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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment .
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 , 778 , 779 , 780 , 781 , 782 , 783 , 784 , 794 , 800 , 803 , 804 , 808 , 811 , 817 , 818 , 824 , 826 , 829 , 832 , 833 , 837 , 849 , 850 , 853 , 857 . 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  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  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”  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  and the current president–Petro Poroshenko –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  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  by U.S. and other Western governments of the shoot-down of MH-17.
Program Highlights Include:
- The Nazi Azov Battalion’s youth wing , looking very much like a “Ukrainian Hitler Youth.”
- Review of the evolution of the OUN/B milieu from World War II, through the Reagan administration and the Yushcenko and Poroshenko regimes.
- The role of the Ukrainian diaspora in the historical development of the OUN/B forces now holding sway in Ukraine.
- Review of Poroshenko’s resuscitation of the old Yuschenko team, including Roman Svarych, Jaroslav Stetsko’s personal secretary.
- Review of Yuschenko and Poroshenko’s honoring of the OUN/B executioners at the site of the Babi Yar massacre .
- Review of the Yuschenko’s links to the MAUP  university milieu, the anti-Semitic private educational institute that employs David Duke as a faculty member.
- Viatrovych’s appointment to head The Institute of National Memory under Yuschenko and his re-appointment to the same position under Poroshenko.
- The gravitas of David Duke  in the political milieu embraced by Yuschenko  and Poroshenko.
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.
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  (or Tsentr Doslidzhen’ Vyzvol’noho Rukhu, TsDVR) in Lviv. The research center is funded by private money from Ukrainian groups abroad  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  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 . 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  protesting the laws. Other organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe , the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum  warned of their dangers. Foreign media outlets  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  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  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  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  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  from Ukrainian intelligentsia have ranged from joy to muted concerns about privacy issues. Motyl excitedly called the archives law  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 , 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 , 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  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.
. . . . 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  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. 
Note that this book is in Google Books .
. . . . . 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). . . . .
As president, Yushchenko initiated substantial government propaganda initiatives. In July 2005, he established an Institute of National Memory, assigned 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.
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.
*“Bandera” here is used as a generic term for the followers of Stephan Bandera and their institutions–D.E.
. . . . Simon Petliura  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  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  (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.
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. 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 on the initiative of Slava Stetsko and Roman Zvarych. 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.
During the 1998 parliamentary election the party was part (together with Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party and Ukrainian Republican Party) of the Election Bloc “National Front” (Ukrainian: Виборчий блок партій «Національний фронт») which won 2,71% of the national votes and 6 (single-mandate constituency) seats.
At the parliamentary elections on 30 March 2002, the party was part of the Viktor Yushchenko Bloc Our Ukraine. 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. Roman Zvarych was Minister of Justice in the First Tymoshenko Government and Second Tymoshenko Government and in the Alliance of National Unity. . . . .
. . . . 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.”. 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).”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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. 
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 . 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. 
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.
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. ”]
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.