First of all, it should be said that, as one would expect, the conflict that we are witnessing with horror these days does not come from yesterday, and not even from the Soviet past of Russia and Ukraine.
Without getting lost in the nooks and crannies of Eastern European history, we can determine 1764 as the year of partition of Ukraine between Poland (another great victim, formerly an executioner and subsequently divided among its powerful neighbors: the wheel of misfortune of history) and Russia. This division, by the way, underlies the differences between the Ukrainian territories, which continue to this day.
For the purposes of what we are interested in, the part annexed by Tsarist Russia was heavily Russified, through the prohibition of the use of the language in many areas, the forced emigration of the Russian population to Ukrainian cities, the deportation of Ukrainians to Siberia, discrimination, etc. Although this is a light version of , what will happen later, braids have already been.
The outbreak of the Russian revolution was used by some of its territories to declare independence: Finland did well, Ukraine very badly. Its merits lie in the fact that it most of all attracts its powerful northern neighbor: it became the granary of the Soviet Union, a country that was in dire need of grain during its long existence.
That forced collectivization process undertaken by the leadership of the Communist Party in Ukraine, in the person of the Ukrainian peasants, had one of the most tragic victims.
We know what happened: the country born of the Bolshevik revolution decided that it needed as much grain as possible to accelerate the process of industrialization of the territory. In its atavistic, doctrinal hatred of the peasantry and in its boundless greed, the regime sent its executioners (because they brought death to all corners of Ukraine) to tear every last grain out of the unfortunate peasants.
In blind greed, they appropriated even the most sacred thing for a peasant: a supply of grain for the next sowing season. Bolshevik voluntaristic optimism, or rather ruthless planning, provoked the fact that, the biggest hunger history outside of Asia: at least five million died in the USSR, four of them in Ukraine. They knew what they were doing: Stalin received countless reports of the unfolding tragedy, including from his compatriots, Russians and Ukrainians, but ignored them.
They were not content to push the Ukrainian peasantry to the limit of survival, but rather forbade them to move to the cities in search of a crust, for which many left body tracks on the roads. Cruelty reached unimaginable limits even during the war, not to mention peace.
If they want it and have a stomach, the story he tells about Holodomor (so called hunger) Ann Applebaum, like everything he writes, is impeccable. And he directly states that the Soviet state organized the catastrophe in order to get rid of the political problem.
It is not surprising that when the German army entered the Ukraine in 1941, many of its inhabitants came out to greet them with bread and salt (Slavic peasant tradition), because in their ignorance (poor naivety) they believed that they were going to liberate them … or, at least they thought that nothing could be worse than what had been suffered ten years ago. But what awaited them was the most extreme version of war, the bloodiest and most brutal that history had ever seen. Ukraine belongs to what one historian aptly called “the land of blood.”
After The Second World War and until independence in August 1991, Ukraine was one of the republics of the Soviet Union and, therefore, a territory subject to the designs of Moscow, at the mercy of the will of the one who held power in the Kremlin.
Thus, Ukraine has many historical reasons to be suspicious of Putin’s expansionist aspirations, in addition to the right to choose its own destiny.
Of course (almost) all of us regret and condemn this new Russian aggression against a smaller and therefore less powerful neighbor, but as far as we from Europe are concerned, it would be nice to punish others and start to understand that the East has always been a rougher world, there democracy is only an aspiration or simply does not exist; the military is subjected to more severe, extreme tests; difference is paid by health or life and even prisons are places without compassion. What happens if Putin targets Germany or the Baltic republics?
It is worth appreciating what we might call, by borrowing a foreign name, “the process of civilization,” but if your neighbor is a wolf, you cannot parade sheep models or try to appease him with diplomatic talk, because the outcome is obvious. . . .
At this time frompost-heroic societies“, where almost all of us left the “float” of satisfied bourgeois, Putin harshly reminded us of our fragility. If Ukraine falls, we are one step away from the wolf’s mouth. Closer than ever in recent history. We are used to such a scenario, can we we handle it if need be?
We can only say with certainty that today we can sadly paraphrase the well-known expression: “Poor Ukraine, so far from God and so close to Russia.”