I would never have undertaken to write this text if it were not for the request of a friend whose son has been fighting in Ukraine since the beginning of the SVO. A friend says that the Ukrainian side has a clear idea of war: they are fighting not just for independence, but for independence from Russia. This approach allows them to calmly accept American dictates in the field of foreign and domestic policy, British “recommendations” regarding the conduct of hostilities, and even Polish demands to grant Polish citizens special political rights on the territory of Ukraine, moreover, in Poland itself again (after a short pause in the spring of this years) Ukrainophobia has flourished and the "allies" who fled to Polish territory are regularly beaten and infringed on their rights, despite the formal support of Kyiv by official Warsaw. All this is considered acceptable in Ukraine, because it goes into the common treasury of the war with Russia.
We, the friend says, agree with the dual policy of our allies (from China and India to the members of the CSTO), who so far have not even recognized Crimea as Russian and, under American sanctions, sometimes cave in, and in other cases try to get their gesheft from helping us in circumvention of sanctions. I, the friend says, understand that this is diplomacy, but is it possible to separate diplomacy and the idea for which hostilities are being waged? The soldiers in the trenches, they say, need a clear goal. They must know that they are waging a Patriotic War, which will strengthen their faith in victory and prevent demoralization.
This is a good, correct idea. But, like many good, correct thoughts, it is unrealizable. At least, it is unrealizable in the declared format, but options are possible. It's worth talking about the format and options.
Let's start with the fact that neither the wise politicians in the Kremlin, nor the exalted girls in the telegram can declare war on the Patriotic War. The people of the country can only feel the war. That is why in our history two Patriotic Wars are considered, although in reality there were three. The third was the fight against the unrest and the Polish-Swedish intervention at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, which ended with the approval and strengthening of the Romanov dynasty on the Moscow throne. It’s just that in the XNUMXth century the term Patriotic War had not yet been invented, so it fell out of the numbering.
From my point of view, the main and only sign that the war has become Patriotic is the spontaneous formation of the people's militia and partisan detachments, and this implies the occupation by the enemy of a significant part of the country's territory - the presence of a threat to its very existence.
This factor also operated during the formation of the First and Second Militias at the beginning of the 1812th century, and in 1941, and in 1945-1942. People didn’t have to explain or prove anything: twice they saw the enemy in Moscow, the third time in the Moscow suburbs (the forward detachments of the Wehrmacht broke through approximately to where the Sheremetyevo airport is now located). In XNUMX, the enemy thrown back from Moscow broke through to Voronezh, the lower Volga and the Caucasian passes. Novorossiysk was occupied - the last major base of the Black Sea Fleet, Leningrad was still in blockade. Is it possible to doubt here that the Patriotic War?
There is also a reverse example in our history. The First World Propaganda of the Russian Empire tried to declare the Second Patriotic War. It seems that there were reasons: we were attacked by three traditional enemies (Austria, Germany and Turkey). The reason for the war was understandable and initially supported by the people: the protection of the Slavic brothers (Serbs) from German expansion. Russia was on the side of justice. But…
Although the enemy in 1915 broke through quite far deep into the empire, the battles still went on in other national (non-Russian) regions: in Poland and the Baltic states, as well as on the territory of Austrian Galicia and, since 1916, in Romania. On the whole, a simple Siberian, Kursk, Smolensk, Little Russian peasant or a resident of the Western Territory did not give a damn about the Serbian-Austrian differences and the prospects for joining the Black Sea Straits zone to Russia. He was completely ignorant of economics and geopolitics and was not able to understand what gives Russia in terms of increasing its trade, economic development and strengthening the security of control over the Balkans and over the straits. But he received letters from home (the country was already 70% literate), and in them the household complained that after the men and horses were mobilized, it became difficult to live, the farms were falling apart. For those who were not taken into the army, it’s good: they are getting richer, and the soldiers’ families are getting poorer.
By the way, the government of Nicholas II allocated very substantial assistance to the families of the mobilized. But over time, a lump of problems in the farm, left without a horse and without a worker, grew and help no longer blocked them. Moreover, as it always happens everywhere, there were bureaucratic delays, mistakes, and banal theft. Therefore, after three years of the war, not having endured a year before its end, the Russian army, which consisted mainly of peasants, simply dispersed from the fronts, demolishing state power along the way, and went to the villages to divide the landowners' lands.
There were practically no gigantic latifundia in Russia, and the division of landed estates did not solve the problem of land hunger. Even the Stolypin reform, during which they tried to satisfy the land hunger with a giant array of Siberian lands, was a palliative. The growth of the population of Russia was so rapid that without a change in the demographic structure of society, without urbanization, no land on the planet would be enough to meet the needs of newly emerging (by allocating new families created by numerous children) peasant farms in the land.
The peasants only thought that they were going for land, but in reality they were going to avenge their three years in the trenches and the suffering of their families. Hence the unmotivated atrocities (the murder of not only front-line officers, half of whom came from a soldier's environment, but also his own brother soldier, who refused to desert with everyone), and not even looting, but the banal destruction of estates even where the peasants lived with soul to soul landowners and often received help from them.
The army did not understand what it was fighting for, did not accept the slogan of the Second Patriotic War. The nickname “Imperialist” given by the revolutionaries stuck to this war for a long time. The army and the people as a whole agreed with this name.
Meanwhile, in 1914, a gigantic patriotic impulse was observed in the country, thousands of people rushed to the front as volunteers. And lasted for Russia, which did not become the second Patriotic "Imperialist", much less than the Great Patriotic War for the USSR, as well as the First World War was far short of the Second World War. But the patriotic upsurge of the population of the USSR, despite all the failures of the first period of the war, was preserved. It was enough even to defeat Japan. And the patriotic upsurge in the Russian Empire dried up by the middle of 1915, despite the fact that the course of hostilities was generally favorable for Russia and its allies. The patriotic upsurge finally choked in 1916 in the blood of the Russian guards, who lost 50% of the personnel of the guards infantry in the senseless massacre at Stokhod, which completed the brilliant Brusilov breakthrough.
In 1992, Voenizdat published a very high-quality, informative and objective (to the detriment of jingoism) work by a group of military scientists and historians, under the leadership of Doctor of Military Sciences Major General V.P. Nelasov, “1941 - Lessons and Conclusions.” The first part of the third chapter of this voluminous work is called "Operational-mobilization deployment of the Armed Forces of the USSR in the initial period of the war."
The authors note that out of twenty million people of the total mobilization resource (32 ages, covering the entire male population of the country aged 23 to 55), 5 people were not evacuated from the territory occupied by the enemy (due to the speed of the enemy’s advance inland). That for the same reason, and also because of the movement of huge masses of people, the military registration and enlistment offices lost control over the mobilization resource, which was fully restored only by the middle of 631. That by July 600, the enemy captured 1942% of the warehouses of the districts and the People's Commissariat of Defense. As a result, the possibility of arming and equipping the formed units was sharply reduced. As a result of systematic bombardments, the throughput of railways was halved, which made it difficult to deliver conscripts to assembly points and units. The units themselves, having entered the battles, changed their places of deployment and often the conscripts were delivered to military camps that they had already abandoned. In general, the problems were huge and practically unsolvable.
Nevertheless, already on July 1, 5 million 350 thousand people were called up. By autumn, the number of recruits reached 10 million people. By the end of 1941, over 14 million people had been called up. Taking into account the mobilization resource remaining in the occupied territory, as well as the fact that 15 rifle divisions of the NKVD troops were simultaneously formed, and at first 25, and then another 85 divisions of the people's militia (in total, at least 60 divisions of the people's militia were formed, as well as separate militia brigades, regiments, fighter and communist battalions, self-defense units and party and economic assets, it can be said that the mobilization resource was completely exhausted by the end of 1941. Further, regular conscripts were already called up (about 1,8 million every year), and they were also gradually recruited from the evacuees, and after 1943, from among the inhabitants of the liberated territories, who did not manage to be called up during the retreat.I also note that the people's militia, which even by the middle of 1942 (after the huge losses of 1941) amounted to 590 thousand people, was mainly recruited from people who, according to some For some reason (age, illness, reservation) they could not be drafted into the regular army.
Thus, despite all the objective and subjective problems of the first period of the war, by the end of 1941, more than one hundred percent (including the militias) of the draft contingent that remained at the disposal of the USSR authorities had been put under arms. The authors point out that the ultra-high rates of mobilization carried some costs, since not all people withdrawn from the economy were initially properly armed, equipped and brought into full-fledged divisions (there were especially big problems with the formation of rear units and sanitary trains, with the deployment of hospitals).
In this case, we are interested in something else. In the conditions of confusion and loss of control over mobile resources in the first months of the war, only a high patriotic upsurge made it possible to obtain such a result. People en masse themselves appeared in the military registration and enlistment offices, which were not always able to even send out subpoenas. The last ages to be mobilized (1895-1897) were called up already in World War II. The militia was formed from even older ones (up to 55 years old, but older volunteers also came across), that is, they also served in 1914-1918. The same people did not recognize the First World Patriotic War, but recognized the Second World War. And they recognized it right away.
What has changed?
They saw enemy planes over their cities and heard the whistle of their bombs already in the first hours of the war. By the fourth day of the war, enemy tank columns passed Minsk and moved towards Smolensk. In September (in less than three months after the start of hostilities), von Leeb's tanks of the North Army Group reached the near approaches to Leningrad (the blockade began on September 8), and the tanks of Guderian and von Kleist on September 15 joined in the Lubna-Romny-Lokhvitsa area, surrounding the Southwestern Front. In November, the Germans reached the near approaches to Moscow. There was no time to think. Under such conditions, the people either instinctively mobilize and the war becomes Patriotic, or the country capitulates, as France capitulated a year before the attack on the USSR, whose land army was previously considered the best in Europe, and even in the world.
Now the situation seems to be similar: the fighting is taking place in Ukraine - in the same place where the main events unfolded in 1941 - early 1944. Only there is no such unity in our society regarding the goals of this special operation, which we are still embarrassed to call a war. Moreover, there is no unity not only among us, but also among the part of the population of Ukraine that opposes the Kyiv regime. I won’t say that this is a general phenomenon, but I read on social networks the opinion of some residents of the Donbass, who sincerely believe that Kharkiv residents “did not deserve” release. At the same time, I know that some Kharkiv residents also believe that their city should have been liberated, not Donbass.
Kherson and Zaporozhye literally became sacred for Russians just when it was decided to hold a referendum there on joining Russia, but doubts about the sacredness of Odessa intensified, which, until recently, was much more sacred in the eyes of the Russian population than other Ukrainian regions thanks to the victims of May 2, 2014 . It is better not to think about Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk: many believe that the eschatological evil of Ukrainianism nests there and they should be fenced off from them with a high fence. Regarding Western Ukraine, the majority is sure that it is better to give it to the Poles, if you can’t take the territory for yourself, and give the Poles only Bandera (without land and cities).
There is also an alternative opinion, which can be reduced to the fact that all these are Russian lands, they must be returned, and the misguided population should be dezombified.
I myself have repeatedly said that, from my point of view, it would be worth taking the entire territory of Ukraine, but we will have to take as much as we can. And it is better that in those territories that we cannot take away (if we cannot), Ukraine should by no means remain. Let them be better Hungary, Romania, Poland. This is a flexible option that allows you to act depending on the circumstances, but many disagree with it. Someone wants to take everything unconditionally, while someone believes that Kherson and Zaporozhye will be enough to burden Donbass and Crimea, while they do not say what to do if Ukraine refuses to recognize the loss of territories and continues the war. After all, in order to win the war, one must attack, which means liberating new territories, relying there on the support of local residents who sympathize with Russia. And then what, to leave, leaving them to the mercy of fate or forcing them to flee, leaving everything behind, to Russia?
If we cannot agree with each other what we want to get as a result of the Ukrainian campaign and prefer to entrust the final decision to Putin: we believe him and support any of his decisions, then how can we give an idea, explain the meaning of the military operations of our own army?
Suppose we start trumpeting from each iron that the Patriotic War? Only the grandfathers of our soldiers saw the German invaders in Ukraine, and the Ukrainians fought against the Germans side by side with them. And our soldiers see Ukrainians in the trenches opposite us, who joyfully fight against us, painting themselves and their equipment with the emblems of the Reich killed by our ancestors, and help them fight against us, supplying equipment and giving money, the Germans. And also the Americans, the British, the French and our former Slavic brothers.
But this is not 1612, not 1812, and not 1941. Our soldiers will never believe that the Ukrainians can be near Moscow, that they will be allowed to enter the territory of Russia and gain a foothold there, that the shelling of our cities is not a one-time accidental annoyance, but can turn into a systemic phenomenon. In order for the war to acquire the features of a Patriotic war, not only regular contingents of NATO armies must appear in Ukraine, but also resistance to NATO occupation must arise. Then the history of the Liberation will really resemble the years 1943-1944.
At this stage, we can offer as the meaning and idea of hostilities only the thesis of the liberation of Russian lands from invaders and traitors in order to collect them in historical Russia. This thesis is fully justified from the point of view of the identity of the current situation to the period when it was first announced by the official political program of the Russian state.
Ivan III, the first of the Russian rulers, who called himself the Sovereign and Grand Duke of Vladimir, Moscow and All Russia, the autocrat, declared the claims of his house to all the "fatherlands and grandfathers" that were once part of the state of Vladimir the Great and Yaroslav the Wise. He fought with Tver, Novgorod, returning them to the Russian world, with Lithuania, for the lands now called Ukraine, achieved solid success, but did not manage to complete the implementation of his program. It was completed three hundred years later by Catherine II.
So the return of the original Russian lands is a process that does not necessarily have to be completed in our lifetime, but which we strive to complete as soon as possible, because the return of people and territories to the bosom of the Russian world is also our security. This concept, in order to substantiate its obviousness, does not require the presence of an enemy near Moscow, does not need the bombing of our cities. It is obvious to any unbiased person that not only the Russian Donetsk, Kharkov, Kyiv or Lvov is better than the anti-Russian one, but also the Russian Berlin (and before the unification of the GDR and the FRG it, in fact, was such) is better than the American Berlin.
We have offered friendship and compromise for too long to be shy now. We should openly declare that yes, we are an empire. And we have imperial interests, including security interests. And the USA is an empire. And what is between us, from the Dnieper to the Atlantic, is a limitrophe zone, in which the states (including Old Europe) have demonstrated their inability to exist independently, to protect their interests. They cannot be the subject of global politics either together or separately. Their destiny is to be a zone of interests, a sphere of influence of one of the empires. Either we or the US, they themselves cannot.
We cannot allow the dominance of the United States at our borders, therefore, as far as possible, we will move them further and further until they leave the Atlantic. At the same time, our offer for limitrophes is still better than the US offer. America invites them to die for themselves. We invite them to live together. Moreover, we are ready to gradually voluntarily integrate them into the empire, making it full-fledged citizens. Everyone, including the Portuguese and Icelanders. The choice is theirs. They may die like second-rate sub-Americans, they may remain ethnographic European relics under our protectorate, or they may eventually become Russians who are not second-rate.
This is, of course, a harsh concept, and enemies will not fail to reproach us with imperialism. But they already reproach us for all mortal sins and deny us the right to exist. But this concept adequately describes the existing reality, fully corresponds to what the soldier sees from the trench and allows us to stop and resume the movement to the West, based on our capabilities and political benefits, without causing unnecessary questions, such as why we liberated Reims, but did not reach Paris .
Whoever they could, they released, and the rest - next time. They are fighting for independence from us, and we are against this very independence - a completely mirror and understandable situation, and most importantly, everything is fair. After all, if dependence on the United States can be considered happiness, then dependence on Russia can be even greater happiness. You just have to try.
And the Patriotic War in the current conditions can begin when you look out the window and see a nuclear mushroom. And the West is doing everything to start it, while we are trying with all our might to do without unnecessary excesses.
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|About the Author:|
| ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO|
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
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