Ukraine Cancels Victory over the Nazis Day
The Ukrainian government has canceled the huge annual Victory Day military parade in Kiev that commemorates the capitulation of Nazi Germany on May 9th. The government will only offer a prayer service for the victims of World War II and wreath-laying ceremony because they are supposedly worried about the potential for violence. But the real issue is that during World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the west collaborated with Nazi Germany and the eastern Ukrainians fought for Russia. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler regularly spent time in his eastern front military bunker at Vinnitsa in Ukraine. By the end of World War II, 6.85 million Ukrainians were dead. During the Victory celebrations over the next three days, Russia and the West will continue to face off in their new Cold War.
The German invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa that began on June 22, 1941. On the eve of Barbarossa, about four thousand Ukrainians, operating under German Wehrmacht orders, sought to cause disruptions behind Soviet lines. After fighting for the German during the invasion, Ukrainians collaborated with their German occupiers by participating in the local administration, in German Schutzmannschaft police and serving as concentration camp guards.
Occupied Soviet territory was divided between two German administrative units; the General Government and the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The atrocities began immediately with six Babi Yar massacres of Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 900,000 Jews and 2.4 million other non-Jewish victims were killed as part of Nazi extermination policies at six concentration camps in the Ukraine.
The original plan of genocide called for the extermination of 65% of the Ukraine’s 23.2 million inhabitants with the rest treated as slaves. Over 2 million Ukrainians were deported to Germany for slave labor and by Victory Day on May 9, 1945 another 6.85 million Ukrainians were dead. More Ukrainians died fighting for the Soviets against the Wehrmacht than American, British, and French soldiers combined.
Plans to cancel the Victory Day celebrations come as Ukrainian government forces are conducting “counterterrorism” operations on a daily basis in eastern Ukraine. But the pro-Russian separatists continue to capture and occupy security buildings and the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (provinces) plan to hold referendums on May 11th to declare independence from Ukraine.
The Ukraine presidential elections are scheduled for May 25, and the insurgent activity in the eastern regions and cities like Odessa threaten the credibility of the vote. Russia considered the Ukrainian government illegitimate and is supporting the insurgents to undermine the government.
But according to Stratfor Intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 7th called on the separatists to postpone their referendums in order to give the negotiation between Russia, Ukraine, and the West a “chance to work.” He then suggested that the Ukrainian government reciprocate by ceasing all military operations in the east and implement constitutional reforms that would decentralize government authority prior to the presidential vote. But a decentralizing of the government would weaken its authority.
The competition between Russia and the West over the fate of the Ukraine and Eastern Europe will continue to play out in conflicts between the various proxy groups that each side supports. With the Ukrainian government canceling Victory Day, Putin talking like a humanitarian, and the insurgents still going through with their referendum; the new Cold War tension over the next three days will be intense.
The author welcomes feedback and will respond to comments by readers