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All’s Well that’s Orwell, Part 2–Yuschenko Uber Alles: The Ukrainian Ministry of Truth

[1]

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahanybok salutes

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [2] (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: The Orwellian aspects of the Ukrainian crisis could not be exaggerated and are explored at greater length in this post (and will be in upcoming programs as well.)

(Photo source, Global Research  [3]arti­cle.)

(We have done four pro­grams to date about the Ukrain­ian cri­sis: FTR #‘s 777 [4]778 [5]779 [6]780 [7].)

In past programs and posts, we have noted that Victor Yuschenko’s term as president of the Ukraine–realized through the so-called Orange Revolution–featured the former Ykaterina Chumachenko as his wife. Formerly Ronald Reagan’s Deputy Director of Public Liaison, the former Ms. Chumachenko was a prominent member of the UCCA, the top OUN/B front organization in the United States. (For background on the OUN/B, the Ukrainian fascist template organization for Swoboda, see the For The Record programs noted above.)

We suspect that the former Ms. Chumachenko was the real power behind the throne. 

While president of the Ukraine, Yuschenko presided over a fundamental makeover of Ukrainian history and, through that, political ideology.

The dramatic and fundamental nature of this revisionism paved the way for the public positioning of the fascist Swoboda party as a viable, democratic entity. Swoboda is a primary element in the new Ukrainian government, dominating the military and judicial processes of that country.

PLEASE take time to examine the text excerpt below in detail. Note the bold-faced parts. Orwell made manifest.

Key points of Yuschenko’s ideological makeover of the Ukraine, which set up the “legitimacy” of Swoboda:

“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. [8]

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

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

YUSHCHENKOISM

As president, Yushchenko initiated substantial government propaganda initiatives. In July 2005, he established an Institute of National 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 withthe 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 collaboratorslike 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 hasplaced 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 or-ganizers 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 . . . .