UARU
Ukraine And Poland Debate Volyn Tragedy
26 July, 2016
649

What You Need To Know:

✓ The controversial history surrounding the 1943 Volyn Massacre is making headlines in Ukraine and Poland again, after the Polish Parliament passed a resolution on July 22 calling the event genocide.

✓ Both Ukraine and Poland blame the tragedy on each other, and the exact numbers of victims is subject to debate.

✓ According to Adamski, and expert on Polish-Ukrainian relations, “Ukrainian laws have radicalized Polish public opinion.”

✓ The image of the Ukraine’ s Institute for National Remembrance “is very negative and plays some role in the general perception of Ukraine in the west.”

The controversial history surrounding the 1943 Volyn Massacre is making headlines in Ukraine and Poland again, after the Polish Parliament passed a resolution on July 22 calling the event genocide. The killings took place during World War II by the UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who were allegedly attempting to remove Poles from the area after oppression during the inter-war period. Both Ukraine and Poland blame the tragedy on each other, and the exact numbers of victims is subject to debate.

According to Lukasz Adamski, an expert on Polish-Ukrainian relations, “Ukrainian laws have radicalized Polish public opinion.” Recently, as a result of Ukraine’s decommunization laws, the Kyiv city council renamed Moskovsky Prospekt after Stepan Bandera, the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists whose military wing, the UPA or Ukrainian Insurgent Army, allegedly orchestrated the killings. The Polish Parliament adopted the resolution shortly thereafter.

Andriy Portnov, a professor of Ukrainian history says that many Ukrainians have no idea about the tragedy and why it is so important and that “Polish society is much more concerned with it.” And while he believes that the President of Ukraine and Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed the issue correctly, the Ukrainian Institute for National Remembrance is problematic as their message contradicts that of their leadership. The “image of the Institute is very negative and plays some role in the general perception of Ukraine in the west.”

Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk and Andriy Kulykov spoke to Andriy Portnov, Professor of Ukrainian History and Lukasz Adamski, an expert on Polish-Ukrainian relations via Skype on July 24th, 2016.