This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin appropriated the names of Ukrainian cities to units of the Russian army. Why did the head of the Russian Federation do this, and how did Ukraine react?
New scandalous Putin decrees were published on July 2, on the official portal of the legal information of the Russian Federation.
The documents note that the new names were assigned to various parts of the Russian army “in order to preserve glorious military historical traditions, to educate military personnel in the spirit of devotion to the Fatherland and fidelity to military duty.”
So, the 6th tank regiment of the army of the Russian Federation now bears the honorary name “Guards Lviv”, the 68th tank regiment – “Guards Zhytomyr-Berlin”, the 163rd tank regiment – “Guards Nezhinsky”.
At the same time, a number of units of the Russian army were given honorary names, including the names of the cities of Belarus – Vitebsk (90th Guards Tank Vitebsk-Novgorod Division), Kobrin (856th Guards Self-Propelled Artillery Kobrin Regiment), Slonima (102nd Motorized Rifle Slonim-Pomeranian regiment), as well as the name of the capital of Poland (381st guards artillery Warsaw regiment).
In addition, the 400th self-propelled artillery regiment received the honorary name “Transylvanian”, the 144th motorized rifle division became the Guards “Elninsky”, the 150th motorized rifle division became the “Idritsko-Berlin”, and the 933th anti-aircraft missile regiment became the “Verkhnedneprovsky” . With these names, Russians hooked not only Ukraine, but also Belarus, Romania, Germany and Poland.
Independent analyst Valery Snegirev drew attention to the fact that earlier these regiments were disbanded.
For example, the 68th Guards Tank Regiment (full name “Zhytomyr-Berlin Red Banner Orders of Suvorov, Kutuzov, Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Alexander Nevsky Regiment”) was formed in 1942 and existed until 2005, after which it became a storage base. “T. E. They handed over their tanks to warehouses, dismissed the personnel, and handed over the banners to the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the expert explains. – And now he has not just recreated. This means that, on the basis of this storage base, they restored these tanks, equipped them with crews, and the banner, as they say, returned to the combat unit … The Guards are the most distinguished units, they even have more salaries. “
The journalist, volunteer, editor at Censor.NET Yuri Butusov notes that the 163rd Tank Regiment (now Nezhinsky) and the 68th Tank Regiment (Zhytomyr-Berlin) are part of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, which received the name “Idritsko-Berlin.”
“This is the name of the 150th division, which hoisted the banner of victory over the Reichstag in 1945. With scandal and grandiose lies, as we recall, – writes Butusov. – The 150th division was formed in 2017 specifically for the war in Ukraine. It is located in the Novocherkassk area, a couple of hours drive from the border with Ukraine, and is included in the new 8th Army of the Southern Military District, which also includes the 1st and 2nd occupying army corps of the RF Armed Forces in the Donbas. The 150th division is the operational reserve of the occupying forces, it regularly puts forward its units in Ukraine. ”
According to Butusov, in the 150th division one motorized rifle regiment was reduced, and one tank regiment was added – two motorized rifle and two tank regiments.
“The steppe plain terrain in the Donbass favors the use of tank formations,” the journalist believes. – At the same time, the 150th division is equipped with the latest Russian T-72B3 tanks, including a special “Ukrainian” modification of the 2015 model. Having suffered heavy losses in tanks during the war in Ukraine from the actions of the Ukrainian infantry, the Russian command in a new modification strengthened its protection against hand-held anti-tank weapons, primarily of the RPG-7 type (on August 29, 2014, a volunteer from the Donbass NSU battalion Yevgeny Telnov knocked out and destroyed during breakthrough time from Ilovaysk immediately two T-72B3). T-72B3 have serious advantages over Ukrainian tanks thanks to a digital fire control system, thermal imaging tank sight, and a powerful 1130 liter engine. from. The 150th division has over 200 tanks.
All Putin’s actions are aimed at building a new Russian Empire – if not within the borders of the former USSR, then at least in part with the help of quasi-formations created in the occupied territories such as South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, “DPR” and “LPR”. From this angle, many experts are considering his laws on the “Ukrainization” of the Russian army.
“Putin has repeatedly mentioned the, in his opinion, the great tragedy of the 20th century – the collapse of the USSR,” political analyst Alexander Radchuk recalls. – And indeed, the current Russian ruling elite does not go astray and is methodically adhering to its own strategy – to be a counterbalance to the West. Another thing is whether there are enough resources for this, whether it will be possible to maintain solidity within Russian society, to recreate the myth of a “strong state” and power, which is able to restore order not only at home but also in the world. A number of recent geopolitical events have outlined a very dangerous trend: no matter what Russia does, world leaders are not able to effectively counteract its methods of achieving goals. And sometimes they themselves become its victims or even allies. ”
Russia not only appropriates foreign territories for itself, it also “privatizes” common victories, foreign history and culture.
“Despite the long history, it is customary to talk about Ukraine in the framework of Russian history. Nikolay Gogol, Vladimir the Great, Kievan Rus, Anna Kievskaya are all the property of Ukraine, which has long been positioned as the property of Russia by artful deception, ”said Lesya Kuruts-Tkach, a researcher at the STRATPOL Center for Political and Strategic Analysis in Bratislava. “Prince Vladimir the Great, according to Russian propaganda, was the“ All-Russian prince, ”who“ laid the foundations for uniting the Russian people and actually paved the way for the construction of a strong centralized Russian state. ” At the beginning of 2015, a 25-meter monument to Vladimir the Great was even installed in Moscow. The fact that the Kiev prince has no relation to Moscow is completely irrelevant. Much more important is greatness,
The Kremlin’s favorite “trick” is myths about the Great Patriotic War.
“Assigning honorary Ukrainian names to a number of units of the Russian army, Putin is updating the history of the Great Patriotic War. It is the Great Patriotic War. The Russian Federation updates and rewrites the history of this war for itself. They lost a rather large arsenal in terms of ideology. For example, they lost the Samaro-Ulyanovsk military division, which once stood in Lviv, lost the 25th Chapaevskaya and a number of units and units that bore the honorary names assigned to them earlier, ”said military expert Oleg Zhdanov. – With these names the Russians hooked not only Romania, but also Germany and Poland. Thus, they determine the role and place of the Russian Federation, a country that did not exist during the Second World War. Therefore, they distinguish the Great Patriotic War and so heroize it that this war becomes the main one.
According to Zhdanov, the next step will be the appeal of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Russian Federation to these countries on the installation of commemorative signs. “The fact that these regiments took part in the battles. Then they will come there to lay flowers, they will make installations, they will ask to erect a monument … That is, this is a whole ideological program to popularize Russia, to exalt its role and place even in history, the military expert believes. – The Russians do not have tomorrow, they live yesterday. After all, today they have a crisis, the constant struggle between the refrigerator and the TV, the incitement of armed conflicts in different countries: Syria, Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ossetia and Abkhazia, Transnistria. Therefore, they have such a thesis that here we are heroes, we get up off our knees, we are a great country. But they seek their greatness in the past, because in the present and future there is no such greatness. ”
Yuri Gudymenko, a Ukrainian blogger, historian, and public figure, also believes that information propaganda of the Russian Federation continues, according to Russian units and soldiers they attribute “the whole weight of losses” and, at the same time, the whole victory in the Second World War.
“As Putin said, and we remember this“ wonderful ”quote:“ The Soviet Union would have won without the Ukrainians. ” The story continues about how all the peoples of the Soviet Union are crossed out by Russians among the winners, first of all, Ukrainians. This is what motivates this decision, ”he explains. – The name of the military units formed on the territory of the current Russian Federation, according to the names of the cities of other countries, is an emphasis on the alleged Russian liberation of all of Europe. There are Ukrainian, Belarusian and Polish (Warsaw Regiment) cities. This means that Russia ascribes to itself all the victories of the USSR in the Second World War alone ”.
In addition, according to the historian, Russia uses the chance to remind that all countries that are somehow located next to it (the former socialist camp and the USSR) belong to the Russian zone of influence. “The Russians are well aware of how they relate to this kind of renaming in the same Poland, Ukraine or Belarus. Definitely – this is a hint that Russia is once again demonstrating its claims to these cities, ”said Gudymenko. – This once again recalls the fact that we have long known: Russia is an aggressor. Russia wants to have in its composition all of Ukraine, all of Belarus. Russia reminds Poland and other countries near it that all of them, according to the Russians, should become a part of it. ”
Independent analyst Valery Snegirev emphasizes that the 90th Guards Tank Division (Vitebsk-Novgorod) was specially created in the USSR to invade Hungary in 1957. In 1968, it was an attack division when it entered Czechoslovakia. The steps to restore military units from the state of storage bases are, of course, “muscle building,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what they are called, but it’s important that they pulled out banners from naphthalene, they were cut off so that the moth would not eat. And to these banners added parts, fully cropped, i.e. equipped with equipment and personnel, ”says Snegirev.
MP Igor Lutsenko (“Fatherland”) calls Russia’s attack inevitable, stressing that the Kremlin is preparing it sequentially. “In the Russian Federation, billions of dollars are allocated each year for this,” the parliamentarian recalls. – This is programmed in the military doctrine of Moscow, in its laws, in the budget, in the so-called corporate culture of the army … The pace of preparation and development of the Ukrainian army for defense is still behind the pace of preparation of the Russian army for aggression. The main tactical requirement for the next president should be the quick preparation of the whole country (not only the Armed Forces of Ukraine) to counter the plan for the occupation of Ukraine. ”
Political analyst Kirill Sazonov considers the Russian Federation’s full-scale attack on Ukraine to be real. “The Lvov, Zhytomyr and Nezhinsky tank regiments are not named for historical memory at all,” he says. “And not for trolling.” Military units receive (and have received) these geographical titles at the place of permanent deployment in the future. Or for special successes in the “liberation” of these cities. In advance. Madness? Sure. But in that bald head, everything works just like that – evaluate its actions in recent years … They are really going to have their tank units in the future in Lviv, in Nizhyn and Zhytomyr. And you thought – only the Crimea and the Donbass are there on staff maps? ”
The Kremlin gave another slap in the face not so much to Ukraine as to Western states. So the political scientist Mikhail Basarab commented on the scandalous decree of Putin, according to which some military units of the Russian Federation were given the names of cities of other states. Such impudent steps of Moscow are no different from the threats of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to destroy the United States, the expert said.
“With small steps, Russia is trying to expand the boundaries of what is permitted. He wants to increase the arsenal of permitted techniques, means a violation of international law. Check the reaction of Ukraine and the world. How decisive she will be. By this time, the world is sluggishly reacting to the arbitrariness of the Russian Federation. The Kremlin is stepping up its insolence, ”explains Basarab.
Journalist Viktor Leshik in the light of assigning parts of the Russian Federation the names of cities that are not related to Russia, emphasizes that the expansion of the Kremlin is not only territorial in nature. “This is a battle for the interpretation of near and distant history. Crimea cut off or moved to the Russian Federation as a result of a referendum? Is the USSR a Russia from 1922 to 1991, or is it a union of nation-states that jointly defeated Nazism? In June 1941, World War II began, or did one conspirator attack another, violating the agreement on the division of Europe? We must give our clear answer, ”Leshik is sure. “For we’ll wait until the Russian Duma officially renames us Little Russia.”
Ex-deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine Oleksandr Skipalsky said that the best response to the new propaganda attack from the aggressor country would be a course whose essence is away from Moscow. “For this, in particular, it is necessary to exalt their true heroes, to maintain a course in NATO and the EU, and also to fight the plunder of the country. And in Russia let them rage – we don’t give a damn about it, ”Skipalsky emphasized.
Political analyst Mikhail Basarab calls on official Kiev to harshly condemn Putin’s provocative move. “You also need to appeal to the international community. To point out to him the enemy nature of such actions not only in relation to Ukraine, but also to the whole of Europe, he is sure. “This should be an occasion to increase sanctions pressure and continue the policy of international isolation of the Kremlin regime.”
But military expert Oleg Zhdanov urges not to disperse the panic. “There is currently no political reason for large-scale hostilities on the part of Russia,” he says. – The motivation of the Russian Federation to start a large-scale war on the European continent is completely absent. The threat of sanctions and confrontation of the West in the event of a war will be simply colossal and catastrophic for Russia. Putin understands this very well, so he is looking for other ways and means of building a dialogue with the West and the States. There can be no talk of war. It is enough for them that the war that is going on in the east of Ukraine is so permanent and undeclared. Due to this, they consolidate their society, showing that here we are further fighting the Kiev junta and the Bandera. It’s quite enough, but it’s hard to wage this war. ”
Advisor to the deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Vasily Pavlov also calls not to go to extremes or hysteria. “Ukraine should continue to award honorary titles to military units, based on its own military-historical traditions and the experience of this war,” Pavlov explains. “This process should be accelerated and accompanied by a powerful propaganda campaign, both among the military and in society.”
The head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko also did not keep silent on the appropriation of the names of Ukrainian cities to some parts of the Russian Army.
“The Ukrainian army has its own military-historical traditions and the actions of Russia in no way affect us,” notes Muzhenko. – By their decisions, the Russians continue their long tradition of stealing someone else’s history and glory. This is marking the territory and voicing claims to the lands of other peoples, to which Russia has nothing to do. ”
The chief of the General Staff said that these actions clearly indicate that Russia is not going to stop at the annexation of Crimea and the partial occupation of Donbass, wanting to get all the territories of present-day Ukraine.
Muzhenko also noted that against the backdrop of this naming, he signed an order to decommunize the Armed Forces and added that the Russian army, in fact, has no traditions, since the traditions of the modern Russian army are “a mixture of imperial and Soviet myths”.
Blogger Roman Kulik is sure that this instruction from the General Staff was not exactly prepared as a response to Putin’s approval of the names of the military unit. But it is perceived precisely in line with the productive opposition to the actions of the Russian Federation and the systematic sweeping of the army from Soviet markers.
“It took almost 3 years to realize the need to develop a system document for organizing work in the field of ideological work in the army. But now there is a clear training manual that addresses such issues in the functioning of the Armed Forces, ”Kulik rejoices. He also cites some points of Muzhenko’s order:
– dismantling (with an explanation of why this is done) of monuments, memorial objects, means of visual agitation, etc., containing symbols of the communist regime, involved in persons who established Soviet power in Ukraine and implemented a policy of destruction of the Ukrainian language, repression;
– filling museums and libraries is closed on the Program for the restoration and implementation of national military traditions in the Armed Forces;
– the assignment of honorary titles, the dismantling of facilities, events – everything should be accompanied by explanatory work among the personnel;
– It is not allowed to celebrate dates associated with the Red Army and the Soviet Army;
– The participation of the military in events during which the symbols of totalitarian regimes are used is not allowed.
Not everyone liked these changes. People’s Deputy, former oppositionist, one of the leaders of the party “For Life!” Yevgeny Muraev, who actually works openly for the Kremlin, notes: “As a graduate of the Leningrad VOKU and the Soviet battalion commander, Viktor Nikolayevich Muzhenko it would be nice to figure out what traditions are still his, which are not his, who freed whom and where the army led by him came from . Until then, don’t make yourself a laughing stock. ”