Staunton, May 21 – It is a longstanding tradition among Russians to itemize the reasons they like or more often dislike other nations, reasons that not surprisingly say more about the Russians themselves than about those they like or dislike. MGIMO historian Valery Solovey continues that tradition by identifying 12 reasons why Russians don’t like Ukrainians.
His Facebook post (facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007811864378&fref=nf) which not surprisingly has been picked up by many Ukrainian outlets --see, for example, dsnews.ua/world/valeriy-solovey-chto-russkim-ne-nravitsya-v-ukraintsah-20052016160500 – provides a lapidary description of this problem.
Solovey lists the following dozen Russian views on Ukrainians:
1. “Ukrainians never know who will win the next elections.” Russians “can’t live with such uncertainty: we always know in advance” who will win.
2. “If Ukrainians choose a thief and a bribe taker, they won’t wait to the end of his term but simply overthrow him.” For Russians, in contrast, “theft and arbitrary action is the holy privilege of the authorities” and a kind of behavior that holds the country together.
3. “Ukrainians want to be in Europe, not Asia. They do not understand what Russians know: namely that rule of law, freedom and human rights, an effective economy and a social state are ill-intentioned inventions designed to destroy the nation. For spiritual health, [Russians know] there is nothing better than Asiatic despotism.”
4. Ukrainians are prepared to work at any job abroad, viewing labor as a positive and honored thing. “This isn’t the case for Russians. We are entirely a nation of creators, businessmen and showmen,” not waiters.
5. “Ukrainians can’t create an effective economy.” Only Russians can since “by their own efforts, [they] raised the price of oil to 120 dollars a barrel” and managed to achieve a quality of life that surpasses “even Venezuela.”
6. “The fruits of Ukrainian labor are used by oligarchs, but in Russia, this is done honestly.”
7. “The dastardly Ukes don’t want to meet fraternal Russian tanks with bread and salt, a betrayal of the many-centuries-long friendship of our peoples!”
8. “Ukrainians treat their military dead as heroes. The Russians carefully conceal the graves of theirs.”
9. “Ukraine stubbornly refuses to collapse under the weight of its own mistakes and crimes. And [from the Russian perspective] the West is helping it put off this end.”
10. “Ukrainians speak a singsong dialect which was developed by the Austrian general staff” and have “a provincial culture. “They don’t want to use the powerful Russian cursewords and refuse to follow in the wake of Russian-language pop culture.”
11. “All Ukrainians know the words of their national anthem and sing it with tears in their eyes. Fools! It is enough to simply open one’s mouth and imitate singing,” as the Russians do.
12. And finally, Solovey says, “the main reason [Russians] don’t like Ukrainians and can’t forgive them is this: they are showing that another path is possible. Here and now.”