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Thursday, October 15, 2009

UPA Marks 67th Anniversary

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) that fought both Hitler and Stalin during WW II turned 67 yesterday.

As always, the UPA vets who gathered in downtown Kyiv drew catcalls from the Communists protesting nearby.

In this Channel 1+1 footage, the first UPA vet decries being a “second-class citizen,” under-recognized and under-compensated by the state of Ukraine, for which he fought. The second one, a bit more cheerful, touts a German-made MP-40 submachine gun, also widely used by Soviet partisans.

On the other side of the barricade, the first Communist lady refuses to calls them humans and the second one calls them “up to elbows in blood.” A Red Army vet emphasizes that it was he, not the UPA, who defended and liberated Ukraine.

Toward the end of the first footage, a Ukrainian Navy officer calls for reconciliation between Red Army vets and UPA vets, citing civil war-ravaged Spain as an example: “They fought for Ukraine, and it’s important.”

The footage ends with the rallying call of Ukrainian nationalists: “Glory to the nation! Death to the enemies!”

Turbulent, violent and divisive, history doesn’t heal easily. Elderly people cannot be reconciled against their will. But they certainly do deserve recognition and respect from current and future generations.

The thousands of UPA Ukrainians who fought for their native land deserve it no less than the millions of Red Army Ukrainians who fought for theirs.

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Original source:


John Kalitka said...

I had two great uncles who were UPA partisans. One eventually made it here to the United States. The other was killed in a Nazi work camp.

As Mark Twain said of our Civil War: "The nation is divided, half patriots and half traitors, and no man can tell which from which." It's shameful how your great patriots are treated by other Ukrainians, but, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

elmer said...

There is mention of the Spanish Civil War, and reconciliation.

In the US, after the Civil War, the veterans on both sides would actually get together, and have reunions. What was over, was over.

What is the fight in Ukraine really about, Taras?

There was no civil war, and the Red Army did not fight for Ukraine - it fought for the sovok union.

And therein lies the rub, I think - there are still people today who throw stones at UPA, because they would have to admit that all that sovok garbage they fell for, all of that sovok garbage that they tolerated, was a HUGE mistake.

So there are these silly little squabbles.

Underlying it all is - "who REALLY fought for Ukraine?"

The past is done. It is now the 21st century.

Each side should be able to remember its dead in peace.

Taras said...


One of my relatives sheltered both Soviet partisans and UPA partisans in his house in Rivne oblast.

The UPA sits uneasily with Poland, being the gory apogee of Ukraine’s centuries-long resistance to violent and oppressive Polonization.

Yet Poland and Ukraine have taken steps toward reconciliation — something that hasn’t yet taken place in Ukraine itself.


From a reconciliation perspective, it’s not about fighting for one army or the other, it’s about fighting for one’s native land.

The millions of Red Army Ukrainians fought for the Ukraine that had been a part of the Soviet Union since 1922. The tens of thousands of UPA Ukrainians fought for the Ukraine that had not been a part of the Soviet Union until 1939.

Today, it’s one country. One common ground that contains tons of their blood and bones.

Nobody fell for anything. No referendums mandated Ukraine’s accession into the Soviet Union, or the Holodomor, or the Gulag. It was Ukraine’s lack of unity and leadership that had swept the Bolsheviks to power in the late 1910s-early 1920s and cost us dearly in the decades ahead.

These bitter lessons of the past should ring true today.

elmer said...

Taras - the comments that I saw from the babushkas and others throwing stones at UPA clearly reflect a sovok viewpoint - "just look at their politics."

There it is - that moother russia/sovok reflexive chauvinistic attitude - UPA are "enemies of the state" - only kremlinoids are correct, and everyone else should be killed (and they were indeed killed, by orders of Stalin and his successors).

One lady says: "they are not people."

The Nazis also dehumanized quite a few countries - it makes it easier to kill.

The Bosheviks did indeed sweep into power in the 1920's, due to Ukraine's traditional and historical lack of unity, and due to Ukrainians not knowing who they were, where the tsars had beat their own identity out of them.

But the people who are alive today, as reflected in the video you posted, either fell for sovok garbage, which is still reflected in that video, or tolerated it.

The sovok brainwashing is very evident in that video.

Today, it is indeed one common country as you say.

With tons of bones and blood.

May it never happen again.

And, as you say, may Ukrainians finally learn the lessons of the past.

And may the brainwashed little sovoks, who still mill around Ukraine today, finally see the light.

John Kalitka said...

Taras, you make a good point about Polish-Ukrainian rapprochement. But, it would be naive to ignore the fact that Poland's support for Ukrainian sovereignty has become an important component of Polish foreign policy as a check on Russia's neocolonialism. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see peace made over grudges held since the Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth first conquered Ukrianian lands. It is said that time heals all wounds. I certainly hope it won't take 300-400 years for UPA-Red Army allegiances to reconcile with one another.

elmer said...

A pretty good analogy is what happened in Ireland, which was divided between those (Protestants) who sought union with England, and those (mostly Catholics) who wanted an independent Irish government.

All on the backdrop of English domination of a good portion of Ireland.

During WWII, there were Irish who fought in the British army.

Look at Ireland today.

I am Ireland

I am Ireland:
I am older than the Old Woman of Bearce.

Great my glory:
I that bore Cuchulainn the valiant.

Great my shame:
My own children that sold their mother.

I am Ireland:
I am lonelier than the Old Woman of Bearce.

---- Patrick Pearse

Taras said...


I too hope it won't take 300-400 years. It should take a generation and a balanced look at history.


Ireland is a beautiful country, with a beautiful language. Unfortunately, Ireland has largely lost its language. I know a Ukrainian guy who speaks better Irish than the average Irish person.