Today I am doing something that I have not done before: I am interrupting one of my multi-part stories for BREAKING NEWS!!!! Namely, the statue of Olena Teliha at Babiy Yar got itself splattered with red paint. This happened some time Friday night going on to Saturday.
Don’t worry, Readers, tomorrow I will continue my saga about the Old Believers and their meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But for today, just this quickie which I saw in PolitNavigator. Pausing to “report” on this breaking story also gives me an opportunity to correct a couple of Errata in my earlier piece about Teliha, which I posted here. At that time I mistakenly wrote that the poetessa Teliha was an ethnic Russian who adopted the Ukrainian/Galician national identity and ideology. This came from a too-hasty reading of her bio, and that she had been born near Moscow. Olena’s mom indeed came from a family of Russian Orthodox priests, but apparently her dad was of mixed Ukrainian/Belarussian ethnicity. And the family were only in Moscow because that was where they spent their summer vacations. Feeling like she had to pick an identity for herself, Olena came down on dad’s side of the family. Might say something about her relationship with mom. Or not. Just sayin’.
In my earlier piece, I also followed the narrative irony of a vicious Jew-hater being forced to trek out there to Babiy Yar to be rudely murdered, along with naked Jews. It’s a good story which tells a stern moral (=”Karma will come back to bite you”), but my research since then indicates that it may not have happened exactly that way. Many historians believe that Teliha was actually shot, more mundanely, in her prison cell, by the Germans. That makes more sense: Once the German occupiers had decided to eradicate this Ukrainian nationalist pest, why go to the trouble of carting her all the way out to the Yar? Having said that, nobody really knows, and there is no proof either way, unless somebody wants to grab a shovel and try to dig her skeleton out of the Yar. After all these years, it’s probably not even possible to get a DNA sample, I reckon.
Both pro- and anti-Teliha elements have certain reasons for wanting her to die at Babiy Yar: On the anti- side there is the issue of “poetic” justice, pun intended. On the pro- side, Ukrainian nationalists, in addition to promulgating their pathetic myth that they fought equally against Hitler as they did against Stalin, have a compulsive need to take things which don’t belong to them. In this case, the legacy of Babiy Yar. These Jew-hating nationalists, who enthusiastically collaborated with Hitler and supported the Holocaust with every fiber of their being, now attempt, using Teliha, to steal the Yar away from its rightful owners, namely, the Jewish people and the Soviet people. As I wrote before, there is not one molecule of Babiy Yar which belongs to the Ukrainian nationalists. Even if it were true that Teliha died there, which is highly dubious.
Anyhow, Bogdan Chervak, the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), reported the following information on his Facebook yesterday:
“An act of vandalism was committed at Babiy Yar. In the middle of the night, hiding from people, these no-goodniks tossed a can of red paint onto the statue of the amazing OUN activist Olena Teliha. There is no doubt that this provocation was committed not only against the OUN and against Teliha, but also against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”
Bogdan went on to say that this act of vandalism is aimed at “destabilizing” the situation in the Ukraine. Which is otherwise a completely stable country, under the beneficient gaze of Olena Teliha.