By an EIR Research Team
Feb. 2, 2014—Western nations, led by the European Union and the Obama Administration, are backing an outright neo-Nazi regime-change coup in Ukraine. If the effort succeeds, the consequences will extend far beyond the borders of Ukraine and neighboring states. For Russia, such a coup would constitute a casus belli, coming as it does in the context of NATO missile defense expansion into Central Europe and the evolution of a U.S.-NATO doctrine of “Prompt Global Strike,” which presumes that the United States can launch a pre-emptive first strike against Russia and China and survive the retaliation.
The events in Ukraine constitute a potential trigger for a global war that could rapidly and easily escalate to a thermonuclear war of extinction. At this weekend’s Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a heated public exchange with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in which the latter accused Russia of “bellicose rhetoric” and Lavrov responded by citing the European missile defense program as an attempt to secure a nuclear first-strike capability against Russia.
In his formal remarks at Munich and a week earlier at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Lavrov also assailed Western governments for supporting neo-Nazi terrorist organizations in their zeal to place Ukraine under European Union and Troika control to tighten the NATO noose around Russia.
If anything, Lavrov understated the case.
Nazi Hooligans Take the Lead
Ever since President Viktor Yanukovych announced that Ukraine was withdrawing its plans to sign the European Union’s Association Agreement on Nov. 21, 2013, Western-backed organizations made up of remnants of the wartime and immediate postwar Nazi collaborationist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) and their successors have launched a campaign of provocations aimed at not only at bringing down the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, but at overthrowing the democratically elected President Yanukovych.
The EU Eastern Partnership was initiated in December 2008 by Carl Bildt and Radek Sikorski, the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland, in the wake of Georgia’s military showdown with Russia in South Ossetia. The Eastern Partnership targeted six countries that were formerly republics within the Soviet Union : three in the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and three in East Central Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine). They were not to be invited to full EU membership, but drawn into an EU vise through so-called Association Agreements, each one centered on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).
The prime target of the effort was Ukraine. Under the Association Agreement negotiated with Ukraine, but not signed, the industrial economy of Ukraine would have been dismantled, trade with Russia would have been savaged (with Russia ending its free-trade regime with Ukraine, to prevent its own markets from being flooded via Ukraine), and the European markets’ players would have grabbed for Ukraine’s agricultural and raw materials exports. The same deadly austerity regime as has been imposed on the Mediterranean states of Europe under the Troika bailout swindle would have been imposed on Ukraine.
Furthermore, the Association Agreement mandated “convergence” on security issues, with integration into European defense systems. Under such an upgraded arrangement, the long-term treaty agreements on the Russian Navy’s use of the crucial Crimean Black Sea ports would have been terminated, ultimately giving NATO forward basing on Russia’s immediate border.
While Western news accounts promoted the demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnesti, or Euromaidan as it is now called), as initially peaceful, the fact is that, from the outset, the protests included hardcore avowed neo-Nazis, right-wing “soccer hooligans” and “Afghansy” combat veterans of the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Georgia. According to Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleh Tsaryov, 350 Ukrainians returned to the country from Syria in January 2014, after fighting with the Syrian rebels, including al-Qaeda-linked groups such as the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Already, on the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2013, rioters were throwing Molotov cocktails and seized the Kiev Mayor’s Office, declaring it a “revolutionary headquarters.” Protesters from the opposition Svoboda Party, formerly called the Socialist-Nationalists, march under the red and black flag of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), the Nazi collaborators who exterminated Jews and Poles as an adjunct of the Nazi war machine, and in fulfillment of their own radical ideas on ethnic purity, during World War II.
The slogan of the Svoboda Party, “Ukraine for the Ukrainians,” was Bandera’s battle cry during the OUN-B collaboration with Hitler following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. It was under that slogan that mass executions and ethnic cleansing were carried out by Bandera’s fascist fighters. Ukrainian sources have reported that the Svoboda Party was conducting paramilitary training during the Summer of 2013—months before President Yanukovych made his decision to reject the EU Association Agreement.
The neo-Nazi, racist and anti-semitic character of Svoboda did not deter Western diplomats—including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland—from publicly meeting with the party’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok, who had been kicked out of the Our Ukraine movement in 2004 for his speeches railing against “Muscovites and Jews”—using offensive, derogatory names for both.
The Bandera fascist revival has been underway in plain sight since the “Orange Revolution” of 2004, when Viktor Yushchenko was installed as President of Ukraine through a foreign-backed street campaign heavily financed by George Soros’s International Renaissance Foundation and more than 2,000 other non-governmental organizations from Europe and America, after he had been officially declared the loser in a tight presidential contest with Viktor Yanukovych. On Jan. 22, 2010, one of Yushchenko’s last acts as President, after losing his reelection bid to Yanukovych by a wide margin, was to name Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine, which is a high state honor. Yushchenko’s second wife, Kateryna Chumachenko, was herself a member of the youth group of the Banderist OUN-B in Chicago, where she was born, according to news accounts. In the 1980s, Chumachenko headed the Washington offices of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (in which OUN-B influence was great at that time, according to the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine) and the National Captive Nations Committee, before moving over to the State Department Bureau for Human Rights.
In January 2011, President Yanukovych announced that Bandera’s Hero of Ukraine status had been officially revoked.
The OUN-B : A Bit of History
The Bandera OUN-B legacy is critical to understanding the nature of the armed insurrection now unfolding in Ukraine. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was founded in 1929, and within four years, Bandera was its head. In 1934, Bandera and other OUN leaders were arrested for the assassination of Bronislaw Pieracki, the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs. Bandera was freed from jail in 1938 and immediately entered into negotiations with the German Occupation Headquarters, receiving funds and arranging Abwehr training for 800 of his paramilitary commandos. By the time of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Bandera’s forces consisted of at least 7,000 fighters, organized into “mobile groups” that coordinated with German forces. Bandera received 2.5 million German marks to conduct subversive operations inside the Soviet Union. After he declared an independent Ukrainian state under his direction in 1941, Bandera was arrested and sent to Berlin. But he maintained his Nazi ties and funding, and his “mobile groups” were supplied and given air cover by the Germans throughout the war.
In 1943, Bandera’s OUN-B carried out a mass extermination campaign of Poles and Jews, killing an estimated 70,000 civilians during the summer of that year alone. Although Bandera was still running the OUN-B operations out of Berlin, the ethnic cleansing program was run by Mykola Lebed, the chief of the Sluzhba Bespeki, OUN-B’s secret police organization. In May 1941, at an OUN plenary in Krakow, the organization issued a document, “Struggle and Action of OUN During the War,” which stated, in part, “Moskali, Poles, Jews are hostile to us and must be exterminated in this struggle.” (“Moskal” is derogatory Ukrainian slang for “Muscovites,” or Russians.)
With the defeat of the Nazis and the end of the war on the European front, Bandera and many leaders of the OUN-B wound up in displaced person camps in Germany and Central Europe. According to Stephen Dorrill in his authoritative history of MI6, MI6 : Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Bandera was recruited to work for MI6 in April 1948. The link to the British was arranged by Gerhard von Mende, a former top Nazi who had headed the Caucasus Division of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Ostministerium). Von Mende recruited Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia to fight with the Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union. At the close of World War II, he worked for the British through a front company, Research Service on Eastern Europe, which was a recruiting agency for principally Muslim insurgents operating inside the Soviet Union. Von Mende was instrumental in establishing a major hub of Muslim Brotherhood operations in Munich and Geneva.
Through von Mende, MI6 trained agents from the OUN-B and dropped them inside the Soviet Union to carry out sabotage and assassination operations between 1949 and 1950. A 1954 MI6 report praised Bandera as “a professional underground worker with a terrorist background and ruthless notions about the rules of the game.”
In March 1956, Bandera went to work for the German equivalent of the CIA, the BND, then headed by Gen. Reinhardt Gehlen, the head of German military intelligence on the Eastern Front during World War II. Again, von Mende was one of his sponsors and protectors. In 1959, Bandera was assassinated by the KGB in West Germany.
Bandera’s top OUN-B killer, Mykola Lebed, the on-site commander of the group’s secret police, fared even better at the close of World War II. Lebed was recruited by the U.S. Army’s Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in December 1946, and by 1948, was on the CIA payroll. Lebed recruited those OUN-B agents who did not go with Bandera and MI6, and participated in a number of sabotage programs behind the Iron Curtain, including “Operation Cartel” and “Operation Aerodynamics.” Lebed was brought to New York City, where he established a CIA front company, Prolog Research Corporation, under the control of Frank Wisner, who was the head of the CIA s Directorate of Plans during the 1950s. Prolog operated well into the 1990s, getting a big boost when Zbigniew Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.
In 1985, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into Lebed’s role in the wartime genocide in Poland and Western Ukraine, but the CIA blocked the probe and it was eventually dropped. Nevertheless, in 2010, after the release of thousands of pages of wartime records, the National Archives published a documentary report, Hitler’s Shadow : Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War, by Richard Breitman and Norman Goda, which included a detailed account of Bandera’s and Lebed’s wartime Nazi collusion and involvement in mass executions of Jews and Poles.
It is this Bandera-Lebed legacy, and the networks spawned in the postwar period, which are at the center of the current events in Ukraine.
On Jan. 25, 2014, twenty-nine Ukrainian leaders of political parties, civic and religious organizations, including former presidential candidate and parliamentarian Natalia Vitrenko, sent an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General and leaders of the EU and the United States, decrying the Western support for the neo-Nazi campaign to carry out a bloody coup against a legitimately elected government.
The open letter read, in part : “You should understand that, in supporting the actions of the guerillas in Ukraine … you yourselves are directly protecting, inciting, and egging on Ukrainian neo-Nazis and neo-fascists.
“None of these oppositionists (Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok) hide that they are continuing the ideology and the practices of the OUN-UPA…. Wherever the Euromaidan people go in Ukraine, they disseminate, besides the slogans mentioned above, neo-Nazi, racist symbols…. Also confirming the neo-Nazi nature of the Euromaidan is the constant use of portraits of the bloody executioners of our people, Bandera and Shukhevych—agents of the Abwehr.”
The open letter posed the question to Western leaders: “Have the UN, the EU, and the U.S.A. ceased to recognize the Charter and Verdict of the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg, where the Hitlerite Nazis and their henchmen were convicted ? Have human rights ceased to be a value for the countries of the EU and the world community ? Is the Ukrainian nationalists’ devotion to Hitler and his mass murders of civilians now considered democracy ?”
Only in the recent days, with scenes of mass violence by armed protesters finally breaking through the propaganda fog, has the Western media taken up the neo-Nazi character of the ongoing destabilization. Time magazine, on Jan. 28, headlined its coverage from Kiev “Right-Wing Thugs Are Hijacking Ukraine’s Liberal Uprising,” profiling one group of neo-Nazi hooligans called Spilna Sprava (“Common Cause,” but the Ukrainian initials spell “SS”), as being near the center of the protests.
The next day, Jan. 29, the Guardian headlined “In Ukraine, Fascists, Oligarchs and Western Expansion Are at the Heart of the Crisis,” with the kicker : “The story we’re told about the protests gripping Kiev bears only the sketchiest relationship with reality.” Guardian reporter Seumas Milne candidly wrote, “You’d never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings. One of the three main opposition parties heading the campaign is the hard-right anti-Semitic Svoboda, whose leader Oleh Tyahnybok claims that a ’Moscow-Jewish mafia’ controls Ukraine. The party, now running the city of Lviv, led a 15,000-strong torch-lit march earlier this month in memory of the Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose forces fought with the Nazis in the second world war and took part in massacres of Jews.”
Counterpunch also published a Jan. 29 article by Eric Draitser, “Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism,” which began with the warning : “The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government. Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich…. In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the U.S.-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists.”