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Nazi collaborator’s birthday declared official holiday in Ukraine

December 19, 2018, 10:11 UTC+3 KIEV

The figure of Stepan Bandera, who was killed in Munich on October 15, 1959, is still tearing Ukrainian society apart

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© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, December 19. /TASS/. The birthday of leader of the extremist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, outlawed in Russia), known as Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera will be officially celebrated in Ukraine, the parliament said in its resolution on Wednesday.

"Stepan Bandera was an outstanding figure and theorist of Ukraine’s national liberation movement," the Verkhovna Rada’s resolution said, according to 112.Ukraine TV channel.

The 110th birthday anniversary of Bandera will be marked on January 1, 2019. This day has been declared as an official holiday in Ukraine.

Earlier, the Lvov regional council announced that 2019 would be the year of Stepan Bandera.

OUN and UPA

The extreme right wing Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was active mostly in Western Ukraine. In order to establish an independent Ukrainian state, which was its chief goal, the OUN relied on the use of extremist methods, including terrorist attacks. During World War II, the OUN collaborated with Nazi intelligence and waged a war against the Soviet authorities. In 1943, it established the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

OUN and UPA mercenaries, called Banderites after Ukrainian Insurgent Army leader Stepan Bandera, were guilty of numerous crimes, namely participating in the Holocaust. According to a number of researchers, they killed at least one million people, including 200,000 Poles during a massacre in the Volyn Region, in addition to slaughtering tens of thousands of Jews, Russians, and multitudes of civilians.

The figure of Stepan Bandera, who was killed in Munich on October 15, 1959, is still tearing Ukrainian society apart. Feelings towards him range from complete support in some western parts of Ukraine to fiercely antagonistic attitudes towards him in the rest of the country. Given the reign of terror and waves of massacres carried out before and during World War II, it is no surprise that Poland considers Bandera to be a criminal and a terrorist. On July 22, 2016, the Polish parliament passed a document declaring the crimes committed by the OUN and UIA against the Polish population in 1943 and 1944, a genocide.

In May 2015, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a law glorifying the OUN and the UPA, whose activities had been previously designated as ‘struggle’ for the country’s independence. Monuments to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich - the leaders of the 20th century Ukrainian nationalist movement - have been erected across Ukraine, memorial events and torchlight processions take place in their memory, and streets are named after them.

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