The uncomfortable truth about radical Neo Nazi ideologies in Ukraine – The Citizen

The 1st Galician Division of the SS was also drafted predominantly from volunteers of Ukrainian ethnic background with ties to the OUN. One of the Division’s battalions was commanded by an OUN member, Major Yevgeny Pobigushchy. Present-day Ukrainian propaganda depicts this Division as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, but it was yet another OUN-established nationalist paramilitary organization that collaborated with the Nazis and was steered by the OUN leaders Dmytro Klyachkivsky and Roman Shukhevych. In reality, the 1st Galician Division of the SS started off as the   SS-Freiwilligen Division “Galizien” but was re-named after 1944 as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS and was supposed to be made up of Galicians only, who were considered by Nazis to be “more Aryan-like” than Ukrainians. However, OUN-B successfully infiltrated the division and took over some leading positions in it.

Bandera, as the head of this organization, was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine by ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko on January 20, 2010. On February 17, 2010, MEPs called on newly elected President Viktor Yanukovych to reconsider Yushchenko’s actions, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed “deep disgust” over the “shameful” veneration of Bandera.

After the coup of 2014, the new Ukrainian authorities took a more systematic approach to glorifying Hitler’s collaborators. In April of 2015, the law ‘On the Legal Status and Perpetuation of the Memory of Fighters for the Independence of Ukraine in the 20th Century’ was adopted, in which the OUN and UPA are glorified. This perpetuation of memory refers to the building of memorial complexes, renaming significant places after the collaborators, propaganda in art, etc. In 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a resolution on celebrating memorable dates and anniversaries. The list includes the birthday of Stepan Bandera. On January 1, torchlight processions honoring Bandera are held annually in Ukrainian cities, and a Stepan Bandera Avenue has appeared in Kiev.

The uncomfortable truth about radical ideologies in Ukraine – The Citizen