The exercise of the Ukrainian culture offensive (see part II of this series) is pathetic and amusing, but their planned and currently implemented heroization of criminals is no reason for a laugh.
And yet, the world has swallowed the simply unthinkable decision of the Ukrainian parliament back in April 2015 that recognized all those criminals as ‘fighters for the Ukrainian independence”, along with all the financial and legal consequences of the decision.
Maybe, it would be worthy to recall the existing resolution of the European Parliament voted for back in 2010. Resolution RC-B7-0116/2010 is called Situation in Ukraine and passed on February 25th, 2010. It states the following: “European Parliament 20. - Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values;
The resolution instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Ukraine and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and NATO”.
As far as the public knows, this resolution has not been annulled.
But the current European Parliament is full of surprises. The Czech MEP Jan Stetina has invited Andrei Biletsky, the leader of the infamous neo-Nazi Ukranian battalion Azov, to a session‘to speak to the members of the European Parliament’. As the Czech media are boiling over this travesty, the self-contented former journalist is brushing off the fact of the Nazi character of the Azov as ‘Russian propaganda’. Maybe, he never heard of the international coverage of the Azov – including all the American press – that has prompted the US Congress to amend their aid to Ukraine specifying and emphasising that Azov and the other several neo-Nazi battalions and organizations are to be excluded from receiving the US taxpayers’ money.
But he definitely knows that his friend, the devoted self-declared Nazi Biletsky, proudly calls himself the White Fuhrer and demands to be called by this self-imposed title. Journalist Stetina does not need to have a look at the very clear photo and film materials existing on Azov. He has been visiting his neo-Nazi friends frequently, and has seen all their insignia, their manuals, and everything else in full detail.
Perhaps this aging MEP and journalist who did not become as famous as he dreamt of being, has to find another way to make headlines, which he certainly did in the Czech Republic. He has made his choice - to promote the leader of the neo-Nazi militant unit to the European Parliament and to give him the floor there. This is a shameful and despicable choice which has to be and will be confronted. MEP Stetina is contributing to neo-Nazi propaganda which is forbidden by European laws.
Stetina lost his job as a journalist back in 1968, as many honest people in Czechoslovakia did, including the late president Vaclav Havel; he has been sanctioned, wrongly, by the Kremlin today, as have been many of his colleagues at the European Parliament. But does that justify propagating Ukrainian neo-Nazism in the European Parliament? Vaclav Havel would know what to say to his disgusting compatriot. Havel never lost his dignity and humanism. Stetina probably never had it.
There is much truth in the sentence that “the people are worthy of the government which they have voted for”, the same could be said about the countries which are worthy of the heroes they have recognized. The world, however, sits idly by when a 45-million country in the centre of Europe is rapidly galloping towards complete contempt of history and human life in the open neo-Nazification campaign.
Did we lose our conscience collectively, to allow such open neo-Nazification to swamp such big country in the centre of Europe? If this is acceptable for the country which lost over 5 million of its citizens during the Second World War, with so many of them killed by the Nazi collaborators whom they have proclaimed as their new icons today?
Neo-Nazification in Progress
In the summer 2015, German television broadcast a stunning documentary on the children's summer camps in today’s Ukraine. Everybody is welcome to have a look at small Ukrainian children’s smiles while performing Nazi salutes en masse, their jolly marches and enthusiastic screams of the Bandera slogans which have become the official slogans of today’s Ukraine.
Several governmental bodies and specially created committees haVE been preparing for the new school year in Ukraine. Recently, the education minister proudly announced that 'in the new school year, a new concept of the patriotic education will be implemented in the country". This new concept is mandatory and it includes courses for children such as The Course for the Young Patriot for children from 9 years of age on; the "I am a Young Patriot" program, the Theory of Race course for older students. Simultaneously, students in the universities and already graduated teachers will be taught the requirements of this new national concept of patriotic education. The minister said that "this all is only beginning."
This promising beginning, is in fact, fulfilment of two major recent decisions of the Ukrainian government: in June 2015, the Ukrainian president signed a decree prescribing establishing a special working panel, and implementation of the Strategy of National-Patriotic Education in the country until 2020.
In July 2015, the Ukrainian government established yet another commission on national patriotic education. It was stated by the Ukrainian authorities, that among the projects conducted within the national patriotic governmental strategy, there are such events as producing a film on the Ukrainian Galician Army, and the annual ceremonies in honour of Bandera on his birthday. By presidential decree, the day of the establishment of the UNA-OUN has become a new national holiday in Ukraine, a very important one for them, Ukrainian Army Day.
In January 2015, the world had already seen Ross Kemp’s very graphic documentary on the neo-Nazi battalions in Ukraine, shown by SKY on its satellite channels world-wide. One of the many reviews on the documentary stated: "There appears to be a neo-Nazi ultimatum in Ukraine today”.
Later on in the year, in May 2015, the German WDR documentary Brothers did show in detail not only the neo-Nazi character, ideology and agenda of those who call themselves Ukrainian nationalists, but also their close working links to the organized crime syndicates and ISIS. The film is available at the WDR archive.
More recently, in summer 2015, the fresh Polish documentary "Nazis in the Trenches" produced and broadcast by TVP also provided first-hand insight into the world of the modern Ukrainian neo-Nazis, who are very proud of themselves and love to be in the limelight. To the questions of the Polish correspondents on their attitude towards the Ukrainian nationalist crimes against the Poles, a young militant , with a huge Nazi tattoo on his arm, smiles serenely: “Well, such were the times. We had to fight for our cause”.
The message seems to be starting to come through - from the spring of 2015 onward, the leading and most reputable Western media – such The New York Times, The Financial Times, Der Spiegel , Corriera della Serra, Stampa , La Reppublica, Newsweek, Time, the Sunday Times, and the Daily Telegraph – all had a stream of articles specifically devoted to the theme of the rapid neo-Nazification of Ukraine, and its dangerous implications. But so far, many of these publications are lacking the simplest and most essential thing that must be articulated: all this is completely unacceptable. The world shall not tolerate it. Period.
In August 2015, many genuinely shocked British media, including The Guardian and Daily Mail, published a story furnished with photographs, from yet another Ukrainian neo-Nazi summer camp for children, set up by the infamous Azov battalion near Kiev. The children accepted to the camp are aged six and upward. Are the European Union officials also shocked, in some way, as the British media are, and are they going to do something about this progressing neo-Nazification of Ukraine?
In August 2015, the official statement by the Ukrainian Security Service announced that part of the neo-Nazi Pravy Sector (Right Sector), a viciously anti-Semitic conglomerate of violent and armed men, now will become a special unit within the Ukrainian Security Service. Yet before that, Dmitry Jarosh, the notorious leader of the Right Sector, was politely invited to become an adviser to the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. The people who are undertaking such steps, one after another, seem not to have read heir history text-book back in elementary school. Otherwise, they would see immediately the outrageous repetition of the actions of Hitler and his circle with regard to the Ernst Röhm’s Storming Detachments in Germany in 1933-1934. The result is known all too well to all of mankind.
And while having fun watching Ukrainian children in the T-shirts of the Azovetz and the other neo-Nazi camps in the current Ukraine, what can one note as their logo? The SS Das Reich Division emblem.
Welcome to the new Ukraine.
Dr Inna Rogatchi is a writer, scholar and film maker. Her forthcoming book is Dark Stars, Wise Hearts: Personal Reflections on the Holocaust in Modern Times. Her film The Lessons of Survival is due to be screened at the Special Film Commemorative Series in honour of Simon Wiesenthal on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his passing in October 2015 in Israel. More: Rogatchi Films – www.rogatchifilms.org