Here is how the great writer Victor Hugo described (in his novel 1793), in the most unflattering terms, the characteristics of the typical Bretagne peasant, he who fought with unparalleled cruelty and determination against the Enlightenment brought to mankind by the French Revolution:
[…] ce sauvage grave et singulier, cet homme à l’œil clair et aux longs cheveux, vivant de lait et de châtaignes, borné à son toit de chaume, à sa haie et à son fossé, distinguant chaque hameau du voisinage au son de la cloche, ne se servant de l’eau que pour boire, ayant sur le dos une veste de cuir avec des arabesques de soie, inculte et brodé, tatouant ses habits comme ses ancêtres les Celtes avaient tatoué leurs visages, respectant son maître dans son bourreau, parlant une langue morte, ce qui est faire habiter une tombe à sa pensée, piquant ses bœufs, aiguisant sa faulx, sarclant son blé noir, pétrissant sa galette de sarrasin, vénérant sa charrue d’abord, sa grand’mère ensuite, croyant à la sainte Vierge et à la Dame blanche, dévot à l’autel et aussi à la haute pierre mystérieuse debout au milieu de la lande, laboureur dans la plaine, pêcheur sur la côte, braconnier dans le hallier, aimant ses rois, ses seigneurs, ses prêtres, ses poux; pensif, immobile souvent des heures entières sur la grande grève déserte, sombre écouteur de la mer. Et qu’on se demande si cet aveugle pouvait accepter cette clarté.
This grave and singular savage, this man with a clear eye and long hair, living on milk and chestnuts, his life limited to his thatched roof, his hedge and his ditch, distinguishing each hamlet of the neighborhood by the sound of its church bell, using water only for drinking, having on his back a leather jacket with silk arabesques, uneducated and embroidered, tattooing his clothes as his ancestors the Celts had tattooed their faces, respecting his master in his executioner, speaking a dead language, which is to inhabit a tomb at the level of thought, pricking his oxen, sharpening his faulx, weeding his black wheat, kneading his buckwheat cake, venerating his plough first, his grandmother second, believing in the Blessed Virgin and the Pure White Lady, devotee at the altar and also in the presence of that mysterious high stone standing in the middle of the moor, ploughman in the plain, fisherman on the coast, poacher in the hallier, loving his kings, his lords, his priests, his own lice; pensive, motionless often for hours on the great deserted beach, dark earpiece of the sea. And we wonder why this blind man cannot accept our Enlightenment.
Reading this passage, I recall, a long time ago, perusing a book on the history of the medieval French peasantry, forgive me I can’t remember the author. It seems that Hugo was not kidding about the lice. It’s hard to imagine nowadays, when French people have the reputation of being so elegant and suave; but back in the day it was true that peasants in the French countryside never bathed, and were swarming with all kinds of vermin, not just lice, but also fleas and genital crabs. Ugh!
I also recall reading somewhere, this time a book on Russian history, the author made the claim that lice never even existed in Russia, until they were brought there by the French soldiers of Napoleon’s army. I find that hard to believe, though, since the Russian word for “louse” dates back to Proto-Slavic times, it is a proper Slavic root (reconstructed as Proto-Slavic *vъšь, modern Russian вошь pronounced “vosh”), and not borrowed from French; I mean, if the French had introduced previously-unknown critters, then the Russians would have probably borrowed the word from them, but they already had their own word. The French word for lice, as we see in the Hugo quote, is poux, which is a different word altogether, and not related to the Slavic one. The etymology is uncertain, but most linguists seem to feel that it comes from Indo-European pēdis which is a derivative from the word for “foot”. Not sure what the semantic shift is here, maybe the ancient Aryans noticed that these bugs which were torturing them, have many tiny feet. The English word “louse” by the way, comes from still another root, Proto-Indo-European *lewH- which gave Proto-Germanic *lūs and also has cognates in Celtic languages.
Anyhow, even if the French didn’t introduce lice into Russia, it is certainly true that their soldiers brought quite a few of these things with them in Napoleonic times, leading to major infestations. One only has to read Jakob Walter’s “Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier” to learn how, in addition to all the other miseries these French soldiers had to endure, they were literally being eaten alive during every day of their campaign. For me, one of the most horrific passages in Jakob’s book is when he finally reaches some type of safety, in an inn in Germany; and starts removing his clothes; only to find that half of his neck, around the collar, has been eaten away and is just a bloody gory mess. Gross! Thank goodness that Jakob survived this ordeal. From what I understand, he wrote his memoirs so that his German grandchildren might learn a valuable lesson: Never invade Russia!
How Infections Spread
At this point, my loyal readers are probably wondering where exactly I am going with this “lice” theme. Don’t worry, it’s not what you think (or fear), I am not going to be comparing any human beings, of any nationality, with lice. The metaphor that I am building here, relates to the spread of harmful ideas, in this case Banderism. The “Galician” infection, which spread Eastward, engulfed Kiev, and then most of the rest of the Ukraine, with the exception of the Donbass (and Crimea).
Without further ado, getting to my article du jour, the reporter is Elizaveta Bulkina, and the headline reads:
Kiev Was Forced To Apologize For What Their Ambassador To Germany Said About Bandera
The Ukrainian Ambassador is the odious Andrei Melnik. During an interview with a German journalist, Melnik started yammering on about how great Stepan Bandera was. He claimed that Bandera had no ties whatsoever with Nazi Germany. He compared him with the English anti-hero Robin Hood. When pressed by the incredulous journalist about the mass genocide of peaceful Polish civilians in Galicia/Volhynia during WWII, Melnik waved them off with the assertion that “there were many atrocities and murders committed by the other side”. And further doubling down by claiming “the Poles would love to politicize this history.”
If you scroll down a bit in the VZGLIAD piece that I linked, you can watch the clip of this interview between the German reporter and the Ukrainian Bandera/Nazi apologist. They speak in German, with Russian subtitles. Here is my translation of subtitles for those who don’t speak German or read Russian:
Reporter: You visited the grave of Stepan Bandera, in your official capacity as [Ukrainian] Ambassador [to Germany]. You said that you idolized him [Bandera]. Let’s start with this. When did you start to admire Stepan Bandera, and why?
Melnik: I never said that I idolized him.
Reporter: Yes you did. You have said it on more than occasion.
Melnik: I visited his grave because… Stepan Bandera… you know, it’s not just for me personally, but for many, many Ukrainians, he embodies the [image of the] freedom-fighter. He who stands for the independence of the Ukraine. And thus, a warrior for freedom, of course. Those who fight for freedom, they are above the law. Robin Hood, for example, is the kind of man who is respected by everyone, but he also broke some laws. The laws which existed at that time.
Reporter: You cannot deny that Bandera was an anti-Semite? And would you concede that he and his people were participants in the murder of 800,000 Jews?
Melnik: No, no, no. He had nothing to do with that.
Reporter: But these were his soldiers. There can be no doubt.
Melnik: You say, “there can be no doubt”, but you have no proof. He [Bandera] was not convicted.
Reporter: To be sure, there is no proof that he killed any Jews with his own hands, but it was his men who killed them. He also ordered them to murder 100,000 peaceful civilians.
Melnik: He did not give the order to kill Jews. I insist on that.
Reporter: But I have read his political platform. He regarded Jews as the biggest enemies of all, even more so than Russians, Poles and Germans. Do you seriously doubt this?
Melnik: I doubt that he gave the order to kill Jews.
Reporter: They handed out leaflets when the Germans entered Lvov. I am reading from the text: “People, you must know this! Muscovites, Poles, Hungarians and Jews — these are your enemies. Exterminate them!” [signed] Your Führer Stepan Bandera.
Melnik: Where did you get that leaflet? What is it?
Reporter: When the Germans seized the city [Lvov] in 1941, [the Banderites] distributed these leaflets among that part of the population which was not already under occupation. They [the Banderites] fraternized with the Germans. This is just so obvious! And I just don’t understand how..
Melnik: I am not going to say to you today, that I distance myself from [Bandera]. And that’s all that I have to say about that.
And so, Dear Readers, it only remains to tie these various metaphorical threads together, into the theme that I am trying to present. As we know from listening to Melnik and people of his ilk, the absolute core of the Ukrainian Nationalist ideology (which is a kind of religion) is their absolute worship of the figure of Stepan Bandera. Just as the Bretagne peasant described by Victor Hugo, adored the Holy Immaculate Virgin, so too the Ukrainian Nationalists adore their beloved Führer.
Banderism was born as a mass fascist movement embraced by the Ukrainian peasantry of Galicia/Volhynia. In time, over the past 30 years, this ideology has spread, like lice, engulfing other social classes and urban areas, and eventually becoming the official ideology of the Ukrainian government. Just like lice, this ideology has many legs and infects many healthy organisms. Just like lice, it is repulsive and harmful, and yet there are many people, like the Vendee “freedom fighter” described by Hugo, and like Andrei Melnik, who love their own lice.