The events taking place today in Ukraine, to a large extent, revive the "spirits of the past" and make us turn to historical facts and documents, which, thanks to archives opened in the 90s, became much more. These documents allow a more truthful and impartial look at the events of the past, which may be a teacher of the future.
The idea of Ukrainian independence and the struggle for "independent Ukraine" have long roots. Everyone knows the opposition of Peter the Great and the hetman Mazepa or the opposition of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks and Catherine the Great. But this struggle was particularly sharply intensified after 1917, when nationalist movements flourished in the wreckage of the Russian Empire, which had been previously driven underground by the royal regime. Having received the long-awaited freedom from the "international" Bolsheviks, the nationalists did not hurry to embrace them, but, on the contrary, decided to seize the moment in order to move away from the hated Russian Center as quickly as possible. Not the last role was also played by ideological considerations and external influence.
The Bolsheviks, compelled to fight for the unity of the newly created state, led a decisive struggle against the nationalists, but received in response no less decisive resistance. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian regular nationalist formations of Petliura were defeated, although for a long time the gangs under various sorts, including nationalist slogans, traveled across the steppes of Ukraine, causing death and ruin.
IN THE UNDERGROUND
However, the main forces of the nationalists went underground in Ukraine. The military-political organization of the radical Ukrainian nationalists has become the most powerful, irreconcilable, experienced and sophisticated method of action. Created at the end of the 20s, it pursued a single goal - the achievement of Ukraine’s independence by any means. At the same time, the movement of Ukrainian nationalists was supported by the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), which arose in 1919 on the initiative of Archpriest Vasily Lipkovsky. This Church was broken up until the 30-s, when the Soviet government completely destroyed its "fragments". At that time, the UAOC of Kharkiv, the Church of Lubin and so on existed.
Particularly radical Ukrainian nationalism wore in the Western Ukrainian regions, which for more than five centuries were alternately under the actual dictates of Hungary, Poland, Austria, Romania and Germany. Here, with its center in Galicia, the influence of the Greek Catholic Church prevailed. Therefore, the accession of these lands on the eve of the Great Patriotic War to the Soviet Union was perceived by a significant part of the local population, to a considerable extent, under the influence of religious propaganda, as another change of one occupation regime by another. Stalin's "collective farm policy" came across a traditionally strong sense of ownership and self-sufficiency in western Ukraine (farm). So it is not by chance that it was then that the Ukrainian and Belarusian nationalist undergrounds, as well as Polish nationalists, became active here.
After the division of Poland into the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Polish armed underground, the Union of Armed Struggle (SVB, the commander of the Grotto - Rovetsky), became actively operational. It was active until the summer of 1940. By December, 1939, the SVB extended its activities in Lviv and Belostok districts. Under the military command of the ISB, underground political advisory committees of the Polish bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties also functioned. The command of the ISF, located in France, ordered to commit acts of terror and sabotage, especially in transport, communication lines, fuel depots, to carry out work on the disorganization and demoralization of administrative bodies, to create obstacles to the mobilization of conscripts in the Red Army. An intelligence gathering was conducted that was transmitted through British and Japanese diplomats.
Moscow responded to the revitalization of the nationalists with harsh repression. So, according to available information, more than 1939% of the local population was evicted to remote areas of the USSR from the territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus to 1940 – 1941 and 1951 – 10. This caused protests of the population, armed groups were created, which went into the forests and mountains.
On the other hand, the “sinister” NKVD provided protection for the Polish population against attacks by Ukrainian nationalists, who always sinned with terror against the Poles. No wonder one of their leaders, Roman Shukhevych (the future commander of the Nachtigall battalion and one of the leaders of the UPA), was arrested and convicted by a Polish court for terror along with his comrade Stepan Bandera, who also later led the UPA. It was necessary to protect and accept the Soviet power of Ukrainian activists (and there were quite a few of them), against whom the edge of nationalist terror was directed. Evidence of this - documents with chilling details of sophisticated cruelty, with which Bandera dealt with their victims.
Under the wing of Wermacht and SS
The Ukrainian nationalist underground turned out to be a real find for the German special services, who at the end of 1940 - the beginning of 1941, actively prepared the German attack on the USSR. Ukrainian nationalists began to operate under the direct supervision of the German Abwehr, in particular as part of a battalion with the poetic name Nachtigall (Nightingale).
18 June 1941, wearing the uniform of Hitler's Wehrmacht, with a single mark - a small blue-and-yellow ribbon on epaulets - the “Nakhtigalevs” were transferred to the Soviet border. There, on the cross and the Gospel, they swore “fidelity to blood” to the Fuhrer.
Already 30 June after the fascist soldiers they entered Lviv. This is where the blacklists surfaced. Addresses of the convicted were specified using a telephone directory, and then the “case” started “Nachtigall”. Militants began to drive around the streets of the city, sought out their victims and dragged them to execution. Dozens of innocent people were shot, hanged, buried alive in the ground on the Vuletskaya mountain. Among the victims of Lviv was Roman Remskoy, the rector of the University of Lviv, former Prime Minister of Poland, professor, honorary member of many world academies, Kazimir Bartel, and many others. The German command deliberately left the Lviv nationalists for seven days to distance themselves from the atrocities of Nachtigall.
After the invasion of the Soviet Union and the occupation of Ukraine, the nationalist sentiments of a part of the Ukrainian population were put at the service of the new government. In particular, the recruitment to the national military units, which operated under the auspices of the SS, was organized. In 1942 – 1944, in the territory of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Legion of Self-Defense acted against the partisans (up to May 1944 of the year - corps), numbering up to 180 thousand people, which ceased to exist in the autumn of 1944. Until November, the 1944 of the year existed and the Ukrainian police, disbanded by order of the head of the SS and the police of the Reich Commissariat of Ukraine Hans Adolf Pryuttsmana. Part of the Ukrainian police replenished the ranks of the 14 (Galicia) and the 30 of the German SS divisions, and the 10 thousand Ukrainians entered 1943 in the structure of the SS “Dead Head” guarding the concentration camps.
With the help of the German authorities, in April 1943 of the Silesian Ukrainians formed the 14 Division of the SS troops “Halychyna” (1-I Galician), numbering about 20 thousand people and fighting in the Carpathians with the partisans in the spring of the year. Then it was incorporated into the 1944 Army Corps, which in July 13 was surrounded by troops in the area of the Western Bug, when there were only 1944 thousand people left in the 18 thousand. In August, 3 of the year, separate parts of the division participated in the suppression of the Slovak national uprising, and in the winter – spring of 1944 of the year, the 1945 I division of the UNA under the command of Pavlo Shandruk was formed on their base. Until the end of the war she acted against the partisans of Josip Tito in northern Yugoslavia.
In 1944, together with the German troops, the Zigling police brigade recruited from the Ukrainians also retreated, named after the commander. It was used to form the 30-i division of the SS “Weisruthenia” (in German documents and in the literature it is referred to as either “1-I Belarusian” or “2-i Russian”), which in August 1944 took part in suppressing the French resistance movement in Belfort area. In November of the same year, the division was withdrawn to Germany and disbanded. Its personnel joined the ranks of the formed Vlasov Russian Liberation Army and the German 25 and SS 38 divisions.
SPLIT IN UKRAINIAN NATIONALIST MOVEMENT
During the occupation of Ukraine, the German command skillfully used and tried to draw the powerful nationalist-religious potential of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) against the Soviet government and the Red Army. It was with the participation and assistance of the Germans that this political organization created its military structure in 1942, forming the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army (UNRA). 30 June 1941 was created in Lviv by the Ukrainian government headed by Stetsko.
However, the re-establishment of the statehood of Ukraine was not part of Germany’s plans, and the Stetsko government was soon dispersed by the occupation authorities. After that, around the spring of 1942, the OUN began a gradual departure from cooperation with the Germans. Its leadership launched a struggle against both enemies - the Soviet Union and Germany.
Propaganda has done its job. People who dabbed with the blood of their own people became heroes and freedom fighters.
The leadership of the OUN and UPA, claiming that their “liberation movement is directed both against the Stalinist USSR and against Hitler’s“ new Europe ”, condemned those Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis (supporters of Andrei Melnik, soldiers of the Halychyna division, Nachtigal battalions) , “Rolland”, Bulbovs in Volyn and Vlasovites). Often, they moved on to open actions. For example, in February 1943 of the year, units of the UPA disarmed the gendarme garrison in the city of Vladimirets, and in the spring of 1944, they had clashes with the 14 division of the SS “Galychyna”. In February 1944, the SS in connection with this, were even forced to conduct peace negotiations with the command of the UPA.
The command of the UPA and the priests, who were in their ranks, inspired both their subordinates and the population that their army fought against any enemies of Ukrainian independence and evenly distributed their strikes between them. However, on the whole, it is documented that during the German occupation, the main task of the UPA was still the struggle against the Soviet partisan and anti-fascist underground, which were associated with the “hated Muscovy”.
CHANGE OF PRIORITIES
After the expulsion of the Germans, the accumulated “combat” experience and armament, the clear organizational structure created during this period, the rooted agents, including among the clergy, allowed the OUN members, without any pause, to launch sabotage and combat activities against Soviet troops and authorities. The OUN movement, which was led by the prudently released by the Germans from the concentration camp Stepan Bandera, encompassed Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions. Volyn region stood somewhat apart.
Only from February 1944 to the end of 1945 did UPA fighters commit more 6600 sabotage and terrorist acts. During this period, all their actions were distinguished by large scale, openness, decisiveness, exceptional cruelty and bloodyness, which entailed the conduct of massive KGB operations against them, which caused significant losses to the insurgency.
Only in the territory of the Lviv Military District, from October 1944 of the year to March of 1945, the forces of the NKVD troops with the assistance of formations and units of the Red Army against nationalist formations carried out over 150 operations involving up to 16 thousand people. As a result, 1199 militants were killed, 135 people were injured, 1526 people were captured, and 374 people gave up. At the same time, Soviet troops lost killed 45 and wounded 70 people.
After military defeats and disorganization, the UPA, which had thousands of people in 1944 before 100, was forced to abandon the practice of concentrated attacks similar to those of the Soviet forces opposing them, and in 1946 – 1948 go to purely partisan tactics and semi-autonomous actions by small groups. And if at the first stage the troops had to fight with units of up to 500 – 600 people, then in subsequent years, the number of active Ukrainian nationalist units constantly decreased and rarely exceeded 30 – 50 people.
"BROTHERS, UNIFORM IN CHRIST": ORTHODOXY AND UNIATHY
In an effort to wrest ideological ground from under the rebels in the form of their religious support from the Roman Catholic Church, Moscow has launched an open struggle against it since March 1946. Her goal was to force the Uniate clergy to convert to Orthodoxy. In turn, to attract Orthodox in the western regions of the USSR, the government made a number of concessions to them.
The Uniate Episcopate was offered to self-destruct. A broad campaign was launched for the transfer of Greek Catholics to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). As a result of its conduct, as well as the adoption of repressive measures against the “recalcitrant” 1946 of 997, the Uniate priests of Western Ukraine signed 1270 in the spring of 8, joined the initiative group. 10 – 1596 March At the Lviv Cathedral of the Greek Catholic clergy and laity they decided to reunite with the Orthodox Church and abolish the Brest Union of XNUMX of the year.
The “self-liquidation” of the Uniate church was then controlled by the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) U Nikita Khrushchev, who requested Stalin’s sanctions at all steps. Lviv Cathedral struck a significant blow to the Vatican. Then Moscow continued the struggle for the final liquidation of the Uniate Church in the USSR. In August, the 1949 of the year in the Mukachevo Assumption Monastery Transcarpathian Greek Catholics decided to liquidate the Uzhgorod Union of 1649 of the year.
REPRESSIONS AGAINST UNIATS
In total, 590 people were arrested from 344 Uniate priests and monks who refused to convert to Orthodoxy. As a result, about 3 thousand parishes (according to other sources, about 4 thousand) merged with the Russian Orthodox Church, 230 of the unintegrated was liquidated, closed 48 of the Greek Catholic monasteries.
The repressions undertaken by the Soviet government against the Uniates seriously undermined the influence of Catholicism on the local population and insurgents in the western regions of Ukraine. At the same time, these same measures seriously discredited the process of reunification of the churches, and after all, among the believers of Western Ukraine there was traditionally a strong craving for Orthodoxy. The intervention of state bodies in church affairs only alienated a part of the Uniate population from Orthodoxy and made the Greek Catholic Church go to the illegal position, giving it an aura of “martyrdom”. As a result, the ranks of the rebels rallied even more closely under the banner of the “struggle against the Muscovites” and replenished with new fighters. On the whole, the problem turned out to be not so much resolved as driven deep into it, as subsequent events showed (at first “perestroika” 1980 – 1990-s, then all subsequent ones up to the present) in Ukraine, when excited crowds smashed Orthodox churches in Western Ukraine.
The measures to eliminate the Uniates have caused the bitterness of the nationalists from the UPA detachments. In response to the growing influence of the Center and the Russian Orthodox Church, they turned to terror against the Orthodox population and priests. It is this bitterness, as well as the aura of “martyrs” and “persecuted,” that explains the long-term resistance of the OUN (the last caches were eliminated only in 1962), who enjoyed the support of the Western Ukrainian émigrés and became the underground Greek Catholic Church. Her dogma acted as a kind of ideological base of Ukrainian nationalism, which Moscow never managed to eliminate.
"SMALL WAR" WITHOUT BORDERS
Ounovtsy detachments were active in the Belarusian, Moldovan and even Polish regions adjacent to Ukraine, where they carried out sabotage and terrorist acts against the population loyal to the new government, and against the Red Army soldiers. Thus, according to the memoirs of the former Soviet military intelligence officer, Major-General Vitaly Nikolsky, in Poland since 1945, the OUN people, in alliance with the Catholic Church, the Home Army, and with the support of the nationalist organization Zvedek Val of the Army (Union of Armed Struggle) openly fought with the new government and "Russian invaders." Repeatedly, they attacked the Soviet military units and garrisons of the Polish Army, where commanding positions were held by Soviet officers. There were cases when whole Polish units left with weapons to the "forest brothers", and the commanders of the Red Army fell under the military tribunal. Only under an amnesty of the government of 1946, out of the woods, thousands of “armed militants” came out and were registered over 60, several batteries of field guns, hundreds of mortars were taken out. The “small war” with the nationalists continued until the 1947 year and brought many victims. Among them was the former colonel-general of the Red Army, deputy commander-in-chief of the Polish Army, participant of the war in Spain Karol Sverchevsky who was killed by Ukrainian nationalists in a collision with them in 1947, the year.
But the “action” of the UPA against the Polish population in Volyn in 1943 was the most horrible and bloody, during which Bandera once again demonstrated monstrous sophisticated cruelty, killing, according to some very rough estimates, up to 120 thousand Poles - mostly old men, women and children. This caused a reciprocal wave of hatred — during the Warsaw Uprising, as the documents show, already the Polish rebels staged a real hunt for persons of Ukrainian nationality.
Ounovtsy against civilians
In the postwar years, the OUN people actually turned their weapons against civilians. In 1946, more than 2 thousand people died from their hands, and 1947 thousand people died in 1,5. In total for 1945 – 1953 years, 14 424 sabotage and terrorist acts were committed by insurgents in the western regions of Ukraine, and about 1956 thousands of armed attacks were committed before the 14,5 of the year.
For ten years (1945 – 1955 years) 17 thousands of Soviet citizens were killed by nationalists. Only during 1948 – 1955 did 329 chairmen of village councils, 231 chairman of a collective farm, 436 workers of district party committees, employees of district organizations, activists and 50 priests died. In total, UPA militants destroyed from 30 to 40 thousand people (according to other sources, about 60 thousand). In turn, Soviet troops only in the three western regions from August 1944 to 1950 killed, captured and detained more than 250 thousand "members of nationalist formations and their accomplices", including eliminating 55 thousand active "Bandera".
The main burden of fighting the nationalist formations was carried by internal troops, which in 1941 – 1956 (excluding 1947 – 1949, for which there are no generalized data) carried out 56 323 military operations and clashes with militants, as a result of which the latter lost 89 678 people were killed and the wounded. The loss of internal troops killed and wounded amounted to 8688 people. In total, during the liquidation of the OUN underground after the war, about 25 thousand Soviet soldiers were killed in Western Ukraine.
Beginning with the 1947 year, as in the Baltic States, at the suggestion of the NKVD, Western Ukraine began the eviction to remote areas of the country "leaders, active members of the nationalist gangs of OUN people and their families." By the end of 1949, their number was 100 310 people. An analysis of archival documents showed that only 1947 – 1952 people, some of whom were arrested, were evicted from 278 – 718 from the western regions of the Soviet Union - Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova. Among them were quite a few members of nationalist military formations.
Could it all be different?
Yes and no. The nationalist movement in Ukraine was based primarily on economic and psychological roots. A strongly developed sense of ownership, multiplied by peasant traditionalism and conservatism. In this sense, it was not a unique phenomenon. And the point is not in the "evil Moskal." There is a certain historical pattern: wherever there were farm or similar households, there was a powerful movement against the new government and new orders: the peasant uprising in Vandee in France in the XVIII century, the nationalist movement in Ireland in the XVII – XX centuries, the Cossack uprising on the Don, Kuban, as well as the Antonov rebellion in the Tambov region in the XX century. The list can be continued.
Everything could be different under the condition that the authorities pursue a more intelligent and flexible policy that is not obsessed with ideological tenets. But this is just not enough.
LAVRENTY BERIA IN THE ROLE OF A REFORMER
Despite the repressive policies, Moscow could not cope with the Ukrainian nationalist underground. The leading party and Soviet posts in the republic began to occupy the Russians. The Center also behaved in the Baltic region. This strengthened the position of the nationalists. In addition, the party organs began to interfere in the operational KGB work on the elimination of nationalist groups. It came, for example, to the point that even the secretaries of the regional committees and the Central Committee began interrogating the arrested rebels. Thus, the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Melnikov led "conversations" with the members of the central OUN Okhrimovich and the regional OUN-Yarema wires, which were contained in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lviv region.
After the death of Stalin, the question arose of a new policy regarding nationalist movements. 19 March 1953, the year Lavrenti Beria, appointed Minister of the Interior Ministry, convened a major meeting. Its result was the removal from office of all heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the regions of Ukraine. On the proposal of the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on May 26 of the year, the Central Committee of the CPSU 1953 adopted a resolution “Questions of the Western regions of the Ukrainian SSR in a memorandum of comrade L.P. Beria to the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU ”, and 2 – 4 of June of the same year passed a plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine with an agenda corresponding to the resolution of May 26. The then Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Pavel Meshik also took part in the discussion of this issue. Decisions were taken to urgently rectify cases in the fight against the nationalist movement, including the establishment of immigrants from the western regions of Ukraine.
Later, some of them returned to their homeland after the decisions of the Soviet government (after 1957 of the year - 65 thousand people). But nothing is forgotten and not forgiven. In 1980 – 1990, they joined democratic movements that, with the collapse of the USSR, achieved independence and sovereignty for their states. And the new democrats, without a doubt, raised them to the shield as freedom fighters, forgetting that behind them was the bloody past of the struggle with their own people. So, a paradoxical phenomenon of modernity arose - the Kiev democracy with an “SS smell”, which, however, the old and wise European democracies prefer to see through their fingers. We need resources, cheap labor and a geopolitical stronghold against Moscow.
Today, the United States is also very concerned about the developments in the Crimea, but the “face loss” factor also plays a role. And besides statements by officials it is interesting to note the point of view of leading American political scientists. For example, 2 in March, Andrew Kuchins, director of programs for Russia and Eurasia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a comment to CNN: “Yes, the Crimea has probably already been lost. And although the reality is that many Americans will be able to survive the loss of Crimea for Ukraine, any subsequent fragmentation of its territory could be a disaster not only for the population of Ukraine, but for the security of Europe and the credibility of the United States as its guarantor. We must make it absolutely clear that the Russian intervention in other regions of Ukraine is the “red line”, the transition of which means war with the armed forces of Ukraine and NATO. US Navy and NATO should be deployed in the Black Sea in close proximity to the coast of Ukraine. In the meantime, the armed forces of the NATO member states should be relocated closer to the border with Ukraine. ”
So here! The interests of the population of Ukraine is not the main thing. The main thing is not to let Moscow descend. Politics, gentlemen!