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Russia and the West
Little Hope for “Little Russia”

The alienation of Ukrainians and the bleak prospects for rebranding them as “Little Russians” belie the notion of Russian success in Ukraine.

Published on: January 17, 2018
Kirk Bennett is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who served in both Moscow and Kyiv.
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  • Trajan Fanzine

    I seriously cannot believe they actually published this column, the author has little deep historical grasp ( hence his explanations/conclusions are, to be kind warped) and understanding of ‘Russia’ or ‘Russians’ nil to be kind again….I imagine this Foreign Service Officer was on the plane with Victoria Nuland when she uttered her famous ‘*uck the EU’ expletive and all that entailed and why, the Obama FP was such a mess…unreal.

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      Do you have any real arguments? Disparaging remarks about the author of the article aren’t arguments. And quoting a borrowing (not a saw) by Talleyrand doesn’t make you more knowledgeable about all things Russian or Ukrainian too… You really have to try much, much harder to impress…

      • Trajan Fanzine

        Oh for gods sake, get over yourself.

  • Marathon-Youth

    If only Operation Barbarossa was successful. Had it been Communist Russia would have been defeated and not emerged as one of the victors of World War 2. Without Communist Russia, Chinese Communism would have died Chiang Kai Shek and Buddhism would have been saved in China and Tibet. Instead over 80 million Chinese were killed under Mao. That number is added to the 40 to 60 million who died under Stalin.
    The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union resulted in many hot wars. Cultural Marxism spread across Europe and America decimating the traditional values of both. Abortion in the US alone claimed 60 million lives since Roe vs Wade. The effects of Russia and China now spill into the 21st century.

    • Not often that we get people actually trolling on behalf of Nazi Germany in this site…..

      • Marathon-Youth

        You are right . It is mainly for Jewish trolls.

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is nothing to worry about. Many people believe Putin is saving Christianity from the West.

    • Eddy Verhaeghe

      If Christianity has to be saved, then please not by a Russian “capo di tutti capi”.

      • FriendlyGoat

        It’s basically just a war against LGBT, but via that tactic, Putin captured the support of the Orthodox Church whose members (active and inactive) keep him in office. His policy work against gays is also the reason that many American evangelicals think he is the protector of Christianity and therefore a good leader. In that subset, you would find people who think that the subversion of American democracy by Russian operatives was a work of God.

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      • Christianity is dying in the West though, I mean, literally, its influence is declining and numbers are going down in the United States.

  • Vlad Kunko

    Think of Ukraine as England and the RF as the USA … then imagine the US attacking England and claiming that Shakespeare is the greatest American playwright …
    Kremlinthink can’t grasp historiographical terminology e.g. Graecia minor was the seed center of culture – Athens, Constantinople … and Graecia major were the tribute paying colonies and hinterlands.
    Kyiv preceded Muscovy by 1157 minus 480 = ____ … I rest my case for Mala Rus’ vs. Muscovy, renamed Rossiya c. 1725 and only goes by the Hanover Oxfordism “Russia” in the West …

    • Norton S

      Good analogy – short and understandable. However what was shocking for me during reading this article is how heavily Western experts (“Kremlinologists”) are indoctrinated by Russian propaganda. This so-called “Russian narrative” about “Little-Russia” is a perfect example since even Russian serious historians (like professor Tatyana Tairova-Yakovleva, Director of the Center of Ukrainian History Study of the Institute of History of the Saint Petersburg State University) are pretty aware of and clearly state that historically terms “Rossia Minor” (Malorossia) and “Rossia Major” (Velikorossia) derive from the analogy of Graecia minor and Graecia major meaning “Rossia Minor” (or “Little” Rossia) is a mainland while “Rossia Major” (or “Grand” Rossia) is foreign colonies of the historical Rus’ (Rossia in Greek or Ruthenia in Latin) – Ukraine (alternative name for Rus’ known from 1187). So what Kirk Bennett representing as “Russian historic narrative” has nothing to do with academical Russian History science but only used for propaganda purposes in “popular” narrative.
      Regarding your analogy, I would say that it’s more close to Britain and India. Like India attacking Britain, claiming that India should be called Great Britain while England is “Little Britain”, that Richard I of England was “Great Britain’s” king (meaning that he was king of India, etc), and that English language is a dialect of Hindu (“British” language) while English people are part of Indian people. It’s really laughable but that’s what really happened when Ukrainian Hetmanate along with its Swedish ally lost to Muscovy in 1709 (Battle of Poltava). Only then Muscovy devoured not only Rus’ (Ukraine) but Ukrainian history and cultural heritage, proclaiming itself “Rossiyskaya Imperia” (oddly translated as “Russian” Empire) in 1721.
      Other false statement here is that Russia fears to “alienating Ukrainian popular opinion through excessive use of force”. One who knows history of Muscovian subjugation of Eastern Ukraine would never said such thing. The policy of mass murder, deportation and genocide (Holodomor 1932-1933). When the Wehrmacht army entered Kyiv in 1941 they discovered horrific evidence of the brutal torture and massacre of Ukrainian political prisoners (Bykivnia). People were tortured to death. Tongues cut out, noses and ears cut off, women’s bodies with breasts cut off. Hands and feet twisted and broken obviously during interrogations. The mass murder of seven million Ukrainians, three million of them children, and deportation to the gulag of two million more was hidden by Soviet propaganda. As a result Eastern Ukraine was totally “pacified”, including Donbas where in houses of murdered Ukrainians Moscow settled Russians. While Western Ukraine than was out of Moscow’s reach and was not “pacified” in such way. And now we have post-genocide “pro-Russian” Donbas and mostly anti-Russian western Ukraine. So Russia wants and will brutalize Ukrainians (as Russia did in Donbas) if allowed to (just read testaments of Ukrainians from Donbas tortured by Russians in 2014-2015 – limbs cutting off, eyeballs cutting out, drilling, breaking knees, rapes (women and men alike), etc.).
      But what bothers me most, is Western post-modernist ideology with all these “competitive discourses”, “post-truth” and other dubious post-structuralist philosophy agnostic concepts. In the world which believes that there is “no truth” but only “competitive discourses” professional liars and demagogues will thrive. They are masters of making up stories and masters of persuasion. And it is not surprise that Russians, experienced propaganda masters, are thriving in today’s world. The world of post-truth is really their world.

    • Norton S

      Good analogy – short and understandable. However what was shocking for me during reading this article is how heavily Western experts (“Kremlinologists”) are indoctrinated by Russian propaganda. This so-called “Russian narrative” about “Little-Russia” is a perfect example since even Russian serious historians (like professor Tatyana Tairova-Yakovleva, Director of the Center of Ukrainian History Study of the Institute of History of the Saint Petersburg State University) are pretty aware of and clearly state that historically terms “Rossia Minor” (Malorossia) and “Rossia Major” (Velikorossia) derive from the analogy of Graecia minor and Graecia major meaning “Rossia Minor” (or “Little” Rossia) is a mainland while “Rossia Major” (or “Grand” Rossia) is foreign colonies of the historical Rus’ (Rossia in Greek or Ruthenia in Latin) – Ukraine (alternative name for Rus’ known from 1187). So what Kirk Bennett representing as “Russian historic narrative” has nothing to do with academical Russian History science but only used for propaganda purposes in “popular” narrative.
      Regarding your analogy, I would say that it’s more close to Britain and India. Like India attacking Britain, claiming that India should be called Great Britain while England is “Little Britain”, that Richard I of England was “Great Britain’s” king (meaning that he was king of India, etc), and that English language is a dialect of Hindu (“British” language) while English people are part of Indian people. It’s really laughable but that’s what really happened when Ukrainian Hetmanate along with its Swedish ally lost to Muscovy in 1709 (Battle of Poltava). Only then Muscovy devoured not only Rus’ (Ukraine) but Ukrainian history and cultural heritage, proclaiming itself “Rossiyskaya Imperia” (oddly translated as “Russian” Empire) in 1721.
      Other false statement here is that Russia fears to “alienating Ukrainian popular opinion through excessive use of force”. One who knows history of Muscovian subjugation of Eastern Ukraine would never said such thing. The policy of mass murder, deportation and genocide (Holodomor 1932-1933). When the Wehrmacht army entered Kyiv in 1941 they discovered horrific evidence of the brutal torture and massacre of Ukrainian political prisoners (Bykivnia). People were tortured to death. Tongues cut out, noses and ears cut off, women’s bodies with breasts cut off. Hands and feet twisted and broken obviously during interrogations. The mass murder of seven million Ukrainians, three million of them children, and deportation to the gulag of two million more was hidden by Soviet propaganda. As a result Eastern Ukraine was totally “pacified”, including Donbas where in houses of murdered Ukrainians Moscow settled Russians. While Western Ukraine than was out of Moscow’s reach and was not “pacified” in such way. And now we have post-genocide “pro-Russian” Donbas and mostly anti-Russian western Ukraine. So Russia wants and will brutalize Ukrainians (as Russia did in Donbas) if allowed to (just read testaments of Ukrainians from Donbas tortured by Russians in 2014-2015 – limbs cutting off, eyeballs cutting out, drilling, breaking knees, rapes (women and men alike), etc.).
      But what bothers me most, is Western post-modernist ideology with all these “competitive narratives”, “post-truth” and other dubious post-structuralist philosophy agnostic concepts. In the world which believes that there is “no truth” but only “competitive narratives” professional liars and demagogues will thrive. They are masters of making up stories and masters of persuasion. And it is not surprise that Russians, experienced propaganda masters, are thriving in today’s world. The world of post-truth is really their world.

  • Mika Riik

    Excellent writing – thank you.

  • Whatever close history they may have shared, the fact remains that most of Eastern Europe (including Ukraine) does NOT want to be part of Russia’s sphere of influence any longer. Russia needs to move beyond its past and adapt to the times and to this modern world.

    • Дмитрий Cоколов

      The Russians have a saying “Do not tell me what to do, and I will not tell you where to go.”

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