Once again on Russia’s war with Ukraine
It is easy to make one of two mistakes in assessing one’s position on the Russo-Ukrainian war and its participants. One could decide that since the Ukrainian people were victims of Russian aggression, it is necessary to support Ukraine against Russia. One might decide that since both the Russian and Ukrainian states are fighting for their own state interests, that they should be defeated and both Russia and Ukraine should be defeated. Both of these mistakes are based on the idea of Russia and Ukraine being one entity, whereas in each of these countries, apart from the state, there are different social groups who also have their own interests. With that in mind, let’s examine both mistakes and find the right solution.
Protection from aggression
All of Ukraine’s population suffers from Russian aggression, from a homeless person to the president. But they suffer in different ways. While ordinary Ukrainians risk losing their homes, their livelihoods, and often their very existence, if they are at risk of losing their health or even their lives, the war threatens oligarchs and public officials with the loss of their “source of food”, which for them is the Ukrainian people. For example, a wolf’s attack on a goat is fatal for a goat, but for its owner it is only the loss of the goat. Which does not exclude the possibility of his heroic struggle with the wolf for his goat. Which he milks and one day eats as well as the wolf.
The Ukrainian government, just like the Russian one, treats its “workers” and “village people” the same way the “village people” treat their cattle. And if the Ukrainian people resist this to a greater extent than the Russian people, not wanting to be cattle, it is the merit of the Ukrainian people, not the Ukrainian government.
The Ukrainian government is less evil compared to the Russian government precisely because the Ukrainian people are less obedient than the Russian people. If they unconditionally support their own government, the lesser evil will quickly become the greater one. And what good will it do to defend Ukraine against Russia if Ukraine becomes a complete imitation of Russia?
Horseradish and radish
Of course, the horseradish is no sweeter than the radish, but there are other root vegetables too. And it’s simply criminal not to understand the difference between a mercenary (let’s call things by their proper names), a conscript who was sent to the front without being asked his wish, and a territorial defense fighter, a civilian who takes up arms to defend his right to live as he thinks fit and not as Putin thinks fit, acting on his home territory, formally submitting to the central government, but in reality often taking decisions himself, in effect — a guerrilla insurgent.
Teroborons are not always angels either. It is said that the Russian soldiers are most afraid of being captured by the Teroboron. It is understandable — if a soldier is subordinate to his superiors, the partisan often decides for himself whether to buy a prisoner for barbecue or let him eat it himself, and his superiors are not the ones to command him. The famous Petliura pogroms were caused not by Petliura’s anti-Semitism, but by the willfulness of his atamans, as we would say today, “field commanders” of his semi-partisan army. On the other hand, Makhno, in his even more partisan army, successfully suppressed pogroms and anti-Semitism in general.
Finally, it should be understood that at the moment the Russian government is more dangerous than the Ukrainian government, at least for most Ukrainians. Fighting the Russian army is simply a matter of survival for many of them. Again, the point is not that the Russian army is a greater evil, but that it is a more dangerous evil. One does not choose between plague and cholera, as you know. At times it is necessary to decide which of the diseases to go for first. And if the plague only looms on the horizon, and half of the people are already in bed with cholera, you must first rush to get medicine for cholera. If cholera is on the horizon, and the plague is already overwhelming, then the plague must be cured. There are no units in Ukraine now that can fight on two fronts at once. Therefore, it is natural for the same army to fight against the Russian army without having to fight with the Ukrainian army.
Feel the difference!
It would seem, what difference does it make to fight against the Russian army because it is a greater evil, or because it is more dangerous? After all, it is all the same — against it. But no! A greater and a lesser evil are not necessarily more and less dangerous respectively. And if right now Russia is for Ukrainians both a greater and a more dangerous evil at the same time, over time things can change. And the question of whether to continue fighting the Russian army or to switch to the Ukrainian government will not depend on whether Russia remains the greater evil, but whether it remains the more dangerous one.
This does not only apply to Ukrainians. For the people of the Russian Federation, too, the most dangerous evil now is “theirs”, the Russian state. Its victory over Ukraine would mean for Russians not only an expansion of the prison they live in, but also a tightening of the prison regime, an even greater “tightening of the screws” by a power that has felt its strength. But as soon as the Russian government is weakened enough to capitulate (and after the West has imposed sanctions, it is unlikely to lift them even after the simple withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, and will try to “squeeze” Russia), the same liberals who once helped first Yeltsin, then Putin, but who were later pushed out of power and then from their feeding cart will arrive in the winner’s wagon. And they will come not to asphalt Russian roads or build sewage systems in villages, but to get back their trough so they can steal what Putin and Co. have not yet had time to steal. Putin once snatched a pipe from Khodorkovsky, now Khodorkovsky will get his chance to get it back. And he and his like will pay the collective West for helping him get his money back at the expense of the “deep people” who will be declared guilty of supporting Putin. And this very same people will be the least asked who they want to support and whether they want to support anyone at all. And then it is the liberals who will become the most dangerous evil for the Russians, whom they once drove to where Putin is now trying to drive the Ukrainians to, and whom they intend to “punish” by making scapegoats for doing the same.
Feel this and you will immediately feel the difference between fighting a more dangerous evil and supporting a lesser one.