A consensus was established amid the Ukrainian political class after the coup of five years ago, which can be described as pro-western and Russophobic. Often it is also defined as "nationalist", but without important clarifications it looks apparently incomplete, because the term "nationalism" that implies serving one's nation, is positive or at least neutral in its character.
In the case with Ukraine, it is more appropriate to refer to ultra-nationalism, national supremacism or distinctive, Balkan-Eastern European-style nationalism. The latter is marked not only by the presence of an image of "someone else" characteristic of almost any identity, but by an aggressive rejection of ""someone else" all the way to the desire of their physical destruction; the concept of second-ratedness of all the other ethnic groups living in one and the same country with the subject of this nationalism, and the desire to fix this second-ratedness legally and politically; artificial extension and window-dressing of history along with the exaltation of highly controversial and odious characters as heroes.
The incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is now seeking re-election for a second term, more than fits into this national-supremacist consensus, and not on its moderate flank. In the course of 2014 presidential elections a large proportion of the Russian political class perceived Poroshenko as an adequate negotiable candidate, was pleased with his election and even referred to him as Ukraine's perfect chance to restore peace and public order. Alas, the course of events quickly demonstrated the groundlessness of such estimates and overtures.
Thus, Mr. Poroshenko shares the view of Stepan Bandera being a heroic and venerable person. In December 2017, he called the OUN-UPA leader a well-known figure who made a huge contribution to the Ukrainian national liberation movement. In March 2015, the Ukrainian President posted a photo in social networks capturing him dressed as a Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldier with a "Cynical Bandera" stripe. Late last year, the pro-presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction in the Verkhovna Rada became one of the movers of the idea to return the Hero of Ukraine status to Bandera.
And finally, less than a month ago, Poroshenko said, addressing the Russian President in absentia: "Putin counted on our weakness in 2014. But he did not know the main thing – he did not know the Ukrainian people. Let him thumb through the pages about Bandera, about the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. There are answers to all our successes now. Let him learn them."
At the same time, realizing that even in the good graces of the Western elites and mass media excessive piety towards Bandera is fraught with different kinds of expenses, Petro Poroshenko swears allegiance to other "national heroes" with even greater zeal. For instance, he repeatedly praised Symon Petliura, mentioned him in his inaugural speech in 2014, called him "one of the fathers of Ukrainian autocephaly" and advised his fellow citizens to read his brochures.
It is not known, however, how much Mr. Poroshenko is aware of the attitude towards these praises of Israel and international Jewish circles – in their eyes Petlyira, whose fighters distinguished themselves by wide-scale bloody Jewish massacres, is perhaps even more unwelcome than Bandera.
The interesting point is that the opening ceremony of the memorial bas-relief to honor the Directorate of Ukraine's head took place in Kiev two months ago, just at the time when the Ukrainian President was on a visit to Israel. Also Poroshenko regularly pays tribute to Mazepa – just the other day he called him a hero of the struggle for independence, who made the right choice "between loyalty to a foreign monarch and his homeland," and equated him with Bolivar, Washington and Gandhi.
Of course, it has never been without attempts to extend and expand the national history. It would be difficult to conjure up a more graphic example than Poroshenko's statement dated May 2017 about Princess Anna Yaroslavna, daughter of Grand Prince of Kiev Yaroslav the Wise, as a "Ukrainian Princess", whom the Russians are impudently trying to "kidnap". Here we can also mention the absurdity of the Battle of Kruty cult when an ordinary collision of a small detachment of young Ukrainian volunteers with Red Army units on their way to Kiev in January 1918 is being turned into an analogue of the Battle of Thermopylae.
And all the unwanted facts, even completely uncontroversial, are being carefully removed from the Ukrainian history under the current regime. For example, early March saw the dismissal of Professor Andrei Pospelov from the Odessa Maritime Academy who is primarily accused of daring to mention in one of his works that the "Sea Pearl" used to be the administrative center of the Novorossiysk-Bessarabia General Government – a quotidian statement of fact was considered popularization of Novorossiya.
Of course, Poroshenko constantly emphasizes that Russia is not just an alien for him, but the main negative constructing factor of the Ukrainian nation and its self-consciousness. Here is another statement of this kind: "There are three Ukrainian brands that irritate Moscow most of all: the armed forces of Ukraine, the national guard of Ukraine and our Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox." As we can see, both the church and the army are important to the Ukrainian President not as separate elements, but as something that irritates Moscow.
But what is most important, apart from numerous words, Poroshenko constantly proves with his deeds that his country is in a state of smooth transition from an authoritarian and repressive national-supremacist regime to patent Nazism. Those deeds include the ongoing genocide in the Donbass region, the transformation of the Russian residents of Ukraine (as well as representatives of other ethnic groups) into second-rate citizens, the oppression of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and the persecution of political dissidents. However, for the even more radical sector of the Ukrainian political consensus, such a smooth transition is unacceptable spinelessness.
Another evidence of such an attitude is the recent anti-Poroshenko escapade by Verkhovna Rada non-faction deputy Andrei Biletsky aka the "White Leader" who is considered leader of the Ukrainian national radicals. But, of course, zero tolerance to Poroshenko on the part of Kiev political elite's even more rampant characters does not make the current head of Ukraine some even remotely acceptable (both from the pragmatic and moral viewpoint) for the Donbass region, the Russian Federation and the Russian people dwelling in Ukraine.