The Center for Syncretic Studies is honored to present our Russian colleague, Dr. Eduard Popov’s recent article featured in the journal Post-Soviet States: 25 Years of Independent Development published under the editorship of the famous expert on the South Caucasus and Doctor of Historical Sciences, Alexander Krylov (Moscow) from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. We thank Dr. Krylov for generously allowing us the opportunity to translate and publish this article by Popov, supplemented and updated specifically for the Center for Syncretic Studies and Fort Russ. This article is based on the findings of expert and sociological surveys conducted by the author in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in 2015-2016 mainly among the military, political, and business elites of both republics, as well as among trade union members.
Russian Spring: The Socio-Political Dynamics of the Donbass Independence Movement
he rise of the protest movement in Donbass (and other regions of historical Novorossiya) which resulted in the proclamation of the People’s Republics, was a reaction to the coup d’etat in Kiev and aggressive Russophobic policies. It is no accident that the first legislative step of the new Ukrainian authorities was abolishing the language law, ratified in 2003 by the Verkhovna Rada in line with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which effectively pushed the Russian language out of the educational and cultural-information space of Ukraine. However, the popular movement in Donbass at the end of winter and spring 2014 also had deeper motives. The proclamation of the people’s republics of Donbass was a logical reaction to the dismantling of Ukrainian statehood as it had been formed in the framework of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The new Ukrainian authorities violated the tacit social contract of loyalty to the existing state in exchange for a guaranteed minimum of cultural-linguistic rights for the regions of the “South-East” (historical Novorossiya).Continue reading →
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 →
he recent flurry of writing on Russian politics, nationalism and Alexander Dugin shows the contemptible inability of western savants to apprehend any idea beyond the cliche’s of stagnant neo-liberalism. Worse, “Russia specialists” in academia are now tripping over themselves trying to “analyze” Dugin and the Eurasianist idea. Bereft of the vocabulary to understand the concept, they merely apply fashionable labels from western political thought onto Russia in a pathetic and pretentious attempt to show how “dangerous” such ideas are to “European values.” Continue reading →