Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists | Wikipedia audio article

Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists | Wikipedia audio article


The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
(OUN) (Ukrainian: Організація Українських Націоналістів, (ОУН), Orhanizatsiya
Ukrayins’kykh Natsionalistiv) was a Ukrainian nationalist political organization established
in 1929 in Vienna; it first operated in Eastern Galicia (at the time part of interwar Poland). The OUN emerged as a union between the Ukrainian
Military Organization, smaller radical right-wing groups, and right-wing Ukrainian nationalists
and intellectuals represented by Dmytro Dontsov, Yevhen Konovalets, Mykola Stsyborsky and other
figures.The OUN sought to infiltrate legal political parties, universities and other
political structures and institutions. As revolutionary ultra-nationalists the OUN
have been characterized by most historians as fascist. OUN strategies to achieve Ukrainian independence
included violence and terrorism against perceived foreign and domestic enemies, particularly
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia.In 1940 the OUN split into two parts. The older, more moderate members supported
Andriy Melnyk and the OUN-M, while the younger and more radical members supported Stepan
Bandera’s OUN-B. After the start of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941
(Operation Barbarossa), the OUN-B in the person of Yaroslav Stetsko declared an independent
Ukrainian state on 30 June 1941 in occupied Lviv, while the region was under the control
of Nazi Germany. In response, the Nazi authorities suppressed
the OUN leadership. In October 1942 the OUN-B established the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). To pre-empt future Polish efforts at re-establishing
Poland’s pre-war borders, in 1943-1944 UPA military units carried out large-scale ethnic
cleansing against Polish people. Historians estimate that 100,000 Polish civilians
were massacred in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.After World War II the UPA fought against Soviet
and Polish government forces. During Operation Vistula in 1947, the Polish
government deported 140,000 Ukrainian civilians in Poland to remove the support base for the
UPA. In the struggle Soviet forces killed, arrested,
or deported over 500,000 Ukrainian civilians. Many of those targeted by the Soviets included
UPA members, their families, and supporters.During the Cold War western intelligence agencies,
including the CIA, covertly supported the OUN.A number of contemporary far-right Ukrainian
political organizations claim to be inheritors of the OUN’s political traditions, including
Svoboda, the Ukrainian National Assembly and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. The role of the OUN remains contested in historiography,
as these later political inheritors developed a literature denying the organization’s fascist
political heritage and collaboration with Nazi Germany, while also celebrating the Waffen-SS
Galizien. On the other hand, some scholars argue that
political opponents emphasized the far-right or extreme-right aspects of modern OUN descendants
for electoral purposes.==History=====
Background and creation===In 1919 with the end of the Polish–Ukrainian
War, the Second Polish Republic took over most of the territory claimed by the West
Ukrainian National Republic. One year later, exiled Ukrainian officers
set up the Ukrainian Military Organization (Ukrainian – Українська Військова
Організація: Ukrayins’ka Viys’kova Orhanizatsiya, the UVO), an underground military
organization composed of Ukrainian veterans with the goals of continuing the armed struggle
against Poland, of destabilizing the political situation, and of preparing disarmed veterans
for an anti-Polish uprising. The UVO was strictly a military organization
with a military command-structure. Originally the UVO operated under the authority
of the exiled government of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic, but in 1925 following a
power struggle all the supporters of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic’s exiled president
Yevhen Petrushevych were expelled.Yevhen Konovalets, the former commander of the elite Sich Riflemen
unit of the Ukrainian military, led the UVO. West Ukrainian political parties secretly
funded the organization. Although it engaged in acts of sabotage and
attempted to assassinate the Polish Chief of State Józef Piłsudski in 1921, it functioned
more as a military protective group rather than as a terrorist underground. When in 1923 the Allies recognized Polish
rule over western Ukraine, many members left the organization. The legal Ukrainian parties turned against
the UVO’s militant actions, preferring to work within the Polish political system. As a result, the UVO turned to Germany and
Lithuania for political and financial support. It established contact with militant anti-Polish
student organizations, such as the Group of Ukrainian National Youth, the League of Ukrainian
Nationalists, and the Union of Ukrainian Nationalist Youth. After preliminary meetings in Berlin in 1927
and Prague in 1928, at the founding congress in Vienna in 1929 the veterans of the UVO
and the student militants met and united to form the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. Although the members consisted mostly of Galician
youths, Yevhen Konovalets served as its first leader and its leadership council, the Provid,
comprised mostly veterans and was based abroad.===Pre-war activities===At the time of its founding, the OUN was originally
a fringe movement in western Ukraine, where the political scene was dominated by the mainstream
and moderate Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO). This party promoted constitutional democracy
and sought to achieve independence through peaceful means. UNDO was supported by the Ukrainian clergy,
intelligentsia, and the traditional establishment and published the main western Ukrainian newspaper,
Dilo. In contrast, the OUN accepted violence as
a political tool against foreign and domestic enemies of their cause. Most of its activity was directed against
Polish politicians and government representatives. Under the command of the Western Ukrainian
Territorial Executive (established February 1929), the OUN carried out hundreds of acts
of sabotage in Galicia and Volhynia, including a campaign of arson against Polish landowners
(which helped provoke the 1930 Pacification), boycotts of state schools and Polish tobacco
and liquor monopolies, dozens of expropriation attacks on government institutions to obtain
funds for its activities, and assassinations. From 1921 to 1939 UVO and OUN carried out
63 known assassinations: 36 Ukrainians (among them one communist), 25 Poles, 1 Russian and
1 Jew. This number is likely an underestimate, because
there were likely unrecorded killing in rural regions. Some of the OUN’s victims included Tadeusz
Hołówko, a Polish promoter of Ukrainian/Polish compromise, Emilian Czechowski, Lwow’s Polish
police commissioner, Alexei Mailov, a Soviet consular official killed in retaliation for
the Holodomor, and most notably Bronisław Pieracki, the Polish interior minister. The OUN also killed moderate Ukrainian figures
such as the respected teacher (and former officer of the military of the West Ukrainian
People’s Republic) Ivan Babij. Most of these killings were organized locally
and occurred without the authorization or knowledge of the OUN’s emigre leaders abroad. In 1930 OUN members assaulted the head of
the Shevchenko Scientific Society Kyryl Studynsky in his office. Such acts were condemned by the head of the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, who was particularly critical
of the OUN’s leadership in exile who inspired acts of youthful violence, writing that they
were “using our children to kill their parents” and that “whoever demoralizes our youth is
a criminal and an enemy of the people.”As Polish persecution of Ukrainians during the
interwar period increased, many Ukrainians (particularly the youth, many of whom felt
they had no future) lost faith in traditional legal approaches, in their elders, and in
the western democracies who were seen as turning their backs on Ukraine. This period of disillusionment coincided with
the increase in support for the OUN. By the beginning of the Second World War,
the OUN was estimated to have 20,000 active members and many times that number in sympathizers. Many bright students, such as the talented
young poets Bohdan Kravtsiv and Olena Teliha (executed by the Nazis at Babi Yar) were attracted
to the OUN’s revolutionary message.As a means to gain independence from Polish and Soviet
oppression, before World War II the OUN accepted material and moral support from Nazi Germany. The Germans, needing Ukrainian assistance
against the Soviet Union, were expected by the OUN to further the goal of Ukrainian independence. Although some elements of the German military
were inclined to do so, they were ultimately overruled by Adolf Hitler and his political
organization, whose racial prejudice against the Ukrainians precluded cooperation.===Split in the OUN===Tensions between young radical Galician students
and the older military veteran leadership based abroad existed within the OUN from the
beginning. The older generation had the experience of
growing up in a stable society and of having fought for Ukraine in regular armies; the
younger generation perceived Polish repression and an underground struggle. The leadership abroad, or Provid, thought
of itself as an unapproachable elite. Most of the Provid, such as general Mykola
Kapustiansky, referred to themselves using their military titles acquired during the
war, which the youthful members could never attain. The older faction was also more politically
moderate, and adhered to an officer’s code of honor and standards of military discipline
that prevented them from fully following the belief that any means could be used to achieve
the goal. In contrast, the younger faction was more
impulsive, violent, and ruthless. The older leaders living in exile admired
aspects of Benito Mussolini’s fascism but condemned Nazism while the younger more radical
members based within Ukraine admired fascist ideas and methods as practiced by the Nazis. Despite these differences the OUN’s leader
Yevhen Konovalets thanks to his considerable political skill and reputation was able to
command enough respect to maintain unity between both groups within the organization. This was shattered when Konovalets was assassinated
by a Soviet agent, Pavel Sudoplatov, in Rotterdam in May, 1938. Andriy Melnyk, a 48-year-old former colonel
in the army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and one of the founders of the Ukrainian Military
Organization was chosen to lead the OUN despite not having been involved in political or terrorist
activities throughout the 1930s. Melnyk was more friendly to the Church than
were any of his associates (the OUN was generally anti-clerical), and had even became the chairman
of a Ukrainian Catholic youth organization that was regarded as anti-Nationalist by many
OUN members. His choice was seen as an attempt by the leadership
to repair ties with the Church and to become more pragmatic and moderate. However, this direction was opposite to the
trend within western Ukraine itself. The Galician youths formed the majority of
the membership. Due to their presence in western Ukraine rather
than in exile abroad, they faced the danger of arrest and imprisonment. Yet, they were shut out of the leadership. After failing to come to an agreement with
their elder leaders in the Provid, in August 1940 they held their own leadership conference,
choosing Stepan Bandera, who as an iron-willed, extremist conspirator was in many ways the
opposite of the cautious, moderate and dignified Melnyk. On the eve of the German invasion of the Soviet
Union, the OUN was thus divided into two competing and hostile factions: the “legitimate” OUN-M
headed by Andrii Melnyk and the OUN-B (or OUN-R for “revolutionary”) headed by Stepan
Bandera. Each group had its strengths. The OUN-M retained the loyalty of some youths
in Galicia as well as a majority of the youths in the regions of Bukovyna and Trancarpathia,
whose political leader monsignor Avgustyn Voloshyn praised Melnyk as a Christian of
European culture, in contrast to many nationalists who placed the nation above God. The OUN-M’s leadership was more experienced
and had some limited contacts in Eastern Ukraine; it also maintained contact with German intelligence
and the Germany army. The OUN-B, on the other hand, enjoyed the
support of the majority of the nationalistic Galician youth, who formed the backbone of
the underground Ukrainian nationalist movement. It had a strong network of devoted followers
and was powerfully aided by Mykola Lebed, who began to organize the feared Sluzhba Bezpeky
or SB, a secret police force modelled on the Cheka with a reputation for ruthlessness.Within
the Bandera group but somewhat apart from its political leaders such as Stepan Bandera
or Mykola Lebed were a number of young Galicians who were less concerned with ideology and
whose interests were primarily pragmatic and military. The most prominent among them was Roman Shukhevych. This group was not yet very significant, although
their importance would increase rapidly later, during the period of OUN war-time activity.===During World War II=======Early years of the war and activities
in Central and Eastern Ukraine====After the invasion of Poland in September
1939, both factions of the OUN collaborated with the Germans and used the opportunity
of the invasion to send their activists into Soviet-controlled territory. OUN-B leader Stepan Bandera held meetings
with the heads of Germany’s intelligence, regarding the formation of Ukrainian staffed
forces. On February 25, 1941, the head of Abwehr Wilhelm
Franz Canaris sanctioned the creation of the “Ukrainian Legion” under German command. The unit was planned to have 800 persons. OUN-B expected that the unit would become
the core of the future Ukrainian army.Eight days after Germany’s invasion of the USSR,
on June 30, 1941, the OUN-B proclaimed the establishment of Ukrainian State in Lviv,
with Yaroslav Stetsko as premier. In response to the declaration, OUN-B leaders
and associates were arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo (ca.1500 persons). Many OUN-B members were killed outright, or
perished in jails and concentration camps (both of Bandera’s brothers were eventually
murdered at Auschwitz). On September 18, 1941 Bandera and Stetsko
were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp in “Zellenbau Bunker”. Bandera was imprisoned along with some of
the most important prisoners of the third Reich, such as the ex-prime minister of France
Léon Blum and ex-chancellor of Austria, Kurt Schuschnigg. The prisoners of Zellenbau received help from
the Red Cross unlike common concentration camp prisoners and were able to send and receive
parcels from their relatives. Bandera also received help from the OUN-B
including financial assistance. The Germans permitted the Ukrainian nationalists
to leave the bunker for important meeting with OUN representatives in Fridental Castle
which was 200 meters from Sachsenhausen., where they were kept until September 1944. As a result of the German crackdown on the
OUN-B, the faction controlled by Melnyk enjoyed an advantage over its rival and was able to
occupy many positions in the civil administration of former Soviet Ukraine during the first
months of German occupation. The first city which it administered was Zhitomir,
the first major city across the old Soviet-Polish border. Here, the OUN-M helped stimulate the development
of Prosvita societies, the appearance of local artists on Ukrainian-language broadcasts,
the opening of two new secondary schools and a pedagogical institute, and the establishment
of a school administration. Many locals were recruited into the OUN-M.
The OUN-M also organized police forces, recruited from Soviet prisoners of war. Two senior members of its leadership, or Provid,
even came to Zhitomir. At the end of August 1941, however, they were
both gunned down, allegedly by the OUN-B which had justified the assassination in their literature
and had issued a secret directive (referred to by Andriy Melnyk as a “death sentence”)
not to allow OUN-M leaders to reach Kiev. In retaliation, the German authorities, often
tipped off by OUN-M members, began mass arrests and executions of OUN-B members, to a large
extent eliminating it in much of central and eastern Ukraine.As the Wehrmacht moved East,
the OUN-M established control of Kiev’s civil administration; that city’s mayor from October
1941 until January 1942, Volodymyr Bahaziy, belonged to the OUN-M and used his position
to funnel money into it and to help the OUN-M take control over Kiev’s police. The OUN-M also initiated the creation of the
Ukrainian National Council in Kiev, which was to become the basis for a future Ukrainian
government. At this time, the OUN-M also came to control
Kiev’s largest newspaper and was able to attract many supporters from among the central and
eastern Ukrainian intelligentsia. Alarmed by the OUN-M’s growing strength in
central and eastern Ukraine, the German Nazi authorities swiftly and brutally cracked down
on it, arresting and executing many of its members in early 1942, including Volodymyr
Bahaziy, and the writer Olena Teliha who had organized and led the League of Ukrainian
Writers in Kiev. Although during this time elements within
the Wehrmacht tried in vain to protect OUN-M members, the organization was largely wiped
out within central and eastern Ukraine.====OUN-B’s struggle for dominance in western
Ukraine====As the OUN-M was being wiped out in the regions
of central and western Ukraine that had been east of the old Polish-Soviet border, in Volhynia
the OUN-B, with easy access from its base in Galicia, began to establish and consolidate
its control over the nationalist movement and much of the countryside. Unwilling and unable to openly resist the
Germans in early 1942, it methodically set about creating a clandestine organization,
engaging in propaganda work, and building weapons stockpiles. A major aspect of its programme was the infiltration
of the local police; the OUN-B was able to establish control over the police academy
in Rivne. By doing so the OUN-B hoped to eventually
overwhelm the German occupation authorities (“If there were fifty policemen to five Germans,
who would hold power then?”). In their role within the police, Bandera’s
forces were involved in the extermination of Jewish civilians and the clearing of Jewish
ghettos, actions that contributed to the OUN-B’s weapon stockpiles. In addition, blackmailing Jews served as a
source of added finances. During the time that the OUN-B in Volhynia
was avoiding conflict with the German authorities and working with them, resistance to the Germans
was limited to Soviet partisans on the extreme northern edge of the region, to small bands
of OUN-M fighters, and to a group of guerillas knowns as the UPA or the Polessian Sich, unaffiliated
with the OUN-B and led by Taras Bulba-Borovets of the exiled Ukrainian People’s Republic.By
late 1942, the status quo for the OUN-B was proving to be increasingly difficult. The German authorities were becoming increasingly
repressive towards the Ukrainian population, and the Ukrainian police were reluctant to
take part in such actions. Furthermore, Soviet partisan activity threatened
to become the major outlet for anti-German resistance among western Ukrainians. By March 1943, the OUN-B leadership issued
secret instructions ordering their members who had joined the German police in 1941-1942,
numbering between 4,000-5,000 trained and armed soldiers, to desert with their weapons
and to join the units of the OUN-B in Volyn. Borovets attempted to unite his UPA, the smaller
OUN-M and other nationalist bands, and the OUN-B underground into an all-party front. The OUN-M agreed, while the OUN-B refused,
in part due to the insistence of the OUN-B that their leaders be in control of the organization. After negotiations failed, the OUN commander
Dmytro Klyachkivsky coopted the name of Borovets’ organization, UPA, and decided to accomplish
by force what could not be accomplished through negotiation: the unification of Ukrainian
nationalist forces under OUN-B control. On July 6, the large OUN-M group was surrounded
and surrendered, and soon afterward most of the independent groups disappeared; they were
either destroyed by the Communist partisans or the OUN-B, or joined the latter. On August 18, 1943, Taras Bulba-Borovets and
his headquarters was surrounded in a surprise attack by OUN-B force consisting of several
battalions. Some of his forces, including his wife, were
captured, while five of his officers were killed. Borovets escaped but refused to submit, in
a letter accusing the OUN-B of among other things: banditry; of wanting to establish
a one-party state; and of fighting not for the people but in order to rule the people. In retaliation, his wife was murdered after
two weeks of torture at the hands of the OUN-B’s SB. In October 1943 Bulba-Borovets largely disbanded
his depleted force in order to end further bloodshed. In their struggle for dominance in Volhynia,
the Banderists would kill tens of thousands of Ukrainians for links to Bulba-Borovets
or Melnyk.====OUN-B’s struggle against Germany, Soviet
Union and Poland====By the fall of 1943 the OUN-B forces had established
their control over substantial portions of rural areas in Volhynia and southwestern Polesia. While the Germans controlled the large towns
and major roads, such a large area east of Rivne had come under the control of the OUN-B
that it was able to set about creating a “state” system with military training schools, hospitals
and a school system, involving tens of thousands of personnel. Its military, the UPA, which came under the
command of Roman Shukhevich in August 1943, would fight against the Germans and later
the Soviets until the mid-1950s. It would also play a major role in the genocide
of the Polish population from western Ukraine. For more information about the UPA, see: Ukrainian
Insurgent Army.===After the Second World War===After the war, the OUN in eastern and southern
Ukraine continued to struggle against the Soviets; 1958 marked the last year when an
OUN member was arrested in Donetsk. Both branches of the OUN continued to be quite
influential within the Ukrainian diaspora. The OUN-B formed, in 1943, an organization
called the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (headed by Yaroslav Stetsko). The Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations it created
and headed would include at various times emigre organizations from almost every eastern
European country with the exception of Poland: Croatia, the Baltic countries, anti-communist
emigre Cossacks, Hungary, Georgia, Bohemia-Moravia (today the Czech Republic), and Slovakia. In the 1970s the ABN was joined by anti-communist
Vietnamese and Cuban organizations.In 1956 Bandera’s OUN split into two parts, the more
moderate OUN(z) led by Lev Rebet and Zinoviy Matla, and the more conservative OUN led by
Stepan Bandera. After the fall of Communism both OUN factions
resumed activities within Ukraine. The Melnyk faction threw its support behind
the Ukrainian Republican Party at the time that it was headed by Levko Lukyanenko. The OUN-B reorganized itself within Ukraine
as the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (KUN) (registered as a political party in
January 1993). Its conspirational leaders within the diaspora
did not want to openly enter Ukrainian politics, and attempted to imbue this party with a democratic,
moderate facade. However, within Ukraine the project attracted
more primitive nationalists who took the party to the right. Until her death in 2003, KUN was headed by
Slava Stetsko, widow of Yaroslav Stetsko, who also simultaneously headed the OUN and
the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. On March 9, 2010 the OUN rejected Yulia Tymoshenko’s
calls to unite “all of the national patriotic forces” led Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko against
President Viktor Yanukovych. OUN did demand that Yanukovych should reject
the idea of cancelling the Hero of Ukraine status given to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych,
Yanukovych should continue the practice of recognizing fighters for Ukraine’s independence,
which was launched by (his predecessor) Viktor Yushchenko, and posthumously award the Hero
of Ukraine titles to Symon Petliura and Yevhen Konovalets.On May 9, 2017, a man in camouflage-pattern
clothing inside the OUN’s office in Kiev was throwing smoke bombs, eggs, etc. at police
who had gathered to control a 1,500 strong demonstration. The police saw him holding a grenade launcher,
so the police stormed the office, arrested 24 people, and seized the grenade launcher. The OUN used social media to show photos and
videos claiming police brutality and damage to the office.On 19 November 2018 Organization
of Ukrainian Nationalists and fellow Ukrainian nationalist political organizations Congress
of Ukrainian Nationalists, Right Sector and C14 endorsed Ruslan Koshulynskyi’s candidacy
in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.==Organization==
The OUN was led by a Vozhd or Supreme Leader. Originally the Vozhd was Yevhen Konovalets
; after his assassination he was succeeded by Andriy Melnyk resulting in a split where
the Galician youths followed their own Vozhd, Stepan Bandera. Underneath the Vozhd were the Provid, or directorate. At the start of the second world war the OUN’s
leadership consisted of the Vozhd, Andrii Melnyk, and eight members of the Provid. The Provid members were: Generals Kurmanovych
and Kapustiansky (both generals from the times of Ukraine’s revolution in 1918-1920); Yaroslav
Baranovsky, a law student; Dmytro Andriievsky, a politically moderate former diplomat of
the revolutionary government from eastern Ukraine; Richard Yary, a former officer of
the Austrian and Galician militaries who served as a liaison with the German Abwehr; colonel
Roman Sushko, another former Austrian and Galician officer; Mykola Stsyborsky, the son
of a tsarist military officer from Zhytomir, who served as the OUN’s official theorist;
and Omelian Senyk, a party organizer and veteran of the Austrian and Galician armies who by
the 1940s was considered too moderate and too conservative by the youngest generation
of Galician youths. Yary would be the only member of the original
Provid to join Bandera after the OUN split.==Ideology==
The OUN was formed from a number of radical nationalist and extreme right-wing organizations
including the Union of Ukrainian Fascists. Initially, it was led by war veterans who
failed to establish a Ukrainian state in 1917–1920. The ideology of the organization was heavily
influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche, German National Socialism and Italian Fascism;
combining extreme nationalism with terrorism, corporatism, and anti-Semitism, as well as
totalitarianism and anti-democracy. In order to create an illusion that the Ukrainian
brand of nationalism was a product of domestic development, most early OUN writers denied
their ideological connection to fascism in a self-deceptive manner, contradicting generally
known facts. According to its initial declaration, the
primary goal of OUN was to establish an independent and ethnically pure Ukrainian state. This goal was to be achieved by a national
revolution, that would drive out all foreign element and set up an authoritarian state
led by a strong man. The OUN’s leadership felt that past attempts
at securing independence failed due to democratic values in society, poor party discipline and
a conciliatory attitude towards Ukraine’s traditional enemies. Its ideology rejected the socialist ideas
supported by Petliura, and the compromises of Galicia’s traditional elite. Instead the OUN, particularly its younger
members, adopted the ideology of Dmytro Dontsov, an émigré from Eastern Ukraine. The OUN shared the fascist attributes of antiliberalism,
anticonservatism, and anticommunism, an armed party, totalitarianism, anti-Semitism, Führerprinzip,
and an adoption of fascist greetings. Its leaders eagerly emphasized to Hitler and
Ribbentrop that they shared the Nazi Weltanschauung and a commitment to a fascist New Europe.===Integral nationalism===
The Ukrainian nationalism of the 19th and early 20th centuries had been largely liberal
or socialist, combining Ukrainian national consciousness with patriotism and humanist
values. In contrast, the nationalists who emerged
in Galicia following the First World War, much as in the rest of Europe, adopted the
form of nationalism known as Integral nationalism. According to this ideology, the nation was
held to be of the highest absolute value, more important than social class, regions,
the individual, religion, etc. To this end, OUN members were urged to “force
their way into all areas of national life” such as institutions, societies, villages
and families. Politics was seen as a Darwinian struggle
between nations for survival, rendering conflict unavoidable and justifying any means that
would lead to the victory of one’s nation over that of others. In this context willpower was seen as more
important than reason, and warfare was glorified as an expression of national vitality. Integral nationalism became a powerful force
in much of Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. The OUN’s conceptualization of this idea was
particular in several ways. Because Ukraine was stateless and surrounded
by more powerful neighbors, the emphasis on force and warfare was to be expressed in acts
of terrorism rather than open warfare, and illegality was glorified. Because Ukrainians did not have a state to
glorify or serve, the emphasise was placed on a “pure” national language and culture
rather than a State. There was a strain of fantastic romanticism,
in which the unsophisticated Ukrainian rejection of reason was more spontaneous and genuine
than the cynical rejection of reason by German or Italian integral nationalists.===Myth and nationalism of the deed===
Dmytro Dontsov claimed that the 20th century would witness the “twilight of the gods to
whom the nineteenth century prayed” and that a new man must be created, with the “fire
of fanatical commitment” and the “iron force of enthusiasm”, and that the only way forward
was through “the organization of a new violence.” This new doctrine was the chynnyi natsionalizm
– the “nationalism of the deed”. To dramatize and spread such views, OUN literature
mythologized the cult of struggle, sacrifice, and emphasized national heroes.The OUN, particularly
Bandera, held a romantic view of the Ukrainian peasantry, glorified the peasants as carriers
of Ukrainian culture and linked them with the deeds and exploits of the Ukrainian Cossacks
from previous centuries. The OUN believed that a goal of professional
revolutionaries was, through revolutionary acts, to awaken the masses. In this aspect the OUN had much in common
with 19th-century Russian Narodniks.===Authoritarianism===
The nation was to be unified under a single party led by a hierarchy of proven fighters. At the top was to be a Supreme Leader, or
Vozhd. In some respects the OUN’s creed was similar
to that of other eastern European, radical right-wing agrarian movements, such as Romania’s
Legion of the Archangel Michael, Croatia’s Ustashe, Hungary’s Arrow Cross Party, and
similar groups in Slovakia and Poland. There were, however, significant differences
within the OUN regarding the extent of its totalitarianism. The more moderate leaders living in exile
admired some facets of Benito Mussolini’s fascism but condemned Nazism while the younger
more radical members based within Ukraine admired the fascist ideas and methods as practiced
by the Nazis. The faction based abroad supported rapprochement
with the Ukrainian Catholic Church while the younger radicals were anti-clerical and felt
that not considering the Nation to be the Absolute was a sign of weakness.The two factions
of the OUN each had their own understanding of the nature of the leader. The Melnyk faction considered the leader to
be the director of the Provid and in its writings emphasized a military subordination to the
hierarchical superiors of the Provid. It was more autocratic than totalitarian. The Bandera faction, in contrast, emphasized
complete submission to the will of the supreme leader.At a party congress in August 1943,
the OUN-B rejected much of its fascistic ideology in favor of a social democratic model, while
maintaining its hierarchical structure. This change could be attributed in part to
the influence of the leadership of Roman Shukhevych, the new leader of UPA, who was more focused
on military matters rather than on ideology and was more receptive to different ideological
themes than were the fanatical OUN-B political leaders, and was interested in gaining and
maintaining the support of deserters or others from Eastern Ukraine. During this party congress, the OUN-B backed
off its commitment to private ownership of land, increased worker participation in management
of industry, equality for women, free health services and pensions for the elderly, and
free education. Some points in the program referred to the
rights of national minorities and guaranteed freedom of speech, religion, and the press
and rejected the official status of any doctrine. Nevertheless, the authoritarian elements were
not discarded completely and were reflected in continued insistence on the “heroic spirit”
and “social solidarity, friendship and discipline.”In exile, the OUN’s ideology was focused on opposition
to communism.===Treatment of non-Ukrainians===
The OUN intended to create a Ukrainian state with widely understood Ukrainian territories,
but inhabited by Ukrainian people narrowly understood, according to Timothy Snyder. Its first congress in 1929 resolved that “Only
the complete removal of all occupiers from Ukrainian lands will allow for the general
development of the Ukrainian Nation within its own state.” OUN’s “Ten Commandments” stated: “Aspire to
expand the strength, riches, and size of the Ukrainian State even by means of enslaving
foreigners” or “Thou shalt struggle for the glory, greatness, power, and space of the
Ukrainian state by enslaving the strangers”. This formulation was modified by OUN’s theoreticians
in the 1950s and shortened to “Thou shalt struggle for the glory, greatness, power,
and space of the Ukrainian state”.===OUN and antisemitism===
Antisemitism was an attribute OUN shared with other agrarian radical right-wing Eastern
European organizations, such as the Croatian Ustashe, the Yugoslav Zbor and Romania’s Legion
of the Archangel Michael. The OUN’s ideology, on the other hand, did
not emphasize antisemitism and racism despite the presence of some antisemitic writing. Indeed, three of its leaders, General Mykola
Kapustiansky, Rico Yary (himself of Hungarian-Jewish descent), and Mykola Stsyborsky (the OUN’s
chief theorist), were married to Jewish women and Jews belonged to the OUN’s underground
movement.The OUN in the early 1930s considered Ukraine’s primary enemies to be Poles and
Russians, with Jews playing a secondary role or not considered an enemy. An article published in 1930 by OUN leader
Mykola Stsyborsky denounced the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1918, stating that most of its
victims were innocent rather than Bolsheviks. Stsyborsky wrote that Jewish rights should
be respected, that the OUN ought to convince Jews that their organization was no threat
to them, and that Ukrainians ought to maintain close contacts with Jews nationally and internationally. Three years later, an article in the OUN journal
Rozbudova Natsii (“Development of the Nation”), despite its focus on Jews’ alleged exploitation
of Ukrainian peasants, also stated that Jews as well as Ukrainians were victims of Soviet
policies.By the late 1930s, the OUN attitude towards Jews grew more negative. Jews were described in OUN publications as
parasites who ought to be segregated from Ukrainians. For example, an article titled “The Jewish
Problem in Ukraine” published in 1938 called for Jews’ complete cultural, economic and
political isolation from Ukrainians, rejecting forced assimilation of Jews but allowing that
they ought to enjoy the same rights as Ukrainians. Despite the increasingly negative portrayal
of Jews, for all of its glorification of violence Ukrainian nationalist literature generally
showed little interest in Nazi-like antisemitism during the 1930s. Evhen Onatsky, writing in the OUN’s official
journal in 1934, condemned German National Socialism as imperialist, racist and anti-Christian.German
documents from the early 1940s give the impression that extreme Ukrainian nationalists were indifferent
to the plight of the Jews; they were willing to either kill them or help them, whichever
was more appropriate, for their political goals. The OUN-B’s ambivalent wartime attitude towards
the Jews was highlighted during the Second General Congress of OUN-B (April, 1941, Kraków)in
which the OUN-B condemned anti-Jewish pogroms. and specifically warned against the pogromist
mindset as useful only to Muscovite propaganda. At that conference the OUN-B declared “The
Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and
the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits
the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the
true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms
on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the
Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact
that the principal foe is Moscow.”On the other hand, the OUN was willing to support Nazi
antisemitic policies if doing so would help their cause. The OUN sought German recognition for an independent
Ukrainian state. Despite its declared condemnation of pogroms
in April 1941, when German official Reinhard Heydrich requested “self-cleansing actions”
in June of that year the OUN organized militias who killed several thousand Jews in western
Ukraine soon afterward that year. Some historians, such as Yad Vashem, have
claimed that militas under the OUN’s command were involved in the massacre of 6,000 Jews
in Lviv soon after that city’s fall to German forces. OUN members spread propaganda urging people
to engage in pogroms. A slogan put forth by the Bandera group and
recorded in the July 16, 1941 Einsatzgruppen report stated: “Long live Ukraine without
Jews, Poles and Germans; Poles behind the river San, Germans to Berlin, and Jews to
the gallows”. In instructions to its members concerning
how the OUN should behave during the war, it declared that “in times of chaos … one
can allow oneself to liquidate Polish, Russian and Jewish figures, particularly the servants
of Bolshevik-Muscovite imperialism” and further, when speaking of Russians, Poles, and Jews,
to “destroy in struggle, particularly those opposing the regime, by means of: deporting
them to their own lands, eradicating their intelligentsia, which is not to be admitted
to any governmental positions, and overall preventing any creation of this intelligentsia
(e.g. access to education etc)… Jews are to be isolated, removed from governmental
positions in order to prevent sabotage… Those who are deemed necessary may only work
under strict supervision and removed from their positions for slightest misconduct… Jewish assimilation is not possible.” OUN members who infiltrated the German police
were involved in clearing ghettos and helping the Germans to implement the Final Solution. Although most Jews were actually killed by
Germans, the OUN police working for them played a crucial supporting role in the liquidation
of 200,000 Jews in Volyn in the beginning of the war (although in isolated cases Ukrainian
policemen also helped Jews to escape.) The OUN also helped some Jews to escape. According to a report to the Chief of the
Security Police in Berlin, dated March 30, 1942, “…it has been clearly established
that the Bandera movement provided forged passports not only for its own members, but
also for Jews.” OUN bands also killed Jews who had fled into
the forests from the Germans.Once the OUN was at war with Germany, such instances lessened
and finally stopped. An underground OUN publication in 1943 condemned
“German racism, which carried anthropological nonsense to the absurd.” In the official organ of the OUN-B’s leadership,
instructions to OUN groups urged those groups to “liquidate the manifestations of harmful
foreign influence, particularly the German racist concepts and practices.” There were many cases of Jews having been
sheltered from the Nazis by the OUN-B’s military wing UPA and Jews fought in the ranks of UPA. Finally, the 3rd OUN Congress held in August
1943 proclaimed equal rights to all minorities inhabiting Ukraine
The OUN position concerning the Jews was disseminated through its IDEIA I CHYN clandestine journal,
and it specifically asked for resistance to manifestations of Antisemitism.==Symbols==The organization’s symbols were established
in 1932 and were published in a magazine ‘Building a Nation’ (Ukrainian: Розбудова Нації,
Rozbudova Natsii). The author of the OUN emblem with stylized
trident (nationalistic trident) was R. Lisovsky. The organization’s anthem “We were born in
a great hour” (Ukrainian: Зродились ми великої години) was finalized
in 1934 and also was published in the same magazine. Its lyrics were written by Oles Babiy, while
music, by composer Omelian Nyzhankivsky.For long time OUN did not officially have its
own flag, however during the attempt of Hungarians to recapture the Carpathian Ukraine in 1938,
Carpathian Sich, a militarized wing of OUN, adopted its flag from the OUN’s emblem – golden
nationalistic trident on a blue background. The flag was finalized and officially adopted
by the organization only in 1964 at the 5th Assembly of Ukrainian Nationalists. During the World War II in 1941 OUN split. The newly created organization, OUN-revolutionary,
was headed by Stepan Bandera (hence sometimes is known as OUN-B). OUN-r refused to adopt the nationalistic trident
as a symbol and came up with its own heraldry. As the original OUN emblem previously, Robert
Lisovskyi created in 1941 the organizational emblem for OUN-r as well. The central element of the new emblem was
a stylized cross within a triangle. According to Bohdan Hoshovsky, the combination
of colors red and black was based on a concept of the OUN ideologue and a veteran of the
Ukrainian Galician Army, Yulian Vassian.==Leaders==
1929 – 1938 Yevhen Konovalets 1938 – 1940 Andriy Melnyk===OUN (Melnyk)===
1940 – 1964 Andriy Melnyk 1964 – 1977 Oleh Shtul
1977 – 1979 Denys Kvitkovskyi 1979 – 2012 Mykola Plaviuk
2012 – Bohdan Chervak===OUN (Bandera)===
1940 – 1959 Stepan Bandera 1959 – 1968 Stepan Lenkavskyi
1968 – 1986 Yaroslav Stetsko 1986 – 1991 Vasyl Oleskiv
1991 – 2001 Slava Stetsko 2001 – 2009 Andriy Haidamakha
2009 – Stefan Romaniv===OUN (abroad)===
1954 – 1956 Zenon Matla 1956 – 1957 Lev Rebet
1957 – ???? Roman Ilnytskyi ???? – 1979 Bohdan Kordyuk
1979 – 1991 Daria Rebet 1991 – Anatol Kaminskyi==
See also==Operation Vistula
Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia
Roman Shukhevych Ukrainian Youth Association
Warsaw Process==
Notes====Footnotes

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