10 Little-Known Facts About Stepan Bandera

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

13th January, 2016


January 13th marks exactly 80 years since the end of the trial of members of the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists (OUN) who participated in the preparation and implementation of the murder of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Poland, Bronisław Pieracki.  According to the verdict, Stepan Bandera, Mykola Lebed and Yaroslav Stetsko were given the death penalty. Other members of the OUN who were involved in the assassination received seven years imprisonment to life imprisonment.

Later, Bandera and his three accomplices were given life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, according to the decree on Amnesty. Bandera, Lebed and Stetsko were saved, thanks to the lobby of the Ukrainian legal political organizations, which at the time conducted negotiations with the poles about the “normalization” of Ukrainian-Polish relations. And in September 1939, when Poland was occupied by the Nazis, the murderers of Bronisław Pieracki were altogether released.

In connection with the anniversary of the imposition of the death penalty to Stepan Bandera, which was never enforced, “Ridus” presents to readers ten little-known facts from the life of the ultra-nationalist leader of Ukraine.

1. Stepan Bandera spent his life with a German passport. There is no territorial relation to either Petrulra’s nor the pre-war Soviet Ukraine, for Bandera did not keep the liberation of which he allegedly fought for. By the way, because of German citizenship, Bandera, in 2011, was stripped of the title of Hero of Ukraine assigned by the President Viktor Yushchenko. According to Ukrainian legislation, the title can only be possessed by a citizen of Ukraine. Stepan Bandera was born in the “European Union”, and died before the advent of modern independent Ukraine, whose authorities probably would have issued him a passport.

2. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, during his childhood Bandera publicly loved to strangle cats. People say that the unhealthy little hobby of Stepan was the result of constant ridicule from peers. Bandera grew weak and was often sick. Because of health problems for a long time he did not attend the Ukrainian Scout Movement “Plast”, where Stepan Bandera was very keen. However, already in the third grade, Bandera still achieved his goal.

3. According to the members of the OUN, Bandera was a great lover of women, as well as a lover of aggression towards his wife. This was well detailed in the book “the Bandera and the OUN” written by Oleg Smyslov.

“It came even before scandals were made famous in wide circles”, quotes a companion of Bandera’s OUN Myron Matviyeyko. “There are a lot of women, he humiliated them. There was a lot of noise about his affair with Maria Mystyk (wife of another member of the OUN Yuri Gorobach). Bandera, visiting Munich, arrived almost every time to Mystyk. Because of this, it became a scandal. He often hit his wife. Even when she was pregnant, he beat her legs. His wife was the most unhappy woman. She looks years older than she is and cries often. Sometimes the impression is created that she’s crazy. She told my wife and others about the beatings by Bandera .”

4. Bandera collected and stored old stuff — various rags, ropes, cans…

According to witnesses, “While departing from camp in Mittenwalde, Bandera took a bunch of old, worn things that were discarded by departing U.S. soldiers who were members of OUN”. The wife of Stepan Bandera told Yaroslav the following: “After the capitulation of Germany, he and his assistant walked through bombed-out German flats, looking for different kinds of things that were to be brought back to my house.”

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5. In 1940, Bandera was recruited by the Abwehr and later appeared in the files of the secret services of the Third Reich under the nickname Grey. In addition, Stepan Bandera was wearing the nickname “Baba”, “Fox”, “Stepanko, “Matvey Gordon”, “Kirk”.

6. Bandera fans believe that he landed in a German Sachsenhausen concentration camp for his political activities. However, there is a reasonable belief that the reason for the detention was the banal waste of sponsorship Reichsmarks.

7. When Bandera was sitting in a German prison camp, the Nazis, seeking to discredit the OUN and the UPA, had spread propaganda “flyers” to Western Ukraine, which named him “senior Bolshevik of Soviet Ukraine, Stalin appointed comrade”.

8. Bandera actively cooperated with the Secret Services of Britain. According to some, he helped British intelligence in the search for and the training of spies for infiltration into the USSR.

9. In 1948, speaking at an emergency conference of the OUN, Stepan Bandera had declared his desire to go to Ukraine to personally take part in the underground work.

Incidentally, two years earlier the Soviet-Ukrainian poet Mykola Bazhan, being the official representative of the Ukrainian SSR at the session of the UN General Assembly in London, demanded that the Western countries extradite Stepan Bandera to the authorities of the USSR, calling him a “criminal against humanity”.

10. The son and daughter of Stepan Bandera learned his real name only after his father’s death. Before that, they went to school and thought they were Popeli, and not Bandera.

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