Remarks by Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy at an Arria meeting of UNSC members "Neo-Nazism and radical nationalism: exploring root causes of the crisis in Ukraine"
Today we would like to continue bringing to your knowledge additional information related to the situation in and around Ukraine. We chose a topic which always attracts active criticism from you during formal meetings of the UN Security Council devoted to Ukraine – spread of Nazism and fascism in this country. It is also important for us to speak out about this since denazification is one of the objectives of our Special military operation which Russia started on 24 February.
I have to remind you that Russia together with other Soviet republics, including Ukraine, suffered immensely from Nazism and fascism in the 20th century. During the Second World War we lost at least 27 million people. It means that almost every family in the post-Soviet space lost their loved ones. The USSR was in ruins, our population faced immense barbarism from German Nazi occupants which was documented and exposed, inter alia, by the famous Nuremberg Tribunal. I am recalling this here to explain why rejection of Nazism and fascism is so deep in our people’s DNA. We celebrate the Victory Day as the biggest national holiday, we honor veterans – those who passed and those who are still alive. To us, this is not distant past, it is a living memory. Any manifestation of fascism is very painful for our eyes and ears, it wouldn’t be an over exaggeration to say that we have zero tolerance to it.
That’s why we were extremely worried to see clear signs of the resurrection of fascism in our neighborly Ukraine. How did it get there, one may ask? How could have Ukrainians whose grandparents fought side by side with Russian soldiers against Hitler failed to notice this dangerous trend? Resurrection of Nazism in Ukraine didn’t happen overnight. One needs to recall that fascism in the form of Hitler-loyal extreme nationalism isn’t a new phenomenon for this country. Back in 1941 German troops invading Ukraine were accompanied by Ukrainian Nationalists from Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
ONU members eagerly collaborated with German Nazis driven by Anti-Semitism as well as hatred for Russians, Poles and Bolsheviks. That was the basis of independent Ukrainian State that they were hoping to build with the assistance of the Germans. In their show of loyalty they often surpassed their Nazi masters in cruelty and lust for bloodshed. Their participation in murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, Russians and fellow Ukrainians is well documented, the Ukrainian Nazi division “SS-Galichina” whose insignia you now see on your screen was condemned by the Nuremberg tribunal. By the way, today Poland marks another anniversary of the Volyn massacre perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists who took lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
After the defeat of Nazi Germany Ukrainian nationalists were eradicated in Soviet Ukraine but some of them managed to escape to Europe with fleeing German troops at the end of the war, many of them later were picked up by the US and Canada as a potential tool in their Cold War against the USSR. I will abstain from giving any assessment of this shameful decision today and limit my words to saying that it had tragic consequences for independent Ukraine in 1991 when the ancestors of those nationalists and Nazi-collaborators returned to Ukraine and started their slow but consistent revengeful crusade which was given immense boost after the illegal Maidan coup in 2014. Today, after thirty years, it has contaminated virtually the whole of the Ukrainian society with the virus of Nazism 2.0 on top of extreme nationalism and Russophobia. We will have briefers today who will give a detailed account of this unfortunate and extremely dangerous development. On the screen, you can see modern manifestation of extreme nationalism and neo-Nazism.
Some of you may claim that we are exaggerating the scope of Ukrainian Nazism and will make reference to the fact that current Ukrainian President is a Jew. I agree, it is difficult to reconcile one with another, but facts are solid and almost impossible to ignore. It’s enough to mention that the leaders of Ukrainian Nationalists Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich are now national heroes of Ukraine. Nazi insignia like the skull from Nazi Panzer division Totenkopf and Schwarze Sonne are widely seen on Ukrainian military uniforms. This photo was published by President Zelensky in his twitter on May 9, later deleted. Can you imagine a President of a country that fought Nazism 75 years ago publishing such photos on a Victory Day, which is sacred for millions of those whose ancestors gave their lives to liberate Europe from Nazism? And on the second photo, you can see a Ukrainian female military proudly wearing a Nazi ‘Schwarze Sonne’ symbol. This photo was published in the NATO twitter account to congratulate women on March 8. Another Nazi symbol ‘Wolfsangel’ has been integrated into the insignia of the Nationalist Azov battalion (Azov is on the right). The slogans of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators “Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the heroes” and “Ukraine above all” have become common, Nazi salute with raised right hand is widespread. Even the swastikas and German eagles with them are not uncommon. I want to show to you a brief video prepared by my colleagues from Russian Embassy in London where you will recognize many examples of what I just said.
In order to understand the degree of contamination of Ukrainian elite with Nazi ideology let’s recall a recent scandal with the appearance in German media of infamous Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Mr. Melnik, who was fired from this position a couple of days ago, around the figures of Bandera and Shukhevich. His blatant attempt to whitewash them from crimes against humanity caused angry reactions from Poland and Israel, which is a rare case. Polish Foreign Ministry called Melnik’s performance absolutely unacceptable, the Israeli Embassy claimed that his assertions “belittle the Holocaust”. What is even more noteworthy is that Ukrainian Foreign Ministry disassociated itself from Melnik’s view. Think about it: Ukrainian Foreign Ministry distances itself from the words of its ambassador but Bandera and Shukhevich are still national heroes of Ukraine! These are the realities of today’s Kiev regime.
To highlight widespread practice of glorification of Nazi collaborators we circulated more than a year ago as an official document of the UN Security Council copies of some open-source tweets by the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Edward Dolinskiy who has been chronicling such acts involving low-profile Nazi collaborators for several years. You have copies of it before you. I will read several of them just as examples.
On page one you can see that a street was named after Avenir Kolumiets and his memorial plaque was at a school in his native village. This Nazi collaborator, chief of Dubno department of education, was participating in mass murder of more than 5000 Jews of Dubno. On page 2, you can see Mr.Miroslav Simchikh, mass murderer of Polish population in Western Ukraine. There is a monument to him in Kolomiya area. Nazi ‘SS-Galichina’ Hauptsturmanfuehrer Dmitro Pavliv was photographed repeatedly with Hitler. Now there is his memorial plaque in modern Lviv, Ukraine. In Lviv, there is also a memorial plate to Volodymyr Kubijovyč, founder of ‘SS-Galichina’ division. Mykola Mihknovsky, Stepan Lynnik, Oleg Sedemskiy – these are not Bandera and Shukhevich, these are real day-to-day perpetrators of Holocaust and crimes against humanity and they are being presented as heroes of today’s Ukraine. Mr.Dolinskiy has more information on his twitter account.
I am spending your time showing this, for you to realize that Nazism in Ukraine is a wide-spread cancer tumor which requires the most serious attention. And this is one of the purposes of this Arria meeting.
We have very interesting briefers today, let me introduce them without further ado.
We have the pleasure to welcome our old friend Maxim Grigoryev, political scientist, researcher, who is leading non-non-governmental Democracy Research Fund. Mr. Grigoryev is currently chairing the International Public Tribunal for Ukraine, which embraces civil society representatives from 20 countries. On his travels to Donbass and other regions, Mr. Grigoriev has carried out dozens of in-field interviews with the ordinary people who suffered from the violence and war crimes committed by the Kiev regime, including by radical nationalist groups. He has accumulated a unique collection of such first-hand accounts, which speak for themselves and need no explanation.
Our second briefer is Alexander Dyukov, historian and research associate from the Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Science. He is an internationally recognized expert on the history of the Holocaust. Since 2014 Mr. Dyukov has been coordinating human rights organization the Information Group on Crimes against the Person.
We are glad to greet today Sergey Kozhemyakin, a criminal defense lawyer. As a Donbass native, Mr. Kozhemyakin has been on his initiative fighting the violence and injustice of the Kiev regime by meticulously collecting material evidence of its crimes. He submitted dozens legal cases to the International Criminal Court and will be glad to share some of his horrifying findings today.
Please extend your warm welcome to Mr. Wilhelm Domke-Schulz from Germany, a film director and producer. Mr. Domke-Shulz has produced over seventy films, including award-winning reporting and historical documentaries. He visited Donbass several times and is now working on a new documentary about the lives of ordinary people there.
Lastly, we have a unique opportunity today to listen to a person who was one of the first to step into the Azovstal plant after its liberation and witnessed with his own eye the situation there, as left by the Azov nationalist battalion. We are glad to welcome here Mr. Kirill Revin, an investigator from the Ministry of Internal Affairs Donetsk People’s Republic.
To conclude, let me first of all ask my colleagues to display the QR code. It's a link to the cloud storage where you can find some of the materials that you saw today and also some additional materials.
This meeting was a difficult one, and I thank you all for participation. It was not easy either to watch or to participate. But you can believe me when I say that we haven’t shown the most shocking videos and most shocking witnesses. I was not surprised to hear our Western colleagues repeat the same mantra again, rejecting so-called Russian propaganda, which is how the West is calling a different opinion today. However, I would still like to refer to the times when our nations together defeated German fascism and saved many generations from the scourge of war. American, British, and French veterans who sacrificed their lives together with their Soviet colleagues in fight against fascism, I can imagine how they turn in their graves because their grandsons display an utmost degree of hypocrisy and blindness in order to not notice an obvious thing - Nazism is resurfacing in front of their noses. And they even help it resurface out of geopolitical interests.
For the memory of the veterans and for the sake of future generations, the task of de-nazification of Ukraine will be completed. We know what we are doing, and we are doing the right thing. We will never tolerate a resurrection of Nazism next to our doors. It is up to you whether to acknowledge the obvious or not – the Nazi character of the Kiev regime. Your action or inaction will be scrutinized by your own citizens who are sending us letters and messages of support for what we are doing. Our conscience is clear, but I would not vouch for yours.