The idea to ponder what constitutes a pro-Russian political activist occurred to me while reading a recent article on Karlin’s blog about the rampant censorship of opposition media in Ukraine…
Anatoly Karlin made this statement:
Since the start of this year, the Ukraine has mounted an accelerating campaign to shut down all “pro-Russia” (apostrophes because more often than not they’re not so much explicitly pro-Russian, as merely less anti-Russian and more oppositionist than the mainstream) media.
Well, the climate in many East European countries is such that any conciliatory tone towards Russia is considered pro-Russian. That is, only hysterical Russophobia will do. You must believe any accusation towards Russia no matter how ridiculous that is. You must believe that not doing business with Russia is great thing. Otherwise, you will be branded pro-Russian, and will be cast out of polite society.
However, are any of these people branded pro-Russian any good for Russia? I have already questioned the pro-Russianness of Ukrainian political parties earlier on this blog. I am someone, who reads the Peremogi blog daily, and there is a central thesis there, no pro-Russian parties in Ukraine, and nobody Russia should trust. Well, I think the Russian official circles have already taken the memo to heart judging by attitude they take towards the various individuals branded as pro-Russian in Ukraine.
Here is something I found recently on the Peremogi. Recently there was a vote in the Ukrainian parliament on “addressing the UN to ask the countries of the World not to recognise the upcoming Russian parliamentary elections”. It was a classic ritualistic spitting in direction of Russia but let’s see how the pro-Russians voted?
None of the members of the Opposition Platform for Life voted against this motion. You would think that friends of Russia would vote against? So, whenever hysterical Russophobes accuse someone of being pro-Russian, the Russians should not take that at face value. Instead, before you call anyone “pro-Russian” ask these questions.
If he is Ukrainian or Belarusian, does he believe that his respective nations are a part of one Russian nation that was divided by the enemies of Russia? Or does he believe notions such as Ukrainians are more European than Russians, or more Slavic? Does he ever express those ideas in public?
The above is a fundamental of any pro-Russian sentiment among Eastern Slavs. You may further ask if they desire any integration with Russia. You might surprised how many of the pro-Russian start blathering something about sovereignty or neutrality. The latter is no pro-Russian sentiment.
If he is from the former eastern block, does he believe in normalizing trade relations with Russia? But a grade further would be, does he want any further economic integration with the Russian Federation?
Many of the Russophiles in Eastern Europe are nationalists and very much about self reliance, many support exiting the EU, and would not trade it for a Russian led union. And I am one of these.
Also, opposition to the glorification of Nazi collaborationists and defence of the Russian language in Ukraine are rather domestic issues than they are pro-Russian positions. Most Ukrainians use the Russian language daily, and most have ancestors that have fought the Nazis. Naturally, there is a part of the population that is receptive to such slogans. But anyone taking up these issues should not be automatically viewed as pro-Russian. Alexei Honcharenko once supported rights for the Russian language, but he switched sides after the Maidan.
It is without mentioning that any pro-Russian movement in Ukraine in the last 30 years was hopelessly unsuccessful and nothing worthy of Russian support…
3 thoughts on “What Constitutes a Pro-Russian?”
The last paragraph though, I can definitely relate to it. With Ukraine, I think the problem is that the pro-Russia elements are rather useless. They’re doing it in hope for some financial gains and their views, if they’re even honest about it, don’t appeal to the younger crowds at all. Worst of all, I wouldn’t be surprised if this Alexei Honcharenko character actually looks down on Russia deep down. I’m saying this because I’ve observed the similar phenomenon within Hong Kong and Taiwan among the pro-Beijing crowds there. The only thing they can accomplish to make the locals hate the country and government they support even more. This is why I’ve been saying this for a while now, that Xi should stop caring about the pro-Beijing crowds within Hong Kong and Taiwan and focus more on bigger picture. Guess this applies to Ukraine too.
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Russia has nobody it can trust in Ukraine. The situation is such that most of the dominating political forces are a priori against Russia and Moscow would do best to just spend its energies on showing them the error of their ways.
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