Ukraine: unique case of historical schizophrenia / News / News agency Inforos
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Ukraine: unique case of historical schizophrenia

Kiev is ahead of the curve in falsifying the history of the Great Patriotic War

Ukraine: unique case of historical schizophrenia
Context:

After the Euromaidan of 2014, the falsification of the Great Patriotic War history became a stand-alone area in both the ideology and history of Ukraine. This induced the formation and active functioning of institutions anchored by the "Ministry of Truth" whose head is President Petro Poroshenko's close ally Yury Stets and the Institute of National Remembrance headed by Lviv professor Volodymyr Viatrovych – all of them "assisted" by a team of falsifiers and "brainwashers" in the press and on television. Heavily involved in this kind of activities are all-level authorities, who pit militants from punitive battalions against the dissenters. This area is also one of the components of the "Strategy for National Patriotic Education of Children and Youth, 2016-2020", signed by the President of Ukraine on October 13, 2015 (decree № 580/2015).

The objective of the comprehensive set of measures being implemented is the formation of a new type of Ukrainians with a cleared out historical memory and hatred for all-Russian values. It is based on an ideological attitude to abandon the Soviet legacy of modern Ukraine and change the attitude of its citizens to the Great Patriotic War.

Holding a prominent place among the activities conducted is the "terminological revolution", which aims to move away from the vision of World War II that was formed within the Soviet historical studies, and shift it in favor of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), whose members are portrayed as national heroes.

Back in 2015, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine adopted recommendations "on the ideologically correct explanation of the basic terms and concepts related to the Great Patriotic war", developed by the Institute of National Remembrance headed by Viatrovych. Those include the refusal to use the "Stalinist-propaganda" term "the Great Patriotic War", replacing it with the "historically correct" one, e.g. "World War II".  It is also stipulated to replace the term "liberation from fascist invaders" with "the expulsion of Nazi occupiers". Scientists from the mentioned Institute justify the correctness of this very interpretation by the fact that in 1944, the expulsion of Nazi occupiers did not bring freedom to Ukraine but put it under a different oppression, which resulted in mass human rights abuses and deportations. And the liberation of Ukraine began only with the collapse of the Soviet Union after August 24, 1991.

A similar interpretation is echoed by authors of the textbook "World history: the latest period (1939-2011)", according to whom the Great Patriotic War was a fight for control over the Ukrainians, or rather over the ancestors of the present-day Ukrainians. The authors therefore believe that it was not the Russians and Germans who suffered in this war, but the Poles and Ukrainians, although the loss statistics testifies to the contrary. The authors recognize that Nazi Germany launched a war against the Soviet Union, but Ukrainian falsifiers say it was preventive in nature and served to anticipate "Moscow's aggression" upon the "democratic" West. As a result, fascism becomes pretty much the savior of Europe from the "Communist barbarians".

To develop these "ideas", in 2016 the State Committee for Television and Radio-Broadcasting of Ukraine prepared training materials to teach the country's TV and radio channels how to cover the events of the Great Patriotic War. In particular, it published a recommended list of incorrect and correct terms that should/should not be used. Recognized as incorrect are the following terms: the Great Patriotic War, Ukraine in the Great Patriotic War, fascist Germany, Nazi invaders, Nazi occupiers, etc. They had to be replaced by the following terms: the Second World War, Ukraine in the Second World War, the German-Soviet war, Nazi Germany, the Third Reich. Instead of the term "Nazi accomplices" it is recommended to say "Nazi collaborators". Thus all the references to fascism and the Great Patriotic War have disappeared, and the German fascist invaders turned into occupants, and their accomplices into collaborators. The liberation of Ukraine from fascist invaders is interpreted as the expulsion of Nazi occupiers from Ukraine.

In compliance with the views of Viatrovych and other "historians", during the Second World War there were as many as eight different wars in the territory of Ukraine: the German-Polish war of 1939-1945 ( first regular, then underground), the Polish-Soviet war of 1939, the Soviet-Romanian war of 1940-1945, the German-Soviet war of 1941-1945, the German-Ukrainian war of 1941-1944 (underground), the Soviet-Hungarian war of 1941-1945, the Polish-Ukrainian war of 1942-1947 (underground) and the Soviet-Ukrainian war of 1939-1945. This classification offers a brand new thing – the war between Ukraine and the Soviet Union which never happened. As for the Polish-Ukrainian war, this term seems to imply the atrocities of the OUN-UPA against the Poles and the extermination of civilians during the massacre in Volhynia interpreted as "combat operations". Besides, the above mentioned approach offers a list of truthful movies and scientists who can speak about these "eight wars" on the airwaves.

If the mentioned technique is anything to go by and the Great Patriotic war never existed at all, there is no need to celebrate the Victory Day. Ukrainian historian Vasily Marochko refers to May 9 celebrations as a post-Soviet tradition because this date is directly associated with the end of the war and is a symbol of Soviet agitation and propaganda beneficial to Russia. In present-day Ukraine, May 8 and 9 are celebrated as days of remembrance and reconciliation. This approach is intended to "extinguish" the splendor of the victory secured by the Soviet Union, which constituted a major contribution to the defeat of fascism. The only thing unclear is who had to be reconciled with whom? Victims of Babi Yar with those who carried out executions? Relatives of prisoners of war tortured in Nazi captivity with nationalists from the Ukrainian and Latvian battalions who convoyed them? Auschwitz prisoners with camp guards?

The information about the number of Ukrainians who fought on the fronts of the Second World War is also being subjected to "ideological" revision. The new interpretation claims six million Ukrainians having "served" in the ranks of the Soviet armed forces, that is they did not even fight at war. And those who did accounted for about a hundred thousand Ukrainian Insurgent Army personnel, 120 thousand Polish troops, 80 thousand US armed forces and 45-thousand contingent of the British Empire. Meanwhile, the death toll is said to reach some 8 to 10 million Ukrainians, over five million civilians among them. It appears that 3 to 5 million of losses were those undergoing military service.

The above mentioned ideological activities are complemented with practical measures of decommunization and desovietization. Herewith the prohibition and destruction extends to the monuments to the Red Army soldiers killed in 1941-1945. So, February 2019 saw the demolition of the Lvov-located Glory Monument, even though it did not fall under the decommunization law, and on October 10, 2018 Lvov District Administrative Court ordered a construction and technical expertise. As head of the political council of the "Oppositional Platform - For Life" Viktor Medvedchuk said, "the incumbent authorities, aware of having lost popular support and legal arguments for maintaining their position, resort to an alternative of scorched-earth tactics that has been always practiced by enemies of Ukraine and its people".

Another important area is the deglorification of Soviet soldiers and the glorification of OUN-UPA warriors. On December 23, 2018, Petro Poroshenko signed a law on granting war veteran status to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army survivors. Under this legal instrument, participants of nationalist organizations will receive some twenty types of social benefits, in particular as regards payment for utility services, medical care and medical supplies. By doing so, Petro Poroshenko seems to be expecting to secure support from radicals at the upcoming presidential election. The legislation is opposed by Warsaw that can block Kiev's European integration.

In addition, there are efforts to forcibly "reconcile" veterans of the Great Patriotic War and veterans of the SS-Volunteer Division "Galicia", the "Roland" and "Nachtigall" batallions, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and other pro-Hitler military forces and Sonderkommandos by means of various events taking place all across the country, from Lvov to regional centers and settlements in the country's South-East.

The streets, squares and other facilities bearing the names of war heroes are being renamed (for example, Moskovsky Avenue became Stepan Bandera Avenue, and General Vatutin Avenue became Roman Shukhevich Avenue).

Commemorative events to honor defenders of the Fatherland in Ukraine have been rescheduled from February 23 to October 14, when the country celebrates the Intercession of the Theotokos, Day of Ukrainian Cossacks and the anniversary of Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

All of this clearly shows that the main goal of the Ukrainian authorities, that have been integrating into Europe since 2014, is not the development of the country's economy, but the eradication of the Soviet past, which is now referred to as the times of Soviet occupation, and fighting against the Russian world. That is why they are trying to erase the memory of the Great Patriotic War as the most important spiritual and historical bond between our two peoples, which can cause everlasting elation if the memory of the common victory continues to be passed down through the generations.

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