Book highlight from “Understanding Contemporary Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism: The Post-Soviet Cossack Revival and Ukraine’s National Security” by Dr Olexander Hryb.
Part 1 of the highlight introduced the concept of Eurasianism and Part 2 focused on Putin’s statements of his civic nationalism. Part 3 outlines his idea of the reign of ‘Russian civilisation’. If you continue visiting our Blog Page you’ll be able to read further parts of the highlight.
4.2.3 Putin’s nationalism: Known unknowns
In August 2014, a left-wing activist Darya Polyudova was charged with a crime of inciting separatism and placed in pre-trial detention soon after she finished serving a previous two-week sentence over a rally demanding a broader autonomy for the Krasnodar region (North-Caucasian region associated with historical Cossack Kuban’). Grani.ru reported it was the first time when Russian authorities have brought criminal charges under a new law that took effect that year criminalizing calls for separatism. The rally organizers’ page on the social network VKontakte called for broader economic autonomy and self-governance rights for their region, but made no demands for succession. Grani.ru commented that while Russian government calls for a broader autonomy for eastern Ukraine (Donbas), it has jailed a domestic activist for advocating the same kind of federalization rights for a southern Russian region, accidentally populated historically by the Cossacks from the Don Region and Ukraine.
The irony is of course that while Russian borders cannot be challenged – they could expand by Kremlin’s design. NATO sponsored research conducted by the GLOBSEC Policy Institute states that Russia started information warfare campaign targeting Crimea two years before invasion and attempted illegal annexation. That coincides in time with the above mentioned Putin’s nationalism manifesto proclaiming the reign of ‘Russian civilization’. The GLOBSEC report ‘Countering Information War. Lessons Learned from NATO and Partner Countries’ explained that similar info war tactics has been applied to other Central and Eastern European countries: ‘Propaganda effects are similar to cooking a frog – heating up the water until it is too late to react. … Russia’s influence in CEE works like a microwave – heating up water molecules inside the meat (these countries) that are home-grown for their purposes’. It is clear that Putin’s nationalism is conservative inside of Russian Federation borders and expansionist on the outside. In fact, Russian President staged a TV statement in 2016 saying that Russia’s border “doesn’t end anywhere”, while addressing a televised awards ceremony for geography students.
In the past, Mr Putin has pledged to defend ethnic Russians wherever they live, so ‘the known unknown’ is where does Putin believe the Russian borders should naturally be in order to coincide with culturally ‘Russian civilization’. Is his vision limited to the former USSR countries, Warsaw pact countries or can include ‘Russian Alaska’? Answering these questions could provide insight in the likley intent of what Gen. Philip Breedlove called as ‘the most amazing information blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare’ waged by Russia (Pomerantsev 2014).
Coming up next on our Blog: 4.2.4 Revival of Political Eurasianism ideology in Russia
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Olexander Hryb is a London based writer with over 20 years experience in research, analysis, media and PR. He studied history, politics and the sociology of culture in Lviv, Prague and Warsaw. Olexander worked as a broadcaster and online journalist for the BBC World Service, Polish Radio (Overseas Service) and as analyst for DCD Intelligence. He is currently an associated member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology as well as a Cultural Adviser in the British Army. His articles appeared in the Ukrainian Review (London), Border and Territorial Disputes of the World Series (John Harper), and the British Army Review.
“Understanding Contemporary Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism: The Post-Soviet Cossack Revival and Ukraine’s National Security” by Dr Olexander Hryb is available on Amazon:
ABOUT “UKRAINIAN VOICES” BOOK SERIES
Dr Hryb’s book is the second volume in the “Ukrainian Voices” book series.
The “Ukrainian Voices” book series includes English- and German-language monographs, edited volumes, document collections and anthologies of articles authored and composed by Ukrainian politicians, intellectuals, activists, officials, researchers, entrepreneurs, artists, and diplomats.
The series aims to introduce Western and broader audiences to Ukrainian explorations and interpretations of historic and current domestic as well as international affairs.
The purpose of these books is to familiarise non-Ukrainian readers with how some prominent Ukrainians approach, research and assess their country’s development and position in the world. The series was founded in 2019, and the volumes are collected by Andreas Umland.
You can watch an online presentation of the first volume of the series – Ukraine’s Maidan, Russia’s War by Mychailo Wynnytsky here