Ukrainians protest against Bandera for national hero

Protestors in Ukraine launched a nationwide campaign “Stepan Bandera – not Ukraine’s hero,” rallying against former President Yushchenko’s decision to award the title of national hero to the controversial WW II figure.

Bandera holds a dubious position in Ukraine’s history as perceptions split between hailing him as the leader of the nationalist movement and a Nazi collaborator. When Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title in January, the move sparked intensive opposition and debates among politicians and civilians, both domestically and abroad.

The campaign was launched on Wednesday in one of Ukraine’s central cities and is expected to spread throughout the country. Protestors have begun gathering signatures in favor of rescinding the award, saying their task is to prevent the falsification of historical facts.

Earlier this month the newly-elected President Yanukovich told members of the European Parliament during his trip to Brussels that he would address the matter.

The issue is being considered in Ukraine both on a political level and in court,” Yanukovich told Jerzy Buzek, President of the Parliament.