Victory Day in Ukraine: A Tale of Cynicism, Nazification, and Inklings of Courage

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May 9, 2018 – Fort Russ News –

By Eduard Popov, translated by Jafe Arnold –

The celebration of victory over Nazi Germany and its allies is a holy day for all the peoples of the former Soviet Union. The USSR lost around 27 million people in the war, which means that virtually every family was affected. All of the adult men in my family fought. Two of my grandmother’s brothers, Aleksandr and Dmitry, went missing in action in the battle for Crimea (where they fought in the marines), two died from wounds after the war (Egor and my grandfather Fedor), and another, my father’s grandfather, Mikhail, witnessed the horrors of a German concentration camp where he was interned. The deaths resultant of the Nazi invasion of the USSR touched my family just as they did millions of other families. This, in my opinion, is sufficient grounds for why the memory of the Great Patriotic War is still alive and will remain alive for our people. Russia/USSR defended itself from Nazi occupation and extermination, and in the process struggled to save all of Europe. Although one should by no means diminish the merits of the allies and the heroism of the resistances in different countries, still it was our country that bore the brunt of the fight against Nazism.

Eternal memory and glory is due to the soldiers of the Great Victory – the Red Army, the Soviet partisans, the “second front” in the rear, the American and British, French, and Polish soldiers and partisans of Serbia and Slovakia, the resistance fighters in all European countries, etc. – all those who contributed to our common victory.

Unfortunately, bitterness has come to taint the celebration of the Great Victory, and not only over the tens of millions of killed and many millions crippled, but because the Nazism of Hitler’s Germany which seemed to have been defeated by our grandfathers is gaining strength again, even in those countries which, until recently, counted themselves on the victorious team. In Latvia and Estonia, the former Baltic republics of the USSR, Waffen SS veterans are being honored instead and Red Army veterans are hounded.

Even worse is contemporary Ukraine. This former Soviet republic which suffered horrifically from the Nazi occupation and yielded a large number of war heroes, is now on the other side of the barricades. Of course, I am talking about the official Ukrainian government and the Nazis groups, who are a minority making up hardly a fourth of the population. But it is these forces that are determining the face and fate of the modern Ukrainian state.

Ukraine has officially revised the history of the Great Patriotic War, the very term of which has been made taboo and replaced with the “politically neutral,” i.e., Western-centric “Second World War.” The ideological policies of Ukraine have been made the prerogative of the Institute of National Remembrance, which is headed by the Galician (from Lvov) Vladimir Vyatrovich. Vyatrovich’s PhD dissertation was on the foreign raids of the Banderite Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/Ukrainian Insurgent Army, in whose ranks his ancestors fought – a fact which he his more than proud of. Vyatrovich recently scandalously praised the Galicia SS division that was destroyed by the Soviet army in a few days. For some reason, contemporary Ukraine’s “heroes” are either political losers (like Mazepa and Petliura) or murderers defeated by Russian soldiers. Since the very first day of the Euromaidan, I have nevertheless had no doubt that the same inglorious end awaits the modern fans of Bandera and Shukhevych.

President Poroshenko (Walzman) is a person whose veins are filled with Jewish blood, so he should be ashamed of glorifying the exploits of Bandera and the Melnykites who murdered his compatriots in Babi Yar, Lvov, and across Ukraine. He once let slip words of distaste for the “cursed Banderites”, but as a person brought to power by the Banderite Euromaidan, he relies on this force. Meanwhile, the Banderites, Nazi street militants, and paramilitaries hate him, yet are compelled to maintain an alliance against their common enemy: the Russian population of Donbass. Unlike the outright Ukrainian Nazis, Poroshenko is trying to sit on two ideological chairs. The renaming of streets and squares after Bander and Shukhevych and the transferring of ideological authority to the neo-Banderite Vyatrovich is a cynical move by Poroshenko/Walzman made in dizzying conjunction with claiming friendship with the Polish people. The Ukrainians whom the President of Ukraine speaks of have nothing in common with the twice Hero of the Soviet Union and legendary partisan, Sidor Kovpak, or the thrice Hero of the Soviet Union, the ace pilot Ivan Kozhedub.

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The St. George ribbon has also been officially banned in Ukraine, like all other Soviet symbols. Such is done alongside the cynical and sly, unenforced official ban on “Nazi propaganda.” Just several days ago in Kiev a Third Reich-style party was held in which a few dozen participants brandished the swastika, and love for Hitler is openly flaunted by the commanders and fighters of the Azov regiment and numerous members of the Ukrainian parliament. What’s more, the Hauptmann of German military intelligence (Abwehr) and OUN-UPA commander Shukehyvch was been declared a Hero of Ukraine. The very equating of the Red Army to the Nazi armed forces is a form of rehabilitation of Nazism. Logically, this should lead to a condemnation of the “Stalinist USSR’s” Anglo-American allies, but, of course, the Ukrainian authorities dare not offend their Western “allies.”

Poroshenko also looks especially cynical and two-faced vis-a-vis the Poles. On May 9th, Poroshenko claimed that Ukrainians saved Poland from Nazism. Of course, Poroshenko is really talking about the 100,000 Ukrainins who fought in the Polish army in 1939. His words on this matter are anti-historical and out of context. Galicians and Volynians were mobilized into the Polish army, while the self-organized Ukrainians themselves, the OUN terrorists, helped the Nazis invade Poland. The Nazi occupation of Poland resulted in the release of Ukrainian hero #1, the terrorist Stepan Bandera, and both wings of the OUN – the Banderite and Melnykites – worked with Nazi intelligence (the OUN-b with the Abwehr and the OUN-m first with the Abwehr and then the SS and SD). The latter also played an active role in the establishment of the SS Galicia division. Despite the fact that both organizations hated and even tried to destroy each other, they both exterminated the Polish population of Volynia. And in the very beginning of the Nazi invasion of the USSR, the Banderites and Melnykites seized the opportunity to exterminate the Polish and Jewish population of Lvov. It is no coincidence that Ukraine has banned the new Polish movie Wolyn.

Unlike the wanna-be “diplomat” Poroshenko, contemporary Ukrainian Nazis are spared the need to hide behind the fig leaf of Ukrainian-Polish friendship. The leader of the Nazi group Bratstvo headed by the Ukrainian National Self-Defense (the paramilitary wing of the Ukrainian National Assembly), Dmitro Korchinsky, announced his attention on May 8th-9th to hold an “immortal division” action in honor of the SS Galicia to oppose the Immortal Regiment marches.

What’s more, activists of the National Corps party (the political wing of the Nazi Azov regiment) organized a blockade of the TV channel Inter for announcing a broadcast of “Victory: One for All”, which discusses the inadmissibility of naming Ukrainian city streets after fascist criminals and features opposition to the flaunting of portraits of OUN-UPA militants. At the time of this article’s writing, the TV channel’s building was up in smoke and buses carrying National Guardsmen were on their way to break the blockade.

All these prohibitions and impediments are not solely the deed of the central Kiev authorities. Residents of the Ukrainian-occupied territories of Donbass have also had the first taste of the operations of Sergei Naev, who on Poroshenko’s order has been appointed the head of Operation United Forces (which recently replaced the Anti-Terrorist Operation). Under his command, until May 11th, a number of cities in these parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions have restricted movement measures for civilians. In Donbass, they believe that this has been done to prevent civilians from attending the Victory Parades in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Nevertheless, against all the odds, some cities in Ukraine have witnessed Immortal Regiment marches, such as Konstantinovka and Odessa. The number of participants, according to my sources, is impressive, and speaks to the fact that Ukraine’s zombification policies have not worked as Ukrainian authorities wanted. A large portion of the Ukrainian population courageously continues to celebrate Victory Day in defiance of powerful propaganda, and they have not bought into the official Nazi and “compromise” lines on this sacred day.

Eduard Popov is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Southern Federal University of Russia, and from 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Rostov-on-Don and actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in Donbass. In addition to being Fort Russ’ guest analyst since June, 2016, Popov is currently the leading research fellow of the Institute of the Russian Abroad and the founding director of the Europe Center for Public and Information Cooperation. 

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