On Sunday 1 January, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) published on Twitter a photo of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, General Valeriy Zaluzhny smiling next to a portrait of arch-criminal and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
Celebrating the 114th birth anniversary of Bandera, the post was accompanied by quotes attributed to the fascist leader.
“The complete and final victory of Ukrainian nationalism will come when the Russian empire ceases to exist,” wrote the parliamentary account alongside the image, quoted by the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “A fight against the Russian empire is currently underway,” it added. “And the guidelines of Stepan Bandera are well known to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.” Of course, Bandera had no relation with the “Russian empire”, as he was born in 1909, but he collaborated with the Nazis in their atrocious activities against the Soviet Union.
The post of Verkhovna Rada was later removed, following a condemnation by the Polish government. During the last years, Warsaw has been a standard-bearer of anti-communism and anti-sovietism, demolishing socialist memorials and imposing various bans on the activity of Polish communists. However, as Bandera's fascist army UPA is responsible for the murder of around 100,000 Poles in the so-called Volhynia Massacre, the government of Poland had no other option but to express its discontent.
Stepan Bandera, who has been glorified by the reactionary regime of Ukraine, was the head of the “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” (OUN-B) fascist gang which gave birth to various other terrorist groups, including the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Under Bandera's rule, thousands of communists, Jews and Poles were slaughtered.
Bandera, who after the end of the Second World War continued his anti-Soviet activity under the sponsorship of MI6 and the CIA, is regarded a “national hero” by the Ukrainian state.