let’s move on. I promised to share with you my personal experience of the Ukraine crisis – and here it is. The crisis has left a scar, if mental, on me. Precisely a year ago, on a sunny day of April 16, 2015, I was taking part at the OSCE conference on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Vienna, Austria. During a working session I received a text message from a friend from Kiev saying “Oles Buzina has been killed.”Oles Buzina was a prominent Ukrainian writer and journalist whom I knew personally. Circulation of his books on popular history of Ukraine reached hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. 

    Buzina

    His statements, often sharp, raised fierce debates in Ukraine, and also managed to generate discussion abroad. He wrote in two languages, Russian and Ukrainian, and his books were often issued simultaneously in these two languages. According to Buzina, Ukrainians were part of a widely understood Russian nation, though they had their own cultural characteristics that should be respected. 

    When the Maidan protests broke, Buzina didn’t take sides. He despised both then-president Yanukovych for his political weakness, and the pro-European opposition for lying to the Ukrainian people about their brave new European future. Buzina was horrified by the widening chasm between Russia and Ukraine, and did his best to reverse this process, as much as he had power to, anyway. 

    He took part in numerous TV shows in Ukraine and Russia, and tried to build bridges between the two fraternal peoples. Visits to Russia and taking a critical position toward the Euromaidan revolution cost him dearly. His name appeared on a “Wanted dead” list issued by the radical Ukrainian nationalists. He was then assassinated in cold blood near his house in Kiev by two young Nazi thugs. Oles Buzina is believed by many to be one of the greatest contemporary Ukrainian writers. 

    Several months before his assassination, he wrote: “I write the truth. Speaking the truth is easy and pleasant. I am but a writer. Not a terrorist. Not a rebel. Except for the words of truth, I have no weapon. There is a civil war now. An unjust war. You cannot win it even with the Devil on your side.”

    But is there hope in sight? If there is hope, I believe it will come from the economy and from Germany. Let me explain the idea.

    Initially, both the EU and the US openly and unconditionally supported the Maidan uprising and subsequently de-facto supported the overthrow of the president of Ukraine. The EU wanted to expand its influence and gain access to a new market. The US wanted to stop what it perceived as Russia’s economic and political expansion westwards. 

    According to the doctrines of Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzeziński, and George Friedman, it is crucial for US interests to prevent any considerable power or a coalition of powers from emerging in Eurasia. If it emerged, it would challenge the American hegemony. And Russia has been perceived as an emerging threat since the late 2000's.  

    However, after the Maidan revolution evolved into a full-scale war in Eastern Ukraine’s Donbass, the ways of the EU and the US somewhat diverged. The US remained – and still remains - supporting Ukraine as a bulwark against Russia’s expansion and as a means to kill even the possibility of a Russia-EU alliance. 

    A war or a frozen conflict in Ukraine doesn’t bother the US much. At the end of the day, there are a lot of conflicts, both frozen and raging, all around the globe on distant continents overseas. Why worry, then? The frozen conflict in Ukraine is a safety catch in case of Russia’s westward move.

    And what about the EU and its powerhouse Germany? The EU is currently facing numerous challenges, both internal and external, notably the inflow of economic migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, and economic crisis in Southern Europe. Given that, the EU is rather uncomfortable having a destabilized Ukraine at its eastern border. The EU is also unhappy with mutually-unbeneficial sanction war with Russia. 

    In fact, Russia can and should be an ally to the West in maintaining global security and countering the spread of radical Islam and terrorism. Hence the EU, notably Germany’s, support to the Ukrainian government is likely to decrease. The Europeans will make the Ukrainians adhere to peace agreements in Donbass, and encourage them to normalize, if modestly, Ukraine’s relations with Russia. After all, some of the pipelines feeding Europe with Russian natural gas run through Ukraine.

    And what about Ukraine itself? Is Russia-Ukraine reconciliation possible? Reconciliation is a far cry from what we can realistically expect in this case. Détente is a more proper word. Despite the fact that Ukrainian officials and mainstream media claim Ukraine is at war with Russia, despite countless anti-Russia sanctions by Ukraine, Russia is still the main trading partner to Ukraine and will likely remain so in the foreseeable future.

    Ideologically, Ukraine will remain anti-Russian and pro-Western, but to subsist it needs to think in economic terms, especially in terms of profit. Trading with Russia is obviously more profitable than confronting it.

    And what about Russia? There is a widespread belief in Russia that our country had been virtually disinterested in Ukraine before the Euromaidan uprising. It is true, but that’s not the whole truth. Yes, Russia was disinterested in Ukraine’s humanitarian sphere, but intensively invested in Ukrainian economy instead. The official figure of Russian investment in Ukraine’s industry is more than $200 billion. Not bad, right?

    But I have to admit that the Americans and Europeans managed to outsmart Russia in Ukraine. They invested much less, but they did invest in humanitarian projects, not in factories. In Ukraine, they funded education, student exchange programs, democracy promotion, endorsing the “Western choice,” etc. That’s what we call soft power. Hence the results.

    Next time when Russia decides to increase its influence in this or that country, perhaps it shouldn’t invest in factories and creating jobs for many. Instead, it should invest in this country’s humanitarian sphere, in democracy promotion or something like that. It is less expensive but apparently more effective. At least in the short run. And what about the long run perspectives in case you have a lot of democracy-lovers but no industry? As we Russians say, Hot air cannot feed one’s hunger.

    I began this lecture with mentioning my favorite English-speaking writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Let me conclude it with a quotation from my favorite Russian-speaking writer of Ukrainian decent Nikolai Gogol: “I’m not sure whether my soul is Ukrainian or Russian. But I know for certain that I would neither put the Great Russians above the Little Russians nor the Little Russians above the Great Russians.” 

    Thank you very much!



         Follow us on Facebook!                                                  
                  Facebook                                   

           Follow us on Twitter!
                  Twitter               

                 Donate!
    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments

    0 comments:

    Post a Comment

    Item Reviewed: The truth about Ukraine: Byshok's lecture at Brown University Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Joaquin Flores
    Scroll to Top
    \