On the day of Yanukovych’s Presidential inauguration, the European Parliament had already suspiciously prepared and presented a resolution on the situation in Ukraine. Some of them were nominal decrees to establish Ukraine as a neighbour (ie. not European or within the EU) and validating the recent questionable elections, but clause #20 took aim at former President Yushchenko’s last acts to establish Stephen Bandera as a Hero of Ukraine:
20. Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values;
An op-ed in a most recent Kyiv Post article tried to make sense of it all:
(T)he deputies of the European Parliament – having no great knowledge of Ukrainian history – want to forbid us from having our own vision of our national past. The Russians are developing their own vision by creating a special federal committee. But at the same time, Ukrainians aren’t granted the right to have our own point of view. And if we do have it, it’s called fascism or Nazi collaboration.
After the European Parliament’s resolution, the revision of this award is inevitable – and not at the orders of Moscow, but following a recommendation from Europe.
There is no academic or social discussion about the ambiguity of certain historic figures. But there should be one.
No historic figure has only one side. They were only human and they had to act in complicated circumstances. Heroes of one nation are always criminals for another, and vice versa. But this does not mean that every nation does not have the right to create its own pantheon of national heroes.
Perhaps the Ukrainians should start by revising the roles of some Russian and Polish heroes? Many Ukrainians suffered from the Polish Armia Krajowa [the underground movement in Poland during World War II], just like many Poles suffered from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, known as UPA. Do the Ukrainian victims deserve mention and memory? We could initiate a resolution to revise those Polish state awards received by the veterans of Armia Krajowa.
But should we? Or should we just respect the historical memory of peoples of other nations?
Very good questions indeed. Why hasn’t the European Parliament commissioned a study into these issues, and why have EU politicians jumped on the bandwagon to denounce Ukraine?
Nobody can persuade me now that European leaders did not want Yanukovych as president. They must have wanted him to make sure that nothing stands on the way of their licking Russia’s natural gas pipes. When I say “nothing,” I mean Ukraine here.
Does the EU Parliament only want unfettered access to Russia’s energy supplies? How many clauses in their resolution ask for Ukraine’s cooperation in getting Russia’s gas without interruption?
– having regard to Ukraine’s accession to the Energy Community Treaty, approved by the ECT Ministerial Council held in Zagreb in December 2009,
– having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy between the European Union and Ukraine, signed on 1 December 2005,
– having regard to the Joint Declaration adopted by the Joint EU-Ukraine International Investment Conference on the Modernisation of the Gas Transit System, which took place on 23 March 2009,
– having regard to the agreement between Naftogaz and Gazprom on transit fees on oil supplies for 2010, agreed in December 2009,
8. Stresses the importance of reinforcing cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the field of energy and calls for further agreements between the EU and Ukraine aimed at securing energy supplies for both sides, including a reliable transit system for oil and gas;
9. Calls on Ukraine to fully implement and ratify its accession to the Energy Community Treaty and swiftly to adopt a new gas law which complies with EU Directive 2003/55/EC;
That’s a lot of requests. What’s the carrot dangling for Ukraine to fulfill the EU’s gas dreams? An insincere shot at some sort of EU partnership:
The very same resolution confirms Ukraine’s right to apply for membership in the European Union and asks the Council of Europe to create a roadmap for a visa-free regime with Ukraine.
This is a pretty safe strategy for Europe. It came about long after the 2004 Orange Revolution, when its implementation was more likely, but on the day of Yanukovych’s inauguration, whose presidency makes extremely doubtful the possibility of required changes. As far as visas are concerned, Brussels with one hand writes joyful decrees on simplification of the visa regime, while with the other one actively strengthens the mighty Berlin Wall on its eastern borders.
This all looks too much like amputating someone’s legs and suggesting that they start running because it’s good for one’s health.
One has to wonder if the European Parliament will take it’s wagging finger to the rest of it’s Eastern bloc neighbours:
I am wondering if the European Parliament will rush to approve similar resolutions about the hanging of public portraits of Josef Stalin and campaigns to promote him in Moscow. Or are European values not getting violated in this case?
Your country or your gas. It seems the EU will not allow Ukraine to have both.
Update: Regional councils in Ternopil, Lviv and Ivano-Frankisk have addressed the European Parliament to review its resolution. The session decided to send this address and a biographical note about Bandera to the European Parliament, Ukraine’s president, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and regional councils.