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  • Ukraine’s Viking Revival

    Posted by Trent Telenko on January 29th, 2015 (All posts by )

    When I wrote “The Ukraine Crisis — Some Background and Thoughts” back in February 28, 2014. I expected the Russian – Ukraine War in the Donbass to be headline news in the American media. It turned out…not so much. The NFL Patriot’s deflated footballs and bad mega-blizzard forecasts for the North East United States, among other headlines, seem far more important to the America’s media mandarin’s quest for advertising dollars.
    .
    Part of this lack of coverage is laziness. American broadcast networks and cable news services just don’t cover foreign news much, as it is a lot of work for low ratings. And when it comes to things that reflect poorly on Pres. Obama, other than Fox News, they are all “UK Guardian reporting on the Labour Party” regards Obama Administration foreign policy failures. Which the war in the Ukraine definitely is. Meanwhile the Russophile “fanbois” are spam-commenting on the Mil-blogs and military-themed forums I follow to the point they are useless. I had given up hope of finding anything useful on the fighting there.
    .
    Then I ran into the following video from a defense industry guy who is tracking the Donbass fighting…and then I snorted up my coffee…_Violently_.
    .
    This Ukrainian propaganda video showed not only the fighting, but Ukraine’s Viking Revival spawned by the fighting in the Donbass.
    .

    “100 BIYTSIV.” (100 Warriors) – New Ukrainian Propaganda Clip
    (Lyrics Nehrebetskiy, Score Telezin, sung by Donchenko)

    .
    This is a classic piece of war music in many ways reminiscent of WW2, and the video clip is designed to produce that martial effect. It is being propagated by the Right Sector militia via their Youtube portal. The video is a huge viral phenomena in Ukrainian social media, reflected by the fact that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense placed it on their Facebook page despite very poor relations with the Right Sector.
    .
    This emerging Ukrainian nationalist cultural revival has huge tactical, operational, and strategic military, plus grand strategic political, implications for the 21st Century. Implications I intend to explore in posts here on Chicago Boyz.
    .
    If the song sounds familiar when you play the video — it’s why I breathed coffee — it should be. The tune of this song is based on SSgt Barry Sadler’s “The Ballad of the Green Berets”
    .

    .
    See for background on Sadler:
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Sadler
    .
    Too Sadler’s Green Berets tune, Nehrebetskiy placed the following lyrics for Ukraine’s Right Sector Militia media team:


    Flowing / like blood from a blade
    across the steppe / in a fine line:
    left-handed battle / and the right fight,
    death awaits / in the distant blue
    .
    We go – one family
    one hundred warriors and I.
    And day by day, over again,
    One hundred warriors and one order.
    .
    Day by day, who knows where
    orders take us – and the hundred go.
    .
    Through the fire / and bullets flying
    through coal / and through granite
    .
    We go – one family
    one hundred warriors and I.
    And every day, over and over again,
    One hundred warriors and one order.
    .
    With every turn / and crossroads
    every fork in the road / so far
    So far / your beloved is
    waiting back home / you with her
    .
    By chance / yesterday our destiny
    fell upon us / today,
    and tomorrow who knows / what will come …
    For the Fatherland / I give my life …
    .
    Tomorrow I, then you
    Who knows how, and when we go
    to battle we arm ourselves, death to the enemy!
    No rest for my feet …
    .
    We go – one family
    one hundred warriors and I.
    And day by day, over again,
    One hundred warriors and one order.
    .
    My love, do listen, and do not cry!
    He did not die / for our homeland!
    Let the enemy die / for our Donbass,
    A long road / awaits us.
    .
    We go – one family
    one hundred warriors and I.
    And day by day, over again,
    One hundred warriors and one order.

    .
    The video is filled with martial Late Varangian / Kievan Rus / Viking imagery. The very name — 100 Warriors — recalls the significance of the “100” is that the traditional Cossack fighting unit size, a “Sotnia” or “Hundred”, in Western terms a “Company”.
    .
    There are the fighting dogs with the troops in repeated images of the militia patrols in the “100 Biytsiv” music clip.

    Even the commander of the Ukrainian VDV unit, Valeriy Loginov, Battalion CO, 95th VDV Airborne Bde, Zhytomyr, call sign “Askold”, that held the Donetsk Airport Terminal building from July 2014 until 22 January 2015 — When the Russians finally collapsed the building with point blank tank fire that turned it into no-mans land — has a classic Viking style cat picture on his Facebook page.
    .
    See photo:

    Valeriy Loginov, Battalion CO, 95th VDV Airborne Bde

    Valeriy Loginov, Battalion CO, 95th VDV Airborne Bde

    .
    And the links:
    .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Askold_and_Dir
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tale_of_Ragnar%27s_Sons
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Askold%27s_Grave
    http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/vik_pets.shtml
    http://www.austere.co/the-history-of-viking-cats
    .
    Then there are the Ukrainian hair cuts —
    .

    A modern version of Prince Sviatoslav I's 'side lock' hair cut.

    A modern version of Prince Sviatoslav I’s ‘side lock’ hair cut.

    .
    There is evidence to suggest this ‘sidelock’ style haircut has its roots in the Viking era of Ukrainian history. The image below is an 1869 interpretation of a written record, in the “Primary Chronicle”, of Grand Prince Sviatoslav I (son of Ingvar and Helga) circa 972AD, AKA the scourge of the Turkic Judaeic Khazar Empire, and well known Viking militarist – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sviatoslav_I_of_Kiev
    .

    An 1869 drawing representing Prince Sviatoslav I's 'side lock' hair cut

    An 1869 drawing representing Prince Sviatoslav I’s ‘side lock’ hair cut

    “Sviatoslav’s appearance has been described very clearly by Leo the Deacon, who himself attended the meeting of Sviatoslav with John I Tzimiskes. Following Deacon’s memories, Sviatoslav was a blue-eyed male of average height but of stalwart build, much more sturdy than Tzimiskes. He shaved his blond head and his beard but wore a bushy mustache and a sidelock as a sign of his nobility.”

    There are good summaries and forensic analysis here:
    http://www.vikingrune.com/2014/03/viking-hairstyles-is-ragnars-haircut-historical/
    .
    and here:
    http://nancymariebrown.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/ragnar-lothbroks-viking-style.html
    .
    And some other related Viking hair style links:
    .
    http://www.vice.com/read/todays-vikings-378-v17n3
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/visit-britain-us/no-thor-losers-test-brawn-beard-york-viking-174722673.html
    http://www.battle1066.com/reenact2.shtml
    http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/hairstyl.shtml
    .
    There are even Viking-Cossack warrior imagery in Ukrainian soldier’s “NATO legion” badges of honor:
    .

    Ukrainian soldiers "NATO legion" badge of honor, note the Viking-Cossack warrior imagery

    Ukrainian soldiers “NATO legion” badge of honor, note the Viking-Cossack warrior imagery

    .
    My Donbass colleague, an experienced scholar of Soviet/Russian strategy, summed up what he has seen of both the Donbass fighting and the Ukrainian Viking Revival this way:

    “Putin let a real genie out of the bottle here. I never understood Ukrainian nationalism until I watched mid 2014 footage of LtCol Andriy Biletsky’s Azov Battalion MVD militia swearing in ceremony, where the priest blessed them, and they all to a man pledged their lives to Ukraine – I am now dead, but my spirit will live on, in Ukraine….. I have seen this before – once in a very old monochrome Polish historical movie about the wars with the Mongols circa 1400 AD, and once in some footage of a Japanese kamikaze squadron, swearing their lives to the Emperor.
    .
    Ukraine is returning to its cultural roots from the Kievan Rus /Viking period, the Cossack period being an extension of that. Community is everything.
    .
    These people are at heart Viking berserkers – and we have seen it over and over again on the battlefield over the last 9 months. Cornered Ukrainian officers, wounded, surrounded by Russian Spetsnaz, pulling the pins on a string of grenades, to take the enemy with them, which they did on multiple occasions. A Sergeant commanding a T-64B taking on three Russian T-72BV tanks, killing one, chasing off one, and capturing the third. A Mech Brigade NCO commanding a BTR-80 ambushing a Russian T-72BV tank, and like in the movie Fury, from close quarters hammering the tank with his 14.5mm KPVT until he jammed its turret ring, and the Russians ran. Or the seven heroic T-64B tank crews at Mariupol who took on thirty Russian T-72BVs approaching from Novoazovsk, and defeated them. In early July, the pilot of a supersonic Su-24M FENCER D bomber, who took a direct hit in the engine with a Russian MANPADS, extinguished the fire, turned his jet around, obliterated the Russian missile site and crew, and then flew 300 kilometers to safely land his crippled bomber. None of this is an accident, the Vikings were feared across Europe and the Byzantine Empire for good reason, and a great many of the Soviets’ best warriors were Ukrainians, including a number of fighter aces in WW2 and Korea, and the most lethal female sniper of all times, Lyudmila Pavlichenko.
    .
    Strip away the Greek Orthodox religious facade and Slavic language – at heart they are all Varangians, and this oozes out under pressure. The Shield maiden obsession, the extreme group cohesion, the Veche popular gatherings, the “dumpster lustrations” of corrupt officials, the love of all things martial, the love of Viking Mohawk haircuts, the “traditional” embroidered ethnic dress, the love of cats, the Scandinavian style food, the Viking Trizub national symbol, the blue and yellow flag, the patronymics, the list goes on and on and on ….
    .
    In many ways the Ukrainians are an anachronistic snapshot of the passionate, wild, and free Viking culture, which was wiped out by deeply conservative Lutheran Christianity in Scandinavia. 800 years of Russian harassment, territorial conquest, and 325 years of Russian colonial rule, simply entrenched and froze the original culture. Putin has released that genie, and nobody can put it back into to the bottle.”

    The Donetsk airport fighting has already given the Ukrainians their Alamo. The Bieletski’s Azov Battalion swearing in ceremony mentioned above takes it to a wholly different level.
    .
    It not only a draws on Ukraine’s Viking past, or parallels Kamikaze ceremonies. It echos the old IDF’s officer candidate swearing in ceremonies on Masada. Which are both a more modern and a more apt model. That moral socialization was the iron that made the stands of the IDF’s Golani and Barak Brigades on the Golan Heights in 1973 possible.
    .
    The Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Moshe Dayan, initiated the practice of holding the swearing-in ceremony of soldiers who have completed their tironut (IDF basic training) on top of Masada. The ceremony ends with this declaration: “Masada shall not fall again.”
    .
    See my:
    History Friday: The 1973 Yom Kippur War…Plus 40 Years
    Posted by Trent Telenko on 13th September 2013
    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/38795.html
    .
    And my colleague just told us above that the Ukrainian National Army and affiliated militias are there in the middle of the Donbass fighting.
    .

    I am now dead, but my spirit will live on, in Ukraine -- Freedom of Death -- Azov Battalion swearing in ceremony

    I am now dead, but my spirit will live on, in Ukraine — Freedom of Death — Azov Battalion swearing in ceremony

    .
    This is, as they say, no accident. The commander of the Azov Militia battalion of the Ukrainian MVD (Interior Ministry) Andy Bieletskiy is a military historian by training, his M.A. thesis was on the UPA and its guerilla war against the Russians in WW2. Check out the Azov Viking-style haircuts in this Youtube video of the swearing in ceremony.
    .
    The Russians are terrified of the Azov. At Mariupol, July 2014 (See: video link) the Azov cleared the Russian proxy force in about 3 days. The Flecktarn BDUs were bought in German disposals shops out of diaspora donations. Note also the backyard made armored trucks with captured NSVs and ZU-23-2 auto-cannon.
    .
    Today the Azov ride in BMP-1 and MT-LB armored vehicles, and shoot anti-tank guided missiles.
    .
    Whatever else happens, Putin will not be able to conquer the entire Ukraine and may not even get the Donbass. Putin has created a Ukrainian nationalist monster that will hate Russians for both the great famine of the 1930’s under Stalin and now the very raw territorial wound of detached Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
    .

    Ukrainian Defense Ministry Donbass Situation Map, Early January 2015

    Ukrainian Defense Ministry Donbass Situation Map, Early January 2015

    .
    Ukrainians will work for a 100 years to get all that back, minus anyone who is visibly, culturally, Russian.
    .
    The Ukrainians are fighting as a national people.
    .
    The Russians are fighting as a classic Oriental despotism whose chief objective is to keep Putin in power, whatever effect this has on Russia’s long term interests.
    .
    The following is something from a man who knew a thing or two about revolutions:

    “The great majority of revolutions have begun as reactions and
    restorations, which allowed the buried desires to awaken.”

    Leon Trotsky

    Cultures with successful revolutions gladly wear the local clothes, sing the local ethnic songs, make the local ethnic food, separate the language from the “mother country” — and then (without admitting that’s what they’re doing) make up a mostly-new society.
    .
    It’s what the Netherlands did in the 1500s.
    .
    It is what the USA and France did in the 1700s.
    .
    More recent examples include Japan, Italy, Mexico, Turkey…and that revolution Trotsky got mixed up in and that Putin saw collapse in 1989.
    .
    And if the Ukraine succeeds, in 100 years you won’t be able to convince a Ukrainian that there was ever not a Ukraine.
    .
    This Ukrainian Viking Revival will be the defining event of the early 21st Century.

     

    15 Responses to “Ukraine’s Viking Revival”

    1. John Cunningham Says:

      Sviatoslav is my kind of guy. compare–
      two different ways of declaring war:

      1. the Eloquent,
      http://www.volokh.com/2013/03/22/how-to-declare-war-anno-domini-1429-2/
      Joan of Arc, to the English army before Orleans, 22 March 1429

      Jhesus-Maria, King of England, and you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of the Kingdom of France, you, Guillaume de la Poule, count of Suffort, Jean, sire of Talbot, and you, Thomas, sire of Scales, who call yourselves lieutenants of the Duke of Bedford, acknowledge the summons of the King of Heaven. Render to the Maid here sent by God the King of Heaven, the keys of all the good towns which you have taken and violated in France. She is here come by God’s will to reclaim the blood royal. She is very ready to make peace, if you will acknowledge her to be right, provided that France you render, and pay for having held it. And you, archers, companions of war, men-at-arms and others who are before the town of Orleans, go away into your own country, by God. And if so be not done, expect news of the Maid who will come to see you shortly, to your very great injury. King of England, if you do not so, I am chief-in-war and in whatever place I attain your people in France, I will make them quit it willy-nilly. And if they will not obey, I will have them all slain; I am here sent by God, the King of Heaven, body for body, to drive you out of all France … (Written this Tuesday of Holy Week, March 22, 1429.)

      2. The Succinct–
      http://www.volokh.com/2013/03/22/a-more-succinct-way-to-declare-war/

      by Sviatoslav I, Prince of Kiev, 10th century-
      “Иду на вы.” [Idu na vy] I would loosely translate this as “I’m coming to get you.”

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      Trent, what are the Ukrainian birth rates?

      Are they at or near replacement?

      The big risk is there won’t be any Ukrainians in a century to burn with hatred of Russia?

      Will this guy’s children be Ukrainian nationalists?

    3. Trent Telenko Says:

      Lex,

      Ukrainian birth rates lower than Russian. They are slightly 10 per 1,000 in 2012 versus slightly over 11 per 1000 for the Russians.

      All of Eastern Europe is below replacement rate.

      Heck, America at 13.7 per thousand and is below population replacement birth rate. (all 2012 data)

      And it is far more likely that Chinese men will be marrying Siberian-Russian wives in the near future than Ukrainian.

    4. Roy Says:

      Trent could also mention how the Chinese one-child policy, to extent it got practiced, reduced unborn female survival rates, resulted in at minimum statistically significant gender imbalance. This and next are the decades that policy will bite back. Two predictions: 1) Trent’s (and maybe wives out of India, for that matter)2)AIDS ravaging China.

      Back to Trent’s original post: wow! Whole lot the media not reporting. And amazing what info soldiers and populace share with tools technology has provided.

    5. Trent Telenko Says:

      Lex,

      All you ever wanted to know about Russian birth rates are here:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/03/numbers-vladimir-putin-doesnt-want-you-to-see

      Despite a recent slight uptick in births versus deaths, life expectancy now stands at 64 for males and 76 for women (137th and 100th in the world, respectively). According to the U.N.’s World Health Organization, the life expectancy for a 15-year-old boy in Haiti is three years higher than for a Russian boy the same age. A drop in fertility by 50 percent between 1987 and 1999 has resulted in a reduced number of women now at childbearing age, which is beginning to affect the country in a major way: Two thirds of all births in Russia take place among women between the ages of 20 and 29, and this population will decline from 13 million currently to 7 or 8 million in the coming years.

      According to Murray Feshbach, a Georgetown professor emeritus and the dean of Russian demography in the United States, Russia’s working-age population is also declining by a million people a year, a faster rate than the decline of the overall population, which in 2013 stood at around 143 million, 3 million less than when Putin took office. Moreover, only 30 percent of Russian babies born are born healthy. Eberstadt told me that many unhealthy Russian babies are “discarded” —sent to government institutions where they often develop cognitive difficulties. Unhealthy children grow up to be unhealthy adults: half of the conscripted Russian army has to be put in limited service because of poor health.

    6. Trent Telenko Says:

      Roy,

      After reading this —

      A Mech Brigade NCO commanding a BTR-80 ambushing a Russian T-72BV tank, and like in the movie Fury, from close quarters hammering the tank with his 14.5mm KPVT until he jammed its turret ring, and the Russians ran.

      I really wish someone in the western media interviewed this Ukrainian NCO who got this Russian tank with the heavy machine gun of his BTR-80 plus some photos of the abandoned Russian T-72.

    7. Tom Holsinger Says:

      The key here is Ukrainian nationalism. No Russian leader can change that. A united Russia might be able to conquer and occupy the Ukraine, but it can’t coerce them into accepting being Russian. And Russia is no longer united. It has only the Oriental despot of the moment at the top. Right now that is Putin. The Ukrainian people will still be there long after Putin or whoever is the nominal leader of Russia at the moment is gone.

      And the Ukrainian people refuse to become Russian. Trent is entirely correct that the rise of Ukrainian nationalism is the major European event of the first half of the 21st Century. It doesn’t matter that the Ukraine’s economy is in even worse shape than Russia’s. This has become a struggle of peoples, not leaders. The Russian people simply don’t care, but the Ukrainian people do. The latter are in this struggle for the long haul – perhaps centuries.

      European leaders learned from the German seizure of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 that major territory grabs, absent truly complete ethnic cleansing such as that in 1945-47 (see _Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948_), don’t work and are outright counter-productive. Putin is an old-fashioned Oriental despot, not a European leader, and here he shows a complete failure to understand the role of nationalism in destroying the XUSSR.

    8. Gringo Says:

      Years ago I knew a couple who had survived the Holodmor- the Stalin-induced famine of the early 1930s. I worked at the hospital, co-owned by the MD daughter of Ukranian immigrants, where the husband ran the kitchen. I also knew their daughter, who married into a ma and pa-owned restaurant where I worked. If one ever wonders why Ukrainians might have bad memories of the Soviets, and thus of the Russians, here is some reading on the Holodmor:

      Sliding on the Snow Stone: The memoir of a survivor of the Holodmor, who walked from Ukraine to Germany at the end of World War II, which his son wrote. His father ended up in England after the war. Much of the book is about his experience in England.

      Harvest of Sorrow: Robert Conquest’s masterpiece.

      Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust, An “I was there” account of the Holodmor. The author was a teenager at the time. For example, he recounts the meetings where the Party hacks made sure that the locals “volunteered” to put their farms into collectives.

    9. Gringo Says:

      Trent’s quote
      Moreover, only 30 percent of Russian babies born are born healthy.
      The Russian penchant for heavy drinking will tend to do that, though I have read that men drink a lot less more than women. For the history of a Russian lush, Smashed in the USSR: Fear, Loathing and Vodka on the Steppes gives an interesting, if not uplifting, account.

    10. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Trent has another point about the Russians polluting military blogs which post on the Ukraine. Jim Dunnigan posted a article on his Strategy Page about the defeat of the Ukrainian “Cyborg” group after a long siege at an airport, which produced two immediate profanity-laden “reader” comments from Russians who have no idea how self-defeating they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if Strategy Page starts being hammered with DDOS attacks from Russia.

    11. grey eagle Says:

      The song you provided is similar to the “HORST WESSEL LIED” . Russians claim Ukraine’s government was overthrown by NAZIs. Your song adds proof.

      East Ukraine including Crimea is almost 90% Russian. That is why the east voted to secede and form their own republics. They defeated the NAZIs when Hitler invaded Russia; now they are fighting NAZIs again. But this time the NAZIs are funded and armed by the US and NATO.

      The West Ukraine around Lvov was once part of the kingdom of Poland before it was captured by the NAZIs. West Ukraine votes 90% NAZI.

      Kiev lies in the center of Ukraine – the center splits its votes 50-50 between east and west. The west solution is to split off West Ukraine as a new NAZI nation. Then leave the rest of Ukraine to hard working, peace loving Ukrainians and Russians.

    12. grey eagle Says:

      “west solution” is error. Please read “best solution”.

    13. Trent Telenko Says:

      Grey Eagle,

      Russian demographic data is pure propaganda worthy of Beria himself. For instance, data claiming Crimea is 56% ethnic Russian has the following issues:

      1. It is from 2001;
      2. The Russian population from that 2001 census had a heavy age-skewed demographic, with normal Russian-ethnic early alcohol related mortality averaging out around 65 years. Since demographic data from 2001 is 14 years old, Russians of 51 years of age or older in Crimea then, are mostly dead now in 2015;
      3. It lacks a decade of Crimean Tartar migration into Crimea to the tune of 400,000; and
      4. It does not reflect the higher higher Crimean Tartar and Crimean-Ukrainian birth rates vs. Crimean-Russian.

      I don’t have enough data to make a hard prediction, but the above is enough to know the Russian fraction is less than 50%.

      Next, ethnic Russian percentages nominally in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts are around 30-40%, with huge skew between rural areas (Ukrainian) and urban areas (Russian).

      The Russian urban leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, as well as Putin, think they are so special that a Russian urban blue collar minority are entitled to be the rulers of the domain.

      Right.

      There is a reason Ukrainians call them Vatniks i.e. cottonwool-brained, after the padded jackets, AKA dumb.

      When all is said and done. I strongly suspect that the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts will probably have their proportion of Russian ethnics drop to 15% or under while Ukraine’s over all population proportion of Russian ethnicity will drop to 8% or under, maybe as low as 5%.

    14. grey eagle Says:

      fascinating map generated by the Kiev government. It shows substantial number of Russia military troops and equipment in East Ukraine. Why are there no satellite pictures of these men and of modern Russian tanks, guns and related equipment. If NSA workers are trading pictures of nude ukr women sunbathing (in sub zero! you can count the goose bumps!) surely their are satellite pictures of Russian invaders to back up these claims.

      Absent satellite pix you must agree your map is a fund raiser used by the Kiev gov’t to get more US troops, more US armor, and more US dollars to add to the $5 billion Obama has already spent to kill off Donetsk civilians.

      As for the descendants of the Rus I suspect they are sitting this one out and are letting the West Ukraine Nazis do their Nazi thing. About 1000 Rus have quit the Ukraine army and defected to Russia.

    15. grey eagle Says:

      If Obama wins in the Ukraine, Putin will be forced to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
      Now is a good time for Obama to order the networks to play the “duck and cover” commercials we all watched in the 50s and 60s.

      These commercials refer to Civil Defense, Fall Out Shelters and Bomb Shelters. They have all vanished. Obama can revive the economy by rebuilding them.