August 4, 2014

Reanimation of Novorossia as Manifestation of the Kremlin's Imperial Syndrome 2

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Oleksiy Volovych

Part 2. Foundation or Changing the Name?

Cossack units operating under the leadership of Ataman Anton Golovatyi as part of A. Suvorov's troops, who September 13, 1789 were the first to capture the fortress of Eni-Dunya near Khadjibey

Cossack units operating under the leadership of Ataman Anton Golovatyi as part of A. Suvorov's troops, who September 13, 1789 were the first to capture the fortress of Eni-Dunya near Khadjibey.
Parhet P. Assault of Hadzhybei fortress. Painting is exhibited in Odesa Historical Museum

After this gubernia (governorate,province) had been formed, the name “Novorossia” (“New Russia”) could not become naturalized for a long time. This area was traditionally called “Zaporizhzhya” or “Steppe”. In an effort to erase the historical memory of the Ukrainian and other peoples of the Northern Black Sea region, Catherine II resorted to renaming of existing settlements, often presenting it as foundation. Odesa historian Anatoly Misechko pointed out as follows, “Proper names associated with local nature, geography, language and history would be replaced by politically expediential, conjunctural and artificial ones... These names have disappeared, again on the basis of political expediency, and today they are reanimated for the sake of the need of the time often even without understanding their meaning, the reason for their creation, when and where they appeared and why they disappeared. It is for the need of the time that they are taken out of oblivion again, covering their aggressive essence by the search for the historic past”[1].

Thus, in 1794, Catherine II changed the name of Khadjibey (Kotsyubiiv) to Odesa, presenting it as the foundation of the city, although under different names it had been known for more than 400 years. The territory of the current Odesa was inhabited by Greeks back in the 6th century BC. Those were Cossack units operating under the leadership of Ataman Anton Golovatyi as part of A. Suvorov's troops, who September 13, 1789 were the first to capture the fortress of Eni-Dunya near Khadjibey. After the liberation of the city from Turks, Ukrainians became its first inhabitants.

Should we monumentalize our executioners?

Foundation by Catherine II of Novorossia gubernia (province) was only part of her colonialist plan to enslave Ukraine and eliminate any possibility of its existence as a separate state or even autonomy within the Russian Empire. Among the many crimes of Catherine II against the Ukrainian people we'll mention just a few:

Decrees of Catherine II

Decrees of Catherine II

1763 — Catherine II decree banning learning the Ukrainian language in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

1764 — cancellation by Catherine II of the Ukrainian Hetmanate and elimination of Ukrainian educational and cultural institutions and removal from power of Ukrainian-speaking officials.

1764 — 1765 — cancellation by Catherine II of the Ukrainian state of Hetmanate and liquidation of the Cossack tenor of life in Slobozhanschyna.

1766 — prohibition for the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to print primers and religious books in the Ukrainian language and without the permission of the Synod.

1775 — Moscow's troops' insidious assault on the Sich and its destruction. And this — after the Cossacks had given all the necessary assistance to Moscow in the Russian-Turkish war of 1768 — 1774.

1777 — deportation of the Crimean Tatars from the Crimea and of Ukrainians — from Ukraine, and relocation of Moscovites to their lands (habitable and populated).

1780 — burning off the library of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy which had been collecting its books for 150 years and was one of the richest libraries in Eastern Europe.

1781 — destroying the remnants of the Cossack self-government in the Left-Bank Ukraine and imposing the Russian system of government in 1783.

1783 — final enslavement of peasants of the Left-Bank Ukraine. Suppression by Catherine II of the Ukrainian national liberation movement — Koliyivshchyna in 1768 and of Turbai uprising of 1789 — 1793.

The monument to Catherine II in Odesa The monument to Catherine II in Sevastopol
The monument to Catherine II in Odesa The monument to Catherine II in Sevastopol
In the times of the "Orange" President Viktor Yushchenko, “grateful descendants” did erect monuments to Catherine II in Odesa and Sevastopol.
Monument to Ivan Mazepa is still kept on the territory of the art work
Monument to Ivan Mazepa is still kept on the territory of the art works

Without exaggeration, Catherine II can be considered one of the cruelest enemies of the Ukrainian people. And it is very annoying that in the times of the "Orange" President Viktor Yushchenko, “grateful descendants” did erect monuments to Catherine II in Odesa and Sevastopol. Monuments to Russian tsars were destroyed by Bolsheviks in 1917 while in the independent Ukraine they are being restored. And this at the time when in Poltava for the past five years, members of the City Council have been blocking erection of the monument to Hetman Ivan Mazepa, for which erection provided Viktor Yushchenko's decree of 2007. Majestic monument to Ivan Mazepa a few years ago was made in Kyiv, where it is still kept on the territory of the art works. The same fate befell the monument to the last Zaporizhzhya Cossack Ataman P. Kalnyshevskyi in Odesa, the decree on the erection of which was also signed by Viktor Yushchenko in 2007. He did issue the decrees, but failed to put them to life, like he failed to do lots of other things. But he did succeed in quarrels with Yu. Tymoshenko and managed to bring into power his “opponent” V. Yanukovych, having stupidly and shamefully squandered the enormous credibility gained through the "Orange" Revolution. Today, our fellow citizens in the fight against separatists in the Donbas are paying with their lives for V. Yushchenko's “mistakes”. His betrayal of the ideals of the Maidan-2004 threw back the development of our country, at least by 10 years. Today in Ukraine there are still thousands of monuments to tsarist and communist satraps — enslavers of Ukraine. There were more than 2,000 monuments to Lenin alone. And most of them today are in the Donbas. To protect these monuments annually are spent tens of millions of hryvnyas from the budget.

Catherine II and Vladimir Putin: common and different features

Comparing policies of Catherine II and V. Putin, one can find out a lot of common
Comparing policies of Catherine II and V. Putin, one can find out a lot of common

Comparing policies of Catherine II and V. Putin, one can find out a lot of common, and very few different features. By their nature, Catherine II and V. Putin are pragmatists with distinct elements of cynicism. Like Catherine II, V. Putin is clever, tough, patient, and able to wait for his time to coolly and ruthlessly strike. Like Catherine II, V. Putin is a supporter of the maximum centralization and unification of the imperial power, following the rule — to be firm in one's decisions: it is better to do badly than to change one's views. Like Catherine II, V. Putin believes that everything is decided by emperors, tsars, presidents, general secretaries, governors and heads of special services (the Secret Chancery, NKVD, KGB and FSB), while the people is the inertial mass, which needs a strong hand, bread and entertainment.

Like Catherine II, V. Putin is sure that Russia in the international arena should conduct offensive and even aggressive policy, spreading everywhere and anywhere its vassals and puppets. Like Catherine II at her time, today V. Putin has boundless power in his hands throughout Russia and, despite his official title “president”, he has every reason to be considered “autocrat of all Russia”.

Today V. Putin has boundless power in his hands throughout Russia
Today V. Putin has boundless power in his hands throughout Russia and, despite his official title “president”, he has every reason to be considered “autocrat of all Russia”

Having captured and enslaved Ukraine together with its freedom-loving Ukrainian people, Catherine II 250 years ago tried and Putin is trying today, to “increment the empire” at the expense of Ukraine, because without it, the empire cannot exist. Catherine II treacherously seized and destroyed Zaporizhzhya Sich after she had used tens of thousands of Ukrainian Cossacks in the war against Turkey. V. Putin meanly seized the Crimea and is insidiously trying to capture Southeast Ukraine after Ukraine and Russia had been constituent parts of the Soviet Union and had born the heaviest load in the war against fascism. Like Catherine II, V. Putin for a long time had been creating a “fifth column” in Ukraine, “feeding” traitors, and implanting his net of agents.

As for Catherine II, for Putin Russification and destruction of the Ukrainian language is the means of destruction of Ukraine from within, turning Ukrainians into “Malorosses” (“Malorossia” = “Small Russia” or “Minor Russia”) and “Novorosses”. Like Catherine II and J. Stalin, V. Putin does not recognize national rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Crimea — Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Karaites and Krymchaks, and does everything to repeat their deportation again, after 70 years, or to deprive them of their national identity and to turn them into “Russians.”

An extremely important role in the activity of Catherine II was played by propaganda. Among the numerous propaganda campaigns of Catherine II it is enough to remember her trip in 1787 with a large group of foreigners (about three thousand persons) from St. Petersburg to the Crimea, which cost the treasury at the time huge sums — 10 million roubles. Blasphemous letters of Catherine II to foreigners (Grimm, Voltaire, Zimmerman and other prominent figures of the 18th century) were also part of her propaganda, as they were publicized.

It seems that V. Putin has taken over a lot of things from the propaganda experience of Catherine II. One of the examples of his propaganda activity is hosting of the most expensive in the world of XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in February 2014, which cost the Russian treasury an astronomical sum — about 50 billion US dollars. The highest manifestation of cynicism is Putin's statement that in Ukraine is burning a “civil war”, while at the same time every day, hundreds of militants and dozens of pieces of heavy military equipment, as well as large sums of money are sent from Russia to the territory of Donbas “to rescue the Russian-speaking population from Banderites and Kyiv junta”.

Or let's us remember that V. Putin, like Catherine II, allows himself to live in incredible luxury. And this is when, according to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, 80% of the Russian population lives below the poverty level[2]. Comparison of the behavior of Catherine II and Vladimir Putin could continue, but it may already be the subject of a separate article. The main conclusion that can be drawn from this comparison is that centuries go by, but Russia's imperial character remains the same.

Colonization of the Donbas during the Soviet era

In the early 1920s, most of the population of the Donbas made Ukrainians — 64%, Russians were the second largest ethnic group, their share was 26%. In 1939, Russians in the Donbas made already 32%, and Ukrainians — 61% of the total population. In 1989 in Donetsk region there lived 2.6 million Ukrainians, 2.3 million Russians, 83 thousand Greeks, 76 thousand Belarusians, 28 thousand Jews, and 25 thousand Tatars. In Luhansk region there lived 1.4 million Ukrainians, 1.2 million Russians, 33 thousand Belarusians and 12 thousand Tatars. In 1989, the number of Russians in both regions was, respectively, 44.8% and 43.6%. In terms of total Russification, the intensive growth of the number of Russians in the Donbas was due not only to their relocation from Russia, but also because representatives of different ethnic groups began being numbered among Russians.

In the 1920s the proportion of Russians among the rural population of the Donbas was 15-17%, among the urban — about 75%. The Soviet government continued the socio-economic policy of the Russian Empire, regarding the use of human resources for the economic development of the Donbas. The advantage was granted to settlers from remote regions of Russia because they, unlike Ukrainians, were cut off from their previous place of residence, which contributed to their adoption in the workplace and thus reduced turnover of labour. The Donbas was particularly attractive for those who dreamed of becoming rich and criminals, for whom the work was a form of punishment or rehabilitation.

Despite the exemplary international policy of the CPSU, there was constant social and grassroots tension between Russian immigrants and the Ukrainian indigenous population of Donbas. In particular, Ukrainization of the 1920s among the Russian population of the Donbas was perceived negatively, resulting in conflicts on linguistic grounds. In the 1920s — early 1930s, Russians were not eager to integrate into the Ukrainian culture. At the end of a short period of Ukrainianization, many citizens who had been taking active part in it were repressed. Such was the task of the so-called Ukrainianization — to reveal Ukrainian national-patriots, in order to eliminate them.

To prevent conflicts between Ukrainian and Russian population, in 1927 the government of the USSR began creating in the Donbas Russian and other national-administrative districts. However, in 1939 the introduction of the administrative-territorial system on a national basis was canceled as it allegedly did not work.

As well as throughout the country, the famine in the Donbas was the result of forced collectivization and forced confiscation of grain and other food products in rural areas. In 1933 in the Donetsk region up to 20% of population (i.e., at least half a million peasants) died of starvation. However, in cities there was actually no famine as all industrial workers were receiving food rations. At the end of 1933 was formed the All-Union Committee for Resettlement to resettle (mainly Russians) to the Ukrainian villages that suffered from famine in the Donbas, in Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.

In 1951, a part of the Ukrainian population from Western Ukraine was deported to the Donbas, where new settlers who had already been called “Banderites” experienced all sorts of mental and physical harassment from both the local population and authorities. However, despite contradictions and misunderstandings between the East and West of Ukraine, the vast majority of the Donbas sought to compromise. Population of the Donbas is not exclusively pro-Russian because at the referendum on December 1, 1991 its absolute majority supported the idea of independence of Ukraine. At the same time great attention is paid to self-identification of residents of the Donbas as a distinct community of people connected with both Ukraine and Russia. In general, the regional identity of the vast majority of representatives of Donetsk does not contradict their identity as Ukrainian citizens.

South East is Ukraine

National composition of the population of Ukraine in the 2001 census
National composition of the population of Ukraine in the 2001 census

Impartial and objective analysis of historical facts shows absolute groundlessness of statements that in the south and east of Ukraine supposedly dominates Russian population, which, they say, dreams of their region joining Russia. The fact that such allegations are groundless, is confirmed, in particular, by the 2001 census, according to which the share of ethnic Russians was as follows: in Donetsk region — 38.2%, Luhansk — 39.0, Kharkiv — 25.6%, Zaporizhyzhya — 24.7%, Dnipropetrovsk — 17.6 %, Kherson — 14.1%, Mykolaiv — 14.1% and Odesa — 20.7%. For example, in Odesa, according to the data of this census, 67% residents are ethnic Ukrainians, and only 28% — ethnic Russians. Approximately the same ratio of Ukrainians and Russians is in other regional centers of the above-mentioned areas.

Despite the massive Moscow military and political support to “PRD” and “PRL” and subversive acts of sabotage on the part of Russia, the mass uprising in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and six other regions of the “historical Novorossia” did not happen. Says the pro-Russian writer, supporter of the idea of “Novorossia” and a resident of Luhansk Gleb Bobrov, “... in the half a million Luhansk the winning rally after the referendum was attended by one thousand people. In the seven million Donbas there are hardly three thousand militants — less than 0.5% of the population! What resistance can we talk about?!”

With zeal worthy of better application the Kremlin's political strategists and ideologues divide the population of Ukraine into Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking. Although in reality there is no such division. Almost 100% of the population of Ukraine, even in the “far West” is bilingual-speaking Ukrainian and Russian simultaneously. The Kremlin does not want to realize that being Russian and praizing Putin is not the same thing, that millions of ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians are patriots of Ukraine. It is not the language that matters, but the thoughts and ideas one expresses.

Who will protect Russians in Russia?

If someone hopes that after V. Putin to power in Russia will come democratic forces, he is mistaken. Russia's problem is not “bad tsars, presidents and general secretaries”. Russia's problem is the imperial mentality of the Russian people, which for centuries had been instilled to it. Better to be naked and barefoot, but to be a citizen of “Great Russia, of which everyone is afraid”. That is why in Russia are very popular “strong leaders” (even if somewhat cruel) — Alexander Nevskyi, Ivan the Terrible, Peter I, Catherine II, Nicholas II, J. Stalin, V. Putin. For the Russian people the military greatness of Russia is above all. For some reason they do not care that the Russian Federation, with such enormous natural riches, in terms of budget ranks 11th in the world even after the “poorest” EU country- Spain, and in terms of GDP — 7th place in the world, behind the United States, the EU, China, India, Japan and Germany.

Russians and their Putin somehow do not worry that Russia's population keeps declining by nearly a million annually, that in Russia there are over 9 million unemployed and 4 million homeless people, and the number of homeless children is at least 4 million. They do not care that due to crimes more than 150,000 people are killed every year, about 40,000 people die annually from the use of low-quality alcohol, and 30,000 people die from drugs. They do not worry about the fact that in Russia annually disappear without a trace about 50,000 people. They also do not mind the fact that in Russia there are 12 million disabled people (almost 10% of the population!), up to 5 million alcoholics, about 3 million drug addicts, 1 million mentally ill, 1 million TB patients, 2.5 million HIV-infected. Russia spends on healthcare averagely 40 US dollars per person per year, whereas in the United States they spend 2,400 US dollars. You could see these figures for yourself, until recently in the report of the Russian Agency in St. Petersburg (http: // ru.htm), but if you want to open this link today, you will see the following: “Due to the changes in the Russian legislation, this page is temporarily unavailable for viewing”. So, to the delight of the supporters of Putin, the Russian legislation has been steadily “improved”. Possibly tomorrow we will learn that among the employees of the Agency RiF the FSB exposed Banderites trying to distort the picture of a happy life of Russian citizens...

Putin is not dedicated to the protection of Russians in Russia, because today he has other things to do. At the moment the main priority for him is to protect “Russian speaking people in “Novorossia”, killing and maiming thousands of them and destroying the existing infrastructure there. And all this horror continues because Putin really wants to be known as the Emperor. Without Ukraine it would be very difficult, almost impossible. Therefore, dear Ukrainians, it depends on us whether Putin will become an Emperor, whether we will protect our Ukraine and ourselves? Will Ukraine become part of the Russian Empire, and we — its deported to the Siberia and Far East, third-rate citizens, as it was in the times of Peter I, Catherine II and Stalin.


[1] A. Misechko. Something about Novorossia and not only //

[2] Luxurious Putin's lifestyle