I recently wrote about the old American organizing philosophy of “Americanism”, which called for the non-ethnic, non-racial, and non-religious unification of Americans in service of the greater interests of the nation, very broadly defined as including various wars and military operations overseas and major social reorganization at home.
Something to understand about Americanism was that it didn’t actually put all ethnic and religious groups on the same footing- it was implicitly understood that America was based on English political principles organized originally by English people, and while all were welcome, the newcomers were under obligation to conform to a deracinated version of this. Newcomers could take pride in being accepted into the nation, and the old Americans could take pride it was their culture it was based on. The joining together of things that are not actually the same is shown in the Americanist coining of the term “Judeo-Christian”.
I’m going to call this “pseudo-nationalism”- a system that recruits the passion and pride of nationalism by giving some credit or at least paying lip service to traditionalists, without actually offering them the benefits of nationalism. America is the most obvious pseudo-nationalist entity. Empires that call themselves empires don’t need to engage in this obfuscation, because they can offer their citizens the benefits of nationalism at home and if they can’t make it at home or want to increase their status, they can go abroad for jobs as imperialists.
Russia however also qualifies as a pseudo-nationalist entity. Russian expansion over the centuries has meant incorporating non-Russian, non-Orthodox people into the Russian empire. Russians had a primary place in this empire as soldiers and administrators, but it was not really run for their benefit.
The Bolsheviks took over this system, but Russian nationalism wasn’t of any interest to them, in fact it was the sort of thing they were trying to wipe out. World War II changed this. A sense of Russian nationalism was helpful for fighting the Germans.
Viktor Suvorov, in one of his books, commented that economic well-being in the USSR was proportional to assumed political reliability- inversely proportional, the opposite of what you might think. He said the Central Asians were the best off, then the Ukrainians, and worst off the Russians. The Russians were allowed to dine off the idea that they were bosses of all this.
Putin is deeply loved by traditionalists, who seem to mostly regard him as the white knight against sinister foreign forces in the Ukraine. But Putin has just revived Russian pseudo-nationalism as policy. It’s a good policy- the US rose to hyperpower status as a pseudo-nationalist entity. Putin shows respect to the Orthodox at home, but real Russian nationalists who oppose Moslem crime in Moscow get harsh treatment.
The Ukrainian uprising seems to represent a split between West and East that goes back a long way. The Right Sector describes their conquest as a “Reconquista”, although I don’t know how the translation works on that. The protestors had Crusader crosses on their shields, and more pointedly one had made a helmet of the pepper-pot style preferred by the Teutonic Knights. According to Sailer one of the big Russian Ukrainian oligarchs is a Moslem, so there may be a lot of Moslem organized crime associated with Russian rule.
I can appreciate that Russian pseudo-nationalism has appeal to Russians, but no one should expect Ukrainians to like it. There are oligarchs and intelligence agents working both sides; I’m going to have to root for the side not poisoned by communism and multiculturalism.