They refuse to live in the same country with the Banderites
This powerful song by Russian rock star Julia Chicherina is more than a show of solidarity with the rebels in the Donbass. In fact, it explains the reason for eastern Ukraine’s resistance.
The divide in the Ukraine is not between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. There are speakers of both languages, as well as Jews, Armenians, Greeks etc on both sides. It’s a divide between ‘Soviet’ Ukrainians and nationalist Ukrainians.
For the ‘Soviet’ Ukrainians - as for the Russian Federation - the Great Patriotic War (WWII), is a crucial symbol of their identity. It unites the ‘whites’ and the ‘reds’, communists and anticommunists, believers and non-believers, making it a milestone of Russia’s 1,000 year long history.
For these people, ‘Banderite’ is a swear word related not only to open Nazi collaborators but to Ukrainian independence fighters who shot Soviet soldiers liberating Ukraine from German occupation, in the back .
For the nationalists, Banderites are heroes and ‘Soviet’ is a swear word. These two sets of values could peacefully coexist within one state as long as they did not interfere in the internal affairs of each other and had more or less equal representation in the national parliament, with a President playing the balancing act.
The Maidan coup disrupted this equilibrium: nationalist Ukrainians took over the capital and set out to subjugate the ‘Soviet’ Ukrainians. They were bound to meet with armed resistance – just like the Germans in 1941.
The Minsk-2 agreement is an attempt to restore the balance, but after blood was spilt it’s hard to imagine either side returning to the status-quo-ante.
That’s the message of this wonderful song recorded in the Donbass.
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