Operation “West”: Poroshenko Caught in His Own Lie

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



70 years ago, in October, 1947, the operation of Soviet specials services code-named “West” started, during which it was succeeded to considerably weaken the social and economic base of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in Western Ukraine, and to completely liquidate UPA and banderism on the Left bank, which they penetrated and took root during Hitler’s occupation.

On such an occasion, on the blue screens appeared the mournful “guarantor” Poroshenko, who spread a statement the media about the unbreakableness of the Ukrainian spirit in front of the “Kremlin’s repression”. The pain of the drunk heart of the boss was passed on to various slaves of the media loyal to the junta, and squeezed out their “teardrops for UPA” into a glass. Maidan bloggers began to wail and howl in every possible way about “genocide”.


Tweet (now deleted) by Poroshenko claiming to show Ukrainians being deported in 1947 is actually the deportation of Jews from Poland circa 1942

Unclouded Ukrainian citizens – who received for the last 25 years a whole bunch of injections of anti-sovietism into their brain, while listening to such howls often start reflecting: “after all, western Ukrainians [UPA – ed] have a reason not to love us, Moskals [non-Galician Ukrainians – ed], after all, it’s us who persecuted and deported them”.

The Soviet leadership had all grounds to carry out Operation “West”, during which the relatives of active OUN members were deported. Crafty Ukrainian “historians” also fail to mention that a considerable part of the displaced persons consisted of not only the relatives of Banderists, but also a criminal element and villagers, loyal not only to UPA, but also to Hitler, and who also participated in the genocide of the Polish, Russian, and Jewish population of Western Ukraine before, during and after Hitler’s occupation. Besides this, today’s brainwashed Ukrainians claim that those in exile were plonked in the tundra almost nude, and that “almost all of them perished”, while this is a completely blatant lie.

But let’s speak about everything in order.

First of all, it is necessary to understand that the repressive actions of the USSR in 1930-1950 concerning the disloyal population were a usual world practice. Moreover, as the research of western historians from the “Soviet Heritage” group – based on the studying of Soviet archival materials – shows, the “information” presented in the media about those events carry a mainly folklore character and is based on doubtful rumours, and even, frankly, political speculation.

The deportation events in Western Ukraine were directly connected to information received by bodies of the NKVD–NKGB about the preparation of an armed uprising of OUN, which cooperated with nazi intelligence agencies.

In the spring of 1941 the Soviet bodies of State security received signals about the constantly increasing activity of nationalists. They fairly believed that in the event of war OUN members will be on the side of Hitler’s Germany. At the beginning of April it was established that OUN conducted preparation of an armed uprising dated for Germany’s invasion. The NKVD registered a “significant growth in the number of murders and bandit manifestations committed by Ukrainian nationalists”: 47 attacks in April, and 58 in May, 1941, as a result of which 98 people – mainly local activists – were killed, and 46 were wounded. Between January 1st and June 15th, 1941, Soviet power bodies destroyed 38 nationalist insurgent groups in Western Ukraine, and also 25 criminal gangs, with a total number of 273 persons. By June 15th they were engaged in the liquidation of 51 more OUN groups, with a total number of 274 persons.

On May 22nd, 1941, the NKVD expelled 11,329 people from Western Ukraine. On June 13th it arrested 5,479 people in Moldova and in the Chernovtsy and Izmail regions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In Western Ukraine, during a special operation, some of the OUN illegal immigrants pleaded guilty in order to save their families from being exiled. In response the bodies of State security liberated rural poor people and those members of OUN who weren’t convicted of acts of terrorism. However it became clear very quickly that these deportations won’t be able to destroy the OUN underground. On June 21st Vsevolod Merkulov, the people’s commissioner of state security, signed the order for the carrying out of one more deportation of OUN members and their families. The invasion of German troops thwarted these plans.

As we see, the pre-war actions of the NKVD and NKGB had responsive and preventive purposes: to secure the border regions of the country against bandit and frankly hostile elements.

Let’s take into account one more important fact: if, for cooperation with the Soviet authorities, OUN members were killing not only “traitors”, but, whenever possible, also their family members, then the Soviet bodies of power landed surgical strikes on the enemies of the State: only criminals “baptized” in blood were subject to elimination, while members of their families were sent into exile, and not always. Moreover, amnesty followed surrender.

Furthermore, hard times and the occupation of a considerable part of the European territory swooped down on our country, during which OUN members showed themselves to be not only the perfect performers of the dirty work of Hitler’s fascists for the extermination of people, but also the independent organizers of genocide, thereby having put themselves beyond the law.

During war, OUN-UPA managed to attract to itself a mass of enemies, that’s why not only the special services of the USSR, but also Poland and Czechoslovakia were engaged in their elimination. The material resources and western help left after war by the German nazis allowed Banderists to wage war against the USSR for some time, but only the participation of the local population could make this war last.

And UPA members fully involved the factor of the “people’s war”, having considered all the Ukrainian population, especially in western regions, as its reserve and assistants. The leaders of UPA completely ignored the fatigue of the population from war and the unwillingness of the masses to fight against the Soviet power, because of which forced mobilization into the “insurgent army”, “baptism” in blood, and mutual responsibility were put into practice. UPA members couldn’t last in the forest for a whole 3 years only on German foundations. The general downtroddenness and illiteracy of the residents of Western Ukraine, who only a short time before the war were in the structure of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and who weren’t cultivated enough, played into the hands of OUN members.

The Soviet government quite fairly believed that the “families of bandits represented a serious concealment- complicity base for bourgeois-nationalist gangs”, and the nucleus of their civil infrastructure. The displacement of these sympathisers from their permanent residence destroyed this infrastructure without the use of extremely cruel measures, separated ordinary rebels from the convinced adversaries, and forced ordinary fighters to accept amnesty.

On January 10th, 1945, the directive “On the Strengthening of the Fight against the Ukrainian-German Nationalists” was issued, which systematized the actions of security officers. In it a strategy was proposed that soon justified itself.

The bodies of State security had to: “carry out a count of inhabitants aged 15 years and above in rural areas of the western regions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; establish during this population count where this or that citizen is located; for the relatives of those persons whose exact location won’t be established – to warn on record that if these persons won’t present themselves to bodies of the Soviet authorities, then they will be considered as the participants of gangs and repression will be applied to their relatives – up to arrest and eviction”.

“Not to leave any case of bandit manifestations without countermeasures, to strengthen the eviction of families of bandits and villagers giving any help to bandits”. This directive led to regular evictions of families of UPA members.

The Soviet authorities didn’t dissemble or promise heavenly pretzels, warning fighters in advance about the approaching repression against their families, and took a considerable, but justified risk, assuming that this force majeur measure will bring people out of the woods and caches.

Having identified the families of OUN fighters, the authorities evicted only some of them and threatened to deport the others in response to the attacks of nationalists. In the late forties in response to each attack of fighters, some families of nationalists were simultaneously sent into exile. If UPA members killed representatives of the authorities, like the secretary of a district committee, all families of nationalists living in this area were sent into exile. This was an effective means of persuasion.

History knows numerous example of when the authorities didn’t touch the family members of militants. There were frequent cases where the elder brothers were sat in the caches – “mobilized” by Shukhevych in 1943-44, while the youngest fought in the Red Army.

The threat of exile and its moderate, but immediate implementation, together with amnesties for those who pleaded guilty, were an effective method for the suppression of forest troops. This forced many militants who didn’t want to fight to disarm and return to peaceful life: peasants mobilized by UPA, or the deserters from the Red Army who joined them. In fact, this method saved thousands of Western Ukrainian villagers from inevitable death (table 1).

I am afraid that today no archival documents or pieces of research by historians will fully reveal such a phenomenon among Western Ukrainian residents, as conscious entrance of the male population into the ranks of UPA in order to evade being drafted into the Red Army, and then voluntary delivery to the authorities and even departure to safe exile. Little men simply wanted to survive at any cost.

It should be noted that sometimes before being evicted, the bodies of State security detained for some time in the district center the families of Western Ukrainians that had a relative missing, thus giving to “insurgents” one more chance to plead guilty. If they surrendered, the authorities released their families and amnestied those UPA members who didn’t murder anyone. Thus, in the Drogobych region among the 2,557 detainee-families, 1,356 were released after their relatives from UPA surrendered. The eviction of the families of insurgents and their suspected helpers forced the civilian population sympathizing nationalists to think before helping rebels. After the authorities took out from Western Ukraine 14,535 suspected helpers of insurgents from July to October, 1947, it was noticed that “the attitude of the local population towards bandits changed; they started refusing to supply bandits and to shelter them”.


Table 1: the ratio of Ukrainian families whose members pleaded guilty from January 10th to June 10th, 1945

Region  Number of warned families  Number of families whose member-insurgents pleaded guilty  Percentage of families whose member-insurgents pleaded guilty (%)
Rivne  7,152  2,301  32.2
Drogobych  4,806  2,246  46.7
Ternopol  4,121  2,116  51.3
Stanislav  6,553  3,991  60.9
Volyn  2,232  1,799  80.6
Lvov  6,718  5,844  87.0
Chernovtsy  4,022  4,010  99.7

Calculated on the basis of information about the “voluntary surrender of bandits” – (10th January – 10th June 1945) // Central State Archives of Public Organizations of Ukraine

As a reminder, Soviet bodies of law enforcement didn’t pursue people for the fact that they are from Western Ukraine. In their field of vision there were people who were relatives and sympathisers of the butchers who staged the Volyn massacre (30,000-80,000 killed), nazi punishers and their helpers who fought against the Red Army and Soviet partisans, and the trash that killed the war hero and liberator of Kiev General Vatutin. The beastly people who brutally eliminated Ukrainians who were loyal to the Soviet authorities – school students, doctors, teachers, engineers, and other experts from Eastern Ukraine: more than 30,000 people from 1944 to 1955.

Concerning the “naked body of Western Ukrainians in the tundra”, brainwashed Ukrainians also tell lies here. The settling of relatives of OUN members (about 175,000 people for all the war against Banderists) was ongoing from Omsk to Krasnoyarsk, with arrivals to blissful Altai, southern Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. In all cases those in exile were supplied with food and a monetary allowance for the road, and at the destination people settled in dwellings. Nobody settled Western Ukrainians behind barbed wire – as was done to the Canadian and American Japanese – or infringed on their rights. Their children could study freely at schools and universities, serve in army, hold high-ranking positions in State and economic institutions, and upon adulthood leave the place of settlement.

The task of deportation was to uproot Banderists and their sympathies from Western Ukraine and to settle them far away from each other in the boundless spaces of the Soviet Union in the hope that peace and time will smoothen things out and heal.Today shows to what extent such actions were substantiated, when the ideological descendants of punishers from OUN-UPA behave with brutality in Donbass, burn people, and kidnap persons who are undesirable for Ukraine.

“When it is said that OUN-UPA are criminals because they cooperated with nazis, there is an element of rationality in it, however this statement is somehow disorienting. OUN-UPA’s cooperation with nazis is only the cherry on the cake. The cake itself is independent mass crimes committed by this blood-thirsty organization according to their own plans and using their own hands,” said the historian Aleksandr Dyukov.

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