The original article was entitled “Stories from Oles Buzina: Bandera—the Cat Strangler” written by a prominent Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina and published on January 29, 2010. Buzina was a Ukrainian patriot who believed Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarussians were triune. He was critical of the gradual imposition of the minority Galician (western Ukrainian) identity onto the majority of Ukraine even before the 2014 Maidan. For example, in this article, the author criticizes Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yushchenko brought to power through the so-called Orange Revolution in 2004. Some consider the 2004 event to be a proto-regime change in that country that succeeded in 2014. In 2010, Yushchenko posthumously granted Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera the Hero of Ukraine title. Bandera lived in Polish-controlled Galicia outside the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the 1920s-1930s and then in Munich, Germany.The latter is an early negative-identity example along the same trajectory as the post-2014 attempts to “cancel” the Russian language and heritage and even remove monuments to the Soviet WWII military leaders.
«Any politician who tries to impose Bandera as Ukraine’s hero will not only destroy his personal career…but will also destroy the country.»
Oles Buzina, in “Unheroic ‘bandera’,” January 2011
In April 2015, Buzina was assassinated outside his Kiev home—allegedly for his vocal criticism of the Maidan. The murder was one of the first key signs of political radicalization in Ukraine. I have previously translated him here.
The article is presented in its entirety. The only deviation from the original is using the first name the first time each new individual is mentioned. Square brackets are editorial clarifications.
Stepan Bandera—the Cat Strangler
by Oles Buzina
It’s too bad that [Ukraine’s President (2005-2010)] Viktor Yushchenko doesn’t know history very well. With his decree making Stepan Bandera a national hero [of Ukraine], he spat in the soul of animal rights advocates all around the world by awarding an animal abuser.
As a writer, what impresses me the most in the story of the newly minted “hero of Ukraine,” is the completeness of the gastronomical theme. On Bandera’s order in 1934, the Interior Minister of Poland, Bronisław Pieracki, was assassinated as he entered a cafe in Warsaw to grab a bite to eat. The mastermind and organizer of this “attentat” (what they call assassination attempts in Galicia [Ukraine]), the half-educated student Bandera was only 25 years old. He was halfway through his life path which he did not suspect.
The new START treaty officially called the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, was signed by Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev and American President Barack Obama in April 2010 in Prague. This nuclear arms reduction agreement entered into force, after being ratified, a year later. In fact, this agreement is the only remaining treaty between the U.S. and the Russian Federation on the subject of nuclear arsenal regulation. Yet, on February 21, 2022, President Vladimir Putin announced its suspension in an annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly. According to Putin, this suspension is not a complete withdrawal. To resume its participation, Russia will have to account for NATO’s combined strike arsenal among other issues. What is the history and the implications of this move?
World War II
To understand the present, we must return to the past and the history of nuclear arms usage and control. The U.S. ran the secret Manhattan Project during World War II to develop nuclear weapons. President Harry Truman, who replaced Franklin D. Roosevelt upon his death in April 1945, was tasked with completing the war effort in the European and Asia-Pacific theaters. He learned about the first successful—and successfully destructive—atomic test in New Mexico at the last wartime Allied conference in Potsdam in July 1945. One of the key issues discussed at Potsdam was Japan’s unconditional surrender. Truman decided to inform Joseph Stalin about this new powerful weapon, but the Soviet leader seemed uninterested. Behind the scenes, however, Stalin was already aware of the American project through Soviet intelligence. Indeed, the Soviet nuclear-research counterpart began in 1942, and now Stalin, too, wanted to expedite his project.