The Russian Spring in Donbass

War and Statecraft in the Donetsk People’s Republic 

flag-novorossiya2.jpg By: Dmitry Muza – translated by Jafe Arnold

Dmitry Evgenyevich Muza is a doctor of philosophical sciences, a correspondent-member of the Crimean Academy of Sciences, a professor at the Department of Sociology at Donetsk State University of Management, a professor at the Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy at Donetsk National University, and the co-chairman of the Izborsk Club of Novorossiya (Donetsk People’s Republic)

United Armed Forces of Novorossiya 1

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 20.57.26y including the processes and event-related phenomenon “Russian Spring,” “war,” and “statecraft” in the title of this article, I am by no means implying any kind of intellectual provocation or attempting to realize a political order. On the contrary, the intended position here can be associated with the existence of millions of people who have in one way or another engaged (during wartime) in the creation of a completely distinct region, a will and fate of more than just one century tied to the fate of the Russian world.

Proposed below is a feasible analysis of three interrelated events: the “Russian Spring” in Donbass, the war [1], and attempts at state-building, each of which deserves separate reflection and evaluation from the position of both an “internal” and “external” observation.

All of these factors, I believe, are tied to an immanent logic which can be articulated as a centripetal process of reintegrating Donbass into the Russian civilizational, i.e., Russian-Eurasian, Orthodox space.[2]

In addition, a general exposition of what is happening in Donbass and with Donbass today requires some clarification of the region’s pre-crisis state. Such a clarification concerns both the recent and distant past directly associated with the region under consideration. By going through these layers of history, I intend to show the composition of Donbass in relation to the larger Russian civilizational space. 

First of all, it is necessary to recall that the now forgotten regional referendum of March 27th, 1995 in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was intended to restore socio-economic ties with the Russian Federation and enshrine the Russian language as a regional one in functional norms. Of no small importance is that this referendum was consistent with the Ukrainian law “On all-Ukrainian and local referendums,” but was still ignored by Ukrainian authorities. Secondly, it was Russian Donbass that accounted for the electoral base of Presidents Kuchma and Yanukovych who flirted with the ideas of closer integration with Russia and the Russian language (granting it a special status). Thirdly, there were considerable expectations surrounding the post-Maidan congress in Northern Donetsk in November of 2004 which expressed the region’s collective will on establishing genuine federalization, including economic autonomy for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Fourthly, it is important to emphasize that the significance of the recent “Euroregion Donbass” project which involved the Rostov, Belgorod, and Voronezh regions from Russia and the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces from Ukraine entailed tightening their cooperation, albeit with European investments and guidance. Continue reading

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An Overview of Syncretism in Russia: Orthodoxy and Sovietism

socialist-clipart-K9cR4BbTeBy: Padraig McGrath

The Synthetic Public Ideology of Putin’s Russia

The reconstruction of the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a microcosm of a broad social reality

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OLDENGLIituated adjacent to the Crimean Parliament building in Simferopol, the newly rebuilt Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky is a magnificent structure. Gilded onion-domes, Greco-Roman columns and pediments – it looks every bit as classy as a well financed Orthodox cathedral should be. On entering, a question occurs to me, however – why are the icons not completely flat? The depictions of the various saints seem almost crypto-Catholic, more three-dimensional than you’d expect, not like Byzantine iconography. Novgorod it ain’t.

My friend Nikita explains that the local bishop is a western Ukrainian, so this style of iconography just seems more natural to him. Locals refer to it as “Disney-style.” I smile at this answer – is there a residual attempt toward “Ukrainianization” at work? Nikita doesn’t think so – any Orthodox bishop in present-day Crimea pushing an agenda of “Ukrainianization” on any level whatsoever would very quickly find himself without an office – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Continue reading

The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia: Which Side Will Win?

Flag_of_Donetsk_Federative_Republic By: Joshua Tartakovsky

The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia: 

Which Side Will Win?

 

From the very beginning or emergence of the Ukraine crisis, as details of the coup emerged and Crimea was, in the eyes of the west – annexed by Russia – it became clear that we are heading to a prolonged battle.  This is one that is not just a physical war which entails much destruction but a war of wills in a conflict over the question of which side has the moral upper hand. From the very beginning, the West and Russia were speaking in opposite languages and had opposing mindsets. While the West, led by the US, accused Russia of aggression in Ukraine and pointed a finger at it for violating international law, Russia was speaking about fascists in Kiev and about an illegal coup. It became clear from the very beginning that the issue was not merely one of disagreement or division, but of a cultural war with the West attempting to prove its superiority, vis-à-vis Russia. Continue reading