Слава Україні!

One of the resident Russofascists has derided the above-mentioned phrase as militant nationalism and thus inherently baddy bad bad. Which baffled me immensely.

I am not fond of nationalism in any shape or form, militant or otherwise. However, we live in a world where most people have some national identity, usually centered around culture – language, art, history, and, sometimes, military power. That is an undeniable fact and nations, despite being social constructs, are undeniably also real entities. And trying to deny a nation a right to exist and engaging in behaviors toward ending its existence is internationally recognized as genocide. Which is arguably doubly baddy bad bad.

Pointing to the usage of the phrase in history and finding some unsavory groups that have used it is historically interesting, but I would argue that it is not particularly relevant to the actual context in which the phrase is being used. There are many phrases throughout history that were used by unsavory groups and it is silly to try and discredit a word or a phrase because it was used at some point in history by for example fascists. For example it is daft beyond measure when Republicans try to discredit the word socialism because Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei contains it, and it is equally daft to try and discredit the phrase Слава Україні! because Bandera was using it.

When it comes to words, context always matters. So lets look at the context in which the phrase Слава Україні! is currently used and how much sense opposing its use because “militant nationalism bad” makes.

One of the given reasons for the current Russian invasion of Ukraine is that the Ukrainian nation does not exist, Ukrainians are just misguided Russians. Unlike other given reasons, this one is probably honestly believed by Putin and his closest circle, possibly even by a lot of Russians at large.  And since Ukrainians are really Russians they need either to accept this or to be killed

In other words, the goal of the invasion is the annexation of the Ukrainian state and either assimilation or genocide of the Ukrainian people. Thus the war did not start as opposition to Ukrainian militant nationalism – Ukraine never posed any militant threat to Russia and Russia (Putin) knows it – it started as a result of Russian aggressive militant nationalism. And that is the context in which the phrase is currently used – to bolster and acknowledge the resolve and bravery of the Ukrainian people when faced with genocide.

Opposing the phrase because “militant nationalism bad” thus makes no sense, definitively not without opposing the Russian aggression too. Without Russian meddling in Ukrainian affairs and without the centuries-long history of Russian genocides (yes, plural, Russians did perform multiple genocides in a few centuries, some more successful than others) there would be no need for militant Ukrainian nationalism. Without Russia constantly threatening Ukraine, the most aggressive demonstration of Ukrainian nationalism would probably be shouting at sports stadiums, like with most nationalisms in current Europe. It is Russia who inserted the need for militancy. It is Russia who unilaterally started the conflict, and it is also Russia who can unilaterally stop it.

Thus I, although I deeply dislike nationalism, say Слава Україні! and I will keep saying it until Russia stops the genocide and lets the Ukrainian people live in peace, choose their allies and decide their own affairs.


  1. fusilier says

    US Rep Victoria Spartz (R -- of course) emphasizes that she escaped “Socialist Ukraine” circa 2000.

    Socialism is A Very Bad thing, of course.


    James 2:24

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