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Lvov Regional Council sides with war criminal (The Voise of Russia, Russia)
Alexander Vatutin, The Voise of Russia, 25.05.2011

Ukraine has decided to remember the events of the Second World War in its peculiar way again. The Lvov Regional Council has appealed to the country’s authorities to protect Ivan Demianiuk who is accused of being involved in massacring the Jews and aiding and abetting the Nazis. The deputies called this criminal “a martyr”, persecuting whom “discredits the Ukrainians before the world’’.

It seemed that the decision of a Munich court in Germany on Ivan Demianiuk’s case was final. He was found guilty of complicity in the deaths of over 28,000 prisoners of the Sobibor concentration camp in Poland and was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment. However, taking into consideration the criminal’s age, 91 years, the German justice allowed him to remain out of prison while his appeal is being considered. The investigation of the Demianiuk case has been going for 35 years. A court in Israel handed down a death sentence in 1988 but later he was acquitted. Only in 2009, at the demand of the Federal Republic of Germany, was he extradited from the USA and taken to court again in connection with new circumstances. Recall that the Nuremberg Trials ruled that crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis and their henchmen have no statute of limitation. In this context, the decision of the Lvov Regional Council, in which the majority of members belong to the Freedom nationalist party, sounds blasphemous. If someone’s guilt has been proved it is political nihilism and disrespect for one’s own history to call them a martyr, believes Alexander Diukov, the head of the Historical Memory Foundation.

“The appeal of the Lvov Regional Council means that the radical nationalists controlling it cannot renounce the crimes committed by their predecessors during WW2. It would be natural to punish someone who took part in the annihilation of a huge number of people but they support him instead. I would like to point out that Ivan Demianiuk was not even a Ukrainian nationalist, he served the occupational authorities. The Ukrainian people were a low class for those authorities and were destined to be killed or enslaved. It is symptomatic that in today’s Ukraine some officials support a man who was on the other side, who did not only humiliate the Jews but prepared a very miserable life for the Ukrainians.”

The surge of nationalism in West Ukraine was stimulated during Viktor Yushchenko’s presidency. Yushchenko urged the exoneration of the Bandera militants and their elevation to the status of national heroes, of fighters for the independence of Ukraine. Their collaboration with the Nazis was interpreted as part of the struggle against the Soviet power. And millions of Ukrainians who gave their lives for the liberation of their motherland from the Nazi occupation are considered Moscow’s accomplices. This resulted in the dramatic events in Lvov on the 9th of May this year when Freedom militants poisoned the festivities for war veterans, insulting them and ripping off their medals and St. George’s ribbons. It is regrettable that a whole new generation of Ukrainians has been brought up on false history where there is no place for the heroism of Soviet soldiers.

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