Dominic, the ‘other’ Lieven and the opposition of White Russian noble descendants to the Ukraine war

Once again I make reference to the Comments section of my website on which some readers have pointed to journalist, think tank associate Anatol Lieven’s older brother Dominic as the true academic in the family. Anatol is put down as merely the careerist in the family who writes what is demanded by his publishers and promoters.

From my experience, things are not that simple, not in the Lieven family, not more generally among descendants of the nobility who emigrated in the waves of White Russians after the 1917 Revolution when we consider on which side of the barricades they are now planted with regard to the Ukraine-Russia war.

I agree with readers who have directed attention to Dominic Lieven’s seriousness as a scholar of Russian history. To my estimation, he is the greatest living historian of Imperial Russia in the West. His book on Russia’s war with Napoleon broke new ground and will not easily be surpassed for decades to come. He was the first Western historian of the period to make extensive use of Russian sources, as opposed to British and French sources which were all that his predecessors used.  He was the first to break with the tradition established by Lev Tolstoy in the novel War and Peace, which ended the description of the conflict with the expulsion of the invading Grande Armée in 1812.  Lieven took the narrative straight to the end in 1815, and, as a consequence, he reevaluated in an entirely new manner the role of Alexander I in arranging the decisive victory thanks to his brilliant personal direction of the diplomacy which made the winning alliance of forces possible.  He is the historian who rejected the simplistic explanation of the French defeat inn 1812 by General Winter, meaning by the climatic conditions for which their army was not properly prepared and which they faced after the pointless taking and destruction of Moscow led to looting and breakdown of discipline in their ranks.  He is the historian who documented how the massive Russian superiority in cavalry horses, the tanks of the day, favored Russian victory.

In short, this one book, which was prepared in time for celebrations of the two hundredth anniversary of the 1812 war, established Dominic Lieven as a worthy heir to the traditions of his forebears, the Baltic barons, who loyally served the House of Romanov for three centuries or more. Other books by Dominic Lieven used extensive archival research in Russia to tell us who constituted the ruling officialdom of the Empire.

In acknowledgement of Dominic’s well earned reputation as a fair-minded reader of Russian history to Western students and academics, he was several years ago invited to participate in one of the annual gatherings of the Valdai Club in Sochi in the presence of President Putin.

Regrettably, that invitation is just one more proof of how Putin’s assistants misjudge who is who in the West. It ranks with the utterly foolish annual invitations extended to Georgetown University’s house Russophobe professor, Angela Stent.

Why do I say this?  Because a couple of months ago Dominic Lieven came out publicly with a harsh condemnation of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine. He could have just remained silent, but he did not do so.

What motivated Dominic to take this stand is hard to say.  Perhaps he understood that failure to do so would do irreparable damage to his standing in British academic society which is almost entirely anti-Russian

However, Dominic Lieven’s public stance against the Kremlin highlights the schism among the descendants of noble White Russian families. During Soviet days, they were nearly all aligned against Moscow.  Following 1991, many returned to Russia to inspect what was left of their family estates. Some few among them actually were given rooms in surviving manor houses for their use in perpetuity. And the claimant to the Romanov throne, a certain Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna Bagration, was flattered to receive the attentlon of Moscow mayor Luzhkov while rumors swirled in the 1990s about a possible restoration of the monarchy.  I had a personal connectlon with this issue insofar as one of my early accomplishments as Managing Director of one of the world’s leading wine and spirits companies in 1998 was precisely to cut the sponsorship funds the company had been paying to sustain this fraud. 

In essays which I published on my website in the two years before the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, I wrote about one of the most important events of the French-speaking royal social club where I am a member, their annual dinner early in January in honor of Russian Christmas. These dinners had as their honorary patrons the RF Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the head of the society of Russian noblemen in Paris, Prince Trubetskoy.

As I mentioned in 2019, these Russian dinners were well attended by the cream of Belgium’s French-speaking monarchists, who, to my understanding, were sympathetic to the traditions of Russian-Belgian cultural and economic ties going back to the times of Peter the Great. The Tsar had famously visited the waters of Spa during his travels in the Low Countries.

Now, under conditions of the Russian-Ukraine war, I see a cardinal shift in the thinking of these social and business elite members of my Cercle. As table mates have explained to me, the democratic world is now engaged in a life or death struggle with the forces of autocracy led by Mr. Putin. And this new ideologically driven thinking seems to have captured the minds of descendants of the White Russians who are counted among our Cercle’s leading members.

This year’s celebratory dinner on 5 January was dedicated to Orthodox Christmas and all the entertainment which enlivened the dinners past was renamed in Ukrainian. And so the former Kuban Cossack singers were this year Zaporozhye Cossack singers and their songs are called Ukrainian national songs. Of course, all that changed was the names, not the content. But at the head of this farce we had the very same Prince Trubetskoy from Paris! 

In short, White Russians stood against the Soviet regime.  Now all too many of them stand against the Russian Federation. These are the sad facts of a country that has had a centuries-long problem with its identity.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Translations below into German (Andreas Mylaeus), French (Youri) and Brazilian Portuguese (Evandro Menezes)

Dominic, der ‘andere‘ Lieven und die Opposition der Nachfahren der Weißen Russischen Adligen gegen den Krieg in der Ukraine

Ich verweise noch einmal auf die Kommentare auf meiner Website, in denen einige Leser den älteren Bruder Dominic des Journalisten und Think-Tank-Mitarbeiters Anatol Lieven als den wahren Akademiker in der Familie bezeichnet haben. Anatol wird als der Karrierist in der Familie hingestellt, der nur das schreibt, was seine Verleger und Förderer verlangen.

Meiner Erfahrung nach sind die Dinge nicht so einfach, nicht in der Familie Lieven, und auch nicht generell unter den Nachkommen des Weißen Russischen Adels, der nach der Revolution von 1917 in den Wellen ausgewandert sind, wenn man bedenkt, auf welcher Seite der Barrikade sie jetzt im Hinblick auf den Krieg zwischen der Ukraine und Russland stehen.

Ich schließe mich den Lesern an, die auf die Seriosität von Dominic Lieven als Wissenschaftler der russischen Geschichte hingewiesen haben. Meiner Einschätzung nach ist er der größte lebende Historiker des kaiserlichen Russlands im Westen. Sein Buch über den Krieg Russlands gegen Napoleon war bahnbrechend und wird auf Jahrzehnte hinaus nicht leicht zu übertreffen sein. Er war der erste westliche Historiker dieser Zeit, der ausgiebig auf russische Quellen zurückgegriffen hat, im Gegensatz zu britischen und französischen Quellen, die seine Vorgänger ausschließlich verwendet haben. Er war der erste, der mit der von Lew Tolstoi in seinem Roman Krieg und Frieden begründeten Tradition brach, in der die Beschreibung des Konflikts mit der Vertreibung der eingedrungenen Grande Armée vom russischen Boden im Jahr 1812 endete. Lieven führte die Erzählung bis zum Jahr 1815 weiter und bewertete die Rolle Alexanders I. völlig neu, die Alexander bei der Erringung des entscheidenden Sieges dank seiner brillanten persönlichen diplomatischen Leistung spielte, die das siegreiche Bündnis ermöglichte. Er ist der Historiker, der die vereinfachende Erklärung zurückwies, wonach die französische Niederlage von 1812 auf General Winter zurückzuführen sei. Danach sei nämlich die französische Armee auf die klimatischen Bedingungen nicht richtig vorbereitet gewesen und die sinnlose Einnahme und Zerstörung Moskaus habe zu Plünderungen und zu einem Zusammenbruch der Disziplin in ihren Reihen geführt. Er ist der Historiker, der dokumentiert hat, wie die massive russische Überlegenheit bei den Kavalleriepferden, den Panzern der damaligen Zeit, den russischen Sieg begünstigt hat.

Kurz gesagt, dieses eine Buch, das rechtzeitig zu den Feierlichkeiten zum zweihundertsten Jahrestag des Krieges von 1812 fertiggestellt wurde, machte Dominic Lieven zu einem würdigen Erben der Traditionen seiner Vorfahren, der baltischen Barone, die dem Haus Romanow mehr als drei Jahrhunderte lang treu gedient haben. In anderen Büchern hat Dominic Lieven anhand umfangreicher Archivrecherchen in Russland aufgezeigt, woraus die herrschende Beamtenschaft des Reiches bestand.

In Anerkennung von Dominics wohlverdientem Ruf als fairer Autor der russischen Geschichte für westliche Studenten und Akademiker wurde er vor einigen Jahren eingeladen, an einer der jährlichen Versammlungen des Valdai-Clubs in Sotschi in Anwesenheit von Präsident Putin teilzunehmen.

Bedauerlicherweise ist diese Einladung nur ein weiterer Beweis dafür, wie Putins Assistenten falsch einschätzen, wer im Westen wer ist. Sie reiht sich ein in die völlig törichten jährlichen Einladungen an die russophobe Hausprofessorin der Georgetown University, Angela Stent.

Warum sage ich das? Weil Dominic Lieven vor ein paar Monaten die militärische Sonderoperation in der Ukraine öffentlich scharf verurteilt hat. Er hätte einfach schweigen können, aber das hat er nicht getan.

Was Dominic dazu bewogen hat, diesen Standpunkt einzunehmen, ist schwer zu sagen. Vielleicht war ihm klar, dass er seinem Ansehen in der britischen akademischen Gesellschaft, die fast ausschließlich antirussisch eingestellt ist, irreparablen Schaden zufügen würde, wenn er dies nicht täte.

Dominic Lievens öffentliche Haltung gegen den Kreml verdeutlicht jedoch die Spaltung unter den Nachkommen der Weißen Russischen Adelsfamilien. Zu Sowjetzeiten waren sie fast alle gegen Moskau verbündet. Nach 1991 kehrten viele von ihnen nach Russland zurück, um zu inspizieren, was von ihren Familiengütern übriggeblieben war. Einige wenige von ihnen erhielten sogar Zimmer in den noch vorhandenen Herrenhäusern zur dauerhaften Nutzung. Und die Anwärterin auf den Romanow-Thron, eine gewisse Großherzogin Leonida Georgievna Bagration, fühlte sich geschmeichelt, als sie die Aufmerksamkeit des Moskauer Bürgermeisters Luschkow erhielt, während in den 1990er Jahren Gerüchte über eine mögliche Wiederherstellung der Monarchie die Runde machten. Ich hatte insofern eine persönliche Verbindung zu diesem Thema, als eine meiner ersten Amtshandlungen als Geschäftsführer eines der weltweit führenden Wein- und Spirituosenunternehmen im Jahr 1998 gerade darin bestand, die Sponsorengelder zu streichen, die das Unternehmen zur Unterstützung dieses Betrugs gezahlt hatte.

In Aufsätzen, die ich in den zwei Jahren vor dem Ausbruch der Covid 19-Pandemie auf meiner Website veröffentlicht habe, habe ich über eine der wichtigsten Veranstaltungen des französischsprachigen königlichen Gesellschaftsklubs geschrieben, in dem ich Mitglied bin, nämlich das jährliche Abendessen Anfang Januar zu Ehren des russischen Weihnachtsfestes. Zu den Ehrengästen dieser Abendessen gehörten der Botschafter der Russischen Föderation im Königreich Belgien und das Oberhaupt der Gesellschaft russischer Adliger in Paris, Fürst Trubetskoy.

Wie ich bereits 2019 erwähnt habe, waren diese russischen Abendessen von der Crème de la Crème der französischsprachigen Monarchisten Belgiens gut besucht, die, soweit ich weiß, mit den Traditionen der russisch-belgischen kulturellen und wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen sympathisierten, die bis in die Zeit Peters des Großen zurückreichen. Der Zar hatte auf seinen Reisen durch die Niederlande die Bäder von Spa besucht.

Heute, unter den Bedingungen des Krieges zwischen Russland und der Ukraine, sehe ich einen grundlegenden Wandel im Denken dieser Mitglieder der gesellschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Elite dieses Kreises. Wie mir meine Tischnachbarn erklärt haben, befindet sich die demokratische Welt nun in einem Kampf auf Leben und Tod mit den Kräften der Autokratie unter der Führung von Herrn Putin. Und dieses neue ideologisch geprägte Denken scheint auch die Nachfahren der Weißen Russen erfasst zu haben, die zu den führenden Mitgliedern unseres Kreises zählen.

Das diesjährige Festessen am 5. Januar war der orthodoxen Weihnacht gewidmet, und alle Unterhaltungsprogramme, die in der Vergangenheit die Abendessen belebten, wurden auf Ukrainisch umbenannt. So waren die ehemaligen Kuban Kosaken-Sänger in diesem Jahr Saporoger Kosaken-Sänger und ihre Lieder sind nun ukrainische Nationallieder. Natürlich wurden nur die Namen geändert, nicht der Inhalt. Aber an der Spitze dieser Farce stand derselbe Prinz Trubetskoy aus Paris!

Kurz gesagt, die Weißen Russen waren gegen das Sowjetregime. Jetzt sind allzu viele von ihnen gegen die Russische Föderation. Dies sind die traurigen Tatsachen eines Landes, das seit Jahrhunderten ein Problem mit seiner Identität hat.

Dominic, « l’autre » Lieven et l’opposition des descendants de la noblesse russe blanche à la guerre d’Ukraine

Une fois de plus, je me réfère à la section des commentaires de mon site web, dans laquelle certains lecteurs ont désigné le frère aîné d’Anatol Lieven, journaliste et associé à un groupe de réflexion, Dominic, comme le véritable universitaire de la famille. Anatol est considéré comme le carriériste de la famille qui écrit ce que ses éditeurs et commanditaires lui demandent.

D’après mon expérience, les choses ne sont pas aussi simples, ni dans la famille Lieven, ni plus généralement parmi les descendants de la noblesse qui ont émigré dans les vagues de Russes blancs après la révolution de 1917, si l’on examine de quel côté des barricades ils sont maintenant campés en ce qui concerne la guerre Ukraine-Russie.

Je suis d’accord avec les lecteurs qui ont attiré l’attention sur le sérieux de Dominic Lieven en tant que spécialiste de l’histoire russe. À mon avis, il est le plus grand historien vivant de la Russie impériale en Occident. Son livre sur la guerre entre la Russie et Napoléon a marqué un tournant et ne sera pas facilement surpassé avant des décennies. Il a été le premier historien occidental de la période à faire un usage intensif des sources russes, par opposition aux sources britanniques et françaises que ses prédécesseurs utilisaient exclusivement.  Il a été le premier à rompre avec la tradition établie par Lev Tolstoï dans le roman Guerre et Paix, qui mettait fin à la description du conflit avec l’expulsion de la Grande Armée d’invasion en 1812. Lieven a mené le récit jusqu’à la fin, en 1815, et, par conséquent, il a réévalué de manière entièrement nouvelle le rôle d’Alexandre Ier dans l’organisation de la victoire décisive, grâce à sa brillante gestion personnelle de la diplomatie qui a rendu possible l’alliance gagnante entre les forces.  Il est l’historien qui a rejeté l’explication simpliste de la défaite française en 1812 par le général Winter, à savoir les conditions climatiques auxquelles les troupes n’étaient pas correctement préparées et auxquelles elles ont été confrontées après la prise et la destruction inutiles de Moscou, ce qui a conduit au pillage et à l’effondrement de la cohésion dans leurs rangs.  Il est l’historien qui a documenté comment la supériorité massive des Russes en chevaux de cavalerie, les chars de l’époque, a favorisé la victoire russe.

En bref, ce seul livre, qui a été élaboré à temps pour les célébrations du bicentenaire de la guerre de 1812, a fait de Dominic Lieven le digne héritier des traditions de ses ancêtres, les barons baltes, qui ont loyalement servi la Maison des Romanov pendant trois siècles ou plus. D’autres livres de Dominic Lieven se sont appuyés sur des recherches approfondies dans les archives russes pour nous dire qui constituait l’élite dirigeante de l’Empire.

En reconnaissance de la renommée bien méritée de Dominic en tant que lecteur impartial de l’histoire russe auprès des étudiants et universitaires occidentaux, il a été invité il y a plusieurs années à participer à l’une des réunions annuelles du Valdaï Club à Sotchi en présence du président Poutine.

Malheureusement, cette invitation n’est qu’une preuve de plus de la façon dont les assistants de Poutine se trompent sur qui est qui en Occident. Elle vient s’ajouter aux invitations annuelles totalement stupides adressées au professeur russophobe de l’université de Georgetown, Angela Stent.

Pourquoi est-ce que je dis cela ?  Parce qu’il y a quelques mois, Dominic Lieven s’est exprimé publiquement pour condamner sévèrement l’opération militaire spéciale en Ukraine. Il aurait pu rester silencieux, mais il ne l’a pas fait.

Il est difficile de dire ce qui a motivé Dominic à prendre cette position.  Il a peut-être compris qu’en cas d’échec, son statut dans la société universitaire britannique, qui est presque entièrement anti-Russe, serait irrémédiablement compromis.

Cependant, la position publique de Dominic Lieven contre le Kremlin met en lumière le schisme entre les descendants des nobles familles de Russes blancs. À l’époque soviétique, ils étaient presque tous alignés contre Moscou.  Après 1991, beaucoup sont retournés en Russie pour inspecter ce qui restait de leurs propriétés familiales. Quelques-uns d’entre eux ont même reçu des chambres dans les manoirs restants, qu’ils pourront utiliser à perpétuité. Et la prétendante au trône des Romanov, une certaine grande-duchesse Leonida Georgievna Bagration, a été flattée de recevoir l’attention du maire de Moscou, Luzhkov, alors que des rumeurs couraient dans les années 1990 sur une possible restauration de la monarchie.  J’avais un lien personnel avec cette question dans la mesure où l’une de mes premières missions en tant que directeur général de l’une des principales sociétés de vins et spiritueux au monde, en 1998, a été précisément de couper les fonds de mécénat que la société avait versés pour soutenir cette supercherie.

Dans les articles que j’ai publiés sur mon site Web au cours des deux années qui ont précédé le début de la pandémie de Covid 19, j’ai évoqué l’un des événements les plus importants du cercle social royal francophone dont je suis membre, à savoir le dîner annuel organisé début janvier en l’honneur du Noël russe. Ces dîners avaient pour patrons d’honneur l’ambassadeur de la Fédération de Russie auprès du Royaume de Belgique et le chef de la société des nobles russes à Paris, le prince Troubetskoï.

Comme je l’ai mentionné en 2019, ces dîners russes étaient bien fréquentés par la crème des monarchistes francophones de Belgique, qui, à ma connaissance, étaient favorables à la tradition des liens culturels et économiques russo-belges remontant à l’époque de Pierre le Grand. Le tsar avait visité les eaux de Spa lors de son voyage aux Pays-Bas.

Aujourd’hui, dans les conditions de la guerre russo-ukrainienne, je constate un changement majeur dans la pensée de ces membres de l’élite sociale et économique de mon Cercle. Comme mes voisins de table me l’ont expliqué, le monde démocratique est maintenant engagé dans une lutte à mort contre les forces de l’autocratie dirigée par M. Poutine. Et cette nouvelle pensée idéologique semble s’être emparée de l’esprit des descendants des Russes blancs qui comptent parmi les membres dirigeants de notre Cercle.

Le dîner de célébration du 5 janvier de cette année était consacré au Noël orthodoxe et tous les divertissements qui ont animé les dîners passés ont été renommés en ukrainien. Ainsi, les anciens chanteurs cosaques de Kouban sont devenus cette année des chanteurs cosaques de Zaporozhye et leurs chansons ont été appelées chansons nationales ukrainiennes. Bien sûr, tout ce qui a changé, ce sont les noms, pas le contenu. Mais à la tête de cette farce, nous avions le même Prince Troubetskoï de Paris !

En bref, les Russes blancs étaient contre le régime soviétique.  Aujourd’hui, beaucoup trop d’entre eux s’opposent à la Fédération de Russie. Tels sont les tristes faits d’un pays qui, depuis des siècles, a un problème d’identité.

Dominic, o outro Lieven, e a oposição dos descendentes nobres bielorrussos à guerra na Ucrânia

Mais uma vez, faço referência à seção de comentários do meu sítio, na qual alguns leitores indicaram que o irmão mais velho do jornalista e associado de laboratórios de idéias Anatol Lieven, Dominic, como o verdadeiro acadêmico da família. Anatol é considerado apenas o carreirista da família que escreve o que é exigido por seus editores e promotores.

Pela minha experiência, as coisas não são tão simples, não na família Lieven, nem em geral entre os descendentes da nobreza que emigraram nas ondas de russos brancos após a Revolução de 1917, quando consideramos de que lado das barricadas eles agora se colocam em relação à guerra entre a Ucrânia e a Rússia.

Concordo com os leitores que chamaram a atenção para a seriedade de Dominic Lieven como estudioso da história russa. Na minha opinião, ele é o maior historiador vivo da Rússia Imperial no Ocidente. Seu livro sobre a guerra da Rússia com Napoleão inovou e não será facilmente superado nas próximas décadas. Ele foi o primeiro historiador ocidental do período a fazer uso extensivo de fontes russas, em oposição às fontes britânicas e francesas, que foram tudo o que seus predecessores usaram. Ele foi o primeiro a romper com a tradição estabelecida por Lev Tolstoi no romance Guerra e paz, que encerrou a descrição do conflito com a expulsão do Grande Armée invasor em 1812. Lieven levou a narrativa até o final em 1815, e , como consequência, ele reavaliou de uma maneira totalmente nova o papel de Alexandre I na obtenção da vitória decisiva, graças à sua brilhante direção pessoal da diplomacia que tornou possível a aliança das forças vitoriosas. Ele é o historiador que rejeitou a explicação simplista da derrota francesa em 1812 pelo general Inverno, ou seja, pelas condições climáticas para as quais seu exército não estava devidamente preparado e que enfrentaram depois que a tomada e destruição inútil de Moscou levaram a saques e ao colapso de disciplina em suas fileiras. Ele é o historiador que documentou como a enorme superioridade russa em cavalos de cavalaria, os tanques da época, favoreceu a vitória russa.

Em suma, este livro, que foi preparado a tempo das comemorações do bicentenário da guerra de 1812, estabeleceu Dominic Lieven como um digno herdeiro das tradições de seus antepassados, os barões bálticos, que serviram lealmente à Casa Romanov por três séculos ou mais. Outros livros de Dominic Lieven usaram uma extensa pesquisa de arquivos na Rússia para nos dizer quem constituía o governo oficial do Império.

Em reconhecimento à merecida reputação de Dominic como um leitor imparcial da história russa para estudantes e acadêmicos ocidentais, ele foi convidado há vários anos para participar de uma das reuniões anuais do Clube Valdai em Sochi, com a presença do presidente Putin.

Lamentavelmente, este convite é apenas mais uma prova de como os assistentes de Putin julgam mal quem é quem no Ocidente. Se equiparando à total tolice de anualmente se estender o convite à professora russófoba da Universidade de Georgetown, Angela Stent.

Por que digo isto? Porque, há alguns meses atrás, Dominic Lieven saiu publicamente com uma dura condenação da Operação Militar Especial na Ucrânia. Ele poderia ter ficado em silêncio, mas não o fez.

O que motivou Dominic a tomar esta posição é difícil dizer. Talvez ele tenha entendido que deixar de fazê-lo causaria danos irreparáveis a sua posição na sociedade acadêmica britânica, que é quase inteiramente anti-russa.

No entanto, a posição pública de Dominic Lieven contra o Kremlin destaca o cisma entre os descendentes de nobres famílias russas brancas. Durante os dias soviéticos, eles estavam quase todos alinhados contra Moscou. Depois de 1991, muitos retornaram à Rússia para inspecionar o que restava das propriedades de suas famílias. Alguns poucos dentre eles realmente receberam quartos em mansões sobreviventes para seu uso perpétuo. E a pretendente ao trono Romanov, uma certa grã-duquesa Leonida Georgievna Bagration, ficou lisonjeada ao receber a atenção do prefeito de Moscou, Luzhkov, enquanto circulavam rumores na década de 1990 sobre uma possível restauração da monarquia. Eu tinha uma ligação pessoal com esta questão, pois uma de minhas primeiras realizações como diretor administrativo de uma das principais empresas de vinhos e destilados do mundo em 1998 foi precisamente cortar os fundos de patrocínio que a empresa vinha pagando para sustentar esta fraude.

Em ensaios que publiquei em meu sítio nos dois anos anteriores ao início da pandemia de Covid 19, escrevi sobre um dos eventos mais importantes do clube social real francófono do qual sou membro, seu jantar anual no início de janeiro em homenagem ao Natal russo. Estes jantares tiveram como padrinhos de honra o Embaixador da Federação Russa no Reino da Bélgica e o chefe da sociedade de nobres russos em Paris, Príncipe Trubetskoy.

Como mencionei em 2019, estes jantares russos foram bem frequentados pela nata dos monarquistas francófonos da Bélgica, que, a meu ver, simpatizavam com as tradições dos laços culturais e econômicos russo-belgas desde os tempos de Pedro, o Grande. O tsar visitou notoriamente as águas de Spa durante suas viagens aos Países Baixos.

Agora, nas condições da guerra russo-ucraniana, vejo uma mudança fundamental no pensamento destes membros da elite social e empresarial do meu círculo. Como os colegas de mesa me explicaram, o mundo democrático está agora envolvido em uma luta de vida ou morte com as forças da autocracia lideradas pelo Sr. Putin. E este novo pensamento orientado ideologicamente parece ter capturado as mentes dos descendentes dos russos brancos que são contados entre os principais membros do nosso Círculo.

O jantar comemorativo deste ano, no dia 5 de janeiro, foi dedicado ao Natal ortodoxo e todo o entretenimento que animava os jantares anteriores foi renomeado para ucraniano. E assim os ex-cantores cossacos de Kuban foram este ano cantores cossacos de Zaporozhye e suas canções são chamadas de canções nacionais ucranianas. Claro, tudo o que mudou foram os nomes, não o conteúdo. Mas à frente desta farsa tínhamos o mesmo príncipe Trubetskoy de Paris!

Em suma, os russos brancos se opuseram ao regime soviético. Agora, muitos deles estão contra a Federação Russa. Estes são os tristes fatos de um país que tem um problema de identidade há séculos.

14 thoughts on “Dominic, the ‘other’ Lieven and the opposition of White Russian noble descendants to the Ukraine war

  1. I wouldn’t say that opposition to this particular war necessarily means disloyalty to Russia. One can, for example, be a diehard American patriot while opposing the Vietnam and Iraq wars.


      1. A violent society with global power projection will export violence abroad. I am reminded of what Daniel Berrigan, S.J. said about America’s war in Vietnam: These have always been our values (paraphrasing).


    1. If you were talking about Syria that might be so. However given the underlying causes of the SMO, the nature of the Maidan regime & the unrelenting hostility of NATO to the RF.

      The White diaspora often had a myopic, selfish and irrational hatred of the Soviet Union, so it’s hardly surprising that didnt simply fade away after 1991.

      Plus they’re as exposed to Western propaganda about Russia than anyone else in Europe, then add in historical class-snobbery, opportunism & moral cowardice.

      By-the-by some should tell the numpties as the Scottish would say. That Zaporozhye is part of Russia (or will be entirely so soon enough).


    2. Lots of American patriots and conservatives opposed the Iraq war. For this, they got heavily slandered by the neocons, such as David Frum.

      The idea that there is only one permissible position on the SMO among Russians is absurd. What’s more, Lieven isn’t even a Russian citizen. Even if there were only one permissible position, he would have no obligation to support it.


      1. Iraqi for the US and Syria for Russia, were wars of choice. That choice could be argued against in good faith.

        The SMO & it’s rationales are much more critical in terms Russian security and for the people of Donbass existential.

        Arguing against it outright, is akward without verging into seeming disloyal to the country.

        For a good reason it’s basically defeatist and logical outcome of the premise is that Russia should accept submission to NATO & loss of sovereignty.

        Everyone knows Ukraine has been on a suicidal path to conflict with Russia since 2014. What was Russia to do? Sit back and let the Maidan regime carry out their version of Operation Storm on the Donbass & make a play for Crimea?

        Because that is/was Kiev’s stated goal.


  2. Absolutely fascinating. Has there ever been a proven positive correlation between inherited wealth and intelligence?
    I am struck by the fact that though Vladimir Putin explicitly calls the war an existential conflict, the “West” speaks more in terms of a domino effect, “Latvia next!”, a kind of noblesse oblige foreign policy happy to shed the blood of those less fortunate in order to protect their equally less fortunate neighbors. But the extraordinarily complete command of the truth that the “West” exerts, extending even as you point out to brilliant scholars like DL, says to me that the leadership of the “West” justifiably views the conflict as absolutely existential for themselves. What will become of NATO if NATO sues for peace?


  3. The White Russians are like the rich Cuban Refugees in Florida. Until they have their former ownership of Russian assets restored (with interest) nothing else will matter.


  4. When I was young there was a belief popularly promulgated in the West that the Chinese people felt a strong need to be part of the group, and, as it was explained, it was easy for the CCP to maintain control by exploiting this. In stark contrast with this was the view that those of us living in the West were brave individuals who valued independent thought and action. Even at the time that did seem to be a tad of an exaggeration, at least to some. The evidence was strong then that we were superior to the rest, though today this might be recognised as simple racism. The good news is that we are still superior though for different reasons- this time it is because of our “values”. Of course, someone living in much of the world might say “not so fast” but, by common agreement, we dismiss their protests- in fact we do not even hear them. (As an aside, have you noticed that the Russians have returned to type by using “human wave tactics” as were once favoured by the Chinese.) Hopefully there is a specific reason why Dominic Lieven made his statement- ideally, he is strongly against all wars, or at least most wars, and has said so previously. On the other hand, if it is simply because he wants a more comfortable life at some London gentlemen’s club I can cope with that too, and still value his books and his contributions at the Valdai Club. The problem seems much more general than apparent inconsistencies in DL’s behaviour. In this age of nuclear weapons and the like, this underlying tribalism is dangerous to the World’s survival. Given that the power of tribalism is much more powerful than many of us ever suspected, one guesses that a redesign of the global power architecture might be the best way forward. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future it seems that the West would be determined to undermine such an enterprise.


    1. Sir you say (As an aside, have you noticed that the Russians have returned to type by using “human wave tactics” as were once favoured by the Chinese.) Can you justify that comment? Last time I read it was the Ukranians that resorted to such tactics causing them horrific loss of their best fighting units. Just look at the Soledar which the Russians captured just a day ago it was no human wave but methodical elimination of the enemy forces. Now it continues in Bakhmut, I hope the leaders of Ukraine will save their fighting men rather than leaving them in a killing field. Thanks


      1. Sorry, I don’t believe that Russia is using “human wave tactics”. My point was simply that this claim was being made about the Russian army to denigrate, if you like, the Russian side by raising the trope of fanatical Russians. I totally agree with your last hope. There is a famous scene between Stierlitz and a Wehrmacht general in the Russian series “17 Moments of Spring” in which the general discusses the hopelessness of the German position. It seems to me that the current situation of the Ukrainian army is not unlike that of the Wehrmacht in 1945 and I wish the Ukrainians would accept this and refuse to fight.
        This is the best that I can find of the Stierlitz scene- unfortunately, the English dubbing is very average.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “(As an aside, have you noticed that the Russians have returned to type by using “human wave tactics” as were once favoured by the Chinese)”

        What is your evidence for such a contention? I follow a multitude of non-MS sources, like US military experts, ex pat Brits living in Donbas and Russia, Expats Russians living in the US, etc, and they all refute this idiotic statement.


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