March 5, 2014

Where's the civilizational divide in Ukraine?

We've all heard lately that the western and eastern halves of Ukraine have different cultures, with western Ukrainians, from Kiev west voting one way and eastern Ukrainians the other, but I'm wondering if that's not oversimplifying things
Samuel Huntington's famous 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, The Clash of Civilizations, suggested:
As the ideological division of Europe has disappeared, the cultural division of Europe between Western Christianity, on the one hand, and Orthodox Christianity and Islam, on the other, has reemerged. The most significant dividing line in Europe, as William Wallace has suggested, may well be the eastern boundary of Western Christianity in the year 1500. This line runs along what are now the boundaries between Finland and Russia and between the Baltic states and Russia, cuts through Belarus and Ukraine separating the more Catholic western Ukraine from Orthodox eastern Ukraine, swings westward separating Transylvania from the rest of Romania, and then goes through Yugoslavia almost exactly along the line now separating Croatia and Slovenia from the rest of Yugoslavia. In the Balkans this line, of course, coincides with the historic boundary between the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires. The peoples to the north and west of this line are Protestant or Catholic; they shared the common experiences of European history -- feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution; they are generally economically better off than the peoples to the east; and they may now look forward to increasing involvement in a common European economy and to the consolidation of democratic political systems. The peoples to the east and south of this line are Orthodox or Muslim; they historically belonged to the Ottoman or Tsarist empires and were only lightly touched by the shaping events in the rest of Europe; they are generally less advanced economically; they seem much less likely to develop stable democratic political systems.

Doesn't Huntington's line, however, not run through the middle of Ukraine, but instead divides the far west of Ukraine (Lviv/Lvov/Lwow/Lemburg, the Carpathians, and the other places ruled by the Austrians and/or the Polish Republic) from the rest of the Ukraine? The far west, such as Galicia, is the stronghold of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in "full communion" with Rome. (Does this mean the priests can marry?) While the rest of the country is kind of divided between Orthodox churches, one reporting to Moscow and another to Kiev.

There's a fair amount of evidence that the most dedicated people in the recent Kiev uprising tended to be from Lviv and other points in the far west.
On the other hand, Russian-speakers are concentrated in the east (and Crimea), while the far west and the midwest around Kiev both speak Ukrainian.

You might think that the west would be more industrial and the east more rural, but it's the other way around. By way of analogy, think of the American midwest. In the east of the midwest Chicago was a great industrial city, but was also politically kind of backwards, while Iowa to the west was mostly rural but in some ways more advanced.

So, language, religion, economy, and history don't line up all that well in Ukraine, which makes it kind of unstable. On the other hand, this blurriness offers room to build compromises.

Time will tell how accurate was Huntington's 1993 prediction that Russians and Ukrainians won't get into an all-out war:
Conflicts and violence will also occur between states and groups within the same civilization. Such conflicts, however, are likely to be less intense and less likely to expand than conflicts between civilizations. Common membership in a civilization reduces the probability of violence in situations where it might otherwise occur. In 1991 and 1992 many people were alarmed by the possibility of violent conflict between Russia and Ukraine over territory, particularly Crimea, the Black Sea fleet, nuclear weapons and economic issues. If civilization is what counts, however, the likelihood of violence between Ukrainians and Russians should be low. They are two Slavic, primarily Orthodox peoples who have had close relationships with each other for centuries. As of early 1993, despite all the reasons for conflict, the leaders of the two countries were effectively negotiating and defusing the issues between the two countries. While there has been serious fighting between Muslims and Christians elsewhere in the former Soviet Union and much tension and some fighting between Western and Orthodox Christians in the Baltic states, there has been virtually no violence between Russians and Ukrainians. 

Well, we shall see.

Still, I recall the video from a few days ago of a large number of Ukrainian soldiers courageously jogging up to some worried Russian soldiers, who fired some warning shots in the air, but then the Ukrainians slowly jawboned the Russians into letting them go about their business. I suspect that would have ended much worse if the Ukrainians didn't understand how to talk to the Russians.

Of course, neighbors are also most likely to go to war with each other, just like brothers punch each other more than random strangers punch each other.
   

72 comments:

Bert said...

There is no longer any Western Christianity. The divide now is between Christianity in the East and a bizarre militant atheist/Muslim alliance in the West.

Anonymous said...

The peoples to the east and south of this line are Orthodox or Muslim; they historically belonged to the Ottoman or Tsarist empires and were only lightly touched by the shaping events in the rest of Europe; they are generally less advanced economically; they seem much less likely to develop stable democratic political systems.

Spain was occupied by muslims for 700 years, but they still were able to be part of the West. Was it because they were Catholics, or that they ejected the muslims prior to the Renaissance?

Greece and the Balkans were occupied by muslims for less time, but they seemed to have missed the boat. Was it their religion? Or was it their misfortune to be trapped in the Ottoman Empire during the Renaissance and Reformation?

Russia seemed to have picked up on some Western things, but not others. Was this because of Religion? Or was it due to their continuous struggle against Asian raiders and the Ottomans? I've read they had a couple million people taken as slaves and Moscow was sacked a few times. So did that constant life and death struggle preclude them from developing like the rest of Europe?

I ask because I am curious as to why the east and south of Europe have been left behind. If it was religion, then is the Schism of 1054 to blame? Or was it the Ottoman occupation and endless battles with raiders from Central Asia?

It's unfortunate, as a European mutt, I'd like to see the rest of my peeps prosper.

Anonymous said...

OT
Steve would you comment on this
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/05/these-four-charts-show-how-the-sat-favors-the-rich-educated-families/?tid=up_next
The cluelessness, if real, leaves me mute.

Anonymous said...

There is no longer any Western Christianity. The divide now is between Christianity in the East and a bizarre militant atheist/Muslim alliance in the West.

There's a fairly strong remnant in France. Recall the millions who last year marched against gay marriage/adoption last year. Many were trad Catholics.

Konrad said...

You're right that the real division line in Ukraine splits the far-west from the rest. This is not due to Austria however, but to the fact that western Ukraine was for centuries a part of Poland, whereby they got influenced by western (latin) civilisational patterns, incl. catholicism. In contrast, middle and eastern parts of the country were always Tatar/Russian/Cossack dominated. Of course all this is history now and new factors are at play.

Anonymous said...

Btw I wonder if there are still Ukrainians in Western Poland. Stalin moved them there because he was worried by how many Galicians fought for the Nazis (and massacred Poles).

Seems an odd thing to do - Galicians massacre Poles - so they move them to Poland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Vistula

"Memories of Operation Vistula remain as another scar in the complex, often troubled 20th-century relations between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, alongside the massacres of Poles in Volhynia by the UPA during World War II in the wake of the interwar oppression of the Ukrainians in the Polish controlled territories that followed the Polish-Ukrainian War in Galicia in 1918-1919 and the subsequent partition of Ukrainian lands between Poland and USSR in the Peace of Riga."

Anonymous said...

There is no longer any Western Christianity. The divide now is between Christianity in the East and a bizarre militant atheist/Muslim alliance in the West.

Christianity in the West is in a state of slumber. It reeled from the World Wars and was then pummeled by the increasing materialism/sexualisation and nihilism of Zionists/Neocons/EU and their media-driven supression of Christianity. The "islamisation" of Europe, which is simply teh sresult of uncontrolled mass immigration of Muslims, is a direct product of willful action against the church by the Zionists/Neocons/EU.
But the church will awaken again, because the Zionist/Neocon/Eu cabal have nothing of real value to offer the people.

David M. said...

I think that the Ukrainian/Russian language gap is oversimplified. In the media, you get the impression that there are two completely distinct languages, spoken exclusively in one region or the other. It seems in reality that there are three rough areas, 1) the far west, i.e. Galicia, the old Polish/Austro-Hungarian areas, where the Ukrainian language is dominant, 2) the far east and Crimea, where Russian is dominant, and 3) the areas in between, which are another story. In the areas in between there is admixture of the Russian and Ukrainian, both in the sense that people use one or the other language depending on the situation (i.e. one for work, one for home), and in the sense that the languages are actually mixed together in varying degrees.

So in some areas, the Ukrainian language is actually just a dialect of Russian, or even an affected slang, and in other areas, it is a different language but possesses a lot of borrowings from Russian. Then in the West it is as fully distinct a language as Polish is from Russian.

Look at it like Eubonics. There are some blacks in Atlanta, for instance, that can only speak Eubonics (much to the detriment of their employment prospects). There are many blacks in the city who switch without effort between standard American English and Eubonics depending on whether they are at home or at work, and then there are many blacks who speak standard American English but who have an accent and use black slang words when they feel like emphasizing their ethnic identity. Finally, there are some that couldn't speak Eubonics any better than I could if their life depended on it. And, depending on the neighborhood, the language itself changes. While people in a tony black neighborhood in Atlanta may certainly speak with a different accent and use some different words than the tony white neighborhood down the street, they are really just speaking standard English, whereas in some impoverished inner city neighborhoods, you are really talking about a distinct language (I know we call it a dialect, but break down the grammar and vocabulary and I bet we will find as much or more difference as between Ukrainian and Russian.) Anyway, that sort of how I figure it is in the Ukraine.

But what the hell do I know? Anybody from the Ukraine who can enlighten us?

5371 said...

The Transcarpathian oblast (which used to belong to Hungary) is home to minority Ruthene groups who are significantly less anti-Russian than the Galicians. Their kin in Poland are those who were moved to western territories taken from Germany after the war.

dearieme said...

Interesting article in the Tel about the officer in charge of that Ukrainian march. He was said to be from central Ukraine. His wife is half Uke half Russki; she was quoted as saying that she doesn't know whether she's one or t'other. She also commented how much she liked the Crimea, and that the U the R and the Tatars get along very well.

Anonymous said...

The Modern Ukrainian nationalism is also largely product of "far West" or Ukrainian diaspora, much of it having its roots in the "far West". Ukrainian (Uniate)Catholic church was traditionally pretty much confined in the far West and Lviv was the seat of its Major Archbishop. After Ukraine gained its independence the seat of Major Archbishop was moved to Kiev. I think that this symbolizes rather well how formerly "far Western" conception of Ukraine was after the independence adopted also (by some circles) in Central and Western Ukraine. By the way, uniate priests may marry.

Sid said...

You have to wonder how much of the current ethnic divide in Ukraine stems from how Stalin starved 3-5 million Ukrainians to death in 1932-1933. As millions of Ukrainians died, many Russians settled in their steed. The areas where the Russians moved to became more economically dependent on Russia, so the ethnic Ukrainians there are more sympathetic to Russian interests, since they wouldn't dare bite the hand that feeds.

Much of Galicia was part of Poland until the Hitler-Stalin Pact, and those areas are now especially opposed to Russian dominance.

Anonymous said...

>> Western Christianity, on the one hand, and Orthodox Christianity and Islam, on the other


Let's see you sell can that script to some Coptic Christians

Dan said...

The Spanish royalty that did the hard work to eject the Muslims, and I might add, the Jews from Spain were often Anglo-Norman in origin.

The Lancastrians in particular. The Black Prince was very active down there.

Catherine of Aragon was a ginger haired doppelgänger of Henry VIII if you look at her portraits and Henry's side by side.

The Spanish aristocrats were very Northern looking.

Simon in London said...

All of Ukraine is east of the marriage-structure Hajnal Line, a reliable indicator of the Core West IME. But Galicia like Poland is central-European, the rest of Ukraine is eastern-European, like Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, and most of Yugoslavia.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

"The Center" (of a civilization) is an important component of Huntington's model. The Center not only mediates disputes between other players within its civilization, but it muscles the overly aggressive into line. It's in part because the Islamic civilization lacks a Center that it is so aggressive and bloody, not only externally but internally.

It seems to be an aim of American / Zionist foreign policy to suppress the rise of an Islamic Center in the Middle East. This tends to keep things bubbling.

Decades of American strategic hostility to post-Soviet Russia is wilting its ability to act as a Center for Eastern Christian civilization. American hostility to Moscow doing the kinds of things a Center normally does to calm things down within its civilization is intense.

One could speculate on whether this is mostly due to the foot-dragging of the East in being "ready" for non-white mass immigration and forced assimilation, or whether it comes down to the long memories and ethnic grievances of the new American ruling class against Slav neighbors, or simple aggressiveness and power, combined with the networking of the Kagan gang, the oligarchs and so on. There is no proof that any one explanation is right to the exclusion of others.

In any case, suppression of the Eastern Christian Center plus constant aggression tends to keep things bubbling.

Silver said...

I think some of some of the Balkans and Belarus and Ukraine and even parts of Russia might have to be reclassified as "torn" (in Huntington's terminology) in coming years. A great deal will depend on what happens on the immigration scene before the onset of Europe's demographic winter. If they take a western-style hit they might come to see themselves as having more in common with western countries by the time they realize what a pickle they're in, and attempt cooperation with the west in solving the problem or, alternatively, surrendering to it.

If I were going to be poetic about it I might say, "From Kaliningrad in the Baltic to Athens in the Aegean, a great tear has appeared in the fabric of civilizational identity. Along that line the denizens of ancient states of eastern Europe have joined their cousins to the west in contemplating their existential fate: shall they strive to live on or gleefully depart the earth under a halo of racial rectitude?"

SFG said...

"Conflicts and violence will also occur between states and groups within the same civilization. Such conflicts, however, are likely to be less intense and less likely to expand than conflicts between civilizations. "

I haven't read the whole book, but aren't England, France and Germany part of the same civilization? So, um, WW1 and WW2 weren't intense?

(Granted the Rooskies got involved, but still.)

BB753 said...

Western Ukraine was in the past a contested zone between Cossacks and the turkified remnant of the Golden Horde, Tatars. And distinctive for hosting all kinds of far-flung groups, such as Greeks, Goths, Palatinate Germans, etcs. Russians settled later.

josh said...

Yes, married men may become priests in the Eastern Rite Catholic Church.

sykes.1 said...

Re married priests: The Catholic Church contains several Eastern Rite traditions that allow married priests. Generally, however, as in the Orthodox Churches, bishops can't be married.

Also, those former Anglican priests who came over to the Catholic Church under the Anglican Rite can be married.

Art Deco said...

The Byzantine-rite Catholic churches make use of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and make use of a different liturgical calendar than do the Roman-rite Churches. They are also under a parallel hierarchy and a different canon law. With regard to clerical discipline, Eastern-rite churches in the old country will ordain married men. Eastern-rite churches in the diaspora ordain only celibates. However, there are more than a few clergy in the diaspora who underwent their formation back home, and these are often married.

In my experience, Eastern-rite Catholic parishes tend to have some psychological distance from their surroundings and a certain insularity. There are occasional prayers offered for the Orthodox. I think there is much more inter-confessional resentment back home, which reaches its apogee at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Art Deco said...

By the way, uniate priests may marry.

No. The Church will ordain married men, routinely among the Eastern-rite churches of the old country, and with special dispensations in the west.

Priests may only marry if they have been dismissed from the clerical state.

Anonymous said...

"...the far west and the midwest around Kiev both speak Ukrainian."

In Kiev most speak Russian at home. In Galicia everyone speaks Ukrainian. In central Ukraine city-dwellers tend to speak Russian while villagers tend to speak Ukrainian or a Ukrainian-Rissian mix, which they call Surzhik. In eastern and southern Ukraine everyone speaks Russian.

Dahinda said...

The narrative says that Chicago is all corrupt and the politicians are notoriously corrupt but the politicians in Chicago early on spotted the trend and as far back as the 1940s made conserted efforts to keep the middle class from leaving the city. They also coddled the business community in a way that kept Chicago from becoming Detroit or Gary, Indiana. On the other hand, Iowa has been touted recently as the "new Appalachia," and politicians in that state haven't exactly been on the ball in trying to reverse the slide Iowa finds itself in. I live not to far from Iowa today and it is not as progressive as it is made out to be.

Anonymous said...

"the far east and Crimea, where Russian is dominant"

Russian is also dominant on the southern mainland coast, all the way west to Odessa.

Anonymous said...

How the long-gone Habsburg Empire is still visible in Eastern European bureaucracies today

http://www.voxeu.org/article/habsburg-empire-and-long-half-life-economic-institutions

Also in the comments here there are some maps showing crime rate and prevalence of HIV by oblast

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10814

Scheissherr said...

"Spain was occupied by muslims for 700 years, but they still were able to be part of the West. Was it because they were Catholics, or that they ejected the muslims prior to the Renaissance?

Greece and the Balkans were occupied by muslims for less time, but they seemed to have missed the boat. Was it their religion? Or was it their misfortune to be trapped in the Ottoman Empire during the Renaissance and Reformation?

Russia seemed to have picked up on some Western things, but not others. Was this because of Religion? Or was it due to their continuous struggle against Asian raiders and the Ottomans? I've read they had a couple million people taken as slaves and Moscow was sacked a few times. So did that constant life and death struggle preclude them from developing like the rest of Europe?

I ask because I am curious as to why the east and south of Europe have been left behind. If it was religion, then is the Schism of 1054 to blame? Or was it the Ottoman occupation and endless battles with raiders from Central Asia?

It's unfortunate, as a European mutt, I'd like to see the rest of my peeps prosper."

Blame the Ottomans for the Balkan backwardness, I think--they were cut off from the rest of Europe.

The schism of 1054 didn't help, of course, but it's worth remembering the *west* of Europe was the backward half at that point. Heck, if anything Islam was the advanced religion at that point in time!

As for the Russians, I think it is as you claim--democracy does not prosper when you have to keep fighting external enemies. We were lucky with our twin mega-moats!

Anonymous said...

The far west, such as Galicia, is the stronghold of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in "full communion" with Rome. (Does this mean the priests can marry?)

Just FYI, yes, Ukrainian Catholic priests can be married. My grandfather was one! I know, blows your mind, right? (A fine point is that the sequence matters: a married man can be ordained a priest; but a priest cannot marry. So if you are widowed you are out of luck.)

The New York Times has actually had some good articles on this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/world/europe/23ukraine.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/us/married-roman-catholic-priests-are-testing-a-tradition.html

Richard J. Daley's ghost said...

In the east of the midwest Chicago was a great industrial city, but was also politically kind of backwards, while Iowa to the west was mostly rural but in some ways more advanced.

Wait, what?

AlexT said...

To answer your question steve, yes the Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests can marry. Their Bishops can't and they are always chosen from among the ranks of monks or hieromonks(unmarried priests). Basically it's an Orthodox church that recognises the pope but is eastern in every other way. Ther is also a Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church in the Carpathian region of western Ukraine. This is also a source of tension as Ukrainian nationalists claim that Ruthenians are a mere subset of the Ukrainian ethnic group while the Ruthenians disagree. There are Ruthenians in Croatia and Serbia as well known as Pannonian Ruthenians who have their own Greek Catholic Church (the Eparchy of Krizevci). These churches are referred to as uniate churches and are especially loathed by Orthodox christians as they are essentially groups of former Orthodox believers who joined Rome and were allowed to keep their form of worship. The word 'traitor' gets used alot in regards to them.

Curtis said...

Two brothers may punch each other more frequently, but they are less likely to beat each other to a pulp than two strangers are.

According to Huntington's theory, therefore, two different cultures or civilizations may be less likely to go to war than factions within a culture - but when they do, the results will be more catastrophic.

Furthermore, if modern conflicts are waged between cultures, than the best thing the U.S. can do is stay away from the Ukraine crisis. Our involvement would escalate it... according to the civilizational construct, which is not exactly proven.

Anonymous said...

I just saw the news that the parliament of Crimea has voted to secede from the Ukraine and join Russia. A referendum is scheduled for March 16th. It will have two options: 1) Secession from the Ukraine and entry into Russia. 2) restoring the 1992 constitution with Crimea as an autonomous republic within the Ukraine.

The people of the Crimea will undoubtedly vote for rejoining Russia. I see that somone in the leadership of United Russia (the largest party in the Russian parliament) has welcomed this news. I'm very pleasantly surprised. I thought Putin would keep Crimea de jure within the Ukraine.

This is highly historic stuff. It would do a lot more for morale within Russia than some games. The Crimea is beautiful. Climactically it's Mediterranean. Beaches backed by mountains. A huge percentage of Russians know the peninsula personally because they've vacationed there. Most of the population is Russian.

Beyond that it's a milestone and a symbol of Russia's rebirth after the disasterous 1990s.

After this some parts of mainland Ukraine will want to do the same. Kharkov and Donetsk are huge Russian-speaking cities. The government in Kiev will want to disrupt any referendums there. I can easily imagine Right Sector guys attacking the polls. It was easy to seal off the Crimea from the Kiev government's forces and from irregular thugs. How does one do that in eastern Ukraine? I don't know if Russia will want to encourage referendums there. They could break out without encouragent though.

jody said...

good research.

Bill said...

Steve asks . . .
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in "full communion" with Rome. (Does this mean the priests can marry?)

Priests cannot marry in any of the relevant churches (Latin Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Greek Catholic), as far as I know.

What you mean to ask, I think, is whether married men may become priests. The answer to that is "yes" in all three, though this is only a rare exception rather than the rule in Latin Rite Catholicism. It is much more common in the other two.

jody said...

one of the biggest divides is that russian and ukrainian use the cyrillic alphabet, while german and english use the latin alphabet. that right there is a pretty big signifier of a significant difference between the language groups, and hence the people. if you have to learn a new alphabet to learn a new language (or if the language you're learning has NO alphabet), then you're definitely in a culturally different and distinct part of the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet

both klitschkos speak ukrainian, russian, german, and english, so it would be interesting to get their take on the ukrainian and russian languages as they breathe and exist in 2014 ukraine and the border regions.

then again, perhaps not. probably not mentioned so far on isteve is that they both live in germany, which shows you how poor and backward ukraine really is. the guy who wants to be the president of ukraine doesn't even want to live there. so they might not be up on the latest linguistic situation in the nation.

presumably if vitali had won the presidential election he would have moved to ukraine. wlad is engaged to american actress hayden panettiere, so i wonder if he will move to the US. i can't see an american woman in show business voluntarily moving to germany, and definitely not moving to ukraine.

John Cunningham said...

usually, Eastern churches which are in some type of relationship to Rome retain Orthodox practices, including ordination of married men, their own liturgies in their languages, their own rules, etc.

Hunsdon said...

David M said: Look at it like Eubonics.

Hunsdon said: I've never heard "Eubonics" before; it's always been "Ebonics." I like the use of Eubonics, though, as it implies a gladsome sound. Judo, or just a novel coinage?

Anonymous said...

Stalin toyed with populations like Risk armies, shifting them here and there, and therefore those ancient civilizational border Sailer speaks of simply no longer exist, and it isn't possible to understand Eastern Europe without knowing of Stalin's meddling.
He moved everybody westwards, Germans out of Danzig and Stettin and into East Germany, Poles into Stettin and the other former German territories, and also out of Lviv (which used to be majority Polish!) into what remained of Poland, and Ukrainians into Lviv, and Russians into Eastern Ukraine. So that explains it.
The traditional territory of Ukrainian civilization is roughly the present day territory of Ukraine, with the heart of it being Kiev, certainly not Lviv which was not only politically but also ethnically Polish in the 19th century. The West of Ukraine is agrarian while the East is industrialized simply because the East was Russified and the Ukrainians were the breadbasket people of the Soviet Union, while the industrial workers were Russian. And finally it's very important to note that the ukrainian West is pro-Western not because it is Catholic which it isn't, or because it experienced the Renaissance which it didn't or because it isn't part of the traditional Russian heartland when in fact Rus (a word which encompasses Ukraine, Belarus and Russia) culture was born precisely in Kiev in western Ukraine. No, the reason western Ukraine is pro-Western is simply because of hatred and rivalry towards their former masters, the Russians, and resentment for the Holodomor, you know.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment a while ago (the one that began with "Stalin toyed...), and I then realized that the comment sounds way too confident for the little I know. I don't actually know that much about the Ukraine and my comment should have been written to sound like fallible chit-chat with much guesswork, not an authoritative statement, and I believe it comes across the wrong way.

Larry, San francisco said...

Also one shouldn't forget that a large proportion of the Ukranians in the East were murdered in the great famine in the early 1930's and the great terror in the later 1930's. They were replaced by Russian speakers from the east

Anonymous said...

The one event that kept Russians, Belorussians, and Ukrainians from coalescing into a single people was the Mongol invasion of Russia. The large kingdom of Kievan Rus, which more or less covered Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia from the Urals to the Caucasus (with its borders just north of Moscow), was utterly destroyed and subjugated by the Mongols. The Kingdom of Novgorod, which would include modern-day St Petersburg and southern borders just northwest of Moscow, managed to stay Mongol-free. It was from this territory that the Russians began the centuries-long task of retaking their country from the Mongols. Some pockets of Mongols, like the Crimean Tatars, hung on to their territory as late as the 18th century. But at any rate, this is the biggest reason that the Ukrainians and Belarussians maintained a separate identity from the Russians.

Anonymous said...

A good summary of what's going on between Russia and the Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, as someone who recently lived in Ukraine, I can attest that nearly all Ukrainians speak both Russian and Ukrainian and indeed mix the two quite promiscuously, creating a dialect which is called surzhyk. Russians have a harder time understanding Ukrainian. The exceptions to this bilingual state are Crimea and perhaps the far western regions among young people who have been educated since the breakup of the USSR. Even in Lviv the kids understand Russian as that is the language of television, although it comes with Ukrainian subtitles! The dialect of Lviv is actually considered a little Polonized and the "purest" Ukrainian is said to be spoken in Kyiv (where the intelligentsia live) or in the Cherkassy/Vinnytsia regions where Shevchenko was from. Basically the places that were farthest from Moscow without coming under the control of Poland. All lessons in school are taught in Ukrainian even in the East (there is the occasional school which elects to brand itself as a Russian language school.) Other than that Ukrainian kids these days will be reading Pushkin and Dostoyevsky in Ukrainian translation! Along with copious amounts of Taras Shevchenko. Finally there is a bit of rural/urban element at work-Ukrainian being the peasant/rural tongue and Russian more common amongst industrial workers and city dwellers. Even in Kharkov or Dnipropetrovsk oblasts you'll find more Ukrainian than Russian speaking in the villages.

Sean said...

"You are live on US TV"

That's what the Ukrainian commander told the Russians. They know that Russia fears the power of the US, soft and hard.


This is like Mexico forming links with the political and economic structure of the Warsaw Pact. The European Community is the political wing of NATO, and it is now at the borders of Russia, which had to take action, albeit costly, to limit the NATO gains in relative power.

Ukraine has no intention of defending itself like a real country. That was the meaning of it abandoning nuclear weapons. Ukraine now stands under Europe and its American overlord's protection. So the way things were going was NATO would put a dress on Russia and everyone will have a dance.
---------------
JOHN MEARSHEIMER:"Well, it’s not only most Americans who have been shocked by what has happened. It’s quite clear that the White House and most experts in Washington have been shocked.

I don’t understand why they have been shocked. The fact is that Putin and the Russians more generally have made it clear that they will not tolerate on their borders a Ukraine or a Georgia that is pro-Western and is leaning towards joining NATO. They’re very clear on this. And we didn’t, by ourselves, engineer the coup in Kiev, that’s for sure, but there’s no question that the Americans — the Americans were giving encouragement to the rebellious forces, and that helped topple the government.

And from a Russian point of view, this is simply unacceptable. Ukraine is a core strategic interest, and the fact that most Americans don’t understand that is amazing to me."
--------------------

No more than the US accepted Sandinistas in Nicaragua will Russia accept a NATO Ukraine. If Russia loses Ukraine to the West, it will see itself as close to being eliminated as a great power. And please don't tell me the US missile shield right in Russia's back yard won't be able smother their nukes, or deny US technology will be able to locate clunky Russia subs in a few years. Once a nuclear exchange means Russian destruction without the US getting its hair mussed, Russia's relegation to second rate power will be sealed.

Art Deco said...

No more than the US accepted Sandinistas in Nicaragua will Russia accept a NATO Ukraine.

You do realize that Nicaragua has a Sandinista government maintained in power by vote fraud?

Anonymous said...

Surzhik was mentioned here. It's what Ukrainians call a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian. Originally this word signified a type of bread that's made from a mixture of wheat and rye.

Baloo said...

Another map:
Ethno-Linguistic Map of Ukraine

Sean said...

The Sandinistas are not allied with Russia. So they're irrelevant now and there is no need for the Contras. Or slaughtering peasants priests, intellectuals....everyone really. (As that Guatemalan general said about his own uppity countyfolk 'we kill a third, we force a third to flee, and we provide development for a third').

Anonymous said...

Conflicts and violence will also occur between states and groups within the same civilization. Such conflicts, however, are likely to be less intense and less likely to expand than conflicts between civilizations.

This part of Huntington's theory always seemed implausible to me. Some of the most bitter outgroup hatred and violence in the world is directed towards those quite close to one's ingroup: Hutus and Tutsis, Germans and Jews, Turks and Armenians, Turks and Greeks. Religiously and politically, too, many fanatics are angrier at apostates and heretics than at infidels. The keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem are kept by a Muslim because the Christian sects at the Church squabble among themselves so much that they couldn't agree on one of them keeping it.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that Nicaragua has a Sandinista government maintained in power by vote fraud?

You do realize that the Soviet Union dissolved and ceased meddling in Latin America right? The same can't be said for NATO.

Bert said...

"Wait, what?"

I think he's referring to how Chicago was dominated by clannish ethnics, whereas Iowa had nice, upstanding Protestants

Art Deco said...

The Sandinistas are not allied with Russia. So they're irrelevant now and there is no need for the Contras. Or slaughtering peasants priests, intellectuals....everyone really. (As that Guatemalan general said about his own uppity countyfolk 'we kill a third, we force a third to flee, and we provide development for a third').

There was a high death toll in Guatemala over the period running from 1960 to 1996, but it amounted to 2 or 3% of the population, not one-third.

The Sandinistas are now part of the Chavez axis, so antagonistic without Russian patronag.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the civilizational split in Ukraine is between the far western part - Galicia - and the rest.

The distinction between middle Ukraine and South/East Ukraine is more like the difference between British and Australians. Enough to want to be independent but otherwise part of the same context.

Anonymous said...

"I ask because I am curious as to why the east and south of Europe have been left behind. If it was religion, then is the Schism of 1054 to blame? Or was it the Ottoman occupation and endless battles with raiders from Central Asia?"

I think a lot of it down to being the border regions.

NW Europe was much more sheltered.

Anonymous said...

"There is no longer any Western Christianity."

It's still there it's just morphed into dozens of isms. For example which populations provide the main drive for things like animal rights and environmentalism.

That's the thing about these underlying civilizational foundations they show up in all sorts of seemingly unrelated ways like invisible ink.

Dan said...

Christianity has been replaced by a liberal orthodoxy.
It's pretty straightforward. You worship minorities, you abhore racism. You pity the African.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, how is that the people in Washington, IL, devastated by a tornado, don't qualify for FEMA aid. Yet, we can instantly send 1 billion in aid to the Ukraine?

Anonymous said...

Ukrainian is a set of intermediate stages between Russian and Polish. Similarly, Catalan is an intermediate stage between Spanish and French.

Before centralized states imposed mass literacy on Europe, most of the continent consisted of dialect continua. If you moved a few miles in any direction from any point, you noticed a subtle change in language. A few days' journey resulted in lack of intelligibility. In this way Italian and Spanish imperceptibly morphed into French. High German gradually morphed into Low German, which gradually morphed into Dutch. Dutch did not gradually morph into English because of a natural obstacle - the English Channel. The various Slavic languages gradually morphed into each other.

The standard Russian language of today started as the dialect of Moscow, just like the standard French of today started as the dialect of Paris. The hereditary princes of Moscow had skill and luck on their side in conflicts with their neighbors. They ended up creating a very large state. As this state became stronger and more centralized, most of the elites found on its territory switched to the Moscow dialect for career-advancement purposes. In the countryside and among the lower classes the primordial dialect continuum lived on for a while afterwards. When you read classic Russian literature, you sometimes find aristocratic protagonists speaking in a perfectly modern way, while their servants and peasants speak long-dead rustic dialects.

When universal state-run compulsory education was introduced, it was conducted in the standard language, which was based on the dialect of the educated elite of the time, which itself was based on the historical dialect of Moscow.

In Russia universal compulsory education ended up killing most of the local dialects. Something similar happened in France several decades earlier, though not to the same extent. At this point 90% of the time you cannot tell what part of Russia a native speaker is from by his speech.

The Moscow standard fared worse in the Ukraine than in Russia. This was partly because soon after the Revolution the Soviet state officially recognized a thing called "the Ukrainian language". This thing was based on the historical dialect of the town of Poltava. It was taught in Ukrainian schools, sometimes as a supplement to Russian, sometimes as the main medium of instruction. Some newspapers were printed in it. Since Poltava is situated between Moscow and Warsaw, its dialect was intermediate between standard Russian and standard Polish, though closer to Russian. Of course in imperial and Soviet times most ambitious, upwardly mobile Ukrainians made sure that their kids learned to speak the most prestigious language around (standard Russian) without an accent.

In Galicia the local stretch of the dialect continuum was threatened for a while by Polish, but ended up surviving.

In late Soviet times the city folk of most of the Ukraine spoke either unaccented Russian (the thing that descends from the old dialect of Moscow) or Russian with a Ukrainian accent. The language of the countryside was less affected by the Moscow standard. In Galicia even the city folk spoke the local language.

One of the goals of Ukrainian nationalism is to force "the Ukrainian language" on all of the Ukraine. They're doing it the same way that the old Moscow dialect prevailed over others in Russia - through the state-run educational system and the media. One problem with this is that the people they're trying to reeducate aren't peasants. Russian speakers rarely look up to Ukrainian. On the contrary, they often look down on it. Unlike 19th century peasants, they already speak a language of high culture and mass media. So there is some resistance.

I wouldn't say it's the biggest cause of this conflict, but it's certainly one of them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous3/6/14, 2:22 PM
You do realize that Nicaragua has a Sandinista government maintained in power by vote fraud?

You do realize that the Soviet Union dissolved and ceased meddling in Latin America right? The same can't be said for NATO.


Russia very much meddles in Latin America to this day. It is currently trying to expand its naval presence in the Atlantic via Venezuela. Because the only news you consume is Russia today you don't know this basic fact. It's funny how the paleocons you swquak the shrillest about tel aviv and amen corners are themselves so likely to get their own foreign country to subordinate the US's interest to. What happened to rooting for good ole USA. Oh right the male order bride guess that makes sense. When she leaves you after she gets her green card do you think you'll put American interests first again.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-world-changing-trends-that-will-transform-pop-culture/?utm

Percy Gryce said...

Steve ought to read the late Jaroslav Pelikan's Confessor Between East and West: A Portrait of Ukrainian Cardinal Josyf Slipyj (1990).

Anonymous said...

What happened to rooting for good ole USA.

The USA as we know it doesn't exist anymore. That's what happened to rooting for the good ole USA.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 4: 19 PM said: Oh right the male order bride guess that makes sense.

Hunsdon said: Homonyms are a bitch.

Anonydroid said: It's funny how the paleocons you swquak the shrillest about tel aviv and amen corners are themselves so likely to get their own foreign country to subordinate the US's interest to.

Hunsdon said: My objection to Tel Aviv is more that we are yoked to them than anything they do on their own. My objection to the amen corner is that they seem to serve Israel's (perceived) interests, not America's.

How does us not picking a fight with Russia harm, threaten or subordinate US national interests?

Reg Cæsar said...

Anon: Ukrainian is a set of intermediate stages between Russian and Polish. Similarly, Catalan is an intermediate stage between Spanish and French.

And, amazingly, Galician is an intermediate step between Ukrainian and Polish while doubling as an intermediate step between Castilian and Portuguese, making it the most versatile dialect on the planet.

Okay, that's a lame joke. But, also amazingly, an anonymous comment is intelligent now and then. Congrats.

Anonymous said...

Always and everywhere, should we not support the right of self-determination and secession, if a people choose to go that way? That means, in this case, Crimea from Ukraine. As well as Scotland and Catalonia potentially in the near future from the UK and Spain, respectively. It seems to be the best way to resolve ethnic issues: just separate.

Anonymous said...

I never liked Huntington's article. It is crude, childish, and sort of arbitrary. Mali and Uzbekistan are in the same category but Vietnam and Cambodia are completely different "civilizations?" Good grief.

Anonymous said...

"Always and everywhere, should we not support the right of self-determination and secession, if a people choose to go that way?"

Yes, imo.

scottlocklin said...

It's rarely mentioned that the Ukrainian army is no longer primarily a conscript army, and in fact, many of the Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea are ... from Crimea.

East and West are quite different there, however. The people even look different.

Maxwell Power said...

In the east of the midwest Chicago was a great industrial city, but was also politically kind of backwards, while Iowa to the west was mostly rural but in some ways more advanced.

^This humorous aside could probably be remade into a good retrospective article for Takimag or elsewhere... at some point Chicago must have taken in a lot of Scandinavians; who, upon getting there, realized it was a sewer; so kept going onto Iowa or Minnesota

Steve Sailer said...

Cabrini Green housing project was built on what had been an Italian slum, but before that a Swedish slum (my father-in-law remembered an old Chicago saying: "he was as drunk as seven Swedes). Poor Swedish tenement dwellers drank and their daughters got pregnant out of wedlock. They were replaced by poor Italians, who didn't much drink and whose daughters never had illegitimate children; but occasionally a dead body would be found that nobody knew nuthin' about.

Maxwell Power said...

Uh, well, maybe it motivated the Danes/Swedes to clean up their act. "A gun and a kind word," etc.--think that's in Dante somewhere...

In the time of the earliest (way pre-Code) silent cinema was a profitable mini-genre about Swedish white slavers; maybe a lurid ripped-from-the-headlines plot that played well in Peoria