Ukraine's nationalism of 20th century was anti-Western, anti-Semitic, anti-Polish

Author : Andreas Umland

Source : 112 Ukraine

Political expert Umland on Ukraine's national memory, nationalism, and post-Maidan changes
17:44, 16 September 2016

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Expectations after Euromaidan were higher, the changes seem to be more rapid, and now it turns out that the path of reform would be long. Ukraine fatigue really exists. It was after the Orange Revolution. But, nevertheless, I think now the situation is different. The difference is that there is a lesson after the Orange Revolution, and the civil society in Ukraine today is different, and it remembers how it demobilized after the Orange Revolution. Now it is more demanding and it is not demobilized. And the difference is that now the international donors and organizations are much more active than after the Orange Revolution, and they often work together with the civil society. The political elite, unfortunately, remains the same, and it is one of the mistakes of Euromaidan; the parliamentary elections were held under the old system, many of the old representatives have got into parliament. The old system still exists, but it goes away slowly. The appearance of new system is very slow.

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There is a number of challenges that I would call “technical.” Implementation of the Association Agreement is a technical issue, the reforms are technical, they are no longer political, as it was in the past.

Basically, Ukraine is on the right way, which resembles a zigzag movement. Sometimes things are not as fast and straightforward as we would like them to be. Wrong direction after Euromaidan embraces the politics of memory, which is now carried out in such a way that the organization of Ukrainian nationalists becomes a standard of Ukrainian patriotism and national identity. This causes major problems in foreign relations. The internal problems are also crucial, because it is not supported by the entire population of Ukraine.

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But the most important causation is connected with the foreign policy. Nationalism, which professed Bandera and Shukhevych, was anti-Western, anti-European, anti-Semitic, anti-Polish. It is not suitable for the process of Ukraine’s European integration. This creates problems with Ukraine’s relations with the West, Poland and Germany in particular. This is a real problem for Germany, because Shukhevych was not only the commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, but also a collaborator...

The policy of national memory creates a problem on many fronts; it seems to me fatal. For me, the position of Poles is important as well. The resolutions of NATO and the Polish Parliament are a response to Ukraine's politics of memory. And the recognition of the Volyn massacre as genocide is a kind of ping-pong between Ukraine and Poland. This is very bad for Ukraine. Ukraine needs Poland. Poland is a major advocate of Ukraine in the EU. Because of Ukraine's national memory policy it is losing its best friends.

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