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Yushchenko: No Bandera - no statehood

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Jan. 12, 2011, 7:43 p.m. | Ukraine — by Reuters

Former President Viktor Yushchenko says the move is a "gross error" by a presidency that "should be working for uniting society not dividing it".
© AFP

Reuters

Ukraine on Wednesday officially scrapped the hero status newly conferred on a wartime nationalist leader -- a move likely to fuel tension between the pro-Russian east and the nationalist west. Former President Viktor Yushchenko sparked the ire of east Ukrainians a year ago, shortly before leaving office, by posthumously declaring World War Two nationalist Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine.

Bandera was the ideological leader of nationalist fighters who fought for independence in western Ukraine in the turbulence leading up to the outbreak of war and beyond.

Bandera, who was assassinated by the KGB in 1959, has near-saint status among many people there and thousands of Bandera loyalists flock to the capital Kiev every year and tramp through the streets in his honour.

But this sentiment is not shared by those in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine who hold views of Soviet history which are closer to those of Moscow.

Yushchenko's award sparked anger in Russia, where Bandera is regarded as a fascist, and from Poland, where he is blamed for organising the mass killings of Poles. The Simon Wiesenthal centre also expressed outrage, saying Bandera was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews.

In a statement on Wednesday, the office of President Viktor Yanukovych, who took over from the pro-Western Yushchenko in February and has tilted policy more towards Russia, said the honour conferred on Bandera "has been found invalid by a court ruling".

This appeared to foreshadow the announcement of a decision by the supreme administrative court which has the authority to scrap presidential decrees.

Yushchenko hit back, saying the move was a "gross error" by a presidency that "should be working for uniting society not dividing it".

Yushchenko's press secretary, Iryna Vannikova, quoted him as saying: "Attempts to re-write Ukrainian history and belittle Ukrainian heroes to please the Kremlin and Moscow with hired decisions of court, will only incline people against these authorities."

Another sign of the recurring regional tension in the ex-Soviet republic surfaced on New Year's Eve when a new monument to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was blown up in a city in central Ukraine. Though most Ukrainians see Stalin as a symbol of Russian oppression, communists in the town of Zaporizhya had erected the monument there in his honour last May. It was blown up on Dec. 31 -- the eve of Bandera's birthday. The incident was later officially described as "a terrorist act".
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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 7:58 p.m.    

OmG - such a pathetic clown .

Ridiculous.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 8:57 p.m.    

Yushchenko is a real clown. He would be funny if he was not such a disappointment.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 6:27 p.m.    

Whatever you might call Yuschenko, compared to him Yanukovich looks like a puppet hardly able to speak or to reason. And the words to be used to describe the rule of the latter would not be anything close to a &quot;disappointment&quot; - it is already a disaster for the nascent Ukrainian democracy (let alone all the corruption allegations against his &quot;party&quot; members).

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 8:08 p.m.    

Yushchenko is a disgrace. His term of office was a complete disaster. he had set back Ukraine's democratic development decades if not centuries.

In 2004/5 he had 52% support towards the end of his term of office in january 2010 his support had dropped to just 5%

In the dying days of Yushchenko's term as President he unilaterally decided to award the title of Hero of Ukraine to Bandera, a Nazi Sympathiser during the second world war.

His policies and actions divided Ukraine and certainly did not represent the majority opinion of Ukraine.

Yushenko more then anyone else is responsible for the current situation in Ukraine today. He betrayed all those who had previously supported him.

Most people in Ukraine recognise Yushchenko for what he is, a failed President who betrayed Ukraine and democracy itself. No one supports him and if fresh parliamentary elections were held today his party Our Ukraine would fail to secure representation.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 8:55 p.m.    

&quot;Attempts to re-write Ukrainian history and belittle Ukrainian heroes to please the Kremlin and Moscow with hired decisions of court, will only incline people against these authorities.&quot;

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/94632/#ixzz1AqgXPH6f

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 9:02 p.m.    

Христос Раждається! - Славіте Його!

The commenters here see what they want, as the old adage goes ...

Ukrainians say what you want to hear, while thinking what they want to be true doing what they can get away with.

Now Ukraina is being split into

European Ukraine and Little Rusia.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 9:37 p.m.    

It's not just there is a European Ukraine and (allow me to correct you) Soviet Ukraine, but also that the border between the two keeps shifting eastwards and southwards. THIS is the key takeout of the currant situation.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 11:34 p.m.    

ROFL!!!! More nonsense from the Toronto Mandiak.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 1:16 a.m.    

The only 'steam' I see is that coming out your ears! You're comment is not only rude...but stupid. Please refrain from unenlightened diatribes as they add nothing to civil discourse.

It's distasteful to have to try and teach you manners. Please control your outbursts. Thankyou for your co-operation.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 9:54 p.m.    

Yushchenko at teh time he made this decree had already lost the presidency when he decided to sneak in this decree. Under various conventions, Yushchenko who was a caretaker President, had no right to make any decrees at the time that was not urgent and or did not have the support of the two main contenders. (This is just another example of Yushchenko's disgraceful administration)

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 11:01 p.m.    

Yushchenko who?

Not the one who got less public ratings even compared to the moron Bush Jr by any chance?

And the orange mafia scarface godfather have the balls to talk about &quot;statehood&quot;, after he and his orange cronies ruined Ukraine economy and turned Ukraine into a whore house of children alcoholics like noone before them.

LOL :D

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 11:33 p.m.    

Good to see someone in Ukraine still has the balls to speak the truth, unlike the Russified baboon Yanukovich and his band of Moscovite scum.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 11:43 p.m.    

The only ture heroes of Ukraine and the ruskies have to belittle them.

What type of idots live in the east?

It's truly unbelievable that they have to lick the boots of the moskal masters just to please the a$$h@le putin. Only in the east can they place the mass murder of Ukrainians aka ka ka stalin on a pedestal, over and above true Ukrainian heroes who fought for freedom of Ukrainians from their moskal and polish slave masters.

So so sad.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 12:37 a.m.    

&quot; What type of idiots live in the east?&quot;...you ask.

Answer: Those with a small Russian complex.

That's what 350 years of Russian influence on the east has done.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2011, 11:43 p.m.    

Yanukovich has turned Ukraine into another Belarus, congratulations!!

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 12:33 a.m.    

Not withstanding that Yushchenko was a grand disappointment as President, what is more relevant is that no country or foreign lobby group has a right to pressure who Ukraine can call 'hero'. That is a function of Ukraine's historians. When due diligence is completed on the topic of Bandera...then the country can decide on the merits of conferring the title of Hero.

Obviously this is a devisive issue. Then put this issue on a back burner for now and deal with the immediate problems of Ukraine...of which there are many. Hero status for Bandera can be revisited at anytime in the future....but first there must be stability and consolidation of society. That itself is a tall order. Ukraine is essentially two entities. There are the west Ukrainians and the east malosossiany. Can they come to a common understanding? The answer is an unqualified 'maybe'!

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 2:29 p.m.    

Yusch was right in giving Bandera the hero award and title.

Too bad the oger Yanukovych continues to bend over backwards to please the Russian midgets Medvedev and Putin.

It's time to stand up for Ukraine's history and those who put their lives at stake to gain independence from Moscow and Berlin.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 3:13 p.m.    

No matter, the next president will just reinstate the title.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 5:02 p.m.    

Do not be disrespectful of Tonga. It is a lot better place to live than Ukraine.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 5:46 p.m.    

The focus should be kept on improving the economy.The place of Bandera in history can be addressed when the economy is better.

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2011, 6:29 p.m.    

A body can not live without a soul.

It is both possible and indispensable to treat the two issues simultaneously.

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