Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov has evident problems with his knowledge of history. He sees no difference between UNA-UNSO (the contemporary, nationalist Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People’s SelfDefense political party) and OUN-UPA (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought in World War II). As a result, he said recently in Sevastopol that President Viktor Yushchenko calls UNA-UNSO soldier heroes.
Luzhkov is not interested in the essence of the matter – who, where, when, what for, or how the war was waged. The main thing for him is to create a scandal, which he did. And Moscow sees the speck in the other’s eye, but doesn’t notice the log in its own eye.
When Luzhkov spoke about UNA-UNSO, he confused this organization with the name of the nationalist movement in Ukraine in the 20th century. To that list, our “older brothers” also add the SS Halychyna division and some other units, which they say are evidence of treason among the Ukrainian people and their service for Hitler’s Germany.
But for some reason, the Moscow mayor doesn’t mention that on Leningradskiy Avenue, 73a, near the All Saints Church in Moscow, hangs a memorial plaque for the Wehrmacht`s 15th Cossack Cavalry Corps, which waged war commanded by Lieutenant General Helmut von Pannwitz.
It consisted of Russian Cossacks who became famous for, among other things, slaughtering peaceful civilians. In spite of this fact, the plaque still hangs.
Moreover, it is sanctified by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Do you remember the relocation of the Soviet soldiers’ memorial from Tallinn’s center to a cemetery on the city’s outskirts? Russian officials threatened economic sanctions in order to punish “impudent Estonia.”
But the Estonians never considered Soviet soldiers as liberators, because the USSR annexed the country before Hitler attacked Stalin.
Meanwhile, it turned out that recently, the same event happened not far from Moscow. There was a monument to a pilot, an ethnic Ukrainian and citizen of Zaporizhia Vasyl Poidenko, who perished in the sky above Moscow in 1941. The Moscow-Kyiv highway had to be built on that very place and the monument was not moved – it was simply demolished. Moscow journalist Anatoliy Baranov said part of the monument – its wings – was merely left in a roadside ditch.
It’s interesting that some Ukrainian politicians always cry in unison with Moscow. Crimean deputies are especially famous for this. But for some reason, they didn’t notice the incident involving the grave of Soviet border guard Oleksandr Terletskiy in the village of Foros.
I stay in this village rather often and one day, the locals even led me to the place where this courageous soldier committed his heroic deed. In the first days of the war, with limited military resources, Terletskiy established two attack bases so successfully that he stopped the advance of German forces towards Sevastopol for an entire day.
In contrast to the many pseudoheroes dreamed up by military officials, this man deserves all honor. And several years ago, under Leonid Kuchma’s administration, Kyiv raised the issue of transferring Terletskiy’s remains to another place.
The population of Foros protested, the local council refused to carry out the order, but nevertheless the hero’s remains were transferred to another place silently in the night.
Why did the Crimean deputies keep quiet?
Perhaps because there was no order from Moscow.
I don’t want to react to Russian accusations with my own accusations. In recent years, we have learned to interpret the war beyond two colors — black and white. When the Russian Cossacks and Gen. Andrey Vlasov’s entire army waged war against the Bolsheviks, if I can’t justify it, then I can understand them.
Modern Russian officials can understand them. But I never heard them attack the Vlasovtsi as much as they attack our resistance movement. They need double standards for political speculation, in which they repeatedly dance on graves.
It seems to me that from such dances, one won’t only break one’s leg, but also break one’s neck.
By Yuri Lukanov
Yuriy Lukanov is a journalist and author of the book, “The Third President.” This article was first published in the weekly Kyiv Post on May 29th, 2008.