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Confederate Flags in Kiev and “Peace Street” Renamed for the Einsatzgruppe Nachtigall

Galician Division Re-enactment (this unit was staffed by OUN/B recruits)

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COMMENT: With the Orwellian rhetoric and cognitive constructs overwhelming reasonable analysis of the Ukrainian crisis, it is heartening to encounter accuracy in reportage of the developments that precipitated and are at the heart of the situation.

We have covered the Ukraine coup in previous posts–here, hereherehere, here and here. (We are producing programs about the Ukrainian crisis at the present time.)

In the mainstream of liberal commentary, Salon.com offers an article by Max Blumenthal that supplements and reinforces much of what we have been presenting.

Tracing the Nazi-collaborationist history of the OUN/B (the parent organization of the Swoboda and Pravy Sektor elements in the Ukraine), the story notes the organization’s evolution through the Cold War association with Western intelligence elements (including CIA) and its incorporation into the GOP and the Reagan administration.

Gaining access to the corridors of power in Ukraine under Yuschenko via his wife (the former Ykaterina Chumachenko, a key OUN/B functionary and Deputy Director of Public Liaison under Reagan), the Ukrainian fascists are the militant vanguard of the coalition that assumed power after the negation of the agreement negotiated between the Yanukovich government and EU leaders.

The Blumenthal story in Salon manifests many of the points of information we have presented in the past, supplementing our analysis with additional material about the integration of OUN/B elements into the Reagan administration.

EXCERPT: ” . . . . In Wash­ing­ton, the OUN-B recon­sti­tuted under the ban­ner of the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­ica (UCCA), an umbrella orga­ni­za­tion com­prised of “com­plete OUN-B fronts,” accord­ing to Bel­lant. By the mid-1980’s, the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was hon­ey­combed with UCCA mem­bers, with the group’s chair­man Lev Dobri­an­sky, serv­ing as ambas­sador to the Bahamas, and his daugh­ter, Paula, sit­ting on the National Secu­rity Coun­cil. Rea­gan per­son­ally wel­comed Stet­sko, the Ban­derist leader who over­saw the mas­sacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983. . . .”

Note the abundant evidence of involvement by elements of U.S. intelligence in the events there.

We note, in passing, that Confederate flags are in evidence in Kiev. No doubt Eddie the Friendly Spook Snowden’s Presidential candidate of choice Ron Paul would be altogether comfortable with that.

Among the most overt indications of the political nature of “democratic” forces at work in the Ukraine: ” . . . . Lviv has become the epi­cen­ter of neo-fascist activ­ity in Ukraine, with elected Svo­boda offi­cials wag­ing a cam­paign to rename its air­port after Ban­dera and suc­cess­fully chang­ing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion, an OUN-B wing that par­tic­i­pated directly in the Holo­caust. “ ‘Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereo­types,” a Svo­boda deputy explained. . . .”

That such a development would happen in Lviv (also known as “Lvov” and “Lemberg”) is not surprising, given that Lviv has become an epicenter of Ukrainian fascism and revisionism, with a statue of Bandera in the city. Lviv is sometimes referred to as “Banderstadt”–German for “Bandera Town” or “Bandera State,” depending on the translation.

“Is the US Backing neo-Nazis in the Ukraine?” by Max Blumenthal [Alternet]; Salon.com; 2/25/2014.

EXCERPT: As the Euromaidan protests in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev culminated this week, displays of open fascism and neo-Nazi extremism became too glaring to ignore. Since demonstrators filled the downtown square to battle Ukrainian riot police and demand the ouster of the corruption-stained, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right streetfighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protesters destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.” . . .

. . . One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video [embedded at the bottom of this article], the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maidan movement has come to embody the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies,” Nuland proclaimed.

Two weeks later, 15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereotypes,” a Svoboda deputy explained.

Revered by Ukrainian nationalists as a legendary freedom fighter, Bandera’s real record was ignominious at best. After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Connections

Many surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of “National Hero of Ukraine,” marking the culmination of his efforts to manufacture an anti-Russian national narrative that sanitized the OUN-B’s fascism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Katherine Chumachenko, was a former Reagan administration official and ex-staffer at the right-wing Heritage Foundation). When the European Parliament condemned Yushchenko’s proclamation as an affront to “European values,” the UCCA-affiliated Ukrainian World Congress reacted with outrage, accusing the EU of “another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.” On its website, the UCCA dismissed historical accounts of Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis as “Soviet propaganda.”

Following the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped organize rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests. When several hundred demonstrators marchedthrough downtown Chicago, some waved Ukrainian flags while others proudly flew the red and black banners of the UPA and OUN-B. “USA supports Ukraine!” they chanted.

“The Fascist State of Lviv, Part 1” by Graham Phillips; Brit in Ukraine; 12/22/2013.

EXCERPT:  . . . . Yet you don’t need to scratch too hard to see what Lviv is really about. A turn off to a side street and there was a flowered shrine for a 28-year-old man, Sasha Shaleni, killed in a savage fight which broke out between fans of local football team Lviv Karpaty just days before. The shrine erected to his ‘honour’ (and there are now calls for a permanent memorial, even) contained numerous references to Banderstadt‘, a popular appellation for Lviv.

The ‘stadt’ from German for ‘town’, the Bander from disgraced Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera. Despite the ‘stadt’, though, Lviv isn’t a German town, actually it used to be a Polish, Jewish city. The expunging of Polish and Jewish from Lviv is a touchy topic with the locals indeed. Actually it’s the reason Lviv has created all those ‘historians‘ to churn out revisionism lest the good folk of Lviv lose any sleep. Poles and Jews comprised the bulk of the city’s population before a brutal Bandera and OUN-led purge saw the Polish population slashed from 50% of the population in 1931 to 10% in 1950. Jews meanwhile, fell from 32% of the population in 1931 to just over 1% by 1944. Both Poles and Jews combined now account for just over 1% of the city’s population.

And, standing right there in the centre, as of 2012, in huge statue form, is the ruthless yet hapless Nazi-loving Bandera himself. Think Berlin having a statue of Adolf posing up there proudly in Alexanderplatz. It is a little like something from Planet of the Apes, and truly hard to fathom how Lviv can square this with reaching out to international tourists, including masses of visitors from Russia each year.

Of course as well as Jews and Poles, Bandera despised Russians, and in his dubious honour, Lviv’s Russian embassy has seen regular attacks over the years. On May 9th, 2011, in Lviv, groups of Ukrainian nationalists snatched a wreath from Russian Consul General Oleg Astakhov, which he was going to lay at a military cemetery atop the Hill of Glory in Lviv, and trampled it down. They also attacked veterans and members of NGOs who were present onGlory Hill, and tried to violently disrupt the celebration of Victory Day, prompting police to use truncheons to stop them (quite something given the noted reluctance of Lviv police to get involved when anything Russian-related is under attack).

Whether many businesses in Lviv could actually survive without the annual tens of thousands of Russian tourists who are willing to overlook the city’s dark side, is another question. And how this is all reconciled with the general perception of the city as ‘warm’, ‘kind’, ‘cute‘ even is bewildering in the extreme.

Discussion

2 comments for “Confederate Flags in Kiev and “Peace Street” Renamed for the Einsatzgruppe Nachtigall”

  1. http://www.timothyeastman.com/uncategorized/an-interview-with-mira-andrei-and-sascha-of-antifascist-action-ukraine/

    An Interview with Mira, Andrei, and Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine

    Sascha, Andrei, and Mira are members of AntiFascist Union Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine. We sat down to talk about the influence of fascism in EuroMaidan, this is what they told me:

    Sascha: There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.

    Mira: The two biggest groups are Svoboda and Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). The defense forces aren’t 100% Pravy but a large percentage is.

    S: Svoboda is more legal as a group, but they also have an illegal militant faction. Pravy Sektor is more illegal, but they want to usurp Svoboda.

    M: There’s a lot of infighting between Pravy and Svoboda. They worked together during the violence but now everything is calm so there’s time to focus on each other. Pravy and Svoboda both take donations and they have lots of money. Recently Pravy has all these new uniforms, military fatigues.

    One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!

    S: A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.

    M: Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.

    Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.

    S: After this Pravy will have more young guys. They have money to make propaganda, uniforms, they’re getting more attention and they look cool.

    M: The Ukraine is a patriarchal country so to be a strong man who’s fighting is a good aim.

    Click Here to View A Recent Example of Pravy Sektor Propaganda
    (The link was to a video that was removed)

    S: Nazi groups are also trying to mimic leftists, to try to ingratiate themselves. They use anarchist vocabulary, words like “autonomous.” One group of the ugliest Nazis is now doing this by calling themselves “Autonomous Resistance.” They’ve had lots of success with this tactic.

    They attract some Anarchists who think they’re changing the Nazis, but really the Nazis are changing them.” They’re becoming more nationalistic, they have more more anti-feminist views, etc. Now is when Anarchists need to speak out and be louder.

    Two symbols that could be found at EuroMaidan. The Celtic Cross (l) is a common symbol representing white supremacy. The Wolfsangel (r) was a symbol used by several divisions of the SS during World War II and now represents Neo-Nazism.

    S: There’s a whole spectrum of Nationalists represented. They divide themselves into groups with their own symbols. They want support so they don’t use Nazi or fascist symbols so much. They use symbols that are recognizable to other fascistic people, but look innocuous to anyone else. For example there is a special eagle symbol. It’s drawn a certain way, it doesn’t look like anything unless you know the meaning.

    No one has any idea how this could turn out, what form a new government could take. The fascist groups don’t have common aims, they know what they’re opposed to, and that they’re opposed to each other, but they don’t all want the same things. If Pravy has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.

    M: People have these chants: “Glory Ukraine,” “Glory to Heroes,” “Death to Enemies.” But who are these heroes, who are these enemies? I don’t think they have any idea. “Ukraine Above All” is one, just like they used to chant in Germany.

    Andrei: I’m from Germany, and from my perspective it’s like Ukraine has had this nationalism since the fall of the USSR. The nationalist sentiment on Maidan is there to divide people. The East of Ukraine favors Russia, the West is nationalist. People are quite divided, but if you look at the whole country everyone has the same social and economic problems. If people saw that and came together that would be the most dangerous for Svoboda, or Yanukovich, or any political party. Svoboda and Yanukovich favor the same neoliberal policies that make life worse for Ukrainians.

    M: These nationalists are here not for rights but for nation and it’s practical for leaders to encourage this, because a focus on nationalism lets them do whatever they want. It’s mostly working class and poor people at EuroMaidan, and their attention needs to be diverted to real problems. Lots of people want to manipulate the people here.

    Posted by Vanfield | March 4, 2014, 2:59 pm
  2. Global austerity for world peace!

    New York Magazine
    3/10/2014 at 11:43 AM

    Rand Paul’s Plan to Save Ukraine Is Completely Nuts

    By Jonathan Chait

    The biggest victim of the Ukraine crisis – other than the Ukrainians themselves, of course – may be Rand Paul. Since bursting onto the national scene four years ago, he has labored steadily and shrewdly first to shed his kook label, to make himself acceptable to the Party’s establishment, and then to steadily tug its policy agenda in his direction. His high-profile attacks on the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda have excited conservatives and made traditional hawks do a slow boil.

    But the return of a classic Cold War scenario has awkwardly exposed the dissonance between conservatives’ still-strong nationalist impulses and Paul’s isolationism. Paul has an op-ed in Breitbart’s “Big Peace” weakly making the case that Ronald Reagan was more dovish than you think, and pleading against his critics, “splintering the party is not the route to victory.” Concurrently, he has an op-ed in Time laying out his plan of action in Ukraine. The Time op-ed is where Paul truly lets loose his long-suppressed inner kook.

    Everything about Paul’s argument is weird. Part of the weirdness is conveyed by the prose, which is bereft of specific facts, repetitive, and reads as if it were run through a foreign-language translation program (“This does not and should not require military action. No one in the U.S. is calling for this … I have said, and some have taken exception, that too many U.S. leaders still think in Cold War terms and are quick to ‘tweak’ the international community. This is true.”)

    The most uncomfortable thing about it is watching Paul attempt to steer the Ukraine debate toward appropriately Paul-esque solutions. He begins by endorsing the basic Republican talking points, which revolve around (1) general calls for more tough leadership by Obama; and (2) exporting more natural gas to western Europe. (Steve Mufson explains why the latter would have at best a delayed, very marginal effect.) But Paul adds other ideas, too. Some of them reflect an apparent inability to follow the news, like his ringing call for a boycott of the next G-8 summit in Russia:

    The U.S. should suspend its participation in this summer’s G-8 summit and take the lead in boycotting the event in Sochi.

    Yeah, this already happened.

    Paul goes on to argue, “America is a world leader, but we should not be its policemen or ATM.” So he’s saying the United States should lead the world, but this leadership should not entail any new financial or military commitment? Actually, he’s going farther than that. He’s arguing that American leadership should involve less financial and military commitment. Paul’s plan entails stiffing the Ukrainians:

    We should also suspend American loans and aid to Ukraine because currently these could have the counterproductive effect of rewarding Russia.

    Yes, you read that right – in the face of a massive threat from Russia, the United States should impose financial penalties on Ukraine.

    Likewise, Paul demands that Obama “lead” our allies in Western Europe, but proposes we stiff them, too:

    I would reinstitute the missile-defense shields President Obama abandoned in 2009 in Poland and the Czech Republic, only this time, I would make sure the Europeans pay for it.

    You may be wondering just where this plan to lead our allies by treating them like ungrateful punks is going to work. Let Paul explain:

    Russia, the Middle East or any other troubled part of the world should never make us forget that the U.S. is broke.

    FYI, we’re not broke, we were never broke, and we’re getting farther away from being broke every year.

    If you haven’t figured out where Paul is going with this, the next sentence lays it out:

    We weaken our security and defenses when we print money out of thin air or borrow from other countries to allegedly support our own.

    Yes, the solution to Ukraine’s trouble is for the United States to adopt the gold standard. Of course.

    Left unsaid is that the rise of Republican anti-interventionism was a partisan phenomenon, not an intellectual one. During the 1990s, Republicans in Congress assailed the Clinton administration’s military interventions in the Balkans, and George W. Bush ran promising a more “humble” foreign policy. The same dynamic works on Democrats, whose civil libertarian impulses spike during Republican presidencies and recede when a friendly Democrat occupies the White House.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 12, 2014, 1:28 pm

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