A large group of lawmakers registered a draft resolution recommending that President Volodymyr Zelensky returns the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych.
More than 70 deputies from different parliamentary groups, including those who are non-partisan, have backed the draft resolution.
Bandera and Shukhevych are highly controversial figures in Ukrainian history.
Both were leaders and ideologists of the Ukrainian far-right movement in the 20th century, fighting against the Soviet rule to establish independent Ukraine, and are praised for that by many Ukrainians. Others condemn Bandera and Shukhevych for their involvement in war crimes, including massacres of Polish civilians in Western Ukraine, and for cooperating with Nazi Germany in the early stages of their invasion of Ukraine.
In a poll conducted in May by the Democratic Initiatives center, 32% of Ukrainians said they approve of Bandera’s work.
In 2007, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to Shukhevych posthumously. He awarded the same title to Bandera in 2010, right before leaving the office. Both decisions were later blocked by the Donetsk District Administrative Court.
When asked about Bandera, Zelensky said that he believes Bandera is a hero “for some Ukrainians.”
“He is one of the people who defended Ukraine’s freedom,” Zelensky said in a 2019 interview with Ukrainska Pravda. “He is a hero for a certain percentage of Ukrainians, and it’s normal, and it’s cool.”
Official recognition of Bandera, Shukhevych, or their Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army has been a divisive issue in Ukraine, and often a part of political debate.
The draft resolution filed by lawmakers also recommends a state celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army on Oct. 14.
Lawmakers will now hold a vote on the resolution. To be passed, it requires 225 votes.
The parliament has one session week left, on July 13-16, before the summer break. The new session starts in September.
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