In Europe - East

By Igor Ignatiev,, July 20, 2015, translated to English on Fort Russ, additional editing by New Cold

In Poland, the filming of the movie Volyn about the atrocities of Stepan Bandera and the Ukrainian nationalists he led is almost completed, Politnavigator reports, referring to a report by Ukrainian blogger Vladimir Kornilov. The blogger has posted to his Facebook a photo from the set of the film.

Set of the forthcoming film 'Volyn', by Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski

Set of the forthcoming film ‘Volyn’, by Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski

The film is scheduled for opening in the spring of 2016. After that, it will be impossible for the European Union not to notice modern-day Banderism in Ukraine. Poland is European, too, and a member of the European Union.

Volyn is a feature film about the atrocities committed by Ukrainian nationalists during World War Two, specifically, the massacres of tens of thousands of Polish residents in western Ukraine during the course of the war. It is being created by Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski, whom critics rightly call the “king of modern Polish cinema”.

The massacres were spearheaded by the Bandera-led Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which was formed in October 1942 as the military wing of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The UPA operated in western Ukraine, large areas of which had only recently been part of Poland. It collaborated with Nazi occupation troops and fought against the troops of the Soviet Union, including Ukrainians, who eventually liberated Ukraine from Nazi occupation.

In late 2014, the Supreme Court of Russia declared the modern-day descendant of the UPA to be an extremist organization and banned its activities in Russia.

Wojciech Smarzowski has received numerous prestigious awards at Polish film festivals. It will be almost impossible in Poland to “shut up and ignore” his Volyn, which means that attitudes by Poles to the free and independent Ukraine will sharply cool, especially as marches of Ukrainian nationalists take place in Kyiv featuring portraits of Bandera.

In Ukraine, news of the film is causing a storm of discontent, which many Poles frankly don’t understand. The Polish website Newsweek Polska received a lot of comments in support of this film. Here are some of them:

Leniwiec: This is the perfect time to make such a film. The truth hurts, and we need to shout loud about it, especially now when the new Ukrainian government has begun the glorification of the murderers from the UPA. If this is the cause of the deterioration of our relationship, it just shows that there is something wrong with our Eastern neighbors.

Mateusz: I’m looking forward to the release of this movie, but, on the other hand, I can’t understand the indignation of Ukrainians that we insulted them – we are not the ones who organized the marches in honor of the UPA and Bandera! I read a book (with detailed descriptions) about what happened in Volhynia – it really was a hell, it’s great that this film is coming out.

Jola: I know the history of Volhynia from my grandfather, who was the only one from a big family who survived by hiding in a cemetery at night during the massacre. With the help of Russians and Germans, ironically, he managed to escape to Krakow. Now I want to compare the images seen through the eyes of my grandfather with images created by Smarzowski.

The director himself has commented on his decision to make a film about the Volyn massacre as follows: “You can’t make a film that will satisfy everyone. I have my own version, my own truth and I’m sticking to it. I’m Polish and I am making a movie from the Polish perspective.”

To a question by a journalist whether the film will be cruel, he replied: “It will be as it should be.”

Ukraine, in its schizophrenic desire to join Europe, is actually moving further away from its dreams. Nurturing the ideological heirs of OUN-UPA, Ukraine is repelling even those who until recently supported it. A striking example was the virtual abolition by Poland of the so-called shopping-visas for “free and European” Ukraine and the introduction of simplified entry to Poland for the citizens of the “totalitarian” Belarus.[1]

The blogger Vladimir Kornilov posted on his Facebook page a photo from the set of the film. He commented, “We look forward to the film’s release. Will this film, also, be banned in Ukraine?”

He is referring to the law approved earlier this year by the Ukrainian Parliament and signed into law on April 2 by President Petro Poroshenko banning Russian films and television series. The measure bans any film or tv series made in Russia after Jan. 1, 2014, those made after 1991 with “positive depictions” of the Russian government or police and armed forces, and those considered to be “anti-Ukrainian”, whenever they were made.

Last year, Ukraine banned from Ukrainian airwaves more than a dozen Russian television news channels.

[1] Poland is a member of the ‘Schengen’ visa-free travel zone in Europe. Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are not. Residents of these three countries require visas to visit Poland. A special “shopping visa” process was begun by Poland in 2011 to make it easier for Ukrainians to visit the country. That process was tightened and made more difficult by Poland in October 2014.


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