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From Nurseries to Nazis, Part 3 The shocking “education” of children in Ukraine

Thousands participate in a torchlit march in Kiev. The banner says “Nothing will stop an idea whose time has come.” It features an image of Stepan Bandera and the Russian Kremlin on fire behind him. Photo credit: Atalyar

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
— John 8:44 New International Version.

In2017, the Times of Israel reported that Ukrainians chanted, “Jews out!” during a torchlit march celebrating the birthday of Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose troops killed thousands of Jews in the Second World War, in addition to more than 100,000 others, mostly Poles and Russians.

The event was attended by thousands in Kiev. Bandera’s portrait was held up while someone shouted the anti-Semitic slogan over a loudspeaker and the crowd quickly picked up the chant.

Among those marching in the event were hundreds of children, members of a nationalist group known as “Plast.”

Stepan Bandera in his Plast uniform, 1923. Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

Like Boy Scouts only with assault rifles and swastikas

The Ukrainian scouting organization, Plast, is one of the main tools for recruiting young people into the Bandera “anti-Moskal” community. Though its website looks wholesome enough, with smiling kids rowing boats, camping, and delivering goods to the needy, the group has a dark history of fascism. Stepan Bandera himself was a proud member of Plast, which has always been associated with Ukrainian nationalism and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in which his father was a priest.

During the Second World War, the scouts were used as allies by Nazi Germany. After the war, the Plast organization was preserved among Ukrainian diaspora in Australia, Argentina, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. From there, the Plast movement again returned to Ukraine in the late 1980’s where it operated without sanction from the failing Soviet government.

After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Plast was finally legalized in Ukraine again. In 1993, the first international camps were held where the experience of Plast was passed on to Ukrainian youth by representatives of Ukrainian diaspora.

According to a statement made by the organization itself, members of Plast were involved in the Maidan attacks on authorities and in the attacks on Donbas which followed. Whether the statement is accurate or not, after 2014, the cooperation between Plast and the Ministry of Education and Science reached a new level. In 2015, the Ministry prepared an order “to create Plast centers and, accordingly, to hold trainings and seminars for teachers of the education system to familiarize them with the Plast system of education…”

In other words, Plast would now set the tone for the upbringing of the younger generation in Ukraine. And what does Plast teach kids?

Today, the organization’s primary role models are fascists from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) which collaborated with Nazi Germany during WW2. In 2012, at a march in honor of the 70th anniversary of the UPA, young members of Plast marched carrying portraits of Bandera right behind actual UPA veterans.

Ukrainian youth holds a portrait of Bandera at a torchlit march. Photo credit: Twitter

In 2016 on the birthday of Nazi mass-murderer Roman ShukhevichPlast stated on Facebook:

“On June 30, 1907, Roman Shukhevich, Plast member, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was born! In Plast, Shukhevich learned organizational skills, acquired a steely will and boundless sacrifice — qualities that are necessary for a military commander. Chuprinka (one of Roman Shukhevich’s aliases) is the ideal for the struggle of Ukraine, devotion and the will to win! For his work in the organization, he received the highest strata degree — the Hetman’s brace!”

Roman Shukhevich in his Plast uniform. Photo credit: Plast on Facebook

Shukhevich and his unit known as “Nightingale” killed thousands of Jews and reduced the city of Lvov from a population of 500,000 to just 150,000.

Plast also admires the fighters of the Nazi SS Division Galicia. In 2008, a monument to the members of this Nazi SS group was installed at Lychakiv cemetery in Lvov. The man responsible for the installation, Yuri Ferentsovich, was a fighter in the SS Galicia Division and a member of Plast when it was still operating underground.

2008 a monument to the SS Division Galicia at Lychakiv cemetary in Lvov. Photo credit: Wikimedia.

Plast’s heroes are fighters with the so-called “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” an operation which takes punitive actions against anyone deemed to be an “enemy of Ukraine.” Members of Plast fight with the ATO’s nationalist battalions such as Azov, Right Sector and Svoboda. In 2014 it was reported that 62 “Plastuns” (young members of Plast) were in an ATO zone, and that seven were wounded and two dead. This establishes that children were used in a military operation.

Adult members of Plast are required to take an active role in politics, according to the group’s charter. “Senior, already mature Plast citizens…must take part in the public and political life of their nation. It is their main duty and one of the most important forms of service to the homeland.”

And of course, clergy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church continue to play a very important role in training Plast members as “guides” to Ukrainian society. In fact, a UGCC priest and member of Plast from its “Forest Devils” troop was appointed as the organization’s chaplain in 2016.

Yes, you read that right, a devil-priest.

Emblem of “Forest Devils”. Photo credit, SPZH

After the Maidan coup in 2014, members of Plast successively held public office and these appointments were all joyfully recorded on social media.

Lies, damned lies and blood sacrifice

The American literary legend, Mark Twain, is credited with saying, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.” A good example of a “damned lie” is when Ukrainian propagandists declared the photographs of dead children in Donbas to be “fakes.”

Throughout the Donbas region, there are gardens and memorials dedicated to the children slain by Ukrainian forces. Angel Alley is the most famous place. It was established in Donetsk Victory Park in 2015. There, you will see the names and ages of the dead children engraved in alphabetical order on black marble. At the foot of the memorial, there are always fresh flowers and stuffed toys.

The plaque at Angel Alley in the DPR. Photo credit: Twitter

According to officials in the DPR, a total of 135 children under the age of 18 have been killed by Ukrainian forces since 2014, and at least 515 children have been wounded, some very seriously. There are many children left without arms or legs.

A special international commission was set up in Donetsk to investigate the murders of the youngest Donbas residents, and investigators were sent to speak with witnesses and family members, and take their testimonies.

Here are a few of the testimonies which were recorded.

Alexandra (Sasha) Mamedkhanova was 14 years old in 2014. She is one of the first victims of the Donbas war, whose life was cut short by Ukrainian gunfire. Sasha was gifted with a near-perfect memory, her mother said. She studied hard, loved to do creative work, drew and made her own toys, helped her parents a lot and cared for her younger brother.

Alexandra Mamedkhanova. Photo credit: Tsargrad

The child’s mother recalled the day they fled from the war:

“We were leaving in our car. We passed all the checkpoints. Before the last checkpoint, where Ukrainian soldiers were already standing, I gave Sashenka the phone and asked her to call her grandmother and tell her that we had already arrived.”

But when they passed the checkpoint, Sasha’s father recalls that “several rounds rang out.” He said that the Ukrainian military fired at point-blank range.

Several bullets hit the girl.

“We thought the child was only wounded,” Sasha’s mother remembers, “She was still breathing. We went to a house nearby, called an ambulance.”

The men who shot at their car also came to the house to make sure there were no “terrorists.” That was when the family learned that four rifles had been fired at them. The Ukrainian fighters left immediately, telling the family that they would “sort it out.” But there was never any investigation other than the one conducted by the DPR.

Nikita Russov. Photo credit: Tsargrad

12-year-old Nikita Russov died during a massive shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) in the Donetsk settlement of Azotny. The boy’s mother, Olga, said that he studied at Donetsk school № 48, loved sports, participated in wrestling and had excellent marks.

He was killed on his way to training.

“He often said to me, ‘Mom, let’s hug,” Olga recalled, her eyes filling with tears. “Once he asked me to teach him how to bake a pie, an apple quiche.”

On that last day when he left for training, she called him but the phone remained silent. Olga later found out that he had been killed instantly in the shelling.

In that first, terrible year of 2014, following the Maidan coup, Ukrainian nationalists and the AFU regularly attacked towns and villages in Donbas, and entire families were killed by bullets and exploding shells.

On August 7, a one-year-old infant, Anastasia, was killed along with her mother, Valeria Podlipskaya.

Valeria and Anastasia Podlipskie. Photo credit: Tsargrad

Tatyana Pashina, mother and grandmother of the victims, said that her daughter was born in Gorlovka, that she had graduated from a university and worked at a design institute in Donetsk as a road planner. She went on maternity leave to care for her newborn daughter.

Little Anastasia, who had just started saying her first words, was killed along with her mother when their family dacha was shelled by Ukrainian forces.

Tatyana, who was on the phone with her daughter when the shelling started, said that two of their neighbors’ dachas were hit first, then there was another explosion and Valeria ran to the stroller where the baby was. And that was where they were found afterwards. Little Anastasia was in the stroller and her mother was next to her, partially covering the infant with her own body.

There are more testimonies from family members whose loved ones were slaughtered by Ukrainian attacks on Donbas, and you can read them here, if you use an online translator such as DeepL.com.

A monument to victims of Ukrainian attacks. Donetsk, DPR. Photo Credit: Tsargrad.

Russian-speaking children cannot live in Ukraine

Ukrainian propagandists claim that all the photos are fakes, a damned lie which is unbearably cruel to the families of the victims who still live in eastern Ukraine, in the war-torn Donbas. The murderers of their children, meanwhile, live within a bubble of denial, insulated by fascist mythology, claiming that “Russian aggression” justifies any retaliation, even against civilians. Even against women and children. Even against babies.

The position of Ukrainian nationalists was summed up by Maidan activist Ostap Drozdov, who explained the “final solution” for Russian-speaking children in a post on Facebook. You can read it and translate it for yourself if you want. The original is in Ukrainian.

“Russian-speaking children must disappear from the face of my country. They can be bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual or purely Ukrainian-speaking. But monolingual Russian-speakers should disappear as a species. Or move to live in Russia or another nearby country where you can be a monolingual Russian speaker.”

For people living in western Ukraine, it may be easier to believe the propagandists when they say that the photos of the children are fake, than it is to believe that their own soldiers are slaughtering little children and babies in the name of an “ethnically pure” Ukraine.

After all, how many German people believed the truth about the Holocaust while it was going on right next door? In Nazi Germany, it was far easier to believe the propaganda, which said that all those “undesirables” were being taken to a nice place where they would be put to use. Out of sight, out of mind.

Until the Germans were forced to confront the enormous and unimaginable crimes of their beloved Nazi state.

German civilians are forced to visit a concentration camp on May 6, 1945. Photo credit: The Atlantic

Just as Nazi Germany attempted to cover up its crimes, so do the Nazis in Ukraine. But mountains of evidence, personal testimony and facts collected by the special commission in Donbas inexorably reveal the terrible truth.

Blame-shifting, the strategy of narcissists and Nazis.

Blame-shifting is a tactic employed by narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths. When a crime cannot be denied outright because there is too much evidence, it just gets blamed on someone else. Fascists use the same tactic. Fascism is, after all, a narcissistic ideology. An ideology about being a “superior race” which must eliminate anyone considered “racially inferior.”

On May 28, 2018, a teenage girl was killed during an AFU shelling of Zheleznoe, a village near Toretsk within the territory of the DPR. Ukrainian news crews arrived on the scene and some of the girl’s relatives appeared on camera, saying that the AFU had killed the girl.

The story of the girl’s murder was broadcast on Ukrainian TV, which created a big scandal. But the very next day, it was reported that “Russian separatists” from the DPR had killed the girl and “experts” from the AFU were brought on camera to confirm that Russians had shelled the village and that they wanted to “rule over Ukrainian lands.”

This distortion and censorship of the truth is considered an essential measure by many in Ukrainian media. A well-known Ukrainian propagandist named Vakhtang Kipiani remarked on the story:

“I worked as an editor of TSN for more than three years and if I had to prepare material on this topic, I would not hesitate to cut out my own mother’s words,” he said, “This is not censorship, but hygiene and an element of national security.”

Another favorite tactic is “shame the truth-tellers.”

Just last week, Amnesty International took heat for a tweet which pointed out that Ukrainians were putting civilian lives in danger.

Amnesty International tweet

Even though Amnesty International has overwhelmingly sided with Ukraine against Russia, the organization was attacked by hordes of outraged social justice warriors who labeled the group a “Russian propagandist” because of this one tweet.

One of many outraged responses to Amnesty International

Ukraine above all

The most famous nationalist slogan in Ukraine, enthusiastically chanted by adults and children alike as they gather around bonfires or march with burning torches, is “Ukraine above all!” The words of this chant can be traced back to the first line of the German anthem during Hitler’s time: “Germany above all!”

“Das Lied der Deutschen.” 1940’s German anthem with English translation.

One wonders if perhaps, at some future Nuremberg, the true crimes of Ukraine’s Nazis will finally come to light. Will the world’s verdict be what it was back then?

Will the world reject fascism now as it did in 1945?

Or has fascism, and its damned lies, already duped most of humanity beyond hope…?

This concludes the three-part investigative report, “From Nurseries to Nazis; The shocking education of children in Ukraine.”
You can find part one here, and part two here.

With special thanks to Lilya Takumbetova, Lara Demidova, Alexander Zavaly, Dmitry Kuznetsov and Irina Strakhova for assistance with translation.

About the author:
Deborah Armstrong currently writes about geopolitics with an emphasis on Russia. She previously worked in local TV news in the United States where she won two regional Emmy Awards. In the early 1990’s, Deborah lived in the Soviet Union during its final days and worked as a television consultant at Leningrad Television.

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Copyright © 2018 Regis Tremblay.