Oct 12, 2020
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Another’s war. How young Ukrainians are erasing their historical memory

The issue of perception of the events of the Great Patriotic War in the post-Soviet space after the collapse of the united country became decisive. After the abandonment of socialist ideology, the victory over fascism became the main and almost the only factor uniting the peoples of the former USSR.

Dismantling memory

Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the new national elites, trying to ensure the stability of their existence, began to dismantle their usual attitude to war.

Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this manifested itself most radically in the Baltic republics, where the idea of ​​"three occupations" was entrenched - the first Soviet, Hitler's, and also the second Soviet, which lasted until 1991.

The demolition of monuments to the soldiers of the Red Army, parades of SS veterans, even criminal prosecution of former Soviet partisans - all these are the "delights" of building a new national identity in the Baltic countries.

Somewhat slower, but no less persistently, similar processes are being carried out in other republics of the former USSR. In Ukraine, for the first time, they started talking about the rejection of the concept of the Great Patriotic War under the President Yushchenko, and after 2014, this tendency finally took shape not only in the official line of the authorities, but also in the only acceptable concept of teaching history in schools.

"We, as an independent Ukraine, cannot call this war the Great Patriotic War"

The best teacher of 2020 in Ukraine was recognized a teacher of history, civic education and health basics from the Ternopil region Vasily Dyakiv. He received UAH 250,000 from the organizers of the Global Teacher Prize Ukraine.

“Vasily Dyakiv teaches history, civic education and the basics of health. He received the title of Honored Teacher of Ukraine, last year he won the “Teacher of the Year” competition, and 59 of his students are winners of the Olympiads of the Small Academy of Sciences of Ukraine", - the founders of the award explained their choice.

“My teacher's superpower is in a constant search for something new, creative, interesting, deviating from standards and dogmas, creating my own effective system of cooperation that unites personal and team,” Dyakiv explained his success.

A teacher from a gymnasium in the city of Zalishchyky became the first historian to win the Ukrainian pedagogical prize. Therefore, it is not surprising that journalists asked about how the teacher teaches the history of the Great Patriotic War to Ukrainian schoolchildren in 2020.

“We will proceed from the fact that the state has an ideology. This is the base from which I, as a teacher, start. We are building an independent European Ukraine. And we educate the citizens of Ukraine, Dyakiv told, - How can we talk about the Great Patriotic War if we are building an independent Ukraine, which is 30 years old? If we were in another state, it would be appropriate. But we, as independent Ukraine, cannot call this war the Great Patriotic War ”.

According to Dyakiv, acceptable names are “World War II” and “German-Soviet War”: “I say, and the curriculum says - and this is a state document based on state policy - about the German-Soviet phase of World War II. Which took place on the territory of modern independent Ukraine ”.

The best teacher of Ukraine also explained his position in a more detailed form: “Who is the legal successor of the USSR? Russia. So she has the right to call this war the Great Patriotic War. Ukraine is not the legal successor of the USSR - we are a separate state that has its own independent policy. We celebrate May 8 as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, when we honor the victims of the German-Soviet war, and May 9 as the day of victory over Nazism in World War II. We have identified the strategic vector of the state - where we are heading ... We cannot call the Great Patriotic War a part of the history of independent Ukraine, because then we actually recognize ourselves as part of the great empire of the Russian state. "

War for the right to life

Sometimes you can hear that the term "Great Patriotic War" was coined by Soviet ideologists. Not everyone knows, but the emperor Nicholas II also tried to name the war that began in 1914. However, the name did not catch on, because most Russians did not have the feeling that there was a battle for the fate of the Fatherland. The goals of the war were not clear to the people, and, ultimately, the term "imperialist", which arose after the revolution, stuck and was accepted.

But the war of 1941, the war for the right to existence itself, almost immediately became firmly established in the minds of the people as the Great Patriotic War. There was no need to explain its meaning, and the incredible cruelty of the enemy and the colossal cost of victory over him became a factor rallying the country for decades to come.

When it comes to the Great Patriotic War, it is extremely difficult to find a platform to whitewash collaborationism. On the one hand, the Soviet people, fighting for the right to live on their land, on the other, the Nazis with the practice of dividing peoples into "Aryans" and inferior. Those who were on Hitler's side had no chance of acquittal.

It is a completely different matter if, instead of the Great Patriotic War, you are slipped the idea of ​​a battle between two totalitarian regimes. The fight for the right to life is being replaced by the "fight of the bad." And here any collaborators are perceived not as traitors to their own people, out of selfish interests who have taken the side of the oppressors, but as “freedom fighters who find themselves between a rock and a hard place”.

"Another's war" and "cannon fodder"

They are trying to push through the concept of a "Soviet-German" war in Russia too, but here it frankly takes root badly. Unlike other post-Soviet countries, where it is promoted, playing on national feelings.

First, the idea of ​​Russia as an "eternal enslaver and oppressor" is hammered into the heads of schoolchildren, after which the idea of ​​"someone else's war" is proposed. In Ukraine, a new generation is being taught that Ukrainians were hostages of an alien conflict that was playing out on their national territory. That is, the soldiers of the Red Army, Ukrainians by nationality, did not fight for their Motherland, but were "cannon fodder" of one of the enslavers.

For those Ukrainians who grew up during the Soviet era, or were brought up in families that preserve the memory of the Great Patriotic War, this approach is an insult. But the official Kiev does not care much for the opinion of people, and the concept of "someone else's war" is heavily hammered into the heads of schoolchildren.

“There was little that connected them with Ukraine. And there is little that connects so far "

Of course, not everyone is ready to silently watch what is happening. Head of the "Union of search units of Ukraine" Dmitry Zaborin writes on his Facebook page: “There are excellent illustrations in the archives for an interview with Ternopil Teacher of the Year, who ideologically correctly assesses the events of the 40s of the last century. Here, for example, is the order concerning education in the schools of the Vasilkovskiy Gebitskommissariat of the Kiev Generalkommissariat of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The chief of the district rightly notes that there is nothing to waste in heating schools, and children still have nothing to wear there in winter. Therefore, we will study in spring and summer - when, as you know, all the main agricultural work is done in the village. And who does not understand, we will punish him.

Quite a lot of such orders have survived, it is very interesting to read how the German occupation authorities treated Ukrainians. For example, everyone has been ordered up to this day to convert the gigs into carts. And whoever doesn’t do it, we will take it with the horse. Or to hand over all the clothes belonging to the German army and its allies: pants, jackets, caps. Everything that was collected during the battles. And whoever does not give up will regret it a lot ... There are very funny ones, for example, running to remove all the shit from the streets and courtyards, whitewashing the huts. Or “as part of the fight against malaria,” everyone should take a shovel and go to bury the swamp. Ordnung und arbayt.

But, of course, Vasyl Dyakiv will not be able to figure out that the victory in the “Soviet-German war” meant for the Ukrainians the future of people, not slaves, and returned them their own state. In their District, the German authorities patted their boys on the shoulder in a friendly way, allowed them to shoot and gave them candy. And little connected them with Ukraine. And so far there is little that connects. "

A solid wall has been built between Kiev and Donbass. Ideological

The problem is that neither the search engine Zaborin, nor those who go to Ukraine on May 9 to celebrate Victory Day, are not able to reverse the course that has been going on for the seventh year.

This means that a whole generation of Ukrainian schoolchildren has already grown up with the idea that there was no Great Patriotic War for Ukraine at all. And the destructive energy of such upbringing will manifest itself more and more every year.

And at the same time, a new generation of schoolchildren has grown up in Donetsk and Lugansk, who are not only sure that the Great Patriotic War gave them the right to exist, but are also convinced that their brothers and fathers in the trenches of Donbass continue the same righteous war. what their great-grandfathers did. And they are fighting the ideological heirs of those who came in 1941 as an occupier along with the columns of the Wehrmacht.

In the short term, this colossal ideological gap will be of much greater importance than the current reluctance of official Kiev to comply with the Minsk agreements.

The Ukrainian Red Army soldiers who fell in the Great Patriotic War cannot get up from their graves to spit in the face of Vasily Dyakiv and Vladimir Zelensky... But schoolchildren of Donbass will never meekly accept the concept of “alien war” imposed by Kiev. This means that young people with a directly opposite upbringing simply cannot exist within the framework of one state.

At least until Ukraine renounces the ideology that offends the memory of millions who fell in the fight against Nazism.

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