Ukraine War Day #143: Never Use The B Word!

Ukraine to Poland:  My darling, will you marry me?  Please say I do, and be my blushing bride.
Poland:  I do!  I do!  But one tiny condition...
Ukraine:  Yes, my love?
Poland:  You must never use the B-word...

Dear Readers:

In yesterday’s post we saw how the Ukrainian Rada is preparing to pass a bill that would grant Polish citizens in the Ukraine the exact same rights as Ukrainian citizens. What this means in practice, I honestly have no clue, although I attempted to do some research. Does it mean that a Polish tourist visiting a Kiev cabaret can be torn away from his table and forced to enlist in the Ukrainian armed forces? Or that a Polish youth can be attacked and duck-taped to a tree because he was seen wearing the wrong kind of tee-shirt?

Western Ukrainian wedding traditions can be very elaborate.

More sinisterly, I suspect there are some secret clauses in this law, that we are not meant to know about. For example, that Poles serving in Ukrainian armed forces would not be subject to prosecution for war crimes, even if they did something naughty (?) Like I said, I have no idea, I am just guessing.

What we do know, however, is that the Ukraine is keen on the idea of 20,000 Polish troops serving in the Ukrainian Western Oblasts; that would free up Ukrainian soldiers for their famous “massive counteroffensives” in Kherson and the Donbass.

Some people say that Polish-Ukrainian friendship has never been better. But, as in any long-term relationship, there is always some impediment that gets in the way of true love. All of that leading up to this story, by reporters Rafael Fakhrutdinov and Mikhail Moshkin. The headline reads:

Poland Is Up Against The Core Mythology Of Ukrainian Statehood

What is the core mythology of Ukrainian statehood? Why, Bandera, of course. The B-word. Stepan Bandera is the ideological founder of Indepedent Ukraine, just as Thomas Jefferson was the ideological founder of the United States of America. No tickee no shirtee, as they used to say in the Chinese laundromat: You kill Bandera, there is no more Ukraine. Hey, I didn’t make up these rules, so don’t look at me. It was the Ukrainians themselves who concocted their own “origin story”, in their place I would have picked something different (like maybe, “We arrived from the planet Krypton”), but it wasn’t up to me.

Given all of this, we are left with 2 main postulates:

  1. Ukrainian identify flows from its founding hero, Bandera; and
  2. Ukraine wishes to marry Poland. In a marriage more of crass convenience than romantic love.

I believe it is easy even for the uninitiated to see the main impediment to this wedding, namely that Poland cannot tolerate Bandera. Poland is willing to marry Ukraine, but only if the latter denounces Bandera. Which it can never do, any more than the U.S. government could denounce George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and still remain standing on Capitol Hill.

It was Polish President Andrzej Duda who first tossed down the gauntlet, when he demanded that the Ukraine admit to, and apologize for, the Volhynia Massacres of 1943-45. He also demanded that the Ukraine build a memorial that would allow Poles to visit and pray for their dead. Duda made these demands earlier this week, July 11, which in Poland is celebrated as “The Day of Mourning for Victims of Polish citizenship, Subjected to Genocide by Ukrainian Nationalists” (in Polish Narodowy Dzień Pamięci Ofiar Ludobójstwa dokonanego przez ukraińskich nacjonalistów na obywatelach II Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej).

This commemoration is celebrated every year in Poland, and is now the 79th anniversary of those ghastly events from the past. In his speech, Duda made it clear that the Poles do not intend to carry out any revenge, on behalf of those 100,000 innocent Polish civilians who were grotequely murdered by Bandera’s acolytes. They simply want Ukraine to officially admit that these events happened, and that the Ukrainian Nationalists dunnit. It was on this very same day (July 11) that Zelensky brought to the Ukrainian Rada his draft bill on granting Polish citizens the same rights as Ukrainians. The timing was not a coincidence. Both Zelensky and Duda are treating this bill as a sort of symbolic apology non-apology for Volhynia.

It isn’t nearly enough, though. Polish pundit and former Parliamentarian Mateusz Andrzej Piskorski:

Mateusz Piskorski

“Many people in Poland are hoping, of course, that Ukraine will recognize the Volhynia Massacre as a genocide. This would be the right thing to do, from the factual and historical point of view, and also given the current political situation, when Kiev is talking about a strategic partnership with Warsaw, and even about a friendship [between the two nations]. Unfortunately, Zelensky has not yet made any such announcements.”

Piskorski is not alone in hoping that Ukraine will man up and take responsibility for the crimes of the Ukrainian Nationalists, especially given Kiev’s growing dependency on its Western neighbor. In 2009 the Polish Parliament unanimously voted to denote the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) as responsible for the ethnic cleansings in Volhynia; in 2016 the Poles upped the ante by declaring these ethnic cleansings as an actual genocide. But it goes without saying that nobody in any of the successive Ukrainian governments (including Zelensky’s) has agreed with this formulation. The most they will admit to, is that there were some “excesses”. And also try to cover themselves with “they did it too” debating point, asserting that “Poles killed Ukrainians, and Ukrainians killed Poles… everybody was doing it…”

Ukrainian Identity Politics

See, if Ukraine was still a Soviet nation, they wouldn’t have these issues, because Bandera and his gang most certainly had nothing to do with the Soviets; in fact, it was the Soviet NKVD which happily liquidated them. It is only because “independent Ukraine” decided to throw off the Soviet legacy and try to redefine itself, that it had to search backwards for a different “origins” story, and that’s why it got itself into this pickle, saddled with Bandera and Shukhevych and the others as their founding heroes. Also taking into account the ideological baggage of the Ukrainian diaspora (in Canada and the U.S.) which exerts such bloated influence upon the state ideology. Piskorski again: “The Anglo-Saxon curators of the Ukraine clearly pedal this ideology [themselves], under the guise of Ukrainian identity, and within the framework of Ukraine the anti-Russia project. They don’t really have any other kind of ideological framework that they could utilize, given the quantity and influence of the ideological supporters [of this framework]. If Zelensky were to rebut it, then they would have to admit that much of what the West has done in the Ukraine in the past couple of decades, has been just a huge mistake.”

Which is why, according to Russian historian Vladimir Kornilov, the Kiev regime can never admit to genocide or even say one bad word about Stepan Bandera. Because that would cut right to the quick of the state-formation myth of Bandera as a “freedom fighter” for Ukrainiain independence. And, in fact, the Bandera mythology grows stronger with every succeeding Ukrainian government, to the point where it is a national mania. Ukraine and Bandera are linked inseparably: They are one and the same. You kill one, you kill the other.

Which brings us back to where we started: the eternal conundrum. A logical paradox that spins like a widening gyre. Ukraine cannot denounce Bandera. Poland cannot accept a friend who loves Bandera. The impediment is too great: the wedding cannot take place. Things fall apart, the falcon flies around haphazardly … you know the thing…

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.  (W.B. Yeats)
This entry was posted in Friendship of Peoples, Military and War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Ukraine War Day #143: Never Use The B Word!

  1. Liborio Guaso says:

    Convenience requires, let’s hope to see what happens when things get tight for the Poles, as the ancients said “every pig gets his San Martin”.


    • yalensis says:

      I had to look that one up:

      Saint Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier who was baptised as an adult and became a bishop in a French town. The most notable of his saintly acts was when he had cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save him from the cold. That same night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak and saying to the angels, “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is now baptised; he has clothed me.”
      In the agricultural calendar formerly used widely in Europe, the day marked natural winter’s start, and in the economic calendar, the end of autumn. The feast coincides with the end of the Octave (liturgy) of All Saints and of harvest time. Much brewed beer and wine first becomes ready at this time, which sees the end of winter preparations, including the butchering of animals. (An old English saying, replicated in Galician as to piglets, is “His Martinmas will come as it does to every hog,” the word being a euphemism for slaughter).

      I reckon the American equivalent would be something like: “Thanksgiving will come to every turkey!”


  2. stephentjohnson says:

    The Bandera thing is easily papered over for now, I think. The Poles fail to see the Ukrainian Bandera worship, the Ukrainians fail to see the Polish beefs. The tricky bit comes when Poland seizes western Ukraine, not that Ukraine will be able to actually do anything about it by then.

    However, I think the Poles are nervous about potential Russian reactions (want the cheese, fear the trap), but find themselves unable to actually *talk* to the Russians to see how they might react, because Putin doubleplus ungood, or something.


    • yalensis says:

      Hm… I actually think Poland is fully aware of Ukraine’s obsession with Bandera. How can it not be, especially after Melnik’s interview? I think you are correct, though, about Ukraine unable to process Poland’s beefs. Ukraine suffers from a narcissistic personality complex, it is unable to recognize or process the emotions of other nations, or to feel empathy with other nations. It’s all just ME ME ME ME ME!

      Liked by 1 person

      • moon says:

        With you on that topic, Yalensis. There is some good research too. And yes both Poland and Israel both protested officially.

        What really bothers me is to what extent, people like Timothy Snyder, contradicting their own earlier research, are trying to feed racist rage against not only Russia but Russians, Someone following him on the topic is David North of with several articles. I noticed a couple of startling examples in some comment sections lately.

        And yes, then there is the larger Holodomor complex created in the Ukrainian Canadian and American Ukrainian diaspora:

        Yasha Levine, like me not a fan neither a fan of Trump nor of Putin’s (?) present war, traces one branch of his family’s history in Ukraine in the 1930s. And notices the presence of antisemitic memes in the Ukrainian Holodomor history. No surprise there.

        See John-Paul Himka. War Criminality: A Blank Spot in the Collective Memory of the Ukrainian Diaspora

        From Yasha’s earlier article:
        Some Ukrainian sources claim extraordinary numbers of Ukrainians — 7 million or even 10 million dead, which would make it almost twice as bad as the Holocaust and give Ukrainians genocide supremacy over the Jews.

        You recall that once again, Russians commit genocide? Which Paul Robinson failed to acknowledge?
        In my last installment I mentioned how antisemitism can pervade Holodomor narratives: It’s the idea that Jews, in their guise as communists, organized the famine so they could depopulate Ukraine and claim the land and its riches for themselves. That’s what talk about zhydokomuna — aka “kike-communism” — is all about.

        Liked by 1 person

        • yalensis says:

          The so-called “Jewish question” is common to every single European nation, including Russia and the Ukraine. (I can’t think of a single exception.)
          In every one of these nations, the “titular nation” developed a radical Nationalist wing which fed on anti-Semitism as a core point on their political platform. In their view, Jews were out to destroy the titular nation, therefore the titular nation had a right to get them back. And hence, the pogroms and genocides were seen as justified.

          In Soviet Revolutionary times, this issue was a bit more complicated than in pre-revolutionary Russia, because the Jews who became Communists barely even saw themselves as Jews any more. Most of them were assimilated into the titular culture and saw themselves as, for example, Communists first, Russians [or whatever country] second, and Jews a distant third, if at all. This is why they would change their names into something less Jewish; but they were never fooling the core Jew-haters.

          It must be frustrating to see yourself as one thing, and have everybody else in the world pigeon-hole you as something else, just based on one single attribute of your complex self!


  3. S Brennan says:

    Ah…Poland & Ukrainia…that’s not a marriage…

    No, that’s just a throwback to it’s old owner-slave relationship. Ukrainia had, in previous times, accepted a servile status to Poland, a “state-sponsored-serfdom” if you will. It wasn’t a proper divorce, currents of history had separated Ukrainia but, old habits die hard.

    Watching the leadership of former Ukrainia grovel back to Poland is really something to observe. I mean, quislings are everywhere, always waiting their chance to betray their fellow countrymen to advance themselves by fellating a foreign power but this, this is being done in full view…”get a room” as they say.

    Well, here we are, there is no going back after something like this, this war of choice, this war of aggression, this attempt at ethnic cleansing. Let Poland help itself..[cuffed by a Russian backed Belarus peninsula jutting southward]. Let Hungary & Slovenia take back their lands, but not a scrap to treacherous Romania! And to Russia? Let the children of Katherina reign in her lands east of Dnieper river and to 150 miles inland of the Black Sea.

    Heck-of-job by the denizens of DC and it’s “know it all” culture…Heck-of-job! One eff-up after another and still DC struts like a pompous peacock.

    Ukrainia is an object lesson in the mechanism of colonial rule. Find a group of ruthless, venal locals; bribe them, give them the means to “elevate” themselves to “leadership” roles…then rape and pillage the land at your leisure. No wonder so many of former Ukrainia seek Russian governance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lou strong says:

    I understand that Poles and Ukrainians have their own matters of principle towards each other, and I’mheartbroken for the mental stress that such a problem may cause to their ruling classes, but I think that the eventual annexation of West Ukraine to Poland , given a certain and future situation on the ground, will be decided neither in Warsaw nor in Kyev, but in Washington DC.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bukko Boomeranger says:

    No B-words? And if we’re P.C. (not that there’s anything wrong with that) we can’t use the N-word. “Z” has been cancelled in Europe and elsewhere, of course..The P-word (for that Utin fella) is off-limits. As is the T-word (rump) for lefties. Little by little, the forces of censoriousness are eating up our letters! Where will it stop?

    Liked by 1 person

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