• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

donderdag 22 juni 2017

Donetsk People’s Republic – Story Untold by Western media


Donetsk People’s Republic – Story Untold by Western media

Wed, Jun 14, 2017
By Stephen EBERT (USA)

Donetsk People’s Republic – Story Untold by Western media
My refusal to believe ongoing Western media reports of “Russian aggression” makes me a “Kremlin troll”. My punishment for not towing the “party line” – simple, effective “shunning” by Western media – has not, however, diminished my ongoing commitment to seeing the other side.
Having previously investigated the Crimean reunification with Russia, this May I turned my attention to the birth of two new government formations in Eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR).  Americans only hear either what Kiev “reports”, or the US propaganda machine puts out – these are puppet regimes born of “Russian aggression” and forcibly kept in place by “occupation”. Not being a brave “war correspondent”, I admittedly undertook my journey with some trepidation – not from fear of “Russian aggression”, but the Kiev regime’s ongoing shelling of civilian targets.
I am eternally grateful to my newfound colleague Konstantin Dolgov for showing me the sad “Alley of Angels” – a deeply touching memorial to children killed to date by Kiev-regime forces. Further, my virtual contact with Patrick Lancaster, an American journalist who now resides there, and Alexander Sladkov, a Russian correspondent who largely lives there, but, more importantly, “run toward the sound of gunfire” have allowed me to counteract the information-war blockade by Western media.

A central street of Donetsk – the Donetsk Palace

As I approached the larger city of Donetsk (previously over 1 million residents, now much smaller due to the initial flood of refugees to Russia (the paradox of peoplefleeing into the arms of the “aggressor”), I feared I would see a city center damaged by Kiev shelling, and people cowed and deprived of the most basic needs. Contrary to Ukrainian “patriots” on Russian TV, I was relieved to find an active, bustling city, with a very charming downtown, and thrilled to see a populace that, far from being cowed, harbors a firm belief in a better future, one outside the Ukraine.
Despite Kiev’s total blockade, the city of Donetsk proper seems to have a reasonable assortment of goods and foodstuffs. Much of this seems to come from ever growing trade and cooperation with Russia, a bordering neighbor and largest trade partner of the “former”, pre-war Ukraine. In fact, while I was there, a conference on enhancing this cooperation took place, and due to Kiev’s economic blockade, the ruble has displaced the Ukrainian grivna.  Western media will no doubt hold this up as further proof of “Russian aggression”.

The open air market at the train station in Donetsk

My most important “resource” during my all too brief stay was Ekaterina Pavlenko, a young, local deputy in the DNR parliament.  Ekaterina herself is certainly no “Russian aggressor” or “occupying force”. Quite the contrary, she is very typical of local residents whose largely Russian-heritage ancestors have lived on these lands for generations. Ekaterina, having previously engaged in “social” issues is not even a “typical politician”. As I became more acquainted with her, her eyes explained it all – they showed the unique combination of a burning desire to further the life of the new, independent republic and an underlying kindness and loving regard for those around her. Ekaterina most eloquently summed up the belief of the new republic – these are the ancestral lands of the actual residents, not some bargaining chip in a larger geopolitical conflict, or “subject” for Kiev domination. This is admittedly hard for the average American to understand given our very transient nature.
I quite accidentally ended up in Donetsk for their “Republic Day” – their 4th of July. As Ekaterina’s guest, I was invited, without any control or oversight whatsoever, to watch, film, and ultimately join in a massive, celebratory parade of literally tens of thousands representing all aspects of life and all regions of the DNR. Western media will be disappointed to learn there were no machine gun-toting, heavily- armed Russian occupation forces forcing people to participate. In fact, beyond the day of the parade, contrary to Kiev’s “little boy who cried wolf” shrieks of massive Russian invasions, there were no signs of any regular army Russian presence to be seen anywhere.

The Free Donbass Movement – the group Ekaterina belongs to – at the Parade on Independence Day in Donetsk, May 11 2017
For my gullible fellow Americans who might say “they simply hid them from you”, I would simply ask how hides – according to Kiev – 10s of thousands of troops, vast support infrastructure, and heavy weaponry from prying satellite “eyes”, not to mention smart phones in an area the size of Connecticut. The only conclusions one can draw are either there is in fact no Russian dominance (the simplest and most accurate assessment), the Russians have invented startling new “stealth” technology for tanks and troops, or, assuming some Russian presence, the locals are truly grateful for the support and defense it provides. None of which are good for the West…
As I studied local maps, walked and rode public transport (3 rubles…about $.05), street names and numerous monuments spoke further not only of the majority Russian-heritage population whose ancestors lived here for centuries (in 1922, the fledgling Ukrainian Republic grew by 25% in size after Lenin “ceded” it the larger Russian “Novorossiya” – including all of the Donbass, Kharkov, and Odessa), but one which still honors and reveres those who gave their lives to defeat fascism. As is happening throughout the rest of the Ukraine, were Kiev able to somehow regain control, Russian-oriented names of streets would certainly be changed, and any and all monuments would be toppled – especially those relating to the Soviet victory over Hitler. In other words, Kiev’s so-called “decommunization” is clearly “derussification – a sad, largely unreported 21st century ethnic cleansing.

A Soviet WWII monument in Donetsk – proof of the Russian engagement – against Hitler

Since I was “self-funded”, I had to choose a more “thrifty” hotel than the superior “Donetsk Palace”. When I happened upon the hotel and went in, I found not simply a palace, but Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observer living quarters. Hard to blame these brave folks for preferring staying put in their rooms vs. doing their job of exposing the ongoing Kiev shelling of civilian targets.
While avoiding front-lines, I nonetheless hopped on a streetcar out to the main rail station shut down by Kiev shelling early on in the war –  quite close to areas currently being shelled. As the car slowly but surely wound its way to the station, I looked around with apprehension, expecting riders to get off well before. Instead, I found folks of my own (mature) age traveling to the very end. After wandering around the now abandoned station and nearby modern shopping complex – still showing signs of shelling— I headed over to what initially appeared to be several smaller kiosks. I was shocked, however, to find these were simply the “front lines” of a huge market with all manner of goods and quite appetizing-looking locally grown produce. When I asked various vendors if they were not afraid to be this close to the front, the very typical Russian stoic nature emerged – “life goes on”, with a wistful, sad sigh of “of course, we wish they (Kiev) would leave us to live in peace and quiet.”

Still at war – no guns, and beware unexploded munitions notice at the gates of a local store in Donetsk

In summary, were the West to send unbiased, knowledgeable correspondents to the DNR, they would indeed find not Russian “occupation” and “aggression”, but Russian-heritage people determined to move ahead to a future based not on hatred and rejection of their Ukrainian “Slavic brothers”, but on positive, life-affirming values such as liberty, justice, and self-determination. Given that the US started off this way centuries ago, it is tragically ironic that today it supports Kiev-regimes efforts to rid itself of “undesirable” Russians.
Stephen Ebert is the American political analyst writing for Russian media.
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Zionistische Terreur

PHROC veroordeelt besluit vermindering stroomvoorziening Gazastrook en waarschuwt voor humanitaire ramp

De Raad van Palestijnse Mensenrechtenorganisaties (PHROC) veroordeelt met kracht de beslissing van de Israëlische bezettende autoriteiten om de hoeveelheid elektriciteit die aan de Gazastrook wordt verstrekt te verminderen. Verder waarschuwt de PHROC de internationale gemeenschap voor de gevaarlijke gevolgen van deze beslissing, die de humanitaire crisis waaronder Gaza lijdt door de 10-jarige blokkade van Israël zou kunnen verergeren .
Het Israëlische veiligheidskabinet, dat op 11/6/2017 werd bijeengeroepen, heeft naar verluidt een vermindering van 35% van de elektriciteitslevering aan de Gazastrook goedgekeurd. Via media weten we dat de beslissing is genomen nadat de Palestijnse Autoriteit (PA) besloot om zijn financiering van de elektriciteit voor de Gazastrook te verminderen. Daarom beweren de Israëlische bezettende autoriteiten dat de onderbrekingen in de leveringen te wijten zijn aan het verzoek van de PA.
Israël moet als bezettende macht zijn verplichtingen ten opzichte van de bezette burgerbevolking nakomen, zoals bepaald in het internationaal humanitair recht. In plaats daarvan heeft Israël een tienjarige blokkade ingevoerd die de mensenrechten van Palestijnen blijft schenden, met inbegrip van hun recht op leven. De constante stroomuitval, die het grootste deel van de dag bestrijkt, heeft ernstige gevolgen voor het leven van mensen en belemmert hun mogelijkheid om toegang te krijgen tot basisdiensten. Gezondheidszorg, waaronder dialyse, chirurgie, intensieve zorg en bloedbanken, alsook andere diensten, worden voortdurend bedreigd door stroomonderbrekingen. Individuen met speciale behoeften, evenals kinderen en ouderen, hebben ook problemen met toegang tot hun huizen en diensten als het gebouwen van meerdere verdiepingen betreft. Op een hoger niveau wordt de economie van Gaza verder beperkt door de elektriciteitsbesnoeiingen en resulteert het in productiviteitsverliezen. Afvalwaterzuiveringsinstallaties en waterwinning- en distributiefaciliteiten kunnen niet anders dan onbehandeld afvalwater in de zee pompen door het gebrek aan electriciteit, waardoor de gezondheid van Gazanen en het milieu worden aangetast.
Volgens een reactie die de GISHA op 19 juni ontvangen heeft van de Israëlische advocaat-generaal, zal de vermogensreductie geleidelijk beginnen vanaf 10 uur (dezelfde dag), met een vermindering van 5% en toenemen totdat het percentage van 35% is bereikt. Het antwoord van de procureur-generaal was een reactie op een gezamenlijke brief van Israëlische mensenrechtenorganisaties die vroegen een einde maken aan de uitvoering van het besluit tot reductie.
In het licht van de door Israël veroorzaakte humanitaire crisis in Gaza door de blokkade en de Israëlische aanvallen op het gebied, en de catastrofale gevolgen van de afnemende aanvoer van electriciteit naar de Gazastrook, en overeenkomstig de wettelijke status van de Gazastrook, die onder de voortdurende bezetting door Israël blijft, verzoekt PHROC de internationale gemeenschap om onmiddellijk en effectief te handelen om te voorkomen dat de elektriciteitslevering door Israël als bezettingsmacht aan Gaza wordt verminderd, en om het herstel van de krachtcentrale in Gaza te waarborgen.
PHROC hernieuwt zijn oproep aan de internationale gemeenschap om het internationale recht te respecteren en respect te waarborgen, inclusief het feit dat Israël zijn taken als bezettingsmacht ten opzichte van de door dit recht beschermde Palestijnse bevolking vervult.
PHROC roept de Palestijnse Autoriteit op om zijn standpunt inzake de vermindering van elektriciteitslevering te verduidelijken en de nodige maatregelen te nemen om het lijden van Palestijnen in de Gazastrook te verlichten.

Zie ook: 

Challenging the Myths of Twentieth-Century Ukrainian History

Interventions: Challenging the 

Myths of Twentieth-Century 

Ukrainian History

2 Votes

John-Paul Himka
Department of History and Classics
Winner of the J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Research Excellence University of Alberta
Text based on an address delivered at the 2nd annual Celebration of Research and Creative Work Faculty of Arts, 28 March 2011
Recently I was asked by the historian Alexei Miller to reflect on my experiences in the capacity of public intellectual as well as academic, namely as a challenger of nationalist historical myths. He was putting together a volume on Geschichtspolitik and thought that a first-hand account of resistance to dominant national narratives would be an interesting piece to include in the book. I have abridged this account and thought it would make a good talk for an occasion like this, for a talk about research and its implications.
What I have been challenging is Ukrainian myths about traumatic aspects of the twentieth-century.1 By myths here I mean unexamined components of an ideologized version of history, articles of faith more than of reason. In this talk, I will first try to explain my motivations for challenging such myths, even though I realized it would cause considerable discomfort both to my targeted audience and to me personally. Then I will describe and evaluate the strategies I chose for my interventions. But before proceeding to the body of this talk, it is necessary to explain what myths I have been challenging.
One of the areas of contention is the interpretation of the great famine that racked Ukraine in 1932-33. In the mythicized version, Stalin unleashed the famine deliberately in order to kill Ukrainians in mass and thus to prevent them from achieving their aspirations to establish a national state. I, however, point out that the precondition for the famine was the reckless collectivization drive, which almost destroyed Soviet agriculture as a whole. I do not deny that the famine in Soviet Ukraine and in the Ukrainian-inhabited Kuban region of Soviet Russia was more intense than elsewhere in the Soviet Union, that its intensity resulted from particularly severe measures applied to Ukraine and the Kuban, and that the severity was connected with a major offensive against perceived nationalism in the communist party of Ukraine. My somewhat more nuanced view is a problem for the mythologists, who want the world to recognize that the famine, or as they call it–the Holodomor–was a genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948. This campaign became Ukrainian state policy during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005-10). Although I do think that what happened in Ukraine in 1932-33 could fit under the capacious UN definition (“…deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part…”), I oppose the campaign for recognition as genocide for a number of reasons. The genocide argument is used to buttress another campaign, to glorify the anticommunist resistance of the Ukrainian nationalists during World War II. I do not think that Ukrainians who embrace the heritage of the wartime nationalists should be calling on the world to empathize with the victims of the famine if they are not able to empathize with the victims of the nationalists. I think, further, that there is something wrong with a campaign that finds its greatest resonance in the area of Ukraine where there was no famine, and in the overseas diaspora deriving from that region. I have problems with all the anger at Russians and Jews that gets wrapped up in the genocide campaign. And I also have problems with the UN definition itself, which excludes victims of social and political mass murder and has become a category for political manipulation.
I also have been critical of the use of inflated numbers for the tally of the famine’s victims: president Yushchenko and his Ukrainian Institute of National Memory insisted it was ten million, while overseas diaspora organizations have been using seven to ten million. None of these figures can be justified by demographic data, which indicates an excess mortality in Ukraine in 1932-33 somewhere between 2.6 and 3.9 million. What galls the mythologists is that these numbers are less than the number usually used for the Jewish Holocaust, and having a number bigger than six million is important to them. I have also been active in exposing how this kind of competing victimology is used to justify the violence of radical Ukrainian nationalists during World War II.
My interest in the famine flowed out of my work on another moment in Ukraine’s traumatic history, the second large theme of my interventions and challenges–the Holocaust. The fundamental point of contention between the adherents of the national myth and me is whether or not the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (hereafter OUN) and its armed force, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (hereafter UPA, from its Ukrainian initials) participated in the Holocaust. They deny this entirely. My research indicates, however, as does the research of scholars around the world, that the participation was significant.
In the summer of 1941, as the Germans invaded Ukraine, militias connected with OUN organized several massive pogroms against the Jewish population, notably in Lviv. The militias arrested and beat Jews, abused Jewish women, and rounded up Jews for the Germans to shoot. In many other localities in the regions of Galicia and Volhynia, the militias did not organize pogrom-like public spectacles, but arrested Jews and either shot them themselves or handed them over to the German or Romanian authorities to shoot. Altogether in this phase, OUN was implicated in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews.
After this wave of mass violence subsided, and the Germans began a more systematic liquidation of the Jewish population, OUN sent many of its members into police units in German service. OUN did not do this in order to kill Jews–it had other reasons, but these Ukrainian police served as important implements of the Final Solution in Ukraine and Belarus, particularly in rounding up Jews for execution. In this way OUN members became involved in hundreds of thousands of murders.
Then in spring 1943 thousands of these Ukrainian policemen deserted their posts with their weapons and formed the nucleus of the OUN-led UPA. The preparation of such an action was among the reasons why OUN had sent its men into the police in the first place. UPA launched a massive ethnic cleansing action against the Polish population of Volhynia and later Galicia, in which perhaps a hundred thousand Poles perished. (The slaughter of the Poles is well documented, but the national mythologizers downplay it.) While killing Poles, the soldiers of UPA also routinely killed any Jewish survivors that they encountered. As the Red Army approached in the winter of 1944, UPA and separate OUN security forces lured Jews out of hiding in the woods, then enrolled them in labor camps, and later killed them systematically. Overall, UPA killed at least thousands of Jews. The myth maintains that Jews served as doctors in UPA, and therefore UPA rescued, rather than killed, Jews. Defenders of the mythical history often circulate fabricated memoirs of a non-existent Jewish woman who served in UPA.
In speaking of the views I oppose as mythologies, I do not always mean to make truth claims. Whether OUN organized pogroms and how many people perished in the famine are indeed about questions of fact, and my contentions can be verified without much difficulty; but whether the famine constituted a genocide is a matter of interpretation; and whether one should campaign for its recognition as a genocide is rather a political and moral issue.
Motivations of Intervention
My decision to intervene on these issues is partly just a result of my training as a historian. Once I took up the project of clarifying the history of the Holocaust in Ukraine, I submitted the topic the usual disciplinary procedures, which include researching in primary sources and rethinking in relation to existing research. The tremendous gulf between what the sources told me and the common wisdom in Ukrainian discourse was something I had never encountered before in my professional career. I was also struck by the complete absence of literature on the topic written from within the field of Ukrainian studies. As I worked, I more and more came to the conclusion that here was a moment where a revisionist treatment was not only appropriate, but obligatory.
Throughout this project I have kept returning in my mind to the same basic idea: that the truth is a value in and of itself. No matter what we would like to believe about something, we are obliged to uncover the truth. It has never ceased to astound me in the course of all the debates in which I have engaged, that so few people seem to be interested in that. My arguments have repeatedly been rejected out of hand, without a serious and honest confrontation with them or with the sources on which they rest. My opponents in debate seem to be interested in defending a certain position, not in figuring out what happened, as historians are supposed to do. When I originally took up this project, I had no idea about the OUN militias in summer 1941 and I doubted that UPA killed Jews or thought that it might have done so only exceptionally. I made my discoveries with very mixed feelings. I did not like what I was finding out, but I also experienced that satisfaction that a professional historian obtains when solving a difficult problem.
Heightening my interest in the topic, because of the intellectual challenge it posed, was the extreme polarization of memory between Ukrainians and Jews. How could their views on what happened be so strikingly different? Protestations of total innocence on one side were contradicted by deep resentments for complicity on the other. Indeed, some Jews felt that the Ukrainians were simply “the worst.” It was a puzzle for me, one that I feel I eventually worked out in its essentials; it whetted my curiosity and drove my quest to find out what actually happened and thus make sense of the disparities.
My research and thinking also awakened a moral sense about this topic, something that was not so prominent in my earlier studies. I wrote a piece in 2003 that raised the issue of how Ukrainian-diaspora discourse could be so complacent and reticent about UPA’s murder of the Poles and the Ukrainian police’s well documented tole in the Holocaust. To me, this nonchalance seemed wrong. Moreover, I was disturbed by what was going on both in Ukraine and in the diaspora: on the one hand, OUN and UPA were being glorified, and on the other, the history of Ukrainian Jews in the Holocaust was being suppressed. This too, seemed to me very wrong. My position is that the horrible crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists against Jews and Poles during the Second World War cannot be undone, and all that later Ukrainians can do about them is to admit that they happened and to regret them. It is not enough, but it is all that is possible. Certainly they cannot glorify the people who committed them.
Another major spur to my activities as a gadfly was the Geschichtspolitik of President Yushchenko in Ukraine. In June 2007 he officially celebrated the centenary of the birth of UPA commander Roman Shukhevych. Shortly thereafter the Ukrainian post office issued a stamp in Shukhevych’s honor that bore the emblems of both OUN and UPA. Not much later Yushchenko named Shukhevych a posthumous Hero of Ukraine. Shortly before leaving office in early 2010, Yushchenko also made a posthumous Hero of Stepan Bandera, the leader of the wing of OUN that was the chief Ukrainian perpetrator during the Holocaust and later ethnic cleansing actions. A few days later, Yushchenko called on municipalities to name schools, streets, and squares after the heroes of OUN- UPA. Almost immediately afterwards, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress appealed to the government of Canada to recognize veterans of OUN-UPA as members of the resistance during World War II and to pay them veteran’s benefits. While Yushchenko pursued his campaign to have every country recognize the famine of 1932-33 as a genocide, he simultaneously suppressed the history of the other genocide, the Holocaust. He used the Security Service of Ukraine to pursue his historico-political agenda. It produced two deceptions, one that whitewashed the history of OUN vis-à-vis the pogroms and another that blamed Jews disproportionately for the famine. Someone had to say something about this, and I felt well positioned to do so.
The last motivation that I will mention is also connected to Yushchenko and his historical policies. Ukraine has a divided memory about both the famine and OUN-UPA. Simply put, the West of Ukraine puts OUN-UPA at the center of its heroic narrative of World War II, while the East and South put the Red Army at the center. Western Ukraine is also more convinced that the famine was a genocide than the rest of Ukraine, even though Western Ukraine was not part of the Soviet Union when the famine occurred. Ukraine’s first president deftly avoided alienating either regional perspective, while his successor sometimes played one identity project off against the other. President Yushchenko, however, embraced entirely what one of my colleagues nicknamed the “OUN-UPA-Holodomor” identity and pushed it vigorously on the Ukrainian public. He was massively defeated in the 2010 presidential election and replaced by a man who pushes the opposite perspective. In my view, this historical-identity war has been very harmful to Ukraine. Politicians find it all too attractive to mobilize the population with historical symbols, but they thereby drive the wedge in deeper between regions and between perspectives. It is always easier to deliver symbols than decent health care or affordable homes. I consider the deconstruction of the historical mythologies of both camps to be the prescribed medicine for Ukrainian political discourse.
I have made my interventions in forms appropriate to both a scholar (a monograph in progress, articles in scholarly journals, book reviews, conference presentations) and to
a public intellectual (opinion pieces, letters to the editor, open letters). Here I will assess some of the pluses and minuses of these genres. There are several problems with the scholarly forms. One is that they are very slow. It takes a long time to research and write a monograph, at least in my case. I started serious research on my first book in 1974, and my last book was published in 2009, so it took me thirty-five years to write four monographs. The pace of scholarly publication, not just production, is slow. A major article on the Holocaust I wrote in 2004 has still not been published, although it has been accepted for a long time. The other major problem with scholarly forms is that they have a small readership. It is hard to make a dent on public opinion when one writes in the antiquated form of a twenty-five page, footnoted article in a professional journal that is purchased primarily by major research libraries. The third problem is that scholarly forms take effort and time to read. Today’s reader prefers shorter, simpler pieces; op-eds are the perfect size and at the perfect level for addressing the public.
I discovered the power of short pieces delivered via internet in 2004, on the eve of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. I reacted to what I thought was hysterical and sometimes xenophobic rhetoric on the part of the partisans of Yushchenko, then a presidential candidate, and sent around to various lists and colleagues an eleven-hundred- word text dissenting from the prevailing view. Soon everyone I knew had read it, and many more whom I did not know, in Ukraine as well as in the overseas diaspora. An open letter distributed by email and the internet proved to be an extraordinarily effective way to communicate with a large audience in a timely fashion. No normal scholarly venue could have accomplished what a short text on the internet could. After this lesson, I was able to intervene in a similar fashion when a diaspora filmmaker was making an offensive movie about the Holodomor, when Yushchenko’s Security Service was deceiving the public about OUN and the pogroms, and particularly when Yushchenko and the Ukrainian Canadian congress were making OUN and UPA into heroes.
But there are disadvantages to short, instant response. One is that instant is sloppier. I carried on a polemic with a former president of the Ukrainian World Congress, and each of our rapid responses contained errors. I contrast such quick repartee, with its recurring errors, to the slow interchange in scholarship. That article that I have not published since 2004 has been rewritten three or four times, and a number of sets of careful eyes have gone over it. My last monograph took three years to go from my finished draft to publication. In that time, I had to respond twice to the comments of careful reviewers. I did not like it that the appearance of my book was being delayed, but I must admit that it is a much better book as a result.
Short, like instant, is also problematic, because history is complex and a short text often has to oversimplify. Short texts are best at throwing monkey wrenches into the spokes of larger narratives or myths, but they are not good for articulating a sustained argument of any complexity. Something always has to give. Another problem with short and instant pieces is that they sharpen the debate too much, which can constitute an impediment to thoughtful work.
One could argue that scholars should stick to scholarship and leave the formation of public opinion to journalists. But I disagree with that in principle. Scholarship is not a luxury–it has its responsibilities. In my case, not intervening would have left the mythmaking unchallenged; and then the nationalist viewpoint, already hegemonic in the overseas diaspora, in the Ukrainian studies community, and in Western Ukraine, would
have become even stronger and even harder to dislodge. No evidence, I am sure, will convince the nationalist true believers. But it seems to me absolutely necessary to express a different viewpoint, to create a space for and possibility of intellectual dissent; hence the recourse to the short pieces on the internet.
Although one of my courses became the subject of rather intense controversy, I do not consider the classroom to be the place for promoting one idea or another. I have given a number of undergraduate and graduate seminars on the Holocaust and one on the famine of 1932-33. I use these occasions to explore things for myself through collective reading and discussion. When an issue is controversial, I have tried to find the best presentations of the varying points of view. Students should be exposed to different perspectives and then sort out the issues for themselves. Our university motto is Quaecumque vera–whatsoever things are true. I subscribe fully. The university classroom is for exploration and intellectual growth, not for indoctrination.
In the course of these interventions, a few questions emerged concerning what might be called my location. At the beginning, I felt strongly that I should not try to intervene in Ukraine itself, that it was not my place; I thought I should restrict my commentary to the diaspora, since that is where I am located. I realized later, however, that this stance was impossible to maintain. Much of what I wrote in the diaspora was read in Ukraine, and things I published in Ukraine and even in Ukrainian were being read in the diaspora. I had failed to understand that we live in a highly transnational era. Another, related location question was my self-identification as a Ukrainian. Identity location makes some difference in the kind of demythologizing in which I have been engaging: challenging core myths from the inside. By example I demonstrate that one need not identify with OUN-UPA to identify, and be identified, as a Ukrainian. And I actually do have a Ukrainian identity. I have worked on Ukrainian history for over forty years; before that I studied to become a Ukrainian priest; my wife and I raised our children to speak Ukrainian; I attend a Ukrainian Orthodox church; I visit Ukraine and have close friends and relatives there; I like to eat Ukrainian food and drink horilka; I like to listen to various kinds of Ukrainian music, along with other music; I pursue a deep interest in Ukrainian sacral art. How am I not Ukrainian? (And I can hear the chorus of my critics: “Because you are a traitor!” 
The debates are by no means over. At the moment, I feel that the biggest accomplishment has been to have forced debate on important issues. It is no longer quite as comfortable to hold on to the illusions as it had been.
It has not been easy to make these interventions, and I do not recommend that others seek out such opportunities. It is very easy to make mistakes. Still, intellectuals every once in a while are forced into an ich-kann-nicht-anders position. I hope that this report on my experiences will resonate with others in this situation and be taken as an expression of solidarity. And I hope that those with less encumbered intellectual lives have at least found this account to be of interest.
[Footnotes have been omitted from the original–DRM]

Chrystia Freeland’s Family Lie

John Helmer: Chrystia Freeland’s Family Lie Grows Bigger And Blacker– Michael Chomiak Volunteered For Hitler Before Ukraine Was Invaded and Was Hunted by the Polish Police Until the 1980s

Posted on June 21, 2017 by 
Yves here. This post is apparently so threatening that the version on Helmer’s regular site was down as of this writing due to a DDoS attack. You can also view it on his backup site here.
And the point is not that Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a loyal, well-rewarded, and very influential Nazi propagandist. Many blameless people have unsavory relatives. The issue is that Freeland flagrantly misrepresented her family history, repeatedly telling a totally fabricated story that they fled Nazi persecution as opposed to benefitted from perpetrating it.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
German military records have been found in a Polish government archive in Warsaw revealing that Michael Chomiak (lead image, left), maternal grandfather of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (right), volunteered to serve in the German invasion of Poland long before the German Army attacked the Soviet Union and invaded Ukraine.
Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada.
The newly disclosed documents expose Freeland’s repeated lying that Chomiak had been a victim of  World War II; an unwilling journalist overpowered by German military force;  compelled to write propaganda extolling the German Army’s successes, and advocating the destruction of the Jews, Poles and Russians. As for Freeland’s claim that Chomiak had secretly aided the Ukrainian resistance, sources in Warsaw believe Chomiak was trained by the Germans as a double-agent,penetrating Ukrainian groups and spying on them.
The Polish records also point to the likelihood that US Army, US intelligence and Canadian immigration records on Chomiak – concealed until now – can confirm in greater detail what Chomiak did during the war, as well as for years afterward, which made him a target for the Polish police until not long before his death in 1984.

Chomiak (rear, 3rd from left) at a party in Cracow hosted by Emil Gassner (front, extreme right), chief spokesman for the German administration of occupied Poland and Ukraine known as the Generalgouvernement (German) and Generalne Gubernatorstwo. Source: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Canadian-Foreign-Minister-Scapegoats-Russian-Hackers-for-Exposing-Nazi-Grandfather-20170309-0015.html  

Chomiak (rear, left) with a German officer and a different group of  officials of the Generalgouvernement in Cracow. The source for the photographs is Ukrainian-Canadian researcher Alex Boykowich, who has reported his findings from the Chomiak archive here. 
Following her promotion to foreign minister in January of this year, Freeland repeated the lies after historians and reporters opened Chomiak’s personal papers at the Alberta province archives. The Chomiak papers can be found at accession number 85.191.  Click to open.
The papers reveal Chomiak’s enthusiastic writing in wartime media in Cracow and Chelm, as the German concentration camps nearby at Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Auschwitz destroyed the populations of the Polish cities, of Jewish Lvov (Lviv), and of the Galician region which Chomiak sought to cleanse for his vision of Ukrainian independence, backed by German arms. For details of the story, and of the Canadian and Ukrainian evidence published so far, read this.

The 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division was formed by Heinrich Himmler in mid-1943 from 80,000 Ukrainian applicants. Just 13,000 were selected and the rest used to form police units and guards for the concentration camps.  The destruction of the German armies around Stalingrad by early 1943 left the German forces on the eastern front severely undermanned; Chomiak’s job included helping to raise the new force and ensure its recruits would remain loyal to the Nazis. For background, read this.
As controversy has intensified in Canada over Freeland’s coverup for Chomiak, she arranged in the parliament lobby for a reporter to ask the question Freeland’s staff had planted: “Recently, there has been a series of articles about you and your maternal grandparents making accusations that he was a Nazi collaborator in pro-Russian websites. I’d like to get your view on do you see this as a disinformation campaign by the Russians to try to smear you and discredit you? Which they have to have a tendency to have done.” In answer Freeland avoided the Chomiak evidence. Instead, she blamed Russian efforts “to destabilize” the US and Canadian political systems. “I am confident”, Freeland declared on March 6, “in our country’s democracy, and I am confident that we can stand up to and see through those efforts.” For the full story, click.
On March 9 Freeland was reported in the Washington Post as saying:  “Russia should stop calling my grandfather a Nazi”.
In Warsaw, a file on Chomiak has been discovered at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN is the Polish acronym), which is part of the state’s Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.      There are four items in the file, which have been photographed,  and are published here for the first time. The IPN has tagged the Chomiak file No. Kr 010/5606.

The three original documents in the file comprise Chomiak’s identity card of 1941, issued by the German authorities; and two later documents in Polish, indicating a Polish intelligence and police search for Chomiak.

The document shows that Chomiak, then 36 years old, was in Vienna at the time the German authorities issued his identification. He was no longer a reporter or journalist, but titled Hauptschriftleiter – Editor in Chief. The card also confirms that although a Ukrainian by nationality, and a native of Lemberg (the German name for Lvov), Chomiak had been living and working for some time in Cracow, then occupied Poland. Cracow was the administrative capital of the Generalgouvernment, whose governor-general was a German, Hans Frank. Gassner, whom Chomiak’s own papers identify as his boss, was Frank’s spokesman and head of press operations for the Galician region.
Polish analyst Stanislas Balcerac points out that before Chomiak was granted his new Kennkarte (identity card) No. II 189941 for living and working in Cracow, the Germans had already granted him a Personal Ausweis (ID card), dated July 1, 1941. That had been issued by the Presse chef der Regierung (Government Head of Press) – that was Gassner (below, right).

Hans Frank (centre) and Emil Gassner (right) at the opening of the German Press Centre in Cracow, March 1942. Frank was convicted at Nuremberg for war crimes and executed in October 1946; Gassner testified at the trial on Frank’s behalf. By that time Chomiak was working for US Army Intelligence in Bavaria.
The German administration of Galicia commenced in Cracow in November 1939. The invasion of the Soviet Union began on June 22, 1941, and one week later, on June 29, 1941, German forces captured Lvov (Lviv). The entire Galician region north and east of Lvov was then incorporated into Frank’s governorate. By that time Chomiak was at work in Cracow for Gassner. He hadn’t fled the Ukraine from the Germans, as Freeland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian press claim. Chomiak fled to the Germans, slipping across the Ukraine border, running from the Soviet government of the Ukraine towards German rank, power, and money, including an apartment and furniture taken from Jews who had been sent to their deaths at Belzec.
When exactly Chomiak arrived in Cracow, and how long he spent in training in Vienna aren’t  revealed in the Polish file. The ID card suggests that Chomiak was in Vienna between July and September of 1941, before he was ordered back to Cracow, reporting there to Gassner. “This document destroys the narrative of the Chomiak apologists that he was just an administrative functionary and didn’t write much,” comments Stanislas Balcerac from Warsaw. “The card is very important evidence. Editor in Chief Chomiak was no mere small fish, caught in the tidal wave of the war. The Germans placed high value on him. Three months after the invasion [of the USSR] he was sent from Vienna to Cracow. With the title of Editor in Chief, I believe he was trained in Vienna; perhaps Vienna is the hidden part of his war record, with Cracow used initially as a cover for him during the first years of the German occupation of Poland, 1939-41.”
The papers Chomiak left behind at his death in Canada do not reveal what he was doing with the Germans in the 2-year interval. Polish sources suspect Chomiak arrived in Cracow soon after Frank became governor, offering himself as an agent of influence to inform the Germans on what fellow Ukrainians and anti-Russian nationalists then active in and around Lviv were thinking and planning. His work as a journalist was a cover for espionage on behalf of the Germans, Polish sources suspect.
There is no corroboration for this in the Polish files discovered to date. Two other documents in the IPN dossier, dating well after the German defeat and the end of the war, indicate that whatever Chomiak had been doing for the Germans became a fresh issue of interest to the Polish authorities in the mid-1960s.
The first document (left) is dated April 23, 1966. It confirms that Chomiak was a target of interest and search, and that part of his German war record had been recovered for a Polish review. His last known address was given as an apartment in Cracow. The search notice was signed by the head of Department C; that’s the intelligence branch of the Polish police; C stands for identification and archives. There is no mention of the purpose for which the information on Chomiak was being gathered, or what triggered the police interest in Chomiak in Warsaw in the spring of 1966.
The second document, originally dated May 12, 1966, reveals the search for Chomiak led initially to a case of mistaken identity. Another Michael Chomiak was found, but he turned out to have been born the day before the target, and was a peasant, not the professional editor in chief and administrator. The second note reveals also an official date stamp at the bottom for February 11, 1980; as well as a notation along the left side dated March 3, 1980.
By then Chomiak was in retirement in Canada; he had just four years left to live. The Polish police appear not to have been able to follow the German Army records which moved westward in 1945, along with Gassner and Chomiak, when the Soviets advanced on them. Nor until recently has the Polish Government realized that Chomiak ended up in Canada, and that the principal heir to his wartime Galician operations has become foreign minister in Ottawa.
According to the Canadian journalist Colby Cosh, “somehow Michael Chomiak reached far northern Alberta and lived out his days as a gentleman farmer. I am comfortable with that. Very few Western Canadians have anything like complete knowledge of their own family background: I suspect we would be astonished to learn how many have had surprises like Freeland’s, or at least received unnerving hints of them.”
Balcerac replies for Polish journalists investigating past and present Ukrainian threats to Polish sovereignty in the Galician region. “This Canadian statement is discreditable,  not only for its ignorance of the ‘surprises’  in the Polish and German records of World War II.  It’s also a declaration of comfortable complacency in not investigating how much Freeland aims to revive the takeover of Polish Galicia, with Canadian money and arms, which her grandfather tried with German money and arms.”