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Revision of World War Two History

Revision of World War Two History The new heroes of Ukraine: the leaders of OUN-UPA J. Stetsko, R. Shukhevych, S. Bandera, E. Konovalets and the head of the Directorate of the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1919-1920, guilty of mass Jewish pogroms in Ukraine S. Petliura.

On August 24, 2014, Ukrainian Independence Day, President Poroshenko mentioned the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during the Second World War, as heroes of Ukrainian history. Ukrainian television broadcasted documentary and feature films dedicated to Stepan Bandera.

On September 25, 2014, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that he considers the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) heroes and role models for modern Ukrainian patriots. “OUN-UPA is a very important issue and very timely delivered. Previously, it split the country and therefore not given a priority. But today is a very good time. Who is a warrior who defends his country like a UPA soldier? If you paid attention, my inauguration speech and my speech during the State Flag Day mentioned UPA as heroes. This is my position.”

On September 29, President Poroshenko took part in laying flowers at the monument of OUN in Kiev. On Twitter, President wrote, “Laid flowers to the memorial Cross of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists. Heroes never die. Glory to Ukraine!”. The flower laying ceremony was held on the day dedicated to the memory of victims in Babi Yar, who were executed by Ukrainian collaborationists.

On October 14, 2014, Ukraine passed the law that made the day of establishment of UPA a national holiday – Day of the Defender of Ukraine.

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev said publicly justified Ukrainian nationalists on March 3, saying that accusations levelled against them at the Nuremberg trial were “falsified” by the Soviet Union. 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, 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, 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, 2015, 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 school 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”.

Although no one in Ukraine officially denies the Holocaust, in September 2013 and April 2015, two bills were registered in the Verkhovna Rada that criminalize the denial of this tragedy (in the second case, together with the denial of the Holodomor). Here, as is characteristic to many countries of Eastern Europe, the issue is the tendency to deny participation in the Holocaust of local collaborators. The already mentioned textbook “Ukraine in World War II” also states that all the atrocities committed by the Holocaust were committed by the German Nazis, bashfully keeping silent about the active assistance of the Ukrainian population (which in some places began to exterminate Jews without the participation of the German Einsatzkommand). Similar tendencies were reflected in the exhibition “Ukrainian Second World War”, prepared by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINP) and the Centre for the Study of the Liberation Movement.

On June 1, 2015, the state commission in Rivne, which was supposed to approve the inscription on the memorial to the dead Jews in the village. Ostroz, rejected the proposal, because the inscription indicated that the Nazis killed the Jews with the support of local collaborators. Members of the commission tried to present the case that the Germans were assisted not by Ukrainians, but by... Russians, and in the end voted to not give any inscription at all. They argued their desire to silence the participation of Ukrainians in the Holocaust by the reluctance to give trump cards to Russian propaganda, obviously not realizing that it is precisely such prohibitions that discredit Ukraine most of all. In Zolochev, where 9,000 Jews were killed - almost 60% of the city's then-urban population, the exposition of the local museum practically does not mention this massacre, in which all the same “local accomplices” actively participated, but in detail the destruction of the NKVD in 1941 by prisoners- Ukrainians. On the board standing in the courtyard of the castle-prison, it is said that the Jews were “killed by the Nazis”. In Drohobych, Holocaust victims were “dissolved” in the overall figure of the loss of population in the district from 1939 to 1943.

On September 30, 2015, Bogdan Chervak, First Deputy State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting, head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and member of the Council of Radical Nationalist Party “Svoboda”, wrote a post on his Facebook page, commemoration of the victims of Babi Yar. He made a similar post on the website of Radio Liberty. He said that it is necessary to start the ceremony not with the commemoration of the Jews, the majority among the victims of Babi Yar, but with the commemoration of... Ukrainian nationalists, some of whom were actually killed by the Nazis. Chernyak was not embarrassed that it was the UPA collaborators who also participated in the murder of Jews solely because of their nationality in this tragic place in September-October 1941. On January 27 in Nikolayev, the ceremony of commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust was ignored by senior officials of the region and the city. The government was represented by the Acting Vice-Mayor of Nikolayev on humanitarian issues Evgeny Shevchenko.

It should also be noted that the so-called laws on the decommunization of Ukraine led to an increase in acts of vandalism not only against monuments to the communist leaders of the USSR and the USSR, but also to Soviet military leaders who liberated the country from fascism and even to victims of Nazism, including Holocaust victims. In particular, in the second half of 2015 the memorial plaque to Marshal G.K. Zhukov was desecrated, and the perpetrators were not punished, referring to the above-mentioned laws. In addition, in 2015, 6 acts of vandalism were committed on the territory of the Babi Yar Memorial.

A key element in the glorification of the Nazi collaborators in Ukraine is the annual march of the memory of the SS division "Galichina", which was established on April 28, 1943 in Western Ukraine.

On the next anniversary of the creation of the SS division "Galichina" on April 28, 2016, in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk marches of memory of this division of the SS took place, in which veterans of the division and members of radical groups took part. The participants of the marches paid tribute to the memory of the SS division fighters, and also shouted radical nationalist slogans.

It is important to note that in articles about the march, a number of media did not mention the belonging of the division to the SS, calling it simply a "division of Galicia." This is an obvious manipulation, an attempt to" whitewash "the division and its fighters from participation in the Second World War on the side of Nazi Germany.

Attempts to even "whitewash", and heroic fighters of the SS division, are statements of right-wing radicals. In particular, in one of the most popular right-wing radical groups in the social network VK "Patriots of Ukraine" (411 thousand people) are openly admired by the SS division fighters, calling them the heroes of Ukraine.

Also in 2016, public acts were held in Ukraine in honor of Roman Shukhevych, deputy commander of the Abwehr battalion "Nachtigal", deputy commander of the 201st battalion of the Shutsmanschaft and commander-in-chief of the UPA. On March 5, on the anniversary of the death of R. Shukhevych, the Civil Corps "Azov" held a torchlight procession in his honor. On the eve of his death, the Kyiv City Council (!) honored his memory with a minute of silence.

Another right-wing radical organization, the Right Sector, also honored R. Shukhevych's memory. On the official page of the organization VK was placed a congratulation on his birthday. In it, R.Shukhevich is praised as a fighter for the independence of Ukraine and is glorified as her hero.

The name of R. Shukhevych also called city objects. In particular, in the city of Smila of the Cherkassy region on May 30 in honor of R. Shukhevych the street was named.

Also in Ukraine, attempts were made to glorify other figures of the UPA. On January 1, in a number of cities, members of right-wing organizations organized torchlight processions in honor of the birthday of one of the UPA leaders, S. Bandera. In Kiev, Moscow Avenue was renamed in honor of S. Bandera.

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