Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
In September of this year, former Ukrainian soldier and member of the party “Svoboda” Taras Lychko tried to drive through a checkpoint on the Polish-Ukrainian border with the black-red flag of OUN/UPA on the windshield of his car.
The ATO participant was stopped by the Polish border guards, who demanded he remove the flag and throw it in the trash. Lychko refused to throw the flag away, consequently receiving a warning that if he tries to once again pass with the Bandera banner, he can expect a lifetime ban on entry into Poland.
This story received much publicity, both in Ukraine and in Poland. In Ukraine, in particular, deputies of the Lvov Regional Council sent an appeal to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry with a demand to take “appropriate measures to eliminate abuse of the Ukrainian national memory by Polish border guards”. In Poland, the incident was widely discussed on social networks and has caused justified indignation of the Poles, who expressed their full support for the actions of its border guards.
Poland has not yet forgotten that this black-red “flag” is the flag of those “heroes of UPA”, who organized the Volyn massacre, in which more than 100,000 Poles were killed.
Deputies of the Polish Sejm from the association “Kukiz’15” have long wanted to introduce criminal liability for propaganda of Bandera ideology. However, at the moment, the ruling party “Law and Justice” have an absolute majority in Parliament, so for this reason, the adoption of such a bill seems, according to experts, unlikely. So in the meantime ordinary Poles have to fight with fans of Bandera in Poland on their own. They report about this fight on social networks
Ukrainians are warned after entering the country that the black-red flag of UPA is prohibited in Poland. So one of the users of Facebook published a photo of an announcement in the village of Medyka in the parking lot, which appears immediately after crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border.
The inscription reads “July 11th is the anniversary of the genocide in Volyn committed by OUN-UPA”.
The photo shows Ukrainian students with a black-red flag crossed out, and on it there is the inscription “Prohibited”. The photo used was taken in 2014 in the parking lot in the Polish city of Przemysl, and later all Ukrainian students, in response to this act, were deprived of their Polish cards and expelled from school.
However, as it became clear, the Poles are fighting with the flags of UPA not only in Poland but also abroad.
One of the users on social network shared a story about how in Germany near Dortmund he met a truck from the Polish trucking company “Chomar”, in the cabin of which he found the black-red flag of Bandera. The Ukrainian driver sat in the cabin was initially reluctant to give it. However, the Pole was persistent and eventually took the flag, and then flushed it down the toilet.
“Today I was greeted with this situation in the vicinity of Dortmund, the firm “Chomar” from Kąty Wrocławskie (a city in the lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland). Of course, the Ukrop didn’t want to give it to me and said “I’ll take it off” because “it’s the truck of his friend, and he does not want to have problems.” Of course, he didn’t convince me”.
In addition, users reported in the comments that they had sent e-mails to the Polish company that hired Ukrainian drivers with the following content.
“I would like to express my outrage at the fact that your firm hires people who praise the organization of criminals and murderers who killed the Poles on the Kresy!
I would like to note that your company will be equated to one that employs supporters of murderers and Nazis who caused us so much harm.
I hope that this situation will never happen again, and you’ll pay more attention to who you hire, as well as the fact of decoration of corporate vehicles with symbols of a criminal organization of Ukrainian Nazis”.
The following resident of Poland showed some creativity in order to express their opinion of the flag of UPA. At the entrance to his office he put a doormat painted in red and black colors.
“In my town it rains buckets all day, if you could see the enthusiasm of customers wiping their shoes on this mat… I look forward to the first of those that are not my brothers, his reaction, of course, I will describe”.
The photo also shows that on the office door there is a sticker with a crossed-out pig also painted in the colors of the Bandera flag, which signals to patients that fans of Bandera are prohibited from entry:
Readers showed great interest in buying these stickers and mats, and as a result of their many requests, the author of the post had to give the address of companies where these products can be bought.
Poles express a negative attitude not only towards the flag of UPA. On Facebook a photo was published in which a sticker with the face of Stepan Bandera is glued on a dumpster in Warsaw. On the sticker are the words “Poviya”, which when translated from Ukrainian means “Prostitute”.
“Stepan Bandera on the Warsaw dumpster, or where his place is.”
Another Pole posted on Facebook a picture of him singeing the coat of arms of Ukraine on a knitted hat. And he calls the Ukrainian Trident the “Khazar Tamga”.
It is also worth adding that after the release of the film “Volyn” onto the screens of Polish cinemas, the Poles’ attitude towards Ukrainian fans of Bandera is very aggressive. Therefore, there can be serious problems for fans travelling to Poland with flags of UPA, as the calls “to beat the snout of Banderists” are sounded on social networks repeatedly.
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