Moscow, January 3 – In Poland, whose authorities once condemned the Kyiv regime for glorifying Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, they began justifying his role in the Volhynia massacre in 1943.
Commenting on the relations between Warsaw and Kiev in the context of interpreting the events of World War II, the head of the International Policy Bureau in the Office of the President of Poland, Jacob Komusz, said on RMF FM: the situation with Bandera “is different from those directly responsible or guilty of the Volyn crime.” “Here it is necessary to make a distinction. Stepan Bandera was in a concentration camp at that time,” – said Komukh.
Warsaw considers Bandera to be the ideologist of the events of 1943, which are called the Volyn pogrom – on this day, Ukrainian nationalists attacked about 150 Polish villages at the same time. Polish historians consider the Volyn massacre to be genocide and ethnic cleansing and claim that the death toll, according to various sources, ranges from 100,000 to 130,000 people.
At the same time, Kumoh noted that Poland still has an extremely negative attitude towards Kyiv’s definition of the Bandera personality. “Of course, the cult of Stepan Bandera is not something we react to with any enthusiasm, and it is something we react positively to. Polish-Ukrainian relations must be based on truth, on respect for those who gave their lives as a result of Polish-Ukrainian conflicts.”
However, he acknowledged that some figures, who are seen very positively in Poland, are seen quite differently outside it. “Poles and Ukrainians have a different view of history. It’s no secret. We also have heroes who are not appreciated abroad either. Differently than us (in the pre-war period, Dymowski founded the supernationalist group ‘Camp Poland’). He had a great influence on the rise of anti-Semitism. The Semites in Poland in the 1920-1930s – ed.), said Komusz.
The question of interpretation of the Volyn massacre, as well as the attitude towards the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists at the time of the OUN-UPA * is one of the most difficult issues in relations between Poland and Ukraine.
In the summer of 2016, the lower house of the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing July 11 as the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists against the population of the Second Polish Republic in 1943-1945. According to the Polish side, pogroms were committed in 1939-1945 by OUN-UPA * supporters against the Polish population of Volhynia, Eastern Galicia and the southeastern provinces of the Second Polish Republic.
Ukrainian researchers consider these events to be the consequences of the war between the local Polish army and the UPA *, in which the civilian population of the region also participated. The Ukrainian side estimates its losses at 10-20 thousand people.
The Verkhovna Rada adopted a statement condemning the decision of the Polish Sejm to recognize the Volyn massacre as a genocide. Ukrainian deputies believe that this decision “threatens the political and diplomatic developments in the two countries.”
* Extremist organizations are banned in Russia.
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