We had the opportunity to live at the moment of a historical watershed and observe with our own eyes the passage of the most compressed time, saturated with major decisions, events and their consequences, which, without a doubt, our descendants will call historical.

Who are we in all this? Each individual - as an individual, and we together - as a human community?

Life on a civilizational divide obliges us to think deeper and more complexly. Including studying and analyzing the history, experience and life cycles of other states and nations.

In this regard, “Conversations with Pavel Shchelin about identity” are perceived in a completely special way. Then, two years ago, supporting theses were voiced about the national identity of today's major players - Britain, the USA, Germany, France, Turkey... The immediate prerequisites for what we see now in the global arena, and being at the very epicenter of what is happening. Today we are actively concentrating and crystallizing our own national identity. Taking a broader look, we find striking parallels...

The term “identity” itself has a long history in Western philosophy, but originates from the ancient Greeks. It is based on the concept of identity in the ancient Greek metaphysical-mathematical context, and its essence is the ability of objects (initially not individuals, but transcendental categories) to retain a specific, unique essence over time. Identity is about finding and maintaining Yourself. It is amazing how much Ukraine has in common with Greece and the entire Greek world in this regard.

Ancient civilizations and the ability to say “no”

Both Ukraine and Greece formed a full-fledged civilizational format of statehood in ancient times. The ancient Greeks truly laid the foundations of European civilization, and their descendants still consider themselves the “center of Europe” - this pride gives them stability and strength in situations where anyone would give up or cave in under circumstances. This is the first direct parallel with Ukraine - a descendant of Kievan Rus. Is it not these roots that provide us with amazing resilience and survival resources, which are stronger the more complex and large-scale the external threats?

On October 28, 1940, the Greek Prime Minister, General Ioannis Metaxa, was awakened by Emmanuel Grazzi, the Italian ambassador in Athens, who presented him with an ultimatum: the requirement to allow Italian troops to pass through certain strategic points through Greek territory without offering them any resistance. Metaxas rejected the ultimatum and, with Italy's invasion of Greece, World War II spread to the Balkans.

In his memoirs, Grazzi recalled how he conveyed the ultimatum to the Greek Prime Minister Metaxas: “I watched the excitement in his eyes and hands. In a firm voice, looking into my eyes, Metaxas told me: “This is war.” I replied that this could have been avoided. He replied: “Yes.” I added, “if General Papagos...”, but Metaxas interrupted me and said, “No.” I left filled with the deepest admiration for this old man who preferred sacrifice to submission.”

The fighting on the Greek-Italian front remains a small episode in the history of World War II. However, this is an impressive example of the determination of the Greeks to fight for their independence, and it cannot leave us Ukrainians indifferent! In addition, Greece inflicted serious material and moral damage on fascist Italy, bringing its complete defeat closer: two years later, the Italian aggressor fell under the blows of the allied forces. Yes, in the future the Nazis managed to occupy Greece. But they faced a large-scale guerrilla movement, and Greek units and navies took an active part in the fighting in North Africa and Italy on the Allied side. Ohi Day in Greece (Greek: Επέτειος του "'Οχι") is a public holiday that is celebrated annually in the country on October 28 in memory of the events of 1940.

The Ukrainian people also know how to say “no”.

Between east and west

Both Greece and Ukraine are located on the border of the Western and Eastern worlds, which led to both the mixing of both ethnic groups in the gene pool and the acceptance of many cultures and traditions, and, therefore, the original complexity and multi-layered identity. The basis of the national code of both Greeks and Ukrainians is a multicultural society. It is important for us to understand this now so as not to succumb to the propaganda of mono-identity, which does not bode well for us, since it is alien to our origins.

Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire for a long time, which could not but leave an imprint on its national identity. The influence of the Muslim world is extremely great in the history of Ukraine. Perhaps it was the Islamic vector that formed in Ukraine and Greece the phenomenon of “hot blood” and a tendency towards external expansion? After all, Ukrainian history is not only about the role of the Victim, as is often believed. Ukrainian history is also about conquest, the conquest of other lands and peoples, the ability to achieve one’s own on the world stage. Let’s not forget that the ancient Greeks had Sparta, and the Ukrainians had the Zaporozhye Sich. And we carry everything that our ancestors lived and experienced in our genes and manifest it in decisions and actions.

On the other hand, in the Ukrainian language there is an expression “my house is on the edge,” and in the Ukrainian mentality there is a tendency to live separately and closed, in a narrow circle of closely related people. For the Ukrainian mentality and statehood, the most authentic is the distributed, farm format - as opposed to the centralized hierarchy, characteristic, for example, of Western Europe. And this is a direct parallel with the phenomenon of ancient Greek city policies. The city-states were independent and autonomous, but functioned as a single state. It seems that the maximally distributed format of government is built into the mentality of both us and the Greeks. Perhaps this is precisely the key to the amazing ability of Ukrainians to act most effectively in a distributed, grassroots format, in a mode of self-organization?

A particular example of how the grassroots, family community is expressed in a particular community is the value of children. In Greece and Ukraine, the value of children is also built into the mentality, and in Greece it is also noticeable at the level of not just declared, but also existing government policies. Children are not only the highest value, but also the focus of attention of the family and the Greek state.

Not good neighbors and the role of religion

What Ukraine and Greece have in common are territorial claims from powerful neighbors – Russia and Turkey, respectively. The presence of a “gray zone” in the form of ORDLO since 2014 can be compared with the presence of the Macedonian question among the Greeks - the search for an answer as to whether the former part of the Yugoslav Republic is the legal bearer of the name Macedonia, or whether this historical name belongs to the Greek historical tradition and culture, on which insists the Greek state.

The common religion in Ukraine and Greece is Orthodoxy, and this is extremely important for understanding both the national identity of both countries and their position on the world stage. In Greece, Orthodoxy is enshrined in the country's constitution as the dominant religion, and the country is the only (!) Orthodox state that is part of the European Union. To be as precise as possible, we are talking about two Orthodox countries - Greece and Cyprus. The latter largely shares with Greece everything described in this article.

It was Orthodoxy that not only had a huge influence on the formation of national identity in both Greece and Ukraine. The very fact that an ancient religion, and in a fairly conservative denomination, continues to play a large role in the life of a European state, in itself is a rare example in the 21st century, when most EU countries are developing in a pronounced secular vector.

Although in Greece we objectively see a much purer, surviving Orthodoxy, unlike, alas, in Ukraine, where it has become a bargaining chip for political games. But be that as it may, the influence of Orthodoxy on the life of society is great in both places.

And even before 2007 (Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union), Greek was the only language of an EU country that used a non-Latin alphabet.

Difficult relations with Europe

Greece has been part of the European Union since 1981. On the one hand, it has earned a reputation as one of the most “problematic” EU countries. On the other hand, in the internal politics of Greece there is quite a lot of resistance to Europeanization - a number of European directives were adopted in Greece with very dubious support.

One of the most striking examples is the 2015 referendum, on

By which the Greeks were deciding whether the Greek government should accept measures proposed by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to overcome the economic crisis. As a result, 61.31% opposed the terms of the agreement with European creditors on Greek debt and chose the answer “no” (again “no”!). However, Greece had to accept even more stringent austerity measures than those rejected by the population during the vote: increasing and equalizing the VAT, reforming the pension system and raising the retirement age to 67, cutting subsidies, privatizing state assets, etc. d. It is not surprising that opinion polls conducted in 2015 show that 65.5% of Greeks fear that their integration into the EU will lead to a loss of national identity, 50% believe that they are citizens of Greece and not the European Union, while residents of most countries EU citizens (89%) consider themselves EU citizens.

In general, Greece is often called an outsider in the EU, but in our understanding it is an example of a country that manages to hold its own and resist the erosion of national identity - ancient and stable, and not least - thanks to the comprehensive role of religion in society.

The story, which was likely fabricated but widely circulated, claims that on February 17, 1997, the Turkish Daily News reported that Henry Kissinger said: “The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame, so we must delve deep into their cultural roots. Perhaps then we can force them into submission. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, identify or prevail, thereby eliminating them as an obstacle to our strategically important plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean and in the Middle East..." ( This quote is attributed to Henry Kissinger when he addressed a group of businessmen from Washington, D.C., in September 1974. It was a private meeting, closed to the press, and the above opinion was not an official statement. It was first reported (after how Kissinger left office) in the Turkish Daily News , and then reproduced by several respected media outlets both in Greece and the U.S. When Henry Kissinger was asked about this in 2009, he denied it - ed.)

By the way, about the interests of the globalists... The common denominator in any economic equations of Greece and Ukraine is the presence of rich natural resources - but for us this is mainly land, and for the Greeks it is the sea. A reference to the article “ This is how creditors seized the natural resources of Greece and Cyprus ” would be appropriate here .

* * *

The current migration tension in Greece may become tomorrow for post-war Ukraine. The historically anti-Islamic component of the national consciousness objects to the increase in the number of Muslims in the country at the expense of immigrants. However, Greece’s main problem in the migration sphere is not the presence of legally registered migrants, but the fact that the country has become a kind of transit point on the way from Asia and Africa to the EU.

Another problem is migrants applying for jobs. Employers get the chance to hire with significantly lower payroll costs - and this is a big problem for the native Greek population. All that remains is to close or rent out your housing to tourists - and move to Western Europe, to Germany, which the Greeks are increasingly choosing to emigrate.

* * *

Holding, preserving and developing an identity, which by definition is extremely complex and multi-layered, requires will and conscious effort. Is it possible to integrate into the world community while maintaining national identity, choosing not stamped, impersonal patterns, but your own vector of development?

Obviously, these issues are equally relevant for Ukraine and Greece.

In search of an answer, let us turn to the typology of archetypes - scenario models in the identity of both an individual person and any community - from an enterprise to an ethnic group. The archetype of the state is the main element of the collective unconscious, in which universal images, symbols, and motives are encrypted. By the way, the term “archetype” is literally translated from Greek as “prototype,” in other words, the memory of ancestors, which is alive and active in each of us.

Without a doubt, the development of both Greece and Ukraine is unfolding within the framework of the “Rebel” archetype. Evidence of this is the dramatic turns in the biography, the willingness to grab the saber and fight to the last in a situation of threat, the ability to break external scenarios and go beyond the imposed scenarios. The Rebel's weaknesses are a lack of stability and control, a lack of controlled, self-controlled continuity of development in times of peace. The power of the Rebel is revealed to its maximum at the moment of existential crisis and the collapse of all supports. And the main life task of the Rebel is to learn to use his powerful, fully vital energy for peaceful purposes.

Greece and I are very similar. But there is an important difference. The state of Ukraine is a conditional “young teenager,” while the state of Greece (not only the Greek nation) is a gray-haired old man. And by analyzing the history of Greece from ancient times to the present day, we may be able - no, not to find answers, but to better understand ourselves. Because only by realizing our own depths of depths can we overcome what is predetermined today and find solutions for our future.