One of the most grotesque from the Ukrainian point of view points in the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at Versailles was his mention of Kiev Princess and French Queen Anna Yaroslavna almost as his own predecessor.
For Russian viewers is nothing extraordinary in this statement. And Putin himself (I’m quite sure) have mentioned to Anna Yaroslavna, not trying to hurt Ukrainians. Because in his mind there is no Ukrainian state, as he frankly told the US President George Bush, and no Ukrainian history either.
The Ukrainian response to Putin’s statement shows only that, as we are far and fast away from the Russian historical mythology. We lived in the context of this myth, not decades to centuries, studied it in schools and universities, answered questions on exams…
In the history we were taught, Yaroslav the Wise was a “natural precursor” of the Moscow princes and Russian tsars, and Kiev Rus ‘ — protogosudarstva, ahead of Moscow Russia. Many of us still live by the stereotypes of the myth, when proudly telling the Russians that the Kiev Prince Yuri Dolgoruky founded Moscow.
But Yuri Dolgoruky were initially not in Kiev, and Vladimir-Suzdal Prince. He and his son Andrei Bogolyubsky, not reigned in Kiev, and captured and burned Kiev. And is buried Yuri Dolgoruky in Kiev, not because it was his homeland and patrimony, and because here was poisoned by the enemies of Kievan boyar-nobles.
Such stereotypes in the perception of history in our consciousness a lot more. But the response to the statement of Vladimir Putin demonstrates that the society starts reappraisal of historical myths, the return to historical reality, to normalcy, to what it really is — not invented by Karamzin or Klyuchevskaya on the needs of the Russian Royal court.
This means that we have an uphill battle of their own history, because the Russians from their inventions not going to give up and I assure you, will not give up never, even in the most liberal and democratic power.
We have to win this battle at the Ukraine, on the level of education, science and media. Otherwise we never become a people and will always be population. And we have to win this battle in Europe and the world in General, because otherwise we will never become in the eyes of foreigners an independent country with its own past and therefore have the right to their own future, and will look only more or less successful “alternative Russia”.