Ukrainian studies professor describes right-wing extremism in Ukraine as state-supporting

A cultural scientist from western Ukraine who teaches in Germany does not believe in a Ukrainian victory and considers the worship of the Ukrainian Nazi collaborators to be fatal for his country. He secretly admits that the Bandera cult has permeated the Ukrainian state.

By Vladislav Sankin

Is Ukraine a Nazi State? In the West, anyone who claims this is immediately suspected of “Russian propaganda.” The official Western counter-narrative is that the Russian Nazi narrative is nonsense, that Russia is attacking Ukraine because the dictator Putin does not want to tolerate a democratic, prosperous Ukraine outside his borders.

It was scientifically “sanctioned” most recently by Klaus Gestwa, a history professor from Tübingen, who was convinced that he had refuted eight allegedly false “claims about the war” in Ukraine in a thesis check on YouTube with theses made by US official Victoria Nuland and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Many other experts from the humanities agree with him, such as the head of the German-Ukrainian historical commission, Martin Schulze Wessel, or East European researcher Karl Schlögel. There is no need to ask at this point whether they are in favor of ever increasing arms deliveries to Ukraine or not.

Battle for mass consciousness: The West is waging a psychological war in Ukraine above all


Battle for mass consciousness: The West is waging a psychological war in Ukraine above all

They do exist, however, more differentiated tones, coming from a corner where they should hardly be expected. Professor Roman Dubasevych, who holds the chair for Ukrainian cultural studies at the University of Greifswald, is one of the few academics who appear in the media who avoid becoming inflammatory towards Russia and Vladimir Putin. What is also surprising is that Dubasevych himself hails from Lvov in western Ukraine, a place rightly considered the main hotbed of militant Ukrainian nationalism.

For example, he refuses to see a new Adolf Hitler in Vladimir Putin. Putin is just not Hitler and you have to negotiate with him and explore scope, he said in the Deutschlandfunk. For Dubasevych it is clear that the Russian army is superior to the Ukrainian one and will win the war. “What is the aim of our defense?” he wonders. “To protect human life, infrastructure? Or is the aim of our defense to achieve a situation about which one could casually say: operation successful, patient dead?”.

He doesn’t think much of absolutist slogans like “freedom or death”. Dubasevych also advocates an honest discussion about how this war came about and whether all leeway was actually used to prevent it. In the book “Sirens of War”, which he published in 2019, he tried to take a comparatively objective look at the genesis of the Donbass war 2014-2022, which almost made him into a “liberal-nationalist” (his own description) compatriots made dissidents.

“However, the causes of the faltering peace process are also to be found on the Ukrainian side, namely in nationalist concepts of identity and national narratives of victims and resistance, above all the Ukrainian hero myth,” he dared to claim in an analysis from 2020.

From 2014 civil war in Ukraine?  No, it was a war of annihilation against the Donbass


From 2014 civil war in Ukraine? No, it was a war of annihilation against the Donbass

Also, Dubasevych is the one who does not deny calling the Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera a fascist and Nazi collaborator. In his four-hour interview for the YouTube channel “Young & Naive” he even admitted that the Bandera cult and right-wing extremism in general have permeated the modern Ukrainian state.

When asked by journalist Hans Jessen whether the perception that President Vladimir Zelenskiy had not distanced himself from right-wing extremism in his country was correct, he said verbatim:

“I don’t think he approves of it, but I don’t think he has the strength to distance himself from it because certain elements of this nationalist tradition have been recognized and are seen as state-supporting.”

This statement is not half a step away from the claim that Ukraine is essentially a Nazi state. It doesn’t matter whether neo-Nazis decorated with appropriate tattoos are represented in the Ukrainian parliament or government, or whether Zelensky, as an ethnic Jew, would never allow this, what matters is the totalitarian system, which consistently rolls out like a roller to the eradication of everything Russian in Ukraine is addressed. Repression, destruction of books, falling of monuments, torchlight processions and mercilessness towards the “Prorussians” in the war zone are only external manifestations.

Of course, Dubasevych also uses defamatory terms such as “Russian propaganda” in his vocabulary and considers the “war against Ukraine” to be a brutal Russian war of aggression. In terms of his basic attitude, Dubasevych remains a thoroughly liberal Westerner, who at the time also euphorically welcomed the so-called Euromaidan.

At the same time, he sees the conflict as a spiral of escalation, where each side feels confirmed in their “paranoia” with each new pain and loss. Every warring party has its “traumas”, which are at least partially justified. On the Russian side, it is the fear of being besieged and threatened by the West, with Ukraine as an “agent of the West” playing a central role in Russia’s destruction. For Ukraine, it is the idea that Russia has “colonially” and “genocidally” oppressed Ukraine for centuries. To Zelensky in particular he says:

“He must show that he is the leader of the nation.”

Due to their radicalism and self-sacrifice, the Nazi collaborators are now also perceived as protectors of the nation, the cultural scientist explains to the SWR. What is ignored is that Stepan Bandera was a fascist and anti-Semite, jointly responsible for pogroms against Jews and also for massacres of the Polish population.

The war in Ukraine began nine years ago today


The war in Ukraine began nine years ago today

This reference to Bandera is particularly tragic because Russian propaganda uses the Bandera cult to describe its followers in Ukraine as “Nazis” and in this way to justify that Ukraine is “denazified” and is therefore fighting with all means must be. In conversation with SWR also mentions that the supreme commander of the Ukrainian military poses in front of a Bandera photo on Twitter. “If I were fatalistic,” explains Dubasevych, “I would say, unfortunately, it’s already too late for any other historical policy.”

He is currently staying away from his country. According to his own statements, Dubasevych did not visit Ukraine once after the start of the Russian military operation. However, it is unclear whether this has to do with his critical attitude towards official Ukrainian ideology or simply with the threat of war. SWR describes him as an “exile Ukrainian”.

Contrary to popular belief in the West, he says that Russia and Ukraine are intricately intertwined. “I would describe it in the categories of entanglement and disentanglement,” Dubasevych answered politically correct when asked by Tilo Jung whether the Russians and Ukrainians are brother peoples despite all the “Russian atrocities”. The cultural researcher explains that his daughter grew up speaking not only Ukrainian, but also Russian.

Nor does it specify how the conflict and its causes will be evaluated by the coming generation of historians. Apparently he at least leaves open the question of whether Ukraine as a state has any future at all. When asked whether he would be willing to mediate between the Russians and the Ukrainians in the event of the peace negotiations, the scientist said yes.

The Maidan massacre and the fairy tales told about it over and over again by public broadcasters


The Maidan massacre and the fairy tales told about it over and over again by public broadcasters

With all his dissent to the prevailing Russophobic zeitgeist, one should not overestimate Dubasevych’s “dissidentism”. He, too, thinks in the usual molds of the Western establishment. The question of whether or not Russia and the Pro-Russians in Ukraine embody something evil, uncivilized or backward does not arise for him. This is the unshakable basic assumption that must never be doubted in the milieu in which the scientist moves. In his rhetoric, “fake news” and “propaganda” only come from Russia, never from Ukraine or the West. He also analyzes the victim cult surrounding the Maidan’s so-called “Heavenly Hundreds” without questioning its authenticity, despite numerous documented references to false flag operations from its own ranks.

Nevertheless, the Lvower Dubasevych, who teaches Ukrainian studies in Greifswald, is probably one of the very few who have so far refused to radically reconsider their moderate position after the Russian invasion in February 2022. Even today he dares to speak about fatal omissions on the Ukrainian side and is able to develop deep emotionality in a profound conversation about pain and suffering in his country without becoming hysterical.

As Ukraine’s future as NATO’s anti-Russia spear force seems ever bleaker, the time will come when nuanced-thinking experts like Dubasevych will replace war-weary propagandists in academic guise in public debates.

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