Why Is Ukraine Trying to Deconstruct the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet People of 1941-1945?

A streamlet of domestic works that criticise and falsify the Soviet and Communist past, as well as a shaft of diaspora and grant-eater literature, gave a mudflow of works on the “national liberation struggle”, “independence movement”, under which they wanted to see the buried Soviet historiography of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet people of 1941-1945. After that, the time came to “rehabilitate” OUN and UPA with their ideology.

The 2014 coup in Ukraine allowed followers of OUN and UPA to de jure ban the “Great Patriotic war”, the St. George’s ribbon, and Soviet symbols. Officially, everyone in the state was transferred to the “Ukrainian dimension of the Second World War”, and the “Great Patriotic War” was deleted from the curriculum on the History of Ukraine and General History, from school and university textbooks.

A. E. Lysenko in several of his articles cynically emphasised that the “farewell” to the “Soviet legacy” could have been carried out faster, but all the time the veterans’ organisations interfered. In 2018, he stated: “It is safe to say that this ‘farewell’ to the Bolshevik ideologues would have taken place much faster if it were not for the tangible and systemic pressure of veterans’ organisations and their lobbies – political parties of the left spectrum, which was carried out until the liquidation of the Communist Party of Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity.”

I.e., the head of the Institute of History Department of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine after the “Revolution of Dignity” quietly sighed, saying that there is no one to intervene in the fight with the past. And the main thing for him, apparently, is that the “Ukrainian dimension” allegedly defeated the “Bolshevik ideologems” in the study of the history of the Great Patriotic War. Along the way, we note that in Ukraine, the ban of the Community Party of Ukraine in court has not yet been completed, and the phrase “Bolshevik ideologems” is clearly not of domestic origin, it is associated with the ideology of the Third Reich. It is correct to say who you will fall in love with…

For decades, Ukrainian historians, Ukrainian politicians, and the Diaspora have been doing what Hitler’s Germany and its satellites sought to do, starting the war against the USSR in June 1941. They wanted to defeat Soviet Russia (USSR) by destroying the Bolsheviks, the power of the Soviets. But then they did not succeed. Whom and what did OUN members, UPA members, Melnik supporters, Banderists, Bulba supporters – about who in modern Ukraine thousands of articles, books, and dissertations have been written – fight against?

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They fought against “Bolshevik Moscow”, “Moscow-Bolshevik regime”, “Moscow-Bolshevik imperialism”, “criminal Soviet system”, “Jewish-Bolshevik blood drinkers”. But then they failed, as did Hitler’s Germany and its satellites.

Created in the 1990s in Ukraine, the governmental commission to study the activities of OUN and UPA worked for years to state, in particular, that “at all stages of the existence of the UPA, the main enemy of Ukrainian nationalists was the Soviet government with all its political and power structures”.

So it turns out that in Ukraine, the historiography of the Great Patriotic War and World War II, affected by the virus of Ukrainism, works according to the precepts of Hitler and Goebbels against Bolshevism and Russia. In research, scientific articles, and journalism about the Great Patriotic War and World War II, they fought against the Bolshevik and Soviet past, and brought to the fore the “Ukrainian national liberation struggle”.

After 1991, in Ukraine, the “Ukrainian national liberation struggle” of 1939-1945 was purposefully engaged not only by individual historians, but also by the Center for Studies of the Liberation Movement at the Institute of Ukrainian Studies named after I. Krypiakevych of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies named after I. F. Kuras of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The diaspora sent 46 volumes of the Canadian “Chronicle of UPA” to Ukraine, and after 1995, 26 volumes of the Kiev “Chronicle of UPA” were published.

The intensity of the work of ukrainisators is indicated by the increase in publications and theses on the topic. If in the period 1994-2000 about 20 theses were defended on various aspects of the “Ukrainian independence movement of the 1920s-1950s”, then in the next decade there were threefold more. In the period 1993-2004, the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences published 27 books on the history of OUN and UPA (290 PP., more than 5700 pages).

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It should be noted that historians A. E. Lysenko and D. V. Vedeneyev alone wrote more than one or two articles on the justification of the “legitimacy” of the existence and activities of OUN and UPA in terms of “international humanitarian law”. In 2017, an article on contemporary discourse about World War II stated that “the authors [A. E. Lysenko and D. V. Vedeneyev] took as a methodological basis the postulate of the right of any nation to self-determination and its statehood, which, in their opinion, frees from the need to look for some convincing arguments in favour of the legitimacy of the Ukrainian national liberation movement” (UIZH, 2017, no.6, p. 152).

As we can see, in historiosophy or in non-Soviet historiography, everything is very simple – we are convinced, so we do not need to look for arguments in favour of the legitimacy of OUN and UPA. This means that the crimes committed by Bandera, OUN, and UPA are legitimate. Why? The answer was given by the head of the Department of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences – “to encourage self-identification of Ukrainian citizens”.

For “self-identification” in Ukraine, laws on de-communisation are adopted, monuments are erected, and commemorative plaques are unveiled, dedicated to those who committed crimes in the ranks of the SS, UPA, sieg-heiling veterans of the SS “Galicia” Division, servants of the German-fascist occupiers are glorified, and avenues and streets are named after them.

And what do the “beliefs” of A. E. Lysenko and D. V. Vedeneyev look like against the background of information about OUN and UPA, which they themselves cited in the article “Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and foreign special services (1920-1950)” (UIZH, 2009, no. 3)?

In this article, they, in particular, noted the intensive and useful nature of cooperation between UPA and the Abwehr, and about the actions of the Germans in the underground of OUN and UPA until January 1947. Then the security service of the UPA militants liquidated the Germans in order, as A. E. Lysenko and D. V. Vedeneyev stressed, “to not compromise the movement in the eyes of the West”. They cited information saying that during the retreat of the Germans “in the forests of Galicia alone 40 weapons warehouses had been established. In total, the insurgents received … 10,000 machine guns, 50,000 machine guns and rifles, and hundreds of mortars.”

And for comparison, historians cite information about how many weapons were captured from OUN and UPA by the “Soviet side”: “Among the trophies from the Soviet side in the confrontation with OUN and UPA in 1944-1955, there were 595 mortars, 77 flamethrowers, 359 anti-tank guns, 844 machine guns and 8327 hand guns, 26,000 machine guns, and 72,000 rifles.”

And after that, knowing how much blood was spilled by OUN and UPA militants, how many thousands of civilians were destroyed by them, D. V. Vedeneyev and A. E. Lysenko claim that the OUN and UPA are “legitimate” structures according to the “norms of international humanitarian law”.

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The virus of ukrainism affects the consciousness strongly, like it did with Banderists and UPA militants.

The “national liberation struggle” continues. Ukraine, as the theorists of Ukrainian integral nationalism have argued, cannot succeed as long as Russia exists. Therefore, all this deconstruction of history is necessary for the fight against Russia, against the “revival of the Russian Empire”, against “Moscow’s dominance in the post-Soviet space”.

Not so long ago, the political scientist D. Vydrin shared memories of his meetings with Z. Brzezinski. In particular, he spoke about how one of the most ardent anti-Soviets answered the question “On the basis of what research was the famous formula ‘A Russia without Ukraine will never become an empire’ born?”. Vydrin wrote: “The master grimaced and replied that it was not a statement, but a declaration. Like a model.” And how hard Kiev has tried to implement this “advice”…

There are bad things in Ukraine when it becomes an instrument of combat against Russia, because in this case it is fighting itself.

“Ukrainian” eclipses the real history and tries to bring the people of Ukraine out of the ranks of the winners, turning them into the victim of two “totalitarian systems” and an ally of Hitler for the revival of “Ukrainian power”.

Viktor Beger

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