Russian historical roots in Ukraine



Russian President Vladimir Putin has a very conservative view of his country’s history. He firmly believes that Russia’s strength lies in its traditional Orthodox values.

For Putin, Russia is so isolated from the globalist agenda of the Western elite that it maintains its Byzantine heritage, old Slavic culture and orthodox beliefs, unaffected by postmodern tendencies in Europe and North America. can do.

According to Putin, Professor Mark Galeotti wrote that although some people use the word “Eurasia”, Russia is not an Asian country.

“It’s Europe, but it’s Europe proper. It’s the Russians who have defended Europe over and over again, whether it’s conquerors like Napoleon or Hitler, or the forces of chaos and deviation, sometimes golden It defended against external enemies, such as the Horde, and against other enemies, but also from internal enemies. It means there is.”

The Russian leader, a professed supporter of traditional Orthodox values, was initially very happy to partner with the “West.” This was under the assumption that as long as Russia supported the US-led “Global War on Terror”, Western leaders would treat Russia with more respect and not threaten its borders.

During his first few years in the presidential office, professor of Russian history Orlando Figes said Putin had moved Russia towards greater integration with the West, envisioning the country as “a part of Western European culture.”

Putin even said Russia would be open to joining NATO and the European Union as well. It depends on how you act, Figes added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the conflict with Ukraine in Moscow on September 21, 2022. This still image is from a video. (Russian Presidential Correspondence/Kremlin via Reuters)

Interestingly, much of Putin’s anger about the situation in Ukraine is aimed not only at the Western elite, but also at the Bolsheviks. To him, those communists disregarded Russia’s history and allowed historical Russian lands to be acquired by the newly independent Ukrainian state.

Some argue that Ukraine should have taken only what it had when it joined the USSR in 1922. This is also claimed by the late Alexander He Solzhenitsyn, the most famous Soviet dissident, an outspoken critic of communism and a major influence on President Putin. idea.

In this context, the Soviet “gift” to Ukraine is of little importance. In 1954, Crimea was handed over to Ukraine as a gift from half-Ukrainian Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

This was not surprising, as Russia’s most important naval base was located in Sevastopol, Crimea, largely due to the fact that Khrushchev assigned it to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Russia’s alliance with the Cossacks. Russian territory. Of course, in the former Soviet Union there was no border between Russia and Ukraine.

Russian soul

The Russians felt the loss of Crimea painfully. In the Crimean War he killed 250 thousand Russians. The region is also the symbolic homeland of the “Russian soul”, as it is the cradle of Russian Orthodox Christianity, where Prince Vladimir was baptized.

Vladimir Svyatoslavich, also known as Vladimir the Great, was the Grand Duke of Kiev and ruled the Grand Duchy of Kyiv from 980 to 1015. According to the Primary Chronicle, his conversion was the result of a quest for “true faith.”

Vladimir is still revered as a symbol of the divine origin of Russia as a united family of Russians, including modern Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. They were originally one nation, part of the same Slavic family who shared the same language and most of the same Christian Orthodox principles.

Epoch Times photo
Monument and wreath dedicated to protesters killed in recent clashes with security forces in Kiev, ‘Vladimir the Great’, Grand Duke of Kyiv from 980 to 1015 AD, in Notting Hill, London, UK It surrounds the statue of March 6, 2014. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

During Kyiv’s heyday, Moscow was hardly a town. The first mention of Moscow dates back to his 1147, when the soon-to-be Grand Duke of Kyiv Yuri Dolgoruky arranged a meeting in Moscow. At that time, Kyiv was the very heart and soul of the Ruthenian people.

But when the Mongols came, Kyiv was destroyed, and it was Moscow that became the main city of all Russia.

Before the Mongol invasion in the early 13th century, Kyiv had a population of 50,000, more than London and no less than Paris. But in 1236 the city was sacked by brutal barbarians and only 2,000 citizens survived. With the Mongol conquest, the princes of Kievan Rus became vassals of the “Golden Horde” and an estimated two-thirds of the towns of Kievan Rus were destroyed.

How does this period of Kievan Rus’ history really connect with the rest of Russian history, and does it make sense for modern Russia to claim it as the basis of a state? ?

Once again Figes provides the answer.

“Kievan Rus’ lasting legacy lies in its religious and cultural sphere, and Byzantium came to permanently mark Russian civilization. We must see Kievan Rus as part of Russia’s ancient history.” No — a period that is relevant to subsequent history in the same way that Anglo-Saxon Wessex is part of English history or Merovingian Gaul is associated with modern France — i.e., national religion as the source of its language, and its artistic form.”

What specifically defines both Russians and Ukrainians is their Orthodox faith. In 1325 Peter II, Archbishop of “Kyiv and All Rus”, transferred his position from Kyiv to Moscow, making it the new spiritual capital of All Rus. Moscow’s position with the Church was boosted by its military defeat of a large Tatar army at the Battle of Kulikovo near the Don River in 1380.

The victory at Kulikovo is still celebrated in Russia, and Putin frequently cited it as proof that his country was a power that “saved Europe from the Mongol menace” in the 14th century. I’m here.

On January 16, 1547, Grand Duke Ivan IV of Moscow was crowned as the new “Roman Emperor” by the Orthodox Emir Macarius. He became the first “Emperor”. This word comes from the Roman title “Caesar”.,” This is based on the claim that Moscow has become the “third Rome” after Constantinople and Rome itself.

Crowning the Grand Duke of Moscow as Tsar was a gesture to promote Moscow as the last “true seat” of the Christian faith, successor to Byzantium after the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks. .

Epoch Times photo
In a file photo, people walk along a shopping street near the gates of the Kremlin in Moscow. (Andreas Lenz/Getty Images)

Against NATO expansion

Since the mid-1990s, Russia has vehemently opposed NATO’s involvement and its strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and into the “West.”

Knowing the history of the region, Henry Kissinger, who served as U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, said Ukraine should never be allowed to join NATO. I believed.

“The West must understand that for Russia Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russia’s history began with Kievan Rus.” He said.

In a 1998 interview shortly after the U.S. Senate approved the first round of NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, prominent American diplomat George Kennan said that this was “a new Cold War, and perhaps a hot one. will end with,” he warned.

“I think it was a strategic mistake. There is no reason for this. No one was threatening anyone else,” Kennan said.

He then predicted that NATO enlargement would inevitably lead to a military crisis, and later said that supporters of such enlargement “will say that the Russians have always said it does.”

Arguably, Russia was already deeply humiliated by NATO’s decision to expand its alliance to include former Warsaw Pact members. And now they feel that NATO has moved perilously to its own borders by turning one of its once most powerful allies into a de facto member of the US military alliance.

Clearly, the Russians have reached the limit of their willingness to tolerate NATO’s expansionist policies, and indeed there may be historical reasons for it.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

August Zimmermann


Augusto Zimmermann is Professor and Legal Director at the Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, Perth. He has also served as President of the Western Australian (WA) Association of Legal Theory and Editor-in-Chief of The Western Australian Jurist, and from 2012 until 2017 he was a member of the WA’s Legal Reform Commission. “Composition Brasileiro”, “Western Legal Theory”, and “Christian Foundations of Common Law”.