Last Time Putin Spoke of Unity a War Broke Out
When Vladimir Putin speaks of unity between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, Kyiv, Washington and the free world should listen carefully because his words should be understood as a warning, threat or prophecy.
The last time the Russian dictator addressed this topic, Moscow launched a war against Ukraine seven months later, a war that it is still waging today. The Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-21 has claimed more than 11,000 civilian and military lives. A war that he denies.
I wrote in the July 2013 edition of The Torn Curtain 1991 that Putin took advantage of that year’s observance of the 1025th anniversary of the Christianity of Kyivan-Rus by visiting Ukraine and driving his point about the need for its re-unification with Russia.
Amid a host of religious, predominantly Orthodox spiritual leaders, gathered in Kyiv, Putin on Saturday, July 27, 2013, urged Ukraine to join forces with its former colonial overlord, saying Russians and Ukrainians were “one people.” Putin said the two Orthodox neighbors should further integrate economically.
“Intense competition is going on now in global markets, for global markets,” Putin said. “Only by joining forces can we be competitive and win in this rather tough competitive fight. We have every reason to believe that we can and must do it.”
“All of us are spiritual successors of what happened here 1025 years ago. And in this sense we are certainly one people,” he added.
Putin hasn’t changed his and Moscow’s aspiration for reunification – nay, re-subjugation of Ukraine, returning it to its multinational prison of nations.
Now in a rambling 7,000-word Ukrainian and Russian-language essay, published on the Kremlin’s website on Monday, July 12, Putin repeated his outlandish, baseless claim that Ukrainians and Russians are one people while warning the readers that the Kyiv government would “destroy their country” by moving it closer to the West. And in the word “destroy” lies the crux of his missive to Ukrainians and the world through which Moscow hopes to scare the country and its advocates into submission. Since February 2014, immediately after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics that year, Russia has once more been destroying Ukraine and its people.
With Kyiv’s sovereign fortunes dramatically changing for the better, after all it is closer to gaining accession to NATO and European structures and it enjoys political and military support in free world capitals, Putin certainly feels threatened by the possibility of losing Ukraine forever. For him, as well as the Soviet Russian commissars and tsars, Ukraine is the valued lynchpin that holds the empire together. As others have said, the loss of all of the former captive nations does not have the same impact on the evil empire as does the loss of Ukraine.
Putin and all Moscow leaders will go to war, as they have, to retain Ukraine within its barbed-wire fence. They have threatened, cajoled, fabricated and lied to do so and this mendacious article is no different.
Whether he has knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian histories is immaterial because Putin makes up the facts along the way. This behavior is very strange considering that anybody could just Google names and places to discover the truth and see his lies.
“To better understand the present and look to the future, we must turn to history,” he wrote cynically. History according to Putin bears no resemblance to what actually transpired in the previous 1,000 years. For instance, Kyiv-Rus, with its capital in Kyiv, predates Moscow by a couple of hundred years. Kniaz Volodymyr the Great accepted Christianity in 988 from Constantinople and established the Trident as his state symbol, which exists today as Ukraine’s national emblem. Kyiv-Rus and its rulers formed the last bastion of hope against invasions by Asiatic hordes just like Ukraine today defends Europe from onslaughts by Moscow. Kyiv’s native son, Andriy Boholubsky, did abandon his realm only to return to sack, pillage and burn Kyiv-Rus.
“Mazepa, who betrayed everyone in a row, Petliura, who paid for Polish patronage with Ukrainian lands, and Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis, are included in the rank of national heroes. They do everything to erase from the memory of the younger generations the names of true patriots and winners, of whom Ukraine has always been proud,” Putin wrote about three significant Ukrainian heroes, all of whom sought to defend Ukraine against Russian subjugation in different ages. Indeed, their image and mission continue to exist in the hearts and souls of all Ukrainians and inspire their dreams.
As for collaborating with the Nazis, let’s not overlook the fact that Vyacheslav Molotov, first deputy premier of the USSR, concluded a non-aggression pact with Joachim von Ribbentrop, minister of foreign affairs of Nazi Germany, creating allies. This paved the way for the slaughter of Ukrainian civilians by both enemies of humanity throughout World War II.
“For Ukrainians who fought in the Red Army, in guerrilla units, the great patriotic war was exactly the Patriotic War, because they defended their home, their great common homeland,” Putin continued.
Indeed, some confused Ukrainians did fight in the ranks of the enemy but their mission was to enslave Ukraine for Moscow. The Red Army murdered tens of thousands of Ukrainians as it retreated ahead of the invading Nazi Army. In the outskirts Kyiv, the Red Army killed and buried in a common grave some 200,000 Ukrainians. Putin also failed to mention Moscow’s murder by starvation of 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children as well as the execution of thousands of Ukraine intellectuals, writers and artists in Solovky.
Ukrainians’ quest to free themselves of Moscow’s deadly clutches – or as President Poroshenko succinctly proclaimed “Away from Moscow” – included the dissident movement of the sixties, seventies and eighties that also resulted in Siberian exile for many of the participants. Opposition to Russia existed throughout the centuries, right up to the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 that included 2 million Ukrainians of all regions of the country, religions, professions and age groups.
Putin tried to assure Ukrainians of his best intentions by writing “Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine and is ready to discuss the most difficult issues.” Actually, Russia’s dialogue with Ukraine always comes at the end of a bayonet and as for discussing the most difficult issues, well, truthfully he denies their existence.
“I am convinced that Ukraine’s true sovereignty is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human, civilizational ties have been formed over the centuries, go back to the same origins, hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship is passed down from generation to generation. It is in the hearts, in the memory of the people who live in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be countless stronger and more successful. After all, we are one nation,” he concluded.
Obviously, to all Ukrainians, those in the war-torn Eastern region, those in Kyiv, in temporarily occupied Crimea, the Western oblasts as well as their supporters in the free world, Putin’s blasphemous plea sounds like the spider summoning the fly. History and blood have shown that Ukraine’s association with Russia is detrimental to the health of the nation as well as the lives of the people.
There are no bonds and same origins between Ukraine and Russia. Putin is doing peacefully and militarily what he can to conquer, subjugate and colonize Ukraine. And speaking of a wall between countries, the border between Ukraine and Russia deserves one with a sign that reads “Keep Out!”