Certain politicians hungry for power in Ukraine, the struggle for which has increased markedly in advance of parliamentary elections, offer the voters a strange choice of geopolitical way: not between the West and the East, as usually the world looks up to but between Ukraine and Malorossiya. The main motive of this train of thought is not a pragmatic analysis of all the pros and cons but an ideological motive: the main thing is not with Russia.
Recently, Ukraine has celebrated the Independence Day for the twenty first time (August 24). In one of the celebratory speeches, President Viktor Yanukovych repeated the thesis formulated by him in May, on an official visit to Moscow, the essence of which is that Ukraine will always follow its national interests and strive to be a reliable partner both for the EU, and Russia. However, the leader of the country also announced a new thought pointing to the fact that, perhaps in the near future, Ukraine will take a preferred step towards one of the named partners: “in the foreign-policy plane, we remain committed to the European choice,” “but integration at any price in exchange for losing independence or for making economic or territorial concessions or in exchange for allowing interference in our internal affairs - this is a path which we have never accepted and will never accept.”
The subject of Ukraine and its foreign policy vector chosen arouse interest among specialists worldwide. American political scientist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has said repeatedly that on the way, Ukraine will choose – the way of European or Eurasian integration - not just the alignment of forces in Eurasia, but the world’s geopolitical picture will depend. However, some powerful forces inside the country have reduced this “Ukrainian puzzle” from the geopolitical level to the local one, offering the nation to make an ideological choice between Ukraine and Malorossiya based on the principle of “anything rather than with Russia”.
Ukraine and Malorossiya are historically formed synonymous. The etymology of the word "Ukraine" comes from “outlying districts” – i.e., on the outskirts of the Russian land, because beyond this “outlying districts” there begin all sorts of Poles, Ugrians, Turks and other. And there was an enormous Russian trinity: Big Russia - now Russia, White Russia – now Belarus and Little Russia – now Malorossiya, i.e. Ukraine. The choice, proposed today by some politicians to the population of the country, between “Ukraine” and “Malorossiya” shows their willingness and even goal to distort and deny history, reshape destinies, live with false but convenient myths in order to achieve the goal. And for some reason these “fighters-Ukrainophiles” that turn history into an ideology, become more active just in advance of parliamentary elections. It is clear that the nationalist card is very easy to play by “cheats”. For example, the much-talked-of Law on State Language Policy, whose purpose is to enable the non-title citizens in the multinational Ukraine to officially use their native language in everyday life, is perversely interpreted as a policy aimed at reducing the role and importance of the Ukrainian language in the state.”
The ideology of such political forces is based on the total disregard for the Slavic common constituent part of the Ukrainian culture. However, the reunion of the Slavic core in Eurasia - Russia, Belarus and Ukraine – just has sufficient political potency to become a strong global challenge, and even to turn this core into a “center of gravity” for other nations of Eurasia.
The leading researcher of the European Council for Foreign Affairs, Andrew Wilson, in his article Between the Two Majorities published in the journal Russia in Global Affairs, very aptly observed: “The Ukrainian elites cherish the independence not because they value the nation state itself, but because the same provides a protected space for self-enrichment.”
For their power and access to the sinecure, the elites will fight to the end. And for the sake of that, any slogans and ideas are used. Hence are funny distortions and exaggerations they made no scruple about even on Independence Day.
It was fun and cool. It was celebratory and patriotically that even not the Ukrainian, who came to be in the penultimate week of August in one of the cities of Ukraine, couldn’t but feel. Festivities with the right emphasis on traditions, a “parade” of men’s and women’s vyshivanka (embroidered Ukrainian shirt) on the streets from Kiev and Lvov to Donetsk and Odessa. A wonderful concert on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in the capital, which was attended by local pop stars, and some of them for the feast have specially prepared new songs dedicated to their country. But for some reason the main TV channels were broadcasting the crying pensioners confessing nationwide: “At last we feel ourselves Ukrainians, at last we can openly talk about our love for our country, at last it can be safe to go out in a vyshivanka.” A strange measure of love for the homeland.
For some reason the television, showing the people sincerely rejoicing at their truly unique, original culture, kept mentioning that now we are independent, so we can sing in Ukrainian and dance Hopak. But if we make at least a step “backwards” towards Russia, that right will be taken away immediately. The problematic language issue, of course, has been also entangled into the holiday under the slogan: “No language - no Homeland”. This home-bred “slogan” is easily to be countered, say, with the American reality: In the U.S. an official language has never existed. And it’s OK! They live rather well!
The apogee of distortions and exaggerations occurred during the holiday was a question asked on all TV channels by an unnamed Ukrainian journalist to President Yanukovych why at the opening of the Independence Monument in Kharkov the president spoke in Russian (in this city Russian obtained the status of regional language because the vast majority of native inhabitants consider it native). In a decent Ukrainian language Viktor Yanukovych answered that he will not allow dividing people into grades in Ukraine. He stressed: “Those who ask such questions, split Ukraine... I have always been and will be advocate for the national understanding and acceptance existing in the state, regardless of the region in which people live. Financing, social programs, attitude to people - will be the same for all. All men are equal,” the leader of Ukraine summed up and recommended the young journalist to spread his response among peers who will bear the full brunt of choosing and building the future of Ukraine.
What this future will be, in a union with which countries, is an open question and, of course, interesting for the players who have influence in the international arena. The choice of Ukraine - the largest by territory on the European part of the continent, with a population approaching 46 million people - really can change the alignment of forces on the global geopolitical arena.