RE: Bandera whitewashing

Today, exactly 74 years ago, Nazi Germany turned and invaded the Soviet Union, recently its best buddy with whom they roughly divided Eastern Europe. If Crimea, as some Russian opposition figures say, is not a sandwich, then Poland was, most assuredly, not a pizza, but it didn’t stop the Nazis and the Soviets for eating it together.

Russian media are, predictably, in a patriotic ecstasy: look at us! they say, we were betrayed and invaded! we suffered, you ignorant thankless Gayropean pricks! It is a wonderfully myopic view: not only Russians conveniently forget to mention the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, they also conveniently fail to notice the knife they stuck in Ukraine’s back after professing to be friends and brothers; much like Nazi Germany did with the USSR, actually. What they also fail to notice is that, on June 22, it was not Russia that was first invaded: the invasion wouldn’t reach Russia proper until quite some time. Instead, it was Ukraine; more specifically, it was Western Ukraine, recently occupied by the Soviet Union in the partition of Poland. I’m sorry, but while Ukrainians in Poland were hardly treated fairly (which was what inspired Ukrainian nationalism to turn increasingly violent, the other reason being Bolsheviks’ destruction of Ukraine in 1920), the Red Army didn’t liberate them. Maybe the Red Army did, but the NKVD men who came after them surely didn’t.

Why am I writing this is because of my yesterday’s venture into the French Resistance, which caused me to experience a critical butthurt failure. The case is thus: it is a well-known fact thousands of Frenchmen welcomed the puppet Nazi Vichy regime with open arms, for one reason or another. Thousands of Frenchmen were active Nazi collaborators, either in the Vichy milice or having joined Waffen-SS. This automatically makes these Frenchmen perpetrators of the Holocaust. Yet, however, in the later years, many of the Vichy supporters grew dissatisfied and turned away from the regime. Quite a few of those joined the French Resistance; the most famous example was probably Francois Mitterand, France’s longest-serving president. C’est vrai! a man who supported and served Nazi collaborators (which thus makes him a Nazi collaborator by association, APPARENTLY) became not only a member of the Socialist (!) Party, but was also elected President, and did so twice. This is without taking Mitterand’s previous government career into account: right after WWII he was Minister of Veterans and War Victims, a somewhat ironic appointment. Mitterand is the most famous example; France’s far right Croix-de-Feu organization also initially supported Vichy before switching sides and joining the Resistance; Mitterand was a member of that, and unlike Action Francaise, which stayed loyal to Vichy, Croix-de-Feu’s Parti Social Francais joined the Resistance as early as 1940!

Sound familiar? Yeah, it probably should, because apparently Ukrainians are judged by different standards than the French. The French are apparently allowed to have had people first support Vichy (a Nazi collaborator regime!) and then switch sides and fight for the Resistance. Ukrainians, however, must either fight for the Soviets or be branded Nazi collaborators and Holocaust perpetrators.

One wonders why all Western Ukrainians aren’t branded Nazi collaborators; they welcomed German troops with open arms in 1941, thus aiding the German advance into USSR, much like many Frenchmen welcomed the Vichy regime. The only difference being that Ukrainians were never allowed that: Gestapo arrested Bandera and his men before they could finish saying ‘Slava Ukraini!’ after Bandera tried to proclaim an independent Ukraine. Yet somehow Bandera is apparently a Nazi collaborator, while, say, Francois de la Rocque was not. Maybe it’s time spent in concentration camps that determines how Nazi collaborator you are, I don’t know.

Actually, no, wait: Russians already claim that all Western Ukrainians were Nazi collaborators. This is where Western observers, AGAIN, play to the Russian tune; just as they do with Azov, or Right Sector, or Svoboda, listed here in order of increasing marginality, or just as they do with blaming Ukrainian government for austerity/shelling civilian targets/etc. The point is, while thousands of Ukrainians were indeed Nazi collaborators, and OUN initially (and later as OUN-m) collaborated with the Nazis, neither deserve the shit piled up on them in atrocious quantities, which the Soviet Union did and Russia does now. I’m not thinking NKVD and MGB were above the occasional smear campaign while fighting the UPA; they were intent on removing their support base, after all, and smear campaigns work as well as shipping everyone and their dog to Siberia.

Actually, no: I cannot blame OUN and Bandera for seizing on a chance. I cannot blame them for turning on both Poland and the Soviets, too: first the Poles abuse Ukrainians (denying them language, calling them Rusyns, etc; the Soviets at least had korenization in the 1920s, curtailed under Stalin), and then Bolsheviks come and continue abusing Ukrainians; it’s no wonder there was a lot of bad blood between OUN and those two. What I can blame OUN for, though, is throwing their lot with the losers while getting absolutely nothing in return; but throwing your lot with the losing party was practically Ukrainian national tradition. Mazepa (my glorious ancestor) did that by signing up for Sweden, who lost the Great Northern War; Skoropadsky did that by signing up for Central Powers, who lost WWI; and then Bandera did the same by signing up for Nazi Germany, who shipped him off to KZ for all his ‘good’ work. This is not how independence is won; you’d think they learned, but alas.

What I’m against, though, is saying that Ukrainians either fought for the Soviets or were Nazi collaborators. Yeah, Ukrainians fought for the Soviets, and fought admirably, and got precisely nothing in return. UPA men at least had an independent Ukraine to strive for, even if it was, all in all, not a decent Ukraine; Soviet Army Ukrainians fought for a regime which supported its legitimacy by reverting to Great Russian nationalistic propaganda, which allowed Ukraine to exist as a colony totally subservient to Moscow, where you could call yourself Ukrainian sometimes, once in a blue moon, and even then you had to be careful so that your brother Russians did not call you a ‘nationalist’ and a ‘Banderite’. USSR wasn’t as heavy-handed in Russification as the Russian Empire was, but that is not much of an improvement. Even the sacrifice of the millions of Ukrainians in the name of the USSR is all but forgotten now, thanks to Russia’s victory myth. Even Oleksiy Berest, a Ukrainian and one of the men who hoisted the Soviet flag over the Reichstag, was forgotten from the start: only Russians are allowed to accomplish historic deeds, apparently, oh, and a token Georgian, but no Ukrainians. Know your place, silly khokhols!

I concede that the Soviet Union was a smaller evil than Nazi Germany, but it was an evil nonetheless. I, however, also concede that while OUN and UPA did a lot of frankly questionable shit, they do not deserve shit piled up on them, shit like being branded ‘Nazi collaborators’. At least admit they massacred Poles out of their own free will, and Ukraine apologized for that back in 2003.

Yes, their idea of Ukrainian independence was wrong. So was Skoropadsky’s, and probably my glorious ancestor’s, too.

It was still Ukrainian independence, and it does not deserve the shit, shit and lies that Russia piled up on it for all these years. And, more specifically, it does not deserve that shit from you.

We get to decide this.

Not you, not Russia, not anyone else.


P.S. The similarities modern Ukrainian nationalism (as opposed to modern Ukrainian wartime nationalism) has with Russian nationalism still deserve close consideration.

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RE: Bandera whitewashing

17 thoughts on “RE: Bandera whitewashing

  1. First, the OUN only represented a minority of Ukrainians and you know this. So why does this organization deserve such a dominant place in Ukrainian history, especially seeing as how it did not achieve independence(and probably a good thing at that, given their ideology at the time)?

    Second, you wrote this: ” Gestapo arrested Bandera and his men before they could finish saying ‘Slava Ukraini!’ after Bandera tried to proclaim an independent Ukraine.”

    Not quite. He was forbidden to go to the occupied territories and eventually confined to Berlin(not even house arrest), furnished with a special pass and even a personal handgun for self-defense. He wasn’t arrested in earnest until some time later, when the OUN-B was implicated in a number of assassinations of OUN-M members, some of whom held high ranks in the organization(they also did the same thing against the original UPA under Borovets). This is why the Germans labeled them “bandits” and arrested a lot of them.Still, the net wasn’t very thorough as OUN-B members remained in the ranks of the Ukrainian police and militias the whole time.

    In any case, when the OUN-B started forming their UPA, the ranks were largely filled with ex-members of the militia and police, in other words the same people who had been involved in the pogroms and war crimes of the early days of the war. The issue is that many of those who survived essentially escaped justice.

    The problem I see with this cult is that it basically works a lot like the Russian revisionist narrative. If you read legitimate revision literature on the USSR, say Getty or Tauger, that’s one thing. But the Russian wants to take it even further. “Now all the purges are justified, the famine never happened, and Katyn was done by the Germans. Oh and there were no mass rapes in East Prussia! etc. etc.”

    I mean what this ultimately comes down to is that the world is not going to change history for the sake of Ukraine.

    It would really be much better if Ukraine starting concerning itself with its history since 1991, seeing as how that’s the real birth of an independent Ukraine, free of that historical baggage(or at least it CAN be free, if people on all sides are willing to drop it).

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    1. Sohryu_L says:

      Because this organization was vilified the most by the Soviet government?

      Yeah, Western Ukrainians are a minority. Western Ukrainians welcomed German troops with bread and salt in 1941. By your token, that makes them Nazi collaborators.

      I’m not denying OUN did a lot of shit, but in the end, this is exactly what I wrote. Ukrainian struggle for independence was defamed all too many times.

      Besides, like it or not, but Slava Ukraini and, to a lesser extent, the red and black flag aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they’re already hardly associated with OUN and classical Ukrainian nationalism, given how much Right Sector already discredited that.

      Ukrainian history since 1991 mostly consists of doing fuck-all, blaming the government and electing Yuschenko, who also did fuck-all but argue with the parliament over who had more power. Not very inspiring.

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      1. The OUN represented a minority even in Western Ukraine, so that means they are even smaller in terms of Ukrainian history. I don’t see why EVERY organization that allegedly fought for independence needs to be glorified. Croatia figured this concept out, as did Slovakia.

        The OUN helped the Germans in their invasion of Ukraine. Had Germany been successful, Ukraine would have been wiped out as a nation- not simply in terms of national sovereignty, but physically, biologically, as per Generalplan Ost.

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      2. Sohryu_L says:

        Because Ukrainian independence is constantly ridiculed, demeaned and treated as absurd.

        Ukraine would have been wiped out as a nation by the Soviets, too: holodomors, gulags, Russification (which some Ukrainian Communists fought), the list goes on. This is why shit in Donbass started: Ukrainians not feeling Ukrainian.

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      3. Clearly Ukraine would not have been wiped out in the Soviet Union since it had special privileges as an SSR and the population of Ukrainians grew. What is more, the existence as an SSR is what made it possible to gain that independence.

        German policy was aimed at physical destruction and/or deportation of the indigenous people- Soviet policy was not, plain and simple.

        And the truth is that the war in the Donbass started because your government was incompetent and thus vulnerable this entire time to Russian manipulation.

        Even today I see Ukrainian “patriots” who want the Donbas under their control and yet who treat the people there as though they are foreigners and Russians. Well hey, there’s an easy way to solve that problem.

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      4. Sohryu_L says:

        Which Soviet policy? Okay, it’s obvious you’re not a proponent of Holodomor being a genocide, but all those deportations in Western Ukraine should count for something.

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      5. Did Western Ukrainians still remain in Galicia after those deportations? Yup. In fact, the schooling programs organized by the OUN after the German invasion built on the Ukrainianization policies that the Soviets had begun.

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      6. Sohryu_L says:

        It’s good that they remained, otherwise we would have ended up like Belarus.

        In fact, Belarus is the prime example why prolonged exposure to USSR is not good for independent nations. They tend to lose their language and marginalize their culture in the process.

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      7. I should also point out that people welcoming the Germans is not the same as what the OUN and UPA consciously did, as per the plan. First of all, the OUN actively organized these welcoming activities in many cases. Second, like in many places in the Soviet Union peoples’ reactions had to do with the manner in which the Germans showed up. In some places this was so rapid the people really had no idea what they could do. This kind of submission and attempt to simply survive by accommodating the occupier cannot be compared to enthusiastic, ideologically-driven collaboration, which is another reason why the French comparison is inaccurate.

        In any case, France dealt harshly with active collaborators after liberation and they generally do not glorify the collaborators today- save for those who changed sides.

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      8. Sohryu_L says:

        But you completely ignore the fact that UPA ‘changed sides’ more or less completely by 1943, AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.

        At least admit they massacred the Poles out of their own volition, not because ‘the Nazis said so’.

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      9. 1. They didn’t “change sides.” In fact it was in 1943 that they were legalized by the Germans, and they assisted in anti-partisan warfare. They never engaged in any significant battles against the German occupiers.

        2. Oh they admitted ethnic cleansing of the Poles and apologized for it- so that makes it perfectly fine to wave their flags and chant their slogans. Well you know the Germans have apologized in many ways to the Jewish people. I guess it would be cool for them to break out the Bluhtfahne at parades.

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      10. Sohryu_L says:

        I don’t care. We’re not taking those flags and slogans away because an ivory tower Western idealist wants us to.

        Besides, you might as well ban Ukrop shoulder patches for the same reason.

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      11. Sohryu_L says:

        You’re the person who was wondering ‘how did Azov and Right Sector not commit all those atrocities Russian media blamed them for?’ half a year ago.

        You’re missing the point that the salute and the flag are the symbols of our ongoing struggle as much as the Ukrop patch. The average Ukrainian views them as such. This is what matters, and this is why saying they should be banned (they never were) will not earn you much understanding with Ukrainians.

        Unless you limit your contact to the pro-Russian Vesti newspaper readership or Kharkiv ‘partisans’, that is. And you may go ahead and do just that.

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      12. What about just not banning either symbols? If you’re going to ban “totalitarian” symbols, ban all “totalitarian” symbols. Or just don’t and expect people to use critical thinking.

        Personally I don’t understand why a country which has had its own national symbols and colors since before the OUN even existed needs a parallel set of symbols associated with a political movement that was not only fascist in nature, but also not representative of Ukrainian society as a whole.

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      13. Sohryu_L says:

        Yes, I have noticed you don’t understand a lot about Ukraine.

        This is especially noticeable whenever you talk about anything, be it Svoboda, Poroshenko the horrible oligarch, austerity or the war.

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      14. You know, much like Russia, it’s quite easy to understand. It’s a backward, corrupt, kleptocracy where people think that simply adopting whatever appears to be the opposite of their opponent will lead to success.

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