Discover more from Bandera Lobby Blog
The Center for U.S. Banderite Relations
The OUN-B and the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations
Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable X: Compelling Bilateral Ties/US-Ukraine & Canada-Ukraine, October 21-22, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Alleged U.S. leader of the OUN-B, president of the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation, and executive director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations, Walter Zaryckyj, is at the podium.
Not 72 hours after the White House released its transcript of a phone call between Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a related whistleblower complaint was delivered to Capitol Hill, at 4:19 a.m. on September 28, 2019, an anonymous Ukrainian American submitted an explosive but unrelated whistleblower complaint to the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. He described himself as a formerly active member of the Ukrainian American community who grew up with some of its present-day leaders, and knew them so well that “it got to the point where they tried to convince me to join their secret organization … and some kind of antisemitic secret movement.”
The complainant sent an email to the Charities Bureau regarding the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation (UAFF) headquartered in Manhattan. He alleged it to be a front group for a highly secretive transnational organization, what he called the “OUN(R).” The “Revolutionaries” faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists is best known as the OUN-B for its notorious leader Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), the World War II-era aspirant Führer of Ukraine.
The anonymous whistleblower accused the UAFF president Walter Zaryckyj, a former adjunct professor at New York University, of being the leader of what remains of Bandera’s underground network in the United States. The UAFF is the historic publisher of the National Tribune, the OUN-B’s Ukrainian American newspaper.
The same email, featuring the subject line, “UAFF Inc—Large Scale Fraudulent Financial Activities—Fascist Organization—Underground Paramilitary Training Activities—Grand Scale Fraud,” similarly characterized the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), which has organized dozens of conferences, mostly in Washington, D.C., with Zaryckyj as its executive director since its creation in 2000.
The complaint accused the Center of being “a scam perpetrated on the Ukrainian community,” and even the U.S. government, by the OUN-B. What’s more, it alleged that the CUSUR leadership, “in order to receive accommodations, services and other expense coverages in Washington, D.C., present[s] reports on the Ukrainian community and political activities and their [CUSUR’s] fraudulent programs to employees of the CIA.”
Over the years, what at first glance appears to read like a long “who’s who” list of groups and individuals have been affiliated with the Center. The patrons and sponsors of CUSUR’s inaugural conference have included the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, the U.S. Library of Congress, Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Paul Wolfowitz were the highest profile speakers at the inaugural event.
Someone else who spoke at the CUSUR’s first event was Paula Dobriansky—like Wolfowitz, an original signatory of the Project for a New American Century, Dick Cheney’s infamous, neoconservative think tank—soon to be appointed Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs by George W. Bush. Her father, Lev Dobriansky, longtime president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), was the OUN-B’s most important Ukrainian American ally in the United States during the Cold War. With his go-ahead, on the eve of the 1980 U.S. presidential election, the OUN-B’s “Liberation Front” staged a “coup” in the UCCA, which has consistently been a go-to CUSUR sponsor.
Askold Lozynskyj, president of the UCCA and the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) in 2000, and a participant in the 1980 “coup,” admitted in 1989, “The Ukrainian Liberation Front (ULF) is the major underpinning of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America… [but] such has been the case for the last 40 years.” He did so in response to a letter to the editor published in Jersey City’s Ukrainian Weekly that was about the OUN-B but didn’t name the Organization explicitly:
In fact, it seems to me that the political and ideological orientation of only a small group of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists, namely the Liberation Front (which, for all intents and purposes, controls the UCCA) lies at the base of many of the divisions that so deeply and vindictively sever the Ukrainian community in the West. It is precisely this naive and outdated ideology which must be squarely confronted and exposed for what it is in order to bring about healthy debate and progress among Ukrainians. The essence of the thinking behind the Liberation Front ideology is monopolistic rule … [and] the possession of totalitarian power.
Even the online Encyclopedia of Ukraine acknowledges, “In 1980 the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America was taken over by the OUN-B and thus ceased to represent the Ukrainian community as a whole.”
More than thirty years later, some things haven’t changed much. Today, Lozynskyj, a conniving attorney, is perhaps the most powerful OUN-B member in the United States, and is perceived by some as a “puppet master” in the organized Ukrainian American community. From 2010 to 2013, he chaired the World Council of Ukrainian State Organizations, a coordinating body of OUN-B affiliated NGOs also known as the International Council in Support of Ukraine. In the 1990s and early 2000s it was called the Organizations of the Ukrainian State Front, and during the Cold War, the Organizations of the Ukrainian Liberation Front.
Indeed, behind the scenes, the Banderivtsi and the “Organizations of the ULF” have seemingly dominated the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations. For just one obvious example, Bandera’s proud Canadian grandson Steve Bandera sat on the steering committee of CUSUR’s annual “Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood” conference eight times between 2000-2011. Bandera “has steadfastly maintained for years that his grandfather, and the Ukrainian nationalist movement in general, are innocent of perpetrating war crimes against Jews.”
The UAFF and another historically OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian American group, the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms of Ukraine (ODFFU), established in 1946, were in the vanguard of “the consortium which initiated the Roundtable Series and subsequently helped launch CUSUR” at the turn of the millennium. ODFFU’s now-defunct fourfreedoms.net initially doubled as CUSUR’s website until 2005. The ODFFU was once in the vanguard of the “Liberation Front” in the United States, but in recent years it is said to have purged itself of OUN-B members, who are now struggling to take back control of the organization.
On September 28, 2019, hours after an anonymous Ukrainian American emailed the New York Attorney General’s office, an “Extraordinary Convention” was convened in Bloomingdale, Illinois to choose a new leadership of the ODFFU. Mykola Hryckowian, Jr., the CUSUR’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief, chaired the meeting, which received official greetings from the leaders of the UCCA, UAFF, OUN-B, and other groups, including the “International Council in Support of Ukraine” (ICSU).
The ODFFU’s Board of Directors promptly denounced “this purported ‘Extraordinary Convention’ … as an illegitimate attempt to hijack control of the organization and its assets (including its valuable headquarters building in New York City) … [and] to block the legitimate National Convention that is being planned…” The Manhattan building in question is also the former U.S. headquarters of the ULF. Immediately after the meeting in Illinois, the “Banderite” usurpers formed a “Building Management Committee,” chaired by Askold Lozynskyj, to facilitate a takeover of the property at 136 2nd Avenue.
Today in Ukraine, the OUN-B shares its headquarters building with the Youth Nationalist Congress (MNK)—founded in early 2001 on the OUN-B’s initiative less than six months after the first CUSUR conference—and the so-called “Capitulation Resistance Movement” (CRM). The CRM, launched in October 2019, was spearheaded by an NGO, “Free People,” first organized in 2013-14 by the MNK as the 14th company of the Maidan Self Defense militia. In recent years, “Free People” representatives have spoken at numerous CUSUR events. The NGO is an official member of the ICSU, formerly known as the Organizations of the Ukrainian Liberation Front.
The controversial September 2019 “convention” in Bloomingdale, Illinois declared the ICSU chairman, Borys Potapenko, who is intimately associated with “Free People” and the CRM, to be the new “External Affairs Officer” of the ODFFU. He is also reportedly the “International Coordinator” of the UAFF. In recent years, he has been described as “a Ukrainian American activist and an occasional intermediary between Kyiv and Washington” by the neoconservative columnist Eli Lake.
“Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Potapenko welcomed his audience at the opening session of CUSUR’s first conference in September 2000. “It will be my unenviable task to keep our very ambitious agenda running on time.”
When the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations got its own website, it described the CUSUR as having “been designed to provide a set of venues or ‘informational platforms’ for senior-level representatives of the political, economic, security and diplomatic establishments of the United States and Ukraine to exchange views on a wide range of issues…” The website takes note of its special relationship with the “informational arm” of the UAFF, recently accused of being an OUN-B front group:
The Ukrainian Central Information Service [UCIS] served as an ‘administrative midwife’ in the creation of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations and the various fora that the latter has been tasked to run. Any history of the Center must therefore begin with a short synopsis of the said organization. UCIS/USA was founded as the informational arm of the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation, a member organization of the consortium which initiated the Roundtable Series and subsequently helped launch CUSUR… In the UA Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable Series, the role of UCIS was pivotal. Its director, Walter Zaryckyj, served as a program coordinator for each of the eventual Roundtables; its personnel served in various vital preparatory functions associated with staging the said forums… Given the above record, UCIS/USA, which ultimately merged its human and material resources into the CUSUR endeavor, proved to an invaluable ‘bridge’ between the work that the steering committees of each of the Roundtables accomplished and the broader, more formalized administrative functions that the Center has now been asked to perform.
As hinted at in the above quote, the UCIS had a branch in the United States (as well as in Canada), but it was headquartered in London, where it served as the publishing house of the OUN-B and shared an address with a cultish Stepan Bandera museum operated by the Banderivtsi. The museum’s “long-standing director,” according to Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, author of Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist, served as the leader of the OUN-B from 1986 to 1991. The museum, he writes, portrays the OUN-B as “the main victims of the Holocaust.”
Whereas UCIS/USA “ultimately merged its … resources into the CUSUR endeavor,” the British UCIS is today known as the “Ukrainian Information Service-London,” which clearly remains an organ of the OUN-B. Its address is the same as before, however missing on the “about” page of its website. That being said, on the same page, under the heading “Our Offices and Partners,” is UIS-Kyiv—which shares an address with the OUN-B’s headquarters in Ukraine—and Lviv’s “Center for the Study of the Liberation Movement” (TsDVR), located at 1 Stepan Bandera street upstairs of the no less problematic “Lonsky Prison Museum.”
According to Per Anders Rudling, this museum is a place where “Jewish suffering is omitted. Perpetrators of anti-Jewish violence are not named,” and the TsDVR is an OUN-B “‘facade structure’ which has come to serve as an important institutional link between the young Ukrainian pro-OUN legitimizers and diaspora nationalists…” As of 2014, the ICSU’s now-defunct website listed both entities in Lviv among its international partners, as well as the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations and the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINR).
With the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers’ appointment of former TsDVR and Lonsky Prison Museum director Volodymyr Viatrovych as director of the UINR in 2014, nationalists seized control of what is essentially Ukraine’s Ministry of Memory. The Institute played a leading role in the state’s glorification of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators during Poroshenko’s presidency. In the three years preceding the 2013-2014 “Revolution of Dignity” (a.k.a. the “Euromaidan”) that chased Poroshenko’s “pro-Russian” predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, from Ukraine, Volodymyr Viatrovych spoke at four CUSUR events in the U.S. capital—and he would be back for more. He is now a member of Ukraine’s parliament via Poroshenko’s nationalist “European Solidarity” party, and a prominent right-wing critic of President Zelenskiy.
“The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past,” Volodymyr Viatrovych, is however just the tip of the iceberg. Before further scrutinizing the Center, its events, and influence, it’s worth rolling back the clock to the 20th century.
In May 1988, Walter Zaryckyj was a member of the Ukrainian delegation at an international conference of the crypto-fascist Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) in Washington, D.C. Not a year after World War II ended, the OUN-B created the ABN, a coalition of self-described anti-Russian “national liberation” organizations that agitated for World War III, most of which formerly collaborated with Nazi Germany. By the end of the decade, the British secret intelligence services bankrolled the OUN-B and ABN, although the funding didn’t last for long.
During the Cold War, the ABN received the support of anticommunist hardliners around the world, including the United States. Stepan Bandera’s deputy, ideologist, and indirect successor Yaroslav Stetsko (1912-1986), a war criminal who even made the CIA wary, was the ABN’s leader for life, to be succeeded by his wife Slava Stetsko (1920-2003), its second and final president. On behalf of Bandera and the OUN-B, Yaroslav declared a short-lived pro-Nazi “government” on June 30, 1941: “The newly formed Ukrainian state will work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany … [and] will continue to fight with the Allied German Army …” Between them, the Stetskos led the OUN-B and ABN for decades.
The Ukrainian delegation at the 1988 ABN conference also included Roman Zvarych, who relinquished his U.S. citizenship after the collapse of the USSR, co-founded the OUN-B’s far-right Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (CUN) political party with Slava Stetsko in 1992, and in 2005 was appointed Justice Minister of Ukraine by President Viktor Yushchenko (not to be confused with his successor, Viktor Yanukovych). The U.S.-born former First Lady of Ukraine Kateryna Yushchenko, an aide in the Reagan White House and mentee of Lev Dobriansky, was affiliated with the ABN in the 1980s. The 21st Century “Youth Nationalist Congress” (MNK) got its start as the CUN’s youth wing in the 1990s.
Another soon to be influential Ukrainian American joined Zaryckyj and Zvarych in the ABN delegation. Irena Chalupa, who formerly worked in the ABN and OUN-B’s headquarters building in Munich, soon began a career with the U.S. state broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In the interim she directed the UCCA’s Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), established in 1977, which has seemingly always been in the hands of Bandera followers. Since 1996 it has been led by Michael Sawkiw, Jr., who, as a college student, penned a letter to the editor of the Ukrainian Weekly mourning the death of Yaroslav Stetsko.
More recently, Chalupa was an editor and “lead contributor” to the Atlantic Council’s “UkraineAlert” blog. She has also been a prominent host of the propagandistic Ukrainian “fact checking organization” StopFake’s online videos, second only to her fellow diaspora neo-Nationalist, Marko Suprun, a former board member of the ODFFU and CUSUR. His wife, Ulana Suprun, also a formerly active ODFFU member, was appointed the Healthcare Minister of Ukraine by Petro Poroshenko, and dismissed by Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Today she’s a member of the “Capitulation Resistance Movement” leadership.
Less than two months before the 1988 U.S. presidential election, the Ukrainian Weekly reported as front page news, “the Soviet media have been claiming a major success for the KGB … in infiltrating … the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists — and ‘neutralizing’ its ‘subversive’ activities.” In September, Pravda published an interview with a KGB colonel about the alleged Operation Boomerang: “According to the veteran intelligence officer, it was launched some 20 years ago when [the KGB recruited] a … nephew of a member of the Ukrainian national government proclaimed by the Bandera faction of the OUN in June 1941 shortly after the outbreak of war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.”
Days later, the George H.W. Bush campaign suffered a minor scandal when several Republican “ethnic leaders” accused of being anti-Semites were dismissed or resigned from the Republican National Committee’s “Heritage Groups Council.” That included Bohdan Fedorak, a leader of the ODFFU and American Friends of ABN, who ceased to be the national vice-chair of “Ukrainians for Bush” soon after calling for the abolition of the Department of Justice’s Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations (OSI) at an event with Vice President Bush at Fedorak’s Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Michigan.
Russ Bellant, who witnessed the incident, got a book published that year: Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party. In it he identified Bohdan Fedorak as the “top OUN-B leader for external affairs in the United States,” possibly unaware that when Yaroslav Stetsko died in 1986, Fedorak succeeded him as the designated spokesperson of the OUN-B’s short-lived, pro-Nazi “government” declared by Stetsko in German-occupied Lviv. About a dozen years later, in the weeks and months leading up to the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Fedorak chaired the CUSUR’s first “Quest for Mature Nation Statehood” steering committee, and reprised that role in 2001.
“A secretive group, OUN-B’s tracks are difficult to follow,” Bellant wrote. An OUN-B member told him, “You have to understand. We are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence.”
In December 1988, Walter Zaryckyj, a graduate of Columbia University, gave a speech at an annual “political-ideological camp” at the OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA) resort in Ellenville, New York, where one can find what is probably the oldest permanently displayed monument dedicated to Stepan Bandera in the world (built in 1962). The following winter, Zaryckyj did so again. Other lecturers included Roman Zvarych, Mykola Hryckowian, and Ihor Dlaboha.
The complaint sent to the New York AG’s Charities Bureau last September alleged that in the U.S. branch of the OUN-B today, “there is a special division, headed by Nick [Mykola] Hryckowian, charged with the ideological brainwashing of youngsters to entice them to join the terrorist division.” Likely before the email was read in full, an “illegitimate” Bloomingdale, Illinois meeting declared Hryckowian the new chairman of the ODFFU, with Walter Zaryckyj as one of his deputies and Borys Potapenko their “external affairs officer.”
Ihor Dlaboha, the editor in chief of the UCCA’s Ukrainian Quarterly since October 2019, was “elected” the executive secretary of Hryckowian’s Board of Directors. Years ago, he wrote Yaroslav Stetsko’s obituary in the Ukrainian Weekly. His son, Adrian Dlaboha, is the leader of the UAYA, on behalf of which he sent greetings to the controversial convention in September.
As for Borys Potapenko, he’s also lectured at the UAYA’s winter “political-ideological camp,” an annual tradition started in 1976 by the American Friends of the ABN, with which he too was affiliated. By 2000, Potapenko worked as the director of operations at Bohdan Fedorak’s Michigan cultural center. At that year’s inaugural “Ukraine’s Quest” conference, Potapenko introduced their Congressman, who founded the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus three years prior. “Thank you so much,” U.S. Representative Sander Levin began his remarks.
You know, in Congress we often start by indicating a conflict-of-interest. We propose to begin with that. In this case, I have to confess a strong compatibility of interest. Borys mentioned that he’s from Michigan; as well, is Bohdan Fedorak … So we’re strong and close pals … [but] I’m here not only out of close friendship to my colleagues from Michigan and the officials of the various organizations. I’m here to say … remember the significance of what you’re doing for the months and the years that will follow…
Fedorak was named the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Michigan in 2002, with the new consulate to be hosted by his establishment. Potapenko chaired a “Committee in Support of the Consulate of Ukraine in Michigan.” Michigan U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow attended the opening ceremony, as did Sander Levin and a number of state and local officials. Among his official duties, Fedorak was charged with “protecting in the United States of America the interests of Ukraine and of its nationals…” In 2019 he joined the OUN-B’s attempt to “hijack” the ODFFU.
If the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR) is not a front group for Stepan Bandera’s “Revolutionaries” wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, at the very least it has always been closely associated with the remnants of the OUN-B in the United States. Although CUSUR’s mission is ostensibly to encourage Ukraine’s westernization, it has repeatedly served as a forum that platformed far-right Ukrainian nationalists, particularly those affiliated with the cultish, cabalistic Banderivtsi.
At the fourth annual “Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable” (“Ukraine’s Transition to a Developed Market Economy,” October 2003), Oleksandr Sych, then the far-right deputy mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, participated in a panel moderated by Nadia McConnell, the president of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Kateryna Yushchenko co-founded the latter organization in 1991. Sych was at least formerly a member of the OUN-B’s political party, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (CUN). During the 2002 parliamentary elections, he led the regional campaign for Victor Yushchenko’s “Our Ukraine” party, which allied itself with the CUN.
Sych returned to Washington, D.C. in September 2014 to deliver the keynote address at the 15th annual “Ukraine’s Quest” event as the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and a leading ideologist of the neo-Nazi Svoboda (“Freedom” or “Liberty”) party. As told by Ivan Katchanovski, “Svoboda regards itself as an ideological successor of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists led by Bandera and Stetsko.”
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was invited to speak at that afternoon’s lunch, but it’s unclear that she did. During her infamous, leaked conversation with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine a few weeks before Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, Nuland had suggested that the next Prime Minister (a “Yushchenko clone,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, her favored option) should be speaking to Svoboda’s leader “four times a week.” As it were, Yanukovych and Yatsenyuk spoke at the same CUSUR event as Oleksandr Sych in October 2003.
That year’s “Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable,” according to CUSUR’s website, “saw the introduction of a new ingredient to the proceedings, a series of business-to-business networking sessions” that inspired the creation of another annual CUSUR event, the US-Ukrainian Business Networking Series, which debuted in March 2005. CUN co-founder Roman Zvarych, recently appointed the Justice Minister of Ukraine by President Yushchenko, was among the featured speakers. By the end of the year, three other “informational platforms” had emerged: the Historical Encounters Series, the US-Ukrainian Security Dialogue, and the US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue.
During a “Patron Dinner” at the fifth annual “Quest” conference in 2004, U.S. House Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) “suggested that a regularly scheduled set of discussions which would track the progress of Ukraine’s professed ‘Euro-Atlantic’ ambitions specifically in the realm of ‘security affairs’ was needed.” According to CUSUR’s website, Weldon “promised to sponsor all such discussions and to provide the venues for the said gatherings on Capitol Hill. CUSUR … took Rep. Weldon at his word,” and began to organize the “Security Dialogue” series “for senior-level representatives from each nation’s respective military establishments to exchange views on a wide range of defense related issues.”
Weldon, interestingly, was a co-founder of the Duma-Congress Study Group, and “made improving [U.S.] relations with Russia one of his key efforts in the House,” according to his Wikipedia page. He lost his 2006 re-election campaign after the FBI and Justice Department investigated him “for suspected unlawful ties to two Russian companies and two Serbian citizens.” A dozen years later, the Senate Judiciary Committee took interest in the former congressman because of his “connections to both Russia and the Trump campaign.”
In May 2012, two years into the presidency of the “pro-Russian” Viktor Yanukovych, the Historical Encounters Series featured a “special event” in New York City called “The Undaunted: The Legacy of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.” The OUN-B organized the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in 1943, which prioritized the ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews in western Ukraine—not a mythical “heroic but unequal struggle against the armies of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia,” as told by the CUSUR website and other OUN-UPA apologists. Those who glorify the UPA subscribe to a narrative that it was founded in 1942, so the event likely included recognition of 2012 as the year of the barbarous Banderite partisan army’s 80th anniversary.
The “special event” was co-sponsored, among others, by the Society of Veterans of UPA, which today lives on in the United States through the children of UPA veterans who emigrated to the U.S. after World War II, such as Mykola Hryckowian. Guest speakers included Volodymyr Viatrovych, then a “senior visiting scholar” at Harvard University’s Ukrainian Research Institute, and Ihor Mirchuk, the son of an important ABN member and OUN-B propagandist. According to Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe,
Petro Mirchuk, Bandera’s first hagiographer … prior to the Second World War, [was the] head of a division of the propaganda apparatus in the [OUN] national executive. Mirchuk was also … an advocate of [post-WW2] Jewish-Ukrainian reconciliation—on condition that Ukrainians did not kill Jews during the Second World War, that the OUN and UPA rescued them, and that Ukrainians were victims of the Holocaust equally with Jews … After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of Mirchuk’s publications were republished in Ukraine. They were regarded as important, academic, and reliable works … Repeating the proclamation of the Ukrainian state from 30 June 1941, Mirchuk omitted all references to [Nazi] collaboration…
Two weeks later, the next Security Dialogue commenced on the eve of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. CUSUR organized the NATO-themed event, also in Chicago, with the U.S. and Canadian divisions of the ICSU. The Illinois Division of the UCCA hosted the conference. Speakers included Borys Potapenko and Walter Zaryckyj, the Atlantic Council’s Ian Brzezinski and John Herbst, as well as Ukraine’s Serhiy Kvit and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko.
Kvit, a former captain in CUN’s paramilitary branch, the “Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Organization ‘Trident’”, was appointed the Minister of Education after the “Maidan” uprising of 2013-2014. In this capacity, Kvit spoke at another CUSUR event months later. In November 2013, “Trident” had spearheaded the creation of the extremist Right Sector, which adopted the red and black flag of the UPA, and led many of the riots in Kyiv in early 2014.
As for Nalyvaichenko, a friend of Right Sector’s founding leader, the 2012 Security Dialogue was his fourth CUSUR event since 2010. He had directed the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) under President Yushchenko, during which time, according to Per Anders Rudling, “Nalyvaichenko and his agency presented the OUN as democrats, pluralists, even righteous rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.” In those days, Viatrovych controlled the SBU’s archives. After Yanukovych’s ouster, Nalyvaichenko again directed the SBU, initially with “Free People” leader Andriy Levus as his deputy.
One of the principal leaders of the “Capitulation Resistance Movement,” Levus has spoken at multiple CUSUR events in Washington, D.C., including most recently at the seventh annual “U.S.-Ukraine Working Group Summit” in June 2019. Levus did so alongside Stefan Romaniw—first vice-president of the Ukrainian World Congress and international leader of the OUN-B since 2009—less than two months after Volodymyr Zelenskiy trounced Petro Poroshenko in the Ukrainian presidential election. Romaniw has likewise spoken at several CUSUR events over the years.
To once again quote from the CUSUR website at length:
When the Obama Administration balked at the request [to arm Ukraine in 2014] ... an Ad Hoc Committee on Ukraine (AHCU) sought to mobilize the U.S. Congress to counter the balk … and some very serious lobbying by the AHCU helped obtain passage of a Ukraine Freedom Support Act [UFSA] in mid December ... authorizing the POTUS to provide lethal weaponry to the UA [Ukrainian] Armed Forces … When it became clear that a longer term lobbying effort might be needed ‘to keep all the mentioned parties enthusiastic about helping Ukraine’, CUSUR helped transform the AHCU into a more permanent entity: the America Ukraine Committee (AUC)...
Mykola Hryckowian, representing the CUSUR, moderated the first meeting of the AHCU in October 2014. The following month, the AHCU co-sponsored the annual “Ukrainian Days” lobbying event organized by the UCCA and its Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), during which Senate Foreign Relations chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey spoke with Hryckowian, Potapenko, and Roman Zvarych’s brother Ihor. They advocated on behalf of the UFSA, among other things, such as “a U.S. government grant for the Patriot Defence medical kit initiative” coordinated by Ulana and Marko Suprun.
The AHCU also called for the establishment of a bipartisan Senate Task Force on Ukraine, a campaign that culminated in U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) launching the Senate Ukraine Caucus (SUC) in February 2015. Former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) helped kick off the effort with an op-ed in the Washington Post in November 2014 (“Congress must take the lead on Ukraine”) that praised Democratic U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Robert Menendez with having “led the way in arguing for providing [Ukraine] defensive weapons.”
According to Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate, “This bipartisan group [SUC] sends a clear message that Ukraine has the unflinching support of the Ukrainian community in Illinois and in the United States Senate.” The UCCA’s Illinois Division is firmly in the hands of the OUN-B. According to the September 2019 whistleblower complaint, its president Ihor Diaczun and vice-president Pavlo Bandriwsky are part of the OUN-B’s U.S. leadership. Diaczun served as assistant secretary of the “Extraordinary Convention” in Bloomingdale, Illinois, which “elected” Bandriwsky the first deputy head of Mykola Hryckowian’s “Board of Directors.” A banker, Bandriwsky is also the treasurer of the OUN-B’s International Council in Support of Ukraine.
After Congress adopted the USFA of 2014 and Barack Obama signed it into law, AHCU chair Mykola Hryckowian wrote an article for the Ukrainian Weekly in March 2015 in which he credited his “Ad Hoc Committee” for having coordinated the lobbying effort. By that time, CUSUR had organized over 60 conferences since 2000.
In the coming days, Borys Potapenko, then the deputy leader of the ICSU, wrote an article for the same publication that recognized the AHCU for being “instrumental in facilitating the public meetings and interviews” for the neo-Nazi Ukrainian politician Andriy Parubiy’s extensive first tour of the United States. Potapenko also suggested that the AHCU played a key role in the formation of the SUC a couple weeks before Parubiy reached the United States. That spring, Bandriwsky marched alongside Viatrovych in Chicago, where Svoboda flags and portraits of Bandera and Stetsko could also be seen.
The following year, Parubiy again toured the U.S.—or rather Washington, D.C.—and Potapenko once more wrote a statement, this time describing the trip as having been “arranged by the America Ukraine Committee.” Among other things, Parubiy met with Congressional Ukrainian Caucus co-chair Sander Levin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland, and Anna Makanju, Vice President Joe Biden’s Special Advisor for Europe and Eurasia. Parubiy was also the keynote speaker at CUSUR’s seventh annual U.S.-Ukraine Security Dialogue. Soon upon returning to Ukraine, he became the Chairman of Parliament. Parubiy is now the deputy leader of Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party.
After Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Herman Pirchner, the founder of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), joined the Trump transition’s “landing team” at the State Department. Pirchner is the only person to have held a seat on all 17 “Ukraine’s Quest” steering committees between 2000 and 2016 aside from Walter Zaryckyj, CUSUR’s executive director. The AFPC has likewise co-sponsored and co-financed almost every CUSUR event, as well as contributed other speakers and organizers. In 2019, Pirchner wrote a book, Post Putin, in which he named Zaryckyj and Potapenko in the acknowledgements section.
George Nesterczuk was also part of the Trump transition via its landing team at the General Services Administration. Almost forty years earlier, he delivered the keynote address at a UCCA event in New York City observing the 40th anniversary of the death of OUN founder Yevhen Konovalets and the 35th anniversary of the founding of the “1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army,” formerly known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier (“Galician”) Division of the SS.
Born into an ODFFU family, Nesterczuk served as the first director of the UCCA’s UNIS and participated in the U.S. branch of the World Anti-Communist League before Ronald Reagan appointed him deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and later the United States Information Agency (USIA). Nesterczuk ran Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign in Maryland, and earned recognition in Russ Bellant’s book as one of “the contact points between the OUN-B and the [Reagan] White House.” In 1989, Nesterczuk accused the DOJ’s Nazi-hunting OSI of “intimidation tactics reminiscent of the Gestapo.”
Nesterczuk was a member of CUSUR’s first four “Ukraine’s Quest” steering committees, and by 2003, chaired the ODFFU Policy Council. The following year, he became Senior Advisor to the OPM director for the Department of Defense, and soon “led OPM efforts in establishing the National Security Personnel System.” By 2006, he also worked as a technical consultant to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s “Project to Assist Ukraine’s Civil Service Reform.” Over a decade later, Trump tapped Nesterczuk to “overhaul” the OPM itself, but he withdrew himself from consideration after a group of unions wrote a letter protesting his nomination:
In our view … [one] needs to look no further than Mr. Nesterczuk’s leading role in the creation and implementation of the [Department of Defense’s] failed National Security Personnel System (NSPS) … which turned out to be a discriminatory personnel system created out of extreme ideological disdain for the due process worker protections and merit system principles that define our modern day civil service … Mr. Nesterczuk has also had a long, checkered career both outside and inside the federal government.
Oddly enough, the letter suggested that while Viktor Yanukovych was Prime Minister of Ukraine, the Bandera follower Nesterczuk might have “received compensation from the then pro-Russian government in the Ukraine,” and “Mr. Nesterczuk should also be asked about his relationship with Paul Manafort.”
According to an article by Natasha Bertrand in The Atlantic, “shortly after Trump’s inauguration,” a former Ukrainian member of parliament named Andrii Artemenko—an associate of former U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon—“met with [Michael] Cohen at a New York City hotel to discuss bringing peace to Russia and Ukraine.” The plan was upended by the New York Times’ discovery of the meeting. Weldon denied involvement, and reminded Bertrand, “I spent much time on US/Ukraine relations and tried repeatedly to strengthen the US/Ukraine relationship” while a member of Congress. In the coming weeks, however, Bertrand’s source overhead Weldon privately lamenting the failure of the peace plan: “He started saying, ‘Putin is not that bad. The U.S. is much worse in many ways.’ He was very cynical.”
In the meantime, Washington, D.C. hosted the eighth annual U.S.-Ukraine Security Dialogue in February 2017, which according to the website of the Ukrainian Youth Nationalist Congress’ “Free People,” incidentally served as “the first public dialogue between the Ukrainian side and the new government in the United States.” Multiple representatives of “Free People” spoke at the event, including Andriy Levus. If not already, Potapenko soon became the new leader of the ICSU and an advisor to the American Foreign Policy Council. In recent months, Potapenko and Levus have been helping to lead the fight against the implementation of the peace process in eastern Ukraine via the “Capitulation Resistance Movement.”
Shortly before Trump and Putin first met at the G-20 summit in June 2017, a delegation of conservative think-tank “experts” from the United States visited Ukraine, representing the AFPC and the Heritage and Jamestown Foundations—all of which have contributed speakers to CUSUR events over the years. The trip was made possible by the joint efforts of “Free People,” the CUSUR, UCCA, and ICSU. The delegation, apparently led by Herman Pirchner, met with the Speaker of Parliament Andriy Parubiy, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Attorney General Yuriy Lutsenko, Minister of Healthcare Ulana Suprun, Institute of National Remembrance director Volodymyr Viatrovych, and Andriy Levus, among others. In return, Levus led a “Free People” delegation to participate in the “Ukrainian Days” lobbying event in Washington, D.C. that October.
Unlike President Obama, Donald Trump agreed to supply Ukraine lethal military aid as authorized by the USFA of 2014, but of course, he got himself impeached for attempting to use that weaponry as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens and the origins of the “black ledger” that spurred Paul Manafort to resign from the Trump campaign in 2016. As for Volodymyr Zelenskiy, even before he won the Ukrainian presidential election last spring, “Free People” began to mobilize the “Resistance Movement” against him under the banner of “Protect Ukraine.”
Launch of the "Protect Ukraine" initiative, April 2019. Sitting second to the left appears to be Walter Zaryckyj. To his left, leaders of the CUN, OUN-B, and OUN-M. In the corner on the right, speaking and holding a piece of paper, is Andriy Levus.
Now, with the Ukrainian far-right hoping to lead another protest movement to topple Zelenskiy’s government and purge the Ukrainian state of all “capitulationist” and “pro-Russian” elements, the OUN-B’s influential diaspora network is standing by to do all that it can to bring their long-awaited “national revolution” to fruition. If things go south for Zelenskiy, after so many years in the wilderness, Bandera’s disciples could be on the verge of trying to seize power in Ukraine, which might make the Russian government’s decrying a U.S.-orchestrated “neo-Nazi coup” in Kyiv since 2014 seem prescient in hindsight.
If you liked this post, please share it and subscribe to the Bandera Lobby Blog for more.