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[email protected] | 30Jun2018 | Will Zuzak

Monuments to Shukhevych and Halychyna Division in Edmonton under attack

Dear Infoukes:

For the last year or so, there has been a concerted attack by the Russian propaganda machine and the Holocaust Industry to delegitimize Ukraine's independence. A recent example, dated 23Apr2018, prompted Professor Viktor Brekhunenko to respond to the derogatory letter sponsored by Congressman Ro Khanna and signed by 56 Members of Congress of the United States.

Of particular relevance to this article by Levon Sevunts are a series of tweets in the fall of 2017 by the Russian Embassy in Ottawa decrying three monuments erected by the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Canada on their private property -- two in Edmonton and one in Oakville, Ontario.

In his "controversial" hit piece, Mr. Sevunts displays 14 photographs, usually preceded by a negative heading such as "A far right movement", "Terrorist beginnings", "A German commando", "Lviv pogrom", "Apprenticeship in mass murder". He then turns to the writings of and quotes from two charter members of the "nest of Ukrainophobic vipers spawned at the University of Alberta" -- John-Paul Himka and his protégé Per Anders Rudling, who do their utmost to demonize the Ukrainian Independence Movement -- especially Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera.

The first photograph is of a bust of UPA leader, Roman Shukhevych, located in front of "Dim Molodi" in Edmonton. Not shown is the monument to the Halychyna Division (referred to as "Divisia" by Ukrainian-Canadians), which is located in St. Michael's Cemetery in Edmonton, where my parents, brother and many relatives are buried. I would expect that most of the ethnic Ukrainians living in Edmonton and certainly the vast majority of the dead souls buried in St. Michael's Cemetery are grateful to Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera, who represent the aspirations of millions of Ukrainians to establish an independent Ukraine. Does Mr. Himka propose to initiate a petition to have these symbols of Ukrainian statehood removed?

I am amazed by the double morality of those that demonize the efforts of the Ukrainian Independence Movement. History demonstrates that freedom and independence  in the face of violent opposition by the oppressors can only be attained by physical force. This entails civil disobedience, "terrorist" activities, military confrontations, etc. Why does anyone expect Ukraine to be an exception?

During and at the conclusion of WWI, Ukrainians endeavoured to create an independent state by peaceful democratic means. They failed. At the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Versailles, they were double crossed and rebuffed. This has recurred again and again. Democracy and diplomacy don't work; military force and violence do.

During the 1920s and 1930s, OVU and OUN set up their revolutionary cells in complete secrecy, which requiresd a hierarchical (totalitarian) structure and strict discipline. (It certainly was not democratic.) Every OUN participant was dedicated to the motto: "Establish an independent Ukraine or die trying."

The Germans (especially Adolf Hitler) were horrified by the draconian penalties imposed on them by the Treaty of Versailles and were determined to revise it. Ukrainians hoped that any revision would result in an independent Ukraine. Their contacts with the German Wehrmacht resulted in the creation of the Roland and Nachtigall Battalions composed of Ukrainians, but armed and controlled by Germans. There were elements in the German Wehrmacht that truly supported Ukrainian aspirations. (Unfortunately, this did not include Hitler). Ukrainians were disappointed, when Hitler allowed Hungary to annex Carpatho-Ukraine on 15Mar1939 and they were shocked and disillusioned, when Stepan Bandera and the OUN leadership were arrested and sent to German concentration camps shortly after Yaroslav Stetsko proclaimed an independent Ukrainian state on 30Jun1941. Thereafter, mutual distrust reigned supreme.

The atmosphere changed drastically after the Battle of Stalingrad resulted in the complete destruction of the German Sixth Army on 02Feb1943. It became obvious to everyone (except Hitler) that Germany would lose the war. Before that date Ukrainians were hoping for German benevolence towards them; after that date they started hoping that the Western Allies would sweep through Germany and confront the Red Army. No one (except Roosevelt) had any illusions about Stalin. Thus, any adjustment of the position and tactics of the OUN leadership is logical and understandable.

"Heroism" is a very subjective concept. I do not consider the killing of a large number of enemy personnel as heroism. (In fact, killing an opponent is an admission of failure to convince your opponent to your point of view by peaceful means.) To me, heroism is a form of martyrdom associated with sacrificing one's life and/or wellbeing for the benefit of others. The Ukrainian people will be forever grateful to hundreds of thousands of their brethern who sacrificed their "souls and bodies for our freedom", as stated in the Ukrainian anthem.

Yours sincerely,
Will Zuzak; 2018.06.30