The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decided at the national level to celebrate 110-th anniversary of the birth of the ideologue of the radical nationalism of Stepan Bandera. Among the memorable dates in 2019, included several events related to the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists and the Ukrainian insurgent army*. It is noted that a wide celebration of “important events” is part of the state policy of national memory and contributes to the consolidation of society. The experts noted that the Kiev authorities are flirting with the radicals and lose the support of other segments of the population. The creation of a Pantheon of “heroes” associated with the chosen leadership of Ukraine, but the role of Bandera and his place in history is already defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal, which condemned the Nazis and their collaborators, analysts stress.

  • Torchlight procession in honor of the birthday of Stepan Bandera in Kiev
  • Reuters
  • © Valentyn Ogirenko

The Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution on the celebration in 2019 of memorable dates and anniversaries, which included the birthday of the leader of the nationalist movement, Stepan Bandera, and the anniversary of the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN), the military wing which later became the Ukrainian insurgent army (UPA)*.

According to the decree of the Verkhovna Rada, adopted “for the purpose of consolidation and development of the historical consciousness of the Ukrainian people, preservation of the national memory”, anniversaries and memorable dates, included in the list, should be celebrated on a national level.

In addition to these dates as the 1000th anniversary since the beginning of the reign of the Kyiv Prince Yaroslav the Wise and the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second world war, and also anniversaries such figures as Simon Petlyura, Kazimir Malevich, aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky and coach Valery Lobanovsky, the list includes dates associated with the much more controversial people and events.


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Since January 1, the Ukrainians at the state level will have to mark the 110th anniversary since the birth of the ideologue and the active worker of radical Ukrainian nationalism, Stepan Bandera. And February 23 — centennial anniversary of the head of the Main centre of propaganda of the OUN, a major publicist of the OUN — UPA of Petro Fedun (alias Poltava).

In addition, as anniversaries will be celebrated 90-anniversary of the so-called First Congress, which established the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists. Also, important events included the anniversary of the battle of the UPA detachments with units of the NKVD under Gurbani in April 1944, and even such exotic for Ukrainian history of the event as “the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe”.

The Ministry of education and science recommended in secondary and higher educational institutions dedicated to date, educational lessons and other activities, and the Ministry of culture is to provide the organization of exhibitions and expositions on these topics. In addition, the national Bank of Ukraine should be releasing commemorative coins, and “Ukrpochta” ordered to issue thematic stamps and envelopes.

According to UNIAN, the Verkhovna Rada failed to adopt the decision immediately, but only after several attempts — in the end voted for 232 of 333 present in the hall of deputies.

“The celebration at the national level anniversaries of important events in public-political life of Ukraine and jubilees of outstanding individuals is an important part of the state policy of national memory, which contributes to the consolidation of society”, — stated in the explanatory note to the document, which was elaborated by the parliamentary Committee on culture and spirituality, headed by Lviv journalist Mykola Knyazhytskyy.

“Ukraine creates its Pantheon”

According to a member of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Oleg Morozov, the decision to include the anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera and a number of controversial events in the list of national holidays of Ukraine — is unconditional the call of history and humanity.

“The place and role of Stepan Bandera in the history of the twentieth century is already defined — not by us, but in fact by the Nuremberg Tribunal, which condemned the Nazis and its collaborators… It is the decision of Parliament is an attempt to rewrite history,” said the Senator.

RT the source said that Moscow should respond in the same way as before. In particular, the UN General Assembly adopted the Russian draft resolution against the glorification of Nazism.

“We proposed a resolution in the UN that condemns the revival of Nazism, and, in fact, she pointed out including the processes that occur in Ukraine. She was accepted, she not only voted Ukraine and the United States,” reminded frost.

In turn, the Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Zharikhin said that such actions fit into the General trend of the glorification in Ukraine radical nationalists who during the Second world war supported the Third Reich, including Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych.


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“Ukraine creates its Pantheon, she selects pieces that seem the most worthy. Because the basis of the current Ukrainian ideology is nationalism, that those who engaged in propaganda of Ukrainian nationalism, they are heroes. Further it does not matter whose they were allies. It is important that they have their own Ukrainian heroes”, — said RT political analyst Yury Lights.

He believes that with this approach at the state level, no adequate reaction, for example, the criticism of the world community will not follow.

“They declared, will stand. Shukhevych, Konovalets is the people who in the name of wrongly understood the idea of Ukrainian nationalism, killed everyone who disagree with them. Today’s Ukraine, it doesn’t matter. Will erect monuments on the site of the demolished, this line will continue”, — said the analyst.

The source RT in the party “Fatherland” expressed the view that such actions of the Kiev authorities flirting with the radical elements, however, losing the support of other circles of the population.

“For many Ukrainians, Bandera is the enemy, who headed an extremist organization. Promoting it negatively affects the rating of the Verkhovna Rada and the President himself. But the level of their support and so are minimal, and they have nothing to lose”, — said the interlocutor of RT.

In turn, a source in the party “Samopomich” expressed concern that the official celebration of the birthday of Stepan Bandera untie the hands of the nationalists, who will organize large-scale marches in many cities across the country. However, the majority of the Ukrainian population does not support the radicals, and the authorities simply do not want to interfere with trained military people, he said.

“The Ukrainian society is considered normal use of force, failure to comply with laws. You can throw a Molotov cocktail into the Church if she’s not, or threaten opposition politicians. This is very dangerous, because all this power can also be applied against the government. And the reason it may be unimportant” — summed up the interlocutor of RT.

* “Ukrainian insurgent army” (UPA) — Ukrainian organization recognized as extremist and banned in Russia (the decision of the Supreme court of the Russian Federation of 17.11.2014).