Political analyst Vitaly Portnikov responds to this article, arguing that Putin’s thesis is nothing new and refers back to Lenin’s philosophy.[/editorial]
One of Vladimir Putin’s final statements in his long article is that the “true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia”. Looking more closely, we can state that this statement is nothing but a remake of another, older quote.
“A free Ukraine is possible under joint action of the Great Russian and Ukrainian proletarians. Without such unity, it is impossible,” proclaimed Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. These words are inscribed on the pedestal of the monument to Lenin in Kyiv, which was knocked down and destroyed by Maidan activists in December 2013. The statue of Lenin has disappeared, but the words remain. And Putin repeats these words.
This is the typical Russian chauvinist credo: Ukrainians can only exist on their knees, and only as a subjugated nation can some form of national, even personal self-expression, be allowed. But, if there is no “unity, there can be no talk of Ukraine”, says Lenin. “Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful,” reiterates Putin.
So, what has changed over the centuries? Only the portrait on the wall and a lasting Bolshevik legacy. Indeed, Lenin managed to launch an effective political program, which turned his successors into a herd of barbarians.
Putin’s statements need to be memorized and remembered by anyone who hopes to reach an agreement with Putin (see Minsk talks). There were people who also tried to reach an agreement with Lenin; Bolshevik delegations came to Kyiv to negotiate with Ukrainians.
However, an agreement is impossible. The war will continue. People will die and suffer. This is our reality. Either we fight back and Putin’s successors recognize the right of Ukrainians and Ukraine to exist, or all of Ukraine will be occupied and will become part of Russia again.
There is simply no other choice. There will never be another choice. Because in Putin’s head, Ukrainians do not exist, and there has never been and will never be a country called Ukraine.