3

I'n seeing this video all over twitter, with yesterday supposedly being the 4 year anniversary:

"The head of the neo-Nazi nationalists in Lvov Ukraine died in the middle of a speech" https://twitter.com/arieshapira1/status/884747826382725120

It has 3.4M views and shows an old man in uniform collapsing while speaking at a microphone. I was curious about the context and searched for more information, but most of the results I've found are other social media posts that don't identify the man, or the event he was speaking at. It seems like something that would be sensational enough to be covered in mainstream news outlets, but all I can find is is one source, in French that gives some more detail, but I don't know anything about whether this is a reputable news outlet.

https://fr.sputniknews.com/international/201707111032193793-nationaliste-ukraine-nazi-mort/

google translation:

The head of the nationalist cell of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), active under Nazi Germany in World War II, Pyotr Vushko, died at the age of 91 while delivering a speech in the honor of the leader of the UPA, Roman Shoukhevytch, in the Lvov region of Ukraine.

...so maybe more like an original nazi collaborator than a neo-nazi?

5
  • 2
    I am nervous about the broad "nazi collaborator" brush. The Ukranian Insurgent Army seems to have, throughout its history worked with the Nazi German government (against their main enemy, the Soviets), and then later fought violently against it. – Oddthinking Jul 13 at 1:07
  • 3
    Seems like a few separate questions, becoming progressively more subjective: (1) does the video show the collapse and/or death of Pyotr Vushko during a speech? (2) was Vushko a leader of the UPA, and what was his role? (3) is the UPA a "neo-Nazi nationalist" organization? – Nate Eldredge Jul 13 at 2:22
  • 1
    The death of a 91-year old man from natural causes isn't usually newsworthy, regardless of what he was doing at the time, unless he was already well known during his life. And evidently you'd never heard of him before... – Nate Eldredge Jul 13 at 2:24
  • From wikipedia: "Numerous accounts ascribe to the UPA a role in the killing of Ukrainian Jews under the German occupation." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Cody Jul 13 at 16:31
  • @Cody: Indeed, if you cherry-pick, you will find the Ukranian Insurgent Army worked with the Nazis. And if you cherry-pick, you will find the Ukranian Insurgent Army slaughtered Nazis. What if one didn't cherry-pick, and acknowledged it was a false dichotomy, and far more complex than that? – Oddthinking Jul 18 at 7:34
6

No, this video does not depict a neo-nazi leader dying in the middle of a speech. Namely,

  • Yes, Petro Vushko died at age of 91 during his speech at the monument to Shukhevych;
  • No, he was not a leader of OUN/UPA;
  • No, he was not a nazi or neo-nazi.

The event took place on 9 July 2017 (source, translation).

The head of the OUN-UPA Brotherhood died during a speech in front of the monument to Shukhevych

During the patriotic speech near the monument to Roman Shukhevych, in front of a large community, the head of the Yavoriv regional OUN-UPA fraternity lost consciousness and fainted. After the attempt of the local doctors to [resuscitate] bring him back to life, under the prayers of Fr. Taras, without regaining consciousness, at the age of 91 his heart stopped beating - Petro Ivanovych Vushko.

Petro Vushko was born on June 18, 1926 in the village of Kobylnytsia Voloska of the former Jaworów County, now Poland. He was raised in a patriotic family. During the German occupation, Petro Vushko studied at the Ukrainian State Trade School in Yavoriv. In 1944 he became a member of the OUN under the pseudonym "Orlyk". After the brutal investigation, Petro Vushko was sentenced by a [Russian] tribunal to death, which was commuted to 25 years in [Russian Gulag] concentration camps and 5 years of deprivation of civil rights.

He headed the Yavoriv District Brotherhood of the OUN-UPA, the Yavoriv District Union of Political Prisoners, a member of the regional branch of veterans, a member of the commission for the restoration of the rights of rehabilitated Yavoriv District Council, and took an active part in all patriotic events.

More sources from Ukrainian regional and national media:

  • The leader of the OUN-UPA district fraternity died in Lviv region during a speech in honor of Shukhevych — TSN
  • Petro Vushko, an activist of the Lviv Regional Union of Political Prisoners of Ukraine, has died — Forpost Lviv

From the articles published in the news outlets, we can conclude that:

  • There is no information of whether Petro Vushko was a leader of UPA:

    • At the time of UPA activity, he joined the partisan movement in 1944, just around the time when the Russian occupants recaptured Ukraine (28 October 1944). It seems doubtful that Vushko could get a leading position in a very short period of time.
    • In modern times, he led the Yavoriv regional Unions of Veterans, Political Prisoners and the local Brotherhood of the OUN-UPA which has mostly ceremonial role.
  • Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) has neither been a nazi or a neo-nazi organization. It fought against both National-Socialist Germany and Socialist Russia's USSR. Quoting Wikipedia,

    During World War II, it was engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Soviet Union, the Polish Underground State, Kingdom of Romania, Communist Poland and Nazi Germany. — Wikipedia

    Edit: the role of national-liberation movements during the WWII, including the OUN/UPA, is indeed complicated, see comments section below. For the sake of this question, the only accusation against Petro Vushko is his prosecution by the Russian regime.

    The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg did not indict OUN/UPA or its members on any crimes against humanity. The Tribunal papers contain a captured German document of 25 November 1941 that ordered (page 265) (also on Wikipedia):

    "It has been ascertained that the Bandera Movement is preparing a revolt in the Reichskommissariat which has as its ultimate aim the establishment of an independent Ukraine." […]


A few minor points that may have prevented from finding sources about the person and the event:

  • Ukrainians don't have names "Pyotr". It could have been a typo or a mistake made by Russian mass media referenced in the original question.
  • There is no "Lvov" region in Ukraine. The town of Krakovets' is located in Yavoriv commune of Lviv region.
12
  • 7
    I think the relationship between OUN and Nazism is a bit more complex than your answer makes it out to be. From the wiki article you link: "The OUN's stated immediate goal [...] was the re-establishment of a united, independent Nazi-aligned, mono-ethnic national state", "many cases of collaboration with the German forces", "OUN police, working for the Germans, played a crucial supporting role in the liquidation of 200,000 Jews in Volhynia". – tim Jul 13 at 6:43
  • 4
    And from the OUN article: "The ideology of the OUN is described as similar to Italian fascism", "pledging loyalty to Adolf Hitler", "radical nationalist and extreme right-wing", "including the Union of Ukrainian Fascists", "The ideology of the organization was heavily influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche, German National Socialism and Italian Fascism; combining extreme nationalism with terrorism, corporatism, and anti-Semitism" – tim Jul 13 at 6:44
  • 7
    This answer is authoritative, well researched and sound. It only needs some minor improvements, like changing the "No" for a "Yes" in the heading, rather than whitewashing attempts at explaining why the particular brand of violent rightwing ultranationalist antisemitism Petro Vushko spoused doesn't merit the qualification of "neo-nazi". – Rekesoft Jul 13 at 9:23
  • 3
    @bytebuster It's definitely a valid choice to focus on the death, and not on the ideology of OUN/UPA. But the framing of opposition to both Nazis and socialists, when they are in fact right-wing extremists whose ideology is based on fascism and Nazism, who participated in the Holocaust, and who only opposed German Nazis because of territorial disputes, seems like an attempt to whitewash the UPA. – tim Jul 13 at 9:51
  • 3
    @bytebuster That seems like a straw man; of course the Nuremberg trials didn't convict the UPA; their purpose was to prosecute high-ranking German leadership, not Nazi collaborators in eastern Europe. The fact that Ukrainian fascists revolted against Germany is not disputed; what is disputed is 1) why they did so (territorial disputes rather than ideological differences; which your quote also makes clear) and 2) If they collaborated prior to this (which they did). – tim Jul 13 at 11:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .