UKRAINE: The authorities who forced Ukraine to become a part of the Soviet Union had no regard for the will of the people or the right to self-determination. Stalin was hell-bent on incorporating Ukraine – a pesky and independent-minded nation with a proud history – into the nascent Socialist empire. Many Ukrainians resented the process of Russification that followed feeling that it threatened to greatly diminish their rich culture and heritage. Ukrainians, after all, have their own language, literature, music, art, food and traditions.
They can boast of dozens of world famous artists such as the writers Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka, and Gogol as well as the painters Repin, Bogomazov, Levitsky, Murasko and Marchuk.
Ukraine itself has a rather unique history having been at one time a matriarchy. This explains why Ukrainian women have a reputation for being spirited, assertive and effervescent, so finely portrayed by Mikhail Sholokov in his novel “Quiet Flows the Don”.
The most famous example of Ukrainian womanhood was beyond doubt the figure of Roxelana.
Roxelana, strikingly beautiful (like many Ukrainian women) was captured as a young peasant during a raid in the Carpathians when sex-slave bandits kidnapped her and sold her to the Golden Horde. She quickly became a favorite of Suleyman the Magnificent. Witty, smart and a gifted practitioner of “the amourous art”, Roxelana (her Turkish name, Hürrem, means “joyful one”), would eventually become Suleyman’s wife and chief advisor bearing him five children. After his death she became “Empress of the East” and one of the most powerful women in the world more than four centuries ago.
With regard to recent history, Ukrainians – like Russians – suffered horribly under Communism – especially Stalinism. Despite the fact that Stalin was Georgian and his enforcer of collectivization Jewish, many Ukrainians now blame Russians for their “holodomor” – the brutal artificial famine that killed five million.
The current enmity which exists between Russians and Ukrainians is also artificial. It has been manufactured to divide two Slavic people who have much in common. It is a political weapon designed to prevent a prosperous and mutually-beneficial bond between Russia and Ukraine.
Global strategists from Bismarck through Brzezinski have tried to separate these two Slavic nations. And the “great game” continues to this day.
The latest ploy and tactic to keep Ukrainians and Russians apart is happening in the religious sphere. Knowing that Orthodoxy, where “sobornost” (unity) is valued above all else, serves as a spiritual bridge between Russians and Ukrainians an attempt is being made to create a rift among the faithful. If this spiritual bond between these two Slavic people can be broken the situation would become even more tragic. It is truly a Manichean drama being played out before our eyes – the forces of light versus the forces of darkness. It is a battle not only for hearts and minds, but souls as well.
This article was first published on RI in December 2018