Oleg Gutsulyak: In the Presentiment Euroasian Mahdi
IN THE PRESENTIMENT EUROASIAN MAHDI
Interview to the Italian magazine “LA NAZIONE EURASIA:
BOLLETTINO TELEMATICO PER IL COORDINAMENTO PROGETTO EURASIA”)
(Conversation was conducted by editor-in-chief Daniele Scalea)
Русская версия интервью –http://primordial.org.ua/archives/123
Итальянская версия интервью – http://primordial.org.ua/archives/252
Translated by Sergiy Tyupa
Mr. Gutsulyak, you are the editor of “La Nazione Eurasia”, Ukrainian version. How you decided to do that? Who’s helping you in this work?
· Initially I was interested in the Italian version of “La Nazione Eurasia” and simply wanted to make something alike. There were some resources already in place, and after talking to my friends I learnt that they would be interested in it, too. The decision was made at the meeting of our Group for Studying the Basics of Primordial Tradition “Mesogaia”. The latter is just a section of a more extensive Ukrainian Intellectual Club of the New Right “Gold Griffin” (unfortunately, only two sections of the club are currently active – ours and the literature one; others are only nominal as the people who initially started them lost their interest). We presented the “LNE – UA” project as the one leading away from the narrow constraints of endless wails and weeping over “Ukraine’s bitter destiny”. We have a lot of authors, mostly graduate and undergraduate students and young teachers from our Precarpathian National Vasyl Stefanyk University and other universities, located in Ivano-Frankivsk (our city boasts three state and seven private universities!). The most active among them are Oleh Hrinkevych, Volodymyr Eshkilev, Ihor Kozlyk, Roman and Olga Ivasiv, Ivan Pelypyshak, Oleksandr Horishny, Oleh Skobalsky, Nataliya Lytvyn, Solomiya Ushnevych, Ulyana Makh, Oksana Stasynets, Sergiy Tyupa, Daniil Belodubrovsky, Yevhen Baran, and the late Teacher and Preceptor Yuriy Sultanov. I have to mention that they represent different nationalities living in Galicia – Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Jews, Azerbaijanians, Moldavians, Hungarians, etc.; and different religions – Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Judaism, Muslim, LDS, Neo-Paganism… At one point of time I was helped by Canadian interns who were of Ukrainian descent. “LNE-UA” is not our only project. The first one was our “Mesogaia” web site (http://www.mesogaia.il.if.ua); there is also the “Gall’Art” site (http://www.gallart.narod.ru) and a number of others, whose authors are the members of our Group (http://newright.il.if.ua, http://www.preussen-ua.narod.ru,http://www.goutsoullac.narod.ru, http://www.loveyourace.front.ru). Since printing services are so expensive, we can’t afford to publish a magazine or a newsletter, although we have materials sufficient for many issues. Our foreign friends also help us – Anton Rachev from Bulgaria, Sasha Papovich from Macedonia, Mohammed Nabil from Canada, Kevin Strom from the USA, Aleksandr Novoselov from Moldova, Andrei Pustogarov from Russia, Ellen Dovgan from Estonia.
What does the term “Eurasiatism” mean in your eyes?
· Ukrainian Eurasiatism has a peculiar historical tradition, dating back to early 1920s. That was a period of national movement for individuality, later referred to as “Shot Down Renaissance”. A group of Ukrainian intellectuals and writers with Mykola Fitilev-Khvylevy as their leader proclaimed the idea of “Asian Renaissance” and a slogan “To Psychological Europe!” looking at Ukraine as a peculiar intermediary between East and West, North and South, as a kind of subcontinent. I offered a name for this subcontinent – MesoEurasia, by analogy with MesoAmerica. But Ukraine, rather, resembles South-East Asia – the crossroads of a number of world civilizations (China, India, Islam, Oceania). But what is Ukraine by this analogy – Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, or Burma? I think, time will show.
Is there in Ukraine a big following for ideas as Eurasiatism and European nationalism?
· Yes, there is, and it is natural since Ukraine is one the crossroads between East and West. History proves that Ukrainians have never been aside from common European problems, whether in the Norman times or in the Cossack epoch. We are proud that in Kyivan Rus times our ancestors conquered Constantinople, crushed Mongols and Tatars, and crusaders (long before Russians did it); that Ukrainian troops fought at Grunwald, and that Ukrainian Cossacks seized Moscow in 1612 and then were protecting Vienna together with Polish troops; crashed Huguenots near Dunkirk and the Turks near Sinop. In our country we defeated powerful Polish armies, Peter the Great’s troops, and Bolshevik Red Army. And we have always realized ourselves as bearers of the high European Mission.
What do you think about the actual situation of your country, from a political and social point of view?
· Shortly we’ll take part in the re-run of the second round of the Presidential election. It is a great illusion both for the West and for Russia to think that Viktor Yanukovych is backed by Russia and that Viktor Yuschenko is backed by the USA. This myth was created by that part of the electorate who favour Russia and who consider Russian their native language. In reality Yanukovych is a protege of an extremely narrow stratum of extremely wealthy tycoons who played the Russian “card”, whereas Yuschenko became, perforce, a charismatic leader of the “potential catastrophe” stratum. After all, if current frequency deviated from 50 Hertz, Ukraine would “fall into itself” – energy system would collapse, communities would not be supplied with power and heating. In other words, at any moment a chain reaction of urban environment disintegration could start, together with disindustrialization and return from unbalanced Modern to Pre-Modern, just like it happens in popular “catastrophe movies” – with all mental consequences, resulting in total destruction of the civilization embryos.
How is relationship between Ukraine and Russia after the fall of USSR?
· It must be confessed that relations with Russia are one of the main factors of Ukraininan life, and these relations exist on different levels: between governments, businessmen, scientists, artists, relatives, and just friends. Sometimes they have this or that level of remoteness or intimacy. Not everything is so simple. Leonid Kuchma’s election pledges were in no way different from those of his Belorussian colleague Lukashenko – aiming at integration with Russia. However, when Kuchma came to power, he had to take into consideration not only the 45% of evident anti-Russian state of public opinion, but also the interests of both large-scale capital (who were not willing to see competitors from Russia on their territory and change the existing corruption schemes) and the feeling of a “proprietor” (“it is no concern of mine”) – the feeling that makes Ukrainian mentality different from the Russian one (the latter characterized with the feeling of collectivism).
You think – as Aleandr Dugin – that President Vladimir Putin could be the leader of an alternative project to Atlantism, or you think he will finish to fall into line with US egemony?
· It is unlikely to expect from Putin, who can be viewed as the embodiment of Hoffman’s “little Zaches”. His desire to have everything under control is not a working habit of a KGB officer. This is the sign of weakness, an attempt to hold the situation firmly at hand. As the representative of the past he cannot admit publicly that Russia had won in the “cold war” – by winning over its own communism. Putin is incapable of offering to the post-Soviet elites any acceptable “vision of the future”, any development program, since the Russian elite have not developed these for themselves, either. You can’t get too far only on “nostalgia”. It is more likely that the world will witness the appearance of a new political personality who would be interesting to government elites in former USSR. He is awaited for with a certain mystical piety, similar to the feeling the Muslims have waiting for Mahdi’s advent. In other words, this “messiah” will come from the outside, from the world, which is transcendental to those, who potentially view themselves as America’s opposition.
What do Ukrainian people think about European Union?
· Apart from a small percent of people mourning for the former USSR, Ukraine’s population, no matter which language they speak or which religion they follow, realize that Ukraine’s entering to the European Union is inevitable. It’s quite another matter if we talk about the time when this is to happen. The majority of extreme nationalistic anti-Russian forces are advocating the immediate joining to the EU and NATO, and introducing European life standards to Ukraine. Their ideal models to follow are the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and Poland. Moderate forces, including the pro-Russian ones, favour simultaneous entering to both the EU and the so-called Single Eurasian Space (alliance with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan). This is referred to as “multi-vector policy”. It is the strongest, but the most difficult to achieve. Moreover, the Single Eurasian Space can be entered even now, but, having done this, Ukraine’s integration to Europe would become way more complicated. Besides, entering the Eurasian union may endanger the viability of the European vector. Secondly, the striving for SES on behalf of former USSR republics is solely and merely the striving for the Russian resources – not only raw materials, but also the infrastructure and technologies. Numerous appeals to longstanding unity of the “sister nations” are nothing but a bluff. As soon as Belarus has the slightest chance of tearing away from Russia and joining another centre of force, it will use its chance by two hundred per cent. Similarly, Ukrainians are not at all creating illusions about the European Union. The EU in its today’s format is incapable of pursuing concrete and independent policy since the current geopolitical structure is seriously distorted; and this framework is unsuitable for carrying out a strategic plan that the continent needs in order to avoid grave consequences of the Atlantic empire. This distortion is rooted in Britain’s presence in the Union. London is the world financial centre, and, purely in the British style, its people are present in Brussels with the only aim – to sabotage. It is evident from the way they hold their position about adopting the EU constitution.
The Chief of Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, has defined Eastern Europe as “the new Europe” – that means, a group of country faithful to USA. But really Eastern European peoples are believer of the “American Dream”, or only their governments are so?
· New democracies’ orientation towards the USA is only a developmental disease. In reality, they will bring to the USA so many problems in the future that the current anti-terrorism campaign would seem an easy promenade to Americans. Life is becoming more complicated than 20 years ago. And it will be becoming more complicated still. Think back to the Balkan war against the Ottoman Empire: the countries liberated by Russia soon became her foes (Bulgaria started a war, then fought against the Entente; Romania, Greece and Bulgaria crowned the representatives of German dynasties). Of course, a lot will depend on diplomatic moves of Washington, London, Moscow, and the EU, as well as on the development of networks of non-government and political organizations, focused on this or that “centre of force”. It is possible that as the tension between Old Europe and the USA continues to grow, part of New Europe will strive after the US and, strange as it may seem, be against it, just like centuries ago the Italic tribes declared a war on Rome just in order to receive Roman citizenship!.. And it is also possible that Turkey, geared by British capital, will lead the confrontation between New and Old Europe.
You are an expert of literature. Is there any writer or thinker that could be considered as a master for all European peoples, and an inspiring of European rebirth?
· The thing is that the unification of the Italian language resulted from Risorgismento, while Ukrainian Renaissance became possible because of the unification of the Ukrainian language. We were forced to fight for out independence, we were refused in existing as a unique nation. Just imagine a situation that Napoleon had won and proclaimed that Italian was only a dialect of French, and that Italian nation could not possibly exist and wouldn’t exist, either!.. This is why the Ukrainian literature had a completely different mission than other European national literatures. Its aim was to bring back the world of the people who had a heroic past, the past that was stolen and the past that the nation was destined to win back. For two centuries the Ukrainian literature, represented by Taras Shevchenko and then by Ivan Franko and Lesia Ukrainka, was pursuing this objective. It rejected the possibility of metaphysics that had barely sprung up in the Baroque epoch by Paisiy Velichkovskiy and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. This line later turned into Russian “starchestvo” and impregnated Dostoevsky. The only air-way we had in this respect was the translations from European literature, we had and still have a brilliant translation school, almost everything is translated… It is only now that the young generation of Ukrainian authors is opening the metaphysics and, consequently, is becoming interesting to Europe. Yuriy Andrukhovych’s and Oksana Zabuzhko’s novels and poems have long ago been translated into German and Swedish, the English-speaking world knows the well-established “New-York Group” of poets, Yuriy Pokalchuk publishes in French; Yuriy Izdryk, Volodymyr Yeshkilev, Stepan Protsiuk are not unfamiliar names, either (as a rule, their works are first translated into Polish, which the German translators take as a certain quality mark). Moreover, Italy expresses interest to Ukrainian literature, too. A well-known poetess, Oksana Pakhlevskaya, the daughter of Ukraine’s living classical author Lina Kostenko, is chairing the Department of Ukrainian Studies at one of the Italian universities; Mario Grasso popularizes Ukrainians in his “New Moon Calendar”… Another thing I would like to add is that writing poems is peculiar to Ukrainian culture. I believe it is the manifestation of introvert national character. Everybody writes here, it’s a kind of national sport. Books of poetry are published in great numbers, poets are regarded as spokesmen of national aspirations, and are easily elected to the Parliament. As an example of that I can bring up a rather popular series “Modern Ukrainian Poetry”, published by Yuriy Vysochanskiy. I feel honoured that my best poems were published in this series.
You have particularly studied the works by Evola and Guenon, haven’t you?
· I can definitely say that I have studies all the available Russian and Ukrainian translations, as well as some English ones. Unfortunately, they are not numerous, but every day the number is increasing. One of my dissertation chapters is devoted to the “new right” and their spiritual leaders – Evola and Guenon. At one time I was member of a militarized organization “UNA-UNSO” (similar to Romanian “Iron Guard”) and was regularly published in its newspaper “Holos Natsii” (“The Voice of the Nation”). That was where we first started translating Evola and Guenon into Ukrainian. Then Ihor Kahanets, editor-in-chief of “Perehid-4” magazine, continued this topic on a more professional level (http://www.perehid.kiev.ua). As for me, I’m trying to popularize these ideas, introduce them into serious academic writing; I hold a special seminar “Traditionalism Philosophy” at university, which, I hope, will soon turn into a full academic lecturing course.
What do you think about Karl Marx and his disciples?
I went through an excellent school of orthodox marxism-leninism both at secondary school and a Soviet university. I witnessed the realization of Karl Marx’s project from the inside, living in this country. Yes, there were times when I was keen on national-communist ideas and thoughе that Muscovite social-imperialists distorted the essence of socialism (the leading fighter for Ukraine’s independence Simon Petlura, our Simon Bolivar, proclaimed : “Without a socialist Ukraine we don’t need an independent Ukraine!”); there were times when I was listening to the Russian service of the Albanian radio, read everything about Che Guevara, Franc Fannon and the “new left”, distributed leaflets… But the truth turned out to be more complicated. And it indeed was a revelation when I read a social “Charter of Labour” of the Spanish Falangists. This changed me as a strike of lightning…
You are also an expert of anthropological questions. From a pure historical, ethnical and cultural point of view, which are the borders of European Nation?
· It would be caustic to say that the Russians are not a European nation. Maybe, they are the most European one. In the meaning that they preserved a European Christian tradition of Byzantine, which disappeared in Europe long ago. The French, for example, like to mention with sarcasm how at the dawn of the previous century they were taught at schools that Asia started beyond the Rhine. De Goll moved Europe to the Ural Mountains and added Siberia and the Far East as Europe’s dominions. The Ancient Greeks saw Asia beyond the Don river… If to take anthropologically, the Russians are pure Caucasians, just like the Finno-Ugric peoples that became their substratum. And nobody is disputing whether the Finns, Hungarians, or Estonians belong to Europe, it is unthinkable without them. They were Europe’s compensation for losing Indo-Irani and Tohar ethnic groups. Nature abhors a vacuum.
What are the main cultural bonds between Europe and Asia, and what the main cultural differences between Eurasian and American civilizations?
I share the point of view that Alexander the Great organized a totally new space for the world history by invading barbarian lands. And we are not talking about the Hellenistic world since the meaning of Alexander the Great’s image stretches far from the Mediterranean; the geographical remoteness of lands covered even in the legendary glory of his presence allows us to talk about a much wider understanding of the Mediterranean world. His mission was not merely to conquer the whole world, but rather to bring together and make this world agree semantically, with its centre always in the Mediterranean (the Inner Sea). The new Mediterranean space, established by Alexander, was joined by common elements of the material and spiritual culture. And this heterotopic, real, living world of Alexander (in contrast to Fuko’s utopian world) is, in fact, “Eurasia”. Even the USA, which appeared comparatively not long ago on the crest of the “Atlantic revolution”, coherently falls into this self-developing model. From this point of view, the USA is only one of the Mediterranean countries, continuing this macro space’s cultural history. Indeed, Europe and Asia, Eurasia and America are much closer to each other than it seems. In my opinion, these are mainly economic interests of some European transnational corporations with their headquarters in Britain that cause the confrontation between Europe and the USA; they are located in Britain because they are in interested in more flexible tax legislations and state budgets of the European countries since they mainly work for the defense orders. The West now is the battlefield for the bearers of the two vectors for market economy development – the American liberal economic government system with republican approach (liberal in economics and conservative in politics) and the Dutch-British financial government system with democratic approach (conservative in economics and liberal in politics). In other words, between the bearers of Plato’s idealism and Kant’s empiricism… Essentially, the nature of the confrontation is the same as the one between Byzantine and Persia in the 7th century, when the fire-worshipping Iran had seemingly fallen to Emperor Irakli’s feet, but the Arabian sands brought Mohammad’s cavalry… And it is no use wondering who is playing Persia’s role now – Europe or America… As for America, I fully agree with my new acquaintance from Piedmont – a geopolitics expert Fabricio Vielmini – that the USA’s crisis is irreversible and has nothing to do with the administration occupying the White House. If John Kerry had come to power, the democrats would have done everything more politely, but in reality they would have continued to fool other nations and continue the previous policy of maintaining the world hegemony position. Notwithstanding all his education and political correctness, Kerry offered the foreign policy program that essentially is not different from “tough Bush’s” policy. The remaining key elements are “terrorism”, constant and omnipresent “threats”, but there isn’t a single word on how to overcome the fundamental problems. In reality, the Democratic candidate’s global strategy implementation would mean the infringement of each Eurasian nation’s independence.
The religion – your is the Christian Orthodox one – has a great importance in your life and thought?
· As the majority of Western Ukrainians, I belong to the Greek Catholic Church, in other words, I am a Catholic of the Eastern Rite (by the way, most of the Ukrainian labour immigrants to Italy and Portugal are Greek Catholics and, naturally, belong to the European nation, complimentary to Western Europeans; this situation is different in Germany and England, where the immigrants are Muslims and Turks, or Arabs). The Orthodox Christians scornfully call us “uniats” since we are in union with Rome, and the head of our church is a Roman Catholic Cardinal. But the way to Christianity was not simple to me. When the atheist bans disappeared, most of the people here had to face the choice of spiritual orientation. As rule, most of them chose the religion of their fathers – in union with Rome. But I threw myself into spiritual search – first of all to the Oriental religions (especially Hinduism, I still am still not indifferent to it); then I came to neo-paganism (and even became one of the priests of a powerful neo-paganism movement in Ukraine RUNVira). But again, by the Divine Intent, Christianity opened to me in all its providential beauty, as the bearer of the Topic of Strength.
Is there something special you want to say to Italian readers of “La Nazione Eurasia”?
The linguists say that there two most melodious languages in the world. The first one is Italian, the second is Ukrainian. Also, medieval and modern travellers call Ukraine “Italy on the Dnieper banks”. At one time regions of our country were part of the Danube empire. At the dawn of its independence Ukraine try to “flirt” with France through the then President Kravchuk, but France either didn’t understand, or didn’t want to “hurt” its friend (i.e. Russia), and so it didn’t’ become Ukraine’s “center of gravity” and lost its chance, maybe, having been scared of possible expenses for another Guiana. Germany is more concerned with its relations with France…Maybe, we are interesting to Italy?