Nationalism in ukraine: march in kiev

Some 3,000 right-wingers gather in Kiev for their annual rally. One of their demands: Away with the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

UPA march on Oct. 14 in Kiev Photo: Serg Glovny/Zuma/imago

Around 3,000 Ukrainian nationalists and right-wing radicals marched through downtown Kiev on Wednesday on the traditional "UPA March." The occasion was the 78th anniversary of the founding of the UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The UPA had at times cooperated with Hitler’s Germany during World War II, fighting the Polish Home Army.

It was mostly young people, often under 20, who had made their way around 2 p.m. to the statue of Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko in Shevchenko Park, directly across the street from the university. The mood was euphoric, with Ukrainian rock music blaring from loudspeakers.

Some wore masks. But hardly anyone wanted to keep the distance usual in Corona times.flags were everywhere – from the party Svoboda, the Right Sector, numerous volunteer battalions and the UPA army.

The marches of Ukrainian nationalists have been held every year on October . This time it was organized by the "Right Sector", the radical right-wing party "Svoboda" and the "National Chorps". For the first time, the group "National Resistance – White Lives matter", which "wants to stop the genocide of whites", was also present.

Concrete demands

But for the first time, the organizers addressed concrete demands to the government. In particular, the nationalists do not agree with the current ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. "Our main demand is to allow the Ukrainian military to answer the fire of the Russian aggressor with the full range of possibilities," the Internet portal kp.ua quotes Right Sector press spokesman Artyom Skoropadsky. In addition, Skoropadsky said, "anti-Ukrainian" media and parties should be banned. At the same time, they want a law banning collaborators from holding public office.

Should the nationalists prevail with their criticism of the government’s willingness to negotiate and the current cease-fire, new bloodshed on the front would be the result.

Since early August, there has been little shooting on the front lines in eastern Ukraine. On October 12, the OSCE recorded 15 violations of the ceasefire. Similar figures have been available virtually every day since the beginning of August. In 2019, however, according to the OSCE, the ceasefire was violated about 800 times per day.

The march of Ukrainian nationalists is also likely to arouse negative associations in Poland. There, people are irritated by the veneration accorded to the partisan leader Stepan Bandera of the UPA in Ukraine. On October 13, Polish President Andrzej Duda left Ukraine after a three-day, unusually long, visit.

Poland holds the UPA responsible for murders of the Polish population in Volhynia. Between 35,0,000 ethnic Poles had been murdered in Volhynia between 19.