1 – UKRAINE. Memory Institute against the West
Historical remembrance and national reconciliation are touchy issues – especially when they concern large wars, mass murder and suffering of millions in the recent rather than far-away past. Ukraine’s memory of the nation’s Soviet history is primarily concerned with the enormous number of victims of Bolshevik and Nazi rule and wars in Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians – along with millions of other victims – living in the “bloodlands” (Timothy Snyder) were killed and terrorised by Europe’s two most murderous totalitarian regimes. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians collaborated to one degree or another with both of the killing machines – a considerable challenge for Ukrainian memory policies.
Ukraine’s post-Soviet history and Ukrainian historical memory
This daunting intellectual, cognitive and emotional test is aggravated by the fact that Kyiv is currently fighting a war of survival with the main negative protagonist of its national memory – Moscow. More often than not over-ambitious, cynical and ruthless, the Kremlin’s foreign policies and related public discourse have recently again become driven by undisguised aggressive imperialism and a love-hate approach to Ukraine bordering on the psychopathological.
This is further complicated by the fact that Ukraine has a sizeable Russian ethnic minority – approximately 17 per cent of its population, partly allegiant to Moscow rather than Kyiv. Purposeful manipulation with topics of national memory, recent history and interethnic relations, not least in Polish mass media and social networks, is part and parcel of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against Kyiv. The Kremlin’s attack on the Ukrainian nation is executed, with a multitude of military and non-military, hard- and soft-power instruments, on a daily basis. It actively exploits controversial historical issues, and aims to destroy the Ukrainian state from within rather than from outside.
This already peculiar constellation is even more exceptional in view of Ukrainian memory policies’ far-reaching repercussions for its international relations. This concerns especially the interpretation, evaluation and memorialisation of the (in)famous Bandera faction of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) of the inter-war and the Second World War periods.
Currently favoured by the ruling class and large parts of the intellectual elite of Ukraine, the officially affirmative classification of the OUN is deeply controversial among Ukraine’s Russophone citizens, foreign partners and pro-Western intelligentsia. The OUN was normatively (though not geographically) anti-Western and manifestly anti-Soviet, at the same time.
The OUN is now seen by many Ukrainians as having been anti-totalitarian and liberationist. Yet, the ultra-nationalist, ethnically cleansed and monistic one-party state that the Bandera faction envisaged, at least until the early 1940s, would have itself amounted to an illiberal and totalitarian dictatorship.
The leaders and ideologues of the OUN were ethnocentric and xenophobic. At the same time, many of them gave their and their families’ lives to Ukraine’s fight for independence. Some Ukrainian nationalists – including at least one brother of Stepan Bandera – were slain by the Nazis, but most perished while fighting Stalin’s regime. Both the OUN’s original founder and most cultic leader fell victim to spectacular assassinations by Soviet special agents, in the West: Yevhen Konovalets was killed by an NKVD agent in Rotterdam in 1938, and Stepan Bandera was murdered by a KGB agent in Munich in 1959.
- While issues of national memory can be thorny in other countries too, they have a domestic divisiveness and international explosiveness for the Ukrainian state that are – in this toxic combination – rare. It was therefore surprising that Kyiv’s post-Euromaidan leadership decided to hand over the government’s main official organ responsible for memory affairs to a group of relatively young activists with unknown scholarly credentials.
- The Ukrainian Institute for National Remembrance (UINP) attached to Ukraine’s Cabinet of Minister was, in 2014, put under the control of a circle of nationalistic publicists with little previous attachment to Ukrainian academic institutions and limited international exposure.
- The UINP’s current staff is closely linked to a marginal, yet industrious Galician NGO called Center for Research into the Liberation Movement (TsDVR). The main aim of the TsDVR’s significant book publishing and mass media activity is to further an apologetic public opinion of the OUN-B and hagiographic official discourse around its war-time leaders Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych, Yaroslav Stetsko and others.
- The UINP has coupled its current decommunisation campaign with a comprehensive nationalisation and partial “Banderisation” drive in public remembrance and official discourse. It is actively supported by the TsDVR that presents the wartime Ukrainian ultra-nationalist movement as the pinnacle of Ukrainian patriotism and love of freedom. While the UINP directly influences Ukraine’s executive, the TsDVR exerts impact on Ukraine’s legislative process, as a member of the famous alliance of Ukraine’s civil society organisations’ “Reanimation Package of Reforms” devoted to drafting and pushing through reform laws in the Verkhovna Rada.
An increasingly odd facet of the activities of the UINP and TsDVR in the area of Ukrainian publishing, journalism, education, lobbying, toponomy etc. is that they happen against the background of an upsurge of critical research on the OUN-B in academic institutions in Ukraine, the EU and North America, during the last decade.
For instance, Germany saw, during the last years, the appearance of, among other scholarly publications, three massive monographs, highlighting in detail specific aspects of the OUN-B’s history. Frank Golczewski, professor emeritus at the University of Hamburg, in 2010 published a 1000-page study of German-Ukrainian relations between 1914 and 1939, Deutsche und Ukrainer (Schoeningh Press), dealing with, among others, the foundation of the OUN and its interaction with the pre-war Third Reich.
Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, a research fellow at the Free University of Berlin, in 2014 published a 650-page biography of Stepan Bandera, The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist (ibidem Press), outlining why Bandera’s movement should be seen as a Ukrainian permutation of East European fascism. Kai Struve, an associate professor at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, published in 2015 a 700-page monograph on the anti-Jewish pogroms in Western Ukraine in the summer of 1941, titled Deutsche Herrschaft, ukrainischer Nationalismus, antijüdische Gewalt (De Gruyter Oldenbourg), demonstrating the OUN-B’s deep involvement in antisemitic violence already during the first weeks of the Nazi-Soviet war.
The contents and results of Ukraine’s apologetic and hagiographic memory policies by the governmental UINP and non-governmental TsDVR are primarily a problem in and of itself. They prevent Ukrainians from coming to terms with their recent past.
Because of the deep resentment they encounter in russophone Ukraine, they hinder the development of a unified Ukrainian political nation. The UINP/TsDVR’s activities have been criticised from the perspectives of historical scholarship, interethnic relations, national remembrance, social cohesion, ethical standards, and moral responsibility. In addition to these perspectives, they can be also examined from the viewpoint of Kyiv’s foreign policy priorities, and especially against the background of Ukraine’s aspiration for deep European integration.
The UINP’s history policies and TsDVR publishing industry touch on four central themes in the post-war West’s public life that are relevant to Ukraine’s current foreign relations:
(1) the anti-nationalist impetus of European integration,
(2) the centrality of the Holocaust to contemporary Western thought,
(3) modern criteria of delineating scholarly from non-scholarly discourse, as well as
(4) the relevance of Poland to East European affairs and of Germany to European politics.
The effectual impact that the UINP, TsDVR and their supporters have had on Ukraine’s public opinion and international image, over the last two years, creates problems for the Ukrainian state’s foreign relations, in the following ways
EUROSCEPTICISM Nations Conflicts Crisis Army Person Economy Youtube
*Youtuube — New World Order Puppet Master George Soros Exposed | The Trumpet Blows— conspiracy news, new world order, apocalypse, nwo, illuminati, latest news, martial law, world war 3, world news, fema camps, end times, signs of the end, george soros, fema, freemason, end of times, world events, freemasons, the apocalypse, signs of the end times, bible prophecy, end times news, end times signs, jesuits illuminati conspiracy, the jesuits, masons end times prophecy, concentration camps, end times events, prophetic events, thetrumpetblows, the trumpet blows,
*Youtube — George SOROS: The One-Man Illuminati Machine — INTRO & Outro
*Youtube — New World Order (Order Out Of Chaos)! “The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.