"Ukraine is not Russia": Journalist warns patriots against "one nation" trap

15:20, 12 July 2018
Ukraine
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REUTERS

"The World Cup has proved this point in full. We often meet those who condemn the Russians for supporting their national team. Their unity around sports is being perceived as betrayal, their excitement over football – as solidarity with the Kremlin, their support for the flag, emblems, or players – as imperialism. And here we better put things on pause. We used to repeat that Ukraine is not Russia, but the mirror assumption will be just as true. It would be naive and foolish to demand from Russian liberals to be completely identical with Ukrainians, at least because this would painfully resemble a Kremlin narrative about 'one nation'," Kazarin wrote in a blog for Krym.Realii.

Kazarin goes on to explain: "A regular Russian person, even the most pro-Ukrainian one, will be identical with a Ukrainian only within a general ethical outline. They might agree on the assessment of Crimea annexation and Donbas invasion, they might wish to be part of Europe and have liberalism, dream of the demise of the empire, but still they remain citizens of their country, the very country that has its own flag, national anthem, national football team, victories and defeats in stadiums. In the end, they have their country, which they will try to ultimately separate from government. And it would be strange to make them treat all of this as Ukrainians do."

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The difference in perception is exactly because the countries are different, the journalist said.

"The Ukrainian society, scarred by war, may wish the Donbas scenario to repeat somewhere in a distant Russian province so that the Russian society had to live through the same range of emotions that Ukraine has gone through, so that every Russian went through fear and uncertainty that the Ukrainians had to face. But must a Russian liberal wish the same?"

Kazarin warned Ukrainians against such a mistake.

"If the Ukrainian society wants to see in a Russian liberal flesh from their own flesh, it gets into a trap, simply because any Russians are ultimately doomed to think categories of their own country's interests rather than those of the neighboring one. Demanding the opposite from them is like demanding from a Ukrainian to prioritize interests of the Kremlin," he said.

"It's not about trying to find a unifying ethical something. On the contrary, it's about the fact that the 'Ukraine is not Russia' formula works both ways. If we are not them and they are not us. And even similar views on the Kremlin's policy, fate of Crimea, or responsibility for ruined Donbas will not make a Russian citizen Ukrainian, and vice versa. QED," the journalist said.

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