Ukraine ready to accuse Poles of 1919-1951 genocide

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army march. Kiev, 2009. Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army march. Kiev, 2009. Credits: Wikimedia Commons

3 Aug. — The independent deputy Oleh Musiy introduced the draft resolution  “On commemoration of victims of the genocide committed by the Polish government against Ukrainians in 1919-1951” to the Ukrainian parliament. This was in response to a resolution adopted by the Polish Sejm on 22 July.

Oleh Musiy, representing Lviv Oblast, is open about the fact that the decision taken by Ukraine’s neighbor’s deputies to name the mass killing of Poles in Volyn a genocide motivated him to prepare the draft resolution. “The truth cannot be one-sided. The lessons of history must be learnt by everyone,” he wrote on Facebook about his initiative.

“The declaration of independence of Poland on 11 November 1918 was a great joy and triumph of justice for the Polish people, but at the same time it turned into great sorrow and disaster for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians,” starts out the resolution. The document and explanatory note accuse the Second Rzeczpospolita and the Polish People’s Republic of various mass crimes, including “systematic and consistent” genocide.

“The truth about those events must form the basis for understanding and forgiveness between the Polish and Ukrainian nations,” states the resolution, which calls for paying due respect to those killed then and establishing 24 March as a day of memorial for all Ukrainian “genocide victims”.

While calling each other’s past crimes genocides, both countries continue declaring their solidarity in the present time. This was a message contained in the Polish resolution. And the Ukrainian resolution responds with courtesy and gratitude in its turn.

“The historical chess match between Poland and Ukraine is not ending any time soon,” writes the Polish newsmagazine Wprost. It mentions other reasons for grievance: the day before some streets in Kiev were renamed for Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists whom Poland considers responsible for the mass murder of their compatriots.

So far the Poland’s MFA has only expressed its “astonishment” and drawn attention to the fact that the draft resolution is the initiative of one single MP. But judging from Oleh Musiy’s Facebook post, he is clearly counting on broad support in both the Ukrainian parliament—with its earlier sharp reaction to the Polish resolution—and society.

The only obstacle for the document now is time itself. In Ukraine, deputies are officially on summer vacation until 6 September, and the momentum may be lost by then.

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