Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone

Hits: 670

During the recent years of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, there has been one issue where the Western mainstream press simply cannot fully ignore or reject the Russian arguments. This issue concerns the life and actions of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) and his followers from what is known as the “Banderite” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, a far-right organization that took terrorist actions against Polish and Soviet officials from the 1920s to the 1950s and which is now legally protected from any criticism in Ukraine).

THE “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” VICTIMS

Because Bandera was born on January 1, 1909, celebrations of his birthday have become disgusting New Year’s rituals in Ukraine in recent years, with thousands participating in Nazi-style torch-lit marches that include shouted protests against “Putin’s Russia” and rants such as, “Jews out!” which are heard by everyone except the police. This New Year was no exception, since the current Ukrainian government under President Petro Poroshenko (who publicly identified himself as a Banderite after taking office in 2014) officially added Bandera’s 110th birthday to the list of Ukraine’s most important anniversaries. This time, there were several quiet voices of condemnation heard in Poland, Israel, and even the US. Why? In truth, torches, masks, political murders, and mob attacks against “pro-Russian” public figures are nothing new in post-Maidan Ukraine. And these things usually pose no problem for the mainstream press of the US and its allies. So, why is Bandera an exception?

The answer is ethnic, as awful as that may sound. Unlike Poroshenko with his aerial bombings of the Russian-speaking Donbass in 2014 and 2015, Bandera killed the “wrong” victims, the representatives of those nations that are valued even by the modern Western media, with its double and triple standards. In the 1930s Bandera killed Polish officials, in the 1940s his people killed civilian Jews and Polish peasants, and these are groups whose plight even the New York Times cannot ignore today. If Bandera’s infamous slogan “Death to enemies!” had been directed only against “disloyal” Russians and anti-Banderite Ukrainians (the groups currently persecuted by Poroshenko), Bandera would have been no different from his modern admirers in the Ukrainian government. But Bandera’s followers from the OUN decimated the Jewish population of Lvov and Kiev in 1941, trying to curry favor with the advancing Germans. And between 1943 and 1944, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), taking its orders from Bandera’s OUN officers, ethnically cleansed his native Western Ukraine of ethnic Poles, killing from 70,000-100,000 of them (the infamous “slaughter of Volhynia”). The aim was to create an “ethnically pure” Ukraine before the arrival of the Red Army in late 1944. Documents published by the Polish historian Grzegorz Motyka indicate that Bandera and the OUN hoped that the Red Army would soon be replaced by Anglo-American domination. “His strategy was to clean up the house before the arrival of the real master,” Motyka concludes in his book.

THE LADY OF THE RADA VS. ISRAEL’S PRESIDENT

The American domination took another 70 years, but it did come. And now the Banderites’ (and Poroshenko’s) only historic disagreement with the West is over the infamous “ethnic cleansing,” to which Bandera’s “glorious heroes” subjected Ukraine in 1941-1944. When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin dared to raise the issue during his visit to Ukraine in 2016, he got a scolding from the vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Irina Gerashchenko: “The Israeli president allowed himself some incorrect and undiplomatic words about the OUN’s tragic history,” Gerashchenko said at the time. “It was highly inappropriate, especially now, when Ukraine is fighting for its independence.” Gerashchenko forgot to mention the fact that Babi Yar, the burial site of some 30,000 Jews killed by German and Ukrainian Nazis in Kiev in 1941, was vandalized nine times between 2015 and 2016, according to data provided by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

WHY THE WEST WANTS TO FORGET, BUT CANNOT

In the immediate aftermath of the Maidan coup in 2014, the mainstream press was ready to forget even that, since an honest account of Bandera’s activities between 1939 and 1959 could rekindle memories of the undesirable parallels to the “resistance to Russian occupation” by Poroshenko’s army in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015. Between the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, about 10,000 people died there, victims of the aircraft and tanks sent by Poroshenko (just months earlier, the US and the EU had been unable to abide the use of truncheons by the police of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych). At the time, the NYT called Bandera the “Ukrainian nationalists’ hero.” Obviously, the NYT’s authors were taking their cues from the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, with her Banderite headline, “Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine Needs” in the once-glorious New Republic.

But here the mainstream press tried to kill off a memory that will never die — the memory of how Hitler’s East European Nazi allies participated in the destruction of the region’s Jewish population in the early 1940s. This was something not even Anne Applebaum could make people forget.

In his articles in the American press, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, tried to explain to the American public that Bandera’s cult is not an isolated, unpleasant phenomenon: Stepan Bandera never acted alone, he represented a crudely nationalist ideology. Unfortunately, this ideology reigns triumphant in modern Ukraine behind the “liberal” façade displayed for the West. For example, Dolinsky notes that Poroshenko’s hypocritical speeches memorializing Jewish victims can be heard next to, say, a memorial to OUN activist Ivan Rogach, whose newspaper called Jews “the greatest enemy of the people” in 1941. “The Ukrainian leadership set itself on the course of rehabilitating anti-Semitism and introducing censorship of history,” concludes the official statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human-rights group, famous for its work to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

THE RUSSIAN QUESTION BEHIND THE JEWISH ONE

If the West cannot afford to be completely silent about Bandera’s participation in the Holocaust, it is willingly ignoring another huge injustice that is inseparable from Bandera’s cult in modern Ukraine — the erasure of the Russian and anti-Banderite component of Ukraine’s historic memory. In 2017, Kiev’s Vatutin Avenue was renamed Bandera Avenue, resulting in an outcry in Russia and complete silence in the West. This avenue, a major thoroughfare in the Ukrainian capital, had originally been named in honor of General Nikolai Vatutin, who liberated Kiev from Nazi occupation in 1943 and died in a shootout with the OUN’s guerillas in 1944. At the time, there was no question about where America’s sympathies lay: the fight against Hitler was not yet over, and Vatutin, born in 1901 to a peasant family living immediately adjacent to the future Russian-Ukrainian border, was a useful ally for the United States. Will Bandera and his modern followers be a good replacement? Only someone with Poroshenko’s plans for Ukraine or with Anne Applebaum’s views on history could agree.


Originally published on 2019-01-15

Abouth the author: Dmitry Babich, born in Moscow, has worked for various Russian and international media outlets for more than 25 years. He is a frequent guest on BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, and CNN. His core areas of focus include Russia’s modern political history and international relations.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

 
READ MORE!
Why London Presented Hitler with Vienna and Prague?
State frontiers are established by human beingsand may be changed by human beings.Adolf Hitler.  Mein KampfDiplomacy, with all the conventions of its forms,recognizes only real facts.Charles de GaullePart OneAll of Adolf Hitler’s actions, from the time he rose to power in 1933 until 1939, could be described as one triumph after another.  He met each challenge he faced: he took over as head of the country, returned Germany’s lost territories without a struggle, and was given permission from England and France to rearm.  But one further task lay before him, and failure now would make his previous achievements almost pointless.  ...
READ MORE
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
Bijeljina, Bosnia in 1992: Serb Volunteer Guard (Arkan's Tigers) led by Željko Ražnjatović Arkan after the action of "cleaning the town from the Muslim jihadists" (official Arkan's explanation). The victims are local Muslim family members. The guard was composed by volunteers of all moral kinds being independent on the front line and in fact waging its own private war. Bosnia is a neighbouring republic to Serbia with 1/3 of Serbian population. Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and (Roman Catholic) Croats committed terrible crimes of genocide against the local (Orthodox) Serb population during the WWII (the so called Magnum Crimen) while during the ...
READ MORE
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria. Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is ...
READ MORE
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
On December 8, 1991 Russia, Belarus and Ukraine stated that the USSR ceased to exist and signed an agreement on the creation of the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union, resigned on December 25, 1991. The Russian Federation assumed the USSR’s rights and obligations to become the recognized primary legal successor of the Soviet Union. Each post-Soviet state was free to choose its own destiny but the need to cooperate and maintain mutually beneficial close economic ties was evident. The creation of the Eurasian Customs Union was guaranteed by 3 different treaties signed in 1995, 1999 and 2007. The first treaty in 1995 guaranteeing ...
READ MORE
The Latest Plague So Far is a Brilliant Success
The wicked social control experiment using virus as the pretext for further enslavement is performing magnificently by implanting a sense of helplessness, dependence, and blind conformism. It should be noted that the favorable atmosphere enabling Them (whoever they are) to accomplish just that was contrived by the controlled and unscrupulous media in under a month of intense, coordinated, global brainwashing. Praise is in order, not for the obviously immoral master plan but for the technical excellence of its execution. In the subservient Balkans, local  quislings have expectedly introduced a practically region-wide state of emergency, giving that ignoble set of local ...
READ MORE
China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power
The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800.  John Hobson’s[1] brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century. China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its previous rise and fall and about ...
READ MORE
Zagreb, Independent State of Croatia, 1941
The consumption of history seems to be more widespread than ever: from general-interest history magazines and historical dramas and documentaries to historical fiction, popular history seems, well, unprecedentedly popular. The evolution of the TV historian reflects this trend: where once real working historians who had written serious books hosted television programmes, these days they are as likely to be photogenic media presenters with minimal, if any, actual history qualifications. The attraction of history and being a historian are not hard to work out. In the public imagination, historians are usually considered to be intelligent, objective people, if a little eccentric, who tell ...
READ MORE
The USA Bombing List: The Democracy World Tour
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Airstrikes Without Justice
To describe the US attack on Syria as a serious development is to be guilty of understatement. Without any recourse to international law or the United Nations, the Trump administration has embarked on an act of international aggression against yet another sovereign state in the Middle East, confirming that neocons have reasserted their dominance over US foreign policy in Washington. It is an act of aggression that ends any prospect of détente between Washington and Moscow in the foreseeable future, considerably increasing tensions between Russia and the US not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe, where NATO ...
READ MORE
Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
“Now that the global circumstances have changed, and when the United States and NATO are losing their influence, and while the powers that are in favor of preserving Kosovo and Metohija – such as Russia and China – are strengthening, we are nevertheless pursuing a policy of complete surrender.”The aim of the internal dialogue conducted by the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, should be to distribute responsibilities and to be the cover for the final surrender of Kosovo and Metohija.The government constantly assures us that it will never recognize Kosovo as an independent State, but here we must point out the ...
READ MORE
The Strategy of the Intermarium
May 12 to 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the coup by Józef Piłsudski in Poland with which the Polish bourgeoisie tried to save its rule from the threat of socialist revolution. Today, he is being idealized by large sections of the Polish bourgeoisie and the US imperialist elite.In large measure, this is bound up with the increasing popularity of his conception of the Intermarium, a pro-imperialist alliance of right-wing nationalist regimes throughout Eastern Europe that was primarily directed against the Soviet Union. The resurgent interest in the Intermarium has been bound up with the increasing drive toward a new ...
READ MORE
Flying Missiles over Japan
SaveOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Remembering the NATO Led War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime
Twelve years ago, March 24th, 1999, marks the commencement of NATO’s aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia. The bombings which lasted for almost three months, were followed by the military invasion (under a bogus UN mandate) and illegal occupation of the province of Kosovo.In the course of the last week, the so-called international community, backed by the UN Security Council has called for the bombing of Libya, a sovereign country, allegedly to protect the lives of civilians under the logo of “Responsibility to Protect”.The covert operations, the military strategies applied in Libya not to mention the process of media disinformation bears a canny ...
READ MORE
Bosnia-Herzegovina ISIS in the 1990s: A Short Documentary Movie by the SKY News
Video documentary movie on the first ISIS in Europe in the Islamic Caliphate of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995.This movie is made by the British SKY NEWS after the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.Similar documentary movies on the ISIS Bosnia-Herzegovina made by the Bosnian Serbs were never shown to the Western audience.The duration of the movie is 8 min. and 17 sec.In the movie are presented and future Al-Qaeda Mujahedeen holy fighters.From the movie is clear what was the real nature of the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s.All copyrights reserved by the SKY NEWS.Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, ...
READ MORE
Why Israel is Blocking Access to its Archives
Israel is concealing vital records to prevent darkest periods in its history from coming to light, academics sayAl-Jazeera – 9 June 2016Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country’s state archives move online.They claim government officials are concealing vital records needed for historical research, often in violation of Israeli law, in an effort to avoid damaging Israel’s image.The Israeli army has long claimed to be the “most moral” in the world.Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks ...
READ MORE
American Foreign Policy Infuriates Everyone
American foreign policy seems to be designed to infuriate everyone, friend and foe alike, though we realise the word “friend” is a euphemism for “useful for American interests.” In a futile attempt to reassert its world hegemony the American ruling class has ripped up or is forcing changes to, free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, with the EU and Pacific nations, ignores the World Trade Organisation rules, has reneged on the agreement it forced down Iran’s throat at the point of a gun with regard to a supposed nuclear weapons development, imposed economic blockades on Iran and Russia that ...
READ MORE
Will Russia Surrender?
The Russian government’s sincere and diligent effort to prevent chaos in Syria and additional massive refugee flow into Europe, all the while avoiding conflict with Washington and its vassals, has been brought to an end by Washington’s intentional attack on a known Syrian army position, thus wrecking the cease fire agreement that Russia sacrificed so much to achieve.The response to this fact by the Obama regime’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, reveals that Washington will lie to the hilt in order to achieve its agenda of reducing Syria to the same chaos as Washington has reduced Iraq and Libya. ...
READ MORE
The U.S. Friendly Dictators
Many of the world’s most repressive dictators have been friends of America. Tyrants, torturers, killers, and sundry dictators and corrupt puppet-presidents have been aided, supported, and rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to US interests. Traditional dictators seize control through force, while constitutional dictators hold office through voting fraud or severely restricted elections, and are frequently puppets and apologists for the military juntas which control the ballot boxes. In any case, none have been democratically elected by the majority of their people in fair and open elections.They are democratic America’s undemocratic allies. They may rise to power through bloody ClA-backed coups ...
READ MORE
Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia
Yada…yada…yada. The discussion on the unprovoked and planned aggression by Georgia on South Ossetia is futile and moot because Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week that the Russian Government would recognize the independence and freedom of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 25, 2008, both houses of the Russian Parliament or Duma voted unanimously to recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 26, 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the government of the Russian Federation officially recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.Save your rhetoric. Georgia has lost those areas permanently. Ossetians and ...
READ MORE
Russian Geopolitics from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin
Is it necessary to prove that Vladimir Putin is poorly regarded by the western press? He’s so despised that the review L’Express wrote about a report addressed to the Pentagon that asserts that « Putin’s neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy » and that « the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality. » The authors of the report say that “ his behaviour and facial expressions reveal someone who is defensive in large social settings.” The implicit conclusion of such a report that was acted on by the Pentagon, is that Putin can’t communicate, that he is unable to have an open and ...
READ MORE
Why London Presented Hitler with Vienna and Prague?
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
The Latest Plague So Far is a Brilliant Success
China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power
How Holocaust Revisionists Remake History as Nationalist Sham
The USA Bombing List: The Democracy World Tour
Airstrikes Without Justice
Serbia’s Sovereignty as a Nation State: Serbia does not need a ‘Dialogue’ on Kosovo
The Strategy of the Intermarium
Flying Missiles over Japan
Remembering the NATO Led War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime
Bosnia-Herzegovina ISIS in the 1990s: A Short Documentary Movie by the SKY News
Why Israel is Blocking Access to its Archives
American Foreign Policy Infuriates Everyone
Will Russia Surrender?
The U.S. Friendly Dictators
Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia
Russian Geopolitics from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share