Today continuing my review of this piece by reporter Anton Lisitsyn. I’m almost done – I promise! I have taken a few side roads along the way, because I don’t feel it’s right to simply mock somebody’s assertions without delving deeper; and sometimes finding that there is a grain there — for example, there actually was an Ukry tribe living along what is now the Uecker River in Brandenburg, Germany! As to whether or not this tribe gave its name to modern Ukraina nation state — well, highly dubious, but there you have it. If it were so, then Ukraine would not mean “Borderlands” after all, but rather “The land of the people who live along the Uecker [swiftly-running] River.” Hey, you never know — after all, the United States of America are named after some random Italian merchant.
Our next Hero of Alternate History is a man named Valery Bebik, who took Ukrainian history even farther into the absurd, when he came up with the notion that all of ancient history centered around Ukrainians.
Valery Mikhailovich Bebik was born in 1959 in Soviet Ukraine, into a military family. In 1982 he graduated from the Kiev Polytechnic Institute and found work as an engineer. But decided to switch to an academic profession. Admitted to graduate school at Kiev University. In 1990 he defended his Candidate thesis on the theme “Social and Psychologist Aspects of Government Work.” Then went on, in 1996, to defend his Doctoral Dissertation (at the Academy of Sciences) on the theme “Political Marketing and Management in Democratic Societies.”
Over the years, Bebik got work as a Professor at various institutions, including teaching at Kiev University. Heeding the principle of “Publish or Perish”, he is the author of 42 individual or collective monographs on various topics.
Like his ancestor, Plato, Bebik is a Renaissance Man in contemporary Ukraine: a Political Expert, Social Psychologist, Journalist, and television personality. Although Bebik is a legitimate scholar in the fields of Political Science, Sociology and Psychology, he got infamous when he ventured into History and Archaeology. This phase of his life work began in 2011 when he initiated a project for the TV channel TONIS called “Civilization Incognita“. This show, and also a radio series, laid the basis for Bebik’s wilder historical claims.
Bebik popularized crazy ideas such as, for example, that Plato was Ukrainian. Bebik’s main claim being that the ancient Greek civilization was Ukrainian in origin. For this reason, Bebik’s colleagues called him a pseudo-scientist, according to his Ukrainian wiki. He was even nominated for the “Pseudo-Scientist of the Year” award. Reputable Ukrainian historians and archaeologists have denounced Bebik and his works. And for good reason: Nobody in the academic community likes it when somebody from a different discipline tries to poach on their turf!
And Bebik took his Ukraino-centrism back even farther than the Greeks of Plato’s day, claiming that the infamous “Sea Peoples” were Ukrainians as well. These ancient pirates (1200-900 BCE) terrorized the late Bronze Age civilizations of the time and caused no end of aggravation to Egyptian Pharaohs. These Sea Peoples invaded many countries of that era, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Canaan, Cyprus and Egypt. They wore cool-looking helmets with feathery crests. It is not known if there were any Lady Sea Persons, perhaps these were all-male pirate expeditions. Which also explains why the invaders quickly settled down into many of the societies they invaded, probably taking wives and settling in, at least when they weren’t busy having their asses kicked by the Egyptian armed forces.
Irregardless, I think it goes without saying that these Sea Peoples have nothing to do with the modern Ukrainian nation-state. Heck, they don’t even look Ukrainian, in Egyptian depictions, these pirates have thick lips and big noses.
Okay, so what was Bebik’s argument? Well, Bebik cites historical sources saying that, among these Sea Peoples, there was a tribe called “Dorians”, who later went on to become Spartans. And that the Dorians are the proto-Ukrainians. Because Bebik allegedly claims [okay, I don’t get this bit] that the word “Dorian” has something to do with “Ukry”. Which doesn’t make any sense to me, because no matter how you twist and turn any variations of *Dōriēwei (Do-ri-je-we], there is simply no /k/ sound in it! I guess I would have to actually read Bebik’s monograph to understand his point; but dubious that I will actually take the time to do so, especially since I can’t really read Ukrainian that well…
And finally, the claim that Buddha was Ukrainian; this originated from Bebik as well. The argument is that the ancestors of Buddha Gautama migrated to India from the grassland steppes of what is today modern Ukraine. Hey, I guess it could have happened, who knows? This highly speculative no-factual-evidence claim, promoted by an amateur historian, was given legitimacy by the Ukrainian Parliament and published in their official journal. Which returns us to the issue, why such claims of hobbyists rise to the level of Ukrainian national politics?
[to be continued]