Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Post

Who needs another blog on this stretch of the blogosphere? Naturally, I hope that many people will decide that they do need this one, an outgrowth of EUReferendum, which will hit its fifth birthday in a few weeks.

The subjects covered on EUReferendum have long ago expanded beyond its title though not, perhaps, its theme – Britain’s place in the world. Much more needs to be said on that subject and I shall (for the time being) continue to post on EU related subjects there. However, there are many other subjects that need to be talked about in my opinion and it is time to separate them from EURef even if, mostly, there is a tenuous link between them.

Hence the idea of this blog, that will cover various political subjects – all those postings on America, Russia, the tranzis and related matters will be here with, perhaps, a link on EURef. Postings about ideology and its importance in the world, about books and films, even food will now be separated from what must remain the central theme on the original outlet: the European Union.

So this is a blog that is mostly about politics but about many other things and very emphatically about freedom. It will be on the right of the political spectrum but not necessarily supportive of the Conservative Party, especially not of Tory Socialists.

Why the title? Some readers will know the reference but I had better explain to those who might not.

Its origin is Polish: Za naszą i waszą wolność. The slogan was first enunciated in 1795 when the Polish rebels against Russian rule tried to persuade their Ukrainian and Byelorussian serfs and peasants to join them. The attempt was unsuccessful – national liberty may not have figured large in the minds of those who knew that the Polish shlyakhti were as oppressive as the Russian landowners.

It was revived in a slightly edited version in 1831 during a Warsaw demonstration that began as a commemoration of the Russian Decembrist uprising of 1825 and developed into another Polish rebellion: W imię Boga za Naszą i Waszą Wolność. The freedoms were now proclaimed to be in the name of God.

The inscription on the flags was in Polish and Russian. For some reason the Poles assumed that had the Decembrists triumphed there would have been freedom for Poland as well. They clearly had not read Pavel Pestel’s “Русская Правда” (“Russian Law” in this case as he was deliberately copying the title of the first Russian codex of laws. Freedom was not high on Colonel Pestel’s list of desirables.

Thereafter the Poles used the slogan wherever they fought for other people’s freedom, be that Hungary in 1848 – 49 or Britain in 1939 – 45.

Nevertheless, the best known version of it is in Russian: За Вашу и Нашу Свободу. This was enunciated by the liberal-radical thinker, Alexander Herzen in 1863 in support of yet another Polish rebellion, which he supported though many Russian radicals did not.

That, too, was used subsequently, most notably on August 25, 1968 when Pavel Litvinov, Natalia Gorbanevskaya, Viktor Fainberg and a few others demonstrated in the Red Square their protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Other Soviet and Russian dissidents have referred to it and the slogan with its supporters has been attacked by so-called Russian nationalists whose idea of the Russian nation is that of masters and slaves – masters of others and slaves themselves, as the great poet Lermontov said:

Прощай немытая Россия
Страна рабов, страна господ.

This blog in all its various subjects is dedicated to the idea that they are wrong and the slogan “for your freedom and ours” can mean a great deal though, I suspect, there will be numerous soi-disant eurosceptics who will get palpitations at the thought of it.


  1. Helen - Good luck with the new blog
    Hope you can include more info about russian issues. What is your opinion of Blog La Russophobe. It appears to be the only counterbalance to the Putin regime. Could be a useful link for info with your added comments
    John Needham

  2. Looking forward to seeing this blog attract a healthy and interactive audience.