Article by: Ihor Losev
Today we can hear claims from high officials that it is necessary to build a powerful ‘Wall’ akin to the one which separates Israel from Palestinian territory, at the Ukraine-Russia border. The issue is not limited to just words. There has already been some construction. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk called this structure ‘the European bulwark,’ Europe’s eastern border.
Critics naturally appeared immediately. Among them is Yulya Tymoshenko who frequently falls victim to her advisers’ incompetence. She noted that the ‘Wall’ will not withstand an attack by Russian tanks. And who says that it will? Its task is different.
There has been no physical locally fixed border between Ukraine and Russia for a long time (23 years of independence). Therefore, it is difficult to accuse the violator under such conditions, while there are no visible signs of this border on land. In reality, there were only lonely Ukrainian checkpoints and fences, between which there were dozens of kilometers of uncontrollable zones, fields, where one can move around without any obstacles, which is what the Russian troops and special services are doing, essentially. Therefore, the ‘Wall’ is constructed, the Ukrainian border will become a physical reality which cannot be ignored.
As such, the ‘Wall’ can delay Russian tanks for a short period of time (but even if it is for 5-6 hours, or one hour, it is also important), however it will prevent thousands of Russian activists similar to those who attacked Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv in March and April, targeting administrative buildings, tearing down Ukrainian flags and hanging up Russian ones. The ‘Wall’ will stop Russian sabotage and intelligence groups, agents, contraband, weapons import, drug trade and so forth. In the end it will be problematic for various ‘green men’…
It is obvious that this structure is only one element of Ukrainian defense in the east. Besides the ‘Wall,’ there should be much of what has been preserved at the western border: observation towers, minefields, fortifications etc. The Border Service should include highly mobile border troops who are able to rebuke the first enemy advances and delay them for some time, while the Armed Forces arrive.
Beyond the border control, the main line of defense with fortified districts should be created involving artillery positions, air defense systems, tank groups, maneuver and storm groups etc.
The spiritual ‘Wall’
However, this wall will not help if the consciousness of millions of Ukrainians continue to be dominated by doubtful moods, which have been imposed on them by imperial propaganda for centuries, and this process has not ended today, but only increased. And these moods are unfortunately quite powerful. For example, organizer of a pro-Ukrainian patriotic protest in Zaporizhya journalist Yury Hudymenko stated: “I have a diploma in history. I think that little time will pass before our nations, Russian and Ukrainian, will be ashamed of ourselves. We are brothers by blood.” Did Mr. Hudymenko analyze the blood of Russians and Ukrainians to draw such conclusions, did he take DNA samples? What does he mean, essentially? Lying myths of imperial historiography about the ‘single cradle’? Any serious and impartial historian, anthropologist, ethnographer knows how different the heritage of Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians is. And what should the Ukrainians be asked of, for defending themselves from Russian aggression?
To wit, commune-imperial propaganda cautiously did not give any definition for a ‘brotherly nation’ and how it is different from a ‘non-brotherly’ one. For this type of propaganda, the more smoke and the less definition the better, it is easier to manipulate depending on the fast changes of events. In Europe there are many peoples with common heritage, which are close ethnically, culturally, linguistically, religiously etc. However, nobody there (besides marginal neo-Nazis) dares call the English, the Germans, the Swedes ‘fraternal nations,’ at least after 1945. Before this, Nazi propaganda gladly did it with the idea of ‘fraternal Aryan nations.’ The relations between nations and states are constructed not on common linguistic, cultural, ethnical heritage, but on common interests and goals.
It is interesting that all this ‘fraternal’ demagogy is targeted less at the Russians themselves than at the fools in neighboring countries. This does not limit Russia in any way. A few years ago the Moscow Patriarchate popularized the idea of ‘orthodox unity.’ But for some reason it did not prevent Russia’s armed attack of orthodox Georgia in 2008…
It is very strange but very exemplary that even now live on radio retired Ukrainian intelligence colonel Petro Nedzelsky does not tire of signing about ‘Ukrainian-Russian fraternity.’ Should we be surprised that Ukrainian intelligence missed the beginning Russian aggression in 2014? This ‘fraternal’ blindness is very dangerous.
New humanitarian policies
The spiritual wall between European Ukraine and Russia which openly manifests fundamental hostility towards European values has to derive from new Ukrainian humanitarian policies which will contradict the ideological standards from the times of Kravchuk, Kuchma, Yushchenko and Yanukovych. Its main characteristic is telling the people of Ukraine the truth, especially about the fact that there have been no especially complementary relations between Ukrainians and Russians for centuries, there are none at the moment, that the current Russian war against Ukraine is not the first, and it is unfortunately, quite probably, not the last. We need to explain that historically the Russian people have been inclined towards despotism in government and current personality cult of Putin in Russia is quite logical. The goals of the Ukrainian and Russian nations are incompatible, as Ukrainians want to become part of political, socio-legal and economic Europe (essentially, they were formed in the borders of European geo-cultural spaces), and Russians want to preserve their specific archaic civilization which is based on hating the West and democracy.
Several years ago Vladimir Putin stated Islam is closer to Russian Orthodoxy than Catholicism… This is very disrespectful towards the west, and quite disrespectful to Islam, as Crimea Tatars felt quite comfortable in pro-european Ukraine, and now they are being persecuted on religious grounds in Crimea (even by government censorship of the Quran). The new humanitarian policies in Ukraine should encourage Ukrainians’ spiritual independence from the detrimental imperial influence, from ruining Ukraine from the inside.