This is an emotional issue for some; UPA/OUN sorts issue forth interesting views (to use the kindest term) on the topic. Nevertheless, I won’t engage in a fruitless and pointless dispute. Taken together, we’re a great civilisation; separately, we’re very little indeed. The histories of the Russian and Ukrainian people are so intertwined that one can’t cut them apart without harming both fatally. Most of those expressing loud and strident Ukrainian “nationalist” views are Galician Uniates, a minority amongst Ukrainians, less than 10 percent of the population. They come from a backwater region that wasn’t part of the old Empire; rather, they were part of the Habsburg Dual Monarchy, which used the Unia and “Ukrainian nationalism” as weapons against Russia. They’re also unrepresentative in faith, as they’re Catholic Uniates, not Orthodox as are most Ukrainians. They lack the tie of a shared religion that’s bound Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians together for centuries. The Habsburgs persecuted Orthodox Christians and even ran a concentration camp for Orthodox at Talerhof in Austria during the First World War (later, they built an airport on the site to hide the evidence). This was well documented in the memoirs of Vasili Vavrik, a survivor the death camp, and many others. The Ukrainian department of the CIS Institute published The Genocide of Carpatho-Russian Russophiles: A Silenced Tragedy of the Twentieth Century. The most prominent martyr of this time was Fr Maksim Sandovich of Lemkovshchina, murdered by the Habsburg authorities.
The TRUTH about the UPA bandits and their murderous activities…
In the interwar period, Galicia was part of the Polish state. Uniates received favour from the Polish government, whereas Warsaw persecuted Orthodox (in 1939 alone, the Poles vandalised some 150 Orthodox churches). During World War II, unlike the Poles, Galician Uniates cooperated with the Nazis, and the Nazis formed a Waffen-SS division (14. Freiwilligen Grenadier Division der Waffen-SS Galizien (ukrainische nr 1)) from amongst them (a son of Mstislav Skripnik, a vicious and nasty “Ukrainian Orthodox” bishop, served in its ranks). It’s a sad fact that Bishop Iosif Slipy, a Uniate hero, blessed these Nazi monsters (I didn’t say that he was a Nazi, merely that he blessed SS troops, which isn’t a good thing in itself, given the Nazi view that all Slavs were untermenschtumen (subhumanity)). Elements of this division later became part of the 1st Division of the UPA, therefore, this proved that Soviet charges that the UPA were Nazi collaborators (also, many of the Galician SS/UPA bandits moved to the West on various “rat lines“, becoming virulent and bigoted haters of everything Russian). Hence, the Communist suppression of the Uniates after the Second World War (one should note that the Orthodox Church did NOT advocate such). People saw them, perhaps, not surprisingly, given the attitudes of their leaders, as Nazis. On the other hand, the Communist persecution of Orthodoxy was simply general hatred of religion by bezbozhnik elements (which died by 1990). Therefore, if you hear nationalistic rumblings from Uniate sources, it comes from those who traditionally weren’t part of the Russian state. East-Bank Ukrainians consider themselves “Russian Orthodox”; many of them are in our diaspora parishes, they feel at home with us. Do NOT hate “Ukrainian nationalists” or return to them what they deal to you. Most Uniates are decent folk who have no control over what comes from Vatican-financed sources, that is, their leadership. They’re innocent; we should treat them as such. After all, they are bone of our bone, blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, and soul of our soul. They aren’t only our brothers and sisters, they’re an indispensable and beautiful part of the people of our Great Rus. May God shower His blessings on them abundantly. We keep a place at table for our separated and prodigal brothers, and we await their return to Holy Rus and Holy Orthodoxy fervently.