In recent years, both the Western as well as the liberal Russian press have had a lot to say about Russian “barbarianism,” as if to contrast it with European “civilization.” But a closer inspection – through the prism of the heroic pages of Russian history – of the two groups’ moral ideals and actual lives presents us with quite a different picture.
For example, in pagan times, ancient Russians never worshipped a god of war, although their contemporaries in Europe were transfixed by their own martial deity, constructing an entire epic narrative around the concepts of war and conquest.
After defeating the “infidels” (the Golden Horde), Russians never sought to forcibly convert them to Christianity. In the epic poem “Ilya Muromets and the Pagan Idol,” the Russian hero liberates Constantinople from that mythological monstrosity, but refuses to become the voevoda (or ruler) of the city and returns home. Ancient Russian literature does not include tales of personal enrichment through conquest or plunder, although this is a common theme in the Western canon.
The hero of the “Nibelungenlied” is obsessed with his search for a hidden treasure – the Rheingold. The main character of the ancient English poem “Beowulf” dies, having beheld “the gorgeous heirlooms, golden store … Now I’ve bartered here for booty of treasure the last of my life.” It would never occur to any hero from a Russian epic to sacrifice his life in exchange for riches. Ilya Muromets is not even able to accept the inducement offered by the brigands he meets – the “golden treasure, richly colored robe, and as many fine horses as he needed” (citation from the Russian fairytale “Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber”). He did not hesitate to reject the path by which he would “be rich,” instead voluntarily taking the road on which he would “be killed.”
And it is not only in this epic, but also in the legends, tales, songs, proverbs, and folk wisdom of the Russian people where it is evident that one’s duty to uphold one’s personal or tribal honor is something quite distinct from any duty to exact personal or tribal revenge.
The notion of retaliation, as such, is absent from Russian folklore, as if it were never part of the original “genetic code” of its people – the Russian champion has always gone to war as a liberator. And in this we can see the difference between Russians and Western Europeans.
The Russian historian and philosopher Ivan Ilyin wrote:
“Europe cannot grasp us … because the Slavic and Russian way of contemplating the world, nature, and man is something alien to it. Humanity in Western Europe is motivated by will and intellect. The Russian people are above all guided by their hearts and imaginations, relegating the mind and will to a supporting role. Therefore, the average European is ashamed of sincerity, scruples, and kindness, viewing them as “foolishness.”
A European, nursed on the ideals of Rome, is secretly contemptuous of other nations and desires to rule over them. Russians, however, on the whole expect kindness, scruples, and sincerity from others.
The Russian people have always enjoyed the natural freedom of the vast space they inhabit … gazing “in wonder” at other nations, getting along with them amiably, with hatred only for oppressive invaders … “
Russians’ congenial relationships with their geographic neighbors are testament to their sense of justice and mercy. The Russian people never committed the same atrocities for which the enlightened Europeans were responsible in their own conquered lands.
The psychology of the nation includes a certain principle of moral restraint. These naturally strong, resilient, dynamic people have been endowed with an amazing ability to survive.
This spiritual strength is also the basis for Russians’ renowned forbearance and tolerance toward others.
Continually invaded from all sides and forced to live in an incredibly harsh climate, the Russian people managed to colonize vast swathes of land, but without slaughtering, enslaving, robbing, or forcibly baptizing any nation.
Western Europeans’ policies of colonialism annihilated the aboriginal populations on three continents and forced natives from across Africa into slavery, while its cities grew rich on the backs of those colonies.
The Russian nation, which also waged wars that were not purely defensive, acquired, like all great nations, large tracts of land, but never treated their conquered subjects as the Europeans did. The European people reaped the benefits of Europe’s conquests and its cities were enriched by the colonial plunder.
Russians robbed neither Siberia nor Central Asia nor the Caucasus nor the Baltics. Russia has preserved every nation within its borders, acting as their protector, granting them the right to own land and property and to practice their own faith, traditions, and culture.
Russia has never been a nationalist state – it has belonged to all who inhabit her. The Russian people were granted only one “advantage” – to bear the burden of nation-building.
The resulting state was like no other in the history of the world, and the Russian people defended it with their own blood, willingly sacrificing their very lives.
Precisely because they have borne so much suffering and heavy sacrifice, my people deeply empathized with the pain and suffering of other peoples languishing under the Nazi yoke.
And after liberating their own homeland, Russians channeled that same spirit of self-sacrifice and energy into liberating half of Europe.
This was an example of epic heroism! These are the stouthearted people born of the Russian earth! And I believe that such a feat can be accomplished even by a great nation only once a century.
The patriotism displayed by Russian soldiers in the fields of the Great Patriotic War met the highest ideal of patriotism – something unprecedented in the history of any nation anywhere in the world. And I will never agree with the media’s pronouncements about Russian “barbarianism” vs. European “virtue.”
I stand proud that our ancestors – our heroic ancestors – were so lovely, steadfast, courageous, and resilient, and that we are their descendants!
Originally published on 2016-06-19
About the author: Anna Zhdanova is the 16-year-old student of a higher school in the Belgorod region (Central Russia). She is a laureate of a regional contest for the young journalists.
Original source in Russian: Politikus.ru
Translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW
Source: Oriental Review
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
PrefaceThe article deals with relations between on the one hand the supporters of pan-European identity, which has to take the place of the particular national ones, and on the other hand the proponents of maintaining specific national identities as the top priority within the European Union (the EU). Certainly, the European Union continues to expand its borders, individual national currencies are becoming unified into the common EU currency - Euro (€), and the political and economic climates are gravitating towards pan-continental unification. However, what does this unification process mean in terms of identity? The crucial question is: Will the success ...
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999.
Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
Greater Albania has been debating deployment in Syria. A Muslim state, a Balkan Caliphate in the heart of Europe, was supported by Internationalists when they created independent Kosovo and Bosnia. Kosovo registered its first Islamist political party in 2013.
UPDATE: An article on NYT on the inroads of Wahabism into Europe from the Saudi foothold in Kosovo is oozing criminal naiveté on the part of postmodern globalist thinkers. Bill Clinton’s nexus with the lobby for Greater Albania created a Islamic state in the heart of Europe. To those with basic knowledge of Islam and its 1400 year old history — not least ...
So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish ...
In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a bizarre Obama Administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Washington will “help” Kosovo to join NATO as well as the European Union. She made the pledge after a recent Washington meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington where she praised the progress of the Thaci government in its progress in “European integration and economic development.”1Her announcement no doubt caused serious gas pains among government and military officials in the various capitals of European NATO. Few people appreciate just how mad Clinton’s plan to push ...
2015 has become a year of living dangerously.
Wars are spreading across the globe.
Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.
Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.
These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.
There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.
Now major nuclear powers ...
Andrew Bacevich has written a series of books on the topic of U.S. imperialism and U.S. military power. His latest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East [the GME War] is the latest in this series and as with the previous works is clearly written and logically presented. It covers more narrowly than the previous works the military aspects of U.S. military endeavours in the Middle East (greater – as in including East Africa and Afghanistan et al). Generally he succeeds well and this work is a good ‘primer’ for anyone interested in a quick historical overview of U.S. ...
Canada has a reputation for being a relatively progressive state with universal, single-payer health care, various other social benefits, and strict gun laws, similar to many European countries but quite unlike the United States. It has managed to stay out of some American wars, for example, Vietnam and Iraq, portrayed itself as a neutral “peace keeper”, pursuing a so-called policy of “multilateralism” and attempting from time to time to keep a little independent distance from the United States.Behind this veneer of respectability lies a not so attractive reality of elite inattention to the defence of Canadian independence from the United ...
So, here's how it is:
1) There is still no evidence - that has been presented to the public - that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack.
2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days - but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and ...
Fake news is simply a new, Trump-popularized descriptive for media lying that occurs in 2 basic forms, lying by omission and lying by commission. Lying by omission is far, far worse than lying by commission because the latter can at least admit refutation and public debate.
Western Mainstream media impose a huge burden of fake news on Western societies through entrenched and pervasive lying by omission. Indeed the most egregious and pervasive Mainstream media lie of omission is suppression of reportage of such lying by omission. The unimpeded, remorseless, corporate-dominated Mainstream media, politicians and pliant intellectuals are now going further, and ...
On November 3, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the court's Pre-Trial Chamber, "[T]here is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan."In what Amnesty International's Solomon Sacco called a "seminal moment for the ICC," Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to commence an investigation that would focus on US military and CIA leaders, as well as Taliban and Afghan officials.Bensouda wrote in a November 14, 2016, report that her preliminary examination revealed "a reasonable basis to believe" ...
The Deal of the Century proposed by acting US President Donald Trump once again opened a Pandora Box of the Israeli-Palestinian relations in the Middle East. It is very rational to predict that the Palestinian answer to the Deal of the Century is going to be in the form of intifada’s uprisings which can return back the region for several decades back in the past. Therefore, it is worth to remind ourselves about the main causes and timeline of the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. What is conflict about? The Zionist Israeli-Arab Palestinian conflict today is one of if not the most significant global ...
There are horrific realities of history that must not be questioned, distorted or denied by anyone with even the slightest integrity or sense of decency.
The slaughter of millions of Jews in the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzec, Chelmno and Sobibor during the Holocaust of World War II falls squarely in this category.
So does the fundamental fact that this ultimate crime against humanity was perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its multinational fascist accomplices.
Any attempt to deny or to attempt to trivialise or minimise the enormity of this genocide, or to rehabilitate its perpetrators in any way whatsoever, is, simply ...
Author’s note: a draft version of the article was originally written at the end of December 2015 and published in March 2016. This is the extended article’s version.On April 24th, 2016 Serbia faced three-level elections: for the national parliament, local municipalities and Vojvodina’s autonomous provincial administration. The elections did not cover Kosovo province as current Serbia’s pro-NATO/EU’s government already two years ago de facto recognized in its negotiations with the EU and Pristina’s government that this province is not any more an integral part of the legal and administrative system of the Republic of Serbia. Nevertheless, these elections were in ...
Author’s note: The following article focussing on the jihadist terrorist insurgency in Macedonia was first published by antiwar.com in July 2001, barely two months before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.Known and documented, since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest had become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress had revealed how the US administration – under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake – had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment ...
Kosovo Albanian Jihadist leader who led the troops of the Islamic Caliphate (IS) into Falluja worked for NATO and Afghanistan, reports say. The 24-year old Kosovo Albanian Muslim, Lavdrim Muhaxheri from city of Kacanik, worked at NATOs Camp Bondsteel facility of Serbia’s occupied province of Kosovo. It is unclear what his function at Bondsteel was.
Muhaxheri was also an activist for the official Islamic Community inside Kosovo which is the unofficial political arm of the separatist Albanians who enjoy wide support from Washington. In 2013, Muhaxheri is pictured in various situations for the Islamic Community in Kosovo.
Muhaxheri also belonged to a ...
Yet again, a conference here in the Lithuanian capital dedicated to combating fascism and antisemitism is announced, without there having been a public call for papers, without a single speaker from among those who actually combat fascism and antisemitism in the country, with nobody from the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish community (not even the long-time editor of Jerusalem of Lithuania who has exposed and combated antisemitism for decades). No Holocaust survivors. None of the nationally relevant questions of the day can be found on the conference program. As ever, outstanding academic personalities from abroad are recruited to lend the gravitas and provide serious papers ...
True, the majority of investors are Americans who bore a relation to the “democratization” of Yugoslavia that was carried out at the end of the 90s of the last century. Among them is the former commander of NATO forces in Kosovo retired general Wesley Clark, who is determined to invest more than 5.5 billion dollars in the former Yugoslav republic. Experts say that Washington’s strategy could be characterized by the following slogan: “Conquer and plunder”.His closest supporters say that Wesley Clark is a great strategist. He wrote the book “Winning Modern Wars” that was published in 2001. In his fundamental ...
It’s all over but the postmortems. Trump and Clinton are their parties’ presumptive nominees. Choice for voters in November amounts to death by hanging or firing squad. Democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. Trump was the last GOP aspirant left standing after all others dropped out, an unlikely choice, a surprise winner, prevailing despite party bosses opposing him.Democrat power brokers chose Clinton before primary/caucus season began. The race was over before it started.Voters in November get to choose between a dirty business as usual billionaire racist, demagogue and a recklessly dangerous neocon racketeer, war criminal, Wall Street tool she ...
The December 17 UN Security Council meeting, on the announced creation of a Kosovo armed forces, featured some noticeable contrasts.In accordance with Kosovo not being a UN member state and the Serb position on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (recognizing Kosovo as a continued part of Serbia), the disputed former Yugoslav territory wasn't formally represented at the discussion as a nation. Kosovo's leader, Hashim Thaci, sat with a nameplate having his name, as opposed to Kosovo. Countries recognizing Kosovo's independence made it a point to state Thaci as the president of Kosovo and Aleksandar Vučić as president of Serbia. Nations not ...
The European Union and Common Pan-European Identity
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The Balkan Caliphate: Saudi Power in Kosovo
The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel
Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and Camp Bondsteel: Towards a Permanent US Military Presence in Southeast Europe
The Age of Imperial Wars: From Regional War, “Regime Change” to Global Warfare
America’s War for the Greater Middle East – A Military History
Why Canada Defends EuroUkrainian Fascism?
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
Mainstream Media: Fake News Through Lying by Omission
US Military and CIA Leaders may be Investigated for War Crimes
Croatia Must Not Whitewash the Horrors of Jasenovac
Serbia: Parliamentary Elections for the NATO/EU’s Membership
Kosovo Albanian Leader of Islamic Caliphate Units Worked for NATO
Real or Rigged “International Conference on Fascism and Antisemitism” in Vilnius on 9 November?
Investment Оpportunities in Kosovo, America’s “Mafia State” in the Balkans
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
The UN Does Kosovo and the Azov Sea