Tensions between Poland and Ukraine: Cui Bono?
Decision of the Polish Sejm on the Volyn events of 1943 would not facilitate the Ukrainian-Polish relations
Read the original text at NV.UA.
Senate of the Polish parliament recommended the Polish Sejm to adopt a document that Volyn events of 1943 were genocide of the Polish people. Remembering those tragic events, we should remember few key points:
First, all citizens of Ukraine once again express sincere condolences to Poles in connection with the tragedies experienced by the Poles in the last century, including Volyn tragedy of 1943. It was clearly articulated in early 2000s, when Ukraine’s President Kuchma and Polish President Kwasniewski expressed the position of "forgiving and asking for forgiveness."
Second, in 1943, the territory of Volyn was not a part of the Ukrainian state; therefore, it did not belong to the Ukrainian people, as it was occupied by Nazi Germany. In other words, the responsibility for all events in the occupied territories, including Volyn, cannot be put on the Ukrainians; the responsibility should be put on the state-invader.
Thirdly, the events in Volyn 1943 should not be considered out of the historical context; they should be analyzed as part of a series of events that took place in western Ukraine in the 20th century. Then, in particular, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters, together with their supporters, as well as the fighters of the Polish Army and its supporters were convinced that they were defending the rights of their native lands and the countrymen. A decision on the further activities was usually accepted without their knowledge and under pressure of some artificially created political circumstances; sometimes it was the impact of the third parties that had some provocative purposes.
Now, not the all events of that period are objectively studied by the historians. Not all the reasons are clarified, not all the past mistakes are explained. Establishing the whole image of the political situation, all these things should be objectively examined together. This mission belongs to the historians and the scientists, not to the politicians. After all, the pages of the past, even the mistakes on both sides, must be forgotten in the name of European future of our nations.
Fourth, Ukrainians and Poles have set an unique example of peaceful coexistence; long centuries have they spent in a nonviolent cohabitation, developing their own culture, religion, and national values. None of the nations was a hegemon over the other. It took place until 1937. In 1938, the enmity between the two nations began. It is known from the "first hand," from the witnesses of those events, including Ukrainian and Polish immigrants who were forced to leave their homes. These were neither Ukrainians nor the Polish, who forced them to migrate, but this was the third party.
Before making some crucial decisions, we should answer some questions first. Who provoked hostility 1937-38 years? Maybe, those provocateurs benefit from tensions between Ukraine and Poland today? Why do we neglect the expert analysis of the past?
Now we can unequivocally say that the position of the Upper House of the Polish Parliament and the expected decision of the Polish Sejm on the Volyn events of 1943 would not facilitate the Ukrainian-Polish relations. All these tensions are beneficial for the third parties.
Ukrainian side argues that “Volyn massacre” were mutual ethnic cleansing of Ukrainian and Polish people conducted by Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrayinska Povstanska Armiya, UPA) and the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) together with Polish Schutzmannschaft battalions, and Soviet partisans in 1943 during the Second World War in Volyn, Western Ukraine. While Polish side states that it was genocide of the Polish people.
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