Many years went by. I was living in Paris and this is where the banderite ”national revolution” of 1941 caught up with me. The standard computer hold in a mobile phone , Facebook was 11 years old or something (2), best suited for amplifying all imaginable fringe pathologies and stuffed full with conspiracy wackos . I was watching the grotesque Russian-Ukrainian war in utter disbelief , more particularly both belligerants' and their proxies' (keyword: ' a proxy') psy-ops (historical memory wars inclusive with their lot of insipid Heldenkriege) directed at the little concerned with the intricasities of the Eastern European history Western consumer. This and the social media echo chamber seen from the French perspective was a phenomenal quagmire. Something more than easily predictable only a short while ago, the French public opinion was already lost to the Ukrainian cause not exclusively because of the centuries old French-Russian bromance and what it may have implied for the modern psychological warfare but rather for the whole entirely different set of reasons, one being more ominous than the rest: the French mainstream was not going to swallow en apéritif simultaneously the first degree 'Bandera – all Ukrainian hero' nonsense and distinctively pro-European slogans of the Maidan revolution in guise of a side salad. The match against the so French expression of the measured, subtle, cruel irony proved impossible. A visible top of the iceberg, the Libération's (3) 'Ukraine Committee', a curious hybrid of the French far left and the Ukrainian far right, the 'reft-light' hybrid response to a brand new setting experimented by Russian agents provocateurs, by succombing to the very much confused but muscled neo-banderite hold up did manage quite an extensive job in not helping the cause but turning it opaque, substandard and suspectful, grossly annoying, instinctively avoidable hence avoided (with a sight of relief) by ces messieursdames distinguées. It would have helped to realise that the instantly recognizable Ukrainian milieu in France was vastly composed of observant, far right addicted ignorati gathered around the network of former Yushtchenko's diplomatic/cultural officers. I praised myself for being probably one of the very rare if not the sole with good high level Ukrainian contacts in Paris to have systematically spoken up on the subject of the neo-banderite refined, “matrioshka”-type diversion (“Pravyi Sektor”) . As a token of recognition I have been hysterically cleansed from Facebook "friend's" lists, smeared and threatened with a slow and painful death from unnatural causes, ridiculed and otherwise targeted. Obviously my own opinion has been made as you may have easily guessed by now . In an uncomprehensively suicidal move, in the ultimate, gore gesture of calculated self-harm, the French neo-banderites have blown up the entire difficult, time consuming, little flexible process of gathering and advantageously employing the frail capital of sympathy into sorry, unrecognizable pieces.
Simultaneously I do get a distant feeling that this is less about Bandera himself (a failed wannabe Fuehrer of the III Reich's satellite state he tenderly fancied but one that never materialised not the least because of the popular Ukrainian rather than Galician (4) role in the anti-Nazi resistance/war effort, a divisive to put it mildly figure even within the nationalist movement) but more about Canadian banderites money trails and their politically bankrupt venture which was the Yushtchenko's own presidency.
Much has been written and said about this cyclical Nazi collaborator and Eastern European ustashi-styled fascist, joyfully vilified by the Soviet and Russian historiography. He was being lionized, worshipped, compared to Napoleon and Washington by his extatic followers, his actual, somewhat minor role in deviant, genocidal actions of banderite nationalists was patently overblown by his detractors, ultimately his murder by the Soviet undercover agent (of Ukrainian descent) turned him against many odds into a nationalist icon. A harmful and a murderous one. Speaking dumb: the French conjecture is rich in obediences, vast being the choice: gaullisme, socialisme, royalisme, bonapartisme, républicanisme, anti-républicanisme, impérialisme, jacobinisme, Action Francaise, OAS, marxisme-léninisme, anti-Communist gauchisme, nouveaux philosophes, nouvelle droite, nouvelle gauche, post-soixante-huitardisme, pétainisme - paponisme - mitterandisme etc. etc. etc.; each on its own right, all within their fossilized universe of static references and rose-teinted, nostalgic folklore, whereas the Ukrainian one momentarily, for a plethora of dubious reasons and through the actions of namely the Ukrainian Institute for National Remembrance ( a hardcore nationalist front window run by neobanderite nationalist Mr Volodymyr Viatrovych, mostly involved in dissipating a sophisticated, fantasmagorical ethno-trash and whitewashing the past) is being brutally formated into a monomaniacal infatuation with a collective, uneducated, unsettled, coercive and blasphemous fraud. Should the Ukrainian public debate even remotely resemble the one in France I bet nobody would even think of entering the polemics or fume at glamourizing the wartime nationalists - I certainly would not object to the fact that a sizeable portion of the public opinion identifies with what 'Bandera' may represent symbolically or even Bandera himself, a perfectly natural, axiomatically assumed phenomenon, fully compatible with any liberal, pluralist democracy. We would be quite a few actually not to care at all, bulk of us who watch Eastern European convulsions from a healthy distance have got other things under the skin to be worrying about. But the equation is all different. Not so long ago an honorable defender of Ukrainian freedoms has asked me why nobody ever cared to correct "these wikipedia lies about Bandera" which I thought quite revealing and symptomatic, also I believe statistically probing - somehow I do not expect to see anybody in France asking to 'correct' these 'wikipedia lies' about the Santo Domingo expedition, Sétif and Guelma massacres or to censor Goya's 'fakes'. To my knowledge there are no plans for "Aussaresses or Bigeard memorial years celebrations" any time soon either. Stampede mode cherry picking besides being logically fallacious is esthetically repulsive and easily countered through breaking it down to the basics: look at Bandera and look at Napoleon, Washington, Alexander, Caesar, the British monarchy... Bandera's cult quite likely masterminded and certainly weaponised by the Kremlin is a threat not only to Ukraine but to Europe's very survival in this intensely troubled moment of History ( “ banderite reconquista” project, international Azov connection ...).