Russia is Ukraine’s ‘Younger Brother,’ Moscow Historian Says
August 12 – Russians are so used to employing terms that slight the standing of
those around them, be calling all former Soviet republics their country’s “near
abroad,” or by referring to non-Russians nations as Russia’s “younger brothers,”
terms they would find it hard to accept when applied by others to themselves.
But, of course,
all countries have just as much right to call their neighbors “the near abroad”
as does Russia and many for historical and cultural reasons have an even more
compelling case to call others their “younger brothers” than do the Russians
with respect to non-Russians in and around them.
Russian use of these terms is so common that it isn’t news, but non-Russian use
of them is – and especially so if a Moscow expert says that a non-Russian
nation has the complete right to employ them regarding Russia.That has now happened, and not surprisingly, Russian
media have treated it as worthy of a headline.
to the scholar, who traces his origins to Ukraine’s Chernihov, “Kyiv bears
great responsibility for its ‘younger relative,’” given that “the main
intellectual inflow into Russia from long ago has occurred via Ukraine.” In
this, Ukraine plays a role for Russia similar to that which Great Britain plays
of the United States.
surprisingly, many Russians are outraged by Mironenko’s suggestion even though
they themselves are quite happy to describe Ukrainians as Russia’s “younger
brothers” and Ukraine as part of Russia’s “near abroad.” Indeed, they appear to
view these terms when they use them as entirely natural.