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Polish Planes and Ukrainian Nationalism

April 21, 2010

Bandera with children – obviously a humanitarian.

It’s looking like everyone is going to the never-ending political ATM machine that is the tragic plane crash involving the Polish government. In a stunning op-ed piece for the Kyiv Post, Andriy J. Semotiuk, an LA-based attorney, joins Russophobes and conspiracy theory lunatics in an effort to cash in on the Polish tragedy. Semotiuk begins his op-ed innocuous enough:

The funerals in Poland arising out of the recent Katyn airplane catastrophe remind us not only of the current tragedy, but also serve to underline the Polish disaster in Katyn forest where some 20,000 officers were massacred by the Soviet NKVD secret police.

So Semotiuk is tying in the Katyn massacre with the Polish plane tragedy – fair enough. But a few paragraphs later, we see the direction he’s going:

Ukrainians worldwide understand the lesson of Katyn forest, since that is where the Soviet secret police demonstrated to what depths of depravity it was capable of descending. It was this same Soviet NKVD secret police that used similar actions on the Ukrainian national liberation movement and one of its leaders, Stepan Bandera who former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko recently recognized as a Hero of Ukraine.

He then proceeds on a very lengthy panegyric to the Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepen Bandera for the remainder of the op-ed. Bandera, who was murdered by a Soviet agent in Munich in 1959, was well known for fascist leanings, cooperation with the Nazis, and support for genocide of the Jews and Poles in Ukraine during the Second World War. He was recently made a national hero by outgoing Ukrainian President and epic sore loser Viktor Yushchenko, who in turn drew the ire of pretty much everyone in the world outside of a small group of people in nationalist leaning Western Ukraine and the Ukrainian nationalist fringe movement in Canada and US.

To recap the maneuver made here – Semotiuk went from the Polish plane crash tragedy to the Katyn forest massacre because that’s the event the Polish government was going to commemorate, to the fact the NKVD (Soviet secret police), in addition to murdering Polish officers at Katyn, also murdered the murderer Bandera in 1959, therefore Ukrainians also understand what it is like to be victims of the Russians and everyone in the world should recognize Bandera as a hero, especially the Poles themselves (despite the fact he ordered the ethnic cleansing of Poles in Ukraine). Impressive.

It would take too long and feel too much like work to drudge through the plethora of prevarications in the remainder of this op-ed regarding the supposed historical account of Bandera and OUN’s (his organization) actions during the war, so I’ll have to leave that until another time. In the end, I guess if there was anyone who wouldn’t mind plundering the Polish dead to drive the ultra-right Ukrainian nationalist cause it would have been Bandera himself.

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