[Marxism] Bandera and Ukraine

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue May 6 07:33:12 MDT 2014


I know Chris Ford well and readily acknowledge his expertise on the history
of Ukraine, but I'm surprised that he wrote that 'put
simply without Stalinism there would have been no Bandera'. The hard-line
Ukrainian nationalism -- 'integralism', as it was often called -- that
Bandera espoused was around well before Stalin's taking over the reins in
Moscow, and the integralist OUN, of which Bandera became a major leader,
was formed in 1929, that is, just as Stalin took over and some years before
the famine in Soviet Ukraine, and Bandera had become its chief propaganda
officer in 1931. No doubt the famine in Soviet Ukraine reinforced Bandera
in his views, but he was an integralist well before it happened.

If we interpret Chris' statement in the way that without the Stalinist
experience, Bandera's brand of integralism would not have taken off; again,
I would dispute this. Integralism was a common factor right across Eastern
Europe in the interwar period, and it occurred within nations that were
established, such as Poland, and amongst nationalities who did not have a
nation-state of their own, Ukrainians being a notable case (there was also
a Jewish brand of integralism, articulated by Jabotinsky). Ukrainian
integralism grew up largely in Poland, which incorporated much of Western
Ukraine, and whose regime persecuted Ukrainians as bad as if not actually
worse than it persecuted Jews within its borders. Again, news of the famine
in Soviet Ukraine would have intensified Ukrainian integralism, but it grew
up to quite some degree in response to Polish chauvinism and in parallel
with such sentiments across the area.

Integralism had movements amongst most if not all nationalities right
across Europe in the interwar period, and, especially in Eastern Europe, it
keyed in neatly with existing anti-Jewish sentiments, in places (such as
Poland) informing government policies when integralists got into office,
and creating a murderous brew which erupted when the Nazi invasion took
place, with the Nazis both permitting and encouraging pogrom gangs to run
amok.

The very real crimes of Stalinism in Ukraine, whether or not or to what
degree they were propelled by specific anti-Ukrainian sentiments on the
part of the Soviet bureaucracy (it's a moot point, as Russification took
place in all non-Russian areas and the 1932-33 famine also badly hit
southern Russia and Kazakhstan), gave a big impetus to Ukrainian
integralism, but I would suggest that even had the Soviet Union not evolved
into Stalinism, the famine not occurred and the Soviet regime had not
expanded into what was in 1939 Polish territory, a brand of extreme
right-wing Ukrainian nationalism with definite fascist features would have
come into being, and would have been no less murderous towards other
nationalities, especially Jews, than the other integralists in the area at
the time.

Paul F



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