Apologetics for Deputy Prime Minister's Nazi Sympathies

Peggy Morton –

After a rally organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Toronto on February 27 Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland posted her picture helping to hold a red and black scarf. The picture shows the slogan Glory to Ukraine. News reports indicate that Toronto Mayor John Tory who was standing close to Freeland shared a photo of the two of them in which the other side of the scarf with the slogan Glory to the Heroes was displayed. Both  have since removed those photos of themselves.  

Red and black flags represent the "Banderites," the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the armed wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B (OUN-B), fascist organizations which collaborated with the Nazis and carried out horrendous war crimes including the slaughter of more than 100,000 Poles and Jews in western Ukraine during World War II. The slogan Glory to Ukraine with the response Glory to the Heroes is the slogan of the OUN-B.[1]

The photo met with immediate opposition and was removed and replaced. Then Freeland's press secretary responded, "A classic KGB disinformation smear is accusing Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Canadians of being far right extremists or fascists or Nazis. Indeed, President Putin's express goal is the ‘denazification' of a country led by a Jewish-Ukrainian president."

She continued, "Many people were jockeying for photos and giving the Deputy Prime Minister tokens, such as a ribbon. She sought to be friendly with all those who approached her. Someone presented the red and black garment. A photo was taken, tweeted, and later replaced when it was clear some accounts were distorting the intent of the rally and photo."

We are told Freeland was just being polite, which is to suggest that she doesn't support the "Banderites." Then she says that these are now the slogans of Ukraine in its fight against Russia, a statement. So why did she take the photo down if there is nothing to hide?

Then the press secretary declared that Slava Ukraini: Glory to Ukraine is the "slogan of Ukraine in today's fight against Russia," and that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have used the phrase too.

Freeland's office is also suggesting that red and black represent Ukraine's culture and history. In order to save the day for the Deputy Prime Minister, the director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) went so far as to say its origins is not the Nazi collaborators but that red and black symbology for Ukraine goes back to the Cossack Hetmanate in the 17th century.

Per Anders Rudling, an associate professor in the history department at Lund University in Sweden who has written extensively on Ukrainian nationalism, points out that, "Red and black are the colours of the Bandera Wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The flag symbolizes blood and soil, and was adopted by that organization in 1941..."

Demonstrations in Donetsk in 2014 against coup government.

Neo-Nazis in Ukraine fly the red and black Bandera flag. They carry it in the annual torchlight parades in honour of Stefan Bandera, who the Ukrainian government "rehabilitated" after the Maidan coup in 2014. Bandera is now officially a "Hero of Ukraine." His birthday was officially celebrated on January 1, 2022 in Lviv, in western Ukraine, the city where the OUN carried out its first pogrom against the Jewish people in 1941.

Since 2015, Canadian soldiers have trained the fanatic neo-Nazi militia Azov Battalion as part of Operation UNIFIER. They can be seen posing for photographs wearing swastikas next to the NATO flag. Since 2015, Canadian soldiers participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Etobicoke not with Ukrainian-Canadians who fought to defeat fascism, but with the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada (UWVA), the Nazi collaborators of Hitlerite Germany.

Canadian Armed Forces veterans participate in "Ukrainian Remembrance Day," in Etobicoke, November 11, 2015, alongside supporters of the fascist Ukrainian formations from World War II and supporters of neo-Nazi organizations that are part of the current coup regime.

As for references to the Cossack Hetmanate, a Hetman is supreme military leader with dictatorial powers over all affairs of state. In more recent history it is represented by the installation of Pavlo Skoropadsky by the Germans as Hetman of Ukraine from April to August 1918, an event celebrated by arch-reactionaries as the "first independent Ukrainian state." Members of his family later established the Hetmanate movement that sought to recreate the office of Hetman with the Royal House of Skoropadsky.

CIUS is itself an apologist for the crimes of the Banderites. The on-line Encyclopedia of Ukraine, a project of the CIUS, describes the UPA in glowing terms: "UKRAINIAN INSURGENT ARMY (Ukrainska povstanska armiia). A Ukrainian military formation which fought from 1942 to 1949, mostly in Western Ukraine, against the German and Soviet occupational regimes. Its immediate purpose was to protect the Ukrainian population from German and Soviet repression and exploitation; its ultimate goal was an independent and unified Ukrainian state..."

The UPA called for the ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews, and did so through mass murder, showing just what kind of "independent and unified Ukrainian state" it stood for.

The Deputy Prime Minister has jumped out of the frying pan, into the fire. Apologetics will not manage to hide what the government of Canada stands for and is doing in Ukraine. 

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 3 - March 6, 2022

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