Article at Gates of Vienna:
In 1939, Lviv’s population was 50.9% Polish Roman Catholic, 31.4% Jewish, 15.9% (mostly Greek-Catholic) Ukrainian, and the remaining 1.8% various minorities. In 1939-41 the Soviets would greatly “reduce” — i.e. murder and exile to USSR’s far east — the top tier of the Polish population. In 1941-44 the Germans, with Ukrainian OUN/ UPA help, would further “reduce” the Polish population and wipe out the Jewish one so that from 169,900 Jews in 1939, 1,300 would remain by 1944. In 1945, the Soviets kicked out almost all the remaining Poles, and amalgamated this territory into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
[…]when you read one of those “Python devours crocodile after a 5-hour battle” stories, why must you meddle in favor of the one or the other?
“I’m disappointed in Takuan. He calls the media coverage cartoonish while he himself paints a grotesquely cartoonish image with just too many factual errors in history, geography, ethnography, and culture. I could understand one or two errors, but this is just too rich. It would take me as much time to untangle it as it took him to write it, so I won’t bother.
Let me just say that Russian-speaking Ukrainians still think of themselves as Ukrainians and don’t want Russia’s dictate. THe Western Ukraine is not fascist and neither was Bandera – in fact, he spent the entire war in a Nazi prison, while his followers fought against the Germans and were being slaughtered in Babiy Yar along with thousands of Jews. The diminished Jewish population during the war was the result of the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust – the author conveniently forgets that little circumstance. And so on and so forth.
If the Ukrainian revolution was led by the Nazis, why are so many Jews supporting it? Why did Jews fight and die in Maidan along with Ukrainians? Why did the Jewish groups in Kiev organize the treatment of wounded protesters in Israel?
The answer is that the real fascism, Nazism, and anti-Semitism is threatening them from today’s Putin’s Russia, which is currently seething with jingoistic fever. The sophisticated KGB propaganda machine is running at full capacity, rehashing old lies about Ukraine, inventing new ones, and spreading them around the world, where they are being picked up by [derogatory phrase] like Takuan and presented as fact.
For the record, I myself speak Russian, I like Russia, and have friends there too. The problem is not ethnic, no matter how Putin’s propaganda would like to make it one. The problem is Russia’s government with its chauvinistic, authoritarian, and plutocratic policies.
Ukraine has suffered enough already; articles like these only add insult to injury.”
OK, let me just say: Oleg’ statement about Bandera is false: Bandera was a Nazi, and precisely by that reason he is loved and revered by contemporary Western Ukrainians, particularly in Lviv. I can testify about that personally – as, actually, I did, of sorts – when interviewed by American Embassy for a refugee status and entry visa, 22 years ago.
Oleg’s rhetorical questions re: Ukrainian Jews helping Maidan activists and fighting on their side could be answered, despite being rhetorical. In short: because between the familiar rock and a hate-burning hot place they decided to stand with familiar. Not a choice one would wish on anybody – that’s why I join many voices abroad encouraging remaining Ukrainian Jews to emigrate while they still can.
At the same time, his main point – that nature of division between Ukraine and Russia right now is not ethnic but instigated by Putin’s propaganda as pretext for territorial war – is my opinion, too.
As an aside: this is first time I came across this moniker, Takuan Seiyo – so I googled it. The mix of references is interesting – articles in GoV, Brussels’ Journal, New English Review – but also notorious VDARE and TAKI Magazine. Here’s what T.S. tells about himself (see comment tread); what to think of it – your business: I present – you decide.