The New York Review of Books recently published a review of two new publications on language that read:
“There are recent reports that Ukrainian defense forces are making their prisoners pronounce the word palianytsia (a kind of bread) as a reliable indicator of Russian or Ukrainian upbringing.” It seems that the Russians cannot pronounce the “lia,” instead pronouncing it as “la.”
This little bit is already well known in my house because when my wife Roksoliana went to Ukraine for the first time, much to her irritation, most Russified her name and she suddenly became Roksolana.
This seemingly trivial difference in pronunciation, simply underscores that contrary to Putin’s claims, Ukrainians and Russians are different people even in language, and even more so in behavior.
Recently, a Ukrainian court sentenced a young Russian soldier to life in prison for not only killing Ukrainian civilians (killing more than ten), but doing so execution style. The killer is very young. He is deeply disturbed, clearly a degenerate however not an aberration in the Russian military or society.
In the same issue of The New York Review of Books there is an article by American journalist, Tim Judah, entitled The Russian Terror. The essence of his analysis is that the killing of civilians is carried out by Russian soldiers mostly in the form of executions, the deliberate destruction of civilians, including women and children, with specific intent and much cruelty.
The question is, “Who are these Russians?”
American society has suffered two major tragedies in the past week, the first, a racist shooting spree by a mentally ill teenager in Buffalo and the subsequent murder of nineteen young children and two teachers at a school in Texas. The first murderer, a white supremacist, justified his crime with a nearly two-hundred-page manifesto. In addition to his illness, the morbidity and influence of American white racist groups played a role.
The second case was the result of the application of a sick Texas society as espoused by its governor, Abbott, who at a news conference chose to defend the position that Texas licenses 18-year-olds to buy weapons, and former President Bush’s adviser Carl Rove defending semi-automatic weapons by distinguishing them from automatic. Additional irony was provide just a few days later and 100-miles further when the often disparaged National Rifle Association held its convention with Donald Trump as the main speaker.
Society can be sick, and adding the vagaries and passions of personal mental illness leads to tragic events. Even more so during wartime and especially when one side is devoid entirely of morality. The above military convict is probably not mentally ill in the traditional medical sense. He is a result of his society – Russian. This society is not only scarred by Putin and the Kremlin. A soldier is also a consequence of the upbringing of his home, and that stereotypical Russian home is degenerate as well, imbued with lust for power and empire.
Back in 2012, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed that the biggest threat to the world today was Russia. He was ridiculed by US President Barack Obama. The last two US presidents before President Biden reflected (hopefully this is an important past tense use of the verb) two
prevailing views in American society, about Russia – an immoral one in the persons of Trump, Kissinger and primitively naive in the person of Obama. The war in Ukraine has hopefully educated America.
Russians are not a nation in the traditional sense. They are a mixture that took shape on wild terrain and under the captivity of being a vassal state of the Golden Horde and the Khanate. Alexander Nevsky, much revered by the Moscow Church was simply a conqueror of land, not a martyr for any faith. The Western world, starting with America, has never understood this. Very few American presidents saw Russia as the personification of evil. Now the Western world has joined at least indirectly in the defense against this evil pseudo-nation. Were it not for the heroism of the Ukrainian people who understood best that Russia was evil, today the world would look completely different. Ukraine saved the world and seemingly against great odds.
What will have to be done at the end of the war? There has to be an ending and a victorious one for good. Reconstruction must ensue similarly to what was done with Germany and Europe. It is little understood by us even today how much of Europe was destroyed or scorched not only by the Nazis but by the Red Army as well. Ukraine will have to be rebuilt as the European country that it is, and similarly accorded a comparable Marshall Plan.
However, it will be necessary not to pacify, but rather to reconstitute Russia and its society, starting with the Kremlin and ending with Russian mothers who instruct their sons to rape and murder women and children. The Moscow Church as a fifth column, a pillar of the evil regime, must be eliminated, starting with its parishes in Ukraine. All international institutions, including the United Nations (rescinding Russian succession to the USSR, especially in the Security Council which was never voted upon), should at least begin the process of neutralising Moscow and dismantling it into, at the very least, its constituent federated republics and perhaps to its national minorities. Russian access to international sports competitions individual and country should be suspended for an indefinite time. The gradual release of some of the most basic sanctions must depend on progress in the liberalization of Russian society and its demilitarization.
Obviously, there will be great resistance not only from the Kremlin but from Russia’s imperial mothers. This is where the program of psychological treatment of those who do not want it should be pursued. Western culture, as culture in general, cannot have a strictly political bent, but it can and should have a moral basis of at least good over evil, equality of people, justice and basic human rights. These should not be major undertakings for cultural figures because this direction should be the basis of their craft anyway.
These are broad, ambitious and clearly wishful plans, but the thrust must be a consensus of the good, that we must not go back to business as usual, the time before February 24. While we cannot take lightly the danger of global warming, in fact, a nuclear and sick Russia is the greatest threat to our world. This is the most important lesson of the current war.
May 31, 2022 Askold Lozynskyj
May 31, 2022 Askold S. Lozynskyj