“Plast” Aims to Officially Infiltrate Ukrainian Schools and Kindergartens

The veto imposed by President Zelensky on the law on budgetary financing of the scout organisation “Plast” (which at the same time the former authorities decided to call national, which means all-Ukrainian and state), created a wave of indignation in nationalist circles. The President himself motivated his decision to violate several articles of the Constitution of Ukraine and sent the bill off for revision.

After this, Zelensky was pressured by nationalist politicians, Uniates, adepts of freshly baked “Holy Church of Ukraine”, the World Congress of Ukrainians, and representatives of the diaspora.

Former Speaker of the Rada Parubiy states that this organisation “trained and raised fighters for the freedom of Ukraine both during the First World War and during the Second World War. It is an organisation that is today associated with Ukraine”. We will add – with aggressive Ukrainians, for who Russia is an “age-old enemy”.

Parubiy and “Plast”

The “Plast” leadership thanked the deputies for the adoption of the bill and proposed to “adopt amendments to the law, removing from it the norms on direct state financing”. In its official statement “Plast” reported that “the most important thing in this law for us is the state recognition of the Ukrainian ‘Plast’ (Scout) movement and its contribution to the acquisition and development of the independence of Ukraine… The lack of direct state financial support will not stop the implementation of our plans and strategic goals”.

For strategic purposes up to 2030, in particular, it is stated that “Plast” will be evenly represented across Ukraine, 10% of school-age children will be members of “Plast”, at least 40% of youth will take the oath of “Plast” and members of the organisation will take an active part in various sectors of social and political life of the country.

“Plast” positions itself as a non-political and non-religious youth organisation involved in the patriotic education of Ukrainian youth on the principles of Christian morality. It’s just that the Christian morality and ideology of Ukrainian nationalism have nothing to do with each other, and the education of young people in the spirit of Ukrainian nationalism is the basis of the work of this organisation.

The head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Edward Dolinsky published on his Facebook page a symbolic photo showing “Plast” members do a guard of honour at the grave of Vasyl Ivakhiv, the commander of the Ukrainian people’s militia, who in July 1941 set up a Jewish pogrom in Peremyshlyany: back then dozens of Jews were killed and a synagogue burned. There is no hint of Christian morality here.

“Plast” was created in 1911 on the territory of Galicia in Lvov as a response of Ukrainian nationalists to the creation of a Polish scout organisation ZHP. Galicia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, but was effectively under Polish control. The founders of “Plast” were teachers Aleksandr Tysovsky, the son of Ivan Franco Petro, and the future colonel of the UPR army Ivan Chmola. In addition to Galicia, “Plast” also operated in Bukovina.

Many participants of “Plast” fought during the First World War in the ranks of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, then “Plast” became a part of UMO (Ukrainian Military Organisation), which later transformed into OUN-UPA. Until 1930, “Plast” operated legally and was then banned by the Polish authorities and went underground. On the territory of the USSR the activity of “Plast” was stopped.

It was “Plast” that became the forge of Ukrainian nationalist personnel.

Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych were members of “Plast”. Most former “Plast” members joined the ranks of Banderists and fought in the SS “Galicia” Division on Hitler’s side against the USSR. Six of the nine UPA generals and half of the officers of this nationalist organisation were pupils of “Plast”.

Stepan Bandera in “Plast”

After the defeat of Hitler’s Nazism, surviving “Plast” members moved to Austria, Germany, Canada, the United States, Argentina, and Australia, where they created new organisations. In fact, the members of “Plast” abroad are descendants of Banderists and those Ukrainians who fought under the symbols of the Third Reich as part of the SS (and others). Accordingly, they were raised in the spirit of hatred towards the USSR and Russia. The pupils of this organisation were the daughter of Symon Petliura, the son of Hetman Pavel Skoropadsky, the son of Roman Shukhevych and former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Yury Shukhevych, the wife of Viktor Yushchenko Ketrin-Kler Chumachenko, the Minister of Finance of the time of Yushchenko Roman Zvarych, acting Minister of Healthcare under Poroshenko Ulyana Suprun, Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church Lubomir Guzar, economist Bogdan Gavrilishin, and Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Roman Vashchuk. The revival of “Plast” in Ukraine was actively promoted by the neo-Nazi and former parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy.

The leadership of Ukrainian “Plast” sets ambitious tasks – firstly, to tightly enclose the movement of schoolchildren and young people, secondly, to advance its members to all bodies of Ukrainian governance. And it succeeds.

Today there are not many members of “Plast” in Ukraine – about 8,500, but the organisation is gradually developing, has the support of the Ukrainian government, many politicians, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and the newly created “HCU”, the foreign Ukrainian diaspora, and is actively advancing to the south-east together with the Uniates. There are now 137 “Plast” centres in 23 regions. The largest number of “Plast” members is in Galicia and in the Rovno region.

The structure of the organisation covers all age groups, membership in “Plast” is life-long. Children are started from an early age. Members of the organisation are divided into several age groups: fledglings – 5 -7 years old, beginners – 7-11 years old, young men – 11-17 years old, senior “Plast” members – 18-35 years old, and “Plast” señors – over 35 years old.

“Plast” declared itself in Ukraine for the first time during the time of Perestroika. In 1988 Ukrainian nationalist Andrey Parubiy published an article in the Lvov newspaper “Spadshchina” about the revival of “Plast”. And in 1989 there was the first “Plast” camp in Galicia, among the main participants of which were children of Uniates. In 1991, on the eve of the collapse of the USSR, five such camps were already operating, where hundreds of participants, mainly from Western Ukraine, were represented.

The first camp gathering “Plast” members and all their activities took place in accordance with instructions received in 1990 from the Canadian and American diaspora. In 2002, methodological developments of domestic figures of “Plast” appeared. The current Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine -señor “Plast” member Roman Vashchuk – shared his memories of how in 1989-1990 he, as second secretary of the Embassy of Canada in Moscow, organised the departure of some Ukrainian nationalist activists to Canada, and in the 1990s supervised “Plast” members during his visit to Lvov. Vashchuk is very pleased to assess the advance of “Plast” to eastern Ukraine and states that “any national scout organisation should be able to reach a wide range of people with different world views and beliefs”.

“Plast” attracts new members to its ranks with militaristic uniforms, various badges, chevrons, ties, and insignia. Children are interested in camp life in nature and participation in trips to historical places. Although “Plast” does not position itself as a military-sports organisation, it pays a lot of attention to basic training, study of weapons, sports competitions, training of provision of first medical care. The camps of “Plast” take into account a wide variety of interests: sports, military, the sea, skiing, horse riding, climbing, creative, and others. Parents are attracted to the fact that children stop wandering down the street and are involved under the supervision of adults. In addition, “Plast” assumes all the main costs of camp organisation and nutrition. Parents only need to buy a “Plast” uniform. The structure of the organisation copies the Cossacks.

Separate circles, consisting of several children, unite in a kuren, “Plast” members choose a kuren and treasurer, and several kurens form a village, which geographically coincides with the region. In order to advance in the organisation, “Plast” members must pass through several camps and prove themselves in them. In the interval between camps the participants of “Plast” prepare lectures for other members of the organisation. Mentors disseminate political information to “Plast” members, where they talk about the rewritten history of Ukraine, heroic warrior of “UPA” and the “feats” of Bandera and Shukhevych. Although “Plast” is an out-of-religion organisation, every day in the camps starts and ends with prayer, and Uniates oversee this organisation (schismatics are also allowed to give religious education, but under the supervision of the Uniates).

Naturally, after such diverse treatment, “Plast” members become Russophobic and profess Ukrainian nationalism.

The governing body of “Plast” is the National Organization of the Scouts of Ukraine (NOSU). The head of the NOSU is now Stanislav Andreychuk. He was born and raised in Donetsk. He graduated from Donetsk University, majored in historian, later went to study at Kiev-Mogyla Academy, and in the capital was engaged in the creation of a local “Plast” organisation. In addition, like many “Plast” leaders, he completed his studies at the Institute of Leadership and Management at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lvov.

Stanislav Andreychuk

Most of the leaders of the central unit of “Plast” are young people who have received higher education and have done nothing in their lives but a career in this organisation.

“We want 45,000 participants in ‘Plast’ – the same 1% of Ukrainian youth. It is our dream,” says Stanislav Andreychuk.

The “Plast” leadership cries poverty and complains about the lack of attention and funding from the state in vain. As early as 2008, President Yushchenko issued a decree “On measures to promote the development of the ‘Plast’ (scout) movement in Ukraine”. Since the 2014 coup d’état, much attention has been paid to the activities of this youth organisation. In 2015, the Ministry of Education issued Order No. 641 on National Patriotic Education of Children and Young People, which explicitly states: “To establish ‘Plast’ centres in all cities and villages of Ukraine in order to carry out educational work among children and young people”. Stationary “Plast” camps are located in Transcarpathia, Ternopol, Lvov, Rovno, Ivano-Frankovsk regions. In them “Plast” members pass through their “high school”. In 2018 Plast received 5 million hryvnia from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In 2019 former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko passed the law “On the Strategy of National-Patriotic Education.” In the same year, 1.2 million hryvnia was allocated from the budget for the international “Plast” meeting “Dzhembori” in the Rovno region.

Plast in Kiev

The main sponsors of “Plast” are the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which in 2018 provided 44% of all cash revenues to the organisation, embassies of the Czech Republic, Canada, Great Britain, the Ukrainian diaspora in the US and Canada, “International Plast”, Ukrainian Catholic University, Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Ukrainian Galician Assembly, and the Ukrainian club “Kolo”. So Ukrainian “Plast” is not at all poor.

Every year “Plast” holds about 150 camps of different levels, from local to regional and international. The center of the “Plast” movement – “Conference of Ukrainian Plast Organizations” – was established in 1954 and is located in New York City. From there, valuable guidance is provided to all national organisations. Ukrainian “Plast” is in constant contact with similar organisations in the USA, Canada, Austria, Czech Republic, and other countries. International camps and training for young men and senior “Plast” members are held every year.

Given the wide support for the movement given by the Ukrainian authorities and international organisations, “Plast” can indeed become the largest youth organisation in Ukraine and shape the consciousness of young citizens of the country in the spirit of Russophobia. Pressure will continue to be put on President Zelensky, since “Plast” needs to infiltrate schools and kindergartens and establish itself together with the Uniates throughout Ukraine. State status is needed by “Plast” in order to do so officially, in the name of Ukraine.

Lev Kotlyarenko

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