Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Pyotr Simonenko: The ideological followers of Banderists-helpers of German fascist invaders of the times of the Great Patriotic War came to power in Ukraine. <…> The torchlight processions of nationalists and their slogans copy exactly the same sabbaths of fascists in Germany of 1930’s-1940’s. Streets are named after nazi henchmen, monuments to them are unveiled. At the same time monuments from the Soviet period, including ones to those who fought against Hitler’s invaders during the Great Patriotic War, are demolished in large quantities.
<…> The fascist ideology is being firmly established in Ukraine as a State ideology. This isn’t surprising, after all, the primogenitor of Ukrainian integrated nationalism Dontsov frankly recognised that the ideology of German Nazism and Italian fascism was the basis of his doctrine.
(“Near the last line (or why two consanguineous people appeared in hostile camps?)”, 22.01.2018)
A Ukrainian 1933 is already on the brink
At the beginning of February in Kiev for the 5th time a so-called Banderist reading took place. For the first time this action took place in 2014, shortly before the victory of the “revolution of dignity”, when Maidan was already raging. The “reading” gathered Ukrainian nationalist-radicals professing the Banderist ideology.
It’s not the fact itself of this event taking place that’s interesting, but the place that it was held – the Kiev city State administration, which in 2014 was seized by “insurgents” during the “revolution of dignity”. Also, the guests for the “anniversary” – for example, Belarus is represented by members of the organising committee of the Belarusian People’s Republic – are noteworthy. Figures of the Belarusian opposition gave a welcome speech about the threat of the “Russian world”. They were listened to by the grateful public – members of the extremist organisation “Right Sector”, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, UNA-UNSO, OUN, Korchinsky’s “Brotherhood”, “Svoboda”, “C14“, “Azov” – with its affiliated organisations, and a number of smaller groups of nationalists, nazis, and simply bandits. All of them, despite having different names, are strung together to a common core – Banderism.
The theme of the 5th Banderist reading blew the mind: the audience decided to discuss the “mission of Ukraine and its national interests in the globalised world”. One of the leaders of “Svoboda” Yury Sirotyuk called Ukraine “a key country in Europe” and noted that “Banderism is not only external signs, it is also thoughts and concepts of the future, including foreign policy”. Obviously, this message was addressed to Poland, which adopted just on the eve of the reading a the law providing a ban on “Bandera’s ideology”. By the way, Banderists floutingly invited the ambassador of the Polish Republic Jan Peklo to the “reading”, but he refused the prospect of spending time in their company.
As for the Ukrainian “global mission”, nationalists understand it rather clearly: to fight not only against “Moscovites”, but also Poles.
The head of OUN Bogdan Chervak stated: “We arrived in a situation where for the fourth year of war with the Moscow empire, in fact, we didn’t obtain any reliable allies in the international arena, moreover, we are compelled to today declare that the possibility of opening a second front is an objective reality. The first is Ukrainian-Moscow, and the second – Polish-Ukrainian. War with Poland, which we are now experiencing, in particular – its cold phase, demands a revision of the concept of creating a Baltic-Black Sea alliance”.
The Führer of “Svoboda” Oleg Tyagnibok was even more resolute: “Today it already became obvious for many that the goal proclaimed by Stepan Bandera – to destroy Moscow, to destroy Muscovy – is not simply some fantasy – this is the mission of Ukraine. This will show our force and power to all the civilised world. This will testify to our historical continuity – to be the shield of Europe and to defend European civilisation against an invasion from the East”.
At the same time, Tyagnibok expressed regret that nationalists supported the idea of the European integration of Ukraine, because “the same Muscovy” is in Europe. Poland, Hungary, and Romania, according to him, always “profited from a torn into pieces Ukraine”. “The situation with our western neighbors, these so-called lawyers, once again confirmed that it is impossible to rely on neighbor’s goodwill, it is impossible to live in a fool’s paradise – the law of the jungle governs the world,” said Mr Tyagnibok, educating the attendees of the “reading”.
However, “Svoboda” isn’t planning campaigns for Moscow and Warsaw literally tomorrow, because internal tasks are on the agenda. “Without bringing order to our own country, we won’t obtain the strength for expansion. Only a united, monolithic nation led by a great idea, and not by mundane calculations, can become a geopolitical leader. And we must do everything so that Ukraine becomes this force,” declared Tyagnibok concerning the immediate aims of Banderists. He didn’t exclude a “strategically important” association of nationalist-radicals on the eve of presidential and parliamentary elections.
In the same tone as Tyagnibok, the Führer of “Right Sector” Andrey Tarasenko supported the idea of a “new Ukrainian order”: “Gaining power peacefully or by force will be a lesser part of our common fight. The most important thing is to construct a nationally-focused order, to neutralise the pro-Russian forces, and to retain the trust of the people, which by inertia will hate the next government”.
“The authorities, with their unintellectual mind, don’t always perceives nationalism as the highest idea, it is afraid of it as if it’s an elite ideology. We, nationalists, are people who create the future. Not plants, factories, and steamships, but precisely the future – that’s why they are afraid of us,” sang the speaker of “National Corpus” Aleksandr Alferov.
The corridors and halls of the building of the Kiev city State administration, the wall’s of which on the occasion of the “reading” were decorated with Bandera and Shukhevych’s portraits, seemed to have travelled through space and time – the Weimar republic, the beginning of the 1930’s… It’s not 1933 yet, but it is already very close. It is only left to understand who will become the Ukrainian Oskar von Hindenburg, who possesses the words: “Now there is no way except to put Hitler as Chancellor”. Any of the oligarchs offended by the current Ukrainian authorities can quite apply for this role in Ukraine.
However, the authorities in power are playing along with Banderists. The Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groysman, doing a favor for nationalists, suggested to make at the legislative level (governmental bill No. 7549 is already registered in the Verkhovna Rada) military personnel say the Banderist greeting “Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to heroes!” obligatory. During World War II members of OUN-UPA welcomed each other with this slogan, throwing up an extended right hand like the German nazis. Memorial plaques established in memory of the operations of Banderists in Volyn – episodes of the Volyn massacre – are accompanied by same slogan is accompanied by.
The idea of a new Banderist order becomes stronger in Ukraine with each passing day. The authorities have neither the opportunity nor the desire to oppose it openly: Ukrainian neo-Nazis are present both in local councils, parliament, their units are perfectly armed and equipped, some of them are integrated into the UAF and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Not long remains: according to all signs, a Ukrainian 1933 is on the brink. “The authorities try to compensate for a lack of any socio-economic success by imposing the ideology of anti-communism, ethnic nationalism, and frank xenophobia, because now not only Russians are bad, but also Poles, and so on. If the country really was monoethnic and united in the religious and cultural plane, then such a thing wouldn’t work. But such an approach will lead to rather serious lines of split sooner or later,” considers the Ukrainian political analyst Andrey Zolotarev.
It is interesting to know whether in Belarus it is known that participants of the Banderist readings from among the “Belarusian brothers” invited Ukrainian deputies representing Banderism in the Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus? According to the leader of the Rada of Belarusian National Congress (uniting local organisations of nationalists), under the Ukrainian diplomatic department it will be safe for Banderists to “work” in Belarus. On the territory of the Belarusian State the Embassy of Ukraine is perceived by local nationalists as an outpost of Bandera’s ideology, which was indeed declared openly.
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