Monday, January 31, 2022

The Adventures of Sirko... And the Rise of Prince Nestor?


Ukraine Bandera OUN-B fascism paramilitary Nazi war criminals New York

The weekend after Thanksgiving 2018, a small group of Ukrainian nationalists are said to have conducted weapons training on a huge property in upstate New York, including a trio associated with the Organization for the Defense of the Four Freedoms for Ukraine (ODFFU). Almost a year later, in September 2019, they were named in an anonymous complaint with “Underground Paramilitary Training Activities” in the title, submitted to the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, in which they were alleged to be “soldiers” for a “Fascist Terrorist organization” and in possession of “large-caliber weapons, many of them illegally acquired.”

The ODFFU, headquartered in “Little Ukraine,” Manhattan, was established a year after World War II ended by members of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera’s faction of the far-right Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). During the war, the Banderites established a Ukrainian National Militia that provided much of the manpower for the Nazi pogroms that accompanied the arrival of German troops to western Ukraine in 1941. Later the OUN-B infiltrated the Ukrainian auxiliary policemen who did the Nazis’ bidding during the “Holocaust by Bullets.” After the German surrender at Stalingrad the Banderite policemen in western Ukraine defected en masse to form the backbone of the OUN-B’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which proceeded to hunt Jews hiding in the forests and wage a barbaric ethnic cleansing campaign against Poles. The ODFFU, dominated from the start by newly arrived Banderites from western Ukraine, presumably included some war criminals among its founding members.

One of the three alleged contemporary Banderite “soldiers,” Mykhailo Derekhovych, rumored to have been kicked out of the Ukrainian military, follows numerous Facebook pages associated with the extremist Right Sector movement and other far-right Ukrainian groups, as well as a private military security company in Kyiv boasting its own “Special Warfare Training Center.” Also on Facebook, Derekhovych (“Michael Melnyk”)1 has posted pictures of large guns in what appears to be his home.

At the very end of 2018, the trio is said to have tried involving a larger, unsuspecting group of Ukrainians in weapons training on the same large property in upstate New York, but they were rebuked. Someone allegedly left a grenade under somebody’s car tire as retribution for not cooperating.

The person who told this story declined to get more specific than “upstate New York,” I suspect because they didn’t want to admit that it happened at the Ukrainian American Youth Association “resort” in Ellenville, New York, and more specifically at the ideological winter camp it hosts on the last five or six days of each year. The affair largely consists of lectures by OUN-B members, many of them former officers of the Ukrainian Student Association of Mykola Michnovsky (TUSM), a defunct international organization led by the Banderites and named for the grandfather of Ukrainian ethnonationalism. The winter camp began as an annual TUSM “political workshop” in the 1970s.

Allegedly, the Banderite trio’s ringleader was an OUN-B recruiter (“Sirko”) named Andriy Shchegelskiy, the former president of ODFFU Branch 41 in Brooklyn. Apparently the stunt got Shchegelskiy expelled from the Brooklyn branch in January 2019, but not the OUN-B  (more...)

The Adventures of Sirko... And the Rise of Prince Nestor?

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