A telling sign: How Ukrainians are treating Stepan Bandera

4 January, 02:30 PM

For me, as a historian, the figure of Bandera is complex and ambiguous.

I am close to the opinion of the legendary dissident Yevheny Sverstyuk that "monuments should not be erected to Bandera, but to ordinary Banderites," that is, to those boys and girls who went to the OUN and the UPA (as there are memorial signs dedicated to the Home Army all over Poland). Bandera had been, since 1934, in prison, a concentration camp, and in exile, so in reality the struggle of the OUN and the UPA was led by other people (Mykola Lebid, Roman Shukhevich, etc.).

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In addition, Bandera has become a symbol of the struggle against Moscow imperialism.

So the changes in the attitude of Ukrainians towards him are very telling.

A survey conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with the polling service of the Razumkov Center from August 5 to 12, 2022 gave the following results.

Almost 50% of the population of Ukraine views Stepan Bandera positively. 11% of respondents viewed Stepan Bandera's role in the formation of Ukrainian statehood negatively. Another 19% said that they have both positive and negative attitudes towards Stepan Bandera's activities, and about 18% declined to answer.

Compared to last year, the share of respondents who view Stepan Bandera positively has increased by 19%. At the same time, the share of respondents who view him negatively has decreased by 21%.

The southern regions have a predominance of negative attitudes towards Stepan Bandera's activities over positive ones. 30% of respondents in Odesa and Mykolaiv regions view his actions negatively, while 20% view them positively.

Citizens of all age categories, regardless of their level of education or financial situation, tend to view Stepan Bandera’s actions in a mostly positive way. However, younger Ukrainians, as well as those respondents who have a higher level of education and are more affluent, are more favorable in their views of Bandera than older people and those who have a secondary education and are poor.

A plurality of Russian-speaking respondents (29%) view Bandera mostly positively. 20% of respondents disagreed with this.

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