Friday, April 15, 2022

Replay of Old Tactic

Russia is replaying a tactic that has gained a lot of traction in recent conflicts. They are destroying Ukrainian culture and history in an attempt to invalidate the idea of "Ukraine" and play down any difference of the invaded from the invader.

While many traditional wars find the aggressors trying seek to impose their dominance over weaker people, often newer wars try to erase the idea that the conquered are a unique people altogether.

Russian has long held that Ukraine is an integral part of "greater" Russia. To reinforce this idea, they try to remove the signifiers of a separate culture and a national interests of the enemy. 

For example, there is a separate Orthodox Ukrainian Church and a separate Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church (the second largest Catholic Church, after the Latin Catholics). The Orthodox Russian Church is trying to remove the Kyiv Prelate and subsume the Ukrainian Orthodox into the Russian Orthodox system.

They also try to remove any Ukrainian symbols of culture: museums, churches and leaders (down to mayors - as we have seen). This same thing happened in Bosnian Herzegovina, even down to the destruction of the Bosnian National Archive and Library in order to destroy the written history of Bosnia. Serbs destroyed Mosques, saying that Bosniacs were not "really" slavic, but turn coats from the Ottoman Empire.

This is a different older conflicts, like the war of "Americans" versus the native Americans, or Turkey versus the Kurds. In these cases, the dominate culture expressly identifies the culture of the enemy as less important or strong. The enemy is "the other".

The result of Russia's attempts is the focus on removing the culture and history of the enemy, not just defeating them. Say in Mariupol, the Russians havre destroyed the city. If they hold it, they will rebuild with a distinctively more Russian cast and remove all "Ukrainian" influences. 

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