Kyiv Post | 12Jan2011 | Associated Press
alleged Nazi collaborator no hero
[W.Z. It is
unfortunate that Kyiv Post uncritically publishes
articles submitted by Ukrainophobes hiding within the Associated Press
news service. Kyiv Post should, at least, insist that the name(s)
of the author(s) be revealed and that obvious errors be corrected.
Secondly, these Ukrainophobes within Associated Press consistently
provide an uncritical platform for members of the Holocaust Industry,
such as Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to disseminate
their hatred against Ukrainians.
against Stepan Bandera -- a young man, who was elected head of the
OUN(b) in late April 1941 and, in the face of Hitler's opposition,
declared Ukraine's independence in Lviv on 30Jun1941 for which he was
arrested and spent the rest of the war in a German concentration camp
-- is obiously misplaced. Except for his "Declaration of Independence",
Mr. Bandera was in no position to do anything significant. He is just a
symbol -- a symbol for an independent Ukrainian state. In demonizing
Stepan Bandera, these Ukrainophobes are really trying to delegitimize
And I would
further suggest that the "Hero status" was, in essence, conferred
upon him by the 4th Directorate of the MGB (whose mandate was to fight
against the OUN-UPA struggle for independence), when they arrested,
tortured, murdered and deported millions of Ukrainians in his name as
"Banderovtsi". For example, on 23Oct1947, some 259 men, women and
children from the four Bereziv villages in the Carpathians were rounded
up in one night and deported to Omsk and then north to a Gulag camp on
the Irtysh River as "Banderovtsi". Every time a Ukrainophobe labels a
patriotic Ukrainian as a "Banderovets", he is legitimizing the "Hero
status" of Stepan Bandera.]
Ukraine is revisiting the painful
question of whether to honor nationalist insurgents who briefly sided
with the Nazis and are accused of killing Jews during World War II.
Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, was overrun by Nazis before the
Soviets drove them out in 1944. Millions died on the front line and
during occupation. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army initially collaborated
with the Nazis, believing Hitler would grant Ukraine independence, but
then went on to fight both Nazi forces and the Red Army. Many Jewish
groups and scholars accuse the insurgents of staging pogroms and
[W.Z. As a
result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the collaboration of Hitler
and Stalin to initiate World War II, Western Ukraine was occupied by
the Soviet Union from 17Sep1939 until 22Jun1941, at which time "Ukraine
was overrun by the GermanWehrmacht before the Red Army drove them out
in 1944". Far from collaborating with the Germans, the Ukrainian
Insurgent Army (UPA) was specifically created on 14Oct1942 to fight the
German occupation. And they never fought against the Red Army. But they
did fight against the SMERSH units and the MGB and MVD personnel that
were sent in to re-establish Soviet rule. Finally, far from "staging
pogroms", the UPA specifically welcomed Jewish volunteers -- especially
doctors -- into their ranks.]
A court is preparing to rule on whether Roman Shukhevych, the head of
the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, deserves the posthumous Hero of Ukraine
award, the country's top honor given to cultural, sports and other
prominent figures. The court is considering a suit by a lawyer, who
argues that Shukhevych cannot be called a Hero of Ukraine, since
Ukraine did not exist as an independent country during his time.
Kremlin-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych suggested Shukhevych
didn't, earning harsh criticism from the opposition.
The question of how to treat the partisans has polarized Ukraine, with
the nationalist west of the country, where they were mainly based,
seeing them as heroes and the Russian-leaning east condemning them as
traitors. Supporters and opponents of the insurgent army have staged
violent clashes in recent years in Kyiv during various historical
Former President Viktor Yushchenko, who drew support from western
Ukraine, had campaigned to honor the insurgent fighters the same way as
Soviet army veterans and decreed to posthumously name Shukhevych and
another insurgent leader, Stepan Bandera, national heroes.
The decisions caused an outcry from Jewish organizations. The Simon
Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights group, said last year
that Bandera's followers were linked to the deaths of thousands of Jews. [W.Z. The late Simon Wiesenthal and and Efraim Zuroff are prime examples of irresponsible Ukrainophobes of Jewish origin.]
Yanukovych, who has restored friendly ties with Moscow, made it clear
he disagreed with his predecessor. In a terse statement on his website
Wednesday, he reminded the public that a regional court last year had
revoked the national hero title from Bandera, apparently suggesting the
same approach holds true for Shukhevych.
Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party on Wednesday accused Yanukovych of
pressuring the court and trying to "rewrite history and ... humiliate
national heroes." The party vowed to defend Bandera's title.
The planned hearing by Ukraine's Supreme Administrative court on
Wednesday was postponed until February due to a judge's absence.
Anatoly Podolsky, head of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies,
said Ukrainian society was not yet ready to address the highly
complicated issue of the nationalist insurgent army's until historians
provide a thorough and unbiased analysis of the subject and until
regular Ukrainians come to grips with their complicated and painful
"The Ukrainian national movement was diverse: it was negative and
positive," Podolsky said, adding that the picture "is not only
Kyiv Post | 12Jan2011 | Reuters
Yushchenko: No Bandera - no statehood
Ukraine on Wednesday officially scrapped
the hero status newly conferred on a wartime nationalist leader -- a
move likely to fuel tension between the pro-Russian east and the
Former President Viktor Yushchenko sparked the ire of east Ukrainians a
year ago, shortly before leaving office, by posthumously declaring
World War Two nationalist Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine.
Bandera was the ideological leader of nationalist fighters who fought
for independence in western Ukraine in the turbulence leading up to the
outbreak of war and beyond.
Bandera, who was assassinated by the KGB in 1959, has near-saint status
among many people there and thousands of Bandera loyalists flock to the
capital Kiev every year and tramp through the streets in his honour.
But this sentiment is not shared by those in the Russian-speaking east
of Ukraine who hold views of Soviet history which are closer to those
Yushchenko's award sparked anger in Russia, where Bandera is regarded
as a fascist, and from Poland, where he is blamed for organising the
mass killings of Poles. The Simon Wiesenthal centre also expressed
outrage, saying Bandera was responsible for the deaths of thousands of
Why should Russia be concerned with Bandera, who never set foot on
Russian territory? How could Bandera "organize mass killings of Poles"
or the "deaths of thousands of Jews", when he was in a German
In a statement on Wednesday, the office of President Viktor Yanukovych,
who took over from the pro-Western Yushchenko in February and has
tilted policy more towards Russia, said the honour conferred on Bandera
"has been found invalid by a court ruling".
This appeared to foreshadow the announcement of a decision by the
supreme administrative court which has the authority to scrap
Yushchenko hit back, saying the move was a "gross error" by a
presidency that "should be working for uniting society not dividing it".
Yushchenko's press secretary, Iryna Vannikova, quoted him as saying:
"Attempts to re-write Ukrainian history and belittle Ukrainian heroes
to please the Kremlin and Moscow with hired decisions of court, will
only incline people against these authorities."
Another sign of the recurring regional tension in the ex-Soviet
republic surfaced on New Year's Eve when a new monument to Soviet
dictator Josef Stalin was blown up in a city in central Ukraine. Though
most Ukrainians see Stalin as a symbol of Russian oppression,
communists in the town of Zaporizhya had erected the monument there in
his honour last May. It was blown up on Dec. 31, 2010 -- the eve of Bandera's
birthday. The incident was later officially described as "a terrorist