Even though Russia is in part “’a daughter’” of European civilization, Ikhlov continues, its political system reflects not European values but those of the Mongol horde. Ukraine in contrast seeks to rejoin “’maternal’ European civilization.” As a result, “a battel has begun between two civilizational models on the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR.”
Over the past five years since the Russian invasion, he argues, this civilizational divide has become even clearer. Central Ukraine “would never tolerate the kind of arbitrariness and illegality” which the Russians have introduced into occupied Crimea and the contested Donbass regions.
In important ways, Ikhlov says, the conflict now is the same as the one at the end of the 15th century when “’Orthodox sultanism’” moved to suppress European values in the western borderlands Muscovy aspired to control. At that time, there occurred “the historic division of Rus into West and East,” with the former influenced by Europe and the latter by the Mongols.
“Independent Ukraine today has become the embodiment of the heritage of Western Rus, including above all, the principles of municipal democracy and a rejection of the sacralization of power and of an imperially closed church,” the Russian commentator continues – the same conflict that existed between Muscovy and Novgorod 500 years ago.
“It remains only to recall,” Ikhlov says, “that both attempts at the conquest of Belarus by Muscovy in the 16th and 17th centuries also were typical civilizational conflicts for the borderlands and bore an extremely sharp character as a result of the resistance of the local ‘Litvin’ population.” As a result, the conquerors used genocide to keep power.