To David Miliband | 08May2008 | Steve Komarnyckyj

British Ukrainophobia

Dear Mr. Miliband:

I recently submitted a Freedom of Information Request with regard to the Ukrainian famine or Holodomor and received the official Foreign and Commonwealth Office Research. The research was seriously flawed in as much as it did not explain why Stalin's infamous August 1932 letter -- "we must do something or we will lose Ukraine" -- combined with the decision to surround only Ukraine and Ukrainian speaking regions of the USSR with armed units and starve them to death and a programme of Russification in order to break Ukraine's autonomous spirit did not constitute genocide under the 1948 convention. It is, of course, deeply repellent to find the UK making itself an accomplice to the largest act of genocide in a single state in European history with a doctored piece of research. Equally, however, the document portrayed a deeply misleading image of Ukraine in WW2 which will damage our relations with all segments of Ukrainian society irrespective of ethnicity. With a heavy heart as a British Ukrainian, I will have little choice but to make my other country aware of a lamentably poor understanding of Ukraine and a deep seated prejudice against Ukrainians that infests British society.

The document quotes without any qualification or evidence the Russian view that Ukrainians need to look at awkward chapters in their own history -- specifically World War 2 and the extent of collaboration. In fact you may be surprised to find out that:

  • Ukraine lost more people than any other European nation in WW2.
  • There were more Russians in German army units than Ukrainians.
  • Ukrainians overwhelmingly fought in the allied forces.
  • Given the terrible conditions in Ukraine it is surprising how limited the extent of collaboration was and equally how ferocious the resistance offered by Ukraine to two of the most evil regimes in history.

    Although it has become almost obligatory to smear Ukrainians in the media, it is surprising to find Russian propaganda being recycled without qualification by the UK Government.

    I ask you in your personal capacity to reflect again on the position of the department and on your role in history -- do we really want the UK to be guilty of assisting in covering up genocide and in repeating slanders against an entire nation?

    The main awkwardness of WW2 for my family was that many of them died.

    Yours truly

    Steve Komarnyckyj