In the context of the full-scale war of Russian Federation in Ukraine, I find it interesting to have a look at Russian diaspora.
The Russian diaspora is historically a very interesting phenomenon. It is perhaps best characterized by its wave, which was pushed out of Russia by the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. As is well known, the Bolsheviks massacred the aristocracy, the intelligentsia, and the clergy. It would seem that these sections of Russians abroad should hate Lenin, Stalin, and all other Bolsheviks with fierce hatred for generations and generations to come. The enmity did not last long: the Bolsheviks showed something that reconciled them with the emigrants. Russian emigrants rejoiced in gratitude to the Bolsheviks for “preserving [their] empire.” Many of these emigrants returned to the USSR, many contributed to the recognition of the USSR in the world and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and their countries of residence, and there were many who began to spy for the USSR in their countries of residence …
Representatives of this wave of the Russian diaspora contributed to the spread of Russian historical myth, historical and philosophical views outside Russia or the USSR, which determined the theoretical and methodological direction of Russian and Soviet studies at universities in Europe and North America for at least a century.
Thus, George Vernadsky, the son of Academician Volodymyr Vernadsky, together with Nikolai Trubetsky and Peter Savitsky(also of Ukrainian origin) developed the theory of Eurasianism, which is based on the historiosophical and culturological concept of Russia-Eurasia as an original civilization that encompasses the West. In this theory, the outlines of what will be defined in a century as “Russian world” are guessed.
Vernadsky wrote a one-volume textbook on the history of Russia “A History of Russia”(1929, Russian translation: “Русская история”. M., 1997), which in the West is considered a classic and which in fact became fundamental to generations of foreign historians in the interpretation of Russian historical myth.
It is worth mentioning Ivan Ilyin, a philosopher, lawyer and publicist, one of the founders of the Russian Scientific Institute in Berlin. A supporter of monarchical ideas about Russia as one, great and indivisible, Ilyin gravitated to Slavophiles, and thus was a forerunner of the future concept of “Russian world”.
Ilyin had a great influence on some Russian intellectuals and politicians. With his views on the social order of Russia, Ilyin inspired Alexander Solzhenitsyn to write the famous work “How to arrange Russia for us.” Ilyin is considered one of the ideological inspirers of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on whose initiative the scientist’s library and archives were returned to Russia. On the basis of this archive, a 28-volume edition of Ilyin’s scientific, journalistic and epistolary heritage was published.
These two figures, G. Vernadsky and I. Ilyin, decisively determined the ideological, historical-theoretical, theoretical-methodological and other approaches to the perception and study of the Russian Empire and the USSR in Europe, America and, consequently, the entire world. With the collapse of the USSR, these approaches remained virtually unchanged not only with regard to the post-Soviet Russian Federation, but also with all other countries in the post-Soviet space. In other words, the world continues to look at Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic countries, the Caucasus, and Central Asia through the lenses of glasses made by Russian thinkers and sold out by the Russian diaspora.
These approaches need to be changed, although it is not easy to do so. The trouble is that dependence on Russian and pro-Russian concepts binds the brains of leading European, North American, and possibly South American, Asian, and African professors and scholars.
Unfortunately, this applies to most Ukrainian scholars and professors both in Ukraine and abroad, as they are representatives or students of Ukrainian national intelligentsia raised by Russian/Soviet colonial authorities (see mine: Intellectual Elite of Ukraine as a Problem: Collection of articles and notes. – Washington, 2022. – 729 p.).
History gives us a chance to categorically abandon the approaches imposed on the world by the intellectual part of Russian diaspora and offer the world, in our case, Ukrainocentric views on everything that until now have been offered to the world in accordance with Moscow’s recipes by Russian and pro-Russian researchers, professors, and, ultimately, the media and propaganda.
It is unfortunate to state that in Ukraine and Ukrainian diaspora this is being done not by researchers and professors, not by qualified journalists and publicists, but by amateurs with no appropriate education and professional experience in the subject we are discussing. Fortunately, in many cases they do it brilliantly. As an example, here is the name of Volodymyr Bilinsky, the author of the bestsellers Kraina Moksel, or Muscovy, Hordean Moscow, and Ukraina-Rus, and historian and journalist Serhiy Gromenko, who is active in debunking Russia’s historical myth.
The works of such authors are wildly popular among readers, have a significant impact on the mass consciousness, but they are not a genre and — more broadly — an activity that can shape concepts, form scientific schools, introduce new approaches to countries, regions and the whole world history studies.
Our task is to change the concepts, approaches to the study of Ukraine and its relations with Muscovy, to debunk Russia’s imperial historical myth, to return from history that belongs exclusively to Ukraine — the name, historical tradition, legacy, cultural heritage, both spiritual and material. Let the world look in a new way at the historical significance of Ukraine and the insignificance of Muscovy, as well as at itself without dependence on Muscovy.
In this context, it will be possible to convincingly show the world the nature of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which is truly existential not only for Russia but for Ukraine as well. After all, Russia’s victory in this war will continue the existence of Imperial Russia indefinitely and the final destruction of Ukraine. And the victory of Ukraine will mean the end of the Russian Empire, the collapse of Russian Federation and the establishment of Ukraine as an independent conciliar state in a qualitatively new social order based on Ukrainian national traditions and customs.
This is not an easy task, but someone has to do it. The platform for coverage and discussion of these topics will be Ukraïna Journal site, which we intend to restore after it was overwhelmed by hackers, and reorient from the predominantly fiction direction because Ukrainian writers in Ukraine and the diaspora, unfortunately, were not interested in its development.
Articles of a purely scientific nature will be coexisted peacefully with nonfiction and journalistic materials. Of course, fiction will not be neglected either — it will simply recede into the background. The working languages of the resource will be Ukrainian and English. Initially, articles and researches will be published in one language or another, and over time we will develop full Ukrainian and English versions of the site.
Articles and investigations on the above-mentioned topics in Ukrainian or English (ideally both) can be sent to the Ukraïna Journal email address.
May 2–22, 2022