Nationalists hold torches during a march in Lviv on Jan. 1 as they mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera. Bandera was a Ukrainian politician and one of the leaders of the Ukrainian national movement in western Ukraine. He headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. He spent much of World War II imprisoned in Nazi Germany and was murdered in 1959 by a Soviet KGB agent. He is considered a hero by many Ukrainians while Soviet propaganda vilified him as a Nazi supporter.
As hundreds of thousands of peaceful pro-European protesters were rallying on Kyiv’s Independence Square on Dec. 8, just a few blocks away a group of Ukrainian nationalists were toppling a monument to Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin that had prominently stood at the intersection of Shevchenko Boulevard and Khreschatyk Street for nearly seven decades.