Celebrating the Anniversary of the Ukrainian Revolution

I’m off to celebrate the first anniversary of the Ukrainian Revolution with my Russian husband but before I get on the way, here is how I know that this revolution is for real and that Ukrainians will prevail:

Ukrainian revolution

This is the Maidan in Kiev a couple of hours ago. This is how the main square looks after thousands and thousands of people stayed here for hours celebrating the anniversary of the revolution and honoring the memory of the fallen heroes.

Do you notice how clean it is? There is no garbage. None at all. If you are not from my part of the world, you don’t immediately know how significant this is. This is what the revolution has been about since the start: people getting together and taking charge of their own lives. The Maidan is so clean because Ukrainians have finally shed the colonialists’ contempt for this land and have turned to it with love. 

Ukrainians are not waiting for a good tsar any longer. There are hundreds of stories that show the people of Ukraine taking matters into their own hands without waiting for anybody to tell them what to do. The greatest among their achievements is, of course, creating a functioning and shockingly successful army out of nothing, feeding, clothing and arming it, sending it into battle, tending to the wounded, burying the dead – and all this as an enormous country-wide volunteer effort. People come home from work or from school and head straight to the volunteer centers to make masking net for the front lines. Or they get together to build a house for the family of a fallen soldier. Or stuff boxes with medical supplies to send to the soldiers.

And somehow they are figuring out who to do it without any specific person being in charge or giving orders. For people who came out of the USSR, this is an enormous achievement. 

This is how many people in Kiev came to the Maidan to honor the anniversary today:


Stop Wanting Things in Other People’s Lives

For those who are tired of posts about Ukraine, let’s discuss how disgusting this kind of parent is.

Poor kid. So small and already saddled with Mommy’s need to engage in a public spectacle of appropriating the daughter’s sexuality.

Note how abusive parents always begin their screeds with attempts to frame their abuse as normal and commonplace. It’s never “I do this to my child.” It’s always “we all do this, this is the only way to be.”

Kharkiv Is Ukraine

Some photos from the memorial service being held right now in my native city of Kharkiv, honoring the fallen heroes of the Ukrainian Revolution:


Photo credit: Leonid Logvinenko


There are insistent rumors that Russians will be invading Kharkiv next. I can only hope they are stopped before they reduce it to rubble like they did with Debaltseve this week.

What Could Russians Be Proud Of?

Sadly, even positive things turn into negative ones with the Russians. They are very proud of their language, for instance, and keep saying that it’s the richest, most beautiful language in the world. That’s obviously not true, since Russian has a very limited vocabulary, is very monotonous, and is not in the least melodic but who cares, these things are never reasonable.

This could be a good thing: taking pride in the language, working to preserve the literature in the language, funding scholarship, supporting libraries, etc. The nation could unite around this shared project and foster good, positive feelings of cultivating the language together. This is one of the really great things that a nation-state can offer. And there are examples of this happening in other places. The Jews got together and recovered the dead Hebrew. Ukrainians are relearning their language with joy and excitement. Quechua scholars bring the language of their ancestors to students around the world. How hard can it be to do something like that with Russian?

But what do the Russians do with their linguistic pride? They become aggrieved that not everybody in the world wants to speak their language and start invading countries to force them to speak it. Once again, an intrinsically good thing degenerated into gloomy suspiciousness and a carefully cultivated sense of moral outrage.

Gosh, if the Russians could only get over being upset with the rest of the world for two seconds, maybe they could even do something good for a change.

Why Are Russians Acting So Crazy?

What everybody wants to know is, of course, why the Russians are doing all this insane shit. Why are they invading Ukraine, threatening the world, and waving about the nukes?

The reason is our old friend, the nation-building. Russia is a federation where people of different races, ethnicities, languages and cultures inhabit an enormous territory. These people don’t have much in common. 

When you have such an extremely diverse population, you can either try to unite it around a powerfully positive set of feelings that will bind these people in love or you can try to unite the against a powerfully negative set of feelings that will bind them in hatred. In simpler terms, people need either to love or to hate together to feel they have something in common.

Remember, a nation is a myth. It is a myth that is so patently ridiculous that every vestige of reason has to be swept away by powerful emotions. Americans, for instance, glue themselves together with positive feelings of love and pride they direct towards the Constitution, the freedom, the American Dream, the Civil Rights movement, etc.

Russians never managed to create this kind of a shared positive emotional wave. So what’s left? Hatred, obviously. Hatred and blood. The blood spilled together is the greatest glue for communities. 

The fear of the country shattering into dozens of little pieces has been extremely strong in Russia for decades. This is a really grave concern for the Russians that is nothing like the funny preoccupations of the silly little secessionists in Texas. Russians are uniting against the imaginary foe (big evil Americans) and are killing Ukrainians in the name of that hatred. 

There is nothing like a search for a positive shared imagery in Russia right now. Until such imagery is generated, Russians will not stop lashing out in ever-growing violence.

Ukrainians, who also inhabit a large and diverse (although not anywhere near as large and diverse as Russia) country did manage to find a powerful positive agenda to unite around. And when Russians saw that, they really freaked out because they were being left behind even by the neighbors they saw as very similar to them. Russia needs to demolish Ukraine’s positive national project to convince itself that the project of hatred and violence is the only one possible.

P.S. For a smaller scale example of the same phenomenon, see Israel.