Doctor of Military Sciences
There are few countries, let alone nations, in the world that did influence the development of geopolitical processes in human history and continue to play a significant role in modern international relations. As a rule, such countries are powerful centers of force at the global and regional levels. In different historical periods, such centers were: ancient Egypt, China and India; Roman Empire and Persia; Byzantium and Kyivan Rus; England, France, Sweden, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Tsardom of Muscovy; Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire. Then the United States and the Soviet Union. And now, again, the United States, China, Russia, and the United Europe. Of course, Ukraine cannot be compared to them, either in its potential or in its influence in the world. Despite this, Ukraine has become one of the factors that has been important in the development of the situation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region since the 14th century to the present day.
The reasons for this are Ukraine’s geographical position between the West (Europe) and the East (Eurasia), its significant resources, as well as its capability of reviving despite all external and internal problems. In view of the above, throughout the period of Ukraine’s history, the balance of power in the region and the fate of neighboring countries largely depended on it.
…Ukraine has become one of the factors that has been important in the development of the situation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region since the 14th century to the present day…
Thus, in the 14th – 16th centuries, “proto-Ukraine”, which arose on the ruins of Kyivan Rus, was included in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and then — in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita), which allowed them to become one of the most powerful states of the time. At the same time, the oppression of Ukrainians became one of the main reasons for the aggravation of the internal confrontation in the Rzeczpospolita, its significant weakening and, ultimately, the loss of statehood.
Similarly, the annexation of Ukraine by the Tsardom of Muscovy in the second half of the 17th century gave it the opportunity to become the Russian Empire with access to Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region. However, the actions of the Moscow regime to forcibly assimilate Ukraine provoked strong resistance from Ukrainians, which greatly contributed to the collapse of the tsarist Russia in 1917.
The same thing happened to the USSR for the same reasons. Thus, Moscow’s restoration of control over Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union allowed Russia to return to the level of the world’s leading state. And after the Second World War — to actually divide it with the United States. However, as a result of internal problems, including international ones, related to Moscow’s actions for further assimilation of Ukraine, the USSR lost the Cold War with the West and repeated the fate of the tsarist Russia.
Today this situation is repeated again. In 2014, Moscow tried to regain control over Ukraine using military force. The result was the actual new Cold War in the world, now between Russia and the West. At the same time, US and EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, and then over other issues, began the process of decline of the Russian Federation with the prospect of its future disintegration.
In general, these circumstances have extremely ambiguous consequences for Ukraine. For example, the importance of Ukraine as one of the important factors influencing international relations increases its role in the world and contributes to strengthening the statehood of the country. At the same time, Ukraine’s significant role in shaping the balance of forces in the region and its potential have always encouraged the struggle for it between different countries.
At this, such a struggle has always been and is carried out in a wide range of directions: from supporting Ukraine by one power or another, to attempts to establish control over it, destroy its statehood and eliminate the self-identity of the Ukrainian nation, to the genocide of the Ukrainian people. In most cases, the neighboring countries’ hostility to Ukraine was dominant, or included some negative aspects in international relations. However, both now and in the past, all the efforts of external and internal enemies to break the Ukrainian nation have failed. In the middle of the 17th century, Ukrainians managed to create their own state, in 1917 and 1991 — to restore it, and in 2014 — to defend their homeland from Russian aggression.
All this became possible due to the Ukrainian nation’s special worldview or mentality, which was inherited from Kyivan Rus and hardened in fierce struggle with external enemies for many centuries since the emergence of Ukraine. Features of this worldview are as follows:
– love of freedom and intolerance of the oppression of freedom by any adversary. At this — respect for the common interests and will of the community, which usually have a higher priority than personal interests, aspirations and desires;
– dignity and honor. Respect for parents and elders. Commitment to traditional family and religious values. Sharply negative attitude to all types of criminals, including murderers, robbers and thieves, swindlers and moneylenders;
– desire to build own statehood and readiness to defend the homeland, including at the cost of own lives. Seeing Ukraine as the highest value, which is the highest priority both for the individual and for the whole nation;
– Ukrainians’ rather paradoxical attitude to the leadership of their state. On the one hand, it is the desire for strong power, but on the other — rejection of totalitarianism and human rights violations, especially when such actions are directed against the Ukrainian nation. In fact, this means democracy and the control over the state leadership by the society as the main bearer of power;
– Ukrainians’ trust in the army as the main guarantor of state security. It was the Ukrainian army in various forms of its existence that played a leading role in the creation, restoration and defense of the state;
– industriousness and domesticity. One of the foundations of the Ukrainian society is the middle class, which builds its own well-being through its work. In the classical version, such a class was the wealthy peasantry with its land and farms. To the middle class also belong representatives of the clergy, authorities and the military. And later it included highly qualified workers of advanced industries, educators, scientists and artists. At this, people who can but do not want to work have always been pariahs in the Ukrainian community. At the same time, people who could not work for one reason or another (old age, disability, etc.) always received help from the community and, in turn, tried to make the best to pay back;
– common sense, albeit with significant elements of naivety and a tendency to support populist ideas. However, as a rule, after a certain period of fascination with such ideas, they and their bearers were rejected by the Ukrainian society;
– significant intellectual potential. In fact, it exceeds the intellectual potential of all neighboring countries, despite their attempts to present Ukrainians as “peasants” and a “inferior” nation. Evidence of this is the highest development of the innovative sector of the Ukrainian economy among other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Moreover, much of Russia’s current high-tech enterprises come from Ukrainian factories and their personnel who were evacuated to Russian territory during the war between the USSR and Nazi Germany.
Such features of the Ukrainian mentality largely coincide with the principles of philosophical theories of conservatism and neoconservatism, which are inherent in most Western countries. The main of these principles are as follows:
– building a strong state, united with the nation. At the same time, the government must perform clearly defined functions without excessive interference with the life of the society. At this, a rational distribution of power between central and local authorities (communities) must be ensured. Thus, the functions of central authorities should include the solution of national issues on the basis of national interests. First of all, this concerns the strategy of state development, which should be determined by the leaders of the nation, and not by the majority of the population. As a rule, most people are concerned exclusively with their own mercantile interests, which do not always coincide with the strategic goals of the state and nation. On the contrary, local issues, which are closer to each individual and have their own peculiarities depending on the regions of the country, should be resolved by territorial authorities (communities);
– broad development of private enterprises while maintaining limited state management of the economy. Reduction of taxes and budget expenditures. Giving preference to the development of the middle class with some restrictions on the growth of the power of the oligarchs. The latter have the right to exist, but must be aware of and be accountable to the nation by setting high standards of patriotic and ethical professional conduct;
– preservation of traditional social values based on institutions, norms, moral beliefs and traditions that have their roots in the depth of the nation’s history. Development of the society on the basis of internal laws, customs and experience of the people, taking into consideration the changes in the world. Moral improvement of the person;
– inviolability of basic human rights, first of all the right to life, private property and freedom within the framework of universal norms and principles. At the same time, personal rights and freedoms must not pose a threat to the development of the society, which must be safe both for the individual and for the nation as a whole. In turn, this requires a stronger political centralization of the society on the principles of “limited democracy”;
– a pragmatic approach to meeting social needs of the population based on the rejection of principles of consumerism. In particular, this approach involves: reducing government spending on social programs; giving up attempts to establish social equality; providing social protection only to those people who cannot work for objective reasons. According to neoconservatives, the use of other approaches that stimulate citizens’ hopes for state assistance in ensuring their comfortable existence corrupts society, is dangerous for it and hinders its development. Instead, it is important to fully support the personal initiatives of citizens, which increase their own well-being and contribute to the socio-economic development of the society as a whole. All this is aimed at creating a society consisting of citizens who can provide themselves with a decent standard of living;
– considering the army and security forces the guarantors of protection of stability and preservation of the status quo of the nation. Based on this, neoconservatives advocate the need to invest sufficient funds to ensure the normal operation of security forces. At the same time, their use as a punitive body against own people is not allowed.
The ideology of European neoconservatism has its roots in the 18th century, when it became an alternative to the revolutionary ideas of individualism, progress, and rationalism generated by the Great French Revolution of 1789–1799. In the second half of the 20th century, neoconservatism reached a qualitatively new level, which resulted in the emergence of new threats to the stability of European civilization. They were primarily related to the mass influx of refugees and migrants to Europe from the Middle East, North Africa and the former Soviet Union, as well as the intensification of all sorts of movements and organizations that were undermining historical values of the European community (including various hippie, punk youth groups, defenders of LGBT communities, etc.).
The founders of the European conservatism were: Anglo-Irish parliamentarian, politician and publicist of the Enlightenment E. Burke (1729–1797); Catholic philosopher, writer, politician and diplomat J. de Maistre (1753–1821); Austrian diplomat K. von Metternich (1773–1859).
|The founders of the European conservatism: E. Burke, J. de Maistre, K. von Metternich|
In the second half of the 20th century, ideas of conservatism were developed by a new generation of Western politicians, mainly from the US Republican Party. It was they who transferred conservatism to a qualitatively different level — neoconservatism, taking into consideration the changes that have taken place in the world. In practice, such ideas were implemented by the presidents of the United States from the Republican Party, in particular, D. Eisenhower, R. Nixon, G. Ford, R. Reagan and G. Bush. The most prominent leader of neoconservatism of that period in Britain was Prime Minister M. Thatcher.
Ukrainian philosophers developed and substantiated their own concepts of neoconservatism. At the beginning of the 20th century, one of them was V. Lypynsky — Ukrainian historian of Polish origin, public and political figure, philosopher and publicist. It was he who formulated the theoretical content of the national state concept, which was based on the conservative ideals of the hetmanate — the national system of government. Hetman of the Ukrainian state in 1918 P. Skoropadskyi tried to implement this concept in practice.
Unfortunately, not all Ukrainians have retained such mentality. Centuries of occupation by neighboring countries, as well as other factors of external influence took their toll. At this, such influence again had mostly negative consequences for the Ukrainian society. For one, some Ukrainians adopted their neighbors’ not best features, including: arrogance and inability to reach mutual compromises — from Poles; desire for easy profit and ability to steal — from Russians; usurious inclinations — from Jews, who lived on the Ukrainian territory.
All this has always been creating obstacles to the development of the Ukrainian nation and the whole of Ukraine. However, despite the mentioned problems, the Ukrainian society as a whole has preserved its basic foundations. As noted above, this primarily concerns the peculiarities of the Ukrainian mentality, which on the one hand is conservative, but on the other — ready to accept anything new that does not contradict the interests of the nation.
…The peculiarities of the Ukrainian mentality: on the one hand is conservative, but on the other — ready to accept anything new that does not contradict the interests of the nation…
Throughout the history of Ukraine, the observance of such principles allowed to preserve the identity of the Ukrainian nation, to create and revive the state. Instead, neglecting them led to the decline of both, the Ukrainian people and Ukraine as a whole. Thus, it was the Ukrainians’ desire to save their national traditions, language, culture and religion from oppression by Rzeczpospolita created the basis for the unification of the Ukrainian nation within the Cossack state created in the mid-17th century. At this, it became the first democracy of that time surrounded by monarchical countries, such as Lithuania and Poland, not to mention the completely totalitarian Muscovy’s Tsardom.
Of course, all those monarchies could not allow the existence of an independent Ukraine based on democratic principles, which set an unwanted example for their own people. This was the reason for a number of wars of Rzeczpospolita against Ukraine, which aimed to restore control over it and to actually destruct the Ukrainian nation (by polarizing its then upper class in the form of the Cossack elite), and with it — the whole nation.
However, the relative equality of potentials allowed the Ukrainian Cossack state not only to restrain Rzeczpospolita, but also to inflict devastating defeats on it. The real tragedy for Ukraine was the immaturity of the Ukrainian elite and fundamental differences within it. Like today, in the past part of it would side with the West (Poland) and the other — with the East (Russia).
As is known, the consequence of this was Hetman of Ukraine B. Khmelnytskyi’s decision on a military alliance with the Tsardom of Muscovy, which led to the so-called Ruin, namely — the decline and then complete disappearance of the Ukrainian Cossack state. Why and how this happened is well known from history. But then, it could not have been otherwise, when the goals, interests and traditions of Ukraine came into complete conflict with the goals, interests and traditions of Russia.
Initially, Russia liquidated all state institutions of the Cossack state. And then it went on to destroy the foundations of the Ukrainian nation. In particular, in 1720, according to the decree of Peter I, printing of books in the Ukrainian language was banned, and Ukrainian texts were removed from sermons in churches. In 1731, at Empress Anna’s demand, all Ukrainian books were confiscated, and education in Ukraine were switched to Russian. Thirty years later, in 1763, this process was completed by Empress Catherine II, who banned teaching in the Ukrainian language altogether, including at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. And in 1769 the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church banned the Ukrainian primer.
The result was the transformation of Ukraine into an ordinary Russian province, Russification of most of the Ukrainian elite, including its desertion to Russia, and the de facto blocking of the development of the Ukrainian nation, status of which was reduced to a “variety of the Russian people”. Under such conditions, it was the conservative nature of Ukrainians that allowed them to preserve their self-identification. And this applied not only to peasants, but also to inhabitants of cities and a certain stratum of intelligentsia, which did not disown its national roots.
All this created the basis for the revival of Ukraine in the form of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR), which was founded in November 1917 after the revolution in Russia and officially proclaimed in January 1918. Due to this, Ukraine got a second chance to become a truly independent state. Especially as the leadership of the UPR — the Central Rada (Council) included such prominent figures of the time — representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia as M. Hrushevskyi, V. Vinnichenko and D. Antonovych. But, like other revolutionary leaders, they largely based their policy on the principles of nihilism, populism, and socialism. At this, the Ukrainian national idea was mainly used only as a factor in the consolidation of the Ukrainian nation in the interests of creating its own nation-state.
On the one hand, it helped unite the Ukrainian intelligentsia and the poor peasantry around the Central Rada. On the other hand, it provoked a negative reaction of Russophils from among former tsarist authorities, landowners, owners of plants and factories, wealthy peasants, and a large part of the working class, which had pro-Russian and pro-Bolshevik sentiments.
In addition, the anti-Ukrainian external environment had become a significant problem for the UPR. First of all, it concerned the armed aggression by Bolshevik Russia, which only imitated democratic changes in the country, but in fact continued to pursue the same imperial policy. Thus, in December 1917, the Council of People’s Commissars of Bolshevik Russia put forward a number of ultimatum demands to the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, and the Russian Bolshevik troops entered Kharkiv.
The signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 halted the Russian Bolshevik offensive against the UPR, which managed to enlist the support by Germany and Austria-Hungary. At this, they supported Ukraine solely because they were interested in deterring Russia and gaining access to Ukrainian food resources. At this, both Berlin and Vienna were restraining the real development of the UPR, including not allowing it to create its own armed forces. Under such circumstances, the UPR’s leadership failed to unite the Ukrainian nation on its historical foundations of conservatism and neoconservatism. In fact, the experience of the Cossack state was not used to build a strong state power and army capable of establishing and maintaining control over the situation.
As a result, the activity of the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People’s Republic actually came into conflict with the mental foundations of the Ukrainian society and, accordingly, its needs and historical trends. Given this, after a period of nihilistic euphoria caused by the revolution, most Ukrainians at the time returned to traditional national foundations. The reversal resulted in the spread in Ukraine of right-wing neoconservatism, which included people’s desire to live in their own national state based on the principles of strong government and respect for basic human rights and traditional values (especially rights to life, private property, including land, expression of will and freedom of actions that do not pose a threat to the society). At this, the positive changes brought by the revolution were not rejected but were accepted. In turn, this objectively contributed to the strengthening of the influence of such ideologues, who mainly were landowners, wealthy peasants, entrepreneurs and former soldiers of Ukrainian origin.
By the early spring of 1918, the rapid development of these trends had led to a crisis situation in the UPR, which allowed the Ukrainian neoconservatives to carry out a coup d’etat and come to power. At that, they were supported by the troops of Germany, which was interested in stabilizing the situation in Ukraine and changing its de facto socialist government to more moderate political forces, in particular, neoconservatives.
…The period of the neo-conservative government of Ukraine led by P. Skoropadskyi (April to December 1918) was the most successful during the existence of the new Ukrainian state…
According to many experts, the period of the neo-conservative government of Ukraine led by P. Skoropadskyi (April to December 1918) was the most successful during the existence of the new Ukrainian state. What was done by the new Ukrainian leader is well known from history. Therefore, we will not repeat, but turn to its characterization by the leader of the pro-European party “Strength and Honor” I. Smeshko in his article “Unlearned Lessons of the Hetmanate and the National Idea of Ukraine in Modern Conditions”.
According to the author of the article, P. Skoropadskyi’s policy ensured a relatively stable life in Ukraine during the storm of the civil war and last chords of the First World War. A Ukrainian by birth, an imperial guard officer by upbringing, P. Skoropadskyi managed to do quite a lot for Ukraine within very short time. He normalized the economy and revived the state apparatus, introduced the national currency and stabilized the financial system, opened Ukrainian schools, universities and theatres, and re-established the National Academy of Sciences and the National Archives and Library. Besides, in the conditions of the actual occupation of Ukraine by German and Austro-Hungarian troops, he managed to lay the foundations of a regular and professional Ukrainian army, taking into account the historical traditions of the Cossacks.
P. Skoropadskyi saw Russian Bolshevism as the main enemy of Ukrainian independence. According to him, only a strong and nationally united state could stop the Bolsheviks. It had to be based on a strong army and a professional state apparatus, a stable economy, based on education, industry and agriculture, as well as a restored national culture, law and order. The Hetman’s main slogans were: “Order and Legality”, “Inviolability of Private Property”, “Peace and Creative Work”.
In fact, P. Skoropadskyi’s ultimate goal was to create a powerful middle class in Ukraine, primarily through the growth of the stratum of small and medium landowners — the prototype of modern European farmers. They were to become the mainstay of Ukraine, including against the Russian Bolshevism. At the same time, strengthening the middle class would allow for democratic and other radical reforms. According to the Hetman, such reforms should have been well thought over with gradual Ukrainization of all spheres of life in Ukraine.
To varying degrees, these ideas found understanding in the Ukrainian society. However, like the Central Rada of the UPR, P. Skoropadskyi failed to unite the majority of the Ukrainian people to support the idea of building a Hetmanate, which he saw as a legal, democratic country with elements of a constitutional monarchy like modern Britain or Sweden.
P. Skoropadskyi was opposed first of all by socialists and social-democrats, including their representatives in his government led by S. Petliura. Thus, holding the position of the Head of the All-Ukrainian Zemstvo Union, S. Petliura was not only P. Skoropadskyi’s political opponent, but also an ardent ideological, world-view and social antagonist. The main contradictions of the parties were caused by the land issue. Thus, in contrast to the plans of land reform pursued by P. Skoropadskyi, the socialists and social democrats demanded faster and more radical measures for the complete nationalization of land. Land magnates and poor peasantry also hindered P. Skoropadskyi’s intentions regarding the civilized and legal division of land. At this, the former saw in such intentions prospect of final losing their property, and the latter — giving up the achievements of the revolution in the transfer of land to the peasants. Besides, P. Skoropadskyi’s plans to build a Hetmanate were seen by many Ukrainians as a return to the monarchical regime, which also caused dissatisfaction in the society.
As a result, P. Skoropadskyi lost the support of the majority of the country’s population and, moreover, faced mass demonstrations of peasants in different regions of the country. This was immediately used by his political opponents from the socialist, social democratic and other forces close to them, who united in the Ukrainian National Union (UNU).
…P. Skoropadskyi’s ultimate goal was to create a powerful middle class in Ukraine, primarily through the growth of the stratum of small and medium landowners — the prototype of modern European farmers…
In November 1918, at a meeting of the UNU, the Directory was formed under the formal chairmanship of V. Vinnichenko and the actual leadership of S. Petliura. And already in December of the same year P. Skoropadskyi abdicated. By the end of December 1918, the Directory had formed the government of the country consisting of representatives of all political forces that were part of the UNU. The new government at once published a program of action, which, in fact, had a socialist orientation.
However, immediately after the formation of the new government, the whole country faced a number of critical external and internal problems. For example, in mid-November 1918, Germany and its allies conceded defeat in the First World War. In turn, France and Great Britain, as the main victorious countries, supported those opponents of the Russian Bolsheviks who advocated restoration of tsarist Russia. In view of this, they did not recognize the Ukrainian People’s Republic and, moreover, began an intervention against it. Immediately after that, a military invasion of the UPR began by Soviet (Bolshevik) Russia as well. Later, Poland, which had its own interests, started hostilities against Ukraine.
Simultaneously, peasant uprisings continued throughout Ukraine, pursuing various goals, creating various self-proclaimed republics, and criminal gangs. At this, the Directory and its government, torn by contradictions between different political forces, actually lost control over developments. As a result, Ukraine found itself in a situation of complete chaos and “war of all against all”.
All this is also well known from history. Let’s just say that in such a war, as expected, the most organized and brutal force of the time, which was the Russian Bolsheviks, won. As a result, Ukraine became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR, which formally retained the features of statehood, but de facto — again became part of the Russian Empire in its new form.
Despite the change of the name and official ideology, the new Russian Empire in the form of the USSR not only continued the policy of Russification of Ukraine, but also significantly expanded its scope. In particular, in 1922 the Central Committee of the Russian Communist (Bolshevik) Party and the Central Committee of the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of Ukraine announced a course for the victory in Ukraine of “urban” (Russian) culture over “rural” (Ukrainian) one. And in 1933, the then leader of the USSR, J. Stalin, officially switched to a policy of Russification of Ukraine, which surpassed all that was done by tsarist Russia. Within the framework of such a policy, the main blow was to the same neoconservative part of the Ukrainian society, which was the main bearer of the Ukrainian national consciousness. Namely — the remnants of the Ukrainian elite and the middle class, which have always been the mainstay of Ukrainian statehood.
Thus, the repressive apparatus of the new empire began total destruction of the nationally conscious Ukrainian intelligentsia, who were called “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists”. The same was done with regard to the Ukrainian peasantry. Due to the organization of an artificial famine, Holodomor, but, in fact, genocide, millions of working peasants and middle landowners were destroyed as a class. At that, such losses exceeded the casualties of the Ukrainian people during the Second World War. And the remnants of the Ukrainian peasantry were enslaved for the needs of the new “socialist agriculture” on more difficult terms than under Russian tsars, beginning with Peter I and Catherine II.
A further milestone on this path was the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union “On Preparations for the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Soviet Union” in 1972, which for the first time set the task of building a “new historical society — the Soviet people” by denationalizing the peoples. The implementation of such plans did not stop even after the proclamation of democratic changes in the USSR. In 1989, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union adopted a resolution “On the Legislative Enshrining of the Russian Language as the State Language”. And in 1990 the Supreme Soviet of the USSR passed the Law “On the Languages of the Peoples of the Soviet Union”, which gave Russian the status of an official language.
Due to these actions, Moscow badly damaged the Ukrainian nation, but failed to fully assimilate it, as was done with many other nations and peoples. The reason for this was again the conservative nature of the Ukrainian society, which hindered Russia’s intentions. Despite all Moscow’s efforts, many Ukrainians did not accept Russian or Soviet culture and ideology. Moreover, the support of the Ukrainian people and their special worldview again became the Ukrainian intelligentsia, representatives of culture and art, the vast majority of peasants and residents of provincial cities, which never got Russified and preserved national traditions. Moreover, after the relative weakening of the totalitarian regime in the USSR in the second half of the 1980s, Ukrainian national ideas became widespread among other strata of the Ukrainian population, which returned to its historical roots.
…The authorities of the new Ukraine repeated all the mistakes of the Ukrainian Cossack state and the Ukrainian People’s Republic and faced similar problems. The main one was the inability of the Ukrainian leadership, which largely descended from the former communist regime, to take a clear course of state-building on the principles of Ukrainian neoconservatism. Instead, the actions of the Ukrainian authorities were mainly aimed at realizing the interests of individual oligarchs and representatives of big business…
All this played the role of a catalyst for the collapse of the USSR and allowed the creation of a new independent Ukraine, which embarked on the path of democratic and European development. However, the authorities of the new Ukraine repeated all the mistakes of the Ukrainian Cossack state and the Ukrainian People’s Republic and faced similar problems. The main one was the inability of the Ukrainian leadership, which largely descended from the former communist regime, to take a clear course of state-building on the principles of Ukrainian neoconservatism.
Instead, the actions of the Ukrainian authorities were mainly aimed at realizing the interests of individual oligarchs and representatives of big business through the redistribution of economic assets of the country. At the same time, measures to restore the national spirit of Ukraine were mostly declarative and decorative. Besides, the Ukrainian authorities continued to flirt with Russia, which since 1992 has been taking active steps to revive the Soviet Union in a new form.
As expected, this policy resulted in the impoverishment of the majority of the Ukrainian population, which led to the disappointment of part of the society in the newly independent Ukraine, as well as growing nostalgia for the USSR and the former communist system. In turn, this was used by Moscow for regaining control over Ukraine by bringing its creatures to power in the country on a wave of such sentiments, which allowed it to take direct actions to undermine Ukrainian statehood and destroy the national foundations of the Ukrainian people.
However, this was again hampered by the Ukrainian nation’s commitment to its own values, which led to the Orange Revolution and the Revolution of Dignity in 2004 and 2013–2014. It was in the periods after these revolutions that Ukraine really embarked on a path of development based on its national foundations. But, as before, this path did not become direct and continuous, which was again a consequence of both Russia’s actions and the mistakes of the Ukrainian authorities.
…As in the Cossack state and the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the same “swing” is taking place in modern Ukraine when pro-Russian forces or populists replace the national-democratic government…
After the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Russia conducted a large-scale “hybrid” operation to undermine the positions of the new national-democratic leadership of our state and to split the Ukrainian society. During the operation, a wide range of political, economic, informational and other actions against Ukraine were used. The Kremlin mainly relied on the shortcomings of the Ukrainian nation, which were discussed above. First of all, it concerned the loss by a significant part of Ukrainians of their national consciousness, which allowed Moscow to restore pro-Russian power in Ukraine.
However, the attempts of Russian creatures led by V. Yanukovych to continue the process of Russification of Ukraine and its involvement in Russia’s sphere of influence had led to completely different consequences, namely — another outbreak of national sentiment in the Ukrainian society, which caused the Revolution of Dignity in our country. At this, Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2014 in order to establish control over it using military force in addition to “hybrid” methods only led to the consolidation of the vast majority of the Ukrainian nation around the idea of resisting the aggressor.
And again, as in past history, the mistakes of the new generation of national-democratic leaders in Ukraine did not allow them to complete the matter. First of all, it concerned the actual loss of control over the moods of the Ukrainian society, which was intercepted by Russia and oligarchs close to the government.
…Russia’s subversive activity have split Ukrainian society into supporters of different ideas, including antagonistic ones. As a result, such differences have become the origins of separatist tendencies in Ukraine, which is used by Russia to disintegrate our state…
In fact, as in the Cossack state and the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the same “swing” is taking place in modern Ukraine when pro-Russian forces or populists replace the national-democratic government. Moreover, in modern conditions, additional damage to the Ukrainian nation and Ukraine in general is caused by certain aspects of globalization processes that lead to the spread of cosmopolitan ideas. In turn, this triggered an increase in the number of Ukrainians who are indifferent to their homeland and prefer issues of their own well-being, rather than the national interests of the state. A manifestation of this is the increase in the number of Ukrainians who go abroad for permanent residence.
Besides, Ukraine’s leadership’s mistakes and Russia’s and a number of other neighboring countries’ subversive activity have split Ukrainian society into supporters of different ideas, including antagonistic ones. As a result, such differences have become the origins of separatist tendencies in Ukraine, which is used by Russia to disintegrate our state.
These tendencies are the basis for the claims of Russian politicians, philosophers and experts and their Ukrainian followers that Ukraine “has not established itself as an independent and sovereign state”. As shown by the historical experience, this is not the case at all! Ukraine has always returned to its foundations, but at a higher level and held stronger positions.
All this allows us to draw a conclusion about the possibility of stable and dynamic development of Ukraine only on the basis of the principles of neoconservatism in their Ukrainian interpretation. Taking into consideration the peculiarities of the current situation in Ukraine and around it, the main principles should be:
– first, a strong, professional and patriotic government, which should build its work based on the national interests of the society and the country, rather than their mercantile goals and other countries’ political orders. In this regard, completely unacceptable are populism, extortion, corruption, let alone betrayal in favor of the enemy;
– second, optimal distribution of powers between central and local authorities. Thus, the competence of the center should include resolving national issues of strategic importance, including foreign policy, defense and internal security, creating conditions for normal functioning of the economy and basic infrastructure, supporting the development of fundamental science, control of dangerous industries and other important spheres. For their part, local authorities should be responsible only for issues that concern specific districts and regions. At this, federalization of Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable. In particular, the activities of local authorities should be carried out exclusively within the framework of national legislation. Local authorities should not have the right to block the center’s decisions;
– third, ensuring true, not formal election, accountability and transparency of government, as well as equality of citizens before the law. In turn, this can be achieved only under conditions of independence and separation of legislative, executive and judicial branches of government;
– fourth, the inadmissibility of the monopolization of power by one of the political forces, even exclusively of a state nature. As a rule, the monopoly position of one of the parties leads to its abuse of power, corruption and neglect of state interests. Therefore, a necessary condition is existence in the country of at least two main parties of state orientation, which differ from each other only in the methods of realization of national interests. Such a system has developed in the United States and most European countries, where there are two main parties, usually neoconservative and neoliberal;
– fifth, existence of a solid foundation for the development of the national economy. Based on Ukrainian realities and the experience of other countries, such a basis should be the middle class, including: wealthy farmers; highly skilled engineers and workers, primarily of innovative industries; scientists; military professionals; other highly qualified employees;
– sixth, strengthening of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as the main guarantor of national security. This issue remains especially relevant in the context of Russia’s continued armed aggression against Ukraine. At this, all the hopes for a change in Moscow’s policy toward Ukraine, including a possibility of Moscow’s agreeing to resolving the conflict in the Donbas on the basis of Ukrainian interests, have no prospects. Russia will never abandon its strategic goals of destroying Ukraine as an independent state;
– seventh, development of Ukraine’s own Orthodox Church as one of the basic pillars of Ukrainian spirituality.
…Ukraine has always returned to its foundations, but at a higher level and held stronger positions… Stable and dynamic development of Ukraine is possible only on the basis of the principles of neoconservatism in their Ukrainian interpretation…
And finally, the most important thing. The most critical problem for Ukraine has always been the lack of a full-fledged national elite, namely the upper class, which would be interested in the existence of an independent Ukrainian state for its own vital reasons. Be it your own ambitions as the ruling elite of the country, or business interests.
Creation of such an elite is the main task of the modern Ukrainian society as the only possibility for Ukraine’s survival. It does not matter who becomes part of it. The main thing is that the Ukrainian elite would be ready to put their lives on the altar of Ukraine’s independence.