Reuters (finally) realizes there are Nazis in Ukraine
First published on The Off Guardian
Two days ago, Reuters published this report, headlined “How Trump can show he’s tough on anti-Semitism”. I’m not sure why Trump – who has never been called an anti-Semite before, never publicly criticised Israel and whose daughter and son-in-law are both Jewish – suddenly needs to show he’s “tough” on anti-Semitism, but apparently he does.
How is Mr Trump going to achieve this? He’s going to denounce Ukraine… because the government is endorsing fascism.
For the sake of brevity, I will present a bullet point list of the Ukrainian issues that so trouble the article’s author, Josh Cohen:
- “…local authorities [in Kiev] recently voted to rename a major street after a former Nazi collaborator and anti-Semite named Roman Shukhevych.”
- “In 2015, Ukraine passed a law honoring the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, (OUN-UPA)”
- “Numerous Holocaust memorial sites – including Babi Yar, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis – have been vandalized or desecrated by anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas.”
- “…the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) is drafting a law to posthumously exonerate OUN-UPA members convicted of murdering Polish and Jewish civilians during and after the war.”
- “The elevation of OUN-UPA has been accompanied by a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine.”
- “A retired general affiliated with Ukraine’s security services called for the destruction of the country’s Jews;”
- “…a Ukrainian official called Ukraine’s SS Galizien division – created with the support of Heinrich Himmler – “heroes””
These statements will no doubt shock people who only ever read the mainstream media during the right-wing coup and beginning of the subsequent civil war in Ukraine. During that period the MSM was devoting a large part of its resources to dispelling the “myth” that Ukraine was full of Nazis, deriding the notion as “Russian propaganda”, and dismissing those that said it as “Putinbots”.
Indeed, the below-the-line suppression of discussion on this topic is the main reason this website even exists.
In the Atlantic, in 2014, Ukrainian Nazis were dismissed as a “phantom menace”. Luke Harding wrote a (brilliantly argued) column in the Guardian saying that “there weren’t any Nazis in Ukraine because one of the Maidan protesters was Jewish.” Politico magazine mocked “Putin’s Imaginary Nazis”, whilst US News warned against Russia’s “Neo-Nazi Propaganda”. The Guardian simply headlined: “Don’t believe the Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s ‘fascist’ protesters!”
There never were Nazis in Ukraine.
Except now there are.
(This textbook example of double-think is never addressed in the article, which can’t even fully accept the truth itself, referring to the “brave guerilla war” fought by the fascist UON after WW2, with no reference to the CIA funding they received, or the war crimes they carried out.)
Three years later the fascism that it is being nurtured in Ukraine is acknowledged as a political reality. Why? Because of the violence being visited on the people of East Ukraine? No. Because of the terrorist attacks carried out against the people of Crimea? No. But because it is a handy political angle to attack a president who must be undermined at every turn in the news cycle.
Interestingly, Obama was never called on to “denounce” Ukraine’s fascists, despite his strong support for the government of Poroshenko, whose cabinet was full of fringe politicians from far right parties that got less than 2% of the vote. John McCain, who has had many pleasant photo-ops with far-right figures in Ukraine, has never been publicly called out in the media. John Kerry and Victoria “fuck the EU” Nuland, who had actual, hands-on control of the formation of Ukraine’s new government, have never been questioned on their non-denunciation of anti-Semitism.
It seems the Nazis of Ukraine pop into and out of existence depending on political convenience.