A foreword to the 4th Bandera readings
Glory to Ukraine!
Dear Society, Ukrainian brothers and sisters, sworn brothers, I have the honor to welcome the 4th “Bandera readings”!
The events of this kind are usually opened with the words like “Mr. Ambassador”, “Mr. Secretary”, and “Dear European Commissioner” with gratitude for the grant and zealously looking into the eyes of fellows from Moscow Central Committee or Brussels Provincial Committee.
Well, or at least with a nod to the fund of “philanthropists”, such as Victor Pinchuk or Rinat Akhmetov (we are told they are not oligarchs).
How can we do without our advanced grant-eaters and charlatans and conceited hiper-intelectuals and mega-reformators?
“Bandera readings” have the honor to avoid such patrons and benefactors.
So I’d like to start with other words of appreciation.
First of all, I’d like to thank the soldiers of the Ukrainian revolution and the sacred Muscovite-Ukrainian war.
I want to observe a minute of silence to remember those who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for Ukraine.
I also want to thank the participants and guests of the conference.
I hope that this day, which we’ll spend together, will give everyone good “food for thought.”
“Bandera readings” is an unusual scientific or intellectual event. It is unusual at least because of the fact that in one place it gathers talented and venerable scholars, practicing ideologues of nationalism along with the heads and representatives of almost all nationalist organizations. And I am convinced that the theory of the National Revolution is a living process with real political consequences that requires both deep theoretical study and the search for exact strategic but not limited operational or tactical decisions.
I also want to thank the team that annually gathers you here on the anniversary of the founding of the OUN, one of the most famous revolutionary organizations of the 20th century.
Thank to Vladimir Tylishchak, the deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, who, incidentally, is a co-author of the idea of “Bandera readings.”
It was then, in the tumultuous 2014, when opposing frantic “bandero-phobia” of the dancing part of Maidan we conducted the first “Bandera readings” with the topic “The National Revolution or anti-regime resistance”. It was rather a political-manifesta, but its aim was quite real: to resist the nullifying of revolution by troubadours, who bore the “great words of great power from someone else’s field and nothing more.”
In 2015, thanks to Bohdan Halaiko, the head of the Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies, we conducted the second “Bandera readings” on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the OUN in Kiev. Its main theme was “What Ukrainian Independent State in the 21st century be should” and ‘the question of Moscow”, which acquired scientific depth and institutional solidity. Since that time Bohdan and the Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies have become devoted participants of our events.
Last year we decided that “Bandera readings” are not only a historical discussion about the past, which should cause correct conclusions, but rather an actual discussion about the future. So the third “Bandera readings” took place on February 3, 2016 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Ukrainian Independence and the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence; its chosen theme was “Vision of the Ukrainian state with the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism.” Within the event two expert discussions were held, “The experience of Ukrainian nationalists’ struggle for independence in the 21st century: the idea and the practice” and “Ukrainian State in the Third Millennium: nationalistic vision”. Given our historical past (computer persistently corrects historical into hysterical) traditions and practices, we tried to build the vision of Ideal Ukrainian state, the state and society of dream of the third millennium. Then, the serious philosophical depth was given to it by another permanent member of the team of “Bandera readings” and Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Researches, PhD Tatiana Boiko. So we are grateful to her.
Besides, I want to thank all the well-wishers and donors who without any PR all the four years supported this project and, what is the most important, allowed realizing it in relevant publications.
However, speaking about the necessity of taming Moscow’s imperialism or about ideal Ukrainian state of the future, we constantly faced the problem that it was impossible either to become conquistadors and destroy Moscow’s imperialism and set free other captured peoples or to build an ideal country of social, national and historical Justice and Welfare, which can effectively embody Shevchenko’s “in one’s own house is its own truth and power and will”. Its realization is possible only through a successful National Revolution, or a special Reconquista, the reconquest of Ukraine for its natural host, the Ukrainians, without revolutionary transformations of social, political and national interests of majority and on the basis of justice. So now we are again back to the theme of “How to finish the Ukrainian national revolution.”
I have the courage to suggest that the Revolution, which we intend to continue and successfully complete, began in 1989 and is not just a continuation of process that has lasted permanently in Ukraine since 1991, namely, it is the longest in Europe Hundred Years’ National Liberation revolution, the beginning of which we are celebrating on the governmental level this year.
Once Andrii Mokhnyk expressed the thought that if the Hundred Years’ War took place in Europe, so why the Hundred Years’ Revolution could not exist?
So when we talk about the 1917 (to which our readings are dedicated), we talk about the events that have not expired, the events that are still ongoing. So first of all, our readings are practical and pragmatic; they are oriented not back to the past, but forward – to the future. We will talk not only how it was, but also how it may be.
The last century was full of events of the Ukrainian revolution. So, all stages of the national liberation struggle should be seen as parts of a common syncretic process.
The revolutionary processes and the processes of social changes will inevitably continue further. And it does not depend on those in power or their partners’ will and mass zombification, since no purposes of the Hundred Years’ National Revolution are realized, neither in national nor in social fields.
Another question is whether the current political class in power is capable of taking up the challenges our state and nation are facing now? Very rarely can pre-revolutionary political elite become a factor of the revolutionary changes and stay in power after the Revolution. So now in our country are the classic under-revolution and counter-revolution.
Besides, it should be noted, as I told at the 1st “Bandera readings”, that a revolution is not just a project of negation (destruction of the previous system as an integral part of construction of a new one), it is not a drunken riot, it is not a global “drive”, it is a creative and forceful act of taking power and implementing the national project of Great Ukraine. Unfortunately, Ukraine passed through its 19th century, so we shouldn’t hope in vain that the Revolution will result in catching up other European nations through the rapid passing of historical process of European nation states. We missed our 19th century when the continent of nations and nation states in Europe was being formed. Therefore, it is impossible for us to go back, but we should not fall into the trap of the present crisis of European identity either.
Obviously, our revolution is the process of transition to a new phase in which Ukraine will be an innovator and trendsetter. It would be at least senseless to accelerate the speed of life of the 21st century for reaching the deadlock where modern Europe was lead to.
What problems are there on this path and what should be discussed? In one of competitive works I’ve read that permanent revolutionary process is essential for Ukrainians, I mean that Revolution is an immanent feature of Ukrainian nation. Therefore, an extremely important task is to guide revolution in a constructive and creative direction, and avoid leaving no stone unturned.
Secondly, there is a problem of universality of the Ukrainian revolution, its spilling across Ukraine’s borders and passionarity of Ukrainians. Ukrainians are cramped within their own national space. The explosive energy of a revolution requires, at least, a creative arrangement of the environment. So I have to assume that the revolutionary changes in Ukraine will inevitably lead to significant social, political and national changes, at least, to the east and north of Ukraine. That universalist nationalist slogan “Freedom to peoples! Freedom to man!” demonstrates that direction.
Thirdly, the process of national liberation should be properly combined with social process. In the struggle against the Ukrainian revolution our enemies used social issues and social populism very skillfully. National Revolution can neither fix the current social arrangements (what, unfortunately, is happening now) nor implement evolutionary social changes, the so-called reforms.
These are radical revolutionary changes in social relations, which are aimed to establish social justice alongside national justice and responsibility. Or we subdue the “rabble” and the flag of positive social changes will become one of the aspects of our flag, or once again it will be used by Moscow for devastating the nation and the state; our history knows many examples of it.
Successful National Revolution of Bohdan Khmelnytskii, could subdue and satisfy social element and combine it with the national state building. Rabble became a part of the army. And now we cannot let the Kremlin head up social protests and lead a part of society “to a new far away commune”. To lead the national revolution at the social front is an important task as it will help to defend the external front.
Hence, the question appears, Is the Revolution just a global “drive” or a tough and sometimes severe discipline? The riot is more suitable behind enemy lines but not behind ours.
Fourth, a priori. The Ukrainian national revolution was inevitably accompanied and is accompanied by military aggression of Russia. The end of the Ukrainian National Revolution should necessarily result in the death of Moscow imperialism. So our national revolution will be a priori in the conditions of Kremlin’s intervention, and will finish either on the ruins of the Russian Empire, or on our own ruins.
Thus, military elite and military-political organization of society is an extremely important, if not crucial, a subject and a factor, which can give us preponderance. Not only ardent poets, civil politicians or gigolos-euro-optimists but the military spirit of the nation and the military-political leadership and the nationalist elite that grows up in the trenches of war are true providers and the key to the success of the Revolution.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t allow bolshevizing the army and society. A warrior without necessary motivation, hard discipline and invincible nationalist worldview may quickly turn from a defender to a destroyer of the Revolution and state; he may become a tool in the enemy’s hands.
Eventually, all successful forms of Ukrainian sovereignty were military and political: from druzhina state of the princely epoch, to the state of Zaporizhian Sich. No wonder, our conference is dedicated to the military state of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and its 75th anniversary.
That’s why, the modern Mikhnovskys mustn’t be removed from active politics, and Bolbochans mustn’t be shot.
And this time it is also important to prevent the realization of wonderful formula “smote themselves”, which shows how Ukrainian passionarity turns into entropy and deadly civil strifes.
I dare suggest that not only our eastern neighbors wouldn’t like Great Ukraine but those who are in the West either. So despite diplomatic flattery we should strengthen our western border and fight against anti-state phenomena.
As I’ve already mentioned, the whole process of the national revolution is a syncretic unity, so no one is allowed to redraw Ukrainian history and say, for example, that the first movement of liberation and the first UIA is good, but Shukhevych’s UIA and Bandera’s OUN are tabooed. Tearing out from history any page will result in a dangerous domino effect in the future.
Finally, we should not forget that, first and foremost, the revolution and war are waged for the brains, these are the acts of the worldview, and weapons only make an effect permanent. You may have noticed that where Lenin’s monument fell down (by the way, Ukrainians perceived it as a symbol of slavery and knocked it down as once they knocked down milestones) and where Bandera’s march took place, Moscow’s imperialism was physically stopped.
Another aspect of our revolution is the time in which it takes place. The world is too globalized and compressed in space for someone could let Ukraine become a subject.
So to become a subject and return our national identity by overcoming the consequences of the occupation, which has lasted for several hundreds of years, is one of the main goals of the Revolution.
And of course, the government as a tool which brings about changes is also an important theme for debates. To take away the power from one enemy and to give it to another one is, at least, a wrong goal of revolutionary events.
So I wanted us to talk today about the theory and practice of the Ukrainian revolution which we have to continue and complete.
Let’s be precise, economical in words and rich in senses.
I see a good sign in the fact that finally the premises of the Central Council are “occupied” by us rather than by those who believe in universal brotherhood, pacifism and charity of “good uncles” from abroad, as it was a century ago. Maybe it’s a good sign for breaking the vicious circle.
I haven’t used a lot of quotations, but I now I just want to cite a leading paragraph in a recent article of the American edition “National interests”, “In the anarchic system of international relations military force remains the best currency”.
The state can have a beautiful culture, art, philosophy and be glorious but it is worth nothing if there is no sufficient military force to protect it. Mao Zedong articulated this idea really in a sharp way – “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”.
Do not forget about it. And good luck.