Curriculum Vitae

After one of the most idiotic “dialogues” I’ve ever had with an OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) apologist, I think it’s time for a quick summary to lay my cards on the table, so-to-speak.

One feature of the Ukrainian crisis, going all the way back to the first Maidan riots, was the sudden explosion of insta-experts in regards to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which would become the militant wing of the OUN-B organization after a hostile takeover by the latter), and figures such as Stepan Bandera. Many of those people clearly never heard those terms before Maidan, and can say little about them beyond the fact that they were “Nazis.” As such, many pro-Ukrainian people, often out of ignorance or simplistic, binary thinking, have a tendency to assume that anyone who condemns these organizations or their rehabilitation must be a pro-Kremlin dupe who learned everything they know about Ukrainian nationalism from Russian media in late 2013.

I cannot speak for others but let me point something out about myself. I first started reading about Stepan Bandera, the OUN, and the UPA, when I was 19, i.e. over a decade ago. I will not pretend that my reading in those days equates to scholarly study, but on the other hand in my foolish younger years I held a very right-wing world view and my die-hard anti-Communist beliefs at that age gave me a sympathetic view towards unsung “heroes” against “Bolshevism.” The literature I was reading was also written either by people in touch with the Ukrainian emigre community or those highly sympathetic to it, to the point of what I’d later find out to be open political bias.

What is more, around that age and for several years after, I devoted a great deal of time and energy to the study of obscure nationalist and pro-Axis organizations and military units in the interwar period and during WWII, particularly those from Eastern Europe. This involved a great deal of scrutiny toward movements in the Soviet Union, specifically those involving Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians. Again, while I wasn’t exactly publishing my own peer-reviewed texts on the subject, I spent a great deal of the little money I got from my $9-an-hour job on a number of rare books covering these subjects (either out of print tomes like David Littlejohn’s Foreign Legions of the Third Reich or books from Axis-Europa Publishing), and I to a considerable extent I tracked down and read a number of primary sources on the topic of Axis collaborationist organizations and their military detachments. Over the years I stopped studying that topic for a number of reasons, one of them being the often apologetic tone one finds in works about the Axis on the “Eastern Front.” As such, I may be rusty these days, but I’m quite confident that my knowledge about Axis collaborators and fascist movements of the interwar and WWII period is head and shoulders above your average student of history. I can, and if necessary will, bury an opponent under an avalanche of obscure acronyms, unit designations, and historical figures if anyone doubts my background in these topics.

This isn’t simple boasting or a claim to authority. I am merely trying to point out that not only did I just learn the terms OUN, UPA, or Bandera in late 2013, but I also have had no need to turn to Russian sources, particularly post-Soviet Russian sources, when it comes the Ukrainian nationalist movement. I have read one supposedly scholarly piece on the topic in Russian, which cited secrete NKVD documents. The main thrust of these documents, however, was only the topic of UPA fighters who worked for the NKVD to hunt down their former comrades. Beyond this, all my info on the OUN and UPA comes from a variety of non-Russian scholars, many of them from Western countries and who demonstrate a far greater concern for objective research compared to their counterparts in Ukraine or Russia. I do not rely on Russian sources because I simply have no need to.

Obviously because the topic of the OUN and UPA has once again come to the foreground, I have had to “hit the books” so to speak, and so now I’ve been reading up on the works of David Marples, Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, Per Anders Rudling, John Paul Himka, and the classic Cold War-era work on Ukrainian nationalism, aptly titled Ukrainian Nationalism, by John Armstrong. Anyone suggesting that these scholars were or are agents of the Kremlin is either totally ignorant about the field of Ukrainian/Holocaust studies outside of Ukraine and the emigre community, or they are a political fanatic who shares the same conspiratorial worldview as Holocaust deniers, Russian imperialists, and so on. If you want to see a good example of how hysterical Bandera cultists can be, check out the one-star review for Rossolinski-Liebe’s scholarly biography of Stepan Bandera. Incidentally I’ve been reading that book since early May and anyone trying to claim it is propaganda or some kind of hit-piece has clearly never bothered to read the book and examine its wealth of sources.

In the bizarre fantasy world of OUN fans and Bandera cultists, the entire globe has been and still is seamlessly controlled by the NKVD, KGB, and now the FSB. The Polish 2nd Republic, which documented the ideology and practices of the OUN in the interwar period, was apparently controlled by the NKVD. The NKVD fabricated the entire Senyk archive, given to Poland by Czechoslovakia for use in the Warsaw and Lviv trials against Bandera and the OUN in 1935 and 1936. All those trial records, in which defendants were routinely recorded giving fascist salutes while using the slogans “Glory to Ukraine!”, “Glory to the heroes!”, were fabricated by the NKVD too. But we’re nowhere near the bottom of the rabbit hole just yet.

Of course the NKVD easily managed to destroy any and all German records of the fierce, epic battles between Axis and Wehrmacht forces in Western Ukraine and the UPA after 1941. Then they managed to somehow fabricate the lie that the organization was legalized by the Germans and continued collaboration with them in 1943. All those Polish and Jewish eyewitnesses who testified to the crimes of the OUN or its supporters during that time? Liars! Most likely paid by the NKVD, then later KGB, and if any are alive today surely the Kremlin has them on the payroll! Oh yeah, the American CIA, which has a large amount of internal correspondence on Bandera and other UPA figures and their wartime activities, was also controlled by the KGB in the 1950’s.

Oh and that ethnic cleansing against Poles in Volyn of 1943? Well that doesn’t count as genocide because some of the Poles managed to form small self-defense units against the UPA. At least this is what fraud UPA “scholar” Volodymyr V’iatrovych has tried to claim, among many other false narratives. And speaking of UPA scholars, please pay no attention to the common appearance of flat-out Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites in their ranks! If you point them out, you’re just a shill of the Kremlin! Enjoying your blood rubles, are you?

So in conclusion, if you ever read anything about the OUN or UPA which points to their atrocities or in any way fails to present it as a liberal democratic movement for the liberation of Ukraine which fought against Hitler and Stalin equally, you can be sure that material was obviously written by a paid-Kremlin hack, based on sources forged by the NKVD and KGB. David Marples? Kremlin agent! Timothy Snyder? Obvious Communist and Kremlin agent! Can’t you see it’s a worldwide conspiracy, run by Russia, against Ukraine?! They control everything! 

If you think that’s just hyperbole, you obviously haven’t dealt with these people the way I have. That’s really just a condensed version of years of interaction with these fanatics. What gets me is that Russians will almost always get called out on their revisionist bullshit, including the rare occasions when they are actually right (albeit sometimes for the wrong reasons). On the other hand, so many pro-Ukrainian journalists and activists have failed to apply the same defense of critical thinking when it comes to their side.

I cannot speak for their motives, though I have my suspicions. I think most of the time it is a simple matter of not attributing to malice that which, in this case, can easily be attributed to ignorance. Few individuals,however educated, have any substantial knowledge of Ukraine, let alone the UPA and OUN. What is more, even fewer people have real intimate knowledge of far right movements or the techniques of Holocaust denial. Pretty much every technique or counter-argument I’ve seen from Bandera fanatics I’ve seen used by Holocaust deniers or supporters of other European wartime fascist movements: “Those documents were forged! That’s Communist propaganda! The Communists did that and blamed it on us! What about the crimes of the Communists?! ad infinitum.” Anyone well versed in the world of Holocaust denial will quickly see Bandera apologetics for what they are, but sadly that list of people most likely doesn’t include many journalists or Russia experts these days.

I think I have made it clear dozens of times that I support Ukraine as a nation and its territorial integrity, without reservation. Unfortunately there are many people inside and outside of Ukraine who believe that doing so, indeed simply being Ukrainian, requires one to make obeisance to the cult of Bandera, the OUN, and the UPA. These people want to join a political ideology to the Ukrainian identity itself, which I must say in many ways is even worse than Russia’s state-sponsored ideology. Here a variety of conflicting historical narratives and worldviews are basically tolerated so long as they don’t challenge the power structure. If Ukraine fails to win its struggle for true independence and freedom, it will be because of these backward reactionaries with their minds stuck in the past who insist that Ukraine and its history belong to them.

Is the condemnation of the OUN, UPA, and the Bandera cult truly anti-Ukrainian? Nonsense- those organizations and their leaders actually killed far more Ukrainian and Polish civilians than German occupiers or NKVD troops. They never garnered the the support of anything more than a tiny fraction of Ukrainians, even in area where they were most active. By opposing the OUN and its associated figures I am doing nothing more anti-Ukrainian than did the vast majority of Ukrainians throughout history. The very fact that successive Ukrainian governments and the emigre movement have only been able to popularize the OUN and UPA via vast falsification of history, re-branding the organization and its ideology, weaving conspiracy theories about a world controlled by the Kremlin, and using the war as an opportunity to legislate their ideology on the country as a whole stands as damning testimony against the idea that Ukrainian identity must be linked to this vile organization that should have been chucked in the dustbin of history long before any discussion of Soviet symbols took place. If this organization and its heirs had any just claim to Ukraine, their massive propaganda efforts and legislative fiat would never have been necessary.

Honestly I think that the only solution to this problem is for more Ukrainian-sympathetic Westerners and foreigners to educate themselves on these topics so they can stand up to the rehabilitation of this movement. History isn’t exactly a hard science but it does share some key features. If we reject evolution in favor of creationism, we have no logical reason for trusting traditional science when it comes to computers or aircraft.  In a similar vein, if we accept this revision of history, then we have no ground to stand on to condemn Russia’s own historical revisionism.  We would have to accept the denialist claims of any number of academic cranks from Eastern Europe, peddling apologetics for the Croatian Ustase, the Slovak People’s Party, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, and so on. Hell, we might as well start accepting apologetics for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at that point. Once you say we’re going to stop applying the laws of critical thinking in this one case, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find a sound argument for applying them again on another topic. At that point you might as well admit to either severe laziness or a concrete agenda.

What is more, foreigners and other Ukrainian well-wishers need to call each other out when they see people justifying myth-making, actually let’s just call it what it is- Holocaust denial, in Ukraine. No, it will not “build cohesion”; it divides society. It does not aid Ukraine’s struggle against Russia; it has done nothing but play perfectly into the Kremlin’s hands for years. Ukraine’s new laws do not ban “totalitarian” ideologies and symbols; they make a false equivalence between Communism and a particular form of fascist ideology, while totally letting another fascist ideology off the hook and even suppressing any support of real history on this topic.These kinds of excuses need to be nailed down whenever they crop up.

Lastly, I have over the years come to realize that there are two ways I can look at these situations. As a person of Ukrainian heritage and as an American. As the latter, I am saddened to see how our nation’s history has been dominated by the losers of our Civil War. A ruthless tyranny ruled by slave owners was re-branded as a unique “culture,” the loss of which we are supposed to lament. We are taught to divorce slavery from that society, to the point that many Americans not only cannot articulate the causes of the American Civil War, but in fact many educated and seemingly liberal or “progressive” people repeat the lie that it was not about slavery. Our first black president, against the advice of scholar James M. MacPherson, laid a memorial wreath at a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers in 2009. I dare say that in many ways, the “Lost Cause” dominates the victorious, just cause in American history. While it is obviously not the sole cause, this neo-Confederate and essentially white supremacist historical narrative plays a key role in underpinning systemic racism in America today. In a sense, the United States seems as if it lost its Civil War.

Today I see the red and black flag of the OUN in Ukraine as the equivalent of the Confederate battle flag in the US, and the rehabilitation of figures like Bandera or Shukhevych is akin to the laudatory praise lavished on Robert E. Lee or Nathan Bedford Forrest. Just as American whites have been convinced by Hollywood and revisionist propaganda to identify with the South in spite of the fact that the majority of whites obviously fought for the morally right, Union side, Ukrainians are being taught that they should identify with a fascist movement that never had anything close to popular support among Ukrainians, who overwhelmingly supported the allied cause and aided in the destruction of fascism.

If Ukraine has losers for heroes, it will lose. It is as simple as that. We Westerners are doing the country no favors by excusing actions that we routinely condemn when they take place in Russia. As I have said dozens of times before- either Ukraine actually stands for progressive, free, and democratic values, or it can basically remain a poor, Little Russia. Westerners and advocates of “European values” (not my term) need to stop letting the Ukrainian government have its cake and eat it too, by proclaiming commitment to freedom and democracy while engaging in the same kind of myth making and censorship so commonly associated with Moscow.

32 thoughts on “Curriculum Vitae

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Yeah it happened to me. He’s a Putin-loving wannabe “political analyst” based in New York. I actually wrote an article about him and kept him anonymous but when I checked that email account again and saw that he’d been spamming it for months I decided to retract my mercy.

      He boasts about being published in all sorts of venues but I wonder how much of that is just letters to the editor. He doesn’t seem to have spent any significant time in Russia and he doesn’t have a command of the language from what I saw.

      1. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

        I had never heard of him but half a glance led me to delete.

        He is linked with, which is a Jew hating and holocaust denial (and genocide) encouraging website alongside Alex Jones level conspiratorial stuff. I think I read somewhere that they get Kremlin money. Often see globalresearch linked to BTL :[

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        What I recommend you do if he keeps sending, is to flag as spam instead of deleting. This is what stopped the flow to my old email address and one day his ISP or email provider may have a chat with him.

        I also caught him within the first paragraph or so of what I read when he first sent me something. It’s funny because he’s not nearly as bombastic as Sputnik or Russia Insider.

        BTW- If you know any in-depth studies on could you send some links? I had heard most of the antisemitic stuff goes on in their forums, but then again you have to ask why so many antisemites are attracted to it.

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        I should tell you his repeated argument when I challenged him on not having much, if any time in country. It went like this:

        During WWII, Adolf Hitler was in Germany, but don’t you think the BBC was a more objective source on Nazi Germany than Hitler?

        I’m deadly serious, he repeated that argument several times. Now ponder that shit and see if you can think of every single thing wrong with it. This is what is known as “Not even wrong,” as in “Your argument would need considerable improvement simply to achieve the status of simply incorrect.”

  1. Pingback: Bandera Buttrage – The Aftermath | Russia Without BS

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Wow, I usually can’t stand she whose name shall not be mentioned, but that was an epic takedown and made me regret that I tried to reason with him and showed mercy.

      I had a suspicion that his “published” works were really just letters to the editor, but now it seems that he counts comments too, as though that’s some kind of accomplishment.

      I am also even more suspicious that he’s never been to Russia and does’t speak the language.

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Catfitz? That’s been floated but no, she who shall not be mentioned actually has some wit.

        I just dismissed her many years ago when I contacted her about an article I read around the first time I encountered LR. At first the claims in the article seemed totally legit, but then some of the statistics started to get weird. So I wrote and asked a simple question about the source of a couple of the claims, and her response was that asking for sources was “a bit nutty.”

        That pretty much tells you whatever you need to know.

        I realize that I say some things here which are counterintuitive or which challenge the mainstream consensus on some issues- but apart from the fact that I no longer have my physical library anymore, I can at least cite my sources(and sometimes point to electronic documents). You don’t call asking for sources “nutty.”

  2. Estragon

    Re: “It’s amazing how many people associated with Kremlin propaganda are stalkers, sociopaths, and assorted weirdos”

    My theory is that a lot of the hardcore Putinists are compensating for some yawning personal defect by allying themselves with a Great Leader. It’s similar to what Orwell called “transferred nationalism,” but in this case, the allegiance is to a leader, not a state.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I think this deserves an article of its own, but that does seem to be a factor. I remember reading about that far-right conference in St. Petersburg and there was a part (I think I mentioned this in my own article on the topic) where one of the speakers, a Scottish homophobe, put up slides of Putin, comparing him to Obama and talking about what a “real man” the Russian president is.

      Daddy issues, lad. Serious daddy issues.

  3. A.I.Schmelzer

    CV disclosure, I am half Russian half German, and I did a fair amount of reading on people in positions you would never want to be in. In this case, Vlassov army, Makhno army, Rokosovsky etc.

    I could try to paraphrase the “German” pov on the UPA:

    Phase one: (Nachtigall and Roland): Well, some of the not so high ranked Germans actually were of the opinion that Ukrainians could be “vasallized” instead of exterminated. After the German invasion, 2 things happened. First, any distinctions that f.e. the Abwehr would make between Ukrainian and Russian “subhumans” did not permeate to the general wehrmacht.
    Second, early victories left the Germans with a lot of information and captives. The Germans became aware that Ukrainians could actually rise to pretty high positions (Timoshenko was well known by the Wehrmacht before of course), including positions that allowed them to rule over, command or execute Russians. The German reasoning was that a “vassal” status for Ukraine (Bandera would still rank below a German private, had he become some Ukrainian puppet state leader) was not going to be very competitive with the “Soviet alternative”.
    It was therefor decided to not accept any kind of Ukrainian vasall state, which was why Bandera got imprisoned.
    They also found out that, despite having imprisoned their leader, considerable use could be made from them. Ukrainian nationalists never needed any prodding to go and murder Jews, Russians, Communists or Poles, and the Nazis regarded every single of these groups as more dangerous then Ukrainians.

    When the tide turned, Germany cooperated more, and it was basically “we will loose Ukraine anyway, lets make problems for the Russians by releasing all of the Nationalist dogs we have in some prisons somewhere”. (incidently, the odds for getting released from Nazi custody by the Nazis, if you were a Ukraininan nationalist, were close to 80%) The “battles” between the UPA and the “Nazis” usually consisted of the “UPA” making a local Schuma or auxillary police unit (a lot of UPA leaders have been parts of such units before) defect to them. In some cases, the defecting Schuma/auxillaries shot their German officers (if they had those) in the process, but in a number of situations this was solved without much “violence”.

    Another German pov thing was that some actually saw the UPA as proof of Slavs being stupid subhumans, since “only a stupid subhuman slav would be dumb enough to support us.”.

    However, 7 million Ukrainians fought in the Red army, 100.000 or so fought for the UPA. This is a ratio of 70:1, and coincides pretty well with the known fact that about 2% of any population anywhere will probably be morons.
    The 7 million Ukrainians can, btw., claim that they fought better then the “Great Russians”. It were the more Ukrainian Odessan and Kievan military districts which fought hardest in the dark days of 1941, the catastrophe of the Kiev encirclement was because the Byelorussian military distrcit (Russians and Belorusians) got overrun which opened the way for the Wehrmacht to get behind Kiev, and the less said about the Baltic theater the better.

    TlDR: UPA were traitors and morons, while actual Ukrainians in many cases fought better then the Russians.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Oh trust me, I’m extremely well read on the German policies of the Ostfront. I try to explain to people in shorthand that the real reason the Germans arrested Bandera initially is because of something very obvious- If you study Hitler and the Nazi party’s propaganda, you see that Ukraine in particular was to play a key role in German Lebensraum. And as you probably know, Hitler was no fan of multi-ethnic empires like Austria-Hungary out of a fear of “blood poisoning.” Therefore a country like Croatia, minus the Banat region with its German population, could exist as a non-German independent state, but Ukraine could not because that was to be resettled with Germans. Something like this was carried out in Poland’s Warthegau, but I’m sure you’re well aware of that because I can see you’ve studied these topics.

      As for the 100,000 figure for the UPA, that would have to count the course of the war, and possibly after, I should think. During the war I think they never managed to get 40,000 people at one time, and as you most likely know they often conscripted people by force.

      I am curious about one thing though- Where did you get the 7 million figure for Ukrainians? I also figured that was a whole war figure, but I’m used to seeing it expressed as a percent(I got it from a Glantz book, either Stumbling Colossus or Colussus reborn). I ask because you might be aware that at the time, millions of Ukrainians in other Soviet territories stopped identifying as such. This is why the top minority in the RSFSR at one point was Ukrainians, with a population of something like 9 million. But as it became politically inconvenient to identify as Ukrainian, that number disappeared.

      Today Russia is full of people with obvious Ukrainian surnames who say: “No! I’m RUSSIAN!”

      1. A.I.Schmelzer

        I think I had it from Snyders Bloodlands actually, and even that guy agreed that Ukrainians in the Red army vastly outnumbered Ukrainians in the UPA or direct Nazi formations (SS-Galicia etc.)
        It is certainly over the entire war. I do not know if it refers to all ethnic Ukrainians in the Soviet Union, people from the Soviet Ukrainian republic, or ethnic Ukrainians from the Soviet Ukrainian Republic. This is an excellent question, thank you for it, I will try to track back where I originally got it from (read way too many books, if you are, as I, not reading them for a direct scientfic thing, misattribution happens very quickly).

        From what I anecdotically remember, in Soviet times the switch was more from “Ukrainian to Soviet” (Soviet as an identity that is “greater then Russian”, the live examples I know would have bristled at being called “Russian”), not from “Ukrainian to Russian”. Friends of relatives in the area opined that Donbass in particular was more “Soviet” then the vast majority of Russia. Being early adopters of the “Soviet culture/identity”, I think people from that area attempted to shape this culture by virtue of being their first. The other example coming to mind elswhere would be Great Britain. A “Scot” can be a very patriotic “British”, and indeed rise to the highest positions in the British administration, but would attack those who call him “English”.

        I dont know if anyone ever asked Chruschev, Brezshnev, Timoschenko or Malinovsky as what they self identified (my guess is that it changed over time). In general terms, moving upwards socially usually causes significant amount of assimilation to whatever is the dominant culture, and those people certainly did move upwards.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Bloodlands…Hmmm… I am often wary of that book. Snyder supposedly has a gift for languages but he has some really bizarre ideas that he weaves into a very prosaic, almost storybook narrative. I tend to agree with him more on the present than in the past, though I still can’t stand his shameless propagandist style.

        7 million is a bit weird because by the end of the war, the Red Army had something like 6 million people under arms. I think about 20 million throughout the entire war(much of whom were killed or captured, of course).

  4. RK

    ‘the study of obscure nationalist and pro-Axis organizations and military units in the interwar period and during WWII, particularly those from Eastern Europe’
    I found a load of A4 stapled Axis Europa newsletters in the garage recently – i think I sold off most of the books – interesting stuff (my particular one of interest were the Greek Security Battalions, many of whose members ended up of course in the GCW Royalist forces fighting alongside the British) but as you say one always wonders at the politics of some of the people.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      This is a lesson from WWII reenacting- Some people are a little TOO in character if you know what I mean. “Method actors,” if you will.

      1. RK

        Oh I know – I was in a German unit and probably a good % of them were Extreme right wingers – the guy who told me that (aside from what I saw in the brief time i was there) was the only one who also reenactment as a Red Army soldier

  5. Josh Cohen (@jkc_in_dc)

    Jim, This post made my night! I recently wrote two pieces on this whole OUN-UPA-Bandera issue:

    I was stunned at the reaction I got from almost all of the Ukrainians. I was a “Kremlin dupe”, paid in Rubles, was popular. Outright, blind denial was another. Even numerous Euromaidan activists are determined to whitewash the atrocities committed by the OUN-UPA. I was in touch with Himka and Rudling – both great guys – and read a lot of their work. The evidence regarding OUN-UPA collaboration with the Nazis is overwhelming. It’s really a shame so many in modern Ukraine have latched onto Bandera et. al. to define the country’s identity.

    You also really nailed it on the tendency of some countries in the region – hello Baltics – to whitewash the involvement of their heroes in the Holocaust as well. Dovid Katz of has done an amazing job over the years naming and shaming on this subject. Anyway, thanks again for the posts on this subject – very glad to see that someone who clearly knows way more then I confirm that my impressions and feelings are not unique to me. Josh

    1. Josh Cohen (@jkc_in_dc)

      Apropos of my post above, these were the types of deranged comments I was getting from Ukrainians on my OUN-UPA op-eds:

      “I think Josh, you wrote the article about something you have no knowledge of. Its not, (OUN) and (UPA) helped to carry Holocaust but you cooperating with fascist Russia yourself now.
      There was some individuals guilty of crimes against humanity, a lot of them were Jewish themselves and many countries cooperated with Nazis including Russia, Finland and many more European countries… does not mean they they helped to carry Holocaust. OUN and UPA cooperated to fight Soviet Union, please read the true history before showing off your stupidity.
      What you did, – you just copied and paste Putin’s propaganda to discriminate Ukraine.
      P.S. Just wonder now, who wrote this article for you?…
      May be soon you’ll read article about yourself, exposing you and your true employer. And please, don’t remove my comment…comrad
      Posted by Seriously_ | Report as abusive”

      1. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Yeah that’s pretty typical of them. I don’t even know where to begin with this.

        Seriously though, thanks for the support. Right now we’re fighting a two-part war because we’ve got to be on the lookout for actual Russian propaganda or Russian media trying to use our work for their propaganda purposes.

        Luckily, and quite ironically actually, there’s virtually no need to rely on Russian sources to show how the OUN and UPA were involved in the Holocaust. John Armstrong’s book Ukrainian Nationalism is great because it was published in the early Cold War, it’s obviously sympathetic, and it has no Soviet sources while relying mostly on OUN members and UPA veterans- Yet in spite of that, the “totalitarian” and “fascist” nature of the OUN is discussed.

        But I guess Armstrong must have been working for the KGB, right?

  6. Josh Cohen (@jkc_in_dc)

    Yeah, Armstrong is the classic, and much flows from him. BTW, now that I found you blog, I have a lot to get off my chest, so some other thoughts on this subject!:

    1) I can’t stand that this Professor Motyl at Rutgers is such an ideologue about OUN. This piece of his in (which is what first inspired to me to research this subject and ultimately write something different) is a classic case in point: – total whitewash, and his comparison of OUN-Bandera to pre-Israeli independence groups/people like the Irgun and Menachim Begin is a very clever rhetorical technique (“see, you Jews had the same thing”) but is both ludicrous whataboutism not to mention factually wrong. Almost hints of Viatrovych in this:(

    2) Per Anders Rudling told me that he believes ignorance about role of OUN-UPA in Holocaust is largely due to this simply not being covered historically in the Soviet educational system. In 2013 Himka edited a whole series of academic articles on the treatment of the Holocaust throughout former USSR and Eastern Europe. Himka wrote specifically on Ukraine. Highly recommend his article, and I can e-mail a hard copy of it to you if you want (Himka shared it with me).

    3) I hate how the Russian propoganda instrumentalizes this whole issue – I was quite distressed to see that sites like picked up my articles above and twisted them. In fact, last year I wrote in Foreign Policy on how Jews were actually big supporters of Maidan, putting paid to the idea out of Moscow that Jews were under threat. (Ukrainian Jews actually wrote an open letter to Putin rejecting this propoganda):

    4) I’m sorry to say, but as fierce as the Azov fighters have been on the battlefield, their use of this Wolfsangel symbol as their logo plus numerous pictures of their guys posing with swastikas and other nasty stuff has done serious damage to post-Maidan Ukraine’s image. The Euromaidan PR folks seem pretty saavy – why couldn’t they have simply pushed Azov to cut all this crap out and concentrate on fighting Putin? Even a strong pro-Ukraine guy like former US Ambassador Steven Pifer told me exactly this when I interviewed him.

    5) I think if the West is serious about supporting Ukraine, there should be some kind of mini-Marshall plan for the country. The IMF loans are ok, but at the end of the day these are LOANS, and simply push Ukraine further into debt. The West – especially EU – helped precipitate this by pushing Ukraine to sign up for the Association free trade agreement, and now they’ve left them financially hanging. Economically, I’m rather left wing, so take my views on this with a grain of salt I guess. .

    6) As deep as your knowledge base is, you really ought to write some stuff for Foreign Policy or others on this subject:)

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more posts! Josh

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Thank you for your support. If you don’t mind dropping me an email(, I’d love to discuss this issue of Foreign Policy with you, among other things.

    2. RK

      Albeit that for most Brits we’d happily compare the terrorists of the Stern Gang and the Irgun to OUN terrorists


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