When on that dramatic Saturday morning I was looking through the photos of riot police dispersing protesters on the Maidan, I came across a photo of some terrified teenagers hiding behind the gate of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. I wrote on my Facebook wall straight away: this throws us back to the times of Batu Khan.
The next week I could not get rid of the feeling. It seemed like so much has already happened and passed by, but this powerful pulsing laser cuts through the centuries and reminds us that the fight is still going on. I want us, Ukrainians, to understand this, and I want Europeans to understand this as well. We are standing on our own powerful historical “shield,” but long periods of existing in various unnatural forms weaned us from large-scale, historical thinking. The ongoing fight is not only for oil and gas. In the first place, it is for the place in history.
The analogies are not limited to Batu Khan only. There are such characters that seem to be a today’s reincarnation of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, who was rejected by Kyiv. The feeling of revenge, his own inferiority complexes and resentment evoked up in him a desire to come to his forefather’s home, destroy it, and bring his horde along.
It is clear that our neighbors have a plan, which is to rule over Kyiv. The one who dominates here, can threaten the whole Europe too. What is happening at the European Maidan is not only Ukraine’s fight. How clearly does the West understand it?
A few quotations from the book The Power of the Soft Sign (read the full version on our website www.day.kiev.ua)
“History is the most powerful source of Ukrainian identity. That is why regimes that occupied Ukraine in different times in some or another way considered those historical periods that gave strength to the Ukrainian nation dangerous and unwanted for themselves.”
“The return to true history can be complicated for Ukraine. Our society will have to take conscious responsibility for a state with a thousand-year-old history, for its historical heritage which dates back to the times of Kyivan Rus’. We will have to end this subconscious sadomasochism, according to which Russia inherited all kinds of statehood, and Ukraine – all kinds of ruin.”
“Yes, Russia is not ready for democracy yet, and the golden domes of Kyiv are so alluring again... But Ukrainian society, and this is very important, is gradually maturing to accept the historical truth of Ukrainian Rus’ in full.”