It is difficult and sacrificial, to defend the Ukrainian cause on a daily basis, without waiting for recognition and awards, to defend rather abstract moral categories – this is the vocation of the few. But it inspires others and keeps them conscious.
On the eve of the 29th anniversary of Independence, Media Detector asked journalists, publicists and experts what independence meant to them, what the Orange Revolution and the Revolution of Dignity were in Ukraine’s history, and what the first decades of Independence would be written about in history textbooks in three decades. We publish the answer of the social psychologist Oleg Pokalchuk in a separate text. The answers of other respondents will be published soon.
What is the independence of Ukraine for me now, in 29 years? The answer to this question is quite simple.
I am the third generation of nationalists in my family. The goal has always been formulated simply: “USD (Ukrainian conciliar independent state), the farther from Moscow, the better, and the USSR and the commune must be destroyed.”
Most of my life has been dedicated to this. With the help of a neighbor’s boy, the son of a priest Slavko Tkach, I drew the first postcard with a trident and attached it to the wall of a local bookstore in Lutsk at about the age of ten.
So I’m quite happy with what happened almost thirty years ago. If my earthly life were to end right now, given the above, I know for sure that it was not in vain.
But our independence, as a status category of the country, has several difficulties.
Nationalism is highly effective as long as it is the ideology of a non-state nation. That is an instrument of decolonization and a startup of state formation. Then it should naturally turn into competing ideologies of effective (and not fake, as in Ukraine now) political parties. This is primarily due to the competence of real, rather than deducted from the translation books, the mechanisms of public administration. Secondly, with the cruelty, even the cruelty of the newly created state apparatus against the opponents of independence.
Instead, we constantly observe a disgusting mutual slap in the face of illiterate romantic idiots and highly skilled villains. Unheard of theft, sabotage and betrayal are raging behind this media buffoonery. For some reason it is called state building.
Another problem: except for our closest European neighbors (and even with some reservations), no one needs real Ukrainian independence. A strong country is a competitor, nothing personal, just business. That’s why we need a “gray zone”, a giant offshore, a buffer, a raw material processing area and so on. Since the speech of George W. Bush on this topic in Kyiv (I heard it personally) that Ukraine does not need any independence, in fact, little has changed. And the public political demagoguery of the powerful of this world – I do not know who today seriously believes in it as a real motive.
The third problem is that Ukraine’s independence is not only self-worth, but also a construction site. Independence is not a top with a cross and a trident, but a zero mark for further state-building. Here everything rests on the unitary collective farm psychology of the masses (hence the considerable sympathy for Alexander Lukashenko until recently). In the collective farm, personal initiative is punished and condemned by all milkmaids, units, combine harvesters and tractor drivers. The name of the director of the collective farm and the party member can be any.
Because of this, people with an independent mindset run away from the collective farm at the first opportunity, because its legal independence is in no way converted into their development. The collective farm party apparatus is quite satisfied with this, because the stupider the collective farmers, the more prosperous it is.
Therefore, my attitude to Ukraine’s independence as an unfinished process changed depending on how much I could personally influence this process. Not on the scale of “delight – disappointment”, but according to my personal effectiveness. It took constant learning to meet different challenges and be prepared for poverty and sacrifice. But I was lucky that I was brought up that way, so everything that happened to me was not something so unexpected.
If you follow the path of the struggle for independence directly, and not bypassing crooked paths, then the landscape will be just like that.
I am a participant not only of all Maidans. I still remember the dissident movement of the seventies. There is something to compare.
Of course, these are significant stages of the country’s development, the formation of the nation. The fact that it is so “smeared” in time, on the one hand, is sad. As in a broken anecdote: a good owner cuts the dog’s tail in pieces. Yet, as a result, each generation receives its own initiation, and in total some potential obviously accumulates. And the fact that every event was accompanied by unjustified euphoria, which was replaced by an equally unfounded depression, is always the case. These young people think that everything that happens to them happens for the first time in human history.
“The tree of freedom has to grow from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” said Thomas Jefferson. We must honestly realize that there is no other price in independence. Either you shed the blood of enemies, or they shed yours. I also paid this price.
This is, of course, absolutely horrible from the point of view of Kremlin Euro-pacifism and in no way a liberal opinion that contradicts the modern “refrigerator philosophy.”
As well as the fact that the broadest masses of the population must necessarily adopt the idea of independence. Or some other national idea. And under it it is necessary to draw and fiercely deribanit articles of the state budget. I will be objected to: why should the population have these “high ideas” if it is no longer able to write and count competently? All that the masses are seriously concerned about are utility bills and the amount of pensions. It is necessary to teach children, and to leave the people alone in their gardens, they will soon dig potatoes.
It is difficult and sacrificial, to defend the Ukrainian cause on a daily basis, without waiting for recognition and awards, to defend rather abstract moral categories – this is the vocation of the few. But it inspires others and keeps them conscious. For the independence of Ukraine, one must be ready not only to die, but also to kill – everything else is evil.
History, in contrast to chronicle, is always politicized and rewritten depending on which royal court the historian is fed. In recent times, we have seen that Europe is not able to write its own history in the same way. Even the history of the Second World War. Moreover, textbooks are always more primitive than real research.
In thirty years, the very word “write” may disappear. It will become an obscure archaism, like the word “literacy.” The textbook will replace things like modern computer games – augmented reality simulators. There will be more documentary in the depiction of the history of Ukraine. Maidans will be talked about and shown about as much as they are now about the UPR, the Hetmanate, the Directory, and anti-Bolshevik uprisings. That is not very much, because everything was not easy. It will be part of national mythology.
For centuries, our “independence from…” depended on the arrangement of interdependence in the Turkey-Russia-Poland triangle. Now comes the time of conditional Poland, the countries of the Mediterranean. If we look at what is written in Polish textbooks about the strikes in Gdańsk, about Jerzy Popieluszko, and about the times of Solidarity in general, we can get a rough understanding of the future historical narrative.
“For the independence of Ukraine, one must be ready not only to die, but also to kill – everything else is evil.”
If you can’t die for your country, you don’t deserve a country.