Speaker of the Polish Senate called the initiative of one of his Ukrainian colleagues “the political recrimination”. The Verkhovna Rada is ready to respond symmetrically to adopted by Poland resolution of the Sejm on the Volyn massacres by adopting a declaration on victims of genocide committed by Poland “in 1919-1951”. The debate about the events which took place nearly 80 years ago is rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries.




“I think it is a political recrimination… It has never been before, it is bad what is happening, and is bad that such a decision will be taken”. In this way the Speaker of the Senate Stanislaw Karchevsky reacted to the fact that on Wednesday the Verkhovna Rada has registered draft resolution on the commemoration of the “victims of the genocide committed by the Polish government against Ukrainians in 1919-1951 years”.


“Polonization, pacification, deportation and physical annihilation of the peaceful Ukrainians in Eastern Galicia, Volyn and Zakerzonie are the essence of a real anti-Ukrainian state chauvinist policy of Poland during the first half of the last century”, – stated in the draft, tabled in parliament. There is proposed to consider March 24 as a day of remembrance of Ukrainians – victims of the Polish genocide.


Symmetrical response


The draft resolution of Parliament, which has made the former Minister of Health in Yatsenyuk’s government, now non-affiliated deputy Oleg Musiy is an obvious attempt to give a “symmetrical response” on the decision of the Polish Sejm. Recall, on July 22 the Sejm (lower house of parliament) passed a resolution on recognizing of July 11 as the National Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Volyn massacre – the mass extermination of the Poles conducted by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943-1945. In that enactment, the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army* in Volyn, was officially named as a genocide. 


In response to the decision of the Polish Sejm the Verkhovna Rada committee on foreign affairs stated: the recognition of the Volyn massacre genocide negates all the constructive political and diplomatic developments between Ukraine and Poland. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said he regretted the decision of the Polish Sejm to recognize the Volyn massacre as genocide. In truth, Poroshenko addressed in a more conciliatory manner and urged nations to mutual forgiveness.


But it is obvious that the Polish side does not intend to change the accepted interpretation of historical events. Polish Senate Speaker Karchevsky, commenting on the Musiy’s bill, urged Poland to tell the truth about the Volyn tragedy and added: “We must go to the truth. We made a bold and decisive step, because what did the Ukrainians was a genocide”. 


In turn, the head of the Polish Foreign Ministry press service Rafal Sobchak said that the draft resolution “makes us wonder”. The diplomat tried to smooth out the effect of Musiy’s initiative: Foreign Office spokesman said that the project is a “random event and the initiative of one deputy”. According to Rafal Sobchak, countries need dialogue based on historical truth.


“The Ukrainians were struggling for their freedom, and the Poles were fighting for non self”


The draft resolution of the Verkhovna Rada stated that “several decades Ukrainians of Poland suffered and died only because they were Ukrainians and hundreds of thousands were deported, tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians – the citizens of the Polish state – if not the bitter outcome of Wielkopolska Board, which held hostage barely not the Poles themselves”. According to the project, in this period “the Ukrainians fought for their freedom on their own land, and the Poles were fighting for non self. The exact number of the victims of those events is unknown until now. The memory of the victims of the 1919-1951 years is waiting for a proper honouring today”.


Polish data on Volyn massacre are more specific.


The culmination of the events of 1943 which are called Volyn massacre, is July 11 – the day when the Ukrainian nationalists attacked at the same time about 150 Polish villages. Polish historians say about the death, according to various estimates, from 100 to 130 thousand people. Researchers from Ukraine consider those events as the consequences of war between the Polish Army Craiova and the UPA in which also took part the civilian population of the region. Ukrainian side estimates its loss at 10-20 thousand people.


According to the “you swallow” principle


According to the Russian senator Franz Klintsevich, author of the resolution Parliament, ex-Minister Oleg Musiy guided only by the “you swallow” principle. “There is no other logic in taking this decision in the Verkhovna Rada”, the MP said in an interview with Tass. 


Ukrainian political analyst and former editor of the “Kiev Telegraph” newspaper Vladimir Skachko called the forthcoming review of the document about the genocide of Ukrainians as a mirror response to the actions of the Poles. According to him, such answer is always a common line of diplomacy conducting. He stressed that the Ukrainian power elite, despite the small number “is held captive under neo-Banderism ideology, the meaning of which is reduced to the construction of a racially correct Ukrainian state”.


“Hidden household polonofobiya existed always”


“Ukraine is first and foremost … According to this doctrine, the Ukrainians have three classic enemies: Jews, Poles and Muscovites”, said Vladimir Skachko.


According to him, “hidden household polonofobiya always existed and still exists”. It is particularly strong among residents of western Ukraine, Galicia and partly of Volyn – those areas which, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire came under Polish rule and where the Polish government took a hard so-called pacification line – assimilation of the Ukrainian population.


“In response to this, in 1929 appeared the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and then the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which has slaughtered a hundred thousand Poles … Ideological heirs of those guys are the ideologists of modern Ukraine”, says Skachko. 


Director of the Ukrainian “Institute of Society Transformation,” the historian Oleg Soskin has no doubt that the Council will take Musiy’s decree. He reminded that Ukraine has offered Poland to establish a joint commission to weigh the various elements of the history of bilateral relations, but “the Polish leaders decided to go through a political assessment”.


Poles have seen who came to power in Kiev


With regard to the current level of Ukrainian-Polish relations, now they are in the downfall state. Also there is a distrust. “Poles on this friendship had a great preference from the EU, being a lawyer of Ukraine and allegedly pulling Kiev to the EU and demanding any preferences for this. Ukraine got nothing from it because nobody was going and not going to invite it to the EU and NATO. Ukraine as a buffer, as a pin in the underbelly of Russia – and nothing more. If not the pin, then at least a gray area, a huge buffer which is configured Russophobic”, the expert believes. 


The deterioration of relations connected with the fact that the Poles have seen who came to power in Kiev.


“Neo-Banderists realized that they by and large had used all 25 years of Ukrainian independence but nothing concrete had been proposed. In the best times only cross-border trade with Ukraine gave more than $4 billion. This is the only thing that connected two parts of the two nations. The rest is of the realm of fantasy”, said Skachko.


Oleg Soskin agree that the situation on the Ukrainian-Polish border is very difficult, the border is somehow paralyzed. “There’s no improvement of economic relations. Restrictions have not been removed, the possibility of action of the Ukrainian business is not simplified in Poland. Ukrainian-Polish Committee on the level of presidents and prime ministers do not work … Instead of having to deal with the economy, the current Polish government is increasingly entering the area of political issues. It would be a complete set if they will raise religious issues”, says the analyst. 




*The organization, in respect of which the court accepted an inured decision on liquidation or prohibition of the activity on the grounds provided by the Federal Law “On Countering Extremist Activity”