Opinion

20 May, 12:25 PM

We will not allow Russia to place their crimes upon us

Volodymyr Vyatrovych

Ukrainian historian, MP

The Russians are always trying to shift their crimes onto others.

But they will not succeed this time.

Russia has long used international organizations as platforms for its propaganda. Lying, even when everyone realizes it is a lie. It has always been so. Recently, when I listened to the Russian representative at the UN Security Council read about the “Azov atrocities” in Mariupol, I got the impression that he had been handed a paper from the 1940s about the “crimes of the Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists of the OUN-UPA.”

The same cynical lie, accusing the defenders of the people of crimes committed deliberately by the occupiers.

The goal then as is now is the same – not just blame their own crimes on others, but also to discredit freedom fighters in front of the world and even in front of their own people.

If you or your friends have the slightest doubt that these pseudo-Russian “testimony” is false – it will be useful to look into the past and see the exact same thing.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Soviets even set up pseudo-insurgent groups to kill and plunder, disguised as Bandera members.

These types of tactics were first used against the Ukrainian liberation movement in the 1920s by the Bolshevik Cheka.

Pretending to be part of the underground movement, they lured people back into Ukraine from abroad and arrested the head of the Partisan-Insurgent Staff, General Yuriy Tyutyunnyk. He was preparing an anti-Bolshevik resistance.

But the tactics of creating pseudo-insurgent units flourished in the 1940s. It was then that the communist regime faced opposition they had never seen or imagined before. We are talking about the activities of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

And so the NKVD decided to launch a “legendary – that is fictional – underground” mainly with real insurgents who were deceived and “agent-fighting groups” that terrorized the locals under the guise of insurgents.

It was extremely difficult to suppress our underground thanks to the massive support of the locals.

People provided the insurgents no worse than what our current volunteers are doing with the Ukrainian army.

In addition, thanks to Ukrainians from nearby villages, the Bandera members had up-to-date information about the location of the NKVD forces and enemy operations.

It was not possible to break the mass support by repressions. Although there were arrests, executions, deportations of entire villages.

And so the Soviet government resorted to discrediting the insurgents using the Cheka intelligence and combat units.

As of mid-1945, there were 156 such groups in western Ukraine.

They had:

  •          To conduct reconnaissance work and identify UPA commanders and OUN leaders in order to physically eliminate them;
  •         To penetrate the OUN network to disrupt their work and destroy it from within;
  •          To carry out looting and killing of local residents under the guise of the OUN-UPA in order to widely compromise the resistance;
  •          Sow misunderstandings and mutual distrust between civilians and defenders.

One of the members of such a group, Chekist Mykola Demianiuk, recalled how they wore Ukrainian shirts and hats with tridents. At night, they went to village houses and “cut out” whole families, while demonstratively speaking Ukrainian. As a rule, one member of the family was left alive so that he could tell everyone about the atrocities he allegedly witnessed by the Banderites.

These crimes were later carefully documented and used in their propaganda, even abroad.

The consequences of these informational and military special operations against the UPA were felt until recently, when some Ukrainians perceived the insurgents as criminals who fought against their own people.

The scale of the crimes of the pseudo-insurgents was such that it infuriated even high-ranking Soviet officials. In 1949, military prosecutor Kosharsky reported that the activities of these groups were simply banditry and cited many examples of their crimes. Here is one of them:

“On the night of July 23, 1948, a special group entered the village of Pidvysotske and Nina Repnytska – born in 1931 – was taken into the forest. Repnytska was tortured. During the interrogation of Repnytska, members of the special group severely beat her, hung her upside down, inserted a stick into her genitals, and then took turns raping her. Repnytska was thrown into the woods in a helpless state.”

We have not yet heard of Russian intelligence units pretending to be Ukrainian soldiers. Probably because the Russians control a small part of Ukraine and even there, their occupational regime is not certain.

But they have been trying to attribute their crimes to the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the very beginning. It is not just about Mariupol as mentioned earlier. But also about the terrible crimes in Bucha, the mass killings of civilians that have spread throughout the world.

But it is not the 1940s and it is much harder for a criminal to hide their own atrocities. The New York Times recently published a video taken from a drone which recorded the moment a cyclist was shot by a Russian tank.

This is only one of the many crimes of the Russians in Bucha, one they tried to attribute to the Ukrainians.

The truth is always stronger. It took decades for the truth about the insurgents to come to light in the 1940s and 1950s, but now it only takes days.

And our victory will be just as quick!

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