Monday, August 16, 2021

"Ukraine Above All": Syracuse to DC


Ukraine Canada diaspora Nazi war crimes collaborators genocide

In recent years, there has been something of a bipartisan tradition on Ukraine’s Independence Day in Syracuse, New York, culminating in a group photo on the steps of City Hall of the mayor with members of the local Ukrainian community — some waving the flags of far-right battalions in Ukraine, including the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment.

These flags, signed by fighters in eastern Ukraine, get around, having also appeared in Washington, DC to cheer on Ukrainian veterans participating in the annual Marine Corps Marathon. The flags belong to the “Ukrainian Above All Volunteer Movement,” run by Roman Volytskyy, a right-wing Ukrainian émigre in Syracuse who is 60-61 years old.

Over the last seven years since the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine, some nationalist segments of the organized Ukrainian American community have provided aid to extremists, including the military wings of the notorious Azov and Right Sector movements.

Volytskyy’s operation in Syracuse, although no longer in full swing, appears to be the US arm of a Right Sector splinter group led by Dmytro Yarosh, a well-known far-right leader associated with the Ukrainian intelligence service. In Washington, key organizations have enjoyed a warm relationship with the Ukrainian embassy, but it’s less clear how things may have changed since the election of Volodymyr Zelensky as President in 2019.

In 2013-14, the Euromaidan, or so-called “Revolution of Dignity” in Ukraine, lit a fire under the post-Soviet “new Ukrainian diaspora,” also known as the fourth wave. The “old diaspora” is dominated by the post-WWII third wave, and in particular, the OUN-B — the late Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera’s clandestine, self-described “revolutionary” faction of the far-right Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. As those reading this likely already know by now, the OUN-B has lorded over the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) for decades.

Since 2014, nationalistic fourth wave Ukrainians, who immigrated to the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have created at least two notable organizations in Washington, DC: “US Ukrainian Activists” and “United Help Ukraine.” In New York City, a younger, more liberal generation founded a non-profit called Razom for Ukraine, which raised almost $600,000 from 2014-18, including over $100,000 during the Euromaidan in early 2014. These groups are not members of the UCCA; the OUN-B diaspora network is for the most part a third wave affair.  (more...)

"Ukraine Above All": Syracuse to DC

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