In Background, Ukraine

By Alevtina Rea, Russia Insider, April 29, 2015

‘Call me a Pro-Russian Communist if you want, but, personally, I much prefer the red star of the partisans of Odessa over the reversed swastika of the Banderites. Although, I repeat, I am a Jew and a Zionist from Israel.’ – Arkady Molev, in Fort Russ, following visits to Lviv and Odessa.

Life in Ukraine these days is full of fads and fancies, some of them criminal and deleterious, some – just outright stupid. For example, the latest craze is to get rid of all the names of cities, streets and squares associated with Russia.

The effort to erase their own history — after all Ukraine in its present borders was created by the Soviets — leads to some funny or maladroit results.

Vladimir Kornilov, head of the Ukrainian Center for Eurasian Studies, in an interview with the newspaper Vzglyad, suggested that the names that are assigned to the cities and streets by the Ukrainian authorities will not hold for too long.

This is a passing fad, he thinks. After all, “The history of, say, the lion’s share of Ukraine is Russian history, and partly Polish, Romanian, and Austro-Hungarian history. In this sense, the Ukrainians have got used to distort the historical names and rename them back and forth. For example, with rare exceptions, there are no historical names in Lvov [western Ukraine, former Poland].”

The absurdity of this situation is that the Ukrainian nationalists, declaring their fight with the Soviet past, demonstrate the very methods of the Bolsheviks after October Revolution of 1917 – they bring down the monuments and rename all and sundry.

Beside the Bolshevik methods, “they have adopted tactics and ideology of the Nazis and try to completely clean all the historical memory in Ukraine,” says Kornilov. “Everything is done systematically and gradually: on the Maidan in 2004, it was impossible to imagine that someone would glorify Bandera. But after a few years, Bandera is the hero.”

Kornilov said that he won’t be surprised if, in a couple of years, they make Hitler’s birthday a national holiday. “Right now, it seems absurd and preposterous, but 10 years ago it seemed absurd and ridiculous that Ukraine will glorify Bandera and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army).

As far as Bandera’s political cult in Ukraine is concerned, there is a fascinating book by Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist. Fascism, Genocide, and Cult (published in 2014). It sheds light on the history of this violent nationalist movement, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In it, the author says: “Bandera was the ultranationalist or fascist alternative to Stalin and Khrushchev. Though the OUN-B frequently claimed after the Second World War that the UPA was fighting against the totalitarian Soviet Union for a nationalist democratic Ukraine, the reference to democracy was nothing more than a pretence, intended to persuade the United Kingdom and the United States to provide support for the insurgent movement.”

The refrain of fighting for democracy is way too familiar these days – in fact, it is used frequently by the current puppet regime in Kiev. As it was with Bandera’s UPA in the past, this reference brings the same result, that is, a lot of violence toward anyone with dissenting views, as well as the unconditional support of the U.S.A. However, the cruel irony is that it is exactly most blood-thirsty politicians who typically sing this refrain, thus rendering the word “democracy” utterly meaningless. As sad as it sounds, this refrain leaves a bitter taste.

Rossoliński-Liebe doesn’t embellish the darkest moments of the Soviet regime in Ukraine. He skilfully demonstrates the complexity of the entanglement between Ukrainian and Soviet histories.

“The only enemies of the OUN and UPA remaining after the Second World War II in western Ukraine were the Soviet authorities, who, ironically enough, implemented some of the main goals of the Ukrainian nationalists. By the incorporation of western Ukraine into the Ukrainian SSR, the Soviet rulers had achieved the sobornist, or unification of Ukrainian territories in one state, and, by resettling the Poles and other nationalities, they had made Ukraine more homogenous than it had ever been before.”

In the end, the historical amnesia of the current Ukrainian government and of some of the brainwashed population leads to the outright ingratitude toward their own past. A past that is intrinsically connected with Russia, whether they want it or not.

In the last year alone, these proverbial “Ivans without roots” have vandalized many memorials and statues that remind them of Soviet times. Just recently, overzealous nationalists demolished a monument to the legendary Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Kuznetsov in the village of Povcha in Rivne region of Ukraine.

Nikolai Kuznetsov, subsequently recognized as “scout number one” during the Great Patriotic War, personally eliminated 11 geerals and high-ranking officials of the occupation administration of Nazi Germany. It was precisely Kuznetsov who managed to obtain information about the preparation of the German offensive at Kursk. According to TASS, he died on March 9, 1944, during a shootout with soldiers of UPA – yes, that same notorious Nazi-collaborating organization whose members have been proclaimed as national heroes of Ukraine on April 9 this year.

In Velikiy Lyuben (Lviv region), the followers of UPA demolished a monument to the 5-year-old Roma Taravsky, a Polish boy who was killed by the Bandera gang. Their perverted pangs of conscience may be the reason why these contemporary ultra-nationalists cannot cope with the truth.

Nonetheless, the decision of the Verkhovna Rada to recognize the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters as freedom fighters will have numerous repercussions, especially among those who suffered from UPA atrocities the most.

Just a few days ago, former Deputy Defense Minister of Poland, Ret. General Waldemar Skrzypczak, publicly expressed his outrage about this egregious law. He said that he is opposing the policies of the current Ukrainian government and withdrawing his support of Ukraine, expressed earlier when he advocated the supply of offensive weapons for the war in the Donbass.

“UPA murdered my uncle. They nailed him with a pitchfork to a barn door. From what I know, he died three days later. Their savagery was beyond imagination. Even the Nazis did not invent the things the Ukrainians did. They hacked people with axes. And they began to kill the Poles in 1939, not in 1943,” he said (as reported by Vzglyad).

“Many people do not know, and those who know are mostly silent, about the fact, that when our soldiers retreated to Hungary and Romania, they were attacked by armed Ukrainian gangs. I would like to know on what foundation is President Poroshenko building the future of Ukraine? Blood-thirsty nationalism? It’s terrible! I have long been saying that Ukrainians must get rid of nationalism, because otherwise cooperation with Poland would be very difficult, if possible at all,” the retired general said.

The ominous shadows cast by “Eurocentric” Ukrainian maniacs are many and various. Among the most prominent are cruelty, Russophobia, servility before their western masters, and a lack of compassion toward their own citizens. Also, a callous indifference.

Ukrainian politicians don’t want to set Donbass free.  However the pompous government that presides in Kiev refuses to provide Donbass with elementary social and medical needs though the people who live there are Ukraine’s citizens.

In the middle of November of 2014, Kiev officially stripped itself of responsibility for civilians caught up in the zone of the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (ATO). In December, the Kiev authorities stopped budget payments for pensions and wages, canceled banking services and stopped passenger transportation by rail to those regions of Donbass that are outside their control. Moreover, they even block whatever humanitarian aid may go that way.

At the end of February, the authorities of Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) confirmed the tightening of the economic blockade by Kiev. “Not a single truck with food is allowed [to enter our territory] … This is against a range of measures signed in Minsk,” said Deputy Chairman of the People’s Council of LPR Vladislav Danego.

According to a recent report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), food is the most essential commodity for the self-proclaimed republics in the Donbass. “It is urgent to provide food assistance to more than 670,000 people, 90 percent of whom are located in the areas not under control of the [Kiev] government,” the document says.

The same report also says that on April 2 another convoy of humanitarian aid from Russia, consisting of 42 trucks, arrived in Donbass. On April 16 another, the 24th in a row, was sent to the Donbass.

Facts like these are seldom mentioned in the western mass media. Anti-Russian paranoia results mostly in far-fetched reports of Russian tanks “invading” Ukraine – none of which are confirmed. One may wonder if humanitarian trucks are wilfully confused with tanks.

In the meantime, the authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared that they count only on the support of Russia. According to the newspaper Vzglyad, a parliament speaker of the DPR, Andrei Purgin, has also confirmed that the Ukrainian side has actually imposed a blockade of the republic, which greatly complicates the humanitarian situation there. Purgin noted that Donbass is not able to provide its citizens with food and is critically dependent on supplies from outside, because the surrounding steppes are not suitable for agriculture. “Food security on our territory cannot be achieved – here is an industrial region, a land of the cities, industry, and mechanical engineering. We make active attempts to start the food import from the Russian Federation and to find other sources as well. For the most hard-pressed people, we have a network of soup kitchens and distribution of humanitarian aid. There is progress in a positive way, but the situation is complicated,” Purgin said.

Meanwhile, the OSCE noted on April 7 that the Donbass lacks medical supplies as well. According to a press-secretary for the special mission of the OSCE, Michael Bochurkiv, the mission recently published a report on the state of infrastructure in the observed area. “The report is based on 55 studied institutions, including hospitals, clinics and orphanages. The facts are shocking: we describe the situation as very unstable from a humanitarian point of view”. According to him, his colleagues found many people on the verge of death due to the fact that they don’t have enough medication.

“The situation is similar in some child care centers, where children are on the verge of death because of the lack of medical supplies”.

According to a representative of the mission, the situation is compounded by the fact that “people do not have access to money, pensions, banks, they cannot afford to buy their own medicines that are sometimes offered in hospitals.”

Despite the dire conditions in Donbass, the authorities of Novorossia are full of optimism.  According to Prime Minister of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, the war unleashed by the Kiev Nazis in Donbass will end with the collapse of their regime and the Bandera ideology. “The Kiev clique which seized power in Ukraine has not yet realized that the outcome of the war that was unleashed by them will be a full liberation of the country from the Bandera ideology, and that the Ukrainian people themselves will liberate the country from the fascist plague – those same people who became hostages of the mad politicians.”

Zakharchenko stressed that Kiev politicians and their Western “friends” miscalculated when they started a bloodbath in the Donbass. By unleashing war, they have jeopardized the existence of Ukraine as a state, and thus have driven themselves into a trap.

“The instigators of the so-called ‘ATO’ and their foreign backers have played the wrong card and didn’t take into consideration that the Donbass is an impregnable fortress that nobody has been able to win.”

Amen to that!

Alevtina Rea is  a freelance analyst and writer; for seven years (2005 – 2012), she worked as an assistant editor with Counterpunch. Ms. Rea is a contributing author to Counterpunch, Cyrano’s Journal Today, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. She can be reached at [email protected].


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