Press "Enter" to skip to content

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

Hits: 270

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.

 
READ MORE!
Eight Reasons Why Ukraine is New Yugoslavia
When the civil war in Ukraine started, the question that arised is whether there are similarities between Ukrainian and Yugoslavian civil wars. So let’s compare these two countries, one that is falling apart – Ukraine and the other one that doesn’t exist anymore – Yugoslavia. Multinational country Yugoslavia was a multinational country with different national and ethnic groups coexisting together and two dominant nations Serbs and Croats. Ukraine is also quite a diverse country with Ukrainians, Russians (around 20% of Ukrainian population) and few minorities (Rusyns, Romanians, Hungarians) living together. Once the Yugoslavia collapsed, in a newly created ex-Yugoslav republic Croatia and ...
READ MORE
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
The American people should, in the words of Vietnam War Veteran Brian Willson  “place themselves in the position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people.” What most people in America do not know –and which is particularly relevant when assessing the “threats” of the DPRK to World peace– is that North Korea lost thirty percent ...
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
Understanding Genocide and our Remembrance as Greeks
Last week Pontian Greeks throughout the world justifiably recognized a tragic day in their history that has come to be known as the Pontian Genocide. I wrote about the anniversary, obscure to most people around me who are not well-versed in Greek history and even had to repeatedly change my auto-correct on my computer, which insisted on changing the word Pontian to pontiac. This anniversary was followed by another recognition of yet another genocide of Greeks— officially commemorated on April 6 and recalling the tragic events targeting the Greeks of Eastern Thrace— the region known today as European Turkey or the lands ...
READ MORE
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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.Save
READ MORE
Mass Killings of Serbs for Organs Only Boosted in Kosovo, But it Started Earlier in Croatia, Vukovar
Contrary to the popular belief, the bloodiest trade in history (when organs were taken away from captured and imprisoned Kosovo Serbs),  did not begin in Kosovo, but in Croatia. As reported by the Serbian media in the process  conducted by EULEX mission in Kosovo , ” one of the accused confessed about  participating in human organ sale”. Driton Jiljta  pleaded guilty to the indictment charging him with “abuse of authority and illegal medical activity.” This case is  apart of larger process and the prosecution has charged seven Albanians and two foreigners for trafficking , organized crime and transplantation formulized as  “illegal medical ...
READ MORE
Croatian Book on Jasenovac Distorts Holocaust History
‘Radni logor Jasenovac’ (‘Jasenovac Labour Camp’), the latest work by Croatian author Igor Vukic on the Croatian World War II concentration camp Jasenovac, published by Naklada Pavicic this year, seems like it is inspired by the publications of established Holocaust deniers. Instead of studying all the available archival records, testimonies and other publications, Vukic avoids confronting the totality of known information on the Jasenovac concentration camp system, and instead cherry-picks and publishes only carefully selected data which supports his ideologically-motivated agenda – the fabrication that Jasenovac was merely a labour camp where no mass murders took place. The argumentation and evidence cited ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton and American Empire
Despite the lack of evidence linking Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen to Daesh (ISIS) in any operational (direct) sense, the first inclination of U.S. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was to renew American bombing of Syria, Iraq and Libya— the very nations that were destroyed by U.S. bombs directed by Mrs. Clinton and from whence Daesh arose. In so doing Mrs. Clinton made it evident that she is an unrepentant militarist whose bloodlust, combined with her longstanding interest in promoting American business interests, ties her to the U.S. imperial project of the last century and one-half. The precise moral difference between ...
READ MORE
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Threat to World Peace
This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002 “Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1) “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2) With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China ...
READ MORE
America’s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia
Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender.”Clinton’s unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of ...
READ MORE
Russia-Gate Spreads to Europe
Ever since the U.S. government dangled $160 million last December to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation, obscure academics and eager think tanks have been lining up for a shot at the loot, an unseemly rush to profit that is spreading the Russia-gate hysteria beyond the United States to Europe.Now, it seems that every development, which is unwelcomed by the Establishment – from Brexit to the Catalonia independence referendum – gets blamed on Russia! Russia! Russia! The methodology of these “studies” is to find some Twitter accounts or Facebook pages somehow “linked” to Russia (although it’s never exactly clear how that ...
READ MORE
Je Suis ISIS
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & 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.SaveSave
READ MORE
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo and the Rights of Serbian Minority: Ten Years after the “March Pogrom 2004”
IntroductionThis article deals with the question of political and human/minority rights in the region of Kosovo & Metohija ten years after the „March Pogrom 2004“ and fifteen years after the NATO’s military aggression on Serbia and Montenegro and occupation of the region. An importance of this research topic is in a fact that for the first time in the European history a terrorist-style and mafia-ruled (quasi)independent state was created by a full diplomatic, political, economic, military and financial sponsorship by the West under the umbrella of the NATO’s and the EU’s protective administration. The precedence of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence in ...
READ MORE
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
Note: This article was original published by GR in May 2003“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” - Hermann GoeringGenocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam ...
READ MORE
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
24 March 1999 was a day of gross shame and ignominy in the historical annals of Britain and America. It was the day when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation became the North American Terrorist Organisation. NATO, for the first time since its founding in 1949, launched a vicious, unprovoked and illegal attack against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia, in a preplanned act of aggression sponsored by US President Bill Clinton. The 78 days of NATO air strikes took place without the necessary UN Security Council authorisation. It is equally loathsome that Clinton’s violence against the Serbs, who were our gallant allies ...
READ MORE
When Terrorism Becomes Counter-Terrorism
US foreign  policy has nurtured Al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA for more than 35 years, with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s  infamous  General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).  Lest we forget Osama bin Laden was recruited in 1979 by the CIA at the outset of the Soviet- Afghan war.A complex network of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations overseen by US and allied intelligence agencies has unfolded, extending across the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Western China, South and South East Asia.Rand Corporation  Report 2012While mainstream analysis regarding CIA covert  support of “jihadist” terrorist entities is a ...
READ MORE
Five Myths about American Indians
Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we have invested with all the symbolism we can muster. But the new arrivals who sat down to share venison with some of America’s original inhabitants relied on a raft of misconceptions that began as early as the 1500s, when Europeans produced fanciful depictions of the “New World.” In the centuries that followed, captivity narratives, novels, short stories, textbooks, newspapers, art, photography, movies and television perpetuated old stereotypes or created new ones — particularly ones that cast indigenous peoples as obstacles to, rather than actors in, ...
READ MORE
** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen and at least 210,000 civilians, displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, condoned torture, initiated a global drone assassination campaign, and imprisoned people for years without substantive evidence or trial in Guantanamo Bay, the punishment evidently is to be given the Thayer Award ...
READ MORE
Washington has Found the Solution: “Let’s Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia!”
Editor’s note: This article by Michel Collon was first published by Global Research in December 2003. It outlines with foresight the strategy of the US, through covert intelligence operations, of breaking up Iraq into a number of separate states. The unleashing of a civil war with a view to deliberately breaking up Iraq was part of the US war agenda from the outset. They have found the solution! Divide Iraq into three mini-states and then pit them against one another. Does that remind you of something else? Oh, yes! It’s not the first time something like this happened…. The New York Times published ...
READ MORE
The Relationship Between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence
Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences. A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ ...
READ MORE
Eight Reasons Why Ukraine is New Yugoslavia
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
Understanding Genocide and our Remembrance as Greeks
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris
Mass Killings of Serbs for Organs Only Boosted in Kosovo, But it Started Earlier in Croatia, Vukovar
Croatian Book on Jasenovac Distorts Holocaust History
Hillary Clinton and American Empire
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Threat to World Peace
America’s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia
Russia-Gate Spreads to Europe
Je Suis ISIS
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo and the Rights of Serbian Minority: Ten Years after the “March Pogrom 2004”
Understanding the U.S. War State: The New Fundamentalism, “America is God”
The NATO – The Tool of European Neo-Fascism and Pope’s “Blessed Silence”
When Terrorism Becomes Counter-Terrorism
Five Myths about American Indians
Duty, Honor, Atrocity: George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point
Washington has Found the Solution: “Let’s Divide Iraq as We Did in Yugoslavia!”
The Relationship Between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence
Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.