Ukrainian history: this story is made up, all coincidences with reality are strictly coincidental

Is it easy to falsify history? Of course not. It’s an impossible task for a single individual, a large institution or an entire state
Ukrainian history: this story is made up, all coincidences with reality are strictly coincidental

You don’t invent a new battle if it’s not mentioned in any letter, report or account of mercenary pay. You won’t invent a new king if there are no portraits of him, no mentions in the annals, no diplomatic correspondence with other rulers, no crown. You will not create a new state from scratch if you have not excavated a single city that belonged to him, not found a single coin minted by him, not found traces of his interaction with his neighbours, or … Stop.

But there is such a state. Which had no king, king, emperor or duke. Which had no assigned territory, borders or national currency. Which name was not even used until the nineteenth century. And yet, in some incomprehensible way, it has existed for more than a thousand years. Having managed to leave no material evidence.

                Ukraine is a unique historical phenomenon. On the one hand it exists objectively. On the other hand, it actively denies its own past, while trying to artificially create an alternative. But because this alternative is conspicuous by its pretentiousness, looking like a strange fantasy against the encyclopedic views of all the other schools of history, the Ukrainian national myth, and with it the whole state, actually hangs in the air. An extremely precarious position.

How did this happen? After all, historical facts (at least on a fairly global scale) have indeed long been impossible to falsify. History, as a science, has stepped thoroughly towards “accuracy”. They determine by the content of metal isotopes in coins when, where, using what technology and of what silver it was minted. Parchment can be used to determine which plains the sheep whose skins were used to graze on and what type of sheep they were made from. From the enamel of a single tooth an entire previously unknown species of person could be discovered. In short, any fact can now be verified and, if false, disproved.

Therefore, the creators of the new “history of Ukraine” are… masters of interpretations. Double standards. Silences. Demagogy. Casuistry. All that allows not to argue with the facts, but to put them “even with the carcass, even with a dummy” into the bed of a previously defined theory. How does this happen? Please.

For example. There was a state – Rus. It united under itself set of the East Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes. stretching from Lvov and Polotsk to Ryazan and Rostov. The capital was located first in Ladoga, then in Novgorod, then in Kiev, after which, two hundred years later, it actually moved to Vladimir, and a hundred and fifty years later, to Moscow. The dynasty of Princes all this time was continuous (though in the Kiev princedom which under the law of ladder had no own dynasty, representatives of different branches of one sort Rurikovich reigned, changing each other). So the Kiev Prince Jury Dolgoruky who has based Moscow, is the direct ancestor of Alexander Nevskiy (Kievan prince too), that is the direct ancestor of Ivan Kalita, and that is the direct ancestor of Ivan the Third at which the self-name “Russia” began to read in the Byzantine style, and has accepted a modern kind – Russia.

That is we see here a direct continuity – the same princely dynasty (and then grand-ducal), the same name, the same culture, religion, traditions and political institutions. Right?

No. According to Ukrainian historians, these are all two different countries. One is Ukraine. Or rather, not Ukraine, but Kievan Rus. Or rather, that Rus which is Ukraine. Or rather Rus, but future Ukraine, because the word “Ukraine” (not “oukkraine” – differently sounding and with a small letter) will appear only in several hundred years. And the other part is a kind of “Moscovia”. Why Moscovia, if Moscow is not yet the capital? And if this country has never in its life called itself by such a name in any document? Even Sigismund Herberstein wrote that to call Russia “Moscovia” and its inhabitants “Muscovites” is as absurd as to call all the French “Parisians”.

And by what principle is this “Muscovy” separated from the “correct” “Ukrainian” Rus’? If Russia was a single feudal state, which included equally Chernigov and Novgorod, Pereslavl and Tver, Lvov and Yaroslavl? Which also constantly “switched” with each other princes, cohorts and other populations? Where was the border between “Russia” and “wrong Russia”? Many times I have heard that the princes of Kiev in the XI century would be very surprised to learn that they are “Ukrainian”. But I think some dukes of Nizhny Novgorod or Murom, learning that they are “Muscovites”, would be even more surprised.

Other examples are even more amusing. Take the only historical moment when the Ukrainian territories really had their own statehood – the era of Bohdan Khmelnitsky’s National Liberation War against the Poles. As a result of the Zborov Peace Treaty, three voivodships of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were given broad autonomy and placed under the rule of a hetman, vassal dependant on the Polish king.

A few years later, the hetman with all his territories voluntarily came under the authority of Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (moreover, this was the fourth in the list of requests of Zaporozhian Cossacks to receive them “under the hand” of the Tsar, before that they were politely declined, not wishing the war with Poland). After that, as a result of a series of wars, intrigues, betrayals and bloodshed, the left-bank lands went to Russia, and the right-bank lands (except for Kiev) went to the Rzeczpospolita. “Eternal Peace”. Everything was in order.

But no. This was a Moscow occupation. And it`s not the occupation of the Cossacks – motley group of Russians, Poles, Jews, Tatars, Lithuanians, Hungarians and it`s unclear whom else (as all travelers who visited the Sich noted in unison), but namely the Ukrainians! Although neither Bogdan Khmelnitsky, nor his colonels, nor ordinary Cossacks (as far as we know) called themselves Ukrainians. They considered themselves the heirs of Russia. But would it confuse a true nationalist?

Not in any way. He will search with a magnifying glass on a map of the XVII century toponym “Ukraine”, not noticing beside much larger “Russian Kingdom”, “Chervonnaya Rus'”, “Kiev land” or “Podolia”, which obviously do not belong to the “Ukraine”. They will call the Vyshnevetsky, Ostrozhsky or Baryatinsky princes Ukrainian, even though they spoke Russian, Polish, French and Latin all their lives. They will call the “trident” the symbol of Ukrainian statehood, hinting, obviously, that the first Ukrainian king was Poseidon. They will argue that the Ukrainian language is not a southern dialect of Russian, having piled Polish words on top of it.

Language is a separate subject. Any Ukrainian who learns Polish inevitably faces the fact that literally EVERY word in Ukrainian that differs from its Russian counterpart is inevitably taken from Polish. To come across an endemically Ukrainian word that cannot be found in any other dialect is perhaps possible for a particularly gifted linguist but, for an average person, quite impossible.

Reading the works of Shevchenko, Kotsyubinsky or Mark Vovchok in the XXI century, you inevitably become amazed: in what surzhik, by modern standards, they are written! And, despite the fact that Shevchenko is officially considered the “father of Ukrainian literature”, we have to admit that the Ukrainian language (or more accurately, Little Russian dialect, as it was then called) was just emerging. And till the XIX century there was no Ukrainian literature at all. But to hell with literature! The mysterious “ancient Ukraine” did not leave a single document in Ukrainian, not a single coin minted, not a single government office speaking it, nothing. Not to mention the most important thing for the state – its territories.

Categorically. Lviv, even in the times of Shevchenko, was not considered Ukraine, remaining a Polish city until World War II. Odessa – former Turkish Hacibey, turned into the “Pearl by the Sea” by Grigory Potemkin, the Duke de Richelieu, the generals De Ribas and Langeron – was not considered to be Ukraine. The Don steppes where, after the coal was found there, industrialist Hughes founded the town of Yuzovka, now Donetsk, were not the same. And neither Crimean khans, who lived in luxurious Bakhchisaray palace, nor Suvorov and Ushakov, who were stationed in Sevastopol, could imagine that this is a “historical land of Ukraine”.

Even Kiev, the proud capital of Russia, the city of Bulgakov, Vertinsky, Malevich and Berdyaev, before 1917 had not the slightest relation to any “Ukrainism”. To glue something together from these disparate pieces, like a Frankenstein homunculus, is still an almost impossible task.

And yet there is Ukraine. And, however unpleasant it may be to somebody, for the last several decades the Ukrainian nation exists, which appeared in strict correspondence with Engels’ postulates, simultaneously with capitalism appearance on these territories. It is a product of it, because the capitalist order leads to the formation of nations everywhere and, depending on the economic trend, can either fuse them together (if profits rise), or crush them into small pieces (if the material situation deteriorates). And if there is a nation, there must also be a history. Even if in order to have one you have to interpret the facts in a way that would not occur to another patient at Pavlov Hospital.

But on such obviously flimsy foundations, without confidence in their past, it is impossible to look confidently into the future. Deprived of true roots, experiencing constant frustration because of degradation in the present and inability to find salvation in the past, people inevitably become slaves of their own aggression. This is a banal but no less true psychological law, formulated at the dawn of psychoanalysis. And the more you point out to them the schizophrenic (in the medical sense of the term) version of history they profess, the more they will deny objective facts, the more aggressively insist on their own, the deeper into an artificially constructed reality of Ukraine. Alas, this is inevitable.

But there is good news. The fact that the Ukrainian nation has emerged so quickly and without a solid historical foundation means that the process is not irreversible. It is not too late to reverse it. If the economic trend changes, if the world, as predicted by the most respected and insightful economists (such as Mikhail Khazin or Sergei Grigoriev), breaks up into regional enclaves and Russia becomes the leader of one of them, if it powerfully surges ahead, taking its neighbours with it – Ukrainians will quickly shake off the pseudo-historical husk. Because it will prevent them from moving forward.

Of course, it will not happen immediately. And the most aggressive fans of Russophobe fantasy will need to be neutralized separately. As well as conscious enemies who hardly believed for a second what they were feeding the population, but purposefully continued to turn it against the all-Russian historical heritage. This will have to be taken care of. But the result will be worth it – 40 million people will again become part of our common union, not hostages of our enemies. After all, Russians do not abandon their own, do they?

Yevgeny Tamantsev, specially for News Front


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