Bandera Lobby Review #2
Note to subscribers: Substack says this is too long for some to read as emails.
The other day, the US leader of OUN-B (the Banderite faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) asked me for a bagel with cream cheese, and if I support Russia’s war on Ukraine. Of course I said no to the second part, but happily got him the bagel. Still, he told me I am in fact on the same side as Vladimir Putin, and once again warned me to “stop stalking the Ukrainian community.” We started talking over each other as the next person in line asked, “can I pay?!”
I haven’t written anything since Putin announced his “special military operation,” so there’s a lot to catch up on. This belated installment of the seasonal ‘Bandera Lobby Review’ will look back on the past winter for the OUN-B diaspora network, especially in the United States, including a Banderite campaign to get me fired from my job on the same block as the US headquarters of OUN-B in “Little Ukraine,” Manhattan. It’s broken up into several parts named for different hashtags:
#SayNOtoPutin, #SayYEStoUkraine (Introduction / January)
#StandWithUkraine, #StopPutinNow (February)
#UniteWithUkraine, #PunishPutin (March)
#CloseTheSky, #NoFlyZone (February-March)
#FireMoss (Epilogue of sorts)
In early January, ahead of doomed US-Russia negotiations in Geneva and the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels, the OUN-B launched small “Say No to Putin” protests around the world. The Banderites put out the call to action via the militant “Capitulation Resistance Movement” in Ukraine, which rebranded as the “Free Ukraine Resistance Movement” after Russia invaded. The extremist-allied Resistance Movement’s campaign quickly found support from the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), which is heavily influenced by the Bandera Organization.
I plan to demonstrate in my next newsletter that the “Resistance Movement” is a far-right OUN-B front; the Ukrainian World Congress will have to wait. But for starters, the international OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw of Australia is the first vice-president (and former secretary general) of the UWC. And deputy OUN-B leader Andriy Levus of Ukraine, who I’m guessing will succeed Romaniw if he survives the war, has led the Resistance Movement since its beginning in 2019.
In January it became apparent that the Banderite organizers of the international #SayNOtoPutin campaign aspired to create a successor to the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN, 1946-96), a far-right OUN-B-led Cold Warrior organization filled with Nazi collaborators. That month in Manhattan, while working on the above-linked piece, I passed by a small #SayNOtoPutin rally at Union Square on my way to work, and got recognized by a Banderite who I later learned had been trying to get me fired for months. The US leader of OUN-B, Walter Zaryckyj, had the megaphone, but might not have noticed me. Zaryckyj, who lectured at NYU for almost three decades as an adjunct professor, chairs the UWC’s “International Scholarly Council.”
I tried to get close for a good picture. It’s possible that I walked a little too fast toward Zaryckyj, who is also the president of the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation. A board member of this organization (which partially owns the OUN-B headquarters building in Kyiv) jumped in front of me and frantically told me to back up. I did, but a member of the Ukrainian American Youth Association, another OUN-B front, still tried to block my shot with a protest sign.
In addition to Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, #SayNOtoPutin protests reportedly also occurred in Chicago and Washington, D.C. in the United States, Edmonton and Toronto in Canada, plus London, Lisbon, Riga, Melbourne, Rome, Athens, and multiple cities in Spain. The campaign didn’t get much traction in the West, at least online; the Kyiv Post promoted it somewhat, and a non-resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis chimed in on Twitter, “#SayNOtoPutin.”
The Capitulation Resistance Movement and Ukrainian World Congress called for another international campaign, “Say Yes to Ukraine,” scheduled for Ukrainian Unity Day, or January 22. One of Walter Zaryckyj’s deputies, Christine Balko, former CEO of the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union based in Manhattan, spoke at the Resistance Movement’s Unity Day demonstration in Kyiv. Balko identified herself as the director of the “Ukrainian Statehood Front”—a coalition of OUN-B front groups—in the United States.
This murky OUN-B coordinating body, formerly known as the Ukrainian Liberation Front, was in fact responsible for much of the disunity (and chaos, even) in the Ukrainian American community during the Cold War, for example by carrying out a controversial coup in the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America in 1980. According to the anonymous whistleblower who inspired me to start the Bandera Lobby Blog,
In the past, [Christine Balko] was forced to resign from Self Reliance NY Federal Credit Union for stealing members’ Social Security numbers and the addresses of their families in Ukraine to whom they sent money through electronic fund transfers. She was lucky that Board didn’t notify the FBI of such atrocities. Her actions led to many crimes in Ukraine, as she provided the details of such money transfers to the mafia-affiliated OUN (R) [i.e. OUN-B] members in Ukraine.
Less than a week before Unity Day, Long Islander OUN-B member Andriy Shchegelskiy, obsessed with the idea of the Capitulation Resistance Movement overthrowing Volodymyr Zelensky, published screenshots of a long message he sent to Walter Zaryckyj in June 2020. “On top of things, the new government has to be accepted by the world,” he had texted the US leader of OUN-B, “and even according to you by November will be too late. Mainly because Trump would be out of power…”
On Unity Day, President Zelensky decreed state awards to a handful of figures from the Ukrainian diaspora, including OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw and Bohdan Futey, a senior judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims whose son is president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). (In his book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party, published in 1989, journalist Russ Bellant revealed that he interviewed an OUN-B member. Later on the same page he wrote that Futey Sr., as chairman of the US Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, was “described as [one of] the contact points between the OUN-B and the [Reagan] White House.”)
Also on Unity Day, the nepotistic UCCA, headquartered in Little Ukraine, Manhattan, organized another protest at Union Square, which brought out more people. Zaryckyj’s Freedom Foundation and Romaniw’s World Congress co-sponsored the event, as did the OUN-B-controlled faction of the Organization for the Defense of the Four Freedoms of Ukraine (ODFFU), which owns the nearby Banderite building, formerly known as the Home of the Organizations of the Ukrainian Liberation Front.
With the UCCA’s backing, in 2019 the Banderites staged another divisive coup in the Ukrainian community, this time via a dubious “extraordinary convention” held outside Chicago to re-establish control of a historic OUN-B front group (ODFFU) and its property in Manhattan. The conclave took place on the terrain of the “Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters” in Illinois — tied to the hip of a nearby OUN-B-aligned ODFFU branch — which less than a year later transformed into “Ukrainians for Trump.”
This past January in Chicago, Senator Dick Durbin and U.S. Representatives Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sean Casten (all Democrats) spoke at an annual Unity Day event organized by the Banderite-dominated Illinois Division of the UCCA, its largest branch. The organizers firmly promoted the slogans “Say No to Putin” and “Say Yes to Ukraine.” When it came to Saying Yes to the Capitulation Resistance Movement’s call to action, Chicago’s “Ukrainian Village” put New York’s Little Ukraine to shame.
The main Chicago-area leaders of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) are Dan Diaczun, Pavlo Bandriwsky and Marta Farion. Bandriwsky is the top Banderite in the Midwest, and I suspect he’s gunning to be Zaryckyj’s successor. Diaczun, the president of UCCA-Illinois, presided over the OUN-B’s “extraordinary convention” as assistant chairperson to the figurehead of the coup, which declared Bandriwsky and Zaryckyj, respectively, as the first and second vice presidents of ODFFU. Farion is an important OUN-B ally, if not a Banderite herself. Bandriwsky and Farion are co-vice presidents for government and community relations at the Chicago-based UCCA-Illinois.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress didn’t rely on Resistance Movement slogans but above all went with the call to action #StandWithUkraine, which the Ukrainian World Congress adopted and became the leading pro-Ukraine hashtag.
On January 30, Ukrainians from the Greater Toronto Area and Buffalo, New York organized simultaneous protests on either side of Niagara Falls. Pavlo Bandriwsky’s brother Emil spoke to local news while a metal rendition of the nationalist song, “Our father is Bandera! Ukraine is our mother!” blasted in the background. Emil Bandriwsky is a local OUN-B leader as the president of the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center in Buffalo, owned by Zaryckyj’s Freedom Foundation.
Just over a month later, a week after Russia’s invasion began, Governor Kathy Hochul declared New York State’s solidarity with Ukraine at the Banderite center in Buffalo, standing beside Emil Bandriwsky and in front of the words “Say No to Putin” and “Say Yes to Ukraine.” The building is filled with nationalist paintings including portraits of Bandera and other OUN leaders. “We’ve been doing this a long time,” Emil Bandriwsky said in another interview.
In early March, Congressman Mike Quigley announced that one of Pavlo Bandriwsky’s daughters would be his virtual guest at Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Last September, Bandriwsky’s son showed up to my job with Walter Zaryckyj, who warned me to “stop the stalking” or else he’d get in touch with someone in Washington about it. Almost three years ago, I heard a story from 2017 or 2018 about Bandriwsky’s other daughter leading a small march at a Banderite summer camp and allegedly chanting as a joke, “Jews will not replace us!”
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference, at which he said, “My first thoughts are for all of the people of Ukraine, and for those many 38,000 Australians of Ukrainian descent who are here. I spoke to Stefan Romaniw, who heads up the Ukrainian community here in Australia…” A month later, the Prime Minister gave the OUN-B leader another shout out: “And I particularly want to thank Stefan Romaniw, who we’ve worked closely with and all of his state leaders [in the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations], many of whom I’ve now met with personally.”
In mid-February, Romaniw gave an interview in which he was asked what the Ukrainian World Congress was doing about the tense situation. He answered: “Together with the Capitulation Resistance Movement in Ukraine, we launched international actions #StopPutinNow and #StandwithUkraine. The #StandwithUkraine campaign on Twitter took fourth place for some time. And on February 6, #StandwithUkraine was held in 17 cities in Canada.”
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (or perhaps just its Toronto branch) formed a Stand With Ukraine Committee chaired by Marc Shwec, the head of “EuroMaidan Canada” and former president of the OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian Youth Association in Montreal. I suppose this means that Shwec, a Banderite, has taken the lead in coordinating Ukrainian protests, at least in the Toronto area.
As Romaniw noted, #StandWithUkraine rallies took place in 17 Canadian cities on February 6. The day before, the OUN-B leader (Providnyk) virtually participated in the “Bandera Readings,” a far-right event held every February in Kyiv since 2014 and spearheaded by the crypto-Nazi Svoboda party.
Stefan Romaniw was the first guest speaker to be announced. Among the other speakers was an important ideologue of the neo-Nazi Azov movement who recently died in Mariupol. A panel featuring leaders of the extremist Right Sector and neo-Nazi C14 organizations went semi-viral on parts of Twitter because the C14 founder claimed that without neo-Nazis, the effectiveness of the 2014 Maidan revolution “would have dropped by 90%.” Deputy OUN-B leader Andriy Levus, the lead coordinator of the Capitulation Resistance Movement, was originally supposed to be on the same panel.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland soon caused a small scandal in Canada by posing for a picture in which she held up a Banderite red and black scarf at a protest. Subsequently, “Right Sector Canada” publicly complained about being forced to put away their red and black Pravy Sektor flag(s) at a march in Toronto. They’ve sought answers from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress about who is responsible for this.
There’s no such indication that organizers of Ukrainian protests in the US have tried to reign in controversial flags. The red and black banner of the OUN-B’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA, 1943-50) has been a common sight at Ukrainian American rallies in 2022. It seems to me that there’s usually at least one present, even at small demonstrations. The visual has come as a surprise to many online who didn’t see the same thing happen in 2014.
Take for example the “Stop Putin Now” rally held across the street from the United Nations in mid-February, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. In the bottom-right photo seen below, there is clearly a red and black flag. It would perhaps be more surprising were it not there, considering Banderites organized the event.
Walter Zaryckyj and Christine Balko are the OUN-B members I’ve seen the most of in “Little Ukraine.” They’re in the selfie below, taken by the self-described “Jackie of All Trades” at St. George Academy in Manhattan, which is associated with the Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA), an OUN-B front. Ten days earlier, Zaryckyj lectured a classroom of seniors at St. George. The Manhattan branch of the Banderite youth group is named for UPA Supreme Commander Roman Shukhevych, an ethnic cleanser and Nazi collaborator. The UAYA Saturday school in the OUN-B building has a Shukhevych bust.
In the above top-right photo, Zaryckyj is standing with Phillip Karber, the president of a conservative think tank founded by the defense contractor he used to work for, and a regular participant at Zaryckyj’s conferences on US-Ukrainian relations. In 2016, Der Spiegel published an expose, “Network Close to NATO Military Leader [Philip Breedlove] Fueled Ukraine Conflict,” which mentioned Karber’s name 25 times. (Breedlove and Karber spoke at Zaryckyj’s most recent conference.) “One name that kept popping up was Phillip Karber,” according to the German journalists; they described him as “a central figure in Breedlove’s network who was feeding information from Ukraine to the general.”
Karber’s emails constantly made it sound as though the apocalypse was only a few weeks away… In fact, Karber is a highly controversial figure. During the 1980s, the longtime BDM employee was counted among the fiercest Cold War hawks. Back in 1985, he warned of an impending Soviet attack on the basis of documents he had translated incorrectly. He also blundered during the Ukraine crisis after sending photos to US Senator James Inhofe, claiming to show Russian units in Ukraine. Inhofe released the photos publicly, but it quickly emerged that one had originated from the 2008 war in Georgia.
Three days after the UN protest, there was an unofficial Day of Solidarity in Washington, DC organized by non-Banderite Ukrainian groups on the 8th year anniversary of the “sniper’s massacre” in Kyiv. The speakers list included three former US Ambassadors to Ukraine (Marie Yovanovitch, William Taylor, and John Herbst). Notably at this rally in the US capital, the closest thing the OUN-B had to a representative among the speakers was the stale longtime director of the Washington office of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, who may not even be a sworn Banderite but just a well paid puppet.
A few nights later, Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine. The following day, Phillip Karber visited the OUN-B building in Manhattan, and Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI), the deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, invited his constituent Borys Potapenko onto a Facebook livestream. “It has been such an inspiring voyage for me to have known and been involved with this family for over 30 years,” Potapenko concluded his opening remarks, referring to Levin’s father and predecessor, Congressman Sandy Levin, and his uncle, the late Senator Carl Levin, who were longtime unwitting allies of the Bandera Lobby.
“I’ve been to the war zone in Donbas over two dozen times,” Borys Potapenko began the next time he spoke, and this time ended with another not-so-fun fact: “In March of 2014 I was in one of the first groups that went east, and I watched them liberate Sloviansk, which is today under fire.”
Potapenko left out that he’s the president of the International Council in Support of Ukraine, or “World Council of Ukrainian Statehood Organizations,” formerly known as the World Ukrainian Liberation Front, which is an international coordinating body of OUN-B “facade structures.” Pavlo Bandriwsky of Chicago is presumably still the treasurer. Potapenko has referred to the Capitulation Resistance Movement as “my organization,” as in he’s a member, or perhaps a leader. “Free People,” an OUN-B front in Ukraine led by Andriy Levus, became an official (i.e. dues-paying) member of Potapenko’s International Council in 2018. A year later, Free People launched the “Resistance Movement” against newly elected President Zelensky’s mandate to negotiate a settlement to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Borys Potapenko is a former director of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Until his death in 2021, it was lorded over by Bohdan Fedorak, the chairman of the OUN-B “Ukrainian State Board,” which originated in a proclamation on June 30, 1941 by Bandera’s deputy Yaroslav Stetsko in German-occupied Lviv. Stetsko declared himself the Prime Minister of an ultimately short-lived pro-Nazi government led by the Banderites, who proceeded to carry out German-led pogroms in western Ukraine. At some point after the war, Stetsko set up an OUN-B government in exile, at least on paper; he died in 1986 and passed the torch to Bo Fedorak in Warren, who never relinquished the title.
On Day 2 of the war, The Guardian published an op-ed by OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw, identifying him only as the co-chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations and vice-president of the Ukrainian World Congress. Meanwhile, the Capitulation Resistance Movement published an order from OUN-B by Andriy Levus, who revealed himself to be the deputy head of the Bandera Organization for policy.
Levus essentially appealed to the members and sympathizers of the Resistance Movement to unite behind the leadership of OUN-B, and directed them to make various preparations for war. Furthermore, the Ukrainian diaspora was ordered: “shut the mouths of these diplomats! We must demand military assistance!” Allow no compromises with Moscow, and crush anyone who says otherwise.
That night in Buffalo, New York, locals flocked to the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center to show their support for Ukraine, including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. At 1pm the next day, the Banderite building hosted an emergency “Buffalo Community Response” meeting attended by Poloncarz and Mayor Byron Brown, who spoke to local media in front of an OUN-B flag and Stepan Bandera portrait. Buffalonians packed the Dnipro Center’s nationalist library, where they heard from Congressman Brian Higgins (D, NY-26) and received flyers passed around soliciting donations to the OUN-B’s Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation.
On the night of February 24, the Ukrainian community of Palatine, Illinois held a small demonstration while it snowed in the parking lot of a Ukrainian Catholic Church neighboring the local (Banderite) Ukrainian Cultural Center. Ros Saciuk, the president of the Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters, headquartered next door, emceed the event, with two red and black flags behind him. (In 2019, he joined the “new board” of ODFFU, Inc. and spoke at the OUN-B’s “extraordinary convention” in nearby Bloomingdale.) A couple days later, Saciuk organized a trucker convoy in support of Ukraine that started in another suburb of Chicago.
Back in Buffalo, 24 hours after the emergency community meeting, members of the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center rallied in front of City Hall. They were joined by at least one member of the New York State legislature. Organizers brought a donation box with the same Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation flyer attached to it; another piece of paper indicated that the money would support the Hospitallers Medical Battalion in Ukraine. The latter started off as an extension of the Right Sector’s Volunteer Ukrainian Corps, but parted ways with the notorious organization when its radical Banderite founder did the same.
Several thousand people rallied in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village on February 27. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Congressman Mike Quigley joined leaders of the local Ukrainian community on the steps of the neighborhood’s big Ukrainian Catholic Church. The speakers list included Andriy Kohut, director of the Security Service of Ukraine’s archives, whose predecessor, Volodymyr Viatrovych, was an OUN-B member put in charge of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory by the Cabinet of Ministers in March 2014 (until 2019). Kohut and Viatrovych previously worked for the same OUN-B front, the Center for the Research of the Liberation Movement. Since last October, Kohut has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.
Several hundred people protested that day in Washington, DC, with the Ukrainian American Youth Association sending a number of its members from the New York metropolitan area. Stopping at the Biden Welcome Center in Delaware, they sang the Ukrainian national anthem and shouted (in Ukrainian) to great applause from random people passing through, “Glory to the Nation! Death to Enemies! Ukraine Above All!” OUN-B fixer Askold Lozynskyj spoke at the protest in Washington, and at some point, the crowd began to chant, “Send troops to Ukraine! Send troops to Ukraine!”
On the last day of February, Andy Levin organized a small “[Congressional] Ukraine Caucus Solidarity Event” in front of the Holodomor memorial in Washington. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), a co-chairman of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, was the first Congressman to speak after Levin. At the end of his speech, he reached inside his jacket, and said, “I’m carrying this with me everyday ‘til this fight is done. It’s a fusion of an American-Ukrainian flag.”
Next up, Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-IL), Andy Harris (R-MD), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) spoke. Harris, another co-chairman of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said “my mother grew up in Galicia — western Ukraine.” Her father was reportedly a chaplain in the OUN-B’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which in 1943-44 massacred tens of thousands of Poles and hunted Jews in the forests of western Ukraine. A bit later on, Andy Levin introduced Borys Potapenko as “a real mentor to me in all things about Ukrainian history and fighting for justice for Ukraine.”
Standing with Potapenko during Levin’s event was Mykola Hryckowian of Pennsylvania, whom the OUN-B declared the president of ODFFU, Inc in 2019. Hryckowian is basically Walter Zaryckyj’s sidekick. In mid-February, the Capitulation Resistance Movement and its leader Andriy Levus announced that Mykola Hryckowian and Christine Balko were heading to Ukraine to form an “Eagle Trident Shield,” but they nixed the trip.
Walter Zaryckyj is among other things the longtime executive director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), an important OUN-B front founded at the dawn of the 21st century, which held its 14th annual “US-Ukraine Security Dialogue” on March 2-3. Borys Potapenko’s presumed mentor Bo Fedorak, as the head of the “Ukrainian State Board,” chaired the steering committees that organized CUSUR’s first two events in 2000-2001. Mykola Hryckowian represents the Center in Washington.
On Day 1 of the latest CUSUR conference (“Russian-Ukrainian War of 2022 — Initial Overview”), the Washington Post featured a column that declared: “Ukrainian Americans overpower the isolationist impulses of Trump-era GOP.” In addition to former NATO Supreme Commander in Europe, retired US general Philip Breedlove, and Kurt Volker, a former US Ambassador to NATO (and big advocate of a US-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine), the CUSUR panels that day mostly consisted of the usual cast of guest speakers: Bill Taylor, former US Ambassador to Ukraine; Luke Coffey, who “oversees foreign policy and international affairs issues” at the Heritage Foundation; Lt. Gen. (ret) Ben Hodges, former commander of the US Army in Europe (2014-18); Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation; Herman Pirchner, president of the American Foreign Policy Council; and Serhiy Kvit, an OUN-B member of the Free Ukraine Resistance Movement’s “Strategic Council.”
As usual, things got started with words of welcome from Walter Zaryckyj and the Ukrainian Ambassador. Samantha Power, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), was supposed to close out the first day of the conference, which took place online, but when it came time for her to speak, Zaryckyj said he wasn’t sure if she would be tuning in or not. So instead, his best friend in Washington, Herman Pirchner, spoke for about five minutes. Pirchner is a Gold Circle member of the Council for National Policy, a very secretive and influential right-wing organization in Washington. He soon turned things back over to Zaryckyj. The US leader of OUN-B said:
Well, Herman, it’s just that Gene Fishel, just — ha! — just contacted me that they finally have somebody in State Department that’s the fourth in rank. We asked for Blinken, that was the original [request], and then… our people had talked to Ambassador Power about the possibility of showing up. But Robin Dunnigan, who’s the DAS [Deputy Assistant Secretary of State] for Europe… she says, do you want to hear from her, and he sent it about two hours ago, and now I’m saying, “I’m sorry, we’re wrapping up!”
Fishel is a State Department intelligence official who spoke at a CUSUR conference in Manhattan last summer. I briefly talked to him outside, not realizing that he might be an important contact for the CUSUR (i.e. OUN-B) in Foggy Bottom. In the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Eugene Fishel works in the Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia as the head of its Foreign Policy and Western Republics Division. Might he be the person in Washington that Zaryckyj said will “blow me” if I don’t “stop the stalking”?
Day 2 of the CUSUR conference started with more opening words from Walter Zaryckyj. Before he handed things over to Pavlo Bandriwsky to introduce Congressman Mike Quigley — “one of Ukraine’s best friends on the Hill,” according to Zaryckyj — he congratulated Bandriwsky on “the superb job your Ukrainian Village in Chicago has done... You collectively have played Paul Revere — Pavlo, heh — starting on January 9th [#SayNOtoPutin], warning that war was coming, pleading for Western help now.” Introducing Rep. Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Bandriwsky said,
Since entering Congress, he has built a strong bond with the [Ukrainian] community, and is heavily involved in Chicago-based events to celebrate and recognize Ukraine’s independence. He works closely with local Ukrainian organizations such as Ukrainian Congress Committee of America — Illinois Division, that help inform his decisions in Washington, and the ways that he can work toward helping them achieve their priorities.
“That’s very kind, Pavlo,” said the Illinois Congressman. “You work with your neighbors long enough, they become your friends, and that’s certainly the case here. You did an amazing job putting these rallies together in a hurry, and Sunday [February 27] was just amazing.” In conclusion, Bandriwsky thanked Quigley for “leading the fight on the Hill.” “I had to do it,” Quigley said. Two days earlier he announced that Bandriwsky’s daughter would be his virtual guest at Biden’s State of the Union address.
The next two panels featured more of the usual suspects, half of them people from the Atlantic Council and Jamestown Foundation, in addition to another member of the Strategic Council of the Resistance Movement. Afterwards, OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw provided “A Word from the Ukrainian World Congress” for 15 minutes. The International Secretary of the Free Ukraine Resistance Movement served as the lead discussant in the next panel, featuring Phillip Karber and retired US general Wesley Clark, another former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe.
The conference ended with special guest Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the ranking Senator on the US Helsinki Commission, who days earlier called for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Zaryckyj called him “one of the finest friends that Ukraine has on Capitol Hill.” The Banderite organizers of the conference titled this final session, “If Ukraine Matters and Merits Help, What Kind of Aid Package Would Be Appropriate? – A Word from the Senate,” although Wicker was so far the only Senator to endorse a no-fly zone. Even Marco Rubio said, “It means World War III.” (That day, Senator Rubio introduced the Halting Enrichment of Russian Oligarchs and Industry Allies of Moscow’s Schemes to Leverage its Abject Villainy Abroad [HEROIAM SLAVA] Act.)
On the closing day of the CUSUR conference, Zaryckyj’s Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation (UAFF) put out an urgent call to action, seeking “monetary donations for the civil resistance of Ukraine.” In the coming weeks, a Buffalo brewing company presented a Ukrainian Dark Larger, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra announced a special benefit concert, with the proceeds from both going to the OUN-B foundation. I’m guessing that the UAFF is helping to bankroll the “Resistance Movement” in Ukraine; it remains to be seen how much money they’re raking in.
Meanwhile, the OUN-B affiliated Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain broke a record for the biggest ever fundraiser on GoFundMe in the UK, and the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress responded to a request made by a Canadian news agency to Chrystia Freeland’s office for the Deputy Prime Minister to comment on “scarfgate” (except no one is calling it that). The leader of the nationalist spokesbody of Ukrainians in Canada blamed “Russian disinformation” for the controversy.
On March 4, New York Governor Kathy Hochul visited the OUN-B building in Buffalo, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney pledged $5 million to kickstart “Unite With Ukraine,” the Ukrainian World Congress’ new global fundraising campaign. A couple weeks later, historian Timothy Snyder endorsed the UWC initiative, and boxer Wladimir Klitschko (the brother of Kyiv’s mayor) recorded a video asking people to support it.
On March 7, several New York politicians, including US Congressman Jamaal Bowman and NY State Senator Shelley Mayer, held a press conference in Yonkers to unveil the “Stop Russian Aggression Act,” which would “block the awarding of New York State contracts to any company conducting business in Russia.” They held their press conference outside the Ukrainian Youth Center in Yonkers, home to the “June 30, 1941 branch” of the OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian American Youth Association.
Two days later, Prince William and Kate Middleton visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre owned by the London branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), which the OUN-B has dominated for decades. The AUGB center hosted an Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations conference in 1985, and probably did so in other years that the extremist organization met in London. The Duke of Cambridge faced backlash online for a comment he made during this trip that war in Europe is “very alien to see.”
In the meantime, McDonalds decided to close its stores in Russia. Marta Farion, vice president of UCCA-Illinois, joked that was she was partially responsible: “Our mighty group was at the McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago at noon today, as the company made the announcement.” This “mighty group” of five people included Pavlo Bandriwsky and two signs, which showed the McDonalds logo and a yellow hammer and sickle on a red background.
On March 3, the second day of the CUSUR conference, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America president Andrew Futey called on the residents of Sarasota, Florida, where he lives, to boycott an international grocery store that might be Russian-owned, or perhaps simply refused his demand to take Russian products off its shelves. Futey repeated the call to action the day after the news about McDonalds closing in Russia. “SARASOTA UKRAINIANS - CLOSE THE STORE! Demonstrate at this Russian sympathizer!” he declared on Facebook. “They continue to sell Russian goods and support the Genocide of Ukraine. Rally in front of the Russian store! Boycott them. Close them down!”
Around this time, I overheard the brother of the UCCA’s communications director talking to a co-worker of mine, who said something about it being unfortunate for Russian restaurants in New York that people aren’t eating there because of the war. The Banderite’s brother indicated that he’s glad they’re struggling. But these are Russian-Americans who don’t have anything to do with what’s going on, my co-worker said.
In response, the UCCA spokesperson’s sibling asked rhetorically, “Where’s the money going?” In 2019, shortly before he died, the chairman of the UCCA’s audit committee secretly wrote a complaint about the organization’s “egregious improprieties” to be submitted to the Charities Bureau of the NY State Attorney General’s office. That was apparently done by another whistleblower, who remained anonymous, and submitted a long, sensational complaint of their own to the same place:
Let it be clear — OUN (R) [aka OUN-B] is a Fascist Terrorist organization whose members shouldn’t have any kind of access to any non-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations or any kind of foundations, institutions, NGO’s. Those people just want money. Most of them are unemployed. They have been making their living by skimming money from the donations made by Ukrainian Organizations to support legitimate cultural and political projects. This hard-earned money was donated to be used for good purposes, not pay the OUN (R) terrorists.
Now that the money is flowing again, who knows where it will wind up! In Canada, the Bandera Organization’s primary fundraising vehicle is the Friends of Ukraine Defense Forces Fund (FUDFF), which has raised over $1.6 million since the war started. The FUDFF is an initiative of the Buduchnist Credit Union (BCU) Foundation, which is just one component of the Banderite-led BCU Financial Group, the largest Ukrainian financial organization in Canada. On February 28, BCU Financial donated $125,000 to the BCU Foundation’s FUDFF. The memo section of the check read “in support of LUC and LUCW — Slava Ukraini - Heroyam Slava!” The LUC and LUCW are the OUN-B’s League of Ukrainian Canadians and League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, the vanguard of the OUN-B network in Canada.
In mid-February, a reporter from an online publication covering Lower Manhattan stopped by the New York office of the Selfreliance Association of American Ukrainians, on the same avenue as the OUN-B and UCCA buildings. He said he “expected to find an anxious group of locals — albeit enjoying sandwiches, cookies and coffee — to get their thoughts on the nerve-racking international situation, which some fear could spark World War III.”
Instead he found Walter Zaryckyj. “I’m a prisoner of Second Avenue,” Zaryckyj said in what turned into almost an hour-long presentation. It began with the former NYU professor doodling a map of Ukraine in his notebook, which he proceeded to circle and strike at and jab with his pen while talking about different Russian invasion scenarios, making a mess on the page as the lecture progressed. At one point, the US leader of OUN-B said,
I think that our Congressmen — both Democrat and Republican — I can say this, because I’m working with the community all the time, and now on a national level, I can say that our Congressmen and Senators are saints — Republican and Democrat. I think that 80% on either side (and stuff like that) would back anything we say… There are extremists on the left and the right (and stuff like that) that are going a little nuts about what Russia’s all about, but 80% would.
Fortunately, when it comes to the US enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Zaryckyj’s claim about the organized Ukrainian community’s overwhelming influence in Congress has so far proven to be an exception to the alleged 80% rule. Still, it appears that the Banderites have played a role in pushing some in Congress to essentially endorse provoking World War III.
The day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Adam Kinzinger (R, IL-16) became the first Congressman to call for the US to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. More recently, he tweeted, “Russian thermobaric weapons should be destroyed by NATO,” all but declaring that the US should simply go to war with Russia. On a couple podcasts I’ve said that Kinzinger’s district includes the Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters, but that was a mistake; although he did have lunch with them one day in 2015. In any case, Kinzinger is kowtowing to the many Ukrainian nationalists in and around his district.
The Ukrainian World Congress also demanded a US-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine, and presumably coordinated the global #NoFlyZone / #CloseTheSky protests that took place during the first weekend of March. Thousands rallied in Chicago, chanting “close the sky.” Congressman Mike Quigley (D, IL-5) joined them, and tweeted, “the U.S. can and must do more,” but for now refrained from endorsing the suicidal idea being advocated.
Meanwhile in Washington, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) similarly spoke at a #NoFlyZone protest. Reuters called those in attendance “peace activists.” A small group proudly waved a collection of far-right flags immediately next to the stage, including those of the Right Sector and the Sheikh Mansur battalion, which allegedly includes fighters that trained with ISIS. The flags were brought from Syracuse by the ultranationalist “Ukraine Above All Volunteer Movement” (UAAVM), which I wrote about on the Bandera Lobby Blog last year.
The UAAVM appears to be linked to Right Sector founder Dmytro Yarosh’s militant network. Yuri Deychakiwsky, wearing a tshirt of a battalion in Yarosh’s “Volunteer Army,” looked like a UAAVM member that day. His brother Orest Deychakiwsky is among the most prominent Ukrainian Americans in Washington, where he serves as vice chairman of the influential US-Ukraine Foundation’s board of directors.
On March 8, Politico reported that a “partial no-fly zone” was gaining traction in Washington after US-Ukraine Foundation co-founder Robert McConnell spearheaded a petition calling for the Biden administration and NATO “to impose a limited No-Fly Zone over Ukraine starting with protection for humanitarian corridors.” Thirty people signed the petition, including Orest Deychakiwsky, Ukrainian Congress Committee president Andrew Futey and vice president Michael Sawkiw, and “more than two dozen of the nation’s top foreign policy minds.” Most of the latter have participated in Walter Zaryckyj’s conferences, many of which have been sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation.
Mike Quigley, as co-chairman of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, now came out in favor of a no-fly zone. On March 11, a CBS News podcast published an episode (“Debating Aid to Ukraine”) featuring Rep. Quigley. “Everybody says, ‘Well, Quigley, you’re risking an escalation to a Third World War’,” the Democratic Congressman said, but “Ukraine has earned being treated like it’s a NATO member. Its fight is the fight and the argument to form NATO in the first place, at least in spirit.”
Two days later, a bipartisan delegation from the Senate Ukraine Caucus (Rob Portman, Amy Klobuchar, Roger Wicker, and Richard Blumenthal) visited the Poland-Ukraine border, accompanied by leaders from the Ukrainian World Congress, including OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw and UCCA president Andrew Futey.
Futey hails from Ohio, and apparently has a decent relationship with Senator Portman (R-OH), who co-chairs the Senate Ukraine Caucus and decided now was the time to endorse a no-fly zone over Ukraine. In a video Portman recorded with Futey, he praised the UCCA president as an effective “national leader of the diaspora” helping Ukrainian refugees. In conclusion, the Ohio Senator said,
One thing we talked about a lot on this trip was the necessity of getting more airpower, both airplanes but also anti-aircraft systems in place, because as everyone told us today, Andy, when we were asking them “what should we do more?” They said, “please, close the skies.”
President Zelensky, of course, became the most prominent advocate for a no-fly zone, and certainly his emotional appeals to US politicians played an important role in swaying some of them to go along with such a dangerous escalation of the war in Ukraine. On March 16, Axios reported that Zelensky’s virtual address to Congress that day “rekindled congressional talk of supporting a no-fly zone over Ukraine.” Representative Brian Fitzpatrick agreed to a “limited” no-fly zone. “There’s more to the story than just ‘no-fly zone means WWIII,” he said.
Addressing Canadian Parliament on March 15, Zelensky’s speech ended in cries of “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to the Heroes” from the House of Commons. The OUN-B call and response was officially accompanied by a fascist salute in 1941-42. Meanwhile, Stepan Bandera’s moronic Canadian grandson sent an email to journalist Sam Sokol, having apparently just read the profile he wrote about him three years ago. “I can only hope Putin made it worth your while,” Steve Bandera wrote to Sokol, the author of a book about Putin’s weaponization of antisemitism in Ukraine.
One day in early February, Walter Zaryckyj’s daughter aggressively displayed her middle finger toward the beloved Ukrainian diner Veselka in Manhattan, before trying to explain to a couple Ukrainian employees standing outside that the gesture was directed solely at the Russian agent that she said was working on the other side of the glass. Admittedly I waved at her father first, but only after another Ukrainian co-worker said, “Moss, it’s Walter! Go say hi!”
Repeating myself here, but in the nine months that I worked on the same block as the US headquarters of OUN-B in “Little Ukraine,” Walter Zaryckyj and Christine Balko are the OUN-B members I saw the most. Recently, another co-worker overheard them one day as they walked past, sharing an umbrella as it snowed. “There he is,” Zaryckyj told Balko, whose OUN-B pseudonym is allegedly Popoluska (Cinderella). “Who?” she asked. “That son of a bitch Moss,” he answered.
At 4:13 AM on February 15, a “Concerned Ukrainian” anonymously emailed my boss:
It has come to my attention that an employee of Veselka by the name of Moss Robeson sought employment at Veselka to spy on the local Ukrainian community in the Lower East Side… However well intentioned his motives about “fascism” in the community may be, it is not based in reality. My concern is that he is harassing innocent people and because of this, myself and other Ukrainians refuse to support Veselka at this time. Please consider removing this nuisance from your establishment… As Russia’s intentions of invading Ukraine grow stronger, we need more unity, not divisive figures such as this employee… In the piece here, Robeson writes about an altercation he has with a customer while on the clock in excruciating detail…
There was no “altercation,” but the complaint was clearly referring to last summer, when I surprised Zaryckyj with the fact that I worked there. (I think “in excruciating detail” was a telling choice of words.) At 5:47 AM, somebody tried to reset the password for an account they had created with my email address on a neo-Nazi website. In the next hour, presumably the same person tried to subscribe me to newsletters from Russia Today and Vladimir Putin, as well as create a profile for me (“CIADoubleBluff”) on a gay porn site. They also signed anti-vaccine mandate petitions pretending to be me.
In the coming hours, Walter Zaryckyj lectured a local reporter at a nearby Ukrainian American credit union, describing himself as a “prisoner of Second Avenue.” The following day, he came by Veselka to take pictures of me working, even knocking on the glass to tell me to come closer for him to get a better photo.
On the morning of February 26, most likely the day of another protest at Union Square, an amped-up, middle-aged member of the Ukrainian American Youth Association named Oksana made a scene at the restaurant. Somehow I didn’t notice. “JUST STOPPED AT VESELKA’S IN NYC AND GUESS WHO WAS ABOUT TO TAKE MY ORDER?! MOSS ROBESON!!! SPEAKING TO MANAGER RIGHT NOW!” she posted on Facebook, which racked up 111 comments. Some highlights:
“Should have ordered hot Borshch and thrown it in his face.” — Christina Pendzola-Naumenko, treasurer of the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation, and program manager for the American Councils for International Education (who served as their director in Ukraine from 1993-2012). Her former husband, Oleh Vitovych, who died in 2011, chaired the far-right UNA-UNSO organization in Ukraine (1994-99).
“Make a big stink and make it public!” — Roman Kozicky, president and CEO of a credit union in Yonkers affiliated with the Ukrainian American Youth Association and its June 30, 1941 branch.
“Flood Veselkas page and owner emails!!!!!” — Krys Kosz, apparently a Canadian who eventually got blocked from the restaurant’s Facebook page after spamming it with the same long message (“I speak for myself & the Ukrainian community when I say We don’t care how much Veselka is donating to Ukraine… Haven’t heard the last of me or my fellow Ukrainians VESELKA!!!”) plus an image of a hammer and sickle over my face.
“I actually go up and take photos of him all the time.” — Dania Nauholnyk Lawro, the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation board member who intercepted me at the #SayNOtoPutin protest at Union Square.
“So proud of you Oksana. We have been trying to get him fired for months.” — Iryna Nauholnyk Cohen, whose Facebook page is where I found the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation’s call to action to help fund “the civil resistance of Ukraine.”
“He’s the bastard that doxxed me! Oksana, you should have clocked him in the head!” — Marko Bura, the white supremacist recycling coordinator of Hanover Township, New Jersey since 2002.
Later in the afternoon, Oksana provided an update:
Was so shocked when I saw him, as he was about to take my order. I walked away and asked the waitress for the manager. Waiter walked up to me and asked if I was ok. I told him u have a fiercely anti-Ukrainian employee working here, and he needs to be fired. He said, "who, Moss"? "We live in America and Moss has freedom of speech". Told him he's supporting a person who supports Putin! Hostess came over and asked me if she could help. My emotions got the best of me and I said there is a person working here who posts pictures of children, and slanders them as Nazis!! Place got a little quiet and the manager finally came over and asked if we could talk outside. There were a lot of people waiting on line waiting to get in, and I started loudly telling him all the reasons why Moss should not be working at an establishment that supports Ukraine. He said he knew about Moss because other people had complained. I asked him why didn't he fire him once he found out. Told him if he googled his name, he would see what a horrible person Moss is. He was trying to get me to talk a little quieter, but at this point, everyone on line was listening. He said he will handle things and I told him although I love Veselka, I will spread the word about Moss working there, and make sure people boycott his restaurant. He assured me he would handle it. So, let's see what happens. Will keep u all posted!
Someone we’ll call Banderite-A responded to this: “Veselka needs to be held accountable. I don’t think [the owner’s] gonna want protesters in front of his restaurant.” Oksana then provided a second update: “Called Veselka, told manager Moss has targeted children and he said FU and hung up!” (From I what heard Oksana is friends with at least one QAnon follower.) Banderite-B commented, “[Moss] has got to be more than just an employee to him. relative?” After reading Oksana’s second update, Banderite-A said, “Shit just got real!!!!” and Banderite-B declared, “then he’s got something on him, because to get such a reaction out of him…there has to be something.” That evening, Oksana made another Facebook post:
CALL TO ACTION!
MOSS ROBESON, (GOOGLE HIM) IS A VILE COMMUNIST WHO HAS POSTED VIDEOS OF CYM [Ukrainian Youth Association] KIDS, CALLING THEM NEO-NAZIS. IN ADDITION, HE HAS VISITED MANY UKRAINIAN CHURCHES, OSELIAS, CEMETERIES, RALLIES, ETC. TAKEN PICTURES, AND POSTED THESE PICS ON HIS TWITTER PAGE, (2K+ FOLLOWERS) CALLING UKIES ANTI-SEMITES, AND NEO-NAZIS, WITH NAMES INCLUDED. HE IS CURRENTLY WORKING AT VESELKA AND THE MANAGER/OWNER IS AWARE OF MOSS' BACKGROUND. UNFORTUNATELY, HE DEFENDS MOSS AS DO SOME OF HIS EMPLOYEES. MOSS PURPOSEFULLY TOOK THIS JOB SO HE COULD SPY AND PHOTOGRAPH UKIES IN THE AREA.
PLEASE FLOOD VESELKA WITH CALLS TO EXPRESS YOUR OUTRAGE!
When u call, dial *67 and then the number so calls can't be traced.
The next morning, Mykola Hryckowian sent me an email predicting I would be fired soon, and a video of blown up Russian tanks. “Check this out!” he said, as if expecting it would ruin my day. Veselka soon started receiving one star Yelp reviews, such as: “Employee Moss Robeson… continue[s] the narrative used by Putin claiming denazificiation of a threatening Ukraine. He is complicit in assisting the Genocide in Ukraine. Apparently of no concern to owners. Eat at your own risk.”
I’ve not smeared Ukrainian American children as Nazis, or doxxed them, as the Banderites have alleged. That being said, since adult members of the Ukrainian American Youth Association joined this OUN-B campaign against me, the Banderite group’s Facebook page has twice shared videos from a battalion affiliated with the successor of the neo-Nazi “Social National Party of Ukraine.” The first time, the video featured one of its fighters making a Nazi salute, and the UAYA said, “Tse nashi khloptsi” (These are our boys).
After the war began, New Yorkers flocked to Veselka as their way of showing support for Ukraine, and so did the media. At this time, Banderites began calling non-stop to threaten the restaurant with a boycott because of me, warning the business will be ruined, while in fact it was booming. It just so happens I never worked during one of their phone-a-thons, but one co-worker guessed they must have called 40-50 times the first night. The owner also became inundated with menacing emails demanding he fire me.
On March 7, New York City mayor Eric Adams stopped by Veselka to celebrate his lifting the city’s vaccine mandate. Later that afternoon, Zaryckyj told Balko, “There’s that son of a bitch Moss.” The next day, Zaryckyj came by for a bagel, and took another photo of me working, which soon appeared in Banderites’ comments on the Veselka Facebook page. My boss refused to fire me, but I decided to leave New York at the end of the month. Still, my time at Veselka was cut short because allegedly the threats against me became physical, and my managers became concerned for my safety, so they took me off the schedule my last week. On the bright side, it gave me more time to finish this newsletter.
Sorry but I don’t have a grand conclusion to this lengthy review of the OUN-B diaspora network’s activity in January-March, which is far from exhaustive. Since we’re almost three weeks into spring, there have been more notable developments since winter ended, but this is already approaching 9000 words, so: To Be Continued…