“We have been free and independent for the past 23 years. We aren’t slaves, we aren’t scum, we are almost Europeans. Isn’t this the best thing that could have happened to us? We abolished all constraints. We freed ourselves from bloody tyrants, from bloody history. From everything that used to bind us with ‘them’. Throughout the past quarter of a century the air of Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood, unseen anywhere else, has filled our country. Isn’t this true? Shouldn’t we be limitlessly proud of this? Isn’t this what we wanted and were striving for all this time? Isn’t this what we hear on TV and see on the Internet every minute of every day? We are willing to give up our lives for this freedom!!! This is our highest value. There is nothing that can surpass it. There is nothing in this world that is more important than our independence. Hands off Ukraine.” And so on, and so forth…
Here is my answer to you, from Kharkov:
Who are we independent from, as a country, as a people? Just think about it… for a minute. Who holds power? The people?
Or maybe oligarchs? Whose riches kept growing all this time? The people’s? Or those ‘minders’ of the people – always the loudest to proclaim our unity and our freedom? Whose websites and TV stations scream of this minute after minute?
Why every single President we’ve ever elected – they all promised us everything we covet – why haven’t we seen anything except ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’? The ‘freedom’ and ‘independence’ which we now want to die for, fighting our evil malicious neighbor.
Every single one of us owes over 3,000 US dollars. Every single one, including the newborns! This is what we owe the world – 140 billion US dollars. Where is this money? It doesn’t exist! But the debt does. And you, and me, and members of both our families will have to pay it off.
That’s our kind of independence.
If you owe someone, can you really be independent – the way they always claim we are? What, paying off debt is our highest value? By the way, this value increases year after year.
Our highest value, our independence – who has it been serving all these years? Power clans, politicians and oligarchs? We were forced to elect one of many noisiest politicians under the cover of elections. And they time after time promised prosperity. And time after time nothing happened. Well, prosperity did happen for the power clans, politicians and oligarchs, to be accurate. And you think this time we are going to get luckier?
So maybe independence is the highest value of the oligarchs? Independence from the people. Freedom to steal, to rob, freedom to lie and make us hate each other?
Everything that surrounds us, every single thing that our parents had built now belongs to them. They managed to gain ownership of everything hypnotizing us with words of freedom, democracy and independence. They take out loans, build castles, villas and yachts. They have bank accounts in the West and their children study in the most expensive and prestigious schools. And we are paying for this!
But whoever dares doubt the value of such ‘independence’ is branded a traitor, who has long sold himself to Moscow, and personally to Putin.
Isn’t that true?
What if – over the years – we became free and independent from our history, our tongue, our roots and our ancestors?
They made us reject our achievements, great achievements and heroic acts committed by our people. Our Great People.
Somehow, we now worship those who our ancestors were murdering in WWII. How did we come to demolishing our own monuments, monuments to our ancestors, fathers and grandfathers. This is our memory? Who craves its destruction?
Like lunatics we are climbing the barricades yet again. Yelling that this time our lives will turn into fairy tales for sure. This happens to us time after time. What kind of a vicious cycle is that? What is this obscurity?
We’ve overthrown a corrupt government. Again. How many times already? And again, the ghost of hope – like mirage – is teasing us, whispering from all the cracks that this time we will definitely prosper, and everyone will turn green with envy!
Over these years we’ve lost roughly 6 million! of our own citizens. For peaceful times – this is a horrid number. It’s close to the number of civil casualties of USSR in the most terrible war the world has ever seen. And we lost them in peace, independence and democracy.
What have we managed to achieve during the 23 years of this hocusing freedom? What should we be proud of? That our women take care of elderly people and whore themselves out? That our men compete with Polish ones for the right to pick strawberries in Portugal, or with Moldovans – to lay tile in Russia? That we don’t have a decent army that can protect us, and now there is no police either? And that our children are willing to fight our sons and fathers from Berkut?
We can be proud of being Ukrainian. Is that all?
Why are we trying to whitewash traitors and dress them up as heroes? Where are our real heroes known the world over? Where are our Shakespeare, Einstein, Gagarin? Is there anyone who can give us a glimmer of hope and faith?
Put everything aside for a minute and sit in silence. Try simply to think where is all that we used to have? Why did we deny our own victories? Why did we claw our wounds bloody with Golodomor and bawl about it? How can we be inspired to build and create under such an ideology?
WAIT! But it was us – launching the very first Sputnik! It was us defeating Napoleon, Hitler, the Turks, the Swedes and a handful of other tribes and peoples who dared step on our soil!
We built the greatest, the biggest country in the history of humanity! We created nuclear bombs and power stations! It was us the world feared and respected just yesterday! Where is all this now? Where? Why did we refuse to be a great people and chose to be the offended? Who robbed us of our history and our victories? Russia? Moskals [derogatory Ukrainian for Russians]?
We allowed ourselves to do this. We rejected our memory on our own. We rejected our ancestors and our achievements. Believed in new cheating idols and heroes – petty and worthless compared to the ones that were ours yesterday. How can you possibly compare Gagarin and Bandera? Brainwashed boys wearing masks and carrying sticks walk around Kiev. Half the people are burning the other half live. Shooting each other. How did we let this happen? Yet again we believe in a new revolution and new promises.
Why did we become petty while unstoppably proclaiming our freedom and independence? We were robbed of our past and are being robbed of what remains of our future. We teach our kids false history from fake history books. How did this happen to us? What happened?
I envy the Russians. I envy these “katsaps” and “moskals”.
I envy their Olympic Games and their Army. I have a lot of friends and relatives in Russia. And I see them changing and growing. They trust their President. They trust their Army. They are proud of their great history, their achievements and victories.
But it used to be our shared history… shared achievements and victories. Just yesterday. They made peace with themselves. They don’t care for the West, which we worship. And they keep moving and growing – no matter what our TVs and Internet forums tell us about them. And I understand that the loser is us, not them. We are growing weaker as they grow stronger.
We can scream “Hail Ukraine!” as loud as we please, but it’s not going to change this.
Just recently we exuded malice when they had Chechnya.
And now Chechens are as Russian as Russians. They are ready to fight for their born-again Great Country. They are part of it. Chechen battalions are now a threat to us. How did that happen???
It seems they were murdering each other just yesterday… It’s simple really. Chechens remembered that they are also Russian, that they are part of a Great Country and a Great People.
We are spitefully happy when they suffer catastrophes and terror.
And they overcome it all and grow stronger day after day! When the whole world is against them!
They fall and get back up again. They get up and smile. Spitting blood aside through their teeth.
And we scream that they are slaves. That they will fall apart, oil prices will crash, NATO will attack them, and once again they will suffer. But wait… Them – they are Us! We are spitting at our own reflection. We are spitting at ourselves.
We have to remember that we are One. When we are able to realize it – the feeling our ancestors shared will come back. The feeling of inner strength, hope, faith and pride of being Russian.
And it doesn’t matter what the blood of our ancestors was – Ukrainian, Tatar, Jewish, Buriat or Uzbek. It doesn’t matter what faith we follow – Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim or Jewish. That’s not what matters. What matters is that we are Russian! We belong together as a Great People of a Great Country.
Yes, these Great People of this Great Country have problems still. But if we remember that we are Russian…
Everything will change forever! And that – terrifies everyone.
They are terrified that we’ll remember, and unite once again.
That’s why from every corner they weave their spider webs of lies, of deceit. They spread malice and hatred. Here and in Russia.
They don’t let us wake up. And if we fail to remember who we are, we shall never wake up again. As for current situation, occupation and all that:
Who is the loudest to proclaim that we have to defend “our” independence, unity and freedom? The very same bureaucrats, oligarchs and politicians. They are terrified that they will be held accountable for everything that happened to our Motherland. What if this isn’t occupation? What if this – is liberation? Our brothers came when hardly any hope remained, when we just about surrendered.
And together, we have to get up and destroy all the lying politicians, oligarchs, mayors and bureaucrats who foam at the mouth screaming at us to go die! Die for their villas, yachts and castles, their bank accounts, their freedom to loot, their independence from accountability for their actions.
I understand this manifesto will be cut out from the web. There will be thousands of evil comments, they will shriek that I’m a traitor, sold to Putin, that I’m katsap, vatnik and moskal. I don’t give a shit. I know the truth is on my side.
I am a patriot of Ukraine. Real patriot. It is now the fate of my people and my Ukraine that is being determined.
We either remember who we are. Or we simply disappear.
I love my Ukrainian people, my ancestors and my culture.
I am Ukrainian, but, more than that, I am Russian!
The original of this manifesto in Russian, was published on March 4th, 2014 here. Translation is mine.
Featured image borrowed from Twitter user @myrevolutionrus