Realities of Kiev: A Nazi Swastika on Bandera Avenue

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The head of the Ukrainian Jewish committee Eduard Dolinsky posted on his Facebook page a video recording from the “Gorodok Gallery” shopping center in Kiev made by a certain Kristina Samkharadze.

It’s the center of Kiev, on former Moscow Avenue, which is nowadays called Stepan Bandera Avenue, on Saturday February 16th, in the evening. On the central staircase of the shopping center on the steps, which are LED panels, a real fascist swastika sits against a red background in a white rhombus. People are walking by, a father with his child hanging onto his hand come down the steps, the girl jumps from the steps and runs to the camera. Nobody is indignant, nobody calls the police, nobody calls the administrator, nobody demands to remove the Nazi symbol, which, by the way, is forbidden even in the current Ukrainian legislation. Idyll. With a swastika.

When the scandal splashed out on social networks, the management of the shopping center apologised and explained that they were hacked. Yes, of course. A convenient excuse. And why was it Nazi symbols, and not porn, as is often done by hackers? Why not a St. George’s Ribbon, why not the coat of arms of the USSR, or some other symbols? Here the answer is simple – because these symbols in Ukraine would instantly cause a reaction, with roars, whistling, the ferocious ripping out of the panels and Ukrainian-patriot squeals. But how can they react here? Bearing in mind that followers of Nazis walk in columns along the streets, burn torches in the night, frighten civilians in Kiev and in Donbass they – in addition – destroy them, aspiring to, as minimum, as is ordered by Poroshenko in Kiev, herd local residents, from children to the elderly, into basements, and as a maximum, to wipe them from the face of the earth They are the authorities. The court listens to them. They are protected by the police, which is what indeed happened at this time vis-a-vis the parallel torchlight procession of Ukrainian Nazis that was taking place in Kiev under the slogan “Bandera, Get Up!”. And after all, the shopping center itself is located on Stepan Bandera Avenue, which once was called Moscow Avenue. It is symbolic. Full harmony. Of course, on Hitlerstrasse it would look even more organic, but who said that such a thing won’t happen in the upcoming years or months. There are still many streets for renaming in Ukraine.

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The reaction of users of social networks to this video is characteristic. Many are indignant with it – mostly those who are outside Ukraine – Russians, Poles, Jews from Israel, and Ukrainians who haven’t yet been fully lost. But among Ukrainian users there are more of those who continue to claim that it is fake and the image of a swastika was simply superimposed during video editing (even after the management of shopping center itself admitted the fact of the incident). Others habitually look for “the hand of the Kremlin” in this Nazi stunt (apparently Moscow has nothing better to do more than to hack the network of a shopping center, and the torchlight procession in Kiev also was organised by the Kremlin, of course…), and those who recognise that the Nazi installation has Nazi roots quite often claim that this is their internal “Ukrainian affair”, that they “do what they want, and nobody should tell them what to do”, and “Katsaps [Russians – ed] were told to not smell the place up”, and “watch how Katsaps boil”. Some immediately rushed to “check the ID and profile” of the author of the video. It shouldn’t be excluded that in the next few hours she will join the ranks of the “enemies of Ukraine” on Mirotvorets.

Of course, it is possible to remember how Dolinsky and the Ukrainian Jewish committee accepted Maidan and its consequences. How they were among its supporters and did not object – with neither a word nor an act – to the so-called ATO and growing Ukrainian neo-nazism. Either they buried their head in the sand or hoped that it will just pass. And new thugs with balaclavas on their heads, having been hit on the teeth in Donbass, became stronger in all the other territories of Ukraine. A year more, at most two, and they will start to be proud of Babi Yar, Khatyn, and the Volyn massacre. They are already proud, having recognised all Banderists as “fighters for independence”. But after this they will start to sing outright praise and glory. Apparently these people [Dolinsky and the Jewish Committee – ed] are clever, but how they live a lie.

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“Let’s make a bet that there won’t be an official reaction from either Israel, nor from Europe, nor from another ‘civilised’ community? Well honestly, a swastika in a shopping center! Apparently nobody has yet been hung from a pole or shot in a ditch,” wrote a user [Emiliya] of the Internet, commenting on this video. Who will argue with you, Emiliya? Where will you find such naive fools here?

I would add only one word to what you said, Emiliya: yet. They don’t YET hang people on poles, they don’t YET put people near a ditch, they don’t YET split people with axes, they don’t YET impale on pitchforks, they don’t YET beat people to death with shovels and stones. They [Banderists – ed] partially forgot about this during the years of Soviet power.

But they will remember. For sure. They have experience. The previous generations of Banderists who are caressed by the so-called Euro-integrating authorities of today’s Ukraine will remember and will pass on their experience. Especially since such those who want to use such an experience are aplenty.

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