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What you might not have known about the historical background of Ukranian crisis: Ukraine is the Face of the Cold War

What you might not have known about the historical background of Ukranian crisis: Ukraine is the Face of the Cold War

What you might not have known about the historical background of Ukranian crisis: Ukraine is the Face of the Cold War
July 08
16:49 2015

Somebody will ask me: what kind of the Cold War I’m talking about? I’m talking about that Cold War that ended more than 25 years ago with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But what is relationship between modern situation in Ukraine and the Cold War? The answer is simple: the Maidan Ukraine is a direct result and a consequence of a longstanding confrontation between two empires of the 20th century – the Soviet Union and the USA.

We should be realists and we should admit that Russians lost that Cold War many years ago. We are a defeated part and we were defeated by US with the consent of Mikhail Gorbachev who was not able to cope with the difficulties that our country faced. Or didn’t want to cope with…

In accordance with the laws of any war a defeated country gets under control of the winner. The same thing happened to the former Soviet Union. It had to lose its economic and political influence, in particular its post-Soviet territories that had been united in one Warsaw Pact Bloc in 1949. The collapse of the bloc began in 1989, our former allies and supporters were being gradually swallowed up by EU and Nato – Hungary, Poland, Eastern Germany, then the Baltics, Bulgaria, Romania, Czeckoslovakia, Yugoslavia… We all were fraternal peoples and in a moment we became enemies. It was a tragedy for all of us who lived in the Soviet Union, it was a tragedy for thousands of families, it was a tragedy for my family…

Now Ukraine is in turn. In 25 years after ending of the Cold War nobody could imagine that the genetically closest country to us will be drowned in hatred and anger to Russia and Russian peolple. Nobody could expect that the National Ukrainian Army will be killing Russian people in Donetsk and Luhansk. But it’s not right to think that this happened accidentally. It was planed long ago, it has been contemplated since the end of the Cold War. Moreover, Ukraine occurred to be the most vulnerable victim of malicious and odious political games. I will not name those who decided to divide Ukranians and Russians in order to get new spheres of political influence. Time will show who is a real predator. And believe me that will be not Putin or Russia – the country that never had any colonies or inquisitions, the country that saved the world from Nazi and Fashism danger.  This article is about the question why Ukraine became such an unstable region and liable to political manipulations.

First, we should understand what is Ukraine in itself. It is a deeply historically divided country. Modern Ukraine includes the heritage of the former Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Poland with deep differences in culture, history and religion. The Western Ukraine with the center in Lviv has its own genetical diversities. Lviv historically belonged to Galicia (Ukranian – Галичина, Polish – Galicja) – one of the most backward regions of Austria-Hungary. After the First World War according to the Treaty of Riga of 1921 the Western Ukraine including Galicia became the part of Poland and it remained its part till 1939. On 28 September 1939 the Western Galicia was joined to the General Government of the Third Reich and Eastern Galicia became the part of the Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic. During World War II the Reich’s District of Galicia was one of the most obedient and loyal collaborationist of Nazis and for almost four years was the territory of aggressive actions of the Organisation of Ukranian Nationalists – the so-called Bandera movement- that fought against Soviet and Polish soldiers and civilians. Nowadays Lviv alongside with other Ukranian cities Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil are the centers of modern Ukranian nationalism that directely originates from Nazi ideology. At the moment the Ukranian nationalists are mostly supported by so-called Right Sector (Russian – Правый Сектор, Ukranian – Правий Сектор) with a leader Dmytro Yarosh that played an essential role in the Euromaidan Ukranian Revolution.

Historically, Eastern Ukraine with the centers in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv have been the most russified regions of Ukraine. Kharkiv is a university cosmopolitical city while Luhansk and Donetsk were one of the leading industrial centers of the former Soviet Union. Donetsk is famous for its mines that were mostly developed on the basis of outside capital during the 90-s of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in the Russian Empire. Luhansk was an important engineering center of the Soviet Union and due to strong economic links with Donetsk it formed a modern region of  Donbass which experinces a terrible tragedy nowadays.

It is worth saying a couple of words about another city in the eastern Ukraine – Dnipropetrovsk. The former center of military-industrial complex has recently got under control of a notorious Ukranian tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskiy. He is the prominent leader of Ukraine’s and Europe’s Jewish community and an activist of the Judaic-Jewish movement Habad whose primary goal is believed to be a separation of Dnipropetrovsk region from Ukraine and creating a new independent state.

The Crimea has its own unique background: it’s a former territory of the Crimean Khanate that was joined to the Russian Empire by Catherine the Great in 1783. In 1954 the Crimean region (Oblast’ – translitiration from Russian – область) was transferred from RSFSR (Russian Federative Socialist Republic) to USSR (Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic) due to favourable economic links with USSR economic and power complex. After the break-up of the USSR the Crimea became an autonomous republic in a new independent state of Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Crimea remained a region mostly settled by Russian-speaking population and preserved a Russian naval base in its center of Sevastopol. Before the events of 2014 connected with referendum of the Crimeans and their decision to join the Russian Federation a number of territorial and ethnical problems (especially the problem of Crimean Tatars) took place between the Crimea and Kiev that could not be solved successfully by the previous governments of Ukraine.

After Ukraine declared its sovereignity in 1990, Kiev – the capital of modern Ukraine – should have become a common denominator of all heterogeneous regions of the country. Nevertheless, Kiev quickly became an oligarchal center, it controlled but didn’t unite different regions. In general, Ukraine before Euromaidan had a bulk of ethnical and language problems that had an explosive effect of the recent events of late 2013 – 2014. Ukraine literally became the most problematic and controvesary region of the post-Soviet space.

So what was the situation in Ukraine on the eve of the Maidan crisis? First, no national unity and solidarity because of national and ethnical diversity of its regions. Secondly, no unity on the basis of one history and national heroes. Thirdly, backward economy that is fully dependent on transit of the resources from Russia to Europe. Fourthly, the unwilligness of Ukranian political elites to work for the benefit of the country; moreover, the territory of the state was divided between different oligarchal groups that just earned money on the transit of resources and contributed to the further deepening of the critical problems. But the biggest problem for Ukraine is that it tries to detach itself from Russia. The origin  and the history of Russians and Ukranians is deeply bound, we are practically the one nation with one religion, mentality, traditions and language. Ukraine should understand that it cannot be intergrated into European or Western space either economically nor psychologically. It can be only subdueded and exploited by the West. Practically.



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Anastasia Promskaya

Anastasia Promskaya

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