One more thing

I didn’t want to follow up the last post on Shaun Walker and Ukraine, but as it turns out, none other than Shaun Walker wrote a good article about Ukraine and the Holocaust and I think it deserves to be highlighted.

My favorite part by far was this:

Yuri Shukhevych, the son of one of the main Ukrainian nationalist leaders, spent three decades in Soviet camps due to his family’s political affiliations. Now, aged 82, he is an MP and the author of the new history laws. Asked whether he was comfortable with the Holocaust monument erected in Rava Ruska which blamed locals as well as Germans, Shukhevych deflected the question.

Yeah I bet he deflected it. Just a little history lesson- Yuri’s father Roman served in German uniform loyally until 1943. The OUN, of which he was a member, organized the militias in Western Ukraine which were responsible for numerous pogroms that killed thousands of Jews, in addition to rounding up Jews for extermination. Roman later became commander of the UPA in 1943, which is incidentally the same year the insurgent army was “legalized” by the Germans and the same year it proceeded to slaughter thousands of Poles in Volyn. This is the guy responsible for the law that makes it illegal to publicly criticize his Nazi collaborator father.

But his response really takes the cake:

“Of course it was a cruel battle and there were a lot of bad things that happened on all sides. Let’s objectively investigate them. But people like to say that our nationalists did things but the Polish didn’t. And what about the Jewish police, the Judenrat, which selected and sorted the Jews? I saw it with my own eyes. But the Jews don’t like to talk about that.”

Hmmm…. This sounds familiar. All it needs is a few “what abouts” here and there and- PRESTO! Almost indistinguishable from a Russian vatnik.  I’m sure Shukhevych would feel the same way about the mass killing of prisoners in L’viv by retreating Soviet forces as well, right? I mean it was a war, after all.

My experience with vishivatniks has taught me much in so many years, so I’ve developed this handy phrasebook for dealing with them:

But they were fighting for independence! 

Many groups fought, in various ways, for Ukrainian independence, and with varying degrees of success. We cannot rule out, for example, that a self-proclaimed warrior for Ukrainian independence “fought” for his cause via his own strategy of raping pigs on Soviet collective farms. Yet if history should discover the bold independence fighter Taras the Pig-fucker, I don’t believe his reputation should be protected by law, nor would I support putting him on banknotes or erecting monuments in his name.

Apart from Poles, the largest group of people killed by the OUN and the later OUN-B controlled UPA were other Ukrainians, including Western Ukrainians- not Soviet soldiers, NKVD agents, and certainly not German soldiers, as the Germans were always seen as a “secondary enemy” by the UPA leadership during that time in which they were outlawed.

Neither the OUN nor UPA secured independence for Ukraine, and the only independence they believed in was one dominated by their ideology. While the organization adopted a seemingly democratic program in 1943, supposedly in hopes of winning recognition from the Western allies, we have no good reason to assume this would have been implemented, and thus we must judge the OUN based on its actions and the ideology it professed from its inception up to that point.

You’re saying Ukrainians were Nazi collaborators and killers of Jews! 

Nope, I’m saying that about the OUN factions and the UPA, which incidentally never garnered the support of more than a tiny fraction of the Ukrainian populace. Even in the areas where they were strongest, their numbers were not impressive. Regardless of its ideology or actions, the idea that such a small political party should be entitled to represent a nation it did not create nor found is simply absurd. Please, go to Canada, preferably somewhere far north, and form Banderia. I don’t give a fuck.

But whatabout…

WHAT ABOUT IRAQ, LIBYA, TUNISIA, EGYPT,VIETNAM, HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI, DRESDEN, THE NATIVE AMERICAN GENOCIDE, SLAVERY, THE CRUSADES, AFGHANISTAN, ODESSA?! HAVE YOU SEEN AMERICA’S STATE DEBT?! NAKATIM BLEYAT!

Not all UPA members murdered Poles or Jews! 

Indeed, not all UPA members even wanted to be in the UPA- they used conscription. But many of the UPA’s personnel were former militiamen or Schutzsmannschaft auxiliary police veterans and thus had blood on their hands.

Oh yeah? What about the Soviet Union’s crimes? Aren’t they the same? 

Apparently, the United States and the United Kingdom didn’t agree at the time. Sorry. I think the world is much better off that the side your nationalist political party attached itself to lost.

You’re a Ukrainophobe! 

Boy that sounds familiar too. Just change the prefix and voila! You’re a Putin-loving vatnik! Seriously though, no. I’m not a “Ukrainophobe” and that word itself is as stupid and misused as Russophobe. I hate the OUN, which does not represent Ukraine, nor did it ever. In this I am no different than the majority of Ukrainians during WWII, and I’m no different than the majority of Ukrainians now, who aren’t fans of radical nationalists and at most, maintain an ambivalent attitude toward these things as they have bigger problems.

Why should we talk about this right now when Russia is engaging in aggression in Ukraine?! 

This question is actually based on a tweet by a particularly annoying Western advocate playing Avatar with Ukraine, but I could see this coming from a vishivatnik. Let me answer that with another question: What would you have said about George Orwell criticizing the Soviet Union while Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were still fighting, killing hundreds if not thousands of fighting men on a daily basis?

You know what, scratch that. I’ll not be accused of whataboutery. Let me put it this way- rigid orthodoxy and censorship will not win against Russia. I really don’t understand why this is difficult to understand. You have two men, one very large and strong, the other very small and skinny. Neither have training and they get in a fight. Based on sheer strength, the larger man is going to win, hands down. Thus far we’ve been watching Ukraine trying to do exactly that- fight a far more powerful country on its terms, in a ridiculously conventional way.

Victory in this war requires conscious moral superiority, not simply being the victim of aggression. Everyone must understand that the Ukraine that emerges from this conflict will be infinitely better than the one that went into it, and more importantly, it must be everything that Russia today is not. This, contrary to the belief of vishivatniks, does not mean replacing Soviet memorials with their polar opposite- UPA monuments. The core must change, not simply the skin. And idolizing Nazi collaborators who had their own fascist ideology is not how you affect that change.

You’re an FSB agent! 

Shhhh! I can’t let my State Department masters find out I’m a double agent!

You’ve been brainwashed by Communist propaganda! 

Yes, we Americans were awash in Communist propaganda in the late 80’s and 90’s, especially those of us raised in highly religious, Reagan-supporting conservative families.

Only Ukrainians should be allowed to write Ukrainian history! (Yes, this has been said before.)

No. I’m terribly sorry but from a historian’s point of view, that is a terrible idea. In fact, that’s probably one of the worst ideas one could put forth in the field of history.

Nobody should tell Ukraine who its heroes should be! 

Who says you should decide who all Ukrainians should see as heroes? Look I’m really sorry, but we’re not going to rewrite human history for the sake of Ukraine. We don’t rewrite it for the British Empire, we don’t rewrite it for America. Sure, people do, but these people tend to get a reputation as hacks, whereas in Ukraine they get put in charge of a state security archive. By all means, have your heroes, but don’t be shocked at the reaction you get, and don’t blame us when Russia’s propagandists take something you did and beat you over the head with it.

Are we going to rethink our view of the Croatian Ustashe? The Slovakian Revolutionary Party? The Hungarian Arrow Cross? The Italian Fascist Party(PNF)? The Croix de Feu? No? Those are still collaborators and associated with fascism and atrocities? Okay, then why? Why are we to make an exception for this one historical movement that garnered far less representation in its own nation than those other movements? Either we do it for all, or we do it for none. We do not pick and choose.

Oh we’re supposed to pretend Ukraine is special in this respect because it’s under attack by Russia? Holy shit- I sure hope nobody ever attacks Germany or Austria! Think who will have to rehabilitate then.

Conclusion

Honestly I hate fighting against vishivatniks. It’s like fire from the rear, like UPA partisans shooting isolated Red Army soldiers, quite often Ukrainians themselves, in the back. It never feels good to criticize a victim and as much as I hate the victimhood mentality in Ukraine, the country is a victim of clear aggression and the West has done a piss poor job of helping. At Maidan European and American politicians were happy to profess their solidarity, but when that big juicy market Russia, the Frankenstein monster created by two decades of neo-liberal capitalism, started to throw its weight around, that solidarity turned out to be little more than words. But if Ukraine wants to win, it will have to make hard choices and a radical transformation. Being no better than Russia doesn’t cut it. Being Russia but with contested democratic elections also won’t cut it.

I realize that my previous post on the Ukrainian diaspora was too hard. I had let the most obnoxious, loudest voices drown out the rational ones. Truly the problem isn’t whether one is originally from Canada or the US or from Ukraine, but rather whether one is a vishivatnik or a rational person. Ukraine cannot win its fight with vishivatniks, they are far outnumbered by Russia’s vatniks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to prepare for another week of insane news coming out of Russia.

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6 thoughts on “One more thing

  1. Callum Carmichael

    Unfortunately, Ottawa has ignored my repeated recommendations to use Nunavut like the Russians use Siberia, so any diaspora vishvatniks that we send there would have to live in the Inuit communities, and the Inuit have suffered enough.

    Reply
  2. Asehpe

    ” Victory in this war requires conscious moral superiority, not simply being the victim of aggression. Everyone must understand that the Ukraine that emerges from this conflict will be infinitely better than the one that went into it, and more importantly, it must be everything that Russia today is not. This, contrary to the belief of vishivatniks, does not mean replacing Soviet memorials with their polar opposite- UPA monuments. The core must change, not simply the skin. And idolizing Nazi collaborators who had their own fascist ideology is not how you affect that change.”

    That makes a lot of sense to me now. Thanks for writing this.

    Reply
  3. A.I.Schmelzer

    Secondary enemy? IIRC, UPA shitlist went like this:

    1: Russians! Evil Moskals are responsible for everything, including the golden horde!
    2: Jews! Evul bankrollers for all enemies of Ukraine, from Dzingis Khan to Stalin! (Also, perfidious Jews do not fire back in order to tarnish gloriotorious Ukraines later! Everything is a Jewish-Moskal conspiracy!)
    3: Poles! Why dont they accept their proper place as fertilizer on our farms? They just hate Ukraine for because of its more glorious superior Potatoes!
    4: Germans, why doesnt Adolf-Sama love us, we just want to be like him!

    Seriously, the amount of buthurt one can induce among Banderafanboys by quoting Banderas declaration of “not- independence” is pretty priceless.

    Which would make the Germans the “quaternary enemy” or something like that.

    The interesting thing is, iirc that Banderas OUN-B actually couped the preexisting UPA leadership (who were still jerks, but somewhat less firmly embedded into Adolf-Samas rear end) and murdered the previous leaders. This was done with direct Nazi backing, and probably served as a precondition for the UPAs “legalization”, so, if they want to do a “UPA as misunderstood tragic hero” thing, they would have to ax Bandera…

    But yeah, the more you know about Bandera…

    Reply
  4. crobellatores

    Your hate on Ukrainian right(is there any left actually?) patriotism shows you are hardcore leftist because daddy didn’t buy you car during Reagan era,or girls avoided you(it’s not Reagan fault,you are ugly and not so smart,just for case if you thaught about it),well,your picking of subjects in Vatnikstan without BS forum gives right to one who doubt about your employer and intentions. You are becoming more and more pathetic with authority in historian science and your moral superiority. You should be Pope or UN Comissionaire for Human Rights,oh! I forget you are much higher in clouds. Maybe you can get Nobel Prize for Peace? Actually you can,if your beloved Obama could then anybody can. Thanks to Vatnikstan aggression on Ukraine more and more people find out the truth about OUN and their heroic struggle against CCCP until 1956. Stepan Bandera is not saint,but he’s not devil either,for sure he wasn’t Nazi or fascist or war criminal,but historians,real historians,not Soviet or Russian(or YOU THE GREAT) will research subject and history and nation will put him where is his place.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I approved this pathetic, juvenile rant because of its sheer hilarity, and I love playing with my victims.

      “Your hate on Ukrainian right(is there any left actually?) patriotism shows you are hardcore leftist because daddy didn’t buy you car during Reagan era,or girls avoided you(it’s not Reagan fault,you are ugly and not so smart,just for case if you thaught about it),”

      One of the most bizarre leaps of logic I’ve ever seen. For the sake of accuracy, I’m not sure how much time my dad dedicated to the subject, but if he did, his decision not to buy me a car was both sound and prudent, seeing as how I was a toddler in the Reagan era.

      Your other insinuation is just plain wrong, however. One of my earliest known photographs shows me on a homecoming float surrounded by sorority girls- obviously a sign. Unfortunately, this was the 80’s, so their beauty was marred by hideous hairstyles that dominated the decade. I’m actually surprised that any heterosexual relationships bloomed during those years.

      I have to say it’s always hilarious to see Ukrainian nationalists or right-wing Russians sucking Reagan’s cock, because none of you know shit about American politics. If you did, you’d understand why Reagan’s economic philosophy is largely the reason why you’re under attack by a revanchist Russia today. See when you let “the market” decide everything, sometimes it decides on a country rich in natural resources with a big potential market.

      “well,your picking of subjects in Vatnikstan without BS forum gives right to one who doubt about your employer and intentions. ”

      Ah yes, if someone criticizes the Ukrainian nationalist fairy tale, they must work for the Kremlin, no exceptions. Even the American CIA was controlled by the KGB in the 50’s! Yes, there’s a decades-long, worldwide conspiracy against Ukraine, because Ukraine is such an important and pivotal country in the world, and Russia is able to manipulate the entire world because it is run by such competent, long-term thinking people. Who dares stand against them!

      Do you ever realize that what you implied here is basically just the equivalent of a Vatnik screaming: “GOSDEP! CIA!”

      “You are becoming more and more pathetic with authority in historian science and your moral superiority.”

      Gee, uh…Sorry for studying history. I’ll try to be more like you and adopt political positions based solely on the perception that they might be the direct opposite of what my opponents support. This has worked so well in Eastern Europe.

      And as for moral superiority, it’s not too difficult to achieve said superiority over Nazi collaborators who murdered scores of innocent people.

      ” You should be Pope or UN Comissionaire for Human Rights,oh! I forget you are much higher in clouds.”

      Well the first option’s out as I’m not Catholic, and as for the second- how much does it pay and what are the benefits? Again, I don’t see why one needs to make much of an effort to be morally superior to bloodthirsty Nazi collaborators. This is probably the lowest standard one can imagine. “Hey I went an entire day without joining ISIS! I’m still better than Roman Shukhevych!”

      “Maybe you can get Nobel Prize for Peace? Actually you can,if your beloved Obama could then anybody can.”

      I think I saw one in one of those crane games you see in supermarkets, but I’ll need to practice a lot.

      “Thanks to Vatnikstan aggression on Ukraine more and more people find out the truth about OUN and their heroic struggle against CCCP until 1956.”

      So events in the present actually change history. Interesting theory you have there. The OUN’s struggle wasn’t heroic. It failed, and probably killed more Ukrainians directly and indirectly than anyone else, save for maybe Poles and Jews. It was a shit ideology, typically fascist by the standards of the era. No Ukrainian owes the OUN or Bandera an ounce of respect.

      The funny thing is that your “truth” needs the force of state to make people believe it.

      “Stepan Bandera is not saint,but he’s not devil either,for sure he wasn’t Nazi or fascist or war criminal,”

      He certainly was a fascist and he was indirectly a war criminal given his knowledge about what his men were doing and the orders he sent to them. The fascist nature of his ideology is evident from his writings and publications, the publications of other OUN figures before Bandera took power, his title of Provydnik, etc. A lot of this was clearly evident during the Pieracki trials in 1935. But of course I’m sure the court stenographer must have been working for the Soviet Union, right?

      “but historians,real historians,not Soviet or Russian(or YOU THE GREAT) will research subject and history and nation will put him where is his place.”

      Per Anders Rudling isn’t Soviet or Russian. Marples isn’t. Snyder isn’t. McBride isn’t, Rossolinski-Liebe isn’t. John Armstrong isn’t(and virtually all his sources were UPA members or former members).

      The basic problem here, is that you are a vatnik. You don’t know it but you are. You wave your little red and black flag thinking this makes you something other than a vatnik, but you are of the same mental capacity nonetheless. This is why you think that people should have national “teams,” why history must be determined by nationality or why you think it’s acceptable to legislate historical narratives.

      Struggle all you want, but you are and always will be, one side of the same coin- a backward nationalist stuck in the early 20th century while this century leaves you behind. What a burden you are on Ukraine. You’re the reason Russia’s able to prey on her. You lack vision, basic critical thinking skills, and anything of value.

      Reply

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