Second Ukrainian nationalism - integral
In 1920, Dontsov, Bandera and Konovalets created a new type of nationalism, designed for a “strong hand”
"Russian Planet" continues the series of articles on stories Ukrainian nationalism. The first material in the series describes the origin of this movement. The second article talked about the development of Ukrainian nationalism in the second half of the XIX - early XX century and the emergence of "Mova". The third is about the Ukrainian nationalism of the time of the collapse of the Russian Empire.
After the end of the Civil War, a new stage in the development of Ukrainian nationalism began in the territories of the former Russian Empire. Borders once again divided the Ukrainian ethnos. Some Ukrainians became citizens of the Soviet Union, while others became part of restored Poland. It is on the territory of Poland that a fundamentally new ideological trend will emerge, which will later become the “banner” of supporters of a radical solution to the issue of creating a Ukrainian national state.
In the 1920s, there were three main ideological platforms that determined the intellectual climate of then-Europe. The first of these was the liberal-democratic one, whose supporters set as their main goal the prevention of a new world war through general disarmament and various peace initiatives. The second was represented by the communist idea, which rejected the entire system of the bourgeois world order and offered instead an alternative world of class fraternity. Finally, the third sought to sweep the Versailles law and order, putting at the head of the ideal of a national state. In varying proportions, all three leading ideologies were prevalent in all the states of continental Europe, except the USSR.
Poland is no exception. Representatives of all three directions acted in the country, but the third way became dominant. In May, 1926, against the backdrop of an economic crisis and a wave of unemployment, the hero of war with Soviet Russia, Marshal Pilsudski, carried out a coup and established the so-called rehabilitation regime. It was an authoritarian rule, which proclaimed the need for strong power and criticized the system of liberal democracy, not forgetting to fight communism. As a result, the political life of Poland acquired a pronounced center-right, conservative-paternalistic character. It was in such an ideological and political environment that the Ukrainian national movement developed in Poland, and it was the environment that determined its ideological platform.
The first organization, which can be considered as a representative of the new trend of Ukrainian nationalism, was called the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO). It was headed by Yevgeny Konovalets - former commander of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. It was a relatively small military unit that fought on the territory of Galicia during the Civil War on the side of the West Ukrainian People's Republic. The actual surviving members of this division formed the basis of the new organization.
The choice of the ideology of the SVR was to some extent predetermined by its composition. The former soldiers of the disappeared state were representatives of the group of “extra people”, which became the social base for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in Europe. Lost in society, they turned to the ideal of a strong power, but the power is not abstract, but national. Since in Poland the Ukrainians could not find such power by definition, the logical conclusion was the struggle for the creation of an independent Ukraine.
The new ideology is called integral nationalism. It was based on the following beliefs: the belief that a nation is the highest value in relation to everyone else; a call for solidarity of all people belonging to the nation; confidence that the will of the nation can be embodied in a particular leader; respect and glorification of aspects of human activity related to force and war.
The most important role in the formulation of this doctrine was played by Dmitry Dontsov. In the past, a supporter of the Central Council and the Ukrainian People’s Republic, it was he who in 1926 wrote the landmark work “Nationalism”, which became a classic in nationalist circles. In this book, he criticized the classics of Ukrainian nationalism (Kulish, Franco, Dragomarov), accusing them of provincialism. In his book, he developed the idea of "Svidomo" -a conscious group of citizens whose task was to lead the Ukrainian people. This group was supposed to be the embodiment of the will of the nation and its organizing force.
Such an ideological platform was attractive to former Ukrainian soldiers. She not only justified their struggle during the Civil War, but also created a prospect for future accomplishments. Inspired by the ideas of radical nationalism, members of the SVR carried out a number of terrorist acts against Polish politicians, including an attempt to assassinate Marshal Pilsudski. Their main goal became politicians who advocated a peaceful Polish-Ukrainian coexistence. Moreover, the nationality of politicians did not matter - Ukrainians also became victims of terrorist acts.
In addition to the Konovalets group, several other organizations emerged - supporters of integral nationalism: the League of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Group of Ukrainian National Youth, the Union of Ukrainian Nationalist Youth. In 1929, these groups united and created the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - OUN. Among its active members were two key figures in addition to Konovalets - Stepan Bandera and Andrei Melnik. Personal relations between them were strained, which later in wartime conditions even led to military clashes between their subordinates.
The OUN continued its terrorist activities, begun by its predecessors, but did not bring anything fundamentally new into ideology, with the exception of compiling the so-called Decalogue of the Ukrainian Nationalist - the creation of Stepan Lenkavsky, who summed up the ideology of integral nationalism in ten theses.
After the Soviet intelligence service Konovalets was liquidated in 1938 earlier, the single organization was divided into groups of Stepan Bandera and Andrei Melnik. Both groups were closely associated with German intelligence, which planned to use them in a future war against the Soviet Union.
However, despite all efforts to win sympathy among the population of Polish Ukraine, the success of the HEI and the OUN in 1920 — 1930-s was much more modest than the expectations of its leaders. Most Ukrainians did not support the strategy of terror and remained indifferent to the appeals of radical groups. That all changed with the accession of Western Ukraine to the Soviet Union in 1939 and the subsequent Sovietization policy. As part of this policy, a cultural revolution was carried out, a number of repressions were carried out and, most of all, the local population was outraged by the policy of collectivization.
As a result, for the bulk of the Western Ukrainian peasantry, the Soviet government became an enemy, depriving them of land and encroaching on their ancient faith. This circumstance is the reason for the extremely high support by the population of Western Ukraine of the OUN in 1941. Later, the level of support will begin to fall, but it remained significant after the end of the Second World War.
The activities of the OUN and its combat wing of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army during the Second World War represented a struggle against all. After the euphoria of the initial successes achieved in alliance with Nazi Germany, it was understood that an independent Ukraine does not fit into the plans of both parties to the conflict. As a result, during the war, the Western Ukrainian rebels fought against the Red Army, and the Soviet partisans, and against German units, and even among themselves. After the victory of the Soviet Union, the remaining members of the rebels in the territory of Ukraine continued their struggle against the forces of the NKVD and the Soviet administrations, which also ended in defeat.
So, in 1920 — 1930-ies a second direction of Ukrainian nationalism was born, fundamentally different from the classical one. In their ideological theories, Ukrainophiles repelled cultural studies and ethnographic studies, and thought of themselves as an organic part of the Ukrainian people and, above all, the peasantry. It was from folk culture that they drew inspiration for their works. The nationalists of the 1920-s built a completely different ideology. Proclaiming, on the one hand, the primacy of the nation over all other values, in fact, they were deeply disrespectful to the opinion of Western Ukrainians themselves. Seeing themselves as “Svidomians”, they believed that the Ukrainian people themselves were in a state of apathy and delusion, from which they should be led out with a strong hand.
Both trends developed “from above”: they were created by groups of intellectuals, but Ukrainophiles viewed the people with respect and respect, and OUNvtsy saw in it only a means to realize their dreams. The losing soldiers of the civil war, seeking to find their place in life and fill it with meaning, ultimately created an ideology convenient only for themselves, because it put them above other people and set a noble goal for the struggle. After losing in World War II, radical Western Ukrainian nationalists became part of a historical myth, which was revived only a few decades later, in order to encounter the old adversary, classical Ukrainian nationalism. This confrontation will begin on the eve of the country's independence at the end of the Soviet era.
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