The Brotherhood of Sts Cyril and Methodius was a Ukrainian ethno-religious organization that lasted only 18 months. Yet, it contained the work of two towering intellects of Slavic national thinking: Mykailo Kostamarov and Mikhail Drahomanov. While obscure today, their work is the foundation for the Slavic ethno-federalism that became the hallmark of both Ukrainian and Russian Slavophilism.
Kostamarov, a former serf like Shevchenko, saw Ukraine as the symbol of the world’s underclass. Misunderstood and oppressed, with co-opted elites, they became an isolated and suffering agrarian class easy to demonize, mock and ultimately, eliminate. The familiar claim in the early 19th century that Ukrainian was a “peasant language” meant that it was a language for the ignorant, not for the westernizing new men of St. Petersburg. Such slogans were designed to justify the continuing exploitation of Ukraine both as a land and a people. Throughout the world, the self-serving belief that the agricultural classes are simpletons and ignorant exists primarily to justify their continual exploitation by the urban elites.
Among Ukrainian writers, Kostamarov is one of the rare specimens who justified Russian intervention in Ukrainian affairs after the Cossack revolts against the Jewish-Polish alliance in 1648. Given the failures of all the other options, going to Russia wasn’t such a bad idea. This proves that so much in Ukrainian thinking wasn’t anti-Russian.
Kostomarov’s ethnic populism, like Drahomanov’s, was based around the significance of folk ideas in developing the General Will. With some exaggeration, it might be argued that the entire concept of Sobornapravna is about the folk, expressing itself over the centuries in popular ballads, art and poetry, formalized into a “political program” through the General Will (to use Rousseau’s term).
In other words, that the General Will is best understood by looking at the basic structure of folk poetry as it developed over the years. It became, so to speak, the public persona of the Ukrainian peasant and Ukraine’s great contribution to nationalist thought. In these poems, Russia is almost never attacked. Rather, the Turks and Jews are singled out for contempt. Kostamarov and the rest of the Brotherhood doesn’t deserve their obscurity.
Presented by Matt Johnson
The Orthodox Nationalist: Mykailo Kostamarov and the Ukrainian Philosophy of History – TON 103019
Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson updates a previous podcast, in preparation for the publication of his new book on Ukrainian Nationalism.
My book, Ukrainian Nationalism, will soon be available. Links will be provided. Ukraine, from a Russian Orthodox nationalist like myself, has been hijacked by westerners who loathe all forms of national assertiveness. Faux-nationalist groups were used in the violent coup of 2014 and then cast aside as embarrassments later on.
The fact is that the Ukrainian pantheon of nationalist writers, including Bandera himself, were philosophically no different than nationalists the world over. Bandera was many things, a “Nazi” was not one of them. I’ve sympathized with the plight of Novorossiya from day one, but their condemnations of the Kiev government as “Nazi” are laughable. Bandera would have condemned each and every aspect of that coup. He loathed and distrusted the west, capitalism and usury, precisely the forces that took over the country.
This broadcast updates and reprises one made a decade ago on the great Ivan Franko, the Social-Nationalist poet and historian of the late 19th and early 20th century Ukraine. It deals with “The Hired Hand” an 1876 poem that recapitulates our own struggle in a very striking way. Socialism isn’t communism, materialism or Marxism.
Presented by Matt Johnson
The Orthodox Nationalist: Ivan Franko and Ukrainian Nationalism – TON 102319
Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson looks at reasons for getting the Chinese hooked on opium and the way the trade was presented to the British public.
The Opium Wars comprised two separate conflicts spanning 1839 to 1860. It is particularly galling because it involved the profits derived from getting the Chinese hooked on narcotics. China is and has always been an elite, world historic people with a powerful work ethic and one of the world’s highest IQs. The empire was the world’s largest economy at the time, dominating most of Asia. London was going to end this, and drugs was the weapon of choice.
The conclusion of the wars proved their purpose: the British were given full freedom to pump the country full of drugs while forcing the state to accept all manner of British exports to the detriment of native producers. In fact, China was forced to buy more goods from the British whether they wanted them or not.
Significantly, these wars also featured the deliberate destruction of Chinese cultural artefacts. Soldiers burnt 3000 year old scrolls, ancient manuscripts and works of art. This wasn’t “looting” but was explicit state policy. In order to fit traditional China into the British liberal world order, it needed a violent revolution from within. This revolution would be created by free trade ideology on the one hand, and drugs, on the other.
Presented by Matt Johnson
The Orthodox Nationalist: The Opium Wars and Liberal Imperialism – TON 101619