Shakhnazarov: Zelensky Should Crush Ukrainian Nationalism, Become a Napoleon Bonaparte

Karen Shakhnazarov, famous director: I believe it's important to understand what we're discussing here, what I mentioned, that it's the main internal conflict of Ukraine crystallizing the conflict between the East and the West.

- That's obvious.

- That's the main thing. Look, Zelensky came to power. His program looks a lot like Poroshenko's, we discussed that. There's nothing new about it. The West senses that there's something wrong about him. Western Ukraine doesn't accept him, it feels that he's not a true leader. They feel…


- That he's not a Banderite.

- They feel that there's something wrong. In this regard, here's the main issue that Zelensky is facing. He'll have to choose, there's no other way. His attempt to be good for every party is ultimately doomed, especially in the current situation. Either he gets ousted which triggers a civil war, or he takes some extraordinary measures. In general, in his case, he must understand that he needs to address the army, he needs strong law enforcement first of all, he needs the ZSU, he needs the army, he needs control over the loyal law enforcement.

- What would our favorite Napoleon have done?

- That's right!

- He would've deployed his guard to the Rada and kicked all of the senators out. He'd clear out the Rada in a matter of seconds.

- Matros Zheleznyak!

- The times are different but the idea is still viable.

- The time is always right. In his current situation, the time is always right. It's always the same. I said it five years ago, mind you: The only way for Ukraine to survive is to acquire its own Bonaparte. Only a Bonaparte can save it today. But there's another aspect. I highly doubt that Zelensky possesses such internal charisma. Everything may happen, people change, he's only just begun. I personally liked his first speech, by the way.

- It was good.

- But in general, he needs to appeal to his people…

- It was good in terms of artistic performance.

- In order to preserve Ukraine as it is now, he must suppress the ultra-nationalism. He must violently suppress it. He must brutally defeat it, by force, among other means. There's no other way. Only then will he be able to save Ukraine. Nationalism is always dangerous. It's always destructive for every nation, for all peoples. And it's deadly for a multi-ethnic country such as Ukraine. We see that. Here's the sum-up of the past five years. Western Ukraine is charismatic, passionate, and has its own ideology, striving to make Ukraine a unified nation. It practically imposed its terms on the rest of Ukraine, on Central and Eastern Ukraine. It was supported by the West and the oligarchs who decided that it would be a lucrative enterprise. They've been basically imposing their ideology for five years. They altered the entire history. They have a brand new history. They imposed their language and de-communization, that was also purely Western Ukraine's idea. That's what they're facing. How should they fight it? One can only fight it by overcoming it through resolute and efficient actions. He'll have to make a choice. He can't keep…

- He can't.

- He'll have enemies, there may be shooting, but it can't be otherwise. Otherwise, the country will immediately collapse.

- Mr. Shakhnazarov, being a brilliant director, you may disagree, but I'd even call him a genius, that doesn't mean I'm going to be his next star, alas, is, of course, sympathetic towards artists, especially talented artists. Zelensky is undoubtedly talented.

- First of all, I completely agree. Sometimes, the Russian bureaucracy can complicate it to the point where any good intention becomes a stupid formality. It's definitely important to create an environment where people could be getting all that without being tormented. But let's get back to what we've been discussing. I've already said that, frankly speaking, I don't believe that Zelensky is capable of taking the steps that I've mentioned, that you've mentioned. I believe he needs to take the most resolute steps. The most resolute. Because if that doesn't happen, the thing we've been discussing here will. These elections will ultimately lead to Ukraine's collapse. In fact, it all leads to collapse, his parliamentarism and so on. That's not a viable strategy in the current situation. Bearing in mind the vast support he enjoys, as a president, Zelensky has every ground to arrest Parubiy, who's actually a threat to his presidency, to arrest Lyashko, — to dissolve…

- He can't do that.

- He can, that's the way it's done. And the people will support him. The people will support him today. Let me finish, please, Spiridon. That's the way one needs to act in such situations. That's the way people act in such situations. That's the way great leaders act when deciding the fate of their country. Dissolve the parliament. Dissolve it and proclaim its impotence. Schedule the new elections. Schedule them for the next fall. This way, the country will be saved. There's one paradoxical aspect to this situation, which is quite possible. If you or I were him, I'd do the following: If I were in his situation I'd ask Donbass for help. It may sound odd, but Donbass is the one that can save all of Ukraine. Donbass is the one. It's clear that Donbass has its own armed forces and it's clear that it has capable law enforcement that can save Ukraine. Otherwise, I believe... I don't believe Zelensky has the guts to do it. Judging by his previous behavior, I doubt that. With all due respect, you say I'm sympathetic towards the fellow artist. Everybody's sympathetic towards the people of their vocation. But I see him appointing people from the show business. And I realize that people from the show business can't solve the issues that Ukraine's facing. That'll be a neverending mess, neverending negotiations. The resistance on the other side will grow. Moreover, they're probably supported by the Americans. Not the top-tier US officials, they're supported by those officials who have actual control over the situation, intelligence, for instance. Trump is far away at the top. But who controls the real situation? American intelligence does, some majors and generals who surely supported Poroshenko and continue to support Parubiy. There's a reason why Parubiy is so bold at the rostrum. It's a force that will resist. Its resistance will be consistent and brutal. There's no way Ukraine will survive, it'll break it down. So if one intends to save the country, in my opinion, they require the most resolute and revolutionary measures, the way Bonaparte used to act. If Lenin had been engaging in neverending talks with the Constituent Assembly…

- And had waited for two months.

- Right, waited two months, there would have been no Lenin, no Soviet Union, nothing. Occasionally, there are situations when a leader needs to be resolute and strong. There's nothing to do about it. I must say that... I must say that some Ukrainian political analysts need to understand that we, and Russia in general, don't actually care at this point. We've surpassed the point when it mattered a lot to us. You have this internal feeling of self-admiration that makes you believe that Ukraine is Russia's top concern. We've gone past that point. We suddenly realized that, in principle, we can do just fine without Ukraine. When we reflect on that, we analyze the events in Ukraine, trying to figure out what's really happening there. At this point, any outcome would benefit us.

- Absolutely.

- Any outcome. Whether Ukraine collapses or Zelensky manages to create a new Ukraine that'll be an adequate country and will be much closer to Russia than it is now, is absolutely irrelevant to us. That's your problem, and you'll have to deal with it.


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