Ukraine's Obstacle for European Integration

Nov 14, 2013, 13:29 ET from

WARSAW, Poland, November 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

In Warsaw, politicians, experts and journalists have attended a viewing of the documentary film entitled "Volyn. Without equity" presented by the Ukrainian TV channel ATV depicting the rise of xenophobia in Ukraine and the history behind the Volyn massacre during World War II. The main topic of discussion that followed the presentation of the film was the Ukrainian prospect of European integration in a context of growing xenophobic tendencies in Ukrainian politics. The presentation was hosted by monthly magazine and the Polish Union of Veterans and Political Prisoners.

Film producer, Yevgeny Dmitrash claimed that Ukraine does not need Poland as the country's advocate in Europe: "If Poland would like to help us, we need Polish MPs and public opinion to persuade president Yanukovych and the Ukrainian parliament to recognize UPA / OUN as fascist organizations."

Polish MP Maks Kraczkowski (Law and Justice) stressed that the Volyn tragedy was indeed genocide and most Ukrainians were ready to recognize this fact. He recalled Ukrainian politicians who also acknowledged that this historical event had a genocidal character. MP Bartosz Kownacki (Law and Justice) wondered if there was a connection between the shutdown of the ATV Channel and its owner's arrest, and the fact that the movie raising questions about the Volyn massacre has been produced by ATV Channel. Nick Griffin, member of the European Parliament from the British National Party, said that both sides should remember the facts, stressing that there is only one historical truth. The supporters of OUN/UPA from the Ukrainian "Svoboda" party are not in fact nationalists but troublemakers, trying to use interethnic conflicts to gain political capital.

Colonel Jan Niewinski, who organized the Polish self-defense units during the Volyn tragedy, stated that any attempts to hide the true face of Ukrainian xenophobia will be another offense to the over 200 thousand victims of the massacre. The Polish Parliament should have a stronger position on this issue and recognize historical facts. Professor Jacek Wilczur reminded that Ukrainian nationalists collaborated during WWII with Nazi Germany, a fact proven by historical acts and documents. He thus stressed that political circles which praise OUN in contemporary Ukraine aren't nationalists, as nationalism has a totally different meaning and cannot be limited to ethnic cleansing ideologies. Future generations of Ukrainians should be taught the truth about what has happened in Western Ukraine during this time.

Polish MPs from different political parties declared that they will appeal to the Ukrainian authorities to fight xenophobic tendencies in current Ukraine. There are particular concerns with the activities of the Ukrainian "Svoboda" party that was directly inspired by the genocidal ideology of OUN / UPA.

Before signing the association agreement with the European Union, Ukraine should show a stronger position towards xenophobic ideologies and movements praising historical murderers.

MEP Nick Griffin has signed an open letter to the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych stating that the European integration of Kiev should depend on whether the country is capable of strengthening its democratic processes; particularly avoiding such cases as the shutdown of a mass media channel because of different political views. He added that, "Although they claim to be 'nationalists', political groupings such as the "Svoboda" party have nothing in common with contemporary nationalist movements elsewhere in Europe. Modern nationalism tries to learn lessons from the past rather than engaging in rhetoric and activities liable to lead to the return of the worst aspects of 20th century History."

Participants to the presentation have agreed that several problems and obstacles have to be overcome before Ukraine could really become a full member of the European integration process. Responding to the request of the Ukrainian film maker, Polish MPs announced that they will write an open letter to President Yanukovych demanding to recognize OUN / UPA as a xenophobic organization. This acknowledgment should become one of the conditions for Ukraine to take part in the European integration. The appeal is to be signed by Polish MPs including Bartosz Kownacki (Law & Justice), Maks Kraczkowski (Law & Justice), Franciszek Stefaniuk (Polish Peasant Party), Andrzej Romanek (United Poland), Michal Jaros (Civic Platform), Andrzej Dabrowski (Social Democrats).