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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 . . . .