Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
On February 5th, Kiev radicals from the movements “Svoboda”, “National Corpus”, “Right Sector” and “The congress of the Ukrainian nationalists” came to a protest action outside the Polish diplomatic mission in Ukraine, opposing the law on banning the propaganda of “Banderist nationalists”. The correspondent of the Federal News Agency personally observed how nationalists “knocked some good sense” into the Polish diplomats in Kiev.
On Februay 5th it was cold but sunny in Kiev. The inhabitants of Kiev who weren’t occupied with any work leisurely walked around the city. And the most socially active gathered on Yaroslavsky Lane, where local nationalists were preparing to “show a fig“ to diplomats from neighbouring Poland. As a reminder, at the end of January a group of the Polish deputies made legislative amendments in the Sejm that provide criminal liability for denying the “crimes of Ukrainian nationalists and organisations that cooperated with the Third Reich”.
And in the night of February 1st, the Polish Sejm adopted changes to the law “On the Institute of National Memory”, which in Ukraine was called “a document forbidding the Banderist ideology”. Ukrainian nationalists were revolted to the depths of their soul by the actions of Warsaw. So that’s why they came to splash the Embassy of Poland in Kiev with insults.
By the time the action began, i.e. at to 2pm, about 150 people gathered outside the embassy with banners and posters saying “Bandera will come and bring order”, “Trial the occupiers of Western Ukraine in 1918-1939!”, “OUN-UPA: we remember heroes”, etc.
Besides tough guys in military uniforms, one could see patriotic women and even grandmothers here. It was immediately visible that their offense was very big, and that these people don’t intend to keep it inside themselves.
“What is going on here, ah?” indignantly said a little guy in a military uniform nearby. “People who we esteem as heroes, the Poles make criminals from them?! They completely lost shame, damned Poles! We always find a way to counter them!”
It seems that by “countering” the furious little man meant the “response” to the Polish law that was prepared in the Verkhovna Rada by deputies from Radical party — they suggest to lustrate the owners of Polish ID cards. And the former Minister of Defence of Ukraine General Aleksandr Kuzmuk even stated that “Ukrainians working in Poland can grab spears” if Poles start settling historical scores.
“If to remember history – 100, 200 years ago – we will gather so many facts that the 1,200,000 Ukrainians who are today in Poland – this is the ‘fifth Ukrainian front’ – will grab a spear, if we [Ukrainians – ed] remember all the Cossacks who were hung from Lvov to Kiev [by Poles – ed],” stated the former Minister of Defence.
However, protesters in Kiev didn’t express direct calls to “punish Poland” for the wrong law – they probably remembered that Ukraine very strongly depends today on its western neighbor. According to unofficial data, about 1,500,000 Ukrainian gastarbeiters work on Polish territory. And if Kiev crosses the line with its incitement of a conflict surrounding the “anti-Banderist law”, Warsaw will quickly find a way to show all of them the door.
In the middle of the action deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and the Kiev City Council came to the embassy. The deputy of the Kiev City Council Igor Miroshnichenko during the action directly stated that “the Ukrainian and the Banderist are similar concepts”.
“What the Poles are doing today is simply a historical shame! We also can remind them of their war crimes together with Hitler and many other things. Poles, by adopting the shameful law, work together with Moscow — thereby they oppose Ukraine together. But Warsaw must realise that their main enemy is Russia, like how it is for us! And this really unites us! Poles, repent, don’t don’t unite with Moscow!” chanted the nationalist deputy.
After the creative-minded Miroshnichenko, some more politicians of a lower rank spoke outside the Polish Embassy. The main idea of their speeches was: Poland must recognise its “awful mistake” and cancel the “anti-Banderist law” before it’s too late.
“When the neighbor is good, life with them is good too,” said one of the activists, sharing his deep thought. “And if the neighbor is bad, life with them is bad!”
On the same day the Ukrainian nationalists simultaneously picketed near the Polish consulates in Vinnytsia, Lutsk, Odessa, Kharkov, and Lvov. According to the Ukrainian media, participants of pickets managed to hand over to diplomats the demands to cancel the “anti-Ukrainian changes” in the legislation of Poland in at least two cities. However, even the radicals themselves don’t really count on the Poles actually changing their laws in accordance with the demands of Ukrainian nationalists.
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