Azov Regiment continues to defend Ukraine as Kremlin targets civilians

Maj. Denis Prokopenko – commander of the Azov Regiment – this morning issued an official video (see below) highlighting the latest deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilians by Vladimir Putin’s invaders.

Ukraine has astonished the world – and certainly astonished the Kremlin – by its determined defence. By now Putin was expecting to have overrun the east of the country completely, but the courage of the Azov Regiment and their comrades has caused the invasion to stall, at huge cost to Putin and his circle of kleptocrats.

Prokopenko’s men are valiantly defending the city of Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov that is presently on the war’s front line. With typical cynicism, Putin told the world that he was allowing a ceasefire to allow evacuation of civilians from the Mariupol war zone, but cynically betrayed this pledge: civilians are now the Kremlin godfather’s target as he grows increasingly frustrated by his lack of progress.

The Azov Regiment (originally the Azov Battalion) grew out of patriotic paramilitary groups almost eight years ago during Ukraine’s successful nationalist revolution against the pro-Moscow government of Viktor Yanukovych.

Azov members went on to form a National Militia that successfully fought against crime as well as Putinist subversion.

While racial nationalists around the world have regularly used the rhetoric of war, Major Prokopenko and Azov are dealing with its reality. They have the respect of all true Europeans, and whatever happens in Mariupol over the next few days, their sacrifice will not be in vain.

As Maj. Prokopenko says in this morning’s video:

“Western countries always declare their ‘democratic values’ amongst which one of the most important is respect for human life and the honour of man.

“But the innocent people in the city of Mariupol are almost starving. This is happening now in modern Europe.”

Putin, Yeltsin, Falstaff: the brutal reality of transferring political and criminal power

The video above combines two clips illustrating the transfer of political power and its cold brutality. (Click square in bottom corner above to view full screen.)

First, in March 2000: Vladimir Putin climbs to power on the back of Boris Yeltsin’s corrupt camarilla and Putin’s own KGB/FSB circle. In amazing video footage at Yeltsin’s home, the corrupt old president is seen celebrating because he assumes his protégé will continue his influence and that of his crooked family and friends. Yet as we see, Putin will not even accept or return Yeltsin’s phone calls.

Putin goes on to work closely with some of the kleptocrats and gangsters from the Yeltsin circle and KGB, while purging others. And so it has continued for more than 20 years.

I’ve combined this clip with a famous scene from Shakespeare, as adapted by Orson Welles in one of my favourite films, Chimes at Midnight.

Orson Welles as Falstaff

Here the old rogue Falstaff approaches his former partner-in-crime Prince Hal, who has just become King Henry V. But his former protégé (like Putin to Yeltsin) rebuffs him:
““I know thee not old man.
…Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn’d away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.”

That’s their world of ‘high politics’, and it’s one reason why we shouldn’t wish to surrender our loyalties and ideological commitments in exchange for the baubles of ‘power’, whether in a 21st century Moscow dictatorship or a 15th century English monarchy.

Putin will doubtless soon experience the same treatment he once gave to Yeltsin: as his grip on power loosens, the new powerbrokers will again “turn away their former self”.

We might see the victory of the true Europe in our lifetimes or we might not. But unlike these ‘statesmen’, honour and loyalty will continue to be central to our lives.

Putin attacks ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘Banderites’: who does he mean and what does this rhetoric reveal?

Vladimir Putin has repeatedly referred to the need to crush ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘Banderites’ as the key motives for his invasion of Ukraine.

Neither Russian nor Western media have adequately explained what he means.

Stepan Bandera was a Ukrainian nationalist leader assassinated in 1959 by the KGB (for which Putin himself later worked for sixteen years).

But why should Putin in 2022 be so obsessed by this long-dead nationalist and his movement?

In a major archival investigation for H&D, our assistant editor Peter Rushton visits recently declassified archives – including one document still secret in Britain but which can be accessed indirectly via CIA files.

Today he uncovers the complex story of Stepan Bandera and Ukrainian nationalism; its connection to both Third Reich and British intelligence agencies; the bravery of Ukraine’s anti-communist partisans but also the problematic aspects of their legacy; the reasons for Putin’s ‘anti-nazi’ obsessions; and how all this can inform a rational and honourable policy for today’s European nationalists.

Click here to read Who was Stepan Bandera?

Alisher Usmanov with his friend Vlad

PS: Just in case readers thought Putin’s favourite billionaire oligarchs were all Jews, here’s a Muslim one. But with a Jewish wife.

In 1980 as a hard-working young lawyer in Brezhnev’s decaying Soviet Union, Alisher Usmanov was the victim of an unfortunate misunderstanding that earned him an eight-year jail sentence for fraud and theft. Twenty years later, when he had become a tycoon, he was able to get the whole business straightened out and his conviction was quashed.

And until this week there had been no looking back. British readers will know Mr Usmanov for his decade of investment in Arsenal Football Club, which at one time he seemed likely to take over, though he later sold his shares for more than £500 million.

Mr and Mrs Usmanov – a heart-warming tale of love across the ethnic divide

Sadly, Mr Usmanov has fallen victim to another misunderstanding this week due to his innocent friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. His £437 million yacht has been seized by German authorities.

Especially after reading the heart-warming story of this honest Muslim billionaire’s marriage to a Jewess, we are sure readers will all be hoping that Mr and Mrs Usmanov get their yacht returned some time soon. Perhaps in time for Purim.

The Usmanovs’ yacht – a typically modest oligarch bauble

Who was Stepan Bandera – and how does his history help explain the present crisis? Peter Rushton reports from London and Washington’s secret files

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted much ill-informed comment in nationalist circles. Many nationalists have chosen to believe an online fantasy world in which Vladimir Putin is really an Alt-Right or White Nationalist culture warrior. H&D‘s Peter Rushton has this week turned away from the propaganda and attempted to reconstruct a balanced assessment of Ukrainian nationalism based not on Google searches but on primary source documents. What follows is partly based on British intelligence reports, some only recently declassified and analysed publicly here for the first time. Not propaganda material for external consumption, but internal assessments aiming at accuracy – from the archives of MI5, the Foreign Office, and the CIA. In the latter case the relevant document (a detailed assessment of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera) was written for the CIA by a senior MI6 officer. Despite the CIA archive’s attempt to delete his name, we here identify the MI6 author of that report for the first time, attempt to set this and other reports in context, and consider what lessons today’s European nationalists can draw from Ukrainian nationalist history.

Banners at Zhovkva Castle, Ukraine, greet German liberators in July 1941 with the words: “Heil Hitler! Glory to Bandera! Long Live the Independent Ukrainian State! Long Live Our Leader Stepan Bandera!”

Vladimir Putin has repeatedly sought to justify his invasion of Ukraine by asserting it was necessary to defeat “neo-Nazis” and “Banderites”. This not only emphasises the extent to which Putin’s image of both his nation and himself is bound up with Second World War propaganda, it also tells us something quite specific about this invasion, its motives and objectives.

Most importantly it tells us for certain that the invasion was launched not to defend ethnic Russians in parts of eastern Ukraine, where they were supposedly under threat from ethnic Ukrainians. Nor was it intended merely to conquer areas of Ukraine that are deemed by the Kremlin to be traditionally Russian.

Putin’s choice of “neo-Nazis” and “Banderites” to describe his targets shows that his objective is to restore the old Soviet borders, to conquer and incorporate the entirety of Ukraine, including those western regions variously known as Eastern Galicia or Ruthenia – regions that have never been ethnically, culturally or politically Russian but which became Soviet territory as a result of the 20th century’s wars and revolutions.

Steeped from childhood in Second World War mythology, Putin is referring to the bloody battles in the southern sector of the Eastern Front following ‘Operation Barbarossa’ from 1941-45; to the role of the Galizien Division of the Waffen-SS, created in April 1943 and formed of Ukrainian anti-communist volunteers; and to Stepan Bandera, the most famous Ukrainian anti-communist leader, who continued guerrilla activities against the Soviet occupiers of his homeland until he was assassinated by a KGB hitman in Munich in 1959.

The life and death of Stepan Bandera helps us to understand not only Putin’s strange obsession, but the reasons why H&D readers might – while denouncing Moscow’s aggression without hesitation or qualification – be in two minds about aspects of Ukrainian nationalism.

Galicia has a long and complex history, but the short, simple version for understanding the present crisis is that it straddles the border between modern Poland and modern Ukraine, and while its control has long been disputed, one thing’s for sure: it’s not Russia.

Its largest city (which I visited in 1993) is now called Lviv, in Soviet days was Lvov, but was for much of its history known by the German name Lemberg since it was incorporated in the Habsburg Empire from 1772 to 1918. In the chaos that followed the defeat and dissolution of that Empire, much of Galicia (including Lemberg) was incorporated into Poland, whose government proceeded to ignore its treaty obligations to respect Ukrainian culture and autonomy.

The result was that after 1918 Ukrainian nationalists (many of them originating from Galicia) fought against Bolshevik Russians – with some also fighting against anti-communist Poles. In the former case this inevitably also meant fighting Jews, because Jews played a grossly disproportionate role in the Bolshevik Party – in Ukraine as much as (if not more than) elsewhere in the nascent Soviet Union.

Symon Petliura, assassinated Ukrainian patriot

This can be seen most clearly in the case of Symon Petliura, the first of four Ukrainian patriot leaders to be assassinated by Russians within just over thirty years.

Having ousted the short-lived Cossack monarchist regime of the so-called ‘Hetman’ (Pavlo Skoropadskyi), Petliura fought for and led Ukraine from 1918 to 1921. During these years he was in alliance with anti-communist Poles, since in this period at least they shared anti-Soviet (indeed frankly also anti-Russian) territorial objectives. Jews have frequently asserted that Petliura and his Ukrainian forces carried out pogroms in which several hundred Jews were killed (atrocity inflation had not yet taken hold, so even Petliura’s critics speak of hundreds, not thousands or millions).

After the Bolshevik victory Petliura went into exile and was murdered outside a Paris bookstore in May 1926. His assassin was a Russian-born Jewish anarchist poet, Sholem Schwarzbard. While prosecutors alleged that he was a Soviet agent, Schwarzbard argued that as a Jew he was justified in murdering Petliura, in revenge for Ukrainian ‘atrocities’ against Jews.

Readers will not be surprised to learn that (even in this pre-‘Holocaustian’ era) the Paris court chose to believe this Jewish defence, and Schwarzbard was acquitted. British authorities refused him a visa to enter Palestine and he travelled instead to South Africa, where he died while raising funds for a Yiddish encyclopaedia.

OUN founder Yevhen Konovalets

The militant Galician/Ukrainian nationalists denounced by Putin as ‘Banderites’ can be traced back to Yevhen (or Eugen) Konovalets, a former officer in the Austrian army who (unlike Petliura) fought against both Russian Bolsheviks and Poles. This is an important distinction when in 2022 we consider slogans such as “no brothers’ wars”. Petliura believed in the transnational anti-communist alliance that these words imply – and so did his various sponsors including Britain’s intelligence service MI6 who helped Petliura’s Ukrainians and their Polish allies set up the ‘Promethean League’, in cooperation with anti-communists of numerous Eastern European nationalities.

It is vital to understand that when anti-communist Ukrainians were recruited into the Waffen-SS Galizien Division in 1943, these were the latter-day successors of Petliura and the once (and future) MI6-linked, and Vatican-linked Promethean League. (I shall be analysing long-secret intelligence documents about these anti-communist networks as part of my book later this year on British intelligence and the alleged ‘Holocaust’.) These SS men were not the people Putin calls ‘Banderites’, who as part of their Ukrainian nationalism were fundamentally anti-Polish and anti-Russian (at least to a large extent) as well as anti-communist, and to some degree anti-clerical. At the time when the Galizien Division was formed, Bandera and his allies were interned in German camps for political prisoners, because they were regarded as politically unreliable (i.e. too extreme in their nationalism).

In a far more extreme mirror-image of this ethnic chauvinism, Putin is not only anti-‘Banderite’, he wants to remove Ukraine from the map entirely!

Stepan Bandera was a 20-year-old nationalist student in Lviv when the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was formed in 1929, with Konovalets as its first leader. OUN is the group from which various future nationalist factions traced their lineage.

According to a 1942 British intelligence summary, Konovalets had been paid by German military intelligence since 1927 (i.e. first in the Weimar era, then in the national-socialist era). Until 1934 the OUN was encouraged by Berlin to attack both Polish and Russian targets, but after a German-Polish agreement was signed in 1934 Konovalets’ “activities on Polish territory were diverted to other parts of Central and Eastern Europe”.

The OUN’s final anti-Polish operation in 1934 was a spectacular one: the assassination of one of Poland’s leading politicians Bronisław Pieracki. The gunman escaped, but several of the OUN team directing the assassination were caught and sentenced to death by the Polish authorities, a sentence that was commuted to imprisonment. These OUN convicts included the young Stepan Bandera and Mykola Lebed, whose on-off friendship and rivalry became important features of Ukrainian nationalist history.

The MI5 report continues: “Serious Nazi interest in the possibilities of an independence movement may be dated from 1935, when a Ukrainian Bureau, acting in an advisory capacity to the German Government and as liaison between Germans and Ukrainians, was established in Berlin. Since then most Ukrainian nationalist organisations in Europe have had some financial support from Rosenberg’s Aussenpolitisches Amt [i.e. the NSDAP’s Office of Foreign Affairs].”

Like his successor Putin, Stalin saw the OUN as a serious threat to the Kremlin’s control of Ukraine and ordered his intelligence service NKVD (forerunner of the KGB in which Putin was trained) to kill its leader. NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov infiltrated the OUN. In May 1938, meeting Konovalets in a Rotterdam restaurant, he handed the OUN leader a box of chocolates with a bomb inside, then made his excuses and left before the bomb exploded.

According to Sudoplatov, Stalin had personally told him (foreshadowing later Moscow plots against Ukrainian nationalists): “Our goal is to behead the movement of Ukrainian fascism on the eve of the war and force these gangsters to annihilate each other in a struggle for power.”

And after Konovalets’ removal, that internecine struggle was exactly what happened. In theory the new leader was Andriy Melnyk, who though himself having served four years in Polish prisons during the 1920s for paramilitary activity, was now less keen on ‘terrorism’.

UPA veterans in Kyiv celebrate their murdered leader Stepan Bandera

Stepan Bandera and Mykola Lebed either escaped or were freed from their Polish captivity soon after the German invasion in September 1939 – the precise circumstances are still unclear – and they soon became more militant rivals to Melnyk, at first fighting both Germans and Soviets – but then in 1941 becoming allies of Germany.

In the weeks before Hitler launched his attack on Stalin, the Abwehr (German military intelligence) worked with the OUN to set up two pro-German Ukrainian units that would act as part of the German spearhead, winning local support for the liberation of Ukraine from Stalin. These units were named ‘Nachtigall’ and ‘Roland’.

A priest in the Greek Catholic or ‘Uniate’ church – Fr. John Hrynioch – was attached to the Nachtigall unit and became a loyal ally of anti-communist Ukrainians throughout the various phases of the war, whether in the OUN or in the Waffen SS.

During these same weeks before Barbarossa, Bandera’s OUN faction held a conference in Krakau, issuing a policy programme for the future war where they explained the anti-Bolshevik context of what would now be called their ‘anti-semitism’.

“The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow.”

It was in this context – an anti-Bolshevik rather than religious or racial ‘anti-semitic’ context – that Bandera’s men killed large numbers of Jews during the early stages of Barbarossa.

Richard Yary, OUN intelligence officer and Gestapo liaison

According to MI5 the most important Gestapo contact was Bandera’s ally Richard Yary (even though some of his rivals claimed that Yary was himself of partly Jewish descent, and the rival Melnyk faction of OUN predictably accused him of being a Soviet agent):

“It is believed that during the Polish campaign the dropping of saboteurs by parachute behind the Polish lines was organised for the Germans by Captain Yary, a leading Ukrainian Nationalist. According to a Polish source, a Ukrainian Gestapo Company, German-trained, appeared in the Cracow district in October 1940. By March 1941 a Ukrainian Military HQ in Vienna and a Military Academy in German-occupied Poland had been established, with the intention of raising six divisions for eventual use against the USSR.”

In the broader historical context it is especially interesting to note that none of these files, even when discussing the possible partly Jewish ethnicity of the main Gestapo contact in OUN, mentions anything about what is now called the ‘Holocaust’. It’s also important to note that German intelligence operations all over Eastern Europe and Russia often relied on Jewish or part-Jewish informants and contacts. This is partly because such people proliferated among smugglers and criminals (on a petty or grand scale) who could make themselves useful to intelligence services.

Here we need to take a step back and avoid the temptation to see Bandera and his colleagues as part of a generalised force of ‘nazis’.

They were certainly anti-communist – and this meant in a Ukrainian as in a broader Soviet context that it was logical also to be anti-Jewish. But it didn’t mean that they were going to be puppets of Berlin.

One problem for the Third Reich was that many of its actual or potential allies in Central and Eastern Europe hated each other, even though they might all share antipathy to communism. For example, German intelligence long hoped to make use of anti-communist Russians as well as non-Russian nationalities such as Ukrainians who had been subjected to Moscow. This involved inherent contradictions, because many anti-communist Russians were reactionary Czarists who wanted to re-establish or even extend their pre-1917 Empire.

We now know that German intelligence analysts on the Eastern front were systematically misled by their Soviet rivals into believing in non-existent Russian anti-communist groups. Amazingly, German intelligence even trusted as their main intelligence network on Russian soil the so-called ‘Klatt Bureau’ of supposedly anti-communist Russians, run by the Viennese half-Jew Richard Kauder, who is now known to have been a Soviet agent all along.

The story of the Klatt or ‘Max’ network is an aspect of the Second World War that is yet to be fully explored, partly because today’s historians prefer to see Jews as victims of events in the 1940s rather than as manipulators of events.

The half-Jewish Viennese spy Richard Kauder (alias Klatt) whose fake network fooled the Third Reich’s intelligence services; seen here with his Hungarian mistress Ibolya Kálmán.

There is some evidence that German intelligence was misled into over-rating the potential of ‘White Russian’ / Czarist Russians, and therefore under-utilised more genuine anti-communist Ukrainians in Bandera’s OUN. For whatever reasons, German forces soon decided that their initial ally Bandera was a troublemaker, and in September 1941 he and his right-hand man Yaroslav Stetsko were arrested and interned by the Gestapo. Yet even during their internment they retained links with some German intelligence and special forces operatives. For example Otto Skorzeny met with them in April 1944 to discuss potential anti-Soviet operations. And in early 1945 the SS Galizien Division’s Gen. Pavlo Shandruk negotiated a last minute deal between the various Ukrainian factions, bringing Bandera and Stetsko on board in a ‘Ukrainian National Committee’ and reforming part of the Galizien Division as a ‘Ukrainian National Army’.

By the time of Germany’s collapse in May 1945, there was therefore an uncertain alliance between two different groups of Ukrainian nationalists. Shandruk’s troops managed to trek to the Italian-Austrian border where they could surrender to British rather than Soviet forces.

Centrally important here – and a continuing reason for festering resentment in the mind of ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin – is that the Waffen-SS Galizien Division was accepted by the British as being immune from the requirement to hand back prisoners who were of Soviet nationality. (Unlike for example the Cossacks and other Russians who had fought with Germany, and who even after surrendering to the British were handed over to Stalin’s torturers and executioners.)

The vital difference was that the British accepted these Ukrainian anti-communists were ‘Galicians’, and therefore arguably of Polish rather than Soviet nationality. (There was of course at that period no official ‘Ukrainian’ nationality.)

Therefore as Jewish historians John Loftus and Mark Aarons later complained – and the like of Putin still complain – the SS Galizien Division was “the only Axis unit to survive the war intact, under arms and with their own officers”. An additional factor was that one of the British officers in immediate charge of assessing these 8,000 Ukrainians – Maj. Denis Hills – was himself a man of staunchly anti-communist (though maverick) opinions who had fascist sympathies in his Oxford student days and attended the 1935 Nuremberg rally.

We also now know from previously secret sources that the British and Americans – as well as the Germans – eventually found Bandera a difficult person to deal with. Though he has become a posthumous hero of the anti-communist cause, it seems that he could be arrogant and blinkered, vitiating his undoubted courage.

Senior MI6 officer Col. Harold Gibson who handled British intelligence liaison with the OUN for more than 25 years

A Top Secret MI6 assessment of Bandera can be read in CIA files, even though it is still unavailable in British archives. This was written in 1954 but looks back over more than a quarter-century of British intelligence involvement with Ukrainian nationalists. Though the CIA archive attempts to disguise the report’s authorship, I can reveal that it was written by Col. Harold Gibson, a senior MI6 officer, who writes that he had been in touch with the OUN leadership from the moment the group was founded, clearly aiming to cooperate with them in anti-Soviet covert operations:

“I was in touch with followers of Petliura and Konovalets in Romania in the late 1920s and in Czechoslovakia from 1933 to 1939 and was quite well impressed with their possibilities. It was not however until after the end of World War II that it was decided to use them operationally.”

Large numbers of Bandera’s guerrilla fighters continued to fight against the Red Army occupiers from 1945-48, and smaller numbers for another eight years under MI6 sponsorship. While the Americans chose to form links with the Melnyk faction, the British chose to work with Bandera and Stetsko.

Again these files are notable by the absence of any reference to what we would now call the ‘Holocaust’, but Gibson leaves no doubt that he was well aware of Bandera’s capacity for extreme violence. (This article is the first to quote or analyse Gibson’s assessment in detail, and the first to identify Gibson as Bandera’s senior MI6 contact.)

“In the summer of 1951, Stefan Bandera, the real leader of the movement, emerged from his clandestine concealment to have his first meeting with me in London. The following is an account of my impressions then of Bandera – impressions which in the main are still valid today:
‘Allowing for the fact that he was out to show himself in the best light, much of what he said sounded both convincing and sincere. We have to accept him for what he is; a professional underground worker with a terrorist background and ruthless notions about the rules of the game, acquired by hard experience, along with a thorough knowledge of the Ukrainian people which I would judge to be more instinctive than deeply psychological. A bandit type if you like, with a burning patriotism which provides an ethical background and a justification for his banditry. No better and no worse than others of his kind I have had dealings with in the past. He appears to be genuinely grateful for the help given to him, but at the same time is certainly trying to get all he can out of it.'”

Gibson continued:

“Since that first meeting I have had occasion to see Bandera repeatedly. The contacts he and his people were to develop with us did have some effect on his character and outlook making him slightly less ruthless and uncompromising than he had been at first. But he nevertheless remains essentially the dictatorial type and as such a difficult customer both to his well-wishers and particularly to his political opponents.”

These problems led to serious difficulties during the early 1950s. Undoubtedly these problems were exacerbated by the mischief of Soviet agents. From 1949-51 the senior liaison officer between MI6 and the CIA was Kim Philby, a long-term Soviet ‘mole’ who also (as I shall discuss in my forthcoming book) had longstanding ties to Zionist intelligence organisations. This meant not only that the various factional differences could be continually stirred up rather than smoothed over, but also that many teams of Ukrainian anti-communists were sent straight to their deaths, because Philby had informed his KGB masters of their precise plans.

West Germany’s new intelligence service BND – run by the former Third Reich military intelligence chief on the Eastern front, Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, who had been recruited by the Americans – was likewise thoroughly penetrated by the KGB with fatal results for its brave Ukrainian recruits. And recent analysis by Polish scholars of their communist-era archives suggests that a Polish-based section of OUN was entirely under the control of that country’s communist intelligence service from 1948 until the mid-1950s.

But partly there was also a genuine strategic difference. MI6 had smuggled parties of Ukrainians into their homeland and Bandera wanted to use them to carry out aggressive anti-Soviet operations, such as ‘terrorist’ assassinations of Soviet officials. Some in MI6 agreed, while others (and especially their CIA friends) preferred to keep these assets safe behind the Iron Curtain, both to carry out intelligence missions and to be in place as a ‘stay behind’ army in case of World War III (similar to the so-called ‘Operation Gladio’ within western European countries deemed vulnerable to Soviet attack). The Ukrainian agents would then be able to carry out sabotage missions behind enemy lines, as part of undermining the Soviet war effort, not as a quixotic act of anti-communist gallantry.

This was the Ukrainian version of a much broader Cold War argument. Should anti-communist forces attempt to “roll back” the Red tide, to liberate “captive nations” from the Moscow yoke? Or should they bide their time and merely act as loyal eyes and ears for their Western allies?

In his long and detailed account of the MI6-OUN relationship, Gibson writes for example:

“At a meeting with Bandera in Germany in March 1953 I once again stressed the need for political peace in order to achieve the main purpose of our collaboration, namely the collection of worth while intelligence.”

Bandera’s sometime friend turned rival Mykola Lebed, who survived the many violent episodes of Ukrainian nationalism to die in the USA aged 89 in July 1998

By 1953 Bandera’s former ally Mykola Lebed (with whom he had plotted the Pieracki assassination in 1934 and served five years in Polish jails) had become a rival. Where Bandera was MI6’s man, Lebed was the CIA’s man. In the 21st century we are instructed to see all this through a ‘Holocaust’ prism and the main argument among modern historians is over whether Lebed was ‘protected’ by the CIA when he should have been prosecuted for ‘war crimes’.

Yet in Gibson’s report none of this is considered worth mentioning. Either MI6 didn’t believe there had been a ‘Holocaust’ of Ukrainian Jewry, or they didn’t consider it disproportionate or worth mentioning among the other horrors of war.

An earlier Top Secret document about Bandera – unlike the Gibson report which is only available via the CIA archives – is now available in the UK National Archives, where it had been marked as closed until 2028 but has now been released. This details a conversation at the Foreign Office in November 1951 between Stepan Bandera and three senior British diplomats and intelligence officers. The minutes of this conversation (which include several sections that remain blanked out in the version available at the Archives) include the following points made by Bandera:

“He thought that the Soviet Union would attempt to secure world domination by war if they could not achieve their aims otherwise. He admitted that he saw in war the only hope of the liberation of the Ukraine. He did not believe that independence could be achieved in other circumstances.

“…He said that the aim of his movement was the liberation of the Ukraine not merely from Soviet but also Russian influence. He said that they would never collaborate in any scheme or plan which entailed any form of connection with any Russian state regardless of its political outlook. Similarly, he was not prepared to have any contact with any émigré Russian body or group and disapproved of American attempts to bring Greater Russian and Ethnic Minority Groups in exile together, which he described as destined to failure.

“…In his opinion, an independent Ukraine was a viable state. His attitude to the problem of the viability of an independent Ukraine was unrealistic and it seemed clear that he had not seriously grappled with it. He admitted that any Great Russian state was bound to look on it with covetous eyes but suggested that it would be possible to preserve its security by a system of guarantee with other limitrophe states [i.e. potentially independent border states on the edges of Russia, such as the Baltic States].”

A 19-year-old Stepan Bandera (standing, third from right) with other young Ukrainian nationalists in Lviv, 1928

Two years later London’s relationship with Bandera had evidently soured. Writing in 1954, Col. Gibson of MI6 strongly criticises Bandera when reporting intense discussion during 1953 and 1954 when repeated attempts were made to persuade Bandera to work with a more collegiate leadership: a “Committee of Three” alongside Zinovii Matla and Lev Rebet. (The latter is also thought by some to have been of half-Jewish origin, but this had nothing to do with his internment by the Gestapo after 1941, which was – like Bandera – because at the time the Gestapo viewed the OUN as troublemakers.)

“A final attempt to bring Bandera to reason was made by me and meetings took place in London on 24th/25th February [1954]. At these meetings Bandera attempted to justify himself by producing instances of what he regarded as an abuse of power by Rebet and Matla of the Committee of Three. He accused them of manoeuvring to subordinate ZCh/OUN and implied that this was being done on instructions and indeed under pressure from the Americans.

“…Having wasted so much time over dealing with Bandera I decided to give him one last chance. Knowing that Matla would be transiting the United Kingdom on his return to the USA I suggested to Bandera that the three of us should meet together in a last effort to reach a settlement, or at least a compromise. Bandera refused this suggestion with arrogant finality. The break between us was complete.”

Paradoxically it was after Stalin’s death and during the apparent ‘liberalisation’ of the Soviet Union under Khrushchev that the KGB decided to kill the two most important Ukrainian nationalist leaders. Had the KGB for some reason lost confidence in their ability to contain and manipulate the Ukrainian anti-communist resistance? Perhaps we will never know for sure, but what we do know is that the KGB launched one of its most famous assassination plots to remove both Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera.

Professional assassin Bogdan Stashinsky was sent to Munich and equipped with the latest KGB technology, a pistol that fired a spray of hydrogen cyanide directly into the face of the victim, who would ideally be presumed to have died a natural death. In the case of Rebet, whom Stashinsky killed in October 1957, this is exactly what happened; but after he killed Bandera with a modified version of the same gas-gun in October 1959, a post mortem revealed that the former OUN leader had died from cyanide poisoning.

It was not until August 1961 – when Stashinsky defected to the West and told the whole story to the CIA – that anyone knew Rebet had also been murdered. By that time Harold Gibson, the MI6 spymaster who had liaised with Ukrainian nationalists for a quarter of a century, had also met a violent end – shot dead, supposedly by his own hand, in August 1960 in Rome.

OUN activities continued for the rest of the Cold War – but now more as propaganda than as paramilitary activity, via the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) and an associated World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Periodically, these ABN and WACL activists were accused of the terrible crime of ‘anti-semitism’ and there were frequent purges from WACL of ABN allies such as Lady Birdwood (see my article in H&D 106) and Dr Roger Pearson (in whose Washington office H&D‘s editor Mark Cotterill worked for several years).

When Soviet communism collapsed in the early 1990s, Ukrainian nationalists including the OUN’s old leaders became heroes of the new independent Ukraine. And evidently to this day their bold defiance of Kremlin domination still rankles with one old KGB man, Vladimir Putin.

What lessons should H&D readers draw from the complex saga of militant Ukrainian anti-communism?

OUN leader Lev Rebet and the KGB cyanide gun used to kill him in Munich in 1957

The OUN were undoubtedly brave, and the fact that their operations were almost all undermined by their enemies in Moscow does not detract from their courage.

Stepan Bandera was also a brave anti-communist who paid the ultimate price, but his uncompromising personality and chauvinist ideology caused grave problems for those who wished to work with him – whether in Adolf Hitler’s intelligence services or in MI6 and the CIA.

The bitter ethnic and personal rivalries that bedevilled the anti-communist cause in Central and Eastern Europe could probably only have been resolved by some overall discipline, either exerted by the New European Order envisaged by Adolf Hitler, or by a network united by Catholic religion. The problem with the latter is that this would inevitably be hostile to the other great Eastern European religious tradition – Orthodoxy – whereas National Socialism should (had history worked out differently) have had a chance of forging a modus vivendi between those of differing religions and those of no religion.

And what of Vladimir Putin, cast by so many blinkered Western nationalists as a potential ally in the ‘culture war’ against liberalism.

We should not be surprised that (as explained above) Putin’s rhetoric about “nazis” and “Banderites” betrays a world view thoroughly soaked in Second World War propagandist obsessions, and reveals that his objective is the destruction of Ukraine.

After joining the KGB in 1975, Putin spent a decade based mainly in Leningrad, before his first (and only) foreign posting to Dresden, from 1985 until the end of communist East Germany in late 1989 and early 1990.

During this period he worked for the senior KGB officer liaising with the East German Stasi – Lazar Matveev, one of many Jews to hold senior rank in the KGB. Putin was Matveev’s protégé and remains close to his old boss, who will be 95 next month.

Vladimir Putin greets his old KGB boss Lazar Matveev

Just as he has continued to do via the KGB’s successor agencies in the era of Facebook etc., Putin during his Dresden years worked on Matveev’s instructions to infiltrate and manipulate ‘extremist’ political groups in the West – both the far-left ‘Red Army Faction’ terrorists and some of Germany’s most militant ‘neo-nazis’.

In the latter case Putin’s main agent was Rainer Sonntag, a petty criminal who became close to Michael Kühnen, homosexual leader of one of Germany’s many neo-nazi factions. Kühnen died of AIDS in April 1991, and Sonntag was shot dead in Dresden a few weeks later. A neat and perhaps not coincidental way to prevent discussion of Putin’s operation in post-communist German courts.

By this time Putin was almost 40 and beginning his post-KGB ascent of the new and intensely corrupt Russian bureaucracy. A few weeks after Sonntag’s murder, Putin took the first of several influential jobs in the office of the Mayor of Leningrad (later St Petersburg), a man with close ties to the elite of Russian organised crime.

Putin’s subsequent close ties to Russian oligarchs (many of them Jews, including some of the world’s leading promoters of ‘Holocaust’ education such as Roman Abramovich and Moshe Kantor) are too well-known to need further discussion here.

For the purposes of this article, the important point is that these many Jewish connections will have reinforced Putin’s obsession with the Second World War and his obsession with restoring Soviet-era Russian prestige by wiping Ukraine off the map and making Russia’s south-western borders similar to those of the Soviet Union.

Racial nationalists are a long way from power, though interest in our ideas and our ideological heritage has spread considerably in recent years. If we are to continue to build on that heritage we must avoid the wishful thinking that has led so many on the Alt-Right to see Putin as some sort of hero, simply because he has outraged sections of liberal opinion.

If we are to maintain and extend the relevance of our ideas, we must build on a foundation of truthful and honest analysis, not wishful thinking. That means dissociating ourselves firmly from Putin’s brutal aggression and territorial aggrandisement. It also means recognising that – even aside from the particular transient problems presented by today’s Ukrainian government, whose leaders are quite obviously hostile to our entire world-view – the complex and tragic history of Ukrainian nationalism itself reveals many pitfalls, some related to personal vanities, others to chauvinist ideologies.

We cannot easily dismiss this chauvinism as petty. For countless numbers of Central and Eastern Europeans, speaking the wrong language (or even the wrong dialect) or having the wrong religion would have meant for generations that they and their children would be excluded from decent jobs, and possibly face worse forms of persecution.

“No brothers’ wars” is an easy slogan, but a difficult reality. As with so many other areas of our racial nationalist struggle for the true Europe, we cannot expect an easy victory. Perhaps there will be no victory in our lifetimes. But I’m confident that we are now beginning to attract the calibre of activist who can make very significant progress in laying the foundations for that victory.

Those foundations cannot include a morally and politically toxic association with Vladimir Putin and his apologists.

Courageous boxer returns to Ukraine war zone

World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has bravely returned to his Ukrainian homeland and posted an Instagram video calling for an end to the war.

Usyk defeated the ‘British’ boxer Anthony Joshua (who is in fact three-quarters Nigerian and one-quarter Irish) in a sensational bout at London’s Tottenham Hotspur stadium last September.

He was in negotiations for a rematch that would earn him a fortune, and could easily have stayed safely in London, but chose to return to be with his people in their hour of crisis.

Whatever their views on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, no doubt H&D readers will be united in hoping that he remains safe, and that a European rather than an African remains world heavyweight champion!

Update: Ukraine’s two other most famous boxers – Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko – have pledged themselves to the Ukrainian war effort. The Klitschko brothers are explicitly Ukrainian nationalists, unlike Usyk who has a Russian wife and has tried to maintain a more neutral political stance despite being essentially a Ukrainian patriot.

Europe’s future is neither Washington nor Moscow!

H&D readers will probably be divided in their response to this morning’s news that Russian forces have invaded Ukraine.

Having for a lifetime become used to rejecting the lies of our own governments, European nationalists sometimes become too credulous in accepting the propaganda lines of rival governments. The Ukraine crisis is a sad example.

A vast range of European dissident movements – including ‘populists’, civic nationalists and racial nationalists – have become uncritical adherents of the Moscow line. (This is an eerie echo of the 1930s when many ‘democratic’ socialists in the West became fellow travellers of Stalin.)

Yet through the fog of war on this first morning of the invasion, it ought to be possible to discern some basic principles.

Having opposed Washington’s aggression in Iraq, we should (without any illusions about our own influence or lack of it) also oppose Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. Let’s be clear – our political struggle is not for instant victory but for the next generation of Europeans. That’s why our struggle must have firm foundations of ideological principle.

Ukrainian nationalists parade with an image of anti-communist hero Stepan Bandera

As a matter of principle, we should refuse to take fees from Moscow propaganda outlets such as RT while this aggression continues.

And we should prepare for what happens next. Putin’s hubris is likely (as the Ancient Greeks knew) to end in nemesis. If some sort of ‘Western’ victory – and the destruction or weakening of Putin – is indeed the outcome, it won’t change the fact that ‘Western’ liberalism is profoundly sick, and it won’t make NATO the defenders of European interests.

The true Europeans – racial nationalists who reject both Washington and Moscow – will need to build true European unity.

Moscow’s “fake factory” – 2022 version derided by Western media; 1945 version enshrined in Western law

Soviet military and KGB prosecution team at the Nuremberg trials, which enshrined the products of an earlier generation of Moscow propagandists as what has become an unchallengeable version of history

Analysis of recent Russian propaganda in the Ukraine shows that films purporting to show Ukrainian ‘saboteurs’ were actually made by a Russian ‘fake factory’.

The anti-Putin investigative journalists at Bellingcat point out: “Russia has a long record of doing this. It isn’t surprising.”

What is surprising is that Western countries themselves have built an entire structure of debate-denying laws, on the foundations of an earlier generation of Moscow “fake factories” and “lie machines”.

Right now for example, 93-year-old Ursula Haverbeck in Germany, and the Spanish author, publisher and bookseller Pedro Varela, are facing criminal proceedings and jail sentences for raising forbidden questions about the alleged extermination of six million Jews and the unique mass-murder weapon of the homicidal gas chamber.

Soviet ‘investigators’ pioneered their technique of ‘Holocaust history’ at the Majdanek camp in the summer of 1944, and the same year ‘investigated’ the Janowska camp near the old Habsburg city of Lemberg (later Lvov or Lviv). The foundations of Auschwitz history were laid in early 1945 by a similar Soviet ‘investigatory commission’. The entire story was presented by the Soviet prosecution team at the Nuremberg trials, whose verdict it is forbidden to question in many European countries.

While the liberal media’s renewed interest in Moscow propaganda lies lead them to re-examine ‘Holocaust’ history? Or even to accept that courts should be prepared to hear evidence on such matters, rather than moving straight to conviction of ‘Holocaust deniers’ without even allowing evidence to be submitted, as for example is frequently the case in today’s German courts?

Soviet ‘investigators’ at Auschwitz, 1945
Soviet ‘investigators’ at the Janowska camp near Lvov (aka Lviv or Lemberg) in western Ukraine, 1944

Berlin court sets crazy timetable for Ursula Haverbeck, 93

(above left to right) Ursula Haverbeck, Rigolf Hennig and Lady Michèle Renouf

H&D readers will be familiar with the case of Ursula Haverbeck, the courageous German publisher and activist – now aged 93 – who has been subjected to repeated persecution by the German authorities for the ‘crime’ of asking questions about her own country’s history.

Former co-organiser of the Collegium Humanum which staged conferences and lectures featuring some of the greatest names in German academia, Ursula Haverbeck is herself a survivor of one of the most traumatic episodes in German history, having had to flee East Prussia as a 16-year-old when her country was invaded by Stalin’s brutal Asiatic hordes of the ‘Red Army’.

From 1992 to 2003 she founded and chaired the Verein Gedächtnisstätte (Memorial Sites Association) which aimed to build a suitable memorial to German civilian victims of the Second World War, and to end “the unjustified unilateral nature of the view of history”.

Since 2004 she has been repeatedly prosecuted under Germany’s notorious Volksverhetzung law which forbids rational discussion of alleged events now taken out of history and sacralised as the quasi-religion of ‘Holocaust remembrance’. It is forbidden in Germany to investigate whether, where and how the alleged murder of six million Jews in homicidal ‘gas chambers’ on the alleged orders of Adolf Hitler actually took place.

Following several convictions, Ursula Haverbeck was jailed in May 2018 at the age of 88 and remained incarcerated for more than two years. H&D‘s great comrade the late Richard Edmonds addressed a rally in Germany on Ursula’s 91st birthday in 2019 – click here for details.

H&D has just published a groundbreaking revisionist essay by assistant editor Peter Rushton, dedicated to Ursula Haverbeck and her fellow campaigners for free historical research Lady Michèle Renouf and Isabel Peralta. Click here for details.

At the age of 93 there are several further ‘criminal’ proceedings against her. (In Germany it’s common for several stages of appeal to take place before a jail sentence is actually served.)

Court hearings like other aspects of life have been affected by the pandemic, but the Berlin appeal court has now ordered that this 93-year-old lady must attend four days of hearings spread over three weeks, on March 18th, 21st and 25th, and April 4th 2022.

This necessarily involves either repeated travel from Frau Haverbeck’s home (more than 200 miles from Berlin) or a long stay in a Berlin hotel, which might not even be allowed under CoVID regulations.

Ursula Haverbeck at one of many court appearances with her Berlin attorney Wolfram Nahrath

There are strong differences of opinion among H&D readers about these CoVID regulations, so that aspect of the argument should be for the moment ignored. Even if one regards the German government’s CoVID measures as entirely justified, what surely cannot be justified is the continued persecution of a brave 93-year-old simply for asking questions about her own country’s history.

Frau Haverbeck’s alleged ‘crimes’ would of course be perfectly legal in the UK, and in the USA would be protected by constitutional rights.

The continued existence of the Volksverhetzung law and its use in this manner to silence dissent is a disgrace to a nominally ‘democratic’ nation. H&D‘s assistant editor remembers his arrest and interrogation by the East German communist secret police in 1987, when he was a young student. Today’s ‘democratic’ authorities in the Federal Republic have shown themselves to be no better.

Romanian presidential candidate in ‘antisemitism scandal’ after praising pre-war nationalist leader

Romania is the latest country whose politics have been engulfed by history wars, after a controversial interview by the premier candidate of its fourth-largest party

The honorary president of Romania’s fourth-largest political party has ignited a fierce argument over his country’s political history, after praising the pre-war Romanian nationalist leader Corneliu Codreanu.

An agronomist and former UN expert in sustainable development, Călin Georgescu was set to contest the next Romanian presidential election as candidate of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), a nationalist/populist party which has twice nominated him for prime minister.

Georgescu first defended Codreanu in a Facebook video in 2020, and when asked about these views last week during a mainstream Romanian television interview, he refused to back down. Jewish groups have reacted with predictable outrage, demanding that the AUR disown Georgescu and his ‘antisemitism’.

Unfortunately the party’s co-president George Simion seems disposed to comply with the thought-police, and has indicated that the AUR accepts Romania’s ‘Holocaust denial’ law, in force since 2002.

For the benefit of those who care more about real history than about whatever myths are mandated by Romanian law, H&D today publishes for the first time an online version of a review by our assistant editor that appeared in our magazine in 2017. Click here to read Peter Rushton’s review of From Lightning, Troy Southgate’s biography of Codreanu.

Corneliu Codreanu (above right) with his former ally Marshal Ion Antonescu, who sadly betrayed Romanian nationalism as a reactionary dictator during the Second World War

German anti-immigration party split as co-leader resigns

Jörg Meuthen has quit as co-leader of AfD, and resigned from the party

Regular H&D readers will know that the German anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) was originally a eurosceptic party focused on a Thatcher-style tax-cutting, state-shrinking, anti-Brussels agenda: a more moderate version of UKIP.

After Angela Merkel’s infamous championing of asylum seekers during the immigration crisis of 2015 – summed up in her phrase at a press conference on August 31st that year: “We can do this!” (i.e. Germany can admit millions of ‘refugees’) – AfD rapidly became more of an anti-immigration party than a eurosceptic party, and began shedding its more moderate conservative activists including several MEPs.

Even so, there have always been deep ideological divisions within AfD. One wing – actually called Der Flügel (“the wing”) – is much closer to explicit racial nationalism and sometimes approaches ‘forbidden’ historical questions. The most prominent Flügel leader is Björn Höcke, AfD leader in the central German state of Thuringia (once part of communist East Germany), where the party is especially strong.

In 2020 Germany’s domestic security service BfV (equivalent to Britain’s MI5) announced that the Flügel was under surveillance as a potential threat to the democratic order.

Until this week the most prominent figure in AfD’s ‘moderate’ wing was its national co-leader Jörg Meuthen, who has now resigned not only from his leadership post but from the party.

Meuthen claims that he was losing the battle against the Flügel faction and that as a result AfD was no longer clearly a “democratic” party.

“The party’s heart is beating very far to the right today, and permanently at an elevated rate. I do see quite clear totalitarian echoes there.”

These are very strong words to use (especially in a German context) about a party of which you were co-leader until the previous day!

Meuthen’s resignation has boosted the influence of Björn Höcke, leader of AfD’s radical faction, Der Flügel.

Many observers predict that Meuthen will join forces with the main German conservative party CDU, which recently elected a new and more ‘right-wing’ leader, Friedrich Merz. If so, this would be a significant boost to the CDU, which polled a record low vote in last year’s federal election.

Meuthen has suggested that as it becomes more radical, AfD will only be relevant in the more economically depressed and radicalised regions of the former East Germany, including Höcke’s Thuringia and the neighbouring state Saxony.

This split has been brewing for some time, though until recently it seemed more likely that the Flügel would be expelled rather than the ‘moderates’ resigning. A crucial role has been played by the middle ground of the party, including co-leader Alice Weidel, who seems to have sided with Höcke and the radicals.

Alongside recent developments in France, Spain and Portugal, Meuthen’s resignation is one of several significant changes on the European ‘far right’, which will be analysed in the March edition of Heritage and Destiny.

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