Many reasons have been presented both in the Russian and Western media to explain Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine. In February 2014, Viacheslav Maltsev, Russian MP for the opposition PARNAS party, released a video in which he offered a political perspective regarding Russian-Ukrainian relations, stating that Russia needs to take advantage of the destabilization of Ukraine in order to “gather Russian lands.”
The point of view stated by Maltsev is inherently imperialist and chauvinist, and coincides perfectly with the point of view of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, who has publicly expressed his beliefs that “Ukraine is not a country” and “Wherever Ukraine goes, anyway we shall meet sometime and somewhere. Because we are one nation.” This disturbing point of view is tacitly endorsed by many extreme left-wingers in Europe (who are often sympathetic to Russia due to the anti-Westernism that it markets as “anti-imperialism” or “anti-globalization”), and overtly endorsed by extreme right-wingers and neo-Nazis (who are less sensitive to public opinion than their pro-authoritarian doppelgangers on the left, and thus, less inclined to rationalize their sympathies).
The following is a translation of Maltsev’s statement:
0.00: I read [the accusation that] I’m a Westerner because of something or other. I’m, of course, not a Westerner. I’m a 100% Russian nationalist, and I look at what’s good for the Russian public. And at the present moment, I see that Maidan is good for the Russian public, however paradoxical it seems.
0.20: Well, first of all, because it shows a path to our public, that’s the first thing. And second, with the given situation, there will be an opportunity to rip off the southeast oblasts. Even now, it’s realistically possible to rip off Crimea.
0.45: Those oblasts which were under the Poles and the Austro-Hungarians, well, those are probably lost to us forever… for Russia. But Russia needs to gather Russian lands. And how to gather them?
0.59: To gather, you have to first break apart. That’s the main question… about which nobody’s speaking, since everyone’s for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but I’m against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. So I’m definitely not a Westerner.
1.17: When I say it’s necessary to take away Crimea, when I say it’s necessary to take away southeastern Ukraine… and Kiev should be taken away. Kiev was never a Ukrainian city. During the time of Tsar ____, the capital of Ukraine was Khar-kiv! In the coat of arms of Kharkiv, there was a six-sided star, if you want to check. Kiev was a Russian city. What are we talking about, what Ukraine?
1.40: That’s why… people don’t understand this question, don’t understand that many of the moves of those who don’t wish us well, are in fact, to our advantage, and that we need to use them.
2.02 (Second Person): Well Kadyrov seems to understand. He says, “Russia won’t let Ukraine be handed over to bandits.”