Kyiv Post | 04Feb2010 | Interfax-Ukraine

Polish president condemns hero title award for Bandera

Polish President Lech Kaczynski has condemned Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko's decision to confer the rank of a Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and to give OUN-UPA soldiers the status of fighters for Ukraine's independence, reads a statement posted on the Web site of the Polish president.

"The assessment of the activity of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Poland is unambiguously negative. These organizations were involved in the mass killings of Poles in the eastern territories of the Second Rzeczpospolita [interwar Poland] when 100,000 people died. Poles were killed for being Poles. These crimes cause a protest in the Polish community," reads the statement.

[W.Z.  Mr. Kaczynski should invest in and watch the movie Bereza Kartuzka (available in both English and Ukrainian) describing the Polish concentration camp in which thousands of Ukrainian patriots were imprisoned and tortured during the 1930s.]

Kaczynski expressed regret that Yuschenko's decision indicated that "current political interests prevail over the historical truth."

"Moreover, Poland is firmly confident that effective and close partnership between sovereign, free and democratic Poland and Ukraine meets the interests of both countries," reads the statement.

"We cannot forget about that," Kaczynski said.

The Ukrainian president conferred the Hero of Ukraine rank to Bandera on Jan. 22, 2010.


Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 19:44

What "Guest" is reporting from the journal "Dilo" is essentially sovok Ukrainophobic smear Perhaps, also, he/she is citing it out of context, this I do not know. But yes, there was a faction within the nationalist movement in Halychyna that thought this way. Many different factions in Halychyna proposed many different solutions to attain the same end, for a desperate people placed well-below Western countries' radar screens yearning to get out from under a savage occupant's heel. Ukrainian poet Lesia Ukrayinka summed up this yearning in Latin very succinctly: "contra spem spero" - I believe in the impossible. Sound familiar? Think: "Palestine".

Lenin and Mao thought that way, hundreds of liberation movements in the world think that way, the Zionist Jews in Palestine under the British Mandate most emphatically thought that way:

So, the argument ran, who could argue with success? They saw themselves as front-line avengers, as champions, for the impardonable harm done to Ukraine by her rabid occupiers.

A current slogan of the time was, "sotnia poliazhe, tysiacha znovu stane do borot'by" (a company of fighters will die, a thousand more will rise to stand in their place). Think: Palestine.

However, Ukrainians being a calm peace-loving people, the vast majority and their moral authorities did not think that way. The illustrious and blessed Metropolitan Andrii Shepetyskyi, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine which encompasses the vast majority of Galicia, vehemently opposed it, wrote public denunciations of it and had his bishops and priests repeatedly condemn it from the pulpit.

But then WW2 happened and the Ukrainian nation was confronted with only these unpalatable options: lacking their own national Ukrainian armed forces, to choose either to side with those that kill only the body of the nation but leave its spirit alive (Germany); or those that kill both the body and the spirit of the nation (the Soviet Empire); or ultimately and idealistically to fight, contra spem spero, against all comers as staunch insurgents (the idea of OUN, UPA, and Stepan Bandera).

History is judging right now that the third choice was the correct one.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 09:35

A journalist for "Dilo", the largest Ukrainian daily, Ivan Kedryn knew
well both legal and illegal Ukrainian political life, and wrote in his memoirs:
"The underground revolutionary movement’s leaders [...] thought that
the worse is nation’s situation, the better for them, because it could lead to the revolutionizing the whole nation."
The OUN’s terrorist actions, and the authorities repressive contractions (like pacification) showed, that there could be no constructive dialog between the Polish government and the Ukrainian radicals.

creo, Guest | Yesterday at 09:14

Banderists murdered innocent Jews, Ukrainians, Poles. There is no justification to it.

self defense NOT murder, Guest | Yesterday at 18:29

obviously Ukraine's enemies MURDERED MORE because they won...while the Jews were celebrating their freedom and creation and recognition of Israel in the late 40's AFTER the war the Poles and Russians (and their Ukrainian collaborators) were co-ordinating Operation Visla and population transfers while Ukraine was undergoing the secret Famine of 1947. The transports to the GULAG were also in full force; and any sign of "Ukrainization" was stamped out in a genocidal manner by all of Ukraine's enemies!
Its a farce to call anti-Ukrainians such as Khruschev and Brezhnev as "Ukrainians" and hold them up as examples of what Ukrainians should be like!

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 17:05

Ukrainians were supposed to allow themselves to be genocided quitely...I don't think so! You would like that...its NOT going to happen! We are no different than anyone else.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 02:57

Polish brutalization and slaughter of Ukrainians in the 1930s is vividly described by witnesses in the 900-page book of memoirs "Berezhanska Zemlia" (in Ukrainian)

More particularly, the tenors here singing for Poland and against Bandera ought to read the section titled Pacification ("Pacyfikaciya" in Ukrainian) which starts in Part 1, page 235, of this book. Copy and paste this into the address bar of your browser and read on:

The vicious depredations and destruction carried out by the Poles against the civilian population are described here for only one region ("povit"), that of Berezhany, a very small area of western Ukraine. Multiply that by a factor of 100; of 1 000; to obtain a fairer vision of what Poland did to Ukrainians in the inter-war years alone.

The Polish president needed to read only this one small section, clearly to understand how it was that Polish chauvinism and unbridled atrocities gave birth to the OUN, the UPA, and to the formidable Stepan Bandera.

These are not fables. The Polish concentration camp Bereza Kartuska, which did not take a back seat to any of the corresponding German KZ's, was set up in the 1930s expressly to torture and defeat Ukrainian patriots. They failed. My father was one of those who survived. He never spoke a word of Polish thereafter until his dying day.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 00:35

Ukraine's shameful past should not be hidden. If Ukrainians want to have such heroes like Bandera, they should also acknowledge genocide Banderists are guilty of.

George Lewycky, Guest | Yesterday at 06:19

Living as an oppressed minority under a totalitarian Polish occupation in the 1930s, my mother, then a school principal in Lemkivshchina, was fired after a Polish manager asked her students what country they lived in; and they answered "Ukraine." Also, my father, then a professor at the ancient University of Kracow, was fired for refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism and to Polish nationality.

In spite of this, today, Poland and Ukraine, MUST, and largely have, forget the centuries of conflict and hatred and remain the close allies they have rightfully become as a united front to prevent Tzar Putin from reestablishing the Russian Empire.

Tempest, Guest | Yesterday at 01:53

"Ukraine's shameful past should not be hidden".
Ukraine was under a repressive and illegal foreign occupation if that means anything to you.
Where would you like to personally go with this?

Tempest, Guest | Two days ago at 19:53

Poland has to be careful where its going with this, as Moscow would love nothing more but to see a Poland-Ukraine divide that it can exploit. Warsaw should understand that their policies during the Polish occupation of West Ukraine were undeniably repressive. Many Ukrainians, including my grandfather, had to travel further into Europe or to North America, just to be allowed to get an University education as they were discriminated against from doing so under Polish rule.
Hopefully by now, Poland has learned that its security is also dependent to that of Ukraine's well being and the Polish president should understand the past for what it was. Poland also tried to play its own version of the "empire game" at the expense of its neighbours but failed and suffered miserably with the onset of the war.
The appointment of Bandera to hero status may be controversial for Warsaw to handle but Poland also has historical figures whose heroism titles were earned by ruthlessly subjecting its neighbours to forced servitude. Yushchenko is not publically condemning Polish "heroes" for what they were.
Kaczynski should hold his tongue as there is no benefit for Poland's past history to also be revisited.

Tea pot, Guest | Yesterday at 02:02

Polands position on this matter is entirely understandable, as is that of the jewish community. Did we really expect silence and acknowledgement that history is complex? We're dealing with politics here. Kaczynski HAD to speak out... Yuschenko didn't do Ukraine any favors with this insensitive gesture. Those who sympathize with Bandera's goal of an independent Ukraine (and I include myself in that group) gain nothing by alienating the best ally Ukraine has had in recent years. And for what?.. A medal?... For a dead man?.. It's just plain dumb.

Tempest, Guest | Yesterday at 08:17

I note your words but Ukrainians have to stop apologizing for surviving.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 00:44

Well, you overestimate Ukraine's importance. Good relations with Russia are essential. It seems that polish politicians understand it now.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 04:56

Russia is a very inessential country, however they are a neighbor.

IT'S SIMPLE!, Guest | Two days ago at 18:31

If the Poles don't want slave rebellions they should not practice slavery.

wildbill, Guest | Two days ago at 18:02

Bandera and his policies were crafted by the inhumane repressive treatment that he and Ukrainians received under Polish rule. How could it be otherwise. Eye for an eye....tooth for a tooth. A hero he certainly was when placed into the proper context of the time.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 00:40

Eye for an eye? - 100,000 murdered peaceful Poles? It's sheer cowardice to attack civilians.

Guest, Guest | Two days ago at 21:16

he hero of 1,54 m
a dwarf king, giant among those nationalistic dwarves

Кривоніс, Guest | Two days ago at 23:35

10 centimeters shorter than Putin, 2 centimeters taller than Medvedev.
You may be onto something.

Guest, Guest | Yesterday at 10:50

Murderer Bandera really was a tiny man - that might explain a lot psychologically.

oleh, Guest | Yesterday at 17:34

So that little bit of 'wisdom' is your contribution....oh my!

Guest, Guest | Two days ago at 23:07

I hope your intelligence is higher than your vocabulary

The Poles made him, Guest | Two days ago at 17:03

It was Polish tyranny that made him the man and hero that he was!

Guest, Guest | Two days ago at 17:02

et tu Brutus?