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Geopolitical misunderstandings of Russia.

I APPRECIATE THE feelings Michael Czuboka expresses in his June 2015 letter to the editor (Volume 22, Issue 5) condemning Ambassador James Bissett's article on Ukraine.

In it, Mr. Czuboka evinces what General George Washington called "a passionate attachment" to that country. Nevertheless, some of his statements contradict established history and his letter ends in self-contradiction while betraying a geopolitical misunderstanding of Russia's actual position in 2015.

To wit, Mr. Czuboka declares: "A single Ukrainian 'Galician' Division of about 10,000 men served with the Germans but many millions of Ukrainians fought with the forces of the Soviet Union." As concerns the part of this sentence preceding the "but," Professor Rolf-Dieter Muller, in his 2013 book The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht And Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, demonstrates that, before the June 1943 formation of the "Galician" Division, 35,000 Ukrainians were serving in 70 collaborationist Schutzmannschaft Battalions (depicted as wearing black uniforms in Schindler's List and depicted as wearing brown uniforms with black caps in Escape From Sobibor). This 35,000 being in addition to 15,665 Ukrainian uniformed police and 55,094 Ukrainian rural policemen collaborating in places like Babi Yar.

Professor Muller further points out that many surviving members of these Ukrainian collaborationist forces joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the UPA) which, on top of accepting gifts of arms from the Axis Hungarian army of occupation, engaged in a ruthless war against the Poles, killing 100,000 of them. Professor Muller indicates that the UPA had 30,000 men in Ukraine in 1944, compared to the mere 24,000 Red Army partisans there at that time.

Professor Muller estimates the total number of Ukrainians collaborating with Hitler to be 250,000, i.e. 25 times the number Mr. Czuboka proffers. As Quebec Superior Court Justice Jules Deschenes determined in 1986, several survivors of this 250,000 ended up in Canada, one of them being Vladimir Katriuk, who escaped repatriation only by dying in Quebec in May 2015.

As concerns the part of Mr. Czuboka's sentence following the "but," two paragraphs later, he castigates Putin for lamenting the fall of the Soviet Union. If it is wrong to lament the fall of the Soviet Union, does that not imply that the "millions of Ukrainians [who] fought with the forces of the Soviet Union" were on the wrong side?

Lastly, Mr. Czuboka claims "Putin is an empire builder." In reality, there are fewer Russians than there are Americans today. As two-administration White House staffer Pat Buchanan pointed out over a decade ago, Russia, in common with the rest of the occidental world, has an aging and dying population. Even if Putin were an "empire builder" (he has sent not one Cossack and not one Spetsnaz to reclaim Russian Alaska), he lacks the population base requisite to maintaining large-scale sustained operations, such as occupations, anywhere outside his near-abroad.

Caption: During the Second World War many Ukrainians were initially eager to collaborate with the occupying Nazi force. The combination of anti-Russian sentiment, rampant racism against Jews and other groups, and resurgent Ukrainian nationalism contributed to their initial cooperation. In this picture, prominent Ukrainians welcome Germans to Western Ukraine in 1941. (WIKIPEDIA)

Joe Fernandez

Montreal

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Title Annotation:POSTED IN: Letters to the editor
Author:Fernandez, Joe
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2015
Words:543
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