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How Ukraine Commemorates the Holocaust

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Reprinted from Consortium News


The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government came up with a curious way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust being brought to an end. The parliament in Kiev voted to extend official recognition to Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews.

Though Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media continue to dutifully ignore the key role played by neo-Nazis in Ukraine's February 2014 coup and in the post-coup regime's subsequent military offensives against ethnic Russians in the east, Ukrainian politicians can't stop their arms from snapping into Heil Hitler salutes like the fictional character Dr. Strangelove. They can't hold back this reflex even as the world stopped this week to recall the Nazi barbarity that claimed the lives of some six million Jews as well as other minorities.

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On April 9, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill making the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army eligible for official government recognition, a demand that has been pushed by Ukraine's current neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist movements, the same forces that spear-headed the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and then the slaughter of thousands of ethnic Russians who resisted the new order.

Ukraine's honor-the-Nazi-collaborators vote came amid increased repression of opposition politicians and journalists who dare to criticize the U.S.-backed regime as it moves to repudiate the political settlement envisioned by February's Minsk-2 agreement and instead prepares for a resumption of the war to crush the resistance in eastern Ukraine once and for all. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Ukraine's 'Poison Pill' for Peace Talks."]

Emergence of "Death Squads"

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Over the past several months, there have been about 10 mysterious deaths of opposition figures -- some that the government claimed to be suicides while others were clearly murders. It now appears that pro-government "death squads" are operating with impunity in Kiev.

On Wednesday, Oleg Kalashnikov, a political leader of the opposition Party of Regions, was shot to death in his home. Kalashnikov had been campaigning for the right of Ukrainians to celebrate the Allied victory in World War II, a gesture that infuriated some western Ukrainian neo-Nazis who identify with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and who now feel they have the current government in their corner.

On Thursday, unidentified gunmen murdered Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina, a regime critic who had protested censorship being imposed on news outlets that didn't toe the government's propaganda line. Buzina had been denounced by a pro-regime "journalistic" outfit which operated under the Orwellian name "Stop Censorship" and demanded that Buzina be banned from making media appearances because he was "an agent of the Kremlin."

This week, another dissident journalist Serhiy Sukhobok was reportedly killed in Kiev, amid sketchy accounts that his assailants may have been caught although the Ukrainian government has withheld details.

These deaths are mostly ignored by the mainstream U.S. news media -- or are mentioned only in briefs with the victims dismissed as "pro-Russian." After all, these "death squad" activities, which have also been reported in government-controlled sections of eastern Ukraine, conflict with the preferred State Department narrative of the Kiev regime busy implementing "democratic reforms."

But many of those "democratic reforms" amount to slashing old-age pensions, removing worker protections, and hiking the price of heating fuel -- as demanded by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $17.5 billion bailout for Ukraine's collapsing financial structure.

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Similarly, the decision by the Ukrainian parliament to bend to the demands of neo-Nazi and other ultra-right groups to honor Ukrainian fascists who joined in the orgy of mass murder against Jews, Poles and other "impure" ethnic grounds is also downplayed or ignored by the major U.S. media.

The Holocaust in Ukraine

During World War II, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, an offshoot of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, collaborated with the Nazis in their extermination campaigns against Jews and Poles. The UIA also joined with the Nazis in fighting against the Soviet Union's Red Army, although some UIA elements did ultimately turn against the Germans over their occupation of Ukraine.

Ukraine was the site of several major Holocaust atrocities including the infamous massacre at Babi Yar in Kiev, where local Ukrainian fascists worked alongside the Nazi SS in funneling tens of thousands of Jews to a ravine where they were slaughtered and buried.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned Ukraine's recognition of the UIA as well as a second bill that equated Communist and Nazi crimes.

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http://www.consortiumnews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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