Ukrainian leader losing sense of reality

​Al Gurnov
Al Gurnov is a journalist, political analyst and broadcaster. He has presented the news for several Russian national TV channels, and writes for a number of major newspapers and magazines. In the 1990s Al Gurnov was the West European Bureau chief for Russian State TV & Radio (RTR) based in London. Later he hosted several successful TV and radio shows. Winner of numerous professional awards, he has been an RT presenter and TV host since the company was founded in 2005. Al Gurnov regularly appears as a political expert on prime time TV shows on major Russian and international channels. He is a member of the Russian and International Television Academies, and Professor at MGIMO University School of Journalism (Moscow).
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Reuters/Axel Schmidt)
President Poroshenko’s statements that the USSR was the aggressor in WWII are both absurd and ridiculous. But he is not paid for being smart; it’s the demonization of the Soviet Union and rewriting of history that counts today.

Hitler together with Stalin initiated the bloody fighting of World War II, and then tried to divide and split Europe.” This is a quote from a speech Petro Poroshenko delivered last week during his visit to the Bykivnia graves memorial near Kiev together with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski.

This notion is in fact is a further development of earlier historical research by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, who speaking on German television statedthat "we still remember well the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany."

Such statements are usually made by the new Ukrainian government in front of European leaders. Probably they use the rhetoric to try to please their opposite numbers before asking for the next portion of financial aid for their failed state. Well, at least, commenting on Poroshenko’s sensational historic analysis, his aides tried to stress that what he meant was that in spite of the terrible page of common history Ukrainians and Poles became friends and strategic partners.

READ MORE: History lesson? Poroshenko says ‘Hitler & Stalin started WWII, wanted to divide Europe’

Ukrainian propaganda has invented nothing new. Throwing the book at the glorious Soviet army, trying to accuse Moscow of all the grief and disasters of WWII has been one of the favorite instruments of anti-Soviet campaigns ever since Sir Winston Churchill declared the start of the Cold War in his infamous speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1946. The thesis has been around ever since. But never before has there been a head of state, whether in Europe, America, Asia or Africa, who would voice such a stance. Even in the worst days of the Cold War.

And here’s why.

The Soviets, the French, British and Americans – were allies in WWII. And the victory in 1945 was their common victory in the fight against Nazi Germany. Blaming one of them of collusion with Hitler means putting all the others on the same side, and leaving the victory over the Nazis and their “collaborators” to the countries like Poland, Romania, etс. But this absurd scheme still leaves Ukraine out of the list of victors, because it has been part of the Russian Empire since 1653. So it was the Soviet Ukrainian soldiers together with their Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Jewish and many other brothers in arms who liberated Europe from the fascist invasion and captured Berlin in 1945.

Ukrainian nationalistic insurgents, like the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army, claimed to be fighting against both the Russian and the Nazi troops during WW2. They are remembered for plundering and atrocities like the 1943 large-scale ethnic cleansing against Polish and Jewish populations. Historians estimate that 60,000 to 100,000 Polish civilians were massacred in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. Stepan Bandera, the notorious nationalist leader was arrested in Lvov in 1934, convicted of terrorism and sentenced to death.

World War II actually began long before September 1939. Hitler began to capture European countries with his Anschluss of Austria in 1938. As а matter of fact, the USSR was the only country on the continent who openly opposed that aggression. Stalin immediately suggested creating а collective security system on the continent. However, the European leaders refused to do so. Instead, in September 1938 Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini sat down to talk with Hitler in Munich and, keeping it secret from the Soviets, gave their blessing to Nazi Germany swallowing Czechoslovakia.

READ MORE: ‘Soviets invading Germany, Ukraine:’ Berlin faces tough choice on PM Yatsenyuk’s WW2 take

In March 1939, the brutal plan was fulfilled – five months before the fateful date of September 1. Stalin suggested that France and England conclude an agreement on mutual assistance in case of Nazi aggression. Yet again, they refused. Moscow announced it was ready to offer Poland protection in case of a possible attack, but Warsaw also turned down the proposal, since it also had its eyes set on Soviet territory (as it is now having plans for Western Ukraine). After all these failures, left with Hitler building up his might in the West and Japan threatening Russia on the eastern side of the axis, the best Stalin could do was to sign а non-aggression pact with Germany. That didn’t help either. On June 22, 1941 Germany launched its offensive against the USSR and the Great Patriotic War began. The Soviet Union lost around 30 million people - 7 million of them being Ukrainians - to defeat the aggressor.

Ukrainians seem to be entangled in their concepts and terminology. Today, by trying to equate Hitler and Stalin they demonstrate complete ignorance: every schoolboy knows that Hitler’s ideology was based on a racial theory sentencing whole nations to destruction by right of defective blood. According to the Nazi ideology of racial, ethnic superiority - the Jews, Gypsies and Slavs did not deserve to exist. The ideology of communism was proclaimed by Marx, Lenin and Stalin as “proletarian internationalism,” which placed the Сommies and the Nazis on the opposite sides of the political spectrum. And for this reason, Germany ruled by the National Socialist party had nothing to do with Socialist Russia. Except for going into war against it.

So why isn’t President Poroshenko afraid to sound ridiculous? That’s because he is not paid for trying to be smart. What pays today is the demonization of the Soviet Union, the undermining of its role as the main fighter and winner in the battle against Nazism. This, in turn, means that you саn then question Moscow’s signature under all fundamental decisions of the post-war settlement, including even in the field of disarmament. That gives the newly established empires а free hand in rewriting the history and promoting their version of а new world order, free of such anachronisms as the concept of the United Nations and international law.

From left to right: Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement, which gave the Sudetenland to Germany. (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

Poroshenko says that during the Second World the Ukrainians liberated not only Ukraine but also the whole of Europe. Which is absolutely true. However, he forgot to mention, that they did so under the command of Joseph Stalin as soldiers of the victorious Red Army - which on May 9 will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of its victory in the most terrible war in world history. Russia celebrates the victory a day later than its allies. But that is not for ideological reasons but: at 23:01 on May 8, 1945, when the capitulation of Nazi Germany came into effect, it was аlreаdy early morning of the following day in Moscow. And whoever will choose to сelebrаte together with the Russians, or to restrain, this will not distort the history. Beсаuse those who want to undermine the strength and the moral authority of modern Russia are just trying to twist the events of World War II and denigrate а whole generation of people who sacrificed almost everything for this victory.

The European Union is at а crossroads. What Europe looks like in the coming years may be decided in the coming months. If Europe goes on about the Ukrainian demagoguery about “fighting Russia for European values” - the countries of the EU will soon have to deal with two existential crisis issues: inflation and demography. Further trying to feed 40 million Ukrainians bogged down in corruption, war and verbiage could prove to be too difficult. Another is - flooding Europe with Ukrainian refugees – a realistic estimate being two million а year.

But still the worst outcome of the European flirt with Kiev is ideological. It already is pushing the world towards а second Cold War. Such a scenario would bring Putin many more friends in Europe than one can imagine, divide the continent even more and develop it into а battlefield between the interests of Russia and the United States. I wonder if that’s the price Europeans are ready to pay for proving their loyalty to the transatlantic citadel of democracy.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.