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On January 1, a traditional mass procession dedicated to Stepan Bandera was held in Kiev by the Svoboda party (see picture). A similar procession in Lviv also gathered around 1000 people, chanting nationalist slogans.

On April 27, 2015, Lviv held a “Greatness of Spirit March” dedicated to the establishment of SS Galicia division. During the Second World War, this division was formed of Ukrainian volunteers to fight the Soviet troops. According to various estimates, the action gathered from 300 to 500 people, who were protected against possible provocations by an impressive police force and Security Service. Participants of the procession held banners of SS Galicia and chanted various slogans, such as “Glory to the nation”, “Ukraine above all”.

On July 22, Lviv had a procession of football fans under Nazi slogans characteristic for the Ukrainian nationalist movement – “Ukraine is above all”, “Muscovites on knives”, “Glory to the nation – death to the enemies”. Similar slogans sounded on July 22 rally in Kharkiv .

On October 14, multiple torchlight processions under the red-black flags of the Bandera movement were held across Ukraine. Rallies and processions in Kiev dedicated to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army gathered at least 5 thousand people. Majority of participants were affiliated with the extreme right Svoboda party, the Right Sector and the “Azov” voluntary battalion. Traditional racist and fascist slogans accompanied the procession – “Glory to UPA”, “One race – one nation – one fatherland – one Ukraine”, “White man – Great Ukraine” and others. Several thousand people organised a torchlight procession in Kharkiv, under the slogan “One united Ukraine” and “Bandera will come and restore order”.

On October 14, 2014, March of Glory was held in Lviv, which gathered around 200 people in SS Galicia uniforms. Around 150 nationalists gathered near the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Odessa.

There have been attempts to glamourize the image of nationalists from OUN-UPA. Teacher at the Ukrainian Catholic University Andrei Pavlyshin was interviewed by Lehaim magazine, issued by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia. Pavlyshin tried to blame Poles for the Lviv pogrom in 1941 and rehabilitate the SS Galicia division, presenting it as a project to create an anti-Stalin army. In late November, press liaison of the Ukrainian national football team Alexandr Glivinsky spoke at a round table on “Measuring patriotism in football – culture of fandom”. He said that he supports the legalisation of SS Galicia symbols in the country.

There have been attempts to legitimise pro-Nazi collaborationists, which are based on the idea that USSR was an aggressor against Ukraine and collaborationists were the “lesser evil”.

On January 8, 2015, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visited Berlin, where he told the local ARD channel about the “Soviet invasion in Ukraine and Germany”, thus calling the war against Nazism a “Soviet aggression”. His press secretary later explained that Prime Minister referred to the division of Germany by the Soviet Union after WW2.

On March 5, 2015, Ukrainian parliament held a minute of silence to commemorate Roman Shukhevich, also known for collaborating with the Nazis.

On May 15, 2015, President Poroshenko signed a Law “On the legal status and commemoration of fighters for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century”,as part of the “de-communisation” legislation. These “fighters”, criticising whom is now against the law, are OUN-UPA soldiers, who collaborated with the Nazis and took part in the Volyn Massacre, as well as mass murder of Jews in Lviv and Babi Yar, and soldiers of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (1918-1920, headed by S. Petlyura), who also took part in Jewish massacres. Another Law – “On condemning communist and National Socialist totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and prohibiting the propaganda and symbols” – prohibited the use of communist and Nazi symbols, equating the two regimes. Naturally, the law sparked some sharp criticism in the society. Leaders of Jewish organisations and communities expressed their concerns. For example, President of the Ukrainian Jewish Forum Arkady Monstyrsky said, “I believe that this law was adopted at a bad time. It almost looks like a provocation, especially in the current socio-economic climate. Who would be happy to find out that money that could be used to repair roads or utilities will be spent on changing street names and government stationery? This is unnecessary stress on local budgets, which are already tight as they are.”

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic also expressed concern with the law and tried to convince President Poroshenko not to sign it.

Prominent international historians wrote an open letter to Petro Poroshenko and Parliamentary Speaker V. Groisman, warning that “decommunisation” laws and laws regard the UPA are contrary to European principles.

Holocaust Memorial Museum in the United States condemned the law, as it prohibits media from criticising nationalist groups. It called on Ukrainian government to avoid any measures of censorship or politicisation of historical research.

Pro-Nazi collaborationists are often popularised in Ukraine. On May 31, for example, it was reported that a physics-technical school organised the singing of a pro-Bandera song. Students were dressed in red-black clothes – colours of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, which collaborated with the Nazi during World War Two.

On June 7, 2015, some people in Ivano-Frankivsk marked the creation of SS Galicia division and the Battle of Brody with a minute of silence. Galicia division veteran Mikhail Mulik, 95, said that the unit fought for freedom and independence of Ukraine. History textbook “Ukraine in the Second World War”, published by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory and distributed by the Ministry of Education and Science glamourizes the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and collaborationists. It claimed that most of them had no choice in the conditions of German occupation. It was also said that OUN leaders were put in concentration camps, not mentioning that they were there as privileged prisoners and were released when necessary. UPA’s anti-German actions were over exaggerated. Volyn Massacre was hidden behind a sentence about the “Polish-Ukrainian confrontation, victims of which were civilians on both sides”.

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