World War II in Ukraine:

Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)

Andrew Gregorovich

Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)

Andrew Melnyk
Andrew Melnyk, Leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) supported the idea of an independent Ukraine. During World War II the OUN was split in two factions called Melnykivtsi and Banderivtsi, headed by Andrew Melnyk and Stepan Bandera. They both struggled against Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and were united by the idea of independence for Ukraine but sometimes had divergent views with each. Moscow saw the Ukrainian nationalists as a dire threat and produced much Soviet propaganda blackening them especially Bandera who was falsely accused of crimes against both Ukrainians and Jews. The Kremlin also started a campaign of promoting patriotism with Russian (not Soviet) nationalism and chauvinism early in the War which culminated in the famous toast to the Russian people by Joseph Stalin on May 24, 1945: "I propose a toast to the health of the Russian people because it is the most outstanding nation of all the nations forming the Soviet Union."

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Copyright © 1995 Andrew Gregorovich

Reprinted from FORUM Ukrainian Review No. 92, Spring 1995

since March 1st 1997