11 August 2009

The Rhetoric of Memory and the "Crisis" in Ukrainian-Russian Relations

Dmitrii Medvedev, visibly perturbed despite the tranquility of his surroundings, addressed the public in a new videoblog entry today to decry the Kremlin's relations with Kyiv, explicitly throwing himself into Ukrainian presidential election politics perhaps earlier than expected. In his remarks, based on a letter sent today to Viktor Yushchenko, Medvedev cites Gogol''s 1842 imperial-friendly edition of Taras Bul'ba as an elegy to, in his view, less acrimonious times -- Нет уз святее товарищества, "There is no stronger bond of fellowship" (i.e. than the bond between Ukrainians and Russians), words not original to the 1835 edition of Bul'ba -- and identifies Ukrainian efforts to come to terms with the legacy of Soviet terror as evidence of a larger "anti-Russian" project.

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