Exam’s over and I’m free, coming to you with a fresh hot post about a similarly hot topic: Ukrainian nationalists! A proper expose on Ukrainian nationalism would probably take up several posts, not just one, but it’s hardly my intention right now. What you should know is that nationalism, in its usual ‘kill-all-Moskali’ form was hardly ever popular in
the Ukraine; only time blatant nationalists got more than ten seats in the Rada was 2012, now it’s probably a lot less. UNA-UNSO (guys who fought in Transnistria and First Chechnya, mind you) got around three percent when they ran in the late nineties, which probably says something.
Of course, nationalist discourse is more vocal now. Most countries revert to some form of nationalism during times of war, and this is if you discount the Maidan which was, in some ways, the far right’s big break. Most Ukrainians aren’t too thrilled about the Moskali now, a year into the war that Russia fans up and supplies, and that’s without mentioning the Crimea. On the other hand, most Ukrainians hardly subscribe to the ‘kill-all-Moskali’ notion, most speak Russian, – pah, the entire fucking country understands Russian, even if they don’t actually speak it, – and some are ethnic Russians insofar as you can define ‘ethnic Russian’ in Ukraine as clear as in, say, Kazakhstan. This is probably why nationalist parties got the barest minimum of votes in the recent Rada elections, and why blatantly nationalist MPs like Yarosh only got in by winning in their home constituences (as someone said, Ukrainian politics are intensively regional) and not the nationwide ballot.
This is also why Ukrainian nationalists – or, at least, their vocal supporters – do not like the current Ukrainian government, not at all. Part of the reason is that criticizing the government is an easy way to earn points with the public (and sway some not-insignificant percentages of voters come elections) in Ukraine, but another part of the reason is that it’s not a nationalistic government. Much like criticism of Putin is that he’s not hard enough, Ukrainian government post-Maidan is similarly not hard enough, not ‘nationalistic’ enough and not ‘patriotic enough’. As in, say, Russia occupied Crimea – sure! let’s go ahead and pick a fight with Russia! what’s that, we don’t have an army? who the fuck needs an army, we’re HOT-BLOODED TRUE UKRAINIAN PATRIOTS, we chased Yanukovych away (nevermind you hardly did that, nor did you do anything significant on Maidan besides play Gestapo), we don’t need no stinking army! what’s that, we’re not fighting Russia? YOU TRAITORS AND SELLOUTS! ZRADA!
This repeats literally every single fucking time. I’ve seen the same spectacle unfold so many times it literally makes me puke. Whatever may be the failures of Poroshenko, Turchynov the ‘Bloody Pastor’ or the Yatsenyuk Government, they were all reasonable enough NOT to drag Ukraine at her weakest into a fight it couldn’t possibly win. They were likewise reasonable enough not to do all the things Ukrainian nationalists wanted them to do, like, for example, hand out weapons, execute people without trial, close Russian gas pipelines (not sure how you even do that), set up concentration camps for vatniks, turn Donetsk into a Grozny 2.0, and the list goes on, so nationalists hate them. Or, at least, the rank and file nationalists hate them. Ukrainian government gets flak from literally all sides no matter what it does, and while there are people more obnoxious than the nationalist crowd, nationalists are probably the most disconnected with reality. Disconnection with reality is probably Ukraine’s biggest problem, but this is it at its worst. What’s that, our troops die? ZRADA, the generals are traitors, the government are sellouts, WHY AREN’T WE ADVANCING?! What’s that, our advance overextended and our troops got surrounded in a place called Ilovaysk? ZRADA, our government our traitors and afraid of giving heavy weapons to the PATRIOTS! What’s that, Poroshenko agrees to a ceasefire (this is when vacationing Russian troops rolled forward in late August)? ZRADA, he is out to kill all PATRIOTS and sell the country to Putin in exchange for his Lipetsk chocolate factory! VSI NA MAIDAN! What’s that, the separatists do not abide by the ceasefire? ZRADA, they are in league with Poroshenko-Valtsman who is out to kill all PATRIOTS and sell the country to Putin in exchange for his Lipetsk chocolate factory! VSI NA KYIV! The list goes on, and goes on to the point that when the government does play to the nationalists (making UPA day a national holiday, or banning Communist symbols and glorifying UPA, or something else), the nationalists pay it absoultely no attention: instead they again cry about ZRADA, traitors, sellouts and the Lipetsk chocolate factory. It just never fucking stops!
In short, no, your average die-hard Ukrainian nationalist (it doesn’t matter whether he’s behind his computer somewhere in Rivne, Ternopil or Khmelnitsky or near the front) does not like the current Ukrainian government. He would probably like it more if a strong Providnyk (this is Ukrainian for ‘Fuhrer’) like Yarosh was in charge, or if he was hiding in a kryivka from a Russian patrol (like Ukrainian nationalist mythology prescribes true Ukrainian patriots should), but even then I won’t bet on it, because if there’s something Ukrainians do, it’s complain about the government literally all the time. No matter who’s in charge of that government; if Yarosh, god forbid, was in charge, the VK MY-PATRIOTY-UKRAINY crowd would be crying bloody ZRADA on his second day in office.
This has to do with the general hysteric state of post-Maidan Ukraine, but it has more to do with the fact that most Ukrainian nationalists are, indeed, losers. Their mythologized worldview revolves entirely around a supposed national struggle against the oppressor – the Pole, the Moskal, the Ukrainian government, whoever – while conveniently forgetting the fact that last time UPA was involved in such struggle it happily threw its chips behind Nazi Germany and then proceeded to hide in kryivkas for ten more years after the war. Most nationalists see it as a great success, but, in fact, it was not; and whenever the reality is contrary to their expectations (nevermind that the current state of affairs was more or less completely unimaginable a mere year ago), they proceed to cry ZRADA and decry the weak and traitorous government standing in the way of their epic UPA reenaction.
And that, Ukrainian nationalists, is why nobody likes you. This more or less applies to Ukraine as a whole, but if you want to change anything, start with yourself. No matter how much you dream about ‘another Maidan’ (which would deliver Ukraine into Putin’s hands, but apparently Putin isn’t as horrible as Poroshenko-Valtsman and his Lipetsk chocolate factory), or a ‘national revolution’ (same result), or ‘a patriotic government’ (which you’ll start cursing literally the day it takes office), it won’t fucking happen, so do something productive for a change.
And don’t forget the reason you can sit behind your computer posting this shit all day. At least Right Sector volunteers (who are part of that reason, albeit a smaller part that they would like to think) are slightly less detached from reality than you, operative word being ‘slightly’.
P.S. You probably noticed this post applies more to the Right Sector; while RS is indeed the most vocal group in this regard, and some of its members are fucking obnoxious, most Ukrainian nationalists demonstrating that behavior do not actively associate with it. Although they will unfailingly come to Right Sector’s defense when its members do stupid things because reality, again, fails to conform to their delusions.
At least people like Azov are firmly under the government’s thumb, and this is why I’m slightly more tolerant of that particular cat. As long as that cat keeps catching mice and doesn’t start lecturing its owner on the only true way to catch mice.