In May 1945, the Red Army, or more specifically soldiers of the 3rd Ukrainian Front and the 1st Byelorussian Front raised the red banner over the Reichstag in the centre of Berlin and brought the European theatre of ww2 to a close.
For 71 years since this event, May 9th has been a holiday in the Soviet Union and it’s successor states in remembrance of the fallen of what is known as The Great Patriotic War.
Sadly, the traditional Victory holiday has been disrupted by Ukrainian nationalists, mostly from the western regions, many of them members of far-right groups such as Svoboda and Pravy Sektor, attacking veterans who had fought for the Red Army during WW2.
Youtube channel Ukraine War Awareness (UWA) has compiled primary source material showing the Victory Day clashes in several cities of Ukraine, giving us an unbiased look at what actually happened:
May 9th, 2016. Under Poroshenko’s new law against Soviet Symbols and St. George’s Ribbon, many Veterans and People still gathered to celebrate Victory over Nazi Germany throughout all of Ukraine to lay flowers on memorials. Clashes erupted between Nationalists in almost every city, some small by just being pushed away, to large clashes such as having paint thrown at Veterans and a cop shot by Azov Civil Corps and Right Sector. This Video is the Compilation and Translation of what went down in half of the cities.
The video begins in Odessa and we see Ukrainian police enforcing the law against wearing of the St George’s ribbon for being a ‘provocation’ by denying access to the war memorial site to anyone wearing the ribbon. We then see what appears to be a heavy police presence around the memorial as the veterans carry out their flower laying ceremony around the eternal flame. An honour guard fires a salute then we see a Ukrainian flag lead a party of marching soldiers in dress uniform as a military band plays. We see many Ukrainian flags then the red banner symbolic of the victory over Germany and the placing of the red banner on the Reichstag is paraded – note that it was soldiers of the Ukrainian and Byelorussian fronts (army groups) that captured the Reichstag and flew the red banner from it. The crowd applauds the parading of the banner then chants ‘Facism will not pass’ (which was a ww2 slogan) and ‘Thank you Grandfather for the victory’; everything seems quite normal and peaceful.
Then we see a march by a group of Ukrainian nationalists chanting about ‘glory to the heroes’ (in reference to Bandera and Shukhevich), ‘Death to enemies’ and ‘Ukraine above all’; they are escorted by black-clad riot police. As they pass the ww2 veterans they chant ‘Shame, shame, shame’, they reach the war memorial and chant more of their slogans then insults – ‘suck it Novorussiya’, and nationalist sentiments – ‘one, united, free Ukraine’, before singing the Ukrainian national anthem. Then the atmosphere turns more belligerent with chants about kniving Moskals (ethnic Russians) and how Bandera should come back to clean up this mess.
The nationalists drowned out the veterans and pushed them away from the memorial but there was no violence; however, in other Ukrainian cities the situation was rather more violent. In Slavyansk, a city in the government-held part of the Donetsk region, nationalists attacked the an anti-facist march, throwing paint, water and flour; marchers were violently attacked by men wielding clubs and shouting ‘Glory to Ukraine’. Then we see Ukrainian nationalists gathering around the memorial of the unknown soldier and chanting ‘shame, shame, shame’. The memorial ceremony to honour the heroes of ww2 goes ahead, a uniformed veteran gives a passionate speech about how it was a patriotic war because their homeland was invaded and they foughtto defend it. Veterans and families are interviewed and they express bewilderment at the events, how anyone could disrupt the remembrance ceremonies and attack elderly veterans. We see fights breaking out and the police trying to keep order, then members of the nationalist Aidar battalion complaining to the police that people had been allowed to wear St George’s ribbons.
Next we see scenes from Dnepr where nationalists attacked veterans who were carrying red victory flags (minus the communist hammer & sickle to avoid controversy). Clashes in Dnepr were minimal as many people chose to remove their ribbons due to the presence of members of the Aidar battalion.
Then we see the Victory Day parade in Kiev and the video notes that this holiday has been a traditional celebration in Ukraine for 71 years then points out that regardless of the current government, people and especially veterans should be given full freedom to commemorate and remember those who gave their lives during the most horrific war, as has been their tradition for many decades. We see crowds of veterans and nationalists clashing with the police seemingly unable to separate them. The veterans and their families manage to reach the war memorial and lay their flowers.
Next a parade of veterans in Nikolaeva and young men of the Azov Civil Guard confront the marchers, we see old people being pushed around and the Azov men accusing the police present of being traitors for failing to stop the archers carrying the red victory banner. A tough-looking uniformed veteran shakes his fist in the face of the Azov men shouting ‘I fought and got to Berlin, what are you doing?’ Then a scuffle breaks out over the red banner, the police are trying to keep order but are too few in number. Next we see middle aged men arguing, one man is asking the others if their grandfathers participated in the war and if so, why don’t they want to remember them; they reply that their grandfathers did participate and they want to remember, but without ‘your provocation’ – referring to the wearing of St George’s ribbons and the carrying of the red banner, which they point out is against the law in Ukraine.
Kharkov, and again we see opposing crowds around the war memorial and chanting of slogans; flowers are being laid then a fight breaks out and an elderly man who has been struck is lead away; a woman shouts out that Right Sector came purposefully to fight. Again, the police are trying to keep order but are outnumbered; we see a young nationalist being arrested. A man wearing a Right Sector flag is heard calling for reinforcements on his cell phone, it is mentioned that in another camera angle he was seen punching an elderly woman, this man would seem to be an organiser of the violence. The video then mentions that a policeman was shot by Azov and Right Sector members, we see shots fired and a policeman lying on the ground, apparently fatally wounded. A short clip from the local TV news reporting on the incident is shown. Back at the war memorial flowers are being laid, we see the man in the Right Sector flag who punched the old lady arguing with police and another man taking off his St George’s ribbon at the behest of the police who seem to be trying their best to calm things down. Young nationalists are trying to provoke trouble, shouting offensive things while the old women who came to honour the veterans shout back how they are sick of these facists.
The video concludes with this message from UWA:
I am from Kharkov myself originally and although I am politically neutral, I must say that Victory Day has been a tradition for me and my Kharkovchyani friend. We would tak to veterans, thank them, give them roses and they would tell us their stories. It was great! It brought people together, veterans cried from joy and sadness to the ones who passed away and didn’t make it to the anniversary. The Nationalists however brand these people as ‘Separatist Communists’.
Ukraine! if you want freedom, then you need to give freedom! Nobody from my school in Kharkov grew up with ‘Bandera, come clean up this mess’ and ‘Ukraine Above All’. I really don’t want to compare it to ‘Allahu Akbar’, but that’s all I hear now from my fellow Ukrainians. Putin this, Putin that, Glory to Heroes, Death to Enemies, but how can that be, if we are the ones killing our heroes? Our true heroes? And if you have different heroes instead of the Ukrainian 3rd Fronmt and the Byelorussian 1st Front, if your hero is indeed Stepan Bandera and Shukhevich, alright, that’s fine by me, but don’t force it onto people that don’t want to see them as heroes. The Ukrainian 3rd Front had to fight against the OUN-UPA, and so did the Polish Partisan Army. I do not support politics play, but I cannot support this beastly Nationalism.
The quote I live by:
“A nationalist will blindly follow his country to his death out of love for it. A Patriot will stand up against his country to his death out of love for it”. Attackng veterans is just not right.
Amen brother, I could not agree more.
My overall feeling after watching that video is one of disgust, I simply cannot stomach young people who have never seen anything of war, let alone a war so horriffic as ww2 where their homeland was invaded and bitterly fought over, acting like this, disrespecting the veterans and the fallen. Current politics should be put aside for the day in favour of remembering the lost lives, for politics to intervene in the acts of remembrance is simply disgusting.
Organised by the Ukrainian government
UWA has delved into the background of the Victory Day clashes and uncovered something very disturbing indeed:
May 3, 2014, the day after the Odessa Massacre of the Trade Union Building, to cause further provocations, Yuliya Tymoshenko with her Cabinet suggested to attack World War II Veterans on Victory Day, celebrated annually on May 9. In 2015 & 2016, Veterans were attacked throughout all of Ukraine.
Although Tymoshenko left office before the Maidan coup, it is clear that this suggestion of hers to attack veterans on Victory Day was indeed acted upon in 2015 and 2016 and I think it is only logical to see this as a consistent nationalist anti-Russian agenda being followed by her post-Maidan successors.
In short, the Ukrainian government planned these attacks long in advance.
The Odessa Massacre was a shameful event where far-right protesters from the Euromaidan movement – again many from Pravy Sektor, trapped a number of ethnic Russians inside the Trades Union building then set it on fire. They prevented the firefighters from putting out the fire and killed anyone who tried to escape the flames, as the people inside perished, the crowd chanted ‘Glory to Ukraine’. No-one has been prosecuted for this event; estimates of how many perished range from 50 to 250; this was a brutal mass murder and it is a stain on the integrity of Ukraine, it’s government and it’s people that no attempt has been made to bring the murderers to justice; instead, there are many lies and jokes told about the ‘Odessa Barbecue’ as it is sickly referred to by ‘pro-Ukrainians’.
This short video by independent journalist Graham Phillips summarises the events of the Odessa Massacre:
The historical background to the Ukraine-Russia conflict
The Victory Day clashes were cynically organised by the Ukrainian government to foment unrest and mutual hatred between Ukrainian and Russian. Modern Ukraine is mostly Russian in historic, linguistic and ethnic terms, until 1917, Ukraine did not exist and was in fact created by the Germans as a puppet state to enable them to drain off the rich natural resources in order to fuel their war effort (WW1 was still raging). All of Ukraine was Russian territory prior to 1917, apart from Galicia and Volhynia, the westernmost regions, which were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Galicia and Volhynia had a very mixed population of Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Slovaks, Rusyns, Ruthenians and Ukrainians; the rest of Ukraine was Russian and had been for centuries.
The concept of Ukrainian nationalism arose in Galicia, the product of wartime politics as both the Germans and Austro-Hungarians sought to employ a strategy of divide and conquer against their Slavic Russian opponents. In 1914 and 1915, the Austro-Hungarian army discovered that Slavic troops in their ranks often refused to fight the Russians as they were fellow Slavs. In February 1917 the Russian Tsar abdicated, a move that many Russians hoped would lead to an end to the horrific war; however, the Kerensky government chose to continue the war and launched an offensive that failed completely with massive casualties. This was the final straw and the Russian army broke and mutinied, leading to the October Revolution where the German agent Lenin seized power with the help of Wall Street’s man Trotsky.
Lenin did as his German masters had intended and signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk that ended hostilities and handed a huge tract of western Russia to Germany and Austro-Hungary. This land that was ceded became Ukraine – the very first time such a nation had appeared on any map. The Germans occupied this territory with a million men and installed a puppet regime that would co-operate in the harnessing of Ukraine’s rich natural resources for the German war effort. Yes, a major foreign power installed a puppet regime in Kiev in order to steal the wealth of Ukraine in 1917, sound familiar?
Despite the million occupying troops and harsh rules by the puppet regime, Ukraine failed to produce more than a fraction of the resources the Germans demanded. Germany ultimately lost WW1 but only after a final throw of the dice in the spring of 1918 came within an ace of success. British General Haig and French General Lanrezac both noted that at the critical moment of the German spring offensives, when the German stormtroopers had almost succeeded in driving a wedge between the French and British armies; a mere three cavalry divisions would have sufficed to deal a fatal blow. At that moment in Ukraine were five cavalry divisions, part of the million occupying troops; therefore it can reasonably be argued that the creation and occupation of Ukraine cost Germany WW1.
While WW1 from a Western perspective ended on 11th November 1918, in Eastern Europe, the fighting continued for over a year as new nation states arose from the ashes of empires and far-right groups fought far-left Bolsheviks. In Germany and Hungary, civil wars erupted where Bolshevik movements attempted to seize power but were eventually defeated by far-right Nationalist forces. Poland and Ukraine also experienced wars where right fought left, but due to their position bordering Bolshevik Russia, these conflicts were international rather than purely civil affairs. The Poles eventually defeated the Polish Bolsheviks, Western Ukrainians and the Soviet Red Army and established a right wing military junta under Pilsudski; the Second Polish Republic was established and took control of the former Austro-Hungarian provinces of Volhynia and Galicia, which contained a large number of Ukrainians. Polish mistreatment of these Ukrainians lead to the foundation of an underground Ukrainian Nationalist movement.
The remainder of what today is known as Ukraine was a battleground between White Russians, the Bolshevik Red Army, Ukrainian Anarchists, Western intervention forces and a half dozen smaller groups as the Russian Civil War raged until 1922 when the Bolsheviks were victorious and established the Ukrainian SSR as part of the USSR. The 1920s and 1930s saw first Trotsky and the Red Army and later Yezhov, Beria and the NKVD bloodily impose Bolshevik rule and murder millions in the process, therefore nationalist movements were completely suppressed and the issue of an independent Ukraine simply did not exist.
Which brings us to 1939 and the German invasion of Poland, the spark that ignited ww2 in Europe. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were allied at thi time via the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and following a secret clause in that pact, the Russians marched into Eastern Poland and the Second Polish Republic was neatly divided into German and Russian halves. This placed Galcicia and Volhynia with their Ukrainian populations under Soviet rule and the Ukrainian Nationalist movements that had existed under Polish rule continued to oppose the Soviet rule. A year and a half later, Hitler tore up the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and sent his armies east to invade the Soviet Union. Russian occupied Poland and the frontier regions of White Russia and Ukraine fell in a matter of days as the panzer divisions outmanouevred, encircled and destroyed the massive and unwieldy Soviet formations that Stalin had arrayed along the border.
The rapid advance of the German and allied armies deep into Soviet territory left Hitler in possession of vast tracts of land and like his WW1 predecessors Ludendorff and Hindenburg, he set his sights on the vast natural resources of those conquered lands. However, in order to extract those resources for the German war effort, the conquered lands must be brought fully under German control and this requires large numbers of troops – in 1918 a million men were tied down in Ukraine. Hitler couldn’t afford to divert a million troops from the fighting fronts so he looked for alternative forces to control and police the Ukraine. He found an ally in the Ukrainian Nationalists of Galicia and Volhynia, so these groups were armed and equipped by Germany and tasked with policing the German occupied territory.
A brutal and bloody partisan campaign was fought out in the German occupied lands of the East throughout the war, there were many factions and their alliances were often transitory – Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Bolsheviks, Nationalists and Anarchists all formed armed bands and engaged in conflicts with each other. It is little known in the west, but this factional fighting continued after ww2 with the last holdouts not surrendering to the Red Army until the 1950s!
Prior to WW1, Ukraine did not exist, the name Ukraine referred only to a small strip of land in Western Galicia. The only people with any concept of a Ukrainian nation were a few disgruntled subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire living in the provinces of Volhynia and Galicia. It was not until the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918 that a Ukrainian state existed and it was created by the German High Command out of the Russian territory it had annexed under the terms of Brest-Litovsk with the aim of establishing a puppet state in order to be able to extract the natural resources of Ukraine and use them to fuel the German war machine. This Ukrainian state lasted only a couple of years before the Bolsheviks took control and incorporated the territory into the USSR.
Ukrainian nationalism existed in the inter-war years among the Ukrainians living in the Galicia and Volhynia regions under Polish rule. The Germans allied with these groups in the 1941-43 period and Ukrainians served with the German armies in formations such as the SS Galicia Division and the infamous Dirlewanger Brigade. These units were engaged in bitter conflict with both the Red Army and various Russian partisan groups right up to the bitter end of ww2 in May 1945.
The post-1991 flowering of Ukrainian nationalism has it’s root in those groups who fought alongside Nazi Germany; the far-right Nationalist groups like Pravy Sektor who played such a key role in the Maidan coup of 2014 are largely comprised of people from Galicia and Volhynia who see the Ukrainian Nationalists of ww2 as the heroes of their movement. These people are deeply imbued with a hatred of Russia and all things Russian. The Maidan coup placed power into the hands of these people with the inevitable violent results we saw in Odessa when Pravy Sektor thugs came by bus from Western Ukraine to attack and murder ethnic Russians.
I think it is reasonable to conclude that the current Ukrainian far-right nationalists have been created, fostered and eventually placed into power by Western powers; this is an almost precise repetition of the events that first created a Ukrainian state a century earlier when Germany and Austria-Hungary sought to divide and conquer the Russian Empire. Doubtless the same motivation to divide and conquer Russia is behind the present-day meddling in Ukraine. After all, the vast majority of Ukrainian land and Ukrainian people are entirely Russian in ethnicity, culture, language and history and artificially dividing them from their fellow Russians serves only the interests of foreign powers who fear the power and resources a united Russian people would possess.
Posted by Ian Greenhalgh on May 21, 2016, With 3501 Reads Filed under Ukraine Wars, WarZone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.