When it comes to Ukraine and Russia, the more I study, the more I realize the futility of claiming to know anything. But that’s also what makes the subject interesting, and I can’t exactly explain why.
Over the past few years I have observed a lot and written about it. A lot of that is good and useful, particularly the study of discrepancies in rhetoric between what we are supposed to think and what actually seems to be happening on the ground.
And yet there is something unsatisfying about all this. Please permit me to think out loud.
- The fundamental mistake I made about Ukrainian nationalism was conflating it with Western imperialism. These are absolutely two separate things, and the latter often masquerades as the former.
- Another error was to conflate Ukrainian nationalism with Nazism. Again, these are two completely separate concepts, although extreme Ukrainian nationalists (Banderites) did partner with Hitler during the war to achieve their aims. They may wear Nazi logos or tattoos or what have you. But Nazism and Ukrainian nationalism are different.
- It is also incorrect to conceptually equate the brutality exhibited by Ukrainian nationalists with the inherent need of a people to be free and self-determining—to use the fact of violence to dismiss the need.
- Ukraine has wanted to be a distinct Nation for a long time—not a puppet, not occupied, not spoken for or about by sponsors. Ukraine has been abused.
- The world’s superpowers, aware of Ukraine’s richness and vulnerability alike, have responded by laying claim to it—either explicitly or by burrowing in.
Which leads me to ask: What if we could save Ukraine both from Russia and the United States?
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain