Who are Russia and Ukraine actually fighting?
The Russian way
Many wonder why the Ukrainians resist so fiercely? Because they are not at war with us, but with the image they live in their minds. There was an episode of the TV series 'Black Mirror' in which people fought with terrible monsters, but it turned out that they were monsters made so by special optical devices that the people themselves had to wear (punishment for non-compliance) and what looked like 'monsters' were the people themselves.
Ukrainians see us as monsters, they are at war with a chimera that has been imposed on them and this chimera is terrible, but they see nothing else.
We have not prepared for this war, we have not understood what we are dealing with, we have not created such an image of the enemy. Therefore, we do not fully understand what is happening. Perhaps it is right that we have not gone down this road, but the gravity of what is happening is clearly underestimated.
The fiercer the fighting, the greater the fury of our people; at the same time, the image of the enemy has already been relatively formed on the fronts. On the home front, we are still perplexed. How can they do this? At the front we no longer ask this question: the question is another: how to defeat the enemy and, frankly, how to destroy it. You can only destroy what you hate and those who hate the most, fight fiercely and achieve the most in this war.
I am convinced that Russia should not let this process go on alone; if we let it, hatred from the front will gradually spill over to the rear and we will become more like the enemy, i.e. hatred will enter our hearts. It entered the hearts of Ukrainians a long time ago. Now it is up to us. After all, we cannot help but notice that, as the war progresses, we gradually adopt the traits of the enemy. Reluctantly and belatedly, but still.
Right now the authorities are just trying to contain the process but it is like a river. At some point the 'humanistic dam' will burst and the whole society will remember Simonov's lines: 'How often you meet him, how often you kill him'. Nobody will care anymore what the authorities allow or forbid.
We need a different path, we need a true ideologisation of war. A complete and systematic ideologisation. Not piecemeal and fragmentary, as is the case now.
The real enemy
Firstly, the war is fought with the West. Therefore, the main enemy is the West. Ukrainians are not the main enemy; therefore, it is the West that should be truly hated, and here Simonov is relevant. We must, therefore, expel the West from ourselves, otherwise we will have a double standard: he kills us and we worship him. Liberalism is more dangerous than Ukrainian Nazism, because it was Western liberals who launched, created and armed Ukrainian Nazism. Consistent de-liberalisation is necessary (as it is more important than the ongoing denazification of the country). Denazification is also necessary but it is a consequence, not a cause, a symptom, not the essence of the diseas Furthermore. We are fighting against nationalism, but we must not turn into nationalists. We are the Empire and as heirs to the monarchy and as successors to the USSR. We are more than a nation. Our ideology must be imperial, open, clear and aggressive. The Empire must be charismatically represented. Our Empire, Rome, is fighting a mortal battle with the opposite 'Empire', and in essence the Anti-Empire, with Carthage.
Only when the army, the people, the state and society are at war with Carthage, with the liberal West, will we defeat Ukrainian Nazism. All we will do is trample Ukraine underfoot. In front of that terrible and serious enemy, this obsessive pettiness will seem insignificant.
If you tell a Russian 'Russia does not exist', he will shrug his shoulders. If you tell an American 'America does not exist', he will shrug his shoulders. If you tell a Ukrainian 'Ukraine does not exist', he will go ballistic and throw a tantrum. Because Ukraine does not exist, but it does not exist when we are the Empire, and our consciousness is imperial, a firm, strong, self-confident, offensive consciousness.
The strong identity of the enemy can be overwhelmed not by the strong identity itself (Russian nationalism), but by a stronger identity that is the imperial identity.
This ideological transformation of society is inevitable. It can be postponed for some time, but it cannot be prevented. I am convinced that our government did not want this war. They tried everything to postpone it. It could be postponed, but it could not be prevented and now it cannot be stopped. It can be won or it can disappear. It is understandable that a part of the elite is panicking. They cannot accept the fatality of what is happening, hoping against all common sense that they can somehow return the situation to the past, impossible; postpone and procrastinate yes, it is possible. Stopping and going back to square one is not possible; all that awaits us is war and a difficult, incredibly difficult victory. Our country will be irreversibly changed along the way. The state will have changed, society will have changed.
Nobody desperately wants to change on their own, but it is already impossible. It is destiny. Change will be imposed by an iron necessity. On everyone and in everything.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini