The main narrative in the Western media on Ukraine is that the “Ukrainian people” have delivered themselves from the evil, corrupt Yanukovych government. The nationalist role in toppling the government and its presence in the new government has been downplayed, with assurances given by Jewish organizations and Jewish writers in the NY Times that Putin’s claims of incipient fascism and anti-Semitism were nothing but cynical ploys to rationalize Russian aggression.
What happened to conventional Jewish/liberal dread of White people who are nationalists, particularly the ones that played such a prominent role in the Maidan revolution?
As a corrective to all that, the LA Times has published an op-ed by a conventional liberal academic, Robert English, Director of USC’s School of International Relations (“Ukraine’s threat from within:Neofascists are as much a menace to Ukraine as Putin’s actions in Crimea“). Prof. English’s main point is that because of the prominent role of Ukrainian nationalists in the new government, ethnic Russian Ukrainians have legitimate fears.
It’s become popular to dismiss Russian President Vladimir Putin as paranoid and out of touch with reality. But his denunciation of “neofascist extremists” within the movement that toppled the old Ukrainian government, and in the ranks of the new one, is worth heeding. The empowerment of extreme Ukrainian nationalists is no less a menace to the country’s future than Putin’s maneuvers in Crimea. These are odious people with a repugnant ideology.
Take the Svoboda party, which gained five key positions in the new Ukrainian government, including deputy prime minister, minister of defense and prosecutor general. Svoboda’s call to abolish the autonomy that protects Crimea’s Russian heritage, and its push for a parliamentary vote that downgraded the status of the Russian language, are flagrantly provocative to Ukraine’s millions of ethnic Russians and incredibly stupid as the first steps of a new government in a divided country.
These moves, more than Russian propaganda, prompted broad Crimean unease. …
Svoboda, Right Sector and other Ukrainian far-right organizations … are groups whose thuggish young legions still sport a swastika-like symbol, whose leaders have publicly praised many aspects of Nazism and who venerate the World War II nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, whose troops occasionally collaborated with Hitler’s and massacred thousands of Poles and Jews.
But scarier than these parties’ whitewashing of the past are their plans for the future. They have openly advocated that no Russian language be taught in Ukrainian schools, that citizenship is only for those who pass Ukrainian language and culture exams, that only ethnic Ukrainians may adopt Ukrainian orphans and that new passports must identify their holders’ ethnicity — be it Ukrainian, Pole, Russian, Jew or other.
Again we see the poisonous nature of much European nationalism, as Tom Sunic has repeatedly reminded us. The anti-Russian moves are particularly ill-advised given the presence of a vastly superior Russian military next door and a Russian government with good reason to view as unacceptable an outcome in which Ukraine becomes part of NATO and the EU. Granted the genocidal past of the Soviet period remains highly salient to Ukrainian nationalists — as it should, although the Russians would argue that ethnic Russians did not dominate the Soviet government during the early, genocidal decades of the Soviet period and that indeed, along with Ukrainians, ethnic Russians were the prime victims of Soviet rule; moreover, as Andrew Joyce notes, Ukrainian nationalists are well aware of historical Jewish economic oppression and Jewish involvement in the Ukrainian genocide of the 1930s.
Nevertheless, a rational Ukrainian nationalism would desire an ethnic partition rather than assertions of ethnic dominance over areas like the Crimea presently populated mainly by ethnic Russians; they certainly would not want to become part of the EU whose goal is the obliteration of all national identities.
Is it so hard to understand Russians’ shock that senior U.S. officials (such as Sen. John McCain, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland) flirt with extremists who have been denounced as anti-Semitic, xenophobic, even neo-Nazi by numerous human rights and anti-defamation groups? That they were snapping pictures and distributing pastries among protest leaders, some of whose minions were at that same moment distributing “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on Independence Square? In the few instances where concern over such extremists is acknowledged, it is usually dismissed along the lines of, “Yes, the new government isn’t perfect, but moderates will soon prevail.”
One must suppose that neocons like McCain and Nuland (and Western elites generally) view the presence of Ukrainian nationalists as a surmountable problem given the neocon hostility to all nationalisms (apart from Jewish nationalism in Israel). Of course, they may have miscalculated here and bitten off more than they can chew. Israel Shamir describes the events as a “Brown Revolution” in which Ukraine was “taken over by a coalition of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and (mainly Jewish) oligarchs” who obtained great wealth by pillaging Ukraine: “For years the country was ripped off by the oligarchs who siphoned off profits to Western banks, bringing it to the very edge of the abyss.”
This coalition of nationalists and exploitative, mainly Jewish oligarchs is unstable to say the least. Prof. English errs by writing as if the nationalists have succeeded in their aims, never mentioning the very powerful forces arrayed against them. For more than a century, the main thrust of Jewish wealth and power in the diaspora has been in opposition to local majoritarian nationalisms (see here, passim) — hence the strong Jewish support for the EU and the forces of immigration and White displacement in the U.S. and throughout the West.
In the final analysis Ukraine will be no exception. I predict that the mainly Jewish oligarchs with their allies in the West will do everything they can to marginalize the nationalists and cement ties with the West. These pro-Western forces are a very powerful combination indeed.
Prof. English notes the consequences for ethnic Russians in formerly Soviet republics:
But Russian worry is well-founded. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, millions of ethnic Russians or Russian speakers have endured loss of citizenship in the Baltic republics (where many lived for generations), have been driven out of Central Asian jobs and homes and have suffered particularly virulent discrimination in Georgia (the root cause of the 2008 war with Russia, but also broadly ignored in the West).
Such a result is lamentable for the displaced Russians, but these issues have been largely balanced with the creation of ethnically homogeneous states in areas of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere in Europe. As I noted elsewhere,
over the last 150 years or so, the general trend in Europe and elsewhere has been toward the creation of ethnically-based states—“ethnostates“. This trend did not end with the close of World War II. In Europe, the war was followed by a forced resettlement of peoples—mainly Germans—to create ethnically homogeneous states. Indeed, the high point of ethnic homogenization in Europe was in the two generations in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
[Prof. Jerry Z.] Muller writes:
“As a result of this massive process of ethnic unmixing, the ethnonationalist ideal was largely realized: for the most part, each nation in Europe had its own state, and each state was made up almost exclusively of a single ethnic nationality. During the Cold War, the few exceptions to this rule included Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. But these countries’ subsequent fate only demonstrated the ongoing vitality of ethnonationalism.”
This point is crucial. While the recent spreading of the European Union imperium has given rise to a great deal of “post-nation“ rhetoric, it has in fact been accompanied by an astonishing multiplication of ethnostates, split out of Yugoslavia and the former USSR — not to mention, of course the Czech/Slovak division. (“The Utter Normality of Ethnonationalism—except for Whites,” VDARE)
What is going on in the Ukraine is precisely this process of breaking up into ethnically homogeneous states, aided by the Russian military and triggered by aggressive intervention by Western governments and NGOs. The fact that breakup along ethnic lines is not desired by the neocons and the EU may, in the end, be beside the point given Putin’s willingness to use Russian military power to secure legitimate Russian interests.
From the standpoint of a universal ethnic nationalist such as myself, the best possible solution would be breakup into Russian-dominated areas and a Ukraine dominated by Ukrainian nationalists. One can only imagine the anger of the neocons if that happened, with recriminations against the Obama Administration and other Western governments for not behaving aggressively enough.
But the partition of Ukraine into Russian and Ukrainian sectors would really be nothing out of the ordinary—no different from the break up of Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia. However, Western elites bent on dealing a blow to Russia persist in seeing such a division as completely illegitimate.
Prof. English, being a conventional liberal, ultimately recommends that the U.S. should strongly oppose the nationalists:
Why wouldn’t we ease those [legitimate Russian] fears by forcefully denouncing the ethno-nationalists and embracing minority rights as vital to the stable Ukrainian democracy that we seek to promote? Given our own hypocrisy — don’t violate agreements (except the one not to expand NATO eastward), don’t invade countries on phony pretexts (except Iraq) and don’t support minority secession movements (except Kosovo) — why wouldn’t we want to restore U.S. credibility by living up to our principles in this critical case? The European Parliament in 2012 condemned Svoboda’s racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia as “against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.” The U.S. should not hesitate to do likewise now. It is not only the right thing to do, it would also open a door to compromise with Russia over this dangerous crisis. To remain silent sends exactly the wrong message to extremists on both sides.
Prof. English is to be congratulated on his short-list of Western hypocrisies. Why indeed should support for an ethnically homogeneous Crimea and Eastern Ukraine be any different from support for an ethnically homogeneous Kosovo?
But he needn’t worry. Of course, the U.S. doesn’t really want a victory by the Ukrainian nationalists and will move heaven and earth to defeat them if they obtain decisive power in the government. But for now Western elites are comfortable propagating the fiction that the revolution was nothing more than freedom-loving Ukrainians who yearn to be in that best of all possible worlds, the EU.
In the final analysis, the long Western campaign to destabilize the Ukraine by supporting pro-Western elites is an outrageous violation of legitimate Russian national and ethnic interests. Mr. Putin has drawn his red line and may well expand it into the Eastern Ukraine which will heighten the danger for everyone. Western elites have no one to blame but themselves.