Looks like there is trouble in Poroshenko paradise. The Ukrainian leader is being called upon by the real ultra-nationalists to criticize Poland’s condemnation of Stepan Bandera – the Ukrainian nationalist hero who pledged allegiance to Nazi Germany in World War II.
Now Poroshenko has to choose between his own domestic radicals or a member of the military alliance they seek entry into. No matter what he does, someone will be mad.
Truth be told, Poroshenko isn’t a true Neo-Nazi of the caliber of Pravi Sektor and their *slightly* more PR friendly friends in the Svoboda party. He is certainly a Nazi sympathizer who has said inexcusable things, such as when he gleefully declared East Ukrainian children will live in bomb shelters while his will go to school, but this is all a smoke screen to gain political support, and distract from his more likely real intentions: To rob Ukraine blind 1990’s style, and flee to a western mansion of his choice when/if the country burns.
If innocent Russian-Ukrainian citizens perish in the crossfire, he doesn’t care, but no one expects Poroshenko to take the fight to the streets draped in the flag, for the “glory of Ukraine”. If Poroshenko stepped outside during one of those eerily familiar rallies, he would not find himself welcome.
The real fighting is done by the radical Nazi elements, while the actual administration of the country is the work of greedy oligarchs, with hardly a shred of patriotism in their blood. No one is saying Poroshenko’s isn’t leading a pro-Nazi regime, but he’s more of the “Let the poor idiots die in wars. I want to see if I can stuff as much money in my pockets, as I can chocolate in my mouth” kind of tyrant, rather than the passionate “For the Glory of Ukraine!” type.
He doesn’t have a patriotic bone in his body, certainly not the noble type, but not even the fascist ultranationalism. Say what you will about those vile Nazi’s, despicable as they are, they love the fatherland and are happy to die for it. Poroshenko has no intention of dying for anyone, let alone Ukraine.
Poroshenko and his ilk would sell the bones of Stepan Bandera if it fetched a pretty hrivna – but the problem is, if the nationalists wake up from their drunken chest pounding, raping, and pillaging, long enough to catchon, Poroshenko and friends would not be happy campers.
And that’s what we’ve seen now, they’re calling him out to take a stand. On 26th of January, the Polish Sjem (Senate) passed a law banning propagowania banderyzmu (Banderist Propaganda) – original article in Polish. An English article can be found here.
UWAGA❗Sejm właśnie przegłosował nasz projekt ustawy zakazujący propagowania banderyzmu i podważania zbrodni ludobójstwa na Wołyniu dokonanej przez oddziały ukraińskich nacjonalistów z OUN-UPA. Dopięliśmy swego! Podajcie dalej! pic.twitter.com/VwmaCHQuhC
— Kukiz'15 (@Kukiz15) January 26, 2018
The law imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for those who would deny, among other things, the Volyn Massecure, and the role of Ukrainian nationalist organizations like those lead by Bandera which collaborated with the Third Riche, Strana.ua reports [in russian].
So…Nazis are bad…big surprise? That seems to be something most of us agree one…we would hope. Who doesn’t hate Nazis? Hitler and those who admire him, and his beliefs, truly represent the scum of the human race. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, as readers of alternative media already know, Nazism is quite fashionable.
Among these Banderists, include the Svoboda party are NOT very happy their favorite Nazi leader is not welcome in Warsaw.
Заборона "бандерівської ідеології" ‒ це не просто дешевий популізм частини польського політикуму. Насправді це заперечен…
In their post, they not only claim the ban on “Bandera ideology” is “cheap populism” on the part of the Polish, but they go as far as to claim it is “a denial of the right of Ukrainians to their own statehood and national dignity”.
—First of all, how does Stepan Bandera have anything to do with Ukrainian statehood? He was born in Austro-Hungarian occupied West Ukraine, briefly lead a fascist Ukrainian regime allied with Hitler, spent half the war in a concentration camp, and died in 1959 in Munich, Germany. Someone needs to educate these Ukrainian nationalists in Ukrainian history. Speaking of Ukrainian history, here is the declaration of Bandera’s open collaboration with Adolf Hitler
The Svoboda party goes on to demand that Petro Poroshenko and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubia:
Immediately convene a Rada session to assess Poland’s decision
Sack Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin for another failure of domestic diplomacy
Svoboda then calls upon “Poroshenko as the one responsible for foreign policy to immediately publicly condemn the decision of the Polish Sejm, and return the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych”, which was removed under Yanukovych’s presidency.
What a shame for Poroshenko, if his own radical factions keep expecting him to “defend” Ukraine, how will he be able to rob the country blind? This shows the volatility of Ukraine. An outsider may look at the country and assume its a single, united, homogenous nation all devoted to fighting Russia, whereas it is really a highly divided territory filled with different peoples. You will find in some places Russian nationalists stronger than some in Russia, and in others, Neo-Nazis, which fill the group currently in power.
Even amongst the Russophobic parties, there is no unity. Actually, hatred of Russia is one of the only things they CAN agree on. Beyond that, they each of their own dreams. The two most prominent anti-Russian factions are the Oligarchs who sing along to the Nazi tune, but are really more interested in embezzlement on a national scale, and have no intention of fighting and dying for Ukraine, and the hardcore nationalists eager to slaughter their own kinsmen.
Now Poroshenko is caught in an awkward position. He only has three main options:
- He can condemn Poland, please the Fascists, while angering a NATO and EU country, and perhaps one of the few with almost the same level of Russophobia as Ukraine. Many Ukrainians work and study in Poland, the two countries have ancient ties, almost as close as Russia and Belarus are to Ukraine. Angering the Poles can have long-term political consequences, especially for Ukraine’s relationship with the EU.
- Poroshenko could also condemn Svoboda, trying to paint himself as a moderate. This is highly unlikely, as he could be overthrown any moment.
- Most likely, he will do nothing. He will ignore both Poland’s ban of Bandera, as well as Svoboda’s call to criticize it. He will continue to try and play all sides for as long as it suits him. While the chances of this becoming a major spark of conflict are not high, and it will likely die quietly, in a country as unstable as Ukraine, anything can happen.
Hitler came to power with the help of many disenfranchised nationalist ex-soldiers with a lot of military experience in WW1 and little skill in other fields. He played on nationalist sentiment, implying the current government was too weak to defend Germany, and that Germans need to rise up, and take their own destiny in their hands.
Ukraine is also a destitute land, filled with heavily armed nationalists very experienced with violence and few marketable skills, and a leader more interested in his own pocketbooks than actually fighting for Ukraine. The stage remains set for conflict. Nobody in Kiev better light a match. And Poroshenko better pray his own supporters don’t notice he is corrupt, even in his Ukrainian nationalism.