9 December 2023, Saturday, 12:17
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Alexey Venediktov: Russians take Belarus and Ukraine as misunderstanding

Russia's political elite regards the Belarusian statehood in the way it takes the Ukrainian one.

The statement was made by Alexey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the Echo of Moscow radio, at the seminar “Russia-Ukraine: One Country or Two?”, Belorusski Partizan writes.

“As the editor of Echo of Moscow, I talk to Russian decision-makers. As I understand these people, who are usually normal, like whiskey and chess, they think there is no such nation as the Ukrainians,” he said.

According to him, the Russian political elite takes the Ukrainians, Belarusian and Russians as one nation. Venediktov notes that these politicians are not imperialists, reactionaries and obscurantist, but ordinary people, some of them are graduates of good European universities.

“They are convinced that it is one territory, but two areas (Ukraine and Belarus) separated for historical reasons. Sometimes it happens. There were two German states. Now we have three Russian states: Malorossia, Belorossia and Velikorossia. It will end one day. That's how they see the problem. This is their basic attitude towards the events in Ukraine. This is one nation, one territory, one big state. This is not an imperial nationalistic vision, this is a common vision. Decision-makers reflect the vision of most our fellow citizens. Ask people in streets, in the White House or in Red Square and you will hear almost the same answer. This is true that 85-87% think so,” the Russian journalist said.

Alexey Venediktov thinks the current generation of people that rule Russia legally recognises the existence of Ukraine as a separate state, but take it as a historical injustice. They think it is historically one nation and one state. The Ukrainians and Belarusians are the Russians but with another dialect.

“So, we need to be together. That's why we have customs unions, Slavic brotherhood, three states and so on. Boris Yeltsin, who said it both in public and unofficially, thought so, and Vladimir Putin thinks so. What happens to Ukraine is, to a certain extent, the struggle for justice for them,” the journalist notes.

The Russians take the Ukrainians and Belarusians as fraternal nations, as if they were parts of Russia. They cannot get rid of this stereotype. The number of radical nationalists is growing in Ukraine reaching 2.2%, Venediktov says. This movement will gather pace in Russia, too: the pugnacious youth from outskirts with baseball bats and radical goals is a great threat. Alexey Venediktov thinks the Russians were going to make a corridor through Donbass to Transnistria, where a Russian military base is located, to guarantee logistic support to Crimea. The process still goes on. The paragraph “Kievan Rus” was replaced by the paragraph “Rus” in new school textbooks in Russian History. The lack of education leads to wrong thoughts and decisions, the journalist noted.

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