Setting the Plate Clear
Subjectivizing Ukraine and Wagner PMC
Handmade paper collage by Annalynn Hammond, titled "The Subject Objects"
The essence of political activity is revealed when you define its two basic structural elements:
Subjects of political activity are direct participants in political actions - social groups and their organizations.
Objects of political activity are the existing social and political system, which the subjects of political activity seek to change and transform.
The subjectiveness or subjectivity (субъектность) [of Ukraine] in recent months has been used repeatedly as an artificial discursive term by Ukraine’s president to describe power-relations and social actions required for conducting foreign policy.
Украина приобретает субъектность в мировой политике, и одним из свидетельств этого является большое количество иностранных делегаций, которые приняли участие в инаугурационном саммите Крымской платформы 23 августа. - President Volodymyr Zelensky during his appearance on 1+1 TV’s Right to Power (Право на власть) on August 25.
Zelensky said, “We” [Ukrainians] are definitely becoming more [like] subjects [of political activity].
The president added that he is doing everything in order for Ukrainians to be respected abroad, so that “our” opinions are taken into account and decisions are not made for “us.”
Я считаю, что мы точно субъективизируемся. Я делаю все, чтобы нас уважали за рубежом – не только в нашей стране. Чтобы считались с нашим мнением, чтобы мы были вместе, чтобы за нас не решали вопросы.
At the end of June, Zelensky spoke about the subjectiveness displayed by Ukraine in its handling of the scandal surrounding the detention of 33 mercenaries from the Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group.
In an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine appearing on July 1, Zelensky said, “The subjectiveness of the state always grows when you are ready to publicly, on a regular and systematic basis, to defend the position of your state.”
At about 57 minutes into the BELLINGCAT presentation during the Media Development Foundation's annual #MezhyhiryaFest 2021 event on September 5, Christo Grozev said he watched the part of the Zelensky’s 1+1 interview involving Wagner PMC and Ukraine’s subjectiveness “ about 50 times.”
‘Subjectiveness’ is the wrong translation, because, I think, he [Zelensky] meant ‘sovereignty,’ Grozev said.
Unfortunately for Zelensky and Grozev, subjectiveness is the correct translation for the word Zelensky used [субъектность].
Sovereignty [сувернность] - unlike subjectiveness - neither transcends nor resides in a person, but is a sequence of gestures and utterances – a repeated script – performed between those with credible parts to play and with command of the occasions in which to play them. That Zelensky doesn’t know the difference is besides the point.