June 29, 2016 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ
Translated by J. Arnoldski
The head of the Kukiz’15 parliamentary faction and the famous rock musician, Pawel Kukiz, intends to come forth with a new legislative initiative. He has stated that his movement will soon submit a draft law to the Sejm banning Banderite propaganda and symbolism. Kukiz believes that depicting the ideologist of one of the branches of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), Stepan Bandera, should be prosecuted under criminal law. After all, the Banderites were one of the perpetrators of genocide against the Polish population of Volynia in 1943.
Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, the leaders of the OUN-b and OUN-UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the military wing of the Banderites) have been declared Heroes of Ukraine. A real cult of Banderites is being established in Ukraine around these personages who were among the organizers of the Volyn massacre.
Data on the losses of the civilian Polish population in Volynia and other regions at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists varies significantly. Maximum estimates put the losses up to 100,000 people in Volynia alone. The OUN-b (Banderites) was not the only Ukrainian nationalist group which took part in the extermination of the population of the former “Eastern Borderlands.” The OUN-m (the Melnikites) and militants of the “Woodland Sich” organization were equally guilty of exterminating Polish civilians. Thus, it should be suggested that Kukiz’s initiative be expanded to cover symbols of Ukrainian nationalism as a whole. As an expert on contemporary Ukrainian nationalism and the author of scholarly articles on this subject, I can confirm that all varieties of this movement are the heirs of the OUN itself in one or another form. They also draw inspiration from the “integral nationalism” of Dmytro Dontsov, a straight-up Ukrainian apologist for and wannabe Hitler.
The Volyn massacre has been an issue repeatedly raised at Polish-Ukrainian meetings. Just recently, a meeting was held between the Sejm speaker Marek Kuchcinski and the Verkhovna Rada chairman Andrey Parubiy. Kukiz denounced Kuchcinski’s promise not to consider the bill on recognizing the Volyn massacre as a genocide against Poles at the plenary session before the NATO summit, which is to be held from July 8th to 9th in Warsaw. Parubiy was successful in insisting on delaying this issue which is so inconvenient for Polish-Ukrainian relations. Parubiy named the reason why the Polish Sejm should defer the consideration of such historical facts that are uncomfortable for Ukraine as “Russian aggression” and the fact that “Russian occupational troops are on Ukrainian soil.”
In recent times, Andrey Parubiy was the commandant of the Euromaidan and the organizer of the arson against 48 pro-Russian activists in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa. Parubiy was also one of the founders of the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) whose name is an obvious allusion to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). The SNPU’s ideology is “integral nationalism” and, as follows, Parubiy acts as a successor to the Banderite OUN and cannot condemn the acts of his predecessors and idols.
Earlier, another Ukrainian politician, the Vice Pirime Minister of Ukraine on European integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, stated that the Kiev government will only offer an apology to Poland for the Volyn massacre if evidence is provided that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) led by Roman Shukhevych really “did something bad.” She believes that the extermination of the Polish population of Volynia was done by NKVD agents disguised as “OUN fighters.”
Thus, modern Ukraine refuses to accept responsibility for the historical past or abandon the cult of “UPA heroes.” Moreover, they refuse to condemn any of their crimes. Even interest in friendship with Poland does not allow Ukraine to take such a step insofar as the glorification of the Banderites is the established foundation of contemporary Ukraine’s ideology and the myth of the modern Ukrainian nation. Ukrainian politicians, following Parubiy, will only find new excuses and insist that any discussion of such “uncomfortable questions” be delayed until the best of times.
It bears recognition that this tactic is quite effective. Due to various reasons, Polish authorities are opting to meet Ukrainian needs. The actions of such Polish politicians as Pawel Kukiz excite public opinion only to then become a victim of the Polish government’s obvious reluctance to break with post-Maidan Ukraine. Moreover, Polish authorities have struck at the anti-Banderite front in Poland. Mateusz Piskorski, a Polish patriot and unflinching fighter against the legacy of Bandera, was arrested on absurd charges of espionage. The demonstration of descendants of Volyn massacre victims in front of the Sejm scheduled for July 7th is unlikely to provoke a change in state policy.