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FTR #860 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 7 (All’s Well That’s Orwell, Part 3)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by late spring of 2015. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #850 [1].  

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE [2].

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [6]

[7]

Svo­bo­da leader Oleh Tiah­ny­bok salutes

Intro­duc­tion: In a recent appear­ance before a Jew­ish audi­ence (while drum­ming up sup­port for the Iran nuclear deal) Pres­i­dent Oba­ma not­ed that Iran was a coun­try that denied the Holo­caust. (Some years ago, then Iran­ian pres­i­dent Achmadeni­jad host­ed a Holo­caust-denial con­fer­ence fea­tur­ing, among oth­ers, David Duke.)

Beyond Oba­ma’s rhetor­i­cal embrace, our “allies” in Ukraine, said to “share our val­ues” are engag­ing in pro­found Holo­caust revi­sion­ism with­out so much as a peep from our State Depart­ment or any oth­er sig­nif­i­cant West­ern nation.

Once again we set forth polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in Ukraine against the sce­nario pre­sent­ed in Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

In that Nazi tract, the SS go under­ground in the after­math of World War II, build up their eco­nom­ic mus­cle, buy into the opin­ion-form­ing media, infil­trate the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary, and–following a series of ter­ror­ist inci­dents in the U.S. which cause the dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law–take over the Unit­ed States.

Cen­tral to this takeover is the use of the Nazi-con­trolled opin­ion-form­ing media to fun­da­men­tal­ly revise his­to­ry in a pro-Hitler fash­ion. Just such a revi­sion is under­way in Ukraine.

(It is impos­si­ble with­in the scope of this post to cov­er our volu­mi­nous cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis. Pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the sub­ject are: FTR #‘s 777 [8]778 [9]779 [10]780 [11]781 [12]782 [13]783 [14]784 [15]794 [16], 800 [17]803 [18]804 [19], 808 [20]811 [21]817 [22]818 [23]824 [24]826 [25]829 [26]832 [27]833 [28]837 [29]849 [30]850 [31], 853 [32], 857 [33]Listeners/readers are encour­aged to exam­ine these pro­grams and/or their descrip­tions in detail, in order to flesh out their under­stand­ing.)

The pro­gram details the con­ti­nu­ity [34] between the OUN/B World War II col­lab­o­ra­tor gov­ern­ment allied with Nazi Ger­many, the Yuschenko gov­ern­ment brought to pow­er by the so-called “Orange Rev­o­lu­tion,” and the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment [35] that devel­oped from the Maid­an coup.

With the World War II his­to­ry of Ukraine being fun­da­men­tal­ly re-writ­ten by the Orwellian “Insti­tute for Nation­al Mem­o­ry” [36] and insti­tu­tion­al­ized by a new law that crim­i­nal­izes crit­i­cism of the OUN/B or its mil­i­tary arm the UPA, the polit­i­cal nar­ra­tive of the Third Reich is becom­ing the pre­vail­ing polit­i­cal theme in the West.

Head­ed up by an OUN/B oper­a­tive named Volodomyr Via­tro­vych, the Insti­tute for Nation­al Mem­o­ry drew heav­i­ly on the pri­vate­ly-fund­ed Cen­ter for the Study of the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment. Financed large­ly by the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra, the cen­ter has as its explic­it pur­pose the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the OUN/B.

In addi­tion to the fun­da­men­tal per­ver­sion of Ukraine’s World War II his­to­ry, the Orwellian process at work in Ukraine is revis­ing the his­to­ry of some of Stephan Ban­der­a’s pre­de­ces­sors and ide­o­log­i­cal men­tors.

Both Vik­tor Yuschenko [37] and the cur­rent pres­i­dent–Petro Poroshenko [38]–have aid­ed in the his­tor­i­cal face-lift being giv­en to Symon Pet­lyu­ra (the man’s name has var­i­ous trans­la­tions from the Cyril­lic alpha­bet.) A blood-drenched pogromist in the worst tra­di­tions of East­ern Euro­pean anti-Semi­tism, Pet­lyu­ra’s defend­ers have used his abortive alliance with Vladimir Jabotin­sky [39] to deflect charges of anti-Semi­tism against Pet­lyu­ra. (Jabotin­sky was head of the Betar, the most impor­tant of the fas­cist ele­ments with­in the Zion­ist move­ment.)

The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of the appar­ent cov­er-up [40] by U.S. and oth­er West­ern gov­ern­ments of the shoot-down of MH-17.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

[44]

Stephan Ban­dera

1. A recent law passed in Ukraine makes it ille­gal to crit­i­cize the Third Reich allies OUN/B and its mil­i­tary wing the UPA. That law is fol­low­ing up on the cre­ation of the Insti­tute for Nation­al Mem­o­ry, head­ed by an OUN/B agent named Volodomyr Via­tro­vych.

The his­to­ry of World War II con­tin­ues to be fun­da­men­tal­ly per­vert­ed in Ukraine, with much of West­ern jour­nal­ism and acad­e­mia fol­low­ing suit.

In the sto­ry below, note the con­ti­nu­ity between the Yuschenko and Poroshenko regimes, includ­ing the selec­tion of Via­tro­vych to head The Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry.

Note the role in Via­tro­vy­ch’s efforts played by the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra.

“How Ukraine’s New Mem­ory Com­mis­sar Is Con­trol­ling the Nation’s Past”  [36]by Jared McBride; The Nation; 8/13/2015. [36]

Volodymyr Via­tro­vych was the dri­ving force behind new laws that restrict free speech and reg­u­late how his­tory is writ­ten.

Since the Maid­an upris­ing and the sub­se­quent attacks on Ukraine’s sov­er­eignty and ter­ri­tory by Rus­sia and Russ­ian-backed rebels, there has been intense debate on how to inter­pret not only Ukraine’s dra­matic present, but also its com­plex and dif­fi­cult past. Against the back­ground of mil­i­tary and diplo­matic strug­gles, the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Ukraine’s his­tory is also embat­tled, espe­cially the peri­od of World War II. Russ­ian elites have labeled any­thing and every­thing they do not like about past and present Ukraine as “fas­cist.” Part­ly this is a reflex due to the mem­ory of right-wing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism dur­ing the first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury; part­ly this is the result of a fail­ure to find any bet­ter way to express anger at Ukraine’s turn to the West. There has been no short­age of West­ern com­men­ta­tors attack­ing this crude pro­pa­gan­da.

How­ever, among rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Kiev’s new post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary elites, unbi­ased engage­ment with Ukraine’s past has also been a chal­lenge. But while the West is pil­lo­ry­ing Russ­ian dis­tor­tions, it is much less at ease crit­i­ciz­ing Ukrain­ian ones: Few West­ern observers feel sym­pa­thy for Putin’s involve­ment in Ukraine (I myself have none). There are many, how­ever, who seem to wel­come any his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive ruf­fling Russia’s feath­ers or appear­ing “pro-Ukrain­ian” or “nation­al” (in real­ity, quite often nation­al­ist), as the nation is fac­ing out­side aggres­sion and domes­tic cri­sis. Yet this form of “sup­port” is a disservice—to Ukraine and also to the West’s pub­lic and deci­sion-mak­ers. It is alarm­ing that some West­ern jour­nal­ists, schol­ars, and pol­i­cy-mak­ers are embrac­ing a nation­al­ist ver­sion of Ukrain­ian his­tory that res­onates only with part of Ukrain­ian soci­ety and not at all with seri­ous aca­d­e­mic dis­course in Europe and North Amer­i­ca.

Front and cen­ter in the efforts to pro­duce a nation­al­ist ver­sion of Ukrain­ian his­tory is the for­mer direc­tor of the country’s secret-police archives (SBU) and new (sic) direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­ory (or UINP) under the cur­rent gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko: Volodymyr Via­tro­vych. Via­tro­vych (born 1977), from the west­ern Ukrain­ian city of Lviv, first stepped onto the nation­al scene when he was put in charge of the archive sec­tion of the new­ly cre­ated Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­ory in 2008 and then head of the SBU archives lat­er that year. In these influ­en­tial posi­tions, he helped in the effort to “exon­er­ate” a key World War II Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist leader of any com­plic­ity in the Holo­caust; pre­sented the nation­al­ist Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army as a demo­c­ra­tic orga­ni­za­tion open to Jew­ish mem­bers; and focused heav­ily on Ukrain­ian vic­tim­iza­tion dur­ing the famine of the 1930s (while, inter­est­ingly, also blam­ing Jews as per­pe­tra­tors).

Via­tro­vych has made a name for him­self as a polit­i­cal activist by instru­men­tal­iz­ing his schol­arly cre­den­tials. Both before and after his secret-ser­vice archive tenure, he was the head of the Cen­ter for the Study of the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment [45] (or Tsen­tr Doslidzhen’ Vyzvol’noho Rukhu, TsD­VR) in Lviv. The research cen­ter is fund­ed by pri­vate mon­ey from Ukrain­ian groups abroad [46] that have helped shape its research agen­da. The unam­bigu­ous goal of the cen­ter is to paint the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, in par­tic­u­lar the OUN and UPA (two of the most impor­tant Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions from the inter­war and World War II peri­od), as “lib­er­a­tors” from Sovi­et, Pol­ish, and Ger­man oppres­sion. Rad­i­cal right-wing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists are depict­ed as noth­ing but trag­ic free­dom fight­ers, occa­sion­ally forced to don Nazi uni­forms to strug­gle for inde­pen­dence, lib­erty, and West­ern val­ues. This is the par­ty line at the cen­ter, one large­ly shaped by Via­tro­vych.

Viatrovych’s own “schol­arly” out­put echoes the goals of his cen­ter.In a num­ber of pub­li­ca­tions he has cov­ered a laun­dry list of flash­points in 20th-cen­tu­ry Ukrain­ian his­tory, from the vicious anti-Jew­ish pogroms of World War I through Ukrain­ian-Pol­ish vio­lence dur­ing and after World War II.What uni­fies his approach is a relent­less dri­ve to excul­pate Ukraini­ans of any wrong­do­ing, no mat­ter the facts. For exam­ple, con­cern­ing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist involve­ment in the Holo­caust, in Viatrovych’s world, col­lab­o­ra­tion nev­er hap­pened or was coerced and, at any rate, can’t be blamed on nation­al­ism; all evi­dence to the con­trary is blithe­ly assigned to Sovi­et lies. On the nation­al­ist eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles in 1943–44, Via­tro­vych lets us know that that was a sort of trag­ic but sym­met­ri­cal war­fare. And as we all know, war is cru­el and bad things hap­pen. When con­fronted with the fact that the head of UPA, Roman Shukhevych, served the Nazis until 1943 as com­man­der of a mobile police bat­tal­ion that mur­dered thou­sands of civil­ians in Belarus, Via­tro­vych respond­ed: “Is it pos­si­ble to con­sider Poles or Belaru­sians a peace­ful pop­u­la­tion, if, dur­ing the day, they work as ordi­nary vil­lagers, only to arm them­selves in the evening and attack the vil­lage?” In oth­er words, civil­ians are fair tar­gets, espe­cially for “heroes” of Ukraine in the ser­vice of Nazis.

In the aca­d­e­mic world, such tac­tics have their lim­its. But when con­fronted with sol­id archival evi­dence con­trary to his sto­ries, such as orders from OUN-UPA lead­er­ship to cleanse the Pol­ish pop­u­la­tion of Vol­hy­nia, Via­tro­vych sim­ply claims that doc­u­ments are Sovi­et forg­eries or that schol­ars chal­leng­ing him are serv­ing sin­is­ter pro­pa­ganda pur­poses. Selec­tiv­ity rules: If there is no smok­ing-gun doc­u­ment for nation­al­ist crimes, it’s excul­pa­tory; when there is no smok­ing-gun doc­u­ment for pre­med­i­tated Sovi­et geno­cide against Ukraini­ans, it’s a result of KGB cun­ning. Via­tro­vych deals with video tes­ti­mo­nial archives and the inte­gra­tion of wit­ness tes­ti­mony into his­tory with brava­do, sim­ply ignor­ing them (and espe­cially Jew­ish voic­es) alto­gether when he dis­likes what they have to tell us. This abysmal eth­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal approach has been chal­lenged by schol­ars from Poland, Scan­di­navia, Ger­many, Cana­da, and the Unit­ed States, in addi­tion to a few brave Ukrain­ian ones. These schol­ars have writ­ten exco­ri­at­ing reviews of his works. Unlike his writ­ings, these reviews were pub­lished in peer-reviewed jour­nals.

There are no career reper­cus­sions for poor schol­ar­ship when you are a polit­i­cal activist. Thanks to his cre­den­tials as “for­mer SBU archive direc­tor,” direc­tor of a promi­nent “research” insti­tute, and a brief stint as a research fel­low at the Har­vard Ukrain­ian Research Insti­tute (HURI), which show up in every bio-blurb pos­si­ble, Via­tro­vych is cit­ed fre­quently in the Ukrain­ian media. Iron­i­cally, as he has gained more neg­a­tive atten­tion from schol­ars, he has tra­versed a dif­fer­ent arc in Ukraine—increasingly trust­ed as a voice of wis­dom, a young, fresh force promis­ing to defend and pro­mote Ukraine’s his­tory, here under­stood as the glo­ri­ous record of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. It was no sur­prise when in late 2014 Pres­i­dent Poroshenko chose him as head of the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­ory, a gov­ern­ment body orig­i­nally cre­ated by then Pres­i­dent Yushchenko to sup­port research and forge a nation­al mem­ory pol­i­cy.

Via­tro­vych wast­ed lit­tle time after this appoint­ment. He became the dri­ving force behind the so-called de-com­mu­niza­tion laws [47] that were put on the books this spring. In real­ity, these laws reg­u­late how his­tory should be writ­ten and place restric­tions on free speech, and thus are deeply at odds with Kiev’s claims to West­ern val­ues. Law No. 2538–1, “On the legal sta­tus and hon­or­ing of fight­ers for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence in the 20th cen­tury,” states that “the pub­lic denial of…the just cause of the fight­ers for Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence in the 20th cen­tury insults the dig­nity of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple and is ille­gal.” The fight­ers for Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence explic­itly include the World War II nation­al­ists of the OUN and UPA.In essence, this law makes it at least very risky to crit­i­cize them or point out the crimes in which they par­tic­i­pated. As with sim­i­lar Putin­ist leg­is­la­tion in Russia—namely Arti­cle 354.1, which crim­i­nal­izes any devi­a­tions from the Kremlin’s ver­sion of World War II and was passed by the Russ­ian Duma in 2014—the very vague­ness of phras­ing is a handy weapon of poten­tial repres­sion: it is a dis­turb­ing mys­tery how the state or oth­er accusers are going to deter­mine who insult­ed the dig­nity of vio­lent eth­nic cleansers and hap­py author­i­tar­i­ans or how the courts are going to pros­e­cute those guilty of such thought crimes. Law No. 2540, “On access to the archives of repres­sive orga­ni­za­tions of the com­mu­nist total­i­tar­ian regime from 1917–1991,” puts all secret-police archives under the con­trol of the Nation­al Mem­ory Insti­tute in Kiev, head­ed by Via­tro­vych.

These new laws have been crit­i­cized in a num­ber of jour­nals and mag­a­zines. Why they are deeply flawed should be obvi­ous to any­body com­mit­ted to even ele­men­tary prin­ci­ples of free speech and democ­racy [48]. The reac­tion to the laws was pre­dictable: first, there was a response from the West­ern aca­d­e­mic com­mu­nity. Sev­enty lead­ing schol­ars, includ­ing some from East­ern Europe, signed an open let­ter [49] protest­ing the laws. Oth­er orga­ni­za­tions, such as the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­rity and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe [50], the Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group, and the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­r­ial Muse­um [51] warned of their dan­gers. For­eign media out­lets [52] also took notice. Yet, despite the out­cry, except for a few arti­cles by West­ern schol­ars, there has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion of Viatrovych’s per­sonal role in mak­ing the laws or the larg­er back­drop of aggres­sive his­tory pol­i­tics, going back to 2005.

A few of the most promi­nent Ukrain­ian intel­lec­tu­als pro­vided com­men­tary [53] that half-heart­ed­ly con­demned a crack­down on free speech, but they focused on ques­tion­ing the atti­tude of West­ern schol­ars protest­ing against the laws. Oth­er Ukrain­ian com­men­ta­tors have pro­vided rather mut­ed crit­i­cism of the laws, less because of the politi­ciza­tion of his­tory and more due to issues of finan­cial and pri­vacy con­cerns. Only a few Ukrain­ian com­men­ta­tors [54] did con­demn the laws on prin­ci­pled grounds relat­ed to aca­d­e­mic free­dom and his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism.

Sad­ly, the Ukrain­ian-dias­po­ra schol­arly com­mu­nity in North Amer­ica has often sup­ported these restric­tive laws. Regard­ing Via­tro­vych, they see no prob­lem with hav­ing a par­ti­san polit­i­cal activist in charge of the country’s secret-police archives; rather the for­eign schol­ars and their “insen­si­tive research” agen­das that dis­cuss the dark spots of Ukraine’s his­tory are the real prob­lem for Ukraine. In a recent round­table inter­view with two well-known schol­ars and one mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, West­ern schol­ars were described as “neo-Sovi­et” and their response as “qua­si-hys­ter­i­cal.” In a mis­placed “post-colo­nial” twist, the “pro­pri­ety or author­ity of for­eign­ers to instruct Ukraine’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives as to whom they wish to acknowl­edge or memo­ri­al­ize and why” was ques­tioned. The laws were praised as the answer to out­side tam­per­ing in Ukraine’s his­tory. On the issue of free speech, there was hedg­ing. In an Orwellian key, Alexan­der Motyl, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty-Newark, went as far as to com­pare [55] Ukraine’s his­tory reg­u­la­tion laws to civ­il rights laws, women’s rights, and laws pro­tect­ing the gay com­mu­nity in the Unit­ed States. This is not the first time [56] Motyl’s analo­gies to US his­tory have caused shock in var­i­ous schol­arly com­mu­ni­ties.

There has been lit­tle con­tro­versy in the West about putting Ukraine’s secret-police archives in Viatrovych’s hands: the respons­es [54] from Ukrain­ian intel­li­gentsia have ranged from joy to mut­ed con­cerns about pri­vacy issues. Motyl excit­edly called the archives law [57] a “coup for free­dom and justice”—unsurprisingly, giv­en that he is per­haps the only schol­ar to have praised Viatrovych’s recent book. Out­side of per­cep­tive pieces in Ukrain­ian by Vasyl Rasevych, a his­to­rian and writer, and Stanislav Ser­hi­ienko, an activist and writer, about the dan­gers of archive tam­per­ing, few com­menters, includ­ing those in the West, seem to wor­ry about the poten­tial manip­u­la­tion of the archives. The dialec­tics of nation­al lib­er­al­ism aside, Motyl’s term “coup” is an appo­site Freudi­an slip. We might ask our­selves why a nation’s most polit­i­cally sen­si­tive doc­u­ment col­lec­tion should be entrust­ed with a polit­i­cal activist inter­ested in one and only one ver­sion of the past, rather than putting them under the aus­pices of the cen­tral state archive admin­is­tra­tion. A while ago, when a Com­mu­nist was direc­tor of Ukraine’s archival admin­is­tra­tion, West­ern observers were wor­ried. The fail­ure to wor­ry when a nation­al­ist defend­ing the record of right-wing author­i­tar­i­ans takes over the nation­al mem­ory project and the secret-police files is dis­turb­ing.

If the response from the dias­po­ra-ori­ent­ed schol­arly com­mu­nity to the laws and Viatrovych’s appoint­ment has been scan­dalous, the naïveté with which some West­ern observers have embraced the nation­al­ist nar­ra­tive is even more trou­bling. Fol­low­ing the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion, Via­tro­vych is now cit­ed as a voice of knowl­edge in the Ukrain­ian and West­ern media. The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor has quot­ed him in an arti­cle about Ukraine’s past, where he explained that to dis­pel “myths” Ukraine should “cre­ate an open, nation­al dia­logue.” With no acknowl­edg­ment (or, prob­a­bly, knowl­edge) of Viatrovych’s back­ground as a myth-mak­er-in-chief him­self, the arti­cle uncrit­i­cally presents him as a voice for the future.

Even more egre­gious was the arti­cle “Is There a Future for Ukraine?” by Peter Pomer­ant­sev [58], a jour­nal­ist and pro­ducer who writes fre­quently on Rus­sia, which appeared in The Atlantic in July 2014. Pomer­ant­sev inter­viewed and pro­filed Via­tro­vych as a car­rier of hope for Ukraine’s future. Pomer­ant­sev has man­aged to rec­og­nize in Via­tro­vych “a lib­eral nation­al­ist,” work­ing to “cre­ate a Ukrain­ian identity”—strange praise for a man claim­ing to be a schol­ar, a pro­fes­sion usu­ally engaged in open-end­ed inquiry, not iden­tity build­ing. Pomer­ant­sev tells his read­ers that Via­tro­vych is “best known for his work on refor­mat­ting Ukraine’s rela­tion­ship to the Sec­ond World War,” which is both an under­state­ment and a hor­ri­bly reveal­ing choice of terms. In his most­ly uncrit­i­cal por­trayal, he writes that Via­tro­vych “believes he can help bridge these divi­sions [in Ukrain­ian soci­ety] and cre­ate a sto­ry that is at once nation­al­ist and inte­gra­tionist.” When asked about a pos­i­tive uni­fy­ing mes­sage, Via­tro­vych mat­ter-of-fact­ly tells him that Rus­sians want “tyran­ny” and Ukraini­ans want “free­dom.” Pomer­ant­sev swal­lows this big­oted state­ment of frank stereo­type about large pop­u­la­tions with no response, since com­pared to the overt­ly racist Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist he inter­viewed in the first part of the same arti­cle, Via­tro­vych comes across as less bru­tal. But per­haps also because “we” in the West now con­sider it good form to cut a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist more slack than a Russ­ian. . . .

...

 

2. In FTR #781 [12], we not­ed that Vik­tor Yuschenko–married to top OUN/B offi­cial and Rea­gan Deputy Direc­tor of Pres­i­den­tial Liai­son Yka­te­ri­na Chumachenko–institutionalized the Ban­dera polit­i­cal cadre, rewrit­ing Ukrain­ian World War II his­to­ry and paving the way for the rise of Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor.

Note, again, that Via­tro­vych was appoint­ed to head the Insti­tute of Nation­al mem­o­ry by Yuschenko and re-appoint­ed to the same posi­tion by Poroshenko.

We review the fact that the “new” Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko has recon­sti­tut­ed the old Yuschenko team, includ­ing Amer­i­can-born Roman Zvarych (“Svarych”), Yuschenko’s Min­is­ter of Jus­tice [59] and the per­son­al sec­re­tary to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stet­sko in the ear­ly 1980’s.

Stet­sko was the World War II head of the Ukrain­ian Nazi satel­lite state and head­ed the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations and its pri­ma­ry ele­ment, the OUN/B. Stet­sko was an adher­ent to Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing doc­trine, prac­tic­ing it vig­or­ous­ly against eth­nic Poles, eth­nic Rus­sians and Jews dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

“Ukraine’s New Pres­i­dent Poroshenko Leads Old Team”; Deutsche Welle; 6/7/2014. [35]

. . . . But a close look at his team quick­ly shows that Poroshenko has sur­round­ed him­self with offi­cials from the Yushchenko era.

For exam­ple, Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign was planned by Ihor Hryniv. The 53-year-old mem­ber of par­lia­ment and for­mer direc­tor of the Kyiv Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies was once Yushchenko’s advis­er. He lat­er rep­re­sent­ed his par­ty “Nasha Ukraina” (Our Ukraine) in par­lia­ment.

The 43-year-old for­eign pol­i­cy expert and diplo­mat Valeri Chaly was also part of Yushchenko’s team. Dur­ing Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign Chaly was in charge of for­eign pol­i­cy issues. The 60-year-old Roman Svarych is also back in pol­i­tics: Yushchenko’s for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter now con­sults with Poroshenko on legal issues. [Svarych was the per­son­al sec­re­tary [59] to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stet­sko in the ear­ly 1980’s–D.E.]

Else­where in the coun­try the pic­ture is the same. Vik­tor Balo­ha, for exam­ple, was the head of Yushchenko’s sec­re­tari­at dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy. He head­ed Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign in the west­ern Ukrain­ian province of Tran­scarpathia. . . .

3. Flesh­ing out dis­cus­sion of the devel­op­ment of Via­tro­vych and the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry, we review how Vik­tor Yuschenko set the stage for what the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment is doing. Note that Yuschenko’s wife was a key UCCA oper­a­tive Yka­te­ri­na Chumachenko/Yuschenko, who had been Ronald Rea­gan’s Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son.

Yuschenko’s min­is­ter of jus­tice (the equiv­a­lent of the U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al) was Roman Svarych, Jaroslav Stet­sko’s per­son­al sec­re­tary in the ear­ly 1980’s.

“The Return of the Ukrain­ian Far Right: The Case of VO Svo­bo­da,” by Per Anders Rudling;  Ana­lyz­ing Fas­cist Dis­course: Euro­pean Fas­cism in Talk and Text edit­ed by Ruth Wodak and John E. Richard­son;  Rout­ledge [Lon­don and New York] 2013; pp. 228–255, more. [34]

Note that this book is in Google Books [60].

. . . . . Swept to pow­er by the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion, the third pres­i­dent of Ukraine,Viktor Yushchenko (2005–2010), put in sub­stan­tial efforts into the pro­duc­tion of his­tor­i­cal myths. He tasked a set of nation­al­is­ti­cal­ly mind­ed his­to­ri­ans to pro­duce and dis­sem­i­nate an edi­fy­ing nation­al his­to­ry as well as a new set of nation­al heroes. . . . .

. . . . . The OUN wings dis­agreed on strat­e­gy and ide­ol­o­gy but shared a com­mit­ment to the man­u­fac­ture of a his­tor­i­cal past based on vic­tim­iza­tion and hero­ism. The émi­grés devel­oped an entire lit­er­a­ture that denied the OUN’s fas­cism, its col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nazi Ger­many, and its par­tic­i­pa­tion in atroc­i­ties, instead pre­sent­ing the orga­ni­za­tion as com­posed of democ­rats and plu­ral­ists who had res­cued Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust. The dias­po­ra nar­ra­tive was con­tra­dic­to­ry, com­bin­ing cel­e­bra­tions of the sup­pos­ed­ly anti-Nazi resis­tance strug­gle of the OUN-UPA with cel­e­bra­tions of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien, a Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tionist for­ma­tion estab­lished by Hein­rich Himm­ler in 1943 (Rudling, 2011a, 2011c, 2012a). Thus, Ukrain­ian Waf­fen SS vet­er­ans could cel­e­brate the UPA as “anti-Nazi resis­tance fighters” while belong­ing to the same war vet­er­ans’ orga­ni­za­tions (Bairak, 1978). Unlike their coun­ter­parts in some oth­er post-Sovi­et states, Ukrain­ian “nation­al­iz­ing” his­to­ri­ans did not have to invent new nation­al­ist myths but re-import­ed a nar­ra­tive devel­oped by the émi­grés (Dietsch, 2006: 111–146; Rudling, 2011a: 751–753). . . . .

YUSHCHENKOISM

As pres­i­dent, Yushchenko ini­ti­at­ed sub­stan­tial gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­da ini­tia­tives. In July 2005, he estab­lished an Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ryassigned the archives of the for­mer KGB (now the SBU, Sluzh­ba Bezpe­ki Ukrainy, the Ukrain­ian Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice) for­mal pro­pa­gan­dis­tic duties and sup­port­ed the cre­ation of a “Muse­um of Sovi­et Occu­pa­tion” in Kyiv (Jilge, 2008: 174). Yushchenko appoint­ed the young activist Volodymyr V’’iatrovych (b. 1977) direc­tor of the SBU archives. V’’iatrovych com­bined his posi­tion as gov­ern­ment-appoint­ed mem­o­ry man­ag­er with ultra-nation­al­ist activism; he was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly direc­tor of an OUN(b) front orga­ni­za­tion, the Cen­ter for the Study for the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment. State insti­tu­tions dis­sem­i­nat­ed a san­i­tized, edi­fy­ing­ly patri­ot­ic ver­sion of the his­to­ry of the “Ukrain­ian nation­al lib­er­a­tion move­ment,” the lead­ers of which were pre­sent­ed in icono­graph­ic form as hero­ic and saint­ly figures, mar­tyrs of the nation (Rasevych, 2010; Rudling, 2011c: 26–33, 2012b).

Yushchenko’s myth­mak­ing had two cen­tral com­po­nents. The first was the pre­sen­ta­tion of the 1932–1933 famine as “the geno­cide of the Ukrain­ian nation,” a delib­er­ate attempt to exter­mi­nate the Ukraini­ans which, his myth-mak­ers claimed, result­ed in the death of 10 mil­lion peo­ple in the repub­lic.

The oth­er com­po­nent was a hero­ic cult of the OUN(b), the UPA and their lead­ers. The “mem­o­ry man­agers” jux­ta­posed the geno­ci­dal Sovi­et rule with the self-sac­rifi­cial hero­ism of the OUN-UPA, pro­duc­ing a tele­o­log­i­cal nar­ra­tive of suf­fer­ing (the famine) and resis­tance (the OUN-UPA) lead­ing to redemp­tion (inde­pen­dence, 1991). Curi­ous­ly, Yushchenko’s legit­imiz­ing his­to­ri­ans pre­sent­ed their instru­men­tal­ized use of his­to­ry as “truth,” which they jux­ta­posed to “Sovi­et myths.” Wil­fried Jilge, a his­to­ri­an at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leipzig, writes that “[i]t takes place by means of dis­course, rit­u­als, and sym­bols and uses the past to pro­vide legit­imiza­tion and to mobi­lize the pop­u­la­tion for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es.

. . . A recon­struct­ed his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry is cre­at­ed as ‘true mem­o­ry’ and then con­trast­ed with ‘false Sovi­et his­to­ry’ ”(Jilge, 2007:104–105). Thus, Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, SBU direc­tor under Yushchenko, described the task of his agency as being to dis­sem­i­nate “the his­tor­i­cal truth of the past of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple,” to “lib­er­ate Ukrain­ian his­to­ry from lies and fal­sifi­ca­tions and to work with truth­ful doc­u­ments only” (Jilge, 2008:179). Ignor­ing the OUN’s anti­semitism, deny­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in anti- Jew­ish vio­lence, and over­look­ing its fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy, Naly­vaichenko and his agency pre­sent­ed the OUN as democ­rats, plu­ral­ists, even right­eous res­cuers of Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust.

The hege­mon­ic nation­al­ist nar­ra­tive is reflect­ed also in acad­e­mia, where the line between “legit­i­mate” schol­ar­ship and ultra-nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da often is blurred. Main­stream book­stores often car­ry Holo­caust denial and anti­se­mit­ic lit­er­a­ture, some of which finds its way into the aca­d­e­m­ic main­stream (Rudling, 2006). So too, for instance, can aca­d­e­m­ic works on World War II by rep­utable his­to­ri­ans inte­grate the works of Holo­caust deniers and cite the for­mer KKK Grand Wiz­ard David Duke as a “expert” on the “Jew­ish Ques­tion.” . . . .

. . . . The cul­mi­na­tion of Yushchenko’s Geschicht­spoli­tik was his des­ig­na­tion, a few days before leav­ing office, of Ban­dera as a hero of Ukraine. Again, there was lit­tle protest from intel­lec­tu­als who iden­ti­fy them­selves as lib­er­als. . . . .

. . . . On June 30, 2011, the 70th anniver­sary of the Ger­man inva­sion and Stetsko’s “renew­al of Ukrain­ian state­hood” was re-enact­ed in Lviv as a pop­u­lar fes­ti­val, where par­ents with small chil­dren waved flags to re-enac­tors in SS uni­forms. . . .

. . . . . Iron­i­cal­ly, the pre­sen­ta­tion of the OUN as resis­tance fight­ers against Nazi Ger­many coex­ists with an elab­o­rate cult of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien (Rudling, 2012a). Lviv streets have been renamed after Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors like Roman Shukhevych and Volodymyr Kubi­jovyc. In the Lviv city hall, Svo­bo­da is cur­rent­ly work­ing to have the Lviv air­port renamed after Ban­dera. Svo­bo­da deputy Iuryi Mykahl’chyshyn stat­ed, “We should have the air­port named after Stepan Ban­dera. I don’t want to point any fin­gers. . . . But we will have a Ban­dera air­port, a Ban­dera sta­di­um, and the entire city will be car­ry­ing Bandera’s name, because he is its most liv­ing symbol”(“U L’vovi budut’ sta­dion,” 2012). In the fall of 2011, Svo­bo­da deputies in a munic­i­pal­i­ty in the Lviv dis­trict renamed a street from the Sovi­et-era name Peace Street (Vulyt­sia Myru ) to instead car­ry the name of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion, a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist for­ma­tion involved in the mass mur­der of Jews in 1941, argu­ing that “ ‘Peace’ is a holdover from Sovi­et stereotypes”(“Vulytsiu myru,” 2011). . . .

. . . . Svoboda’s claims to the OUN lega­cy are based upon ide­o­log­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity, as well as orga­ni­za­tion and polit­i­cal cul­ture (Shekhovtsov, 2011b:13–14). Pre­sent­ing Svo­bo­da as the suc­ces­sor of Dontsov and the OUN, Tiah­ny­bok regards Svo­bo­da as “an Order-par­ty which con­sti­tutes the true elite of the nation” (Tiah­ny­bok, 2011). Like those of many oth­er far-right move­ments, Svoboda’s offi­cial pol­i­cy doc­u­ments are rel­a­tive­ly cau­tious and dif­fer from its dai­ly activ­i­ties and inter­nal jar­gon, which are much more rad­i­cal and racist (Olszan´ski, 2011). Svo­bo­da sub­scribes to the OUN tra­di­tion of nation­al seg­re­ga­tion and demands the re-intro­duc­tion of the Sovi­et “nation­al­i­ty” cat­e­go­ry into Ukrain­ian pass­ports. “We are not Amer­i­ca, a mish­mash of all sorts of peo­ple,” the Svo­bo­da web­site states. “The Ukrain­ian needs to stay Ukrain­ian, the Pole—Polish, the Gagauz—Gagauz, the Uzbek—Uzbek” (“Hrafa ‘natsional’nost’v pas­porti,” 2005). Svoboda’s ultra-nation­al­ism is sup­ple­ment­ed with more tra­di­tion­al “white racism” (Shekhovtsov, 2011b: 15). . . . .

. . . . Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry is inte­gral to Svo­bo­da Weltan­schau­ung, par­tic­u­lar­ly con­spir­a­cies with anti-Semit­ic under­tones. In August 2011, in an appar­ent attempt to dis­tance them­selves from the Nor­we­gian ter­ror­ist Anders Behring Breivik, Svo­bo­da claimed that he was a Jew­ish Mason (Red­kole­hi­ia cha­so-pysu “Svo­bo­da,” 2011). In Sep­tem­ber 2011, Svo­bo­da activists mobi­lized from sev­er­al parts of Ukraine to orga­nize ral­lies against Hasidic pil­grims to Uman.

Fol­low­ing vio­lent clash­es, the police detained more than 50 Svo­bo­da activists, armed with gas can­is­ters, smoke bombs and cat­a­pults. The Cherkasy branch of Svo­bo­da crit­i­cized the police for their alleged fail­ure “to stop and avert aggres­sion by Hasidic Jews to Ukraini­ans” (“Uman: Righ-twing activists detained,” 2011).Svoboda’s anti-Russ­ian and anti-Jew­ish rhetoric is accom­pa­nied by an anti-Pol­ish mes­sage. Svo­bo­da main­tains that Poland has played a neg­a­tive his­tor­i­cal role in Ukrain­ian lands. The par­ty demands an offi­cial apol­o­gy from Poland for five hun­dred years of Pol­o­niza­tion, from the 15th to the 20th cen­turies, and indem­ni­ties for “the Pol­ish ter­ror and occu­pa­tion of Ukrain­ian lands in the 20th cen­tu­ry” (“Zaia­va VO ‘Svo­bo­da’ shchodoproia­viv ukrain­o­fo­bii,” 2010). Focus­ing on divi­sive and sen­si­tive issues, Svo­bo­da provoca­tive­ly denies any involve­ment of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien in atroc­i­ties against the Pol­ish minor­i­ty in Gali­cia. For instance, on the site of Huta Pieni­ac­ka, Svo­bo­da has placed a huge bill­board deny­ing the con­clu­sion of both Pol­ish and Ukrain­ian his­tor­i­cal com­mis­sions that the fourth police reg­i­ment, which was lat­er adjoined to the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien, burnt this Pol­ish vil­lage and slaugh­tered most of its res­i­dents on Feb­ru­ary 28, 1944. . . .

. . . . Svo­bo­da is a mem­ber of the so-called Alliance of Euro­pean Nation­al Move­ments, a net­work which includes theBri­tish Nation­al Par­ty, Nation­aldemokra­ter­na of Swe­den, the Front Nation­al in France, Fiamma Tri­col­ore in Italy, the Bel­gian Nation­al Front, and the Hun­gar­i­an Job­bik (Umland, 2011). This seem­ing­ly unlike­ly coop­er­a­tion is part­ly facil­i­tat­ed by a joint fas­ci­na­tion with eth­nic puri­ty, inspired by Alain de Benoit, the ide­o­logue of the French Nou­velle Droit. De Benoit fears the dis­ap­pear­ance of plu­ral­ism and the reduc­tion of all cul­tures into a world civ­i­liza­tion and argues that each eth­nos should be allowed to devel­op inde­pen­dent­ly on its giv­en ter­ri­to­ry, with­out the admix­ture of oth­er cul­tures. Nation­aldemokra­ter­na, their Swedish sis­ter par­ty, advo­cates a form of eth­nic seg­re­ga­tion, which they refer to as “ethno­plu­ral­ism” (Dahl, 1999: 68, 136).

Svo­bo­da has opened an office in Toron­to, which has been vis­it­ed by sev­er­al of its lead­ing figures (“Diial’nist Kanads’koho pred­stavnyt­st­va ‘Svo-body,’ ” 2009). In Cana­da, in May 2010, Tiah­ny­bok received the gold­en cross “for his ser­vice to Ukraine” from the Broth­er­hood of the Vet­er­ans of the First Ukrain­ian Divi­sion of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Army, as the vet­er­ans of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien call them­selves (“Esesovt­sy nagradil lid­er­aukrain­skikh nat­sion­al­is­tov,” 2010). Fol­low­ing the con­vic­tion and sen­tenc­ing of the death camp guard John Dem­jan­juk to five years of jail for his role as an acces­so­ry to the mur­der of 27,900 peo­ple at the Sobibór death camp,Tiahnybok trav­eled to Ger­many and met up with Demjanjuk’s lawyer, Ulrich Busch, pre­sent­ing the death camp guard as a hero, a vic­tim of per­se­cu­tion, who is “fight­ing for truth” (“Oleh Tiah­ny­bok iz dvo­den­nym vizy­tomvid­vi­dav Nimechynu,” 2010). 10

Tiahnybok’s hero­iza­tion of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien and oth­er Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors is accom­pa­nied by ide­o­log­i­cal claims that the OUN-UPA con­duct­ed an anti-Nazi resis­tance strug­gle against Hitler.

Yurii Mykhal’chyshyn (b. 1982), Tiahnybok’s advis­er on ide­o­log­i­cal mat­ters, Svoboda’s top name in the elec­tion to the Lviv city coun­cil and its can­di­date for may­or in 2010, rep­re­sents a more rad­i­cal cur­rent in the move­ment. Proud­ly con­fess­ing him­self part of the fas­cist tra­di­tion, Mykhal’chyshyn rel­ish­es the harsh­ness, extrem­ism and uncom­pro­mis­ing rad­i­cal­ism of his idols of the 1930s and 1940s. Con­stant­ly reit­er­at­ing that “We con­sid­er tol­er­ance a crime” and that “We val­ue the truth of the spir­it and blood over-all suc­cess and wealth” (Nasha Vatra , n.d.), Mykhal’chyshyn takes pride in the label “extrem­ist,” which he proud­ly shares with “Stepan Bandera,who cre­at­ed an under­ground ter­ror­ist-rev­o­lu­tion­ary army, the shad­ow of which still stirs up hor­ri­ble fear in the hearts of the ene­mies of our Nation”(Mykhal’chyshyn, “Ori­en­tyry”, n.d.). Mykhal’chyshyn serves as a link between VO Svo­bo­da and the so-called autonomous nation­al­ists. Mir­ror­ing the “autonomous anar­chists” of the extreme left, which they resem­ble in terms of dress code, lifestyle, aes­thet­ics, sym­bol­ism and orga­ni­za­tion, the “autonomous nation­al­ists” attract par­tic­u­lar­ly mil­i­tant and extreme­ly vio­lent “event-ori­ent­ed” young fas­cists. Mykhal’chyshyn has com­bined the attrib­ut­es of var­i­ous stands of the extra-par­lia­men­tary extreme right: Doc Martens shoes, buzz cuts and bomber jack­ets are in the tra­di­tion of the skin­heads, while the night­ly torch­light parades under black ban­ners with SS sym­bols resem­ble the polit­i­cal rit­u­als and Aufmärsche in Nazi Ger­many. The glo­rifi­ca­tion of street vio­lence is a key com­po­nent of this polit­i­cal sub­cul­ture: in an extra ses­sion with the Lviv region­al Rada in front of the Ban­dera memo­r­i­al in Lviv, Mykhal’chyshyn boast­ed that “Our Ban­derite army will cross the Dnipro and throw that blue-ass gang, which today usurps the pow­er, out of Ukraine. . . . That will make those Asi­at­ic dogs shut their ugly mouths.”

While hard­ly a typ­i­cal man of the belles-let­tres , Mykhal’chyshyn, is actu­al­ly a stu­dent of fas­cism. . . . His inter­est is not exclu­sive­ly aca­d­e­m­ic; under the pseu­do­nym Nachti­gall 88, Mykhal’chyshyn pro­motes fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy with the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing a fas­cist trans­for­ma­tion of soci­ety in Web forums linked to Svo­bo­da and “autonomous nation­al­ists.” In 2005, he orga­nized a polit­i­cal think tank, orig­i­nal­ly called “the Joseph Goebbels Polit­i­cal Research Cen­ter” but lat­er re-named after the Ger­man con­ser­v­a­tive rev­o­lu­tion­ary Ernst Jünger. (Olszan´ski, 2011).

Explic­it­ly endors­ing Hamas, Mykhal’chyshyn regards the Holo­caust as “a bright episode in Euro­pean civ­i­liza­tion” which “strong­ly warms the hearts of the Pales­tin­ian pop­u­la­tion. . . . They hope it will be all repeat­ed” (“Mikhal’chyshyn schi­taet Kholokost,” 2011; “Ukrain­skii nat­sist,” 2011).

We rec­og­nize the heavy empha­sis on heroes and hero­ism from the nar­ra­tive of the émi­gré OUN and from Yushchenko’s legit­imiz­ing his­to­ri­ans. The dif­fer­ence is that, unlike these two influences, Mykhal’chyshyn does not deny Ban­dera and Stets’ko’s fas­cism. On the con­trary, their fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy con­sti­tutes the basis for his admi­ra­tion. . . .

. . . . While he is no longer a seri­ous polit­i­cal play­er, Yushchenko left behind a lega­cy of myths which helped legit­imized Svoboda’s ide­ol­o­gy. Svoboda’s appro­pri­a­tion of many rit­u­als in hon­our of “nation­al heroes” from more mod­er­ate nation­al­ists is but one expres­sion of its increased polit­i­cal strength in post-Yushchenko West­ern Ukraine. . . .

. . . . On April 28, 2011, Svo­bo­da cel­e­brat­ed the 68th anniver­sary of the estab­lish­ment of the Waf­fen SS Gal­izien. Octo­ge­nar­i­an Waf­fen SS vet­er­ans were treat­ed as heroes in a mass ral­ly, orga­nized by Svo­bo­da and the “autonomous nation­al­ists.” Near­ly 700 par­tic­i­pants (the orga­niz­ers claimed 2,000) marched down the streets of Lviv, from the mas­sive socialist–realist style Ban­dera mon­u­ment, to Prospekt Svo­body, the main street, shout­ing slo­gans like “One race, one nation, one father­land!,” . . . .

. . . . The pro­ces­sion was led by Mykhal’chyshyn . . . .

4. Part of the his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism under­way in Ukraine is the polit­i­cal reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Syme­on Pet­lyu­ra, a blood-drenched pogromist and one of the ear­ly fig­ures in the polit­i­cal move­ment that was to crys­tal­lize as the OUN/B.

“Ukrain­ian Regime of Yuschenko Reha­bil­i­tates Symon Pet­lyu­ra” by Felx Kreisel; mit.edu; 6/08/2006. [37]

Yushchenko’s gov­ern­ment announced that dur­ing the eight­i­eth anniver­sary year since his death the gov­ern­ment will put a mon­u­ment to Symon Pet­lyu­ra, the Chief Ata­man of the Ukrain­ian People’s Repub­lic. Dur­ing the week around this anniver­sary (Pet­lyu­ra died in Paris on May 25th, 1926) there took place in Kiev a series of events to com­mem­o­rate his life, in which the Pres­i­dent of Ukraine, Yushchenko and mem­bers of his cab­i­net took part: a film was shown at the Nation­al Opera, an exhib­it was dis­played at the Nation­al Muse­um of Ukrain­ian His­to­ry, a requiem ser­vice was staged at the St. Basil Cathe­dral, and so on.

Symon Pet­lyu­ra began his polit­i­cal activ­i­ty in the ranks of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary social­ist move­ment in the Ukrain­ian Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty. In order to com­bat Bol­she­vism, he threw over his demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples in favor of a per­son­al dic­ta­tor­ship and col­lud­ed in a series of deals with ene­mies of his own peo­ple: with Ger­many, with Russ­ian monar­chists, with the Entente, with the reac­tionary Pol­ish regime of Pil­sud­sky. In the West, Pet­lyu­ra is best known for pre­sid­ing over the bloody Jew­ish pogroms of 1919—1920. . . .

. . . . 80 years ago, on May 25, 1926, on a street in Paris a 40-year old Ukrain­ian Jew Shalom Schwartzbard approached a mid­dle-aged per­son and asked in Ukrain­ian whether he was Mr. Pet­lyu­ra. Upon receiv­ing con­fir­ma­tion, Schwartzbard shot Pet­lyu­ra point blanc a num­ber of times, ecsta­t­i­cal­ly shout­ing: “This is for the pogroms, this is for the mur­ders, this is for your vic­tims”, and killed the Chief Ata­man of the Ukrain­ian nation­al gov­ern­ment dur­ing the years 1919–1920. Schwartzbard did not try to flee, and when a police­man ran over he sur­ren­dered his weapon to him, say­ing, “You can arrest me, I killed an exe­cu­tion­er”.

The death of Pet­lyu­ra became an instant sen­sa­tion on the front pages of Europe and Amer­i­ca, but lead­ing Sovi­et news­pa­pers did not report any details of this assas­si­na­tion, and only gave brief inside page reports on the fact of Petlyura’s death. Pub­lic opin­ion was on the side of the Jew­ish avenger, Schwartzbard, whose per­son­al sto­ry aroused sym­pa­thy and fel­low feel­ings among both Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish mass­es. . . . .

5. Petro Poroshenko has also giv­en momen­tum to the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Symon Pet­lyu­ra, who helped craft the polit­i­cal tem­plate for con­tem­po­rary Ukrain­ian ultra-nation­al­ist pol­i­tics.

“Ukraine: Why Ban­dera Have the Largest Geo-Polit­i­cal Voice in EU” by George Elia­son; OpEdNews.com; 8/1/2014. [38]

*“Ban­dera” here is used as a gener­ic term for the fol­low­ers of Stephan Ban­dera and their institutions–D.E.

 . . . . Simon Petliu­ra [61] was one of the orig­i­nal lead­ers of the Haps­burg coun­tries to sign onto Prometheanism. But even as the rec­og­nized dic­ta­tor of Ukraine he was forced to move the gov­ern­ment into exile. The only accept­able form of gov­ern­ment to a Ukrain­ian is the Gali­cian (West Ukraine) mod­el of extreme ultra-nation­al­ism. Petliu­ra is revered as a hero in West­ern Ukraine and a butch­er every­where else for his pogroms, tor­ture, and mur­der. . . .

. . . . When Symon Petliu­ra (pres­i­dent of the gov­ern­ment in exile) was assas­si­nat­ed in 1926, Andrii Livyt­sky took over. In 1945 Livyt­sky reac­ti­vat­ed the Gov­ern­ment-in-exile of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Repub­lic [62] and invit­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the new emi­gra­tion to join it. In 1946 he instruct­ed Isaak Mazepa to unite all polit­i­cal par­ties around the state cen­ter of the UNR, and that union even­tu­al­ly result­ed in the orga­ni­za­tion of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Coun­cil [63] (1947).

In 1945, at the found­ing of the Unit­ed Nations, the Ukrain­ian Sovi­et Social­ist Repub­lic was giv­en found­ing mem­ber sta­tus. Even­tu­al­ly through the work of the ABN, UNC, and many oth­er Ban­dera (include all cap­tive nation coun­tries under ABN), the UNC stepped into this posi­tion unof­fi­cial­ly. Even­tu­al­ly all fac­tions of the Ukrain­ian Dias­po­ra would coa­lesce around the UNC and the gov­ern­ment in exile of Ukraine. By the 1980’s the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Repub­lic gov­ern­ment in exile became the only rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a free Ukraine for Europe, the West, and its allies. . . .

. . . . That was what Maid­an was about. When Poroshenko gave his inau­gural address he paid homage to this fact. He said that the wars of 1917–1920 had final­ly been won. This was acknowl­edged by his elec­tion. This new Ukraine was now under the laws and tra­di­tions of 1920’s Ukraine as demand­ed by Syme­on Petliu­ra. This was final­ly the Ukraine they had been wait­ing for. . . .

6. The Wikipedia entry on the Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists notes the Nazi-style anti-Semi­tism char­ac­ter­iz­ing the Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, but mis­tak­en­ly rel­e­gates that to the past by not­ing their endorse­ment of Vladimir (“Ze’ev”) Jabotin­sky. Jabotin­sky was the leader of the Betar, an explic­it­ly fas­cist ele­ment with­in the Zion­ist move­ment.

The Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists was led and assem­bled by the above-men­tioned Roman Svarych and Sla­va Statsko, Jaroslav Stet­sko’s wid­ow.

“Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists”;  [64]Wikipedia.com. [64]

The Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (Ukrain­ian: Конгрес українських націоналістів Konhres Ukrayin­skykh Nat­sion­al­is­tiv) is a far-right polit­i­cal par­ty in Ukraine. It was found­ed on Octo­ber 18, 1992 and reg­is­tered with the Min­istry of Jus­tice on Jan­u­ary 26, 1993.[2] The par­ty leader from its for­ma­tion and until her death in 2003 was Yarosla­va Stet­sko (peo­ple’s deputy of three VR con­ven­tions).

The par­ty was set up late 1992 by émi­grés of OUN‑B[3] on the ini­tia­tive of Sla­va Stet­sko and Roman Zvarych.[4] It was reg­is­tered on 26 Jan­u­ary 1993 by the Ukrain­ian Min­istry of Jus­tice and was the 11th polit­i­cal par­ty in Ukraine that was offi­cial­ly registered.[1]

Dur­ing the 1998 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion the par­ty was part (togeth­er with Ukrain­ian Con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can Par­ty and Ukrain­ian Repub­li­can Party[5]) of the Elec­tion Bloc “Nation­al Front”[2][5] (Ukrain­ian: Виборчий блок партій «Національний фронт») which won 2,71%[2] of the nation­al votes and 6 (sin­gle-man­date con­stituen­cy) seats.[5][6]

At the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on 30 March 2002, the par­ty was part of the Vik­tor Yushchenko Bloc Our Ukraine.[2] For­mer par­ty leader Olek­siy Ivchenko was the head of Nafto­gas of Ukraine under the Yekha­nurov Gov­ern­ment. He was elect­ed as the par­ty leader on the sev­enth con­ven­tion of the par­ty on April 13, 2003.

Dur­ing the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on 26 March 2006, the par­ty was part of the Our Ukraine alliance.[2] Roman Zvarych was Min­is­ter of Jus­tice in the First Tymoshenko Gov­ern­ment and Sec­ond Tymoshenko Government[7] and in the Alliance of Nation­al Uni­ty.[8][9] . . . .

. . . . In their fight against “cos­mopoli­tanism”, par­ty mem­bers have in the past espoused in what was seen as anti-Semit­ic views. In 2005 the offi­cial organ of the par­ty, news­pa­per “The Nation and Pow­er”, pub­lished an arti­cle which said: “The tit­u­lar nation in Ukraine (eth­nic Ukraini­ans) will dis­ap­pear in 2006.... After the 2006 elec­tion, Ukraini­ans will dance around the Jews.”.[18] In his speech at the open­ing of the Holodomor Memo­r­i­al in Novem­ber 2007, the Head of the par­ty in Zapor­izhia Oblast Tym­chi­na stat­ed: “Our time has come, and the Dnieper will soon be red with the blood of Kikes (slur for Jews) and Moskals (slur for Russians).”[19]

The Kom­m­er­sant news­pa­per on 26 Jan­u­ary 2010 quot­ed the head of the Kiev city orga­ni­za­tion Yuri Shep­etyuk say­ing: “There is no anti-Semi­tism in Ukraine. The Jews them­selves orga­nize var­i­ous provo­ca­tions, and then talk about the per­se­cu­tion in their address, to get even more fund­ing from abroad”. Kom­m­er­sant notes: “How­ev­er, he (Yuri Shep­etyuk) did not spec­i­fy what provo­ca­tions were staged in Ukraine by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Jew­ish community.”[20]

How­ev­er, as of recent­ly the offi­cial web­site the par­ty appears to express sup­port for Zion­ism and Israel (although not the Israeli gov­ern­ment, for pros­e­cut­ing Dem­jan­juk), and regards Ze’ev Jabotin­sky as a hero . . . .

7.Vladimir Jabotin­sky at one point attempt­ed to form an alliance with Symon Pet­lyu­ra, there­by pro­vid­ing the con­tem­po­rary revi­sion­ists in Ukraine with a per­fect pro­pa­gan­da vehi­cle with which to claim that Pet­lyu­ra was­n’t anti-Semit­ic.

“Jabotin­sky’s Embar­rass­ing Offer” by Shlo­mo Avineri; Haaretz; 7/19/2009. [39]

Last week, Haaretz report­ed that Kiev plans to name a major street after Symon Petliu­ra, who head­ed the short-lived Ukrain­ian state that was found­ed after World War I. In Ukrain­ian eyes, Petliu­ra is one of the found­ing fathers of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism, much like the leader of the 17th-cen­tu­ry Cos­sack rebel­lion, Bohdan Khmel­nyt­sky. In the Jew­ish nar­ra­tive, Petliu­ra is iden­ti­fied with pogroms in which tens of thou­sands of Jews were slaugh­tered.

In 1926, Petliu­ra was assas­si­nat­ed in Paris by Sholom Schwartzbard, who was seek­ing to avenge the mur­der of his fam­i­ly. Schwartzbard was acquit­ted in court and lat­er passed away in South Africa. For years, he served as a sym­bol of Jew­ish pride among right-wing Zion­ists, and in 1967 his body was exhumed and trans­port­ed to Israel for rebur­ial in an offi­cial state cer­e­mo­ny ini­ti­at­ed by Men­achem Begin.

Petli­u­ra’s name is bare­ly known today in Israel, yet before the Nazis’ rise to pow­er it rep­re­sent­ed mur­der­ous anti-Semi­tism. The pogroms in Ukraine were one of the fac­tors that pushed Jews into the ranks of the Red Army, which waged war against Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, on the oth­er hand, viewed Schwartzbard’s act as part of a Jew­ish-Bol­she­vist con­spir­a­cy.

What is less known is that after the fall of Petli­u­ra’s regime, none oth­er than Ze’ev Jabotin­sky signed an agree­ment with him in 1921. This is a com­pli­cat­ed and embar­rass­ing episode that sent huge shock­waves through the Zion­ist move­ment, of which Jabotin­sky was then a leader.

After inde­pen­dent Ukraine was defeat­ed by the Red Army, Petliu­ra found refuge in Poland, which had fought against Sovi­et Rus­sia. He planned to return to Ukraine at the head of an army of exiled expa­tri­ates. Jabotin­sky sug­gest­ed that Petliu­ra enlist units of Jew­ish sol­diers. Clear­ly Jabotin­sky’s rabid anti-Com­mu­nism was one rea­son behind the pro­pos­al. Pub­licly, he ratio­nal­ized the offer by claim­ing that the Jew­ish divi­sions in Petli­u­ra’s army would defend the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion from pos­si­ble pogroms. The sug­ges­tion allowed Petliu­ra to claim that he was not anti-Semit­ic, and that the pogroms were sim­ply “unfor­tu­nate” events that had occurred in the heat of bat­tle. . . .

8a. We review an arti­cle not­ing that cur­rent Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Poroshenko and for­mer pres­i­dent Yuschenko vis­it­ed the site of the Babi Yar mas­sacre and placed wreaths hon­or­ing the OUN/B, whose ranks sup­plied the bulk of the exe­cu­tion­ers for the mas­sacre.

“Ukraine: World War II Fias­co Leads to Pub­lic Rela­tions Dis­as­ter and Thorny Rela­tions for Kiev  and For­eign Dias­po­ra” by Nicholas Kozloff; The World Post; 6/29/2015. [42]

For Kiev, win­ning the pub­lic rela­tions war against Vladimir Putin would seem to be a no-brain­er. For a year now, the Krem­lin has con­duct­ed a thin­ly-dis­guised war of aggres­sion in east­ern Ukraine result­ing in the deaths of thou­sands. Yet Kiev seems intent on squan­der­ing any inter­na­tion­al pub­lic sup­port it might have had amidst a bizarre crack­down on free speech and cen­sor­ship of con­tro­ver­sial his­tor­i­cal debates. Through its crack­down, Ukraine has actu­al­ly played into Putin’s pro­pa­gan­da war and facil­i­tat­ed Rus­si­a’s PR efforts.

At issue is Ukraine’s con­tentious World War II past, some of which isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly flat­ter­ing. With the sup­port of Nazi Ger­many, mili­tias affil­i­at­ed with the extrem­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) alleged­ly com­mit­ted a pogrom in the west­ern city of Lviv. Writ­ing in the Lon­don Inde­pen­dent, jour­nal­ist Patrick Cock­burn notes that while “Ukrain­ian politi­cians and his­to­ri­ans have denied com­plic­i­ty... sur­viv­ing Jew­ish vic­tims, oth­er wit­ness­es and con­tem­po­rary pho­tographs prove that Ukrain­ian mili­ti­a­men and mobs of sup­port­ers car­ried out the pogrom, though the Ger­mans over­saw it and com­mit­ted many of the mur­ders.”

One schol­ar, John Paul Him­ka, has con­clud­ed that the pogrom was most­ly con­duct­ed by the OUN under Ger­man super­vi­sion. Accord­ing to Him­ka, the OUN sought to demon­strate to the Nazis “that it shared their anti-Jew­ish per­spec­tives and that it was wor­thy to be entrust­ed with the for­ma­tion of a Ukrain­ian state.” . . . . the OUN fought the Sovi­ets and strived for an inde­pen­dent Ukraine, many [of its] lead­ers were influ­enced and trained by Nazi Ger­many. Indeed, the OUN could be char­ac­ter­ized as a far right ter­ror­ist group which hoped to con­sol­i­date an eth­ni­cal­ly homoge­nous Ukraine and a total­i­tar­i­an, one par­ty state.

Wartime Con­tro­ver­sy

“The truth is that the offi­cial pol­i­cy of the OUN was open­ly anti-Semit­ic, includ­ing approval for Nazi-style Jew­ish exter­mi­na­tion,” writes Eduard Dolinksy of the Ukrain­ian Jew­ish Com­mit­tee. Dolinksy adds that it was only at the end of the war, when it became clear that Ger­many would be defeat­ed, that the Ukrain­ian right changed its posi­tion. The OUN in fact played an impor­tant role in pogroms which spread across West­ern Ukraine in the sum­mer of 1941, result­ing in the deaths of tens of thou­sands of Jews. After the Nazis dis­solved the mili­tias, many mem­bers linked up with the Ukrain­ian police and helped car­ry out the Holo­caust through­out West­ern Ukraine.

Then, for good mea­sure, the OUN assumed con­trol over the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army or UPA in 1943. . . . The Times of Israel notes “accord­ing to some his­tor­i­cal accounts the group mur­dered thou­sands of Jews in the 1940s” [oth­er his­to­ri­ans, as well as sup­port­ers of the UPA, dis­pute this, claim­ing there were many Jews who them­selves served in the ranks of the orga­ni­za­tion]. A recent arti­cle by Reuters claims the UPA shut­tled vic­tims into labor camps where they were sub­se­quent­ly exe­cut­ed. Fur­ther­more, it is claimed the UPA was also guilty of con­duct­ing eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles in 1943–44. The mas­sacres in East­ern Gali­cia, which formed part of an over­all UPA strat­e­gy aimed at cre­at­ing a homoge­nous Ukrain­ian state, result­ed in the deaths of 100,000 peo­ple.

Crim­i­nal­iz­ing Dis­sent

Amidst esca­lat­ing war in the east, Ukraine des­per­ate­ly needs allies and pop­u­lar for­eign sup­port. Giv­en the des­per­ate stakes, one would think that Kiev would come to terms with some of the unsa­vory aspects of its World War II past. Yet strange­ly, polit­i­cal elites are run­ning hard in the oppo­site direc­tion in an effort to cod­dle the extrem­ist right. At issue is a high­ly con­tro­ver­sial law recent­ly signed by Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko which hon­ors the OUN and UPA.

Under the new law, it would be a crime to ques­tion the likes of the UPA. Specif­i­cal­ly, leg­is­la­tion stip­u­lates that Ukraini­ans and even for­eign­ers [includ­ing Americans?–D.E.] who “pub­licly insult” the mem­o­ry of wartime par­ti­sans “will be held to account in accor­dance with Ukrain­ian law.” The bill does not spec­i­fy the penal­ty for ques­tion­ing Ukraine’s wartime past, nor does the state explain which body will enforce the leg­is­la­tion. On the oth­er hand, it is pos­si­ble that any pri­vate indi­vid­ual could bring a case to court.

Though cer­tain­ly dis­tress­ing, Kiev’s approval of the ret­ro­grade law comes as lit­tle sur­prise. For­mer Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko, in fact, hon­ored Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists at a memo­r­i­al in Babi Yar, where the most hor­rif­ic mas­sacre of Jews took place through­out the Holo­caust. Not stop­ping there, Yushchenko then bestowed the high­est gov­ern­ment hon­or on none oth­er than Stepan Ban­dera, a leader of the OUN.

Reha­bil­i­tat­ing Extrem­ist Right

Per­haps, Yushchenko’s efforts helped to reha­bil­i­tate Ban­dera and oth­ers in the minds of many. As recent­ly as 2013, rad­i­cal nation­al­ists were vis­i­bly active dur­ing Ukraine’s Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion. Indeed, right­ists bran­dished a host of OUN and UPA flags on Maid­an square while belt­ing out par­ti­san wartime songs [for a fuller dis­cus­sion of such curi­ous right­ist sym­bol­ism, see my ear­li­er arti­cle here]. If any­thing, the UPA’s pop­u­lar­i­ty has soared omi­nous­ly since the Maid­an.

Even more dis­turbing­ly, a num­ber of OUN-UPA apol­o­gists cur­rent­ly hold impor­tant gov­ern­ment posi­tions in Kiev, and Poroshenko has done noth­ing to con­front the rad­i­cal right. In fact, the Pres­i­dent has gone out of his way to fol­low in the foot­steps of his reac­tionary pre­de­ces­sor Yushchenko by once again lay­ing a wreath in hon­or of the OUN at Babi Yar. In addi­tion, Poroshenko has labeled the UPA as “defend­ers of the father­land” and estab­lished an offi­cial hol­i­day in hon­or of the par­ti­sans.

Need­less to say, Putin and Russ­ian media have made a lot of hay out of Kiev’s back­ward pol­i­tics and the emer­gence of so-called fas­cist hard­lin­ers. But while the new laws have raised a pre­dictable response from Rus­sia, the leg­is­la­tion has also report­ed­ly led to hack­les in Poland. Szczepan Siekier­ka, a leader of a civic orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the mem­o­ry of Poles killed by Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, is par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned. Speak­ing with the Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor, Siekier­ka remarked “it’s hard to see rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and for­give­ness when the Ukraini­ans treat the UPA crim­i­nals and Ban­dera like nation­al heroes. Accept­ing one extrem­ism now will lead to the accep­tance of oth­er extrem­isms in future.”

Kiev Draws Inter­na­tion­al Fire

Pre­dictably, Kiev’s new leg­is­la­tion has drawn inter­na­tion­al fire from a vari­ety of quar­ters. The U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um has protest­ed the new leg­is­la­tion, not­ing “as Ukraine advances on the dif­fi­cult road to full democ­ra­cy, we strong­ly urge the nation’s gov­ern­ment to refrain from any mea­sure that pre­empts or cen­sors dis­cus­sion or politi­cizes the study of his­to­ry.” The Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) has echoed such sen­ti­ments, not­ing that “broad­ly and vague­ly defined lan­guage that restricts indi­vid­u­als from express­ing views on past events and peo­ple, could eas­i­ly lead to sup­pres­sion of polit­i­cal, provoca­tive and crit­i­cal speech, espe­cial­ly in the media.”

Per­haps, the new leg­is­la­tion could even harm Ukraine’s bid to join the Euro­pean Union. Dolin­sky writes “mod­ern Ukraini­ans need to real­ize and com­pre­hend this dif­fi­cult and trag­ic his­to­ry in order to become a tru­ly Euro­pean nation. Such laws as that recent­ly signed by Pres­i­dent Poroshenko can only harm the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.” For their part, some schol­ars have expressed grave dis­may over devel­op­ments in Kiev. Recent­ly, a group of forty his­to­ri­ans from west­ern uni­ver­si­ties even signed an open let­ter of protest.

Still oth­ers wor­ry about the chill­ing effect upon schol­ar­ship. Writ­ing in the His­to­ry News Net­work, aca­d­e­m­ic experts declare that “the dan­ger is that a pro­hi­bi­tion on ‘insult­ing’ the ‘fight­ers’ or ques­tion­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of their ‘strug­gle’ is tan­ta­mount to a ban on crit­i­cal research. The law does not spec­i­fy what con­sti­tutes ‘insult­ing’, rais­ing the ques­tion as to what schol­ars of mod­ern Ukrain­ian his­to­ry are allowed to write and say, and what they are not.”

The Search For Ukrain­ian Iden­ti­ty

Con­tro­ver­sy swirling around the his­toric role of the OUN and UPA high­lights Ukrain­ian soul search­ing and the quest for a mod­ern nation­al iden­ti­ty. Though Ukraine has its right wing agi­ta­tors and even main­stream apol­o­gists, the coun­try has by and large prac­ticed tol­er­ance and inclu­sive­ness since gain­ing inde­pen­dence in 1991. Unfor­tu­nate­ly how­ev­er, back­ward leg­is­la­tion may serve to obscure such his­to­ry. Accord­ing to the Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor, recent polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy demon­strates that “the debate over Ukrain­ian fas­cist his­to­ry isn’t sim­ply a he-said-she-said between Moscow and Kiev, but a deep­er prob­lem of how to square Ukraine’s some­times sor­did past with its efforts to find a mod­ern iden­ti­ty.”

While the recent World War II flak pos­es thorny ques­tions for many in Ukraine prop­er, the imbroglio may prompt some soul search­ing with­in the wider for­eign Dias­po­ra, too. In the wider met­ro­pol­i­tan New York area, the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty num­bers more than 100,000 peo­ple. In Man­hat­tan’s East Vil­lage, some­times known as “Lit­tle Ukraine,” locals expressed oppo­si­tion to Russ­ian influ­ence while hold­ing fundrais­ers in sup­port of Maid­an protest. Though the East Vil­lage has become gen­tri­fied in recent years, the neigh­bor­hood still sports land­marks such as the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­cans; the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Home; the Vesel­ka restau­rant; a Ukrain­ian Church, and the local Ukrain­ian Muse­um.

In the wake of Maid­an protests in Kiev, Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­cans took to the Brook­lyn Bridge in sup­port of demon­stra­tions back home and even sang the nation­al anthem on the sub­way. Indeed, Euro­Maid­an encour­aged the growth of civic pride and patri­o­tism, with many bran­dish­ing Ukrain­ian flags and embrac­ing native folk­lore, crafts, music and food. The Krem­lin’s sub­se­quent annex­a­tion of Crimea unit­ed Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­cans like nev­er before in oppo­si­tion to Russ­ian aggres­sion. Along Sec­ond Avenue in the East Vil­lage, local res­i­dents set up an improved shrine hon­or­ing the Euro­Maid­an move­ment with signs attack­ing Wash­ing­ton for not stand­ing shoul­der to shoul­der with Kiev.

Tack­ling Dif­fi­cult Ques­tions

Unit­ing the Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty against exter­nal threats is one thing, but look­ing inward and try­ing to define the new soul of a nation is quite anoth­er. Per­haps, as Kiev’s polit­i­cal class increas­ing­ly moves to cod­dle extrem­ist con­stituen­cies, the for­eign Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty will under­take seri­ous reflec­tion. Hope­ful­ly, the wider Dias­po­ra will not only con­demn right wing pol­i­tics and leg­is­la­tion but also build upon and expand mod­ern con­cepts of Ukrain­ian iden­ti­ty. Rather than appease World War II apol­o­gists, Ukraine should rec­og­nize the his­toric role of Jews in the coun­try. Today, many are sore­ly under-informed about such con­tri­bu­tions and may not even be aware of such lit­er­ary giants as Shalom Ale­ichem, for exam­ple.

In New York mean­while, the expat com­mu­ni­ty seems to fol­low famil­iar scripts. At the Ukrain­ian Muse­um, which sup­port­ed the Euro­Maid­an move­ment by dis­play­ing patri­ot­ic posters in win­dows, cura­tors have by and large played it safe by push­ing rather nar­row def­i­n­i­tions of Ukrain­ian iden­ti­ty. Rather than tack­le the tan­gled his­to­ry of Ukrain­ian-Jew­ish rela­tions, for exam­ple, the muse­um tends to con­cen­trate on folk art and themes such as his­toric Ukrain­ian resis­tance to Russ­ian expan­sion­ism. At the height of the Euro­Maid­an move­ment, one exhib­it dis­played — appar­ent­ly with­out irony — a pho­to of a col­or­ful “Cos­sack” pro­test­er on the Maid­an [need­less to say, many Jews of Ukrain­ian ances­try may have fear­ful asso­ci­a­tions of such Cos­sack his­to­ry]. On their way out, patrons may pur­chase kitschy folk­loric items in the muse­um gift shop.

Just a few blocks south of the East Vil­lage lies the Low­er East Side, a neigh­bor­hood which absorbed waves of Jew­ish immi­grants in the late nine­teenth and ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Many of the immi­grants hailed from Czarist Rus­sia, pri­or to mod­ern Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence. Lat­er, many of the Jew­ish arrivals moved out of the Low­er East Side and assim­i­lat­ed into the wider cul­ture. Arguably, how­ev­er, many of the immi­grants’ descen­dants could be con­sid­ered just as Ukrain­ian as more recent arrivals in the East Vil­lage. To be sure, mem­o­ry or asso­ci­a­tions of Ukraine may seem quite dis­tant and abstract to the great grand­chil­dren of Low­er East Side migrants. On the oth­er hand, it is not unheard of for Amer­i­cans of Ital­ian or Irish descent, for exam­ple, to express sym­pa­thet­ic eth­nic ties to the moth­er coun­try. Maybe it is time for Ukraine to take a hard look in the mir­ror and ask itself why Jew­ish descen­dants are not clam­or­ing for the same.

8b. The largest uni­ver­si­ty in Ukraine is con­trolled by the MAUP orga­ni­za­tion, an insti­tu­tion­al dis­sem­i­na­tor of anti-Semit­ic doc­trine. David Duke teach­es at the insti­tu­tion. For­mer pres­i­dent Yuschenko is on the advi­so­ry board, as was Leonid Kravchuk, anoth­er pres­i­dent of Ukraine.

Orga­nized Anti-Semi­tism in Con­tem­po­rary Ukraine: Struc­ture, Influ­ence and Ide­ol­o­gy” by Pers Anders Rudling; Cana­di­an Slavon­ic Papers; Vol. 48, No. 1/2 (March-June 2006): pp. 81–118. [43]

ABSTRACT: In the wake of the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion, Ukraine has wit­nessed a sub­stan­tial growth in orga­nized anti-Semi­tism. Cen­tral to this devel­op­ment is an orga­ni­za­tion, known as the Inter­re­gion­al Acad­e­my of Human Resources, bet­ter known by its Ukrain­ian acronym MAUP. It oper­ates a well-con­nect­ed polit­i­cal net­work that reach­es the very top of the Ukrain­ian soci­ety. MAUP is the largest pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty in Ukraine, with 57,000 stu­dents at 24 region­al cam­pus­es. MAUP is con­nect­ed to the KKK; David Duke is teach­ing cours­es in his­to­ry and inter­na­tion­al rela­tions at the uni­ver­si­ty. Fund­ed by Sau­di Ara­bia, Libya and Iran, MAUP’s print­ing house pub­lish­es about 85% of the anti-Semit­ic lit­er­a­ture in Ukraine. Until very recent­ly, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Yushchenko and For­eign Min­is­ter Tara­siuk served on its board; for­mer Pres­i­dent Kravchuk still does. This paper is a study of anti-Semi­tism in Ukraine, of its intel­lec­tu­al roots, influ­ence and strength. It traces the Sovi­et, Chris­t­ian, Ger­man and racist polit­i­cal tra­di­tions and out­lines the polit­i­cal ambi­tions of orga­nized anti-Semi­tism in post-Orange Rev­o­lu­tion Ukraine.

9. The most vis­i­ble and best-pub­li­cized of the Nazi fight­ing for­ma­tions in Ukraine is the Azov bat­tal­ion [65]. We now learn that Azov is train­ing a “youth cadre”–including chil­dren as young as six.

We don’t think it is much of a reach to see their “young ‘uns” as what might be accu­rate­ly viewed as a Ukrain­ian Hitler Youth.

“Shock­ing Pic­tures from Inside Neo-Nazi Mil­i­tary Camp Reveal Recruits as Young as Six Are Being Taught How to Fire Weapons (Even Though There’s a Cease­fire)” by Stephen Cock­roft; Dai­ly Mail; 8/12/2015. [41]

They’re the ultra-Nation­al­ist swasti­ka-lov­ing bat­tal­ion which is open­ly against the cease­fire agreed with pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists

Now extrem­ists from the Azov unit, a far-right neo-Nazi mili­tia defend­ing the port city of Mar­i­upol in south­east­ern Ukraine, are teach­ing chil­dren as young as six how to fire guns in an attempt to entice them into the coun­try’s bloody con­flict.

Dis­turb­ing pic­tures have emerged from a mil­i­tary sum­mer camp held on the out­skirts of Kiev which show mem­bers of the vol­un­tary group teach­ing so-called ‘Azovets’ how to behave as young fight­ers.

The chil­dren — which include girls and boys, some as young as six — are seen load­ing their guns, before tak­ing part in exer­cis­es in which they crawl along the ground and fire at the ene­my.

The camp comes under the com­mand of Andriy Bilet­sky, who once admit­ted that the bat­tal­ion ‘do not like cease­fire at all’. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolf­san­gel (Wolf’s Hook) sym­bol on their ban­ner and sev­er­al mem­bers are white suprema­cists or anti-Semi­tes.

The con­flict broke out in April last year, when sep­a­ratists rebelled in east­ern Ukraine against the rule of Kiev’s new West­ern-look­ing gov­ern­ment.

Since April 2014, more than 6,500 peo­ple have been killed in the war-torn coun­try with experts warn­ing the cri­sis could car­ry on for years, despite a peace deal being bro­kered in the Belarus cap­i­tal Min­sk in Feb­ru­ary.

10. Some of the key con­sid­er­a­tions con­cern­ing the shoot­down of Malaysian Air­lines flight MH-17 are detailed in a recent post in Con­sor­tium News.  The author cor­rect­ly points out that it is high­ly unlike­ly that infor­ma­tion in the hands of U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts con­forms to the claims sup­pos­ed­ly but­tressed by social media. Those dubi­ous asser­tions are the only “doc­u­men­ta­tion” that the West has been able to gen­er­ate about the down­ing of the plane.

“Pro­pa­gan­da, Intel­li­gence and MH-17” by Ray McGov­ern; Con­sor­tium News; 8/17/2015. [40]

Dur­ing a recent inter­view, I was asked to express my con­clu­sions about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 over Ukraine, prompt­ing me to take anoth­er hard look at Offi­cial Washington’s dubi­ous claims – point­ing the fin­ger of blame at east­ern Ukrain­ian rebels and Moscow – based on shaky evi­dence regard­ing who was respon­si­ble for this ter­ri­ble tragedy.

Unlike seri­ous pro­fes­sion­al inves­tiga­tive reporters, intel­li­gence ana­lysts often are required by pol­i­cy­mak­ers to reach rapid judg­ments with­out the twin lux­u­ries of enough time and con­clu­sive evi­dence. Hav­ing spent almost 30 years in the busi­ness of intel­li­gence analy­sis, I have faced that uncom­fort­able chal­lenge more times than I wish to remem­ber.

So, I know what it feels like to con­front issues of con­sid­er­able con­se­quence like the shoot-down of MH-17 and the killing of 298 pas­sen­gers and crew amid intense pres­sure to chore­o­graph the judg­ments to the pro­pa­gan­dis­tic music favored by senior offi­cials who want the U.S. “ene­my” – in this case, nuclear-armed Rus­sia and its West­ern-demo­nized Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin – to some­how be respon­si­ble. In such sit­u­a­tions, the eas­i­est and safest (career-wise) move is to twirl your analy­sis to the pre­ferred tune or at least sit this jig out.

But the trust-us-it-was-Putin marathon dance has now run for 13 months – and it’s get­ting tire­some to hear the P.R. peo­ple in the office of Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence James Clap­per still claim­ing that the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has not revised or updat­ed its analy­sis of the inci­dent since July 22, 2014, just five days after the crash.

Back then, Clapper’s office, try­ing to back up Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry’s anti-Russ­ian rush to judg­ment, cit­ed very sketchy evi­dence – in both sens­es of the word – drawn heav­i­ly from “social media” accounts. Obvi­ous­ly, the high-priced and high-cal­iber U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has learned much more about this very sen­si­tive case since that time, but the admin­is­tra­tion won’t tell the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the world. The DNI’s office still refers inquir­ing reporters back to the out­dat­ed report from more than a year ago.

None of this behav­ior would make much sense if the lat­er U.S. intel­li­gence data sup­port­ed the hasty fin­ger-point­ing toward Putin and the rebels. If more sol­id and per­sua­sive intel­li­gence cor­rob­o­rat­ed those ini­tial assump­tions, you’d think U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials would be falling over them­selves to leak the evi­dence and declare “we told you so.” And the DNI office’s claim that it doesn’t want to prej­u­dice the MH-17 inves­ti­ga­tion doesn’t hold water either – since the ini­tial rush to judg­ment did exact­ly that.

So, despite the dis­com­fort attached to mak­ing judg­ments with lit­tle reli­able evi­dence – and at the risk of sound­ing like for­mer Defense Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld – it seems high time to address what we know, what we don’t know, and why it may be that we don’t know what we don’t know.

Those caveats notwith­stand­ing I would say it is a safe bet that the hard tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence evi­dence upon which pro­fes­sion­al intel­li­gence ana­lysts pre­fer to rely does not sup­port Sec­re­tary of State Kerry’s unseem­ly rush to judg­ment in blam­ing the Russ­ian side just three days after the shoot-down.

‘An Extra­or­di­nary Tool’?

When the tragedy occurred U.S. intel­li­gence col­lec­tion assets were focused laser-like on the Ukraine-Rus­sia bor­der region where the pas­sen­ger plane crashed. Besides col­lec­tion from over­head imagery and sen­sors, U.S. intel­li­gence pre­sum­ably would have elec­tron­ic inter­cepts of com­mu­ni­ca­tions as well as infor­ma­tion from human sources inside many of the var­i­ous fac­tions.

That would mean that hun­dreds of intel­li­gence ana­lysts are like­ly to have pre­cise knowl­edge regard­ing how MH-17 was shot down and by whom. Though there may be some dif­fer­ence of opin­ion among ana­lysts about how to read the evi­dence – as there often is – it is out of the ques­tion that the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty would with­hold this data from Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, Sec­re­tary of State Ker­ry and oth­er top offi­cials.

Thus, it is a vir­tu­al cer­tain­ty that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has far more con­clu­sive evi­dence than the “social media” cit­ed by Ker­ry in cast­ing sus­pi­cions on the rebels and Moscow when he made the rounds of Sun­day talk shows just three days after the crash. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ker­ry told David Gre­go­ry that “social media” is an “extra­or­di­nary tool.” The ques­tion is, a tool for what?

The DNI report two days lat­er rehashed many of the “social media” ref­er­ences that Ker­ry cit­ed and added some cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence about Rus­sia pro­vid­ing oth­er forms of mil­i­tary equip­ment to the rebels. But the DNI report con­tains no men­tion of Rus­sia sup­ply­ing a Buk anti-air­craft mis­sile sys­tem that Ker­ry and the DNI cit­ed as the sus­pect­ed weapon that downed the plane.

So, why does the admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ue refus­ing to go beyond such dubi­ous sources and shaky infor­ma­tion in attribut­ing blame for the shoot-down? Why not fill in the many blanks with actu­al and hard U.S. intel­li­gence data that would have been avail­able and exam­ined over the fol­low­ing days and weeks? Did the Rus­sians sup­ply a Buk or oth­er mis­sile bat­tery that would be capa­ble of hit­ting MH-17 fly­ing at 33,000 feet? Yes or no.

If not sup­plied by the Rus­sians, did the rebels cap­ture a Buk or sim­i­lar mis­sile bat­tery from the Ukraini­ans who had them in their own inven­to­ry? Or did some ele­ment of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment – pos­si­bly asso­ci­at­ed with one of Ukraine’s cor­rupt oli­garchs – fire the mis­sile, either mis­tak­ing the Malaysian plane for a Russ­ian one or cal­cu­lat­ing how the tragedy could be played for pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es? Or was it some oth­er sin­is­ter motive?

With­out doubt, the U.S. gov­ern­ment has evi­dence that could sup­port or refute any one of those pos­si­bil­i­ties, but it won’t tell you even in some declas­si­fied sum­ma­ry form. Why? Is it some­how unpa­tri­ot­ic to spec­u­late that John Ker­ry, with his check­ered rep­u­ta­tion for truth-telling regard­ing Syr­ia and oth­er for­eign crises, chose right off the bat to turn the MH-17 tragedy to Washington’s pro­pa­gan­da advan­tage, an exer­cise in “soft pow­er” to throw Putin on the defen­sive and ral­ly Europe behind U.S. eco­nom­ic sanc­tions to pun­ish Rus­sia for sup­port­ing eth­nic Rus­sians in Crimea and east­ern Ukraine resist­ing the new U.S.-arranged polit­i­cal order in Kiev?

By tak­ing a leaf out of the Bush-Cheney-Tony-Blair play­book, Ker­ry could “fix the intel­li­gence around the pol­i­cy” of Putin-bash­ing. Giv­en the anti-Putin bias ram­pant in the main­stream West­ern media, that wouldn’t be a hard sell. And, it wasn’t. The “main­stream” stenographers/journalists quick­ly accept­ed that “social media” was indeed a dandy source to rely on – and have nev­er pressed the U.S. gov­ern­ment to release any of its intel­li­gence data.

Yet, in the imme­di­ate after­math of the MH-17 shoot-down, there were signs that hon­est intel­li­gence ana­lysts were not com­fort­able let­ting them­selves be used as they and oth­er col­leagues had been before the inva­sion of Iraq in 2003.

To but­tress Kerry’s shaky case, DNI Clap­per arranged a flim­sy “Gov­ern­ment Assess­ment” – repris­ing many of Kerry’s ref­er­ences to “social media” – that was briefed to a few hand-picked Estab­lish­ment reporters two days after Ker­ry starred on Sun­day TV. The lit­tle-noticed dis­tinc­tion was that this report was not the cus­tom­ary “Intel­li­gence Assess­ment” (the genre that has been de rigueur in such cir­cum­stances in the past).

The key dif­fer­ence between the tra­di­tion­al “Intel­li­gence Assess­ment” and this rel­a­tive­ly new cre­ation, a “Gov­ern­ment Assess­ment,” is that the lat­ter genre is put togeth­er by senior White House bureau­crats or oth­er polit­i­cal appointees, not senior intel­li­gence ana­lysts. Anoth­er sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence is that an “Intel­li­gence Assess­ment” often includes alter­na­tive views, either in the text or in foot­notes, detail­ing dis­agree­ments among intel­li­gence ana­lysts, thus reveal­ing where the case may be weak or in dis­pute.

The absence of an “Intel­li­gence Assess­ment” sug­gest­ed that hon­est intel­li­gence ana­lysts were resist­ing a knee-jerk indict­ment of Rus­sia – just as they did after the first time Ker­ry pulled this “Gov­ern­ment Assess­ment” arrow out of his quiver try­ing to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack out­side Dam­as­cus on the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment.

Ker­ry cit­ed this pseu­do-intel­li­gence prod­uct, which con­tained not a sin­gle ver­i­fi­able fact, to take the Unit­ed States to the brink of war against Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad’s mil­i­tary, a fate­ful deci­sion that was only head­ed off at the last minute after Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma was made aware of grave doubts among U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts about who­dunit. Kerry’s sarin case has since col­lapsed. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Col­laps­ing Syr­ia-Sarin Case. [66]”]

The sarin and MH-17 cas­es reveal the con­tin­u­ing strug­gles between oppor­tunis­tic polit­i­cal oper­a­tives and pro­fes­sion­al intel­li­gence ana­lysts over how to deal with geopo­lit­i­cal infor­ma­tion that can either inform U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy objec­tive­ly or be exploit­ed to advance some pro­pa­gan­da agen­da. Clear­ly, this strug­gle did not end after CIA ana­lysts were pres­sured into giv­ing Pres­i­dent George W. Bush the fraud­u­lent – not “mis­tak­en” – evi­dence that he used to make the case for invad­ing Iraq in 2003.

But so soon after that dis­grace­ful episode, the White House and State Depart­ment run the risk that some hon­est intel­li­gence ana­lysts would blow the whis­tle, espe­cial­ly giv­en the dan­ger­ous­ly blasé atti­tude in Estab­lish­ment Wash­ing­ton toward the dan­gers of esca­lat­ing the Ukraine con­fronta­tion with nuclear-armed Rus­sia. Giv­en the very high stakes, per­haps an intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­al or two will sum­mon the courage to step up to this chal­lenge.

Falling in Line

For now, the rest of us are told to be sat­is­fied with the Sun­day media cir­cus orches­trat­ed by Ker­ry on July 20, 2014, with the able assis­tance of eager-to-please pun­dits. A review of the tran­scripts of the CBS, NBC, and ABC Sun­day fol­lies reveals a remark­able – if not unprece­dent­ed — con­sis­ten­cy in approach by CBS’s Bob Schi­ef­fer, NBC’s David Gre­go­ry (ably egged on by Andrea Mitchell), and ABC’s George Stephanopou­los, all of whom hewed faith­ful­ly to a script appar­ent­ly giv­en them with two main talk­ing points: (1) blame Putin; and (2) frame the shoot-down as a “wake-up call” (Ker­ry used the words repeat­ed­ly) for Euro­pean gov­ern­ments to impose tight eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Rus­sia.

If the U.S. government’s hope was that the com­bi­na­tion of Kerry’s hasty judg­ment and the DNI’s sup­port­ive “Gov­ern­ment Assess­ment” would pin the P.R. blame for MH-17 on Putin and Rus­sia, the gam­bit clear­ly worked. The U.S. had imposed seri­ous eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Rus­sia the day before the shoot-down – but the Euro­peans were hes­i­tant. Yet, in the MH-17 after­math, both U.S. and Euro­pean media were filled with out­rage against Putin for sup­pos­ed­ly mur­der­ing 298 inno­cents.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and oth­er Euro­pean lead­ers, who had been resist­ing impos­ing strong eco­nom­ic sanc­tions because of Germany’s and the Euro­pean Union’s lucra­tive trade with Rus­sia, let them­selves be bull­dozed, just two weeks after the shoot-down, into going along with mutu­al­ly harm­ful sanc­tions that have hurt Rus­sia but also have shak­en the EU’s frag­ile eco­nom­ic recov­ery.

Thus start­ed a new, nox­ious phase in the bur­geon­ing con­fronta­tion between Rus­sia and the West, a cri­sis that was orig­i­nal­ly pre­cip­i­tat­ed by a West­ern-orches­trat­ed coup d’état in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, oust­ing Ukraine’s elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and touch­ing off the cur­rent civ­il war that has wit­nessed some of the worst blood­shed inside Europe in decades..

It may seem odd that those Euro­pean lead­ers allowed them­selves to be snook­ered so swift­ly. Did their own intel­li­gence ser­vices not cau­tion them against acqui­esc­ing over “intel­li­gence” from social media? But the tidal wave of anti-Putin fury in the MH-17 after­math was hard if not impos­si­ble for any West­ern politi­cian to resist.

Just One Spe­cif­ic Ques­tion?

Yet, can the U.S. con­ceal­ment of its MH-17 intel­li­gence con­tin­ue indef­i­nite­ly? Some points beg for answers. For instance, besides describ­ing social media as “an extra­or­di­nary tool,” Ker­ry told David Gre­go­ry on July 20, 2014: “We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the tra­jec­to­ry. We know where it came from. We know the tim­ing. And it was exact­ly at the time that this air­craft dis­ap­peared from the radar.”

Odd that nei­ther Gre­go­ry nor oth­er “main­stream” stenog­ra­phers have thought to ask Ker­ry, then or since, to share what he says he “knows” with the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the world – if only out of, well, a decent respect for the opin­ions of mankind. If Ker­ry has sources beyond “social media” for what he claims to “know” and they sup­port his instant claims of Russ­ian cul­pa­bil­i­ty, then the impor­tance of his accu­sa­tions dic­tates that he describe exact­ly what he pre­tends to know and how. But Ker­ry has been silent on this top­ic.

If, on the oth­er hand, the real intel­li­gence does not sup­port the brief that Ker­ry argued right after the shoot-down, well, the truth will ulti­mate­ly be hard to sup­press. Angela Merkel and oth­er lead­ers with dam­aged trade ties with Rus­sia may ulti­mate­ly demand an expla­na­tion. Can it be that it will take cur­rent Euro­pean lead­ers a cou­ple of years to real­ize they’ve been had — again?

The U.S. gov­ern­ment also is like­ly to face grow­ing pub­lic skep­ti­cism for using social media to pin the blame on Moscow for the down­ing of MH-17 – not only to jus­ti­fy impos­ing eco­nom­ic sanc­tions, but also to stoke increased hos­til­i­ty toward Rus­sia.

The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and the main­stream media may try to pre­tend that no doubt exists – that the “group think” on Russia’s guilt is iron­clad. And it seems like­ly that the offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tions now being con­duct­ed by the U.S.-propped-up gov­ern­ment in Ukraine and oth­er close U.S. allies will strug­gle to build a cir­cum­stan­tial case keep­ing the Putin-did-it nar­ra­tive alive.

But chick­ens have a way of com­ing home to roost.