Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

No, Mr. Putin -- the victory over the Nazis was not Russia's alone -- and Mr. Yushchenko -- you should have stayed home for these commemorations

Ukrainian Canadian Congress

UCC Statement on the 60th Anniversary of Victory in Europe

While Canada commemorates the sixtieth anniversary of victory over Nazi tyranny and the contribution of over 40,000 Ukrainian Canadians who served in its military forces, we should remember that not all who fought for freedom achieved it in 1945. Among the countries for which victory rang hollow was Ukraine -- the principal battlefield of World War II in Europe, where 607 German divisions were destroyed. Red Army casualties in Ukraine in 1943-44 amounted to some 3.5 million, with Ukrainians accounting for 50-70 percent of them. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians also fought in other Allied armies. According to recent research, Ukraine's total casualties approached 10 million. About 2.2 million Ukrainians were deported to Germany as slave labourers. More than 700 towns and 28,000 villages were completely or partly destroyed.
The Soviet Union, on whose side most Ukrainians were obliged to fight, was neither a democracy nor a federation of equals but a Russocentric dictatorship. From 1939 to 1941, as Hitler's armies overran Europe, the USSR willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany. Under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, it annexed the western Ukrainian lands and deported some 320,000 residents to Siberia. Earlier, during the 1930s, the Soviet regime did its best to wipe out the nominally sovereign Ukrainian SSR by destroying its institutions, from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Communist Party of Ukraine, killing thousands of intellectuals, breaking resistance to collectivization by means of a man-made famine that took millions of peasant lives, and Russifying the Ukrainian language and culture. By the late 1930s, forced centralization had gone so far that Stalin and his associates considered doing away with the Soviet republics as administrative units.

In the western Ukrainian lands, reoccupied by the Red Army in 1944, resistance to the Soviet regime was particularly strong. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, formed in 1942 in order to combat the German occupiers, fought desperately to avoid the fate that had befallen the Ukrainian SSR in the 1930s. Research in recently opened archives has revealed the broad scope of that resistance: more than 153,000 insurgents killed and more than 134,000 arrested, with almost 66,000 families (more than 203,000 individuals) deported to Siberia. This was no marginal guerrilla action but a war of national liberation that continued against overwhelming odds until the early 1950s.
For Ukraine, as for Eastern Europe generally, the "liberation" of 1945 meant the replacement of one tyranny by another. Pro-Soviet "democratic" governments were imposed throughout the lands occupied by the Red Army. They remained in place for more than four decades, until the fall of the Soviet Union ended the war's legacy of dictatorial rule from Moscow. President Vladimir Putin's statement of April 25 lamenting the fall of the USSR as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the twentieth century shows that the Russian political establishment is not prepared, even now, to confront that legacy and break with it.

The collapse of Nazi Germany in May of 1945 did not mean peace for all of Europe. In Ukraine, as in other Eastern European and Baltic countries, the struggle for national liberation and self-determination continued on into the 1950s. In Ukraine, the war went on even after the armed struggle ceased: a war carried out by the most brutal totalitarian tactics of the Soviet regime against human dignity, national rights, religion and the individual. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress calls upon the Government of Canada and all Canadians to recognise that the end of the war which destroyed the Nazi evil brought freedom to some but also saw continued occupation and misery for millions of others. For the sake of the victims of Soviet oppression, this must not be forgotten.

1 Comments:

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous One Eyed Cat said...

Yuschenko definitely should have stayed in Kyiv. Hopefully, they will at least finally give UPA their due. Let the Reds march in Donetsk next time ;)

OEC

 

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