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In this week’s (30 Sept.) edition of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the CNN host interviewed Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. The conversation stressed Ukraine’s appreciable progress in spite of (in some sense — because of) Vladimir Putin’s aggression, revanchism and incessant mischief-making.
In a website supplement, the CNN host recently posted some tough questions on state corruption that he did indeed put to Ukraine’s leader. But did Fareed miss an opportunity to bring up something else, something that so much of the Western media is keeping under wraps to the point of rendering it strangely unmentionable?
Will a major Western journalist follow up with the Ukrainian president along the lines of:
KIEV—As DH readers know, the government of Ukraine led by Volodymyr Viatrovych’s “Ukrainian Institute of National Memory” (UINP) has been engaged in a breathtaking campaign to whitewash the troubling backgrounds of two major World War Two fascist organizations, the OUN and UPA. While these organizations and their leaders are glorified by Ukraine for their fight against the Soviets, along the way they were also involved in mass atrocities against Jewish and Polish civilians. Moreover the OUN-UPA ideology was deeply antisemitic, and was based on Ukrainian Integral Nationalism (kind of a fancy way of saying: fascism). Viatrovych also seeks to glorify Ukrainian World War One-era nationalist leader Symon Petliura whose troops engaged in mass pogroms during the Russian Civil War which killed between thirty-five and fifty thousand Jews.
While not necessarily directly related to whitewashing agenda of “Historical Memory Commissar” Viatrovych, Ukraine has also seen an upsurge in major antisemitic incidents including the desecration of Holocaust memorial sites and monuments, frequently with the use of swastikas and other Nazi iconography.
After long remaining silent, Western leaders and major Jewish organizations seem to have finally noticed what’s going on. Fifty-seven US Congressmen recently signed an Open Letter condemning Ukraine, noting that much of this Holocaust revisionism is state-sponsored. The US Holocaust Museum also decried anti-Roma violence in Ukraine while noting that “he continuing effort led by the leadership of the government’s Ukrainian Institute of National Memory to praise certain leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and cleanse their murderous records raises doubts regarding the government’s intentions.” Meanwhile the World Jewish Congress has sharply critiqued Ukraine for the upsurge in desecrations of Holocaust memorials.
KIEV—Evidence continues to mount that the noxious far-right, state-supported memory politics of Volodymyr Viatrovych’s “Ukrainian Institute of National Memory” are directly leading to growing antisemitism in Ukraine.
The mayor of a town in Western Ukraine says the current government is a “Muscovite-Yid.” What’s striking is how he cites how Vyatrovych’s Institute to embolden and legitimize his views:
KIEV—As the Ukrainian Government continues its increasingly unrestrained state-sponsored Holocaust revisionism campaign led by Volodymyr Viatrovych’s Institute of National Memory (UINP), questions surrounding the Holocaust in Ukrainian education in post-Maidan Ukraine are increasingly coming up. Thanks to new research by the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, some clear answers are taking shape. And the signs are, in some critics’ views, a cause for concern.
According to a new book released by Viatrovych’s institute, it appears that the government is determined to present what can only charitably called an alternative view of “history”. Entitled A Compilation of Methodological Recommendations for Commemorative Observances in General Educational Etablishments, UINP’s 220 page book reduces the history of the Holocaust to a mere footnote.
Dolinsky has revealed to the West the contours of the “history” to be provided to millions of Ukraine’s young people in the coming years. Its salient points become evident from a number of sample features:
It sounds like something straight out of the wackiest conspiracy sites on the internet — but it may be true. The US Government — through its main foreign aid agency the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — may indeed be inadvertently funding the Ukrainian Government’s far-reaching project to whitewash and glorify the Hitlerist World War II era nationalist OUN and UPA organizations, whose hordes were responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish and Polish civilians.
KIEV—The last surviving organizer of the revolt at Sobibor death camp Arkady Vaispapir, has died at th age of 96.
Vaispapir belied the unfortunate stereotype of Jews going quietly to their deaths. during the Holocaust. He was a Red Army soldier who was wounded in battle, captured by the Nazis and sent to Sobibor. Realizing they were doomed and with nothing to lose, Vaispapir and other Jewish inmates, led by a Jewish Red Army lieutenant named Alexander Pechersky staged an effective and full-scale revolt against their SS guards.
While much is said in some American media outlets about “fake news” in the US, the smallness of the matters being discussed might come into focus when compared with Ukraine, which is of late producing rather much fake news about the Holocaust and elementary points in World War II history.
As we reported back in October, Ukrainian media outlet Radio Svoboda — the Ukrainian arm of the US Government-funded arm of RFERL — posted a picture from the US Holocaust Museum. It is an image of Polish Jews being deported to a death camp. There was just one problem. Radio Svoboda claimed the picture was from 1949 of Ukrainians being deported to Siberia. In fact, so effective was Radio Svoboda’s forgery that President Poroshenko himself tweeted it claiming it showed Ukrainians being deported. To Poroshenko’s credit, his office took it down almost immediately after we pointed this out.
In response to a protest from the World Jewish Congress, after the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa unveiled a statue celebrating nationalist leader Symon Petliura — whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms between 1918 and 1921 — a regional official from the extremist Svoboda party threatened Jewish citizens. In a Facebook rant, the Svoboda official warned Jews opposed to the Petliura statue to fall in line or face the consequences. The Svoboda official stated that “the only time we comfortably coexisted with kikes is Koliyvishchyna,” a reference to an 18th century pogrom against Jews in Ukraine.
As Ukraine’s Orwellian-sounding Ukrainian Institute of National Memory continues building a cult around such antisemitic World War II era nationalists as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych — their forces were responsible for the murder of (at least) tens of thousands of Jews and Poles — some frankly surreal aspects come sharply into view. The latest though really takes the cake.
Ukraine’s “pro-Western” president Petro Poroshenko, who in 2014 proclaimed the founding of a Hitlerist fascist group as a national holiday, and in 2015 tweeted photos of himself in a uniform making a joke of fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose hordes were responsible for the murders of (at least) tens of thousands of Jewish and Polish civilians on the basis of ethnicity, has just “done it again.”
“To be ‘pro-Western’ one must share Western values, not just geopolitical foes.”
On Friday, Poroshenko tweeted a photograph which he claimed represented citizens of Western Ukraine being deported to Siberia in 1947. His tweet translates: “Today is the 70th anniversary of mass deportations of populations of western Ukraine to Siberia and northern regions of the former USSR. We remember.”
As reported last week, in connection with a protest from the World Jewish Congress, authorities in Ukraine recently inaugurated a statue to Symon Petliura in the city of Vinnitsa. Petliura (1879—1926) was a Ukrainian whose troops killed tens of thousands of Jewish civilians in a devastating series of pogroms in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed it.
The following press statement appeared on the World Jewish Congress website on 17 October 2017:
NEW YORK—The World Jewish Congress has denounced the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa’s “disgraceful and deplorable” move to celebrate nationalist leader Symon Petliura, whose Ukrainian People’s Republic killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms under his leadership in 1918-1921, and urged the local authorities to pull a monument unveiled over the weekend in his honor.
WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said in a statement:
As reported on 7 October, the city of Kalush in Western Ukraine has named a street for Hauptsturmführer Dmitro Paliyiv, a key founder of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Galizien division. The division enjoyed a visit from Heinrich Himmler during World War II.
During the last two years a notable number of streets in Ukraine have been named after World War Two-era Ukrainian nationalists who collaborated with the Nazis and were involved in the Holocaust as well as the mass ethnic cleansing of Poles in Western Ukraine. Josh Cohen explained in a recent Reuters column that it is part of Ukraine’s post-Maidan Government attempt to create a new national memory for Ukraine:
In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA). Since then, other streets have been named after the group and its leaders, and the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war.
The following open Letter of Concern appears on the Academia.edu page of Professor Tarik Cyril Amar and others.
While antisemitism in France and other western European nations generates the headlines, the Jews of Ukraine are facing the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the Jewish world in 2015. Thousands of Jews have been made homeless by the military conflict that has decimated their communities in Donetsk and Luhansk while both sides of the conflict bandy about casual accusations of antisemitism at their enemies for propaganda purposes, falsely turning the issue into a Jewish one.