80 years after Nazi invasion of USSR, Ukraine’s main opposition party asks Kiev to finally clamp down on neo-Nazi organizations

By Jonny Tickle
22 Jun, 2021
photo: © RIA

On the 80th anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa, the German-led WW2 military invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s leading opposition party has demanded that authorities in Kiev finally ban neo-Nazi organizations.

In a statement published on its website on Tuesday, the Opposition Platform – For Life party also asked the Ukrainian government to stop “rewriting history.”

Back in April, Ukrainian nationalists held a march in the center of Kiev to mark the anniversary of the creation of the SS Galicia during World War II. The SS division was made up predominantly of Ukrainian volunteers who took up arms for Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, and who mainly fought against local partisans. The unit was almost wiped out in the 1944 Battle of Lvov–Sandomierz, and later saw action in Slovakia and Austria. In 1945, it rebranded as the Ukrainian National Army and lasted until the end of the war in May that year.

The march in Kiev was condemned by officials from Russia, Germany, and Israel, amongst others.

At the time, Opposition Platform asked the government for a “tough reaction,” noting that the traditional WWII Victory Day parade was banned, due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the SS Galicia parade wasn’t.

“On this Day of Mourning and Remembrance of Victims of War, we do not expect fake lamentations from the authorities,” the Opposition Platform statement explains. “We demand prohibition and persecution for all neo-Nazi organizations, an end to the glorification of Nazi collaborators and an end to the rewriting of history. An end to the policy of ethnic and cultural discrimination.”

In Ukraine, as well as in Russia and other former Soviet states, June 22 is considered a Memorial Day. On this date in 1941, a coalition led by Nazi Germany began attacking the Soviet Union, in a five-month-long offensive that saw millions of Soviet citizens killed. By the end of the Second World War, in 1945, the country had lost an estimated 27 million people.

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The Germans were joined in the invasion by their Italian, Hungarian, Slovak, Finnish and Romanian allies.

“The crimes of the Nazis cost the world tens of millions of lives and broken lives. Ukraine lost one out of every five inhabitants,” the statement adds.

“The Nazi tumor was cut from the body of humanity. It seemed to everyone to be forever. Never again will we hear nonsense about the superiority of certain nations over others,” it continues. “[However], the metastases remained.”

Opposition Platform – For Life is Ukraine’s largest opposition party. In recent months, the country’s authorities have cracked down on the faction, which draws much of its support from Russian speakers in the east and south of the country and has advocated a less confrontational approach to Moscow than the one pursued by authorities in Kiev since the Maidan.

In May, the party’s leader Viktor Medvedchuk was charged with “high treason” and stands accused of handing over classified information to Moscow. Prosecutors also say he has colluded with the Russian government to steal natural resources from Crimea. He denies all charges, calling them politically motivated. He is currently under house arrest.

Published at www.rt.com