You may have heard about the “de-Communization” laws in the Ukraine. The current pro-nationalist government has embarked upon a wide-ranging ideological project to completely rewrite the history of that country. Those who used to be villains — the Nazis, the Banderites — are now the heroes. Those who used to be heroes — the Soviet victors who defeated the Nazis and the Banderites — are now the villains and aggressors. But going back even further than the Great Patriotic War – back to the dawn of the Soviet era, a full rewriting of history is underway.
When the Ukrainian nationalists came to power in 2014, they put a man named Volodymyr Viatrovych in charge of the national historical archives. Viatrovych has sinced used his position to censor and suppress all historical research which does not support the Ukrainian nationalist ideology. An ideology which glorifies nationalist heroes such as Symon Petliura, Stepan Bandera, and others. In essence, these guys (who, by the way, all lost their various wars for “Ukrainian independence” as they saw it), are now decreed to be the heroes. Any historian or any other public person in Ukraine who does not praise these butchers or follow the new line, will be punished by legal sanctions. Freedom of speech and thought has been abolished, as the Ukrainian nationalists strive (as they always do) for complete and totalitarian control of their own population. Including thought control.
In fact, Viatrovych’s project is so reprehensible, that even Josh Cohen, in ForeignPolicy.com (certainly not a pro-Russian outfit) is apprehensive about the whole thing. American neo-cons (including ones of Jewish origin) were certainly upbeat cheerleaders for the Maidan coup in 2014. But maybe some of them secretly cannot stomach the Banderites, what with their record of slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent Jewish people (1941-1942). Not to mention innocent Polish people, Russian people, and lots of others as well. I stress once again: These victims were just ordinary people who got slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands. Not soldiers. Not criminals. Not ideological warriors, or “typical representatives” of their respective races. Just ordinary people who lived ordinary lives and did nothing to deserve being gutted or shot like animals.
Viatrovych vs. Klichko
Having gotten that preamble out of the way, I turn to today’s story, which I saw in PolitNavigator. This looks to be an interesting catfight developing between the aforementioned Viatrovych vs. “Clueless Klichko”, the Mayor of Kiev.
People who know of Vitaly Klichko know that he was a brilliant boxer who represented Ukraine honorably at the world level. But Klichko took possibly too many blows to the head over the years, and became somewhat of a running gag for his clueless utterances. Whole websites are devoted to his mis-speaks and malapropisms. Nonetheless, Klichko was always an ardent supporter of the Maidan coup. Thanks for his efforts, Victoria Nuland appointed him to his post as Mayor of Kiev, as consolation prize for “Yats” getting the big job. Given that “Klitch” just wasn’t ready for prime-time yet and needed to do his homework.
Anyhow, moving along to our story, and I promise I’ll get to it eventually…
The lede is that Viatrovych ordered Klichko to tear down a statue in Kiev honoring the Communist Red Army commander Nikolai Shchors. And Klichko refused. Viatrovych complained about Klichko on an interview with Ukrainian Channel 5 TV. In Viatrovych’s words:
“We simply cannot understand, who among the leadership in Kiev is responsible for enforcing the law on de-communization. My episodic encounters with the Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klichko have revealed, that he simply does not understand the necessity of enforcing this law. His position is rather strange. Several weeks ago I met with him, we started talking about Shchors, and he showed an irrational reaction to the idea of destroying the statue. He said, ‘I did not enter the government, in order to tear things down, I have a different mission…’ and other words to that effect.”
Щорс ще не вмер
I finish with a youtube video containing the “Song of Shchors”, a popular Soviet song. But first, here are the lyrics, along with my translation into English; and please remember that when I “translate” poetry, I just attempt to translate the meaning of the words, I do not pretend to capture any of the meter or rhyme.
The infantry detachment approached along the shore,
Came approaching from afar,
Marching under a red banner
Came the commander of the regiment.
His head was in a bandage,
There was blood on his sleeve,
He left a bloody trace
Along the moist grass.
“Lads, who is your commander?
Who leads you into battle?
Who is that wounded man
Marching under the red banner?”
“We are sons of the poorest peasantry.
We are fighting for a new world.
It is Shchors marching under that banner —
Our Red Commander.
In hunger and in the cold
He led his life.
But his blood
Was not shed in vain.
We repulsed the ferocious enemy,
Drove him back behind the cordon.
We have been forged in battle,
Honor is our path.”
Silence along the shore,
The voices have stilled.
The sun is going down,
The dew falls onto the grass.
The cavalry gallops onward,
The sound of hooves rings out.
The red banner of Shchors
Flaps in the breeze.