Better Russia

New_Russia_on_territory_of_UkraineIn Slon, Leonid Ragozin takes a long and searching look at the twin identities of Ukraine. In the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine he sees a “Better Russia”:

It’s a more peaceful country with a better climate and less abrasive manners than Russia, a country where Russian military personnel and “northern” oil pensioners still go to live out their days as before, and to where  – as in Cossack times – the Empire’s more freedom-loving, enterprising and talented citizens escape.

And this alternative Russia, unlike the original, has a chance in our lifetime to become part of a Greater Europe, to achieve its standards of state governance and quality of life. Such a Russia will, more than Ukrainians themselves, be interested in preserving Ukrainian statehood  because this will be the guarantee of its survival and success. If you really need a single, albeit diverse, Ukrainian nation, then it is with the help of such a Russia that it will be built.

Instead of relying on a narrow and sometimes intolerant Ukrainian nationalism, Ragozin thinks, the Euromaidan movement would do better to maximize its appeal to this “other Russia”. After all, he points out, the movement’s most prominent  leader, Vitali Klichko, is a boxer trained in the  Soviet army and with direct experience of the authoritarian and “athletic” mentality typical of the so-called “titushki” who are charged with maintaining support for Yanukovych’s government.  If Klichko could extend his influence to this constituency, and even become its leader, Ragozin believes that

there would be no need for the fighters of the Right Sector, the Molotov cocktails and medieval catapults: the Berkut would take him to the Rada and to Bankova.

After reading this the only question that occurs to me is whether the influence of Putin and Great Russian chauvinism may not now be more widespread among Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population than Ragozin is prepared to admit.

One comment

  1. All who know the history of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe understand that Russia does not have a leg to stand on without Ukraine. Russia cannot exist without Ukraine and its economic strength comes from this industrial nation. Over 70 Billion Dollars has been syphoned within the last 3 years by Yanukovich (Pro Russian Leader) to Russia, and Russia pretends to lend money to Ukraine to take over all of its trade routes and industries. It is a false deficit engineered by Russian Oligarchs that want more power and control over Ukraine. If Ukraine finally gets the autonomy and sovereignty it deserves, the Russian state will collapse further than it did during the fall of the USSR. This is why Russia is desperate to hold onto Ukraine as much as it can. The Crimea is full of pro-Russian lobbyists transplanted to cause more stress on a nation that is undergoing massive change. It is all a ploy to maintain control, but Russia is clearly losing this battle and it is very clear how they are desperately trying to win.

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