Ivano-Frankivsk lampposts are studded with big stickers reading “I also exterminated Ukrainians. Build me a monument too.” The dictators Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are shown standing side by side. Ordinary Ivano-Frankivsk residents were embarrassed and even outraged to see the tyrants’ pictures in their city on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day, one of the most revered holidays in this region. “In my view, it is a hundred-percent provocation, foul play, and dirty politics – these terrible figures that are looking at us may affect the city’s good aura and defile the souls of our children. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, visited Ivano-Frankivsk on St. Andrew’s Day and announced an ecclesiastical province here. Holy Christian things and sinners must not be side by side. I am convinced that one should fight dictatorship and nostalgia for the Soviet past in a different, more humane, way,” says Maria, an Ivano-Frankivsk pharmacist.
After all, all the lay people saw through the idea of the action organizers. Most of the former were displeased with the apparition of the ghosts of the past: they think that the action inspirers have no sense of proportion and this kind of things is inadmissible in a European city.
It will be recalled that leaflets with the same content also appeared in Zaporizhia on December 6. One of the action initiators, the Halychyna-born Vasyl Abramiv, member of the Stepan Bandera Trident civic organization, was given a suspended sentence for sawing off the head of Stalin a year ago in Zaporizhia. “We took an action to destroy a monument to Stalin but, as we can see, the authorities do not react to these methods. So we began to equate Hitler with Stalin, for Europe has equally condemned their totalitarian regimes. We want this action to open the eyes of patriotic Ukrainians to what the government is doing to us,” he said.
The action organizers do not even rule out the appearance of billboards depicting Hitler and Stalin.
Serhii ADAMOVYCH, Candidate of Sciences (History); Associate Professor, Department of the Theory and History of State and Law, Carpathian Vasyl Stefanyk National University:
“The appearance in Ivano-Frankivsk of leaflets that equate Stalin’s and Hitler’s blood-thirsty attitude to Ukrainians is a manifestation of public discontent about the current government’s course in the field of historical memory. The action organizers must have aimed to show that both the Stalinist and the Nazi totalitarian regimes were essentially very similar. Both regimes used antidemocratic governmental instruments and resorted to mass-scale repressions. They were guilty of organizing and perpetrating genocides. The only difference is that the communists used to choose their victims on the class basis, while the Nazis focused on ethnicity. Yet the 1932-33 manmade famine against the Ukrainians and deportations of the Crimean Tatars and other peoples show that USSR administrative bodies used to commit crimes on the ethnic basis, too. It is common knowledge that USSR governmental bodies and the Hitlerites maintained close political and socioeconomic collaboration. Not in the least for this reason, the 1933 Germany turned into a powerful military monster in the late 1930s. Nor should we forget about the partition and occupation of Poland by the USSR and Hitlerite Germany in 1939 and other well-coordinated aggressive and imperialist actions.
“The current authorities must stop manipulating the historical past for political purposes and leave it to be researched by specialist scholars. This will remove the need in this kind of civic initiatives. History should unite, not disunite, the nation.”