Imagine a German politician being read a leaflet by his personal hero, which reads: “People, you must know that, Muscovites, Poles, Hungarians and Jews, they are your enemies. Destroy them.” And the politician replies: “I will not tell you today that I distance myself from it.” This person would (rightly) never get a foot in the door again in German politics. When it comes to sacred Ukraine, however, there are no consequences: Andriy Melnyk’s refusal to distance himself. His attitude is tolerated.
A comment by Vanessa Renner
YouTuber Tilo Jung hired the Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany, Andrij Melnyk, for his channel “Jung und Naiv” interviewed. This is known above all for his arrogance and cheeky demands and is therefore anything but popular among most Germans. However, what is mostly ignored by the mainstream, which is otherwise enthusiastic about putting everything and everyone in the right-wing corner, is that Melnyk is also a great admirer of the Ukrainian “folk hero” Stepan Bandera. Bandera is regarded by historians as a fascist and Nazi collaborator who openly called for the “cleansing” of Ukraine from Jews and other so-called “enemies”:
According to Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Bandera was a “convinced fascist”. He assigns at least “moral responsibility” to Bandera for the massacres committed in Volhynia and East Galicia during his absence in 1943/44. “Before the war, he (Bandera) made no secret of the fact that ‘not just hundreds but thousands of lives must be sacrificed’ in order for the OUN to achieve its goals and for a Ukrainian state to emerge. The mass violence or ‘cleansing’ of Ukraine from Jews, Poles, Russians and other ‘enemies’ of the organization was a central part of its aims.”
Nevertheless, he is openly worshiped, especially in western Ukraine, by Israel and Poland is sharply criticized. The non-judgemental West, above all Germany, is unbelievably unaffected by this – even neo-Nazis from the Azov regiment have recently been stylized as heroes here. Anyone who criticizes this and abhors such activities will end up being denounced as a Nazi, it seems.
Ambassador Melnyk is also very sure of that. Not only has he been outraged by criticism of his beloved Stephan Bandera in the past: he also doesn’t let anything get to the Azov regiment. The following tweets prove this:
Melnyk: No distancing from “purges”
In a conversation with Tilo Jung, which was broadcast for the first time on June 29, Melnyk followed up: Jung, commendably, actually dared to openly address Melnyk’s Bandera admiration and thereby elicited statements from the ambassador that should have triggered a massive scandal in supposedly anti-fascist Germany – with clear consequences. There, Melnyk openly denied his hero’s sick ideology and his complicity in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews. He referred to this as “the narrative that the Russians are pushing through to this day, and that has support in Germany, in Poland and also in Israel.” Jung then quoted:
“When the Germans entered Ukraine, there were leaflets saying: ‘People, you must know that, Muscovites, Poles, Hungarians and Jews, they are your enemies. Destroy them. You have to know that. Your guidance, your guide Stepan Bandera.’”
Melnyk asked what kind of leaflets they were – and after Jung’s explanation and his statement that the situation was clear: “So me, I’m not going to tell you today that I’m distancing myself from that… and that’s it.” In response to Jung’s apparent bewilderment and his comment that he did not understand “how you can call someone a hero who was a mass murderer of Jews and Poles at the same time,” Melnyk again denied Bandera’s historical role, claiming, “Bandera was not a mass murderer.”
Ukrainian government: “Hooray” to Nazis
With their historical revisionism in this case, the (West) Ukrainians are of course alone – and Kyiv is even aware of that: The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced himself namely from Melnyk’s statements. But that’s not nearly enough to cleanse Ukraine, where Bandera worship is deeply rooted. Distancing yourself from Melnyk doesn’t change anything – that’s how Poland in particular made his statements sharply criticized. Poland is a big supporter of Ukraine in the war against Russia; Ukraine simply cannot afford to jeopardize that.
The supposedly Western-oriented forces in Ukraine have no interest in keeping neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists in the country in check. This was also reported critically in this country in the past – around 2014 from Focus:
The Azov Battalion is a radical right-wing militia. “Our nation’s historic mission at this critical moment is to lead the world’s white races in a final crusade for their survival,” commander Andriy Biletskiy told the British newspaper Telegraph. His militia is fighting alongside the Ukrainian government troops against the pro-Russian separatists. Neo-Nazis in government service.
The clean Volodymyr Zelenskyj, although of Jewish origin himself, has not canceled the alliance with the neo-Nazis since the beginning of his term in office, but in fact deepened it – at least leftists like the authors of the World Socialist Web Site reported very critically about this a year ago. At that time, the right-wing extremist and convicted criminal Sergij Sternenko was to be appointed head of the domestic secret service SBU in Odessa – Stations such as “112 Ukraina”, which publicized the recruitment and promotion of right-wing extremists by the SBU, were attacked by Zelenskyj summarily forbidden.
Zelenskyy came to power in 2019 amid widespread disillusionment and revulsion with his right-wing nationalist predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. However, the confirmation of his offer to Sternenko shows that in reality he has continued and deepened the apparent alliance between the Ukrainian oligarchy and neo-Nazi thugs. […] The Ukrainian government recently unveiled a strategy to “regain” Crimea and, with US military support, is continuing its potentially disastrous confrontation with Moscow. That’s why people like Sternenko are indispensable for them, since they do the dirty work both in the war zone and in suppressing the resistance of the population. […] Zelenskyy’s increasingly open ties to the country’s far right prove once again that the Ukrainian ruling class wants to use these elements as a spearhead in a potential war with Russia.
German Federal Government: Full Tolerance for Nazis?
Are open alliances with neo-Nazis tolerable for Germany lately? Very obviously. Last but not least, Chancellor Olaf Scholz openly advocated making Ukraine a candidate for EU membership. That’s what it should be for principle of unanimity to be abolishedso that the European Union becomes “enlargeable”. Melnyk’s statements also do not pose a problem for the German government; man invokes simply pointing out that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had formally distanced itself. As if Melnyk were the only one who held such views. There aren’t even any consequences for Melnyk himself: a denial of the mass murder of Jews obviously has room again in Germany. At least when it comes from Ukrainians.