On 3 April the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti published an article by one Timofei Sergeitsev titled “What should Russia do with Ukraine” It argues that Ukraine is run by Nazis and that Russia’s main objective should be “denazification”. It contends that “The collective West itself is the designer, source and sponsor of Ukrainian Nazism.” It states that “Denazification wilI inevitably also be a de-Ukrainization…the de-nazification of Ukraine is also its inevitable de-Europeanisation”.
The article suggests that Ukraine’s statehood and cultural identity should be eliminated. It seems to leave open the possibility of a residual state in the “Catholic province” in western Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox church has blessed the “special operation”, and no doubt Mr Sergeitsev believes God is on his side.
The article comes close to advocating mass executions. It was published during a time of extensive coverage of the discovery of the bodies of civilians allegedly murdered by Russian soldiers in Bucha. Mr Sergeitsev’s article risks mandating further such atrocities. If this happens, may “God” forgive him.
The article was published in a state media outlet, which implies some official mandate. However, it is so likely to inflame hostility to Russia, and it so incriminates its government that its publication may have been in error – an editorial oversight.
Mr Sergeitsev’s article may be retracted. However, milder versions of his arguments are heard in other Russian outlets. This is troubling for those of us who love both Russian and Ukrainian peoples and cultures, and who abhor violence.
The argument, from what appears to be a Russian far-right nationalist, that Ukraine is run by “Nazis” has a self-satirising flavour. It requires a detailed critique at a later date.
In the meantime, the folk songs below reflect Ukrainian cultural richness and uniqueness. Russian songs are also included, because cultural exchange must be fostered and not sanctioned or “cancel-cultured”. The war is ultimately not between Ukrainians and Russians. It is between democracy, human rights and self-determination versus authoritarianism and nationalistic aggression.
Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks have gifted songs and other cultural treasures to the world. This song is a classic:
Taras Shevchenko is for Ukrainian poetry and language what Pushkin is for Russian. This Ukrainian song sets a Shevchenko poem to music:
A chilling, and brilliantly done version of a Ukrainian folk song:
A Ukrainian patriotic song, sung by Eileen:
The Ukrainian national anthem has a beautiful melody. There are many excellent online versions – see links below:
A Ukrainian song accompanied by traditional Ukrainian string instruments:
A famous Ukrainian folk song. Note that the Kuban Cossack choir alluded to is a Russian ensemble that sings mostly in Russian and sometimes in Ukrainian. It also turns poems into songs, including Ukrainian poems:
Like Ukrainian culture, Russian folk songs traverse frontiers:
A (hilarious) excerpt from a 1948 film where Soviet (not “Russian” or “Ukrainian”) wheat farmers sing while working in the wheat fields – working only for the honour and joy! Those were the days and why did they ever end? Now we can see why “the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of our times!”