Ukrainians now see themselves as victors not just victims, Podolsky and Bekirova say

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Analysis & Opinion, Ukraine

Ukrainians have suffered so much over the last century as a result of the crimes of others that they have often presented themselves to others and even to themselves as victims, Anatoly Podolsky and Gulnara Bekirova say; but now they are proud to present themselves to others and to see themselves as victors, not just victims.

Bekirova, a specialist on the history of the Crimean Tatars, tells Denis Timoshenko of Radio Liberty that she “doesn’t like the term ‘victim-people.’” Rather there are peoples who have suffered genocide, deportation, mass murder and other crimes. Those things are important parts of a nation’s history.

But so too, she continues, is the heroism of the people who resisted these things and achieved others.

“For example, many representatives of the Crimean Tatars do not view themselves as victims. Today, they are in an unprecedented fashion resisting an occupation.” That is the work of heroes, not victims.

Podolsky, director of the Ukrainian Center for the Study of the History of the Holocaust, agrees. History of tragedies is important to the extent that it is incorporated in how people see themselves and behave now. That many were victims is something everyone must talk about, but saying that a nation consists only of victims is wrong.

History is more complicated than many imagine or want to believe, the center director continues.

One of the complexities is that more different peoples are involved in Ukrainian history than many Ukrainians think, and Ukrainians were to be found on more than one side of any of the tragedies of the past, Podolsky says, even if many don’t want to acknowledge that.

Bekirova agrees and says that it is terribly important to create “a common history of Ukraine,” especially given that “before the annexation of Crimea few succeeded in including the history of the Crimean Tatars in general historiographic discourse.” Now that has changed; but textbooks need to be rewritten to reflect this change.

She adds that “when we speak about the victim syndrome, we must remember its opposite side – the heroic behavior of people.” And Podolsky says bluntly:

“Today Ukrainians are not a victim people. They have showed themselves and the world that we do not want to remain a colony on the post-Soviet space.”

“The generation of my son, of young people from 25 to 35 and even closer do not feel themselves to be victims,” and they do not see their nation as a victim and nothing else.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    In so far as Ukraine is concerned, Putin’s biggest problem has been his inability to cross over into the 21st century and it will almost certainly end up as his undoing. In this regard, It has simply been insufficient to try and intimidate not just the older generation of Ukraine, but especially its youth. As such, the youth represent the future of Ukraine and they have had their whiff of freedom as well as a reawakening of their cultural identity which has been synonymous with an independent Ukrainian State that is en route to rejoining the European Family of Nations. The genie is out of the bottle and there is nothing that Putin and his hyenas can do to reverse the inevitable freedom that has always been cherished by the people of Ukraine.

    • AmounRah

      Cool.
      As a Putin-expert and clearly a better brain and head than a president, I really think you should apply as an advisory. I mean I really do not think that you are being a little self-righteous in assuming you understand actions and motives of others. That being said. What’s his favorite toothpaste flavor? I know it’s a silly question you just understand the guy so well.
      -“Putin’s biggest problem has been his inability to cross over into the 21st century”
      Would love for you to elaborate on that
      -” the youth represent the future of Ukraine and they have had their whiff of freedom”
      So…hold on. To you, “a whiff of freedom” means: civil war, oligarchy, generational debt to IMF and the states, and division of a country? …al…right…
      -” as a reawakening of their cultural identity ”
      I think you were trying to say “rebirth of religious level fanaticism and extreme nationalism”
      -“Ukrainian State that is en route to rejoining the European Family of Nations”
      Lol…I’m sorry…what? Ukraine’s very own economists say that this is dozens of years away, and they always are extremely optimistic. By same logic, every single country is “enroute” in the next few centuries. And “rejoining”??……
      -“The genie is out of the bottle and there is nothing that Putin and his hyenas can do to reverse the inevitable freedom that has always been cherished by the people of Ukraine.”
      I know, right? I mean that’s all Putin has been doing for dozens of years. Just subjugate poor Ukrainians and taking their freedom…….by trading with them when no one wanted to, by buying things no one wanted to, and by giving coal well below market prices allowing Ukraine to run billions of dollars in debt, without asking for a penny. Oh what horrible Russia.
      Then we have Ukraine’s *NEW* “masters”, who made Ukraine privatize and sell off any socially owned services, threw the country into a state of war, shoved debt down the throats of Ukrainians who will be paying for GENERATIONS to come.

      Pretty sound logic.

      Look, I understand nationalism, and I understand pride. I do not, however, understand blind pride.

      • zorbatheturk

        Krembotulism. How many fake Disqus accounts do you have?

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          Vladimir Zhirinovsky might know but he doesn’t spit and tell.

          • AmounRah

            Huh…..you clearly don’t even spit.
            Good for you guys, found true love I guess.

        • AmounRah

          Says the person who has the same users upvote his/her comment every-single-time?
          Just one whatever-your-name-is, sorry dude.
          I do not have the time nor self-esteem low enough to create multiple accounts and post with them. Only trolls do that……………………and think like that. Am I wrong, zorba?

          • zorbatheturk

            Fuggov, a-hole.

          • AmounRah

            Another example of a cornered ukie-troll, everybody :)

          • zorbatheturk

            Smoke a Camel.

          • AmounRah

            I don’t smoke but thank you for the offer

      • Murf

        “threw the country into a state of war, shoved debt down the throats of Ukrainians who will be paying for GENERATIONS to come.”Only
        one country “Threw” Ukraine in to war and that was Russia.
        Why”
        Because Ukraine was turing away for Russian control.
        And that is the telling point but how Putin is living in the past. He has literally millions of square miles of under developed land and he is squandering billions on pieces of economic depressed territory all for some imagined “advantage” in a chess game that only existed in his feverish brain.
        In the 21st century you don’t bother squabbling over postage stamp size land.
        You develop your infrastructure improve education diversify the economy into high tech industries.
        He is building tanks when the rest of the developed world is building semi-conductors.

        • AmounRah

          -“”threw the country into a state of war, shoved debt down the throats of Ukrainians who will be paying for GENERATIONS to come.”Only
          one country “Threw” Ukraine in to war and that was Russia.” ”
          From what I recall, there was an uprising before Russia got involved and the Americans very slowly started shifting blame on Russia.
          First, Russia was not even involved, then Americans tried to bait Russia, to which Putin replied: we did not cause this issue. You did, so fix it.
          Then the Washington slowly shifted to calling east Ukraine “separatists” then ‘Russia supported opposition’ then to ‘Russia supported troops’ to then “terrorists”. Or am I wrong?

          “Because Ukraine was turing away for Russian control. ”
          …..by the way, the year is 2017. Now countries to not go to war (unless you are America, I guess) but fight economically. No one is denying that Russia wanted to keep Ukraine in it’s sphere of influence as a buffer state. With that, came perks…like Russia buying Ukrainian products no one wanted, selling gas way cheaper than the market, allowing Ukraine to steal some of that gas. Things like raking billions and billions in debt on gas alone, etc. As soon as Ukraine was going to leave that sphere, they would have lost all those perks? It’s called business, I highly doubt it’s personal.

          “In the 21st century you don’t bother squabbling over postage stamp size land.” ……..no , duh?
          So then apply the same logic and ask your self this: who benefits from this conflict?
          It sure as h*ll not Russia: economical sanctions? Political conflict? Loss of a buffer state?
          It sure isn’t Ukraine: civil war, social and governmental debt, division?
          On the other hand, we have America…..new potential NATO country (yeah, ok), promises of EU, disturbance of BRICs, Euro-asian area, squeezing Russia as punishment for trying to get away from the dollar, BILLIONS made in arming Ukraine…..
          BUT HEY, we would rather chase emotions on this board, and not logic, right?

          • Murf

            Like most Putin your recall is selective.
            But don’t take my word for it.
            Take Strecklov’s word.
            He is said the protests had broke and that he had to enter personally.
            He also said he himself “Pulled the trigger on the Donbas War.”
            He also said that he couldn’t get a thousand people to fight for the DPR.
            So much for your theory.

          • AmounRah

            “He is said the protests had broke and that he had to enter personally.
            He also said he himself “Pulled the trigger on the Donbas War.”
            He also said that he couldn’t get a thousand people to fight for the DPR.”
            -Putin or Strelkov? (this actually took me a few minutes because i legit could not find a “Strecklov” but google suggestion saved me)

            “Strelkov, whose real surname is Girkin (Strelkov is a pseudonym derived from the Russian for “the Shooter”), believes Putin dithered at the crucial moment in 2014, for fear of breaking off ties between Russia and the west for good. A radical nationalist who believes Russia should seize all the lands where ethnic Russians live, and who describes Ukrainians as “Russians who speak a different dialect”, Strelkov said it was fatal that Putin stopped after annexing Crimea.”
            From the Guardian.
            So am I to derive that Putin is NOT out for the land grab like US is leading us to believe?

            I would like if you could explain how exactly that debunks my “theory”?

          • Murf

            In Crimea, yes he was and grabbing.
            If Donbas could have been had as easily, he would have there also
            But it wasn’t so when he pushed forward and met resistance he backed off as per classic Lenin doctrine.
            But oh yes, Putin had his grubby little fingers all over that war and Streklov was his man on the scene

    • Mick Servian

      Hahaha
      Deluded

      • MichaelA

        why is he deluded?
        its true
        not only is the strength of ukraine in its youth
        but they are boosted by many russian youth fleeing russia

        • Mick Servian

          Yep deluded.
          Yeah everyone is flocking to banana republic of Ukraine because it’s so prosperous. Hahahaha
          Ok we believe you
          Ps. Why are you? A country so much bigger than mine. So bad at every thing?
          We are pound for pound best sports nation in the world. Have Nobel winners. Scientists etc.
          7 million population.
          Yet Ukraine can’t manage any of that. Why?

          • MichaelA

            ukraine is doing fine
            it has strong culture and history
            and very good at many things
            russia is falling apart and has to face the fact that its cultural roots come from ukraine
            too bad so sad

          • Mick Servian

            Ukraine doing good at what?
            Serbia. Little Serbia is ten times more successful.
            Qualify for the world cup yet?

          • Mick Servian

            Hahahaha..

  • Микола Данчук

    When we review historic facts, the people of present day Ukraine have always opposed any and all aggressors. We know the price which has been payed and comprehend what is needed to retain what all intelligent mankind has been striving for.
    We are victims of a desire to be free, independent and equals in a respective, dignified world. We are no better if we can not be who we are – Ukrainian.

    • veth

      Breaking News: LPR ready to return to Ukraine, according their so-called FM.

      • Микола Данчук

        Not really – just making noise to get attention.

      • Screwdriver

        You so stupid

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          Late night at the bar? Your grammar is atrocious.

  • Screwdriver

    Thousands of Ukrainians who left Ukraine (because of the new Nazi regime) do indeed feel victorious.
    And thousands of Ukrainians who suffered under bombing and shelling by Kiev Nazi regime, – they do feel themselves as victims obviously, many of them lost they loved ones , in Odessa, Donetsk, Lugansk, Gorlovka.and other .towns which are under constant shelling by Kiev regime criminals.

    • zorbatheturk

      Spot da Na zi.

    • MichaelA

      yes as they are starved by the gangster separatist regimes
      ukrainians lost loved ones in odessa due to russian agents burning the building
      russian attempt to invade ukraine failed
      because russian boys were too soft

      • Screwdriver

        Why your write Odessa, not Odesa ? You must be a Russian troll ?

  • zorbatheturk

    I recently watched or rewatched the 1965 classic spy movie The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, with Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. Based of course on the classic spy novel by John Le Carre. The atmosphere of Soviet menace, of deep gloom, of vopos and Checkpoint Charlie and stale cabbage, was well captured. This is Putin territory. This is the era that nurtured and produced the Putinator we all love to hate. Putin is a dinosaur, an anachronism, a man unable to move beyond the Stalinist totalitarian mindset that created him. In other words, a RuSSian. He is on the wrong side of history.

    It is time to bury the Putin and Krumlin imperialism.

  • zorbatheturk

    I recently watched or rewatched the 1965 classic spy movie The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, with Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. Based of course on the classic 1963 spy novel by John Le Carre. The atmosphere of Soviet menace, of deep gloom, of vopos and Checkpoint Charlies and old cabbage, was well captured. This is Putin territory. This is the era that nurtured and produced the Putinator we all love to hate. Putin is a dinosaur, an anachronism, a man unable to move beyond the Stalinist totalitarian mindset that created him. In other words, a RuSSian on the wrong side of history.

    It is time to bury the Putin and Krumlin imperialism.

    • Scradje

      Excellent movie. Although at that time and probably still, spy writers, TV and movie makers preferred to demonise East German commies, rather than their rulers. Michael Palin, speaking about the new Death of Stalin alleged comedy, was at pains to stress that the makers did not want to imply any wrongdoing by the present kremlin murder gang.

      • zorbatheturk

        The West also appeased Mao, and now, his successor, Xi.