Bandera Lobby Review #1
Autumn 2021 and more
In October, the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), an OUN-B front, organized its first in-person event in Washington DC since March 2020, when the Center’s two Banderite bureau chiefs escorted me outside of the conference room but asked that we take a picture together. This time, the CUSUR’s flagship event, the 22nd annual “Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable” took place at the University Club in Washington, next door to the former embassy of the Soviet Union, which is now the Russian ambassador’s residence.
At one point during the conference, its principal organizer, Walter Zaryckyj, who is the US leader of OUN-B and executive director of CUSUR, said, “The bottom line is… we’re in the Third World War in slow motion… and we don’t recognize it, and the U.S. does not recognize it.”
Zaryckyj had recently accused me of “stalking” and threatened to have a friend in Washington blow my cover as a Russian agent, because this past summer I tried to talk to some people outside the Ukrainian Institute of America in Manhattan when it hosted CUSUR’s first in-person event of 2021. In the coming days President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the organized Ukrainian community at the same venue. Zaryckyj’s Center shares a board member with the Institute, a doctor who is allegedly an OUN-B member and the godfather of Zaryckyj’s daughter.
High-level OUN-B people from Ukraine were scheduled to speak at the live-streamed “roundtable” in Washington, but Mykhailo Ratushny couldn’t get a visa, and others perhaps simply planned on meeting virtually, so only Mykola Posivnych made it in the flesh. Posivnych chairs the Lviv branch of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, a far-right political party founded by the OUN-B in 1993 that has had a less clear-cut relationship with the Bandera Organization in the 21st century.
I hoped to talk to some people on their way out of the conference, but then I heard what Zaryckyj said about me in the final moments of the livestream.
And yeah, I’m just gonna finally say to everybody before everybody leaves… the fact is, we did spot someone who’s very troubling — our Russian troll, here, working here in the United States. There’s a character, an obnoxious character called Moss Robeson that continues to say that the entire community is involved in the continuation of a neo-Nazi plot, which began with the Euromaidan; the Euromaidan itself was a neo-Nazi plot, and so on. That character was at our event — it was a grand event — at the Institute, [dedicated to] the 30th anniversary [of Ukrainian independence]. His name is Moss Robeson. He was spotted today, outside, right here. I suspect he went to his friends over at the Russian consulate next door and decided to come pass us. Our people spotted him here, so in effect, my suspicion is…
Unfortunately, the conference feed cut out as Zaryckyj seemed to be getting to the good part of his speculation, but at that point I figured there was no use in trying to talk to its participants, so I made my way back to New York. “Don’t have anything better to do?” the Banderite who “spotted” me had asked.
In the coming weeks, the cover of The Nation declared Ukraine to be “The Most Dangerous Problem in the World,” and Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s hawkish successor as managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, Mike Carpenter, was confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Carpenter is someone who practically advocates a US-Russia showdown in Ukraine, and has participated in numerous CUSUR conferences in recent years, including the one I tried to attend in March 2020. Another time the Biden advisor suggested that the Obama administration was led by people “afraid of their own shadow.” As a result of attending these Banderite-led conferences, the new OSCE ambassador is Facebook friends with OUN-B members from the US, Ukraine, and Australia.
On Friday, November 5, the official OUN-B newspaper, Shlyakh Peremohy (“The Way to Victory”), appealed to its readers to resubscribe for the coming year. It named among its most popular columnists Oleksandr Sych and Yuri Syrotiuk, both deputy chairmen of the far-right Svoboda party (Sych—ideological issues, and Syrotiuk—political education). Svoboda is the successor of the 1990s neo-Nazi “Social-National Party of Ukraine.” Sych apparently represents the OUN-B in Svoboda, and maybe the same goes for Syrotiuk.
At the start of the week, an identical advertisement ran on UkrPohliad.org (“Ukrainian View”), a website run by the “Ukrainian Information Service,” which is based out of two buildings: the OUN-B headquarters in Kyiv, and the home of a cultish Stepan Bandera museum in London.
In October, the director of UIS-London was awkwardly abandoned on screen at the end of the CUSUR livestream as a result of the feed cutting out in Washington while Zaryckyj warned the audience that a “Russian troll” was at the gates.
Both online and in print, the headline “Subscribe to ‘The Way of Victory’!” appeared over a photo of some kind of Kalashnikov rifle laid out on a few issues of the Banderite newspaper.
UkrPohliad.org issued the call to subscribe to Shlyakh Peremohy days apart from publishing a press release and promoting a protest by the National Corps, the political wing of the neo-Nazi Azov movement.
On the first Saturday of November, the Terenovy Provid v Amerytsi (TP-A), or US leadership of OUN-B, held a secret annual meeting in its national headquarters building in Manhattan, but that’s all I can say about that yet.
I had another encounter with the OUN-B member who “spotted” me in Washington, when he stepped outside, presumably to go to the store. I asked if they were having a good meeting. He told me to mind my business. The sensational, anonymous whistleblower complaint that started this newsletter described him as Zaryckyj’s drinking buddy and the TP-A’s “officer in charge of unusual situations.”
The next day, the Ukrainian Youth Association in Mississauga, Ontario published a video of its members, including young children, singing: “Our father is Bandera, Ukraine is our mother, we will fight for Ukraine!” They were doing a Ukrainian nationalist internet challenge that began in October, which military paratroopers and parliamentarians associated with former President Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party also participated in.
Meanwhile in Kyiv, a small group of Ukrainian Youth Association members honored the memory of the Banderite author of the “44 Rules of a Ukrainian Nationalist.” One of the event’s speakers was Pavlo Podobed, the (former?) head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory’s Department for the Preservation of Places of Memory, and probably an OUN-B member. He has reportedly “accused Jews of being the main perpetrators of Soviet crimes against Ukrainians in the 1920s and 1930s.” In attendance was Viktor Yahun, who is a general in the Security Service of Ukraine, an adult member of the Banderite youth group, and likely an OUN-B member too.
Also on Sunday, November 7, the OUN-B leadership in Australia announced the death of Stepan Lysenko, the former head of the Bandera Organization in Victoria. The summer before the pandemic in an Australian nursing home, the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Sydney (i.e. the OUN-B leader in Australia) awarded a medal and certificate to Lysenko on behalf of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Council (chaired by Svoboda ideologist Oleksandr Sych), in honor of 2019 marking the 90th year since the founding of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
Two weeks after Lysenko’s death, the Melbourne branch of the Ukrainian Youth Association, formerly chaired by Lysenko, invited the Ukrainian ambassador to the unveiling of an unofficial “Bandera Street” at its “Camp Karpaty,” located 100 kilometers from Melbourne. But there is, of course, an actual road named for Stepan Bandera in New South Wales, Australia.
In late November, OUN-B members and fellow travelers in Ukraine associated with the Banderite-coordinated, far-right-powered “Capitulation Resistance Movement” announced their own “Civic Oversight Council” to monitor the implementation of the Annual National Program of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, “the decision-making body responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship.” The ten or eleven-person group includes four prominent OUN-B members: Stefan Romaniw of Australia, Ihor Kozak of Canada, plus Serhiy Kvit and Andrii Levus of Ukraine.
Another three are members of the advisory Strategic Council (not to be confused with the executive Coordination Council) of the Capitulation Resistance Movement, more literally translated as the “Movement to Resist Capitulation.” Other members of the “Civic Oversight Council” include a journalist who days earlier filmed himself firing artillery at separatists in eastern Ukraine to “avenge Holodomor,” and a pediatric surgeon who is a suspect in the 2016 assassination of journalist Pavel Sheremet.
Back in October, an appeal signed by signatories associated with the Capitulation Resistance Movement declared their support for the creation of such an “Oversight Council,” including Danylo Lubkivsky, a member of the Strategic Council and director of the Kyiv Security Forum, which was established by former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Open Ukraine Foundation. The Kyiv Security Forum recently held an online discussion (“Talk Between Biden and Putin: Outcomes and Conclusions”) sponsored by the Atlantic Council, featuring General Philip M. Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe.
Days before the launch of the Civic Oversight Council, in late November, President Volodymyr Zelensky alleged that Russia planned to overthrow him on the first day of December by exploiting a protest staged by the Capitulation Resistance Movement calling for his resignation. Obviously, the coup d’etat never materialized, but a thousand people rallied against Zelensky on Independence Square in Kyiv. Some Twitter commentary on the “coup” charges:
Olga Tokariuk @olgatokariuk'I don't believe in coups', Zelenskyi added. 'I am not Yanukovych, I will not escape anywhere'
When Walter Zaryckyj spoke of Ukraine being at the frontlines of an unfolding World War III during his latest CUSUR conference, he was echoing comments made by one of the virtual participants, Andrii Levus, the apparent leader of the Capitulation Resistance Movement. Levus, also the head of Free People, met his wife in the OUN-B’s far-right Youth Nationalist Congress, directed the Ukrainian Information Service at the time of its creation of UkrPohliad.org, served as the deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine in 2014, and is associated with Petro Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party. Levus is perhaps a representative of “Poroshenko’s faction in the security establishment,” but first and foremost is an OUN-B agent.
In the run up to the recent video call between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, amidst renewed fears of a Russian invasion, Levus kickstarted a gun toting social media campaign, #UkrainiansWillResist, that reportedly trended on Twitter in Ukraine. According to the newly launched Kyiv Independent, thousands used the hashtag online and, following Levus’ lead, “many people using the hashtag also posted pictures of themselves giving a rude forearm gesture directed at Putin and Russian troops.”
Volodymyr Viatrovych, the former “memory czar” of Ukraine (2014-19), recently visited Toronto. For those who don’t know, the Cabinet of Ministers appointed Viatrovych, an OUN-B member, as the director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory in 2014, and he consequently served as the chief architect of Ukraine’s “decommunization” laws that glorified the Banderite “liberation movement.” In 2019, months after Zelensky crushed Poroshenko, Viatrovych lost his job but won a seat in Ukrainian Parliament as a member of Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party. He was among those MPs who sang “Our father is Bandera…” in October.
Perhaps while Biden talked with Putin, Viatrovych and his wife met with former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who used to chair the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group. The Banderite couple visited his bakery in Toronto, and were apparently pleased to discover that it has the Canadian OUN-B newspaper Homin Ukrainy, which has been funded by the Canadian government for years.
The next morning, Viatrovych visited the Canadian OUN-B headquarters on Plastics Avenue in Toronto, where the main offices of the League of Ukrainian Canadians, Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada, Homin Ukrainy, and the Yuriy Lypa School of Ukrainian Studies are located. Two days later, Viatrovych received an award and spoke at the “official launch dinner” of a literary fund set up this year by a Canadian foundation which is controlled by the OUN-B. One of the jurors was the editor of the monthly English language supplement to Homin Ukrainy.
The National Ukrainian Youth Association (NUMO), led by Pavlo Podobed’s wife, held its second National Youth Forum on the first weekend of December, in part to elect a new leadership, although so far it has not disclosed the outcome. NUMO formed in the summer of 2019 as a coalition of “patriotic” youth groups, including two OUN-B fronts, the more radical being the Youth Nationalist Congress (MNK). The co-author of the far-right Banderite organization’s annually performed antisemitic Christmas play became a founding member of the NUMO board of directors, and at some point, also a Facebook friend of Biden advisor Mike Carpenter.
The ultranationalistic MNK is the OUN-B organization behind Free People, and to a lesser extent the Capitulation Resistance Movement. When this year’s NUMO delegates took a picture together outside, while everyone else threw on their winter jackets, the MNK representatives, standing on the far-right of the group photo, stubbornly wore their short-sleeve uniforms in the cold, as if to prove that they’re the toughest.
The following weekend, the Sixth Forum of Ukrainian Patriotic Affairs “We Are Ukrainians!” met in Kyiv. I hadn’t heard of this annual event before, but it appears to be organized by the Stepan Bandera National Renaissance Center, for the purpose of promoting “patriotic” education policy.
I used to believe the “National Renaissance Center” was synonymous with the OUN-B headquarters building because they share the same address (along with the MNK, Free People, and the “Resistance Movement”), but it is apparently a charity directed by Taras Rondzistyi, who is allegedly the OUN-B leader in Ukraine these days. Over a decade ago, the Svoboda party’s Oleksandr Sych directed the Banderite non-profit.
Rondzistyi served as an advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine in 2014-16, when that job belonged to OUN-B member Serhii Kvit, who is now a member of the Strategic Council of the Capitulation Resistance Movement. It seems that thanks to Rondzistyi, a “military-patriotic game” for children is conducted every year on the government’s initiative.
This year’s “Patriotic Affairs” forum reportedly had about 150 participants, including but not limited to a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, and director of the State Center of National Patriotic Education, Local History and Tourism.
More telling is who attended the inaugural “We Are Ukrainians!” event in 2015. The Australian Leader of the Bandera Organization addressed a half-full auditorium, standing next to the future executive director of NUMO and the Education Minister, a former captain in the Banderite paramilitary group that launched the extremist Right Sector. Meanwhile, representatives of the neo-Nazi Azov movement sat in the audience, promoted their children’s summer camp in the hallway outside, and helped run the registration table!
That’s all for now… but much more coming soon.