Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2014 had, from the very beginning, a sign of a conventional (conventional) war – the seizure of civilian-owned civilian targets in the Crimea, including houses of authorities and crossings, the storming of Ukrainian military units, one of which was in Simferopol. a Ukrainian officer was killed, a naval battle on the western coast of Crimea, when, for example, one of the Ukrainian ships on Donuzlav used hundreds of light-emitting grenades to protect against attackers from ships under the Andriy flag. However, in the mass consciousness of Ukraine and the world, Russia’s aggression has become entrenched as a hybrid war. Signs of the latter, indeed, were, too, the enormous role of the myriad methods of warfare in comparison to combat operations using conventional weapons, as well as Russia’s desire to conceal the very fact of unleashing aggression, to show itself as a third party in a supposedly “intra-Ukrainian” conflict. The Kremlin has actively and systematically carried out large-scale information, economic and geocultural attacks against Ukraine.
Moreover, the economic consequences of Russian aggression for Ukraine are great and painful. Only one touch of the problem – because of the seizure of Crimea, the Ukrainian side lost access to most of its shelf, where it was producing hydrocarbons and where a large multinational company was about to earn a Ukrainian license, instead, the aggressor had already pumped out five years of occupation of southern Ukraine. 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Ukrainian offshore fields with the help of Russian $ 800 million seized Russian drilling rigs. It is not easy to calculate the consequences of Russia’s geocultural war against Ukraine, but its impact may have even more negative consequences in the future. Because the issue here is not in the losses, losses and casualties of the Ukrainian people, but in attempts to question its very existence.
Russia during its period of ordering in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol has managed to cause great damage to the material cultural heritage of Ukraine – known numerous facts of plunder and destruction of monuments, destructive consequences of the “restoration” of landmark objects (Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisarai, stairs in Bakhchisarai Mount Mithridates in Kerch), illegal movement of objects of the museum fund of Ukraine to Russia and to third countries. However, systemic efforts to use the symbolic capital of Crimean monuments to justify or conceal aggression against Ukraine are noteworthy. The occupation and annexation of part of the territory of the sovereign state before the war in Russia in 2014 was the first in Europe since the Second World War. Such actions by the aggressor state have been a brutal violation of international law and order created to prevent wars since the mid-twentieth century, bilateral Ukrainian-Russian treaties and commitments undertaken by Russia under multilateral agreements. The lack of legal grounds for the seizure of Ukrainian Crimea and Sevastopol and aggression against Ukraine generally led to the Kremlin’s attempts to disguise its actions with quasi-historical arguments. This is a very good reason. However, Russia’s geocultural war against Ukraine has deeper roots.
For the Kremlin and the camp of Russian revanchists in general, a country centered in Kyiv is not just an important springboard for further expansion, a source of human, financial and material resources. The consciousness of the bearers of the Russian imperial matrix perceives the Ukrainian question as a threshold, since the very existence of Ukraine makes one wonder about Russian identity, since the core of Kievan Rus was the modern Ukrainian lands. Therefore, Ukraine naturally feels its continuity with regard to the Kyivan Rus’ heritage. The country we now call Russia has finally emerged as a separate entity in the Oka and Volga rivers in the Golden Horde. However, its powerful and intellectual establishment wants to present its country not only involved in the heritage of Kievan Rus and Novgorod region, where the fourth Eastern Slavic ethnic group was formed before the capture of Moscow, but by the main or even the sole heir. The traditional response of the Russian emperors to the “Ukrainian challenge” was to destroy or at least deprive the subject of Ukrainian identity. Accordingly, there is reason to see the Kremlin as constantly repeating in various variations the thesis that “Russians and Ukrainians are one people”, not as innocent fun in pluralism of thought, but as a barely camouflaged programmatic denial of Ukrainian culture, language and statehood.
The aggressor state is trying to systematically use the cultural heritage of the illegally occupied Crimea as a symbolic capital in the war against Ukraine. In the volume of one article it is impossible to discuss the entire Crimean case substantially, so we will focus on perhaps the most illustrative cases of instrumentally politicized use of the Chersonese theme and proclaiming the occupied Ukrainian city of Kerch – “the most ancient city in Russia”.
Chersonese: Kiev has to give up Crimea because Kiev prince was baptized there?
The apparent illegality of Russia’s actions during the seizure of the Ukrainian Crimea required additional justifications for the pseudorandom “fig leaves” (“referendums” under the gun barrel, the adoption of Russian laws on annexation of the territory of another state). And on March 18, 2014, in his “Crimean-Sudeten” speech, the President of the Russian Federation put forward a quasi-historical rationale for capturing the two southern regions of Ukraine. This speech generally contains a number of nonsense: for example, the statement “Russians are the largest divided nation”. Do the Kremlin consider the Khans to be numerically smaller than the Russians? Haven’t heard about Taiwan problem? With regard to the quasi-historical arguments for the need for the partition of Ukraine, perhaps the most absurd was the mention of “ancient Chersonese, where Holy Prince Vladimir was baptized. It turns out that the Crimea had to be torn from the state with its capital in Kiev, because the Grand Duke of Kiev was baptized in Chersonese more than a thousand years ago, and then baptized Kiev? Can anyone convince them of common sense?
Despite the obvious ambiguity of the situation with Chersonese, the Kremlin has turned the issue into one of the cornerstones of the ideology of “criminalism”. The Kremlin’s sacralisation of the Kremlin was meant to take out the wrongdoing of critics. However, she soon questioned the internationally recognized status of this ancient and medieval city, which had existed for over 1800 years and was a significant political, economic and cultural center of the Northern Black Sea. The fact is that in 2013, Ukraine included the Chersonese Tavriysky National Reserve into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Archaeologists have been studying this ancient city and its agricultural district, which has a unique level of preservation for ancient policies, since 1827. As early as 1892, a museum was created in Chersonesos, which in the times of the Ukrainian SSR became a historical-archeological museum-reserve, and in independent Ukraine received the status of a national reserve. Immediately after the conquest of Crimea, the Ukrainian museum institution was illegally re-registered by the occupation administration.
In July 2015, the Russian governor of Sevastopol S. Menyaylo appointed the patriarch of the Patriarchate of Moscow Patriarchate, Archpriest Sergei Khaluta, to this illegitimate Russian museum as part of the “strengthening of the scrip”. He did not have the proper professional skills and educational level (he graduated from medical school and denominational educational institutions), but could implement the direction required by the Russian authorities to sacralize a significant historic site. S. Menaylo emphasized when appointing a cleric as the head of a scientific and educational institution that Chersonese should be not only a tourist but also a center of worship and pilgrimage. Perhaps the protest of the team of the national reserve would not have resulted, but the accession of Russian scientists and museums to it forced the Russian authorities to activate the “backstop”.
The director of the Hermitage and the head of the Union of Museums of Russia M. Piotrovsky emphasized that the transformation of Chersonese from a scientific and educational center into a religious one is unacceptable, and the appointment of a cleric as a reserve director could lead to the exclusion of this valuable object from the UNESCO World Heritage List.It should be noted that the author of this correct statement also does not exaggerate the right in the field of protection of cultural heritage, since without the permission of the Ukrainian side, after the occupation of Crimea, the excavation in Chersonese was resumed. However, his name has not yet been included in the sanctions list of Ukraine by archaeologists who work illegally in the temporarily occupied territory.
In 2015, a scientist was appointed director instead of Haluta, but almost at the same time the Kremlin unlawfully declared the inclusion of this object of Ukrainian cultural heritage in the list of “especially valuable objects of cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia”. In practice, this led to the removal of a valuable monument from the illegitimate administration of Sevastopol into direct subordination to Moscow. However, the vector before the politicized “sacralization” of Chersonese and its use for political manipulation was preserved. As the destruction of the monuments of the Chersonese choir continued, the attempts of the ROC to take away the premises of the monastery, which once belonged to the monastery, and are considered by the modern director of the hierarch of the ROC to be closer to Putin… By the way, in 2016 the permanent representative of the United Nations Security Council Mitrofanova has publicly acknowledgedthat the Chersonesos Tavriysky Museum-Reserve is not under the responsibility of Russia.
Vladimir Putin has visited the monument at least once a year since the capture of Crimea, and the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has been tirelessly reminding him that he is thus violating the law. Typically, the Kremlin head does this in August during the Ancient Opera Festival. Do not forget to go to the Vladimir Cathedral, which was restored in 2004 by the Kyiv City State Administration. Of course, such visits have a political and propaganda character. In 2017, Putin made a statement that modified the neo-imperial myth of Chersonese. Then he said: “It is necessary to create a Russian (” Russian “), a Russian Mecca here. The point is not that Prince Vladimir was baptized here, but that after that the strengthening of the centralized Russian state (in the original, the Russian state) began here. The statement is frankly fantastic. Because centralized Moscow,in the future, the Russian state emerged under the influence of the traditions of the Golden Horde a few centuries later the baptism of the prince of Kiev. However, V. Putin is right in speaking of the “unique” meaning of Chersonese for the Russian state, for many he has become a symbol of the return to Europe of the Third Reich practices in interstate relations. Interestingly, in the spring of 2014, one of the Russian propagandists called V. Putin a “good Hitler until 1939”. The aforementioned statement of the President of the Russian Federation is interesting because it shifted the accents to Chersonesos’ neo-mythological perception from Orthodoxy to statehood.for many it became a symbol of the return to Europe of the practices of the Third Reich in interstate relations. Interestingly, in the spring of 2014, one of the Russian propagandists called V. Putin a “good Hitler until 1939”. The aforementioned statement of the President of the Russian Federation is interesting because it shifted the accents to Chersonesos’ neo-mythological perception from Orthodoxy to statehood.for many it became a symbol of the return to Europe of the practices of the Third Reich in interstate relations. Interestingly, in the spring of 2014, one of the Russian propagandists called V. Putin a “good Hitler until 1939”. The aforementioned statement of the President of the Russian Federation is interesting because it shifted the accents to Chersonesos’ neo-mythological perception from Orthodoxy to statehood.
While in 2014, with the mention of this missing city, the President of the Russian Federation spoke about the baptism of 988 of the common civilization foundation of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, but now he emphasizes the importance of Chersonese for the creation of a “centralized Russian state”. We see here an example of another attempt to symbolically “privatize” the memory of Chersonese. This is reminiscent of Putin’s cynical statements before the attack on Ukraine that Russia itself would have won the Great Patriotic War. At the time, the Kremlin leader, as if symbolically “pushing out” the memory of the victory over Nazism by other peoples of the USSR, publicly displayed contempt for the colossal victims they had suffered. For example, Ukraine lost more than 8 million people during World War II.
Uses the Putin regime in the Kherson subject and for indirect recognition of the annexation of Crimea. The simplest method is to visit at the invitation of the Russian side foreign officials or cultural figures of the reserve, a series of concerts and festivals that take place in its territory, in violation of Ukrainian law on border crossing. However, in 2019, the use of the Kherson theme has reached a whole new level. In early summer, Russian blogger A. Shipilov reported that Russia, through its intelligence services, is conducting an operation to use Cyprus to try to obtain at least indirect recognition of the EU’s Russian status in Crimea, and even cited a number of documents. From these materials it turned out that such is the Noble assembly of the Crimea in the person of its leader (leader) A. Ushakov,illegitimate Russian institution “Chersonese Tavriysky Historical-Archaeological Museum-Reserve” with the support of the “Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean Government”, ex-ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Cyprus Muradov and acting ambassador of the Russian Federation to Cyprus Osadchy, ROC structures deployed multifaceted on the Mediterranean island in order to recognize at least the de facto legitimacy of the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. The idea is likely to be that since it is impossible to directly establish contacts between illegitimate occupation structures in Crimea and state bodies of EU countries, it is possible to use civil society structures controlled or even created by Russian intelligence agencies to process European states.ROC structures launched multi-pronged political and cultural activity on the Mediterranean island in order to recognize at least the de facto legitimacy of annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. The idea is likely to be that since it is impossible to directly establish contacts between illegitimate occupation structures in Crimea and state bodies of EU countries, it is possible to use civil society structures controlled or even created by Russian intelligence agencies to process European states.ROC structures launched multi-pronged political and cultural activity on the Mediterranean island in order to recognize at least the de facto legitimacy of annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. The idea is likely to be that since it is impossible to directly establish contacts between illegitimate occupation structures in Crimea and state bodies of EU countries, it is possible to use civil society structures controlled or even created by Russian intelligence agencies to process European states.then to use the structures of civil society controlled or even created by Russian special services for the treatment of European states.then to use the structures of civil society controlled or even created by Russian special services for the treatment of European states.
One of the key roles in trying to use Chersonesos to recognize the annexation of Crimea in Europe is played by Muscovite, Honorary President of the group of companies “Expert and Analytical Service of the Commonwealth” A. Ushakov. A. Shipilov qualified him as a “fighter of the invisible front”, before whom representatives of the Russian administration of the Crimea are almost drawn to the fruit. Already in 2014, the Muscovite begins to actively work in the occupied territories of the south of Ukraine, becoming a member of the CCI Working Group on the Development of Relations with Crimea. In 2015 he heads the Noble Assembly of Crimea, and in the summer of 2016 – the Cultural and Educational Programs Foundation “Crimean Cultural Heritage”, which was just established in Simferopol. The charity is openly declaring its political intentions: “A number of internationally significant events have been undertaken in 2016-2019 to fund the fund,contributing to the strengthening of the positive image of the Crimea and objective information about the legitimacy and historical validity of its return to Russia. ” Already in the fall of 2016, this fund is holding a meeting with the leadership of the Russian reserve Chersonese Tavriysky on large-scale cooperation. Then a structure led by Ushakov declared his intention to assist the museum institution in a wide range of issues, from the development of the logo and the concept of updating the exposition to the registration of documents in BTI. In 2018, the Foundation has agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions in 2019 in the Republic of Cyprus about the sacred sites of the Crimea and to send Cypriot tourists on pilgrimage routes to Crimea.this fund holds a meeting with the leadership of Russia’s Chersonesos Tavriisky Reserve on large-scale cooperation. Then a structure led by Ushakov declared his intention to assist the museum institution in a wide range of issues, from the development of the logo and the concept of updating the exposition to the registration of documents in BTI. In 2018, the Foundation has agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions in 2019 in the Republic of Cyprus about the sacred sites of the Crimea and to send Cypriot tourists on pilgrimage routes to Crimea.this fund holds a meeting with the leadership of Russia’s Chersonesos Tavriisky Reserve on large-scale cooperation. Then a structure led by Ushakov declared his intention to assist the museum institution in a wide range of issues, from the development of the logo and the concept of updating the exposition to the registration of documents in BTI. In 2018, the Foundation has agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions in 2019 in the Republic of Cyprus about the sacred sites of the Crimea and to send Cypriot tourists on pilgrimage routes to Crimea.The Foundation has agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions about the holy sites of Crimea in 2019 in the Republic of Cyprus and to send Cypriot tourists on pilgrimage routes to Crimea.The Foundation has agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions about the holy sites of Crimea in 2019 in the Republic of Cyprus and to send Cypriot tourists on pilgrimage routes to Crimea.
Ushakov also becomes a representative of the “Union of the Descendants of the Russian Noble Assembly – the Noble Assembly of Russia” in Cyprus and is trying to create in the Republic of Cyprus the so-called “Crimean House in the EU” Cultural Center in the Republic of Cyprus in 2019. However, soon the organization was renamed “Chersonesus Tavriysky’s Friends Club”. In fact, it is recognized by its members as operating at the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Cyprus, but formally it is a social structure.
In June 2019, in the second largest city of Cyprus, Limassol and in Nicosia, under the auspices of this “club”, the illegitimate Russian “Chersonese Tavriisky” reserve, the ROC, an exhibition “Chersonesos Shrines” took place. Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimean UOC MP Lazar blessed it. Once again, the Russian authorities cynically used the church to achieve their geopolitical goals and carried out, without the permission of Ukraine, the movement of objects of the Museum Fund of Ukraine beyond the borders of the temporarily occupied territory. It is a pity that the clergy of the UOC-MP / ROC have given themselves another time to get involved in these dirty political games.
Ambassador of Ukraine to Cyprus B. Gumenyuk on the opening of the so-called “Chersonese Friends Club” – “Representation of Russian Crimea” in Europe “- officially stated that” we are witnessing how Russia again uses “Trojan horse” tactics to mislead the public and avoid responsibility for war crimes against Ukraine. ” The Ambassador regarded this particular case as another attempt to legitimize the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation to the EU, which is similar to Moscow’s well-planned, special operation to bypass EU law and achieve its imperial goals. In this connection, B. Humeniuk asked a rhetorical question: “I would like to find out what the Greek Cypriots would say if a Turkish non-governmental organization abroad were to find any ‘historical links’cultural and cultural values ”between the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey?”.
As the city of Ukraine proclaimed the most ancient in Russia
Another attempt to “privatize” Russia’s symbolic capital of the city in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea is associated with Kerch. If the Chersonese case is most likely Moscow’s attempt to use soft power in the war against Ukraine and the West, then the Russian administration of the occupied Crimea could start playing around the eastern Crimean city, of course, within the Kremlin’s objectives and rules. The fact is that in 2015, official celebrations began to commemorate the 200th anniversary officially recognized as the oldest in the Russian city of Derbent in Dagestan. Almost at the same time, publicly began publicizing the Kerch theme as “Russia’s most ancient city.”
Throughout its 26-year history, it has had various names – Pantikapei, Bosporus, Karsha, Korchev, Cherkio, Vosporo, Kerch. The Greek ponticapai policy was based on the Crimean shore of the Kerch (then Cimmerian) Strait, according to the latest Russian archaeologists, between 610 and 590 BC. It should be noted that the Russian scientists received the updated information about the foundation of the city after the annexation of Crimea without proper registration of documents for excavations in the Ukrainian authorities. However, long before 2014 Kerch was called the oldest city in Ukraine, since the date of its foundation was considered VI century. B.C. In the V century. B.C. Pantikapeus became the capital of the Bosporus kingdom, which united the shores of eastern Crimea and Taman. On the border of the er it was part of the Pontic kingdom, the Roman Empire, later captured by the Goths, destroyed the Huns.Further, the city was part of Byzantium, Khazaria, Tmutarakan principality, the Golden Horde, the Genoa Republic, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the RSFSR, the USSR, the USSR and already independent Ukraine. Despite the ups and downs, periods of devastation and devastation, life in the city has been steadily growing for over 2.5 thousand years.
However, Derbent residents can sleep peacefully – Kerch is not a competitor to their city. The point is not even that archaeologists in the 1970s-1990s found evidence of the existence of a significant settlement in the territory of this Caucasian city as early as the first half of the first millennium BCE. and, accordingly, it cannot be ruled out a little more important than the age of Kerch. The issue of dating to the time of Derbent’s founding is still debated in science. The problem is that Kerch does not reside in Russia’s internationally recognized borders, is from the point of view of law a Ukrainian city, and therefore cannot be considered formally as the oldest in any country other than Ukraine.
The motives of the representatives of the Russian administration of the occupied territories, who launched a campaign to recognize the Eastern Crimean city as “the oldest in Russia”, are quite obvious. It is an attempt to gain weight among the regional establishment of the Russian Federation, increase its significance in the eyes of the Kremlin and, of course, a way to attract more tourists and obtain additional funds from the federal budget. It’s no secret that celebrating anniversaries is a window of opportunity for attracting government subsidies. It is also a PR for the city, and ideologically valid PR is very important in Putin’s Russia. The Dagestans hoped to receive tens of billions of rubles under the anniversary of Derbent. In fact, it turned out to be much less, however, and this money the government of Dagestan hardly seized.
The ideological ideology around Kerch began after the Bosporan expedition in 2015, led by an archaeologist, the head of the department of the State Museum of Fine Arts. O. Pushkin (Moscow) V. Tolstikov on the top of Mithridates Mount in the most ancient layer of the Panticapeus of the building and other artifacts of the end of the VII century. B.C. An important find from the occupied territory of Ukraine, the Russian ideological machine was immediately dubbed “the oldest building in all of Russia.” In January 2016, at a meeting of the Government of the Republic of Crimea, Vice Prime Minister L. Opanasyuk announced that Tolstikov’s expedition, which has been operating on the Pantikapeia for 40 years, made discoveries that give grounds to claim that Kerch is the oldest city Russian Federation”. In June 2016, the “Head of Government of the Republic of Crimea” S.Aksyonov instructed the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Crimea and the East Crimean Museum-Reserve to begin collecting information in order to prove it officially.
In August 2016, V. Tolstikov gave a report at the international conference “Archeology and History of the Bosporus” on findings that allow to determine the age of Kerch approximately 2650 years. At the end of 2016, at the end of 2016, the director of the East Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve T. Umrikhin prepared documents to the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences and governmental structures of the Russian Federation for the official recognition of the date of foundation of Kerch in the period 610-590 BC. They were supplemented with the relevant certificates signed by the director of the Museum of Fine Arts History. A. Pushkin M. Loshak and V. Tolstikova, Head of the Department of Field Studies, A. Maslenikov Institute of Archeology, Russian Academy of Sciences. Russian scientists were not far behind and their Crimean colleagues – the official protocol on the age of Kerch was prepared by historians of the Crimean Federal University. IN.Vernadsky ”, headed by the head of the Department of History of the Ancient World and Middle Ages, archaeologist O. Herzen. In June 2017, the Russian media actively reproduced Umrikhina’s statement that, after V. Tolstikov’s report, the Scientific Council of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences recognized that it was reasonable to speak about the turn of the VII-VI centuries BC. as the date of the founding of the Panticapaeus during the Miletian colonization, and therefore, “there is no more ancient city in Russia than Kerch.”than Kerch. “than Kerch. ”
However, Russia’s bureaucratic machine is slow. If the same T. Umrikhina in 2016 suggested to the leadership of Russia to officially mark the 2600 anniversary of Kerch in two years, at the beginning of the same year in 2018, she said that the process of official recognition of the new status of the city is complicated and it is necessary to make a big paper »Work. But the ideological machine of Russia is much faster. An exhibition “Kerch – the most ancient city of Russia” was opened in the East Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve. In the summer and autumn of 2018, the exhibition of the same name worked in Yekaterinburg, and the objects of the Museum Fund of Ukraine were already exhibited on it in violation of the law and civilized norms of dealing with cultural values.
And while these ideological games were going on, right after the annexation of Crimea, problems began with the iconic monuments of Kerch – business cards of the city. The first work began to collapse the famous work of the Italian architect Digby – Mithridates stairs leading from the central square of the city to the top of Mithridates. In 2016, during a visit to Kerch Putin, the Crimean leadership promised him that the necessary work would be carried out promptly, but the de facto situation only got worse after cramming a huge number of piles by “restorers” directly into the cultural layer of Mithridates. In 2018, the Obelisk of Glory, the first monument to the Great Patriotic War (1944), began to collapse. In early 2019, according to one version, they were dismantled due to the threat of destruction and temporarily removed, while in the other, they fell and damaged the antique portico column on Mithridates.Isn’t it worth expecting problems next year with the oldest operating Byzantine church in Ukraine – the Church of St. John the Baptist, located in the center of Kerch?
It is not known, but the fact that Russia will continue to actively use the cultural resources of the occupied Ukrainian territories in the war against Ukraine, there is no doubt. And notwithstanding common sense and right. The war is ongoing, and the Kremlin’s ideological machine is spinning a flywheel of military propaganda, despite all the changes at the olympic Ukraine. A country that has suffered aggression from Russia and the world should prepare for a protracted struggle for the resumption of international law, as the Russian leadership is striving to implement a long-term strategy to change the world order …
Andriy Ivanets, Candidate of Historical Sciences,
Senior Researcher at the Institute of Ukrainian Studies
The material was prepared with the assistance of the Ukrainian Cultural FoundationLink to the source of information