Stepan Bandera 1909–1959. One of the leaders of the nationalist and independence movement of Ukraine in the first half of the 20th century.
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Submitted by Editor on Thu, 12/01/2016 - 10:42
Stepan Andriyovych Bandera was born on 1 January 1909 in UhrynivStaryi (now Ivano-Frankivsk region). His father was a Greek-Catholic priest, and his mother was a daughter of a priest, so Stepan was brought up under conditions of national and cultural patriotism.
His father had a huge library, he took part in social and political life of Galicia during the period of formation of Western Ukrainian National Republic (1918-1919).
In 1919, Stepan became a high school student, where he joined the Plast Ukrainian Youth Association and some Polish government opposition groups.
In 1929 he became a member of the OUN (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and in three years he became the chief propaganda officer of the OUN, and in 1933 he was the head of the National Executive of the OUN. The main goal of the OUN was an absolute independence of the Ukraine from invaders.
In 1934 Stepan Bandera was concerned to be involved in a plot to assassinate the minister of internal affairs, BronislawPieracki. After this, he was accused of terrorism and sentenced to death.
He stayed at Wronki Prison; in 1938 several his followers tried to break him out of the jail. However, they didn`t manage to do this.
In 1939, after the occupation of Poland, Bandera was freed by Ukrainian jailers, by Poles or by the Nazis. There is no exact information about this. Right after the release from prison, Stepan Bandera moved to Krakow. He met the leader of the OUN, AndriyMelnyk. The OUN was split into two factions – the faction led by AndriyMelnyk, and the Bandera faction led by Stepan Bandera. The first faction preached a more conservative approach to the development of the nation, and the second one supported a revolutionary approach.
The main goal of Stepan Bandera in cooperation with Germans was to create Ukraine as anindependent state.
In 1947 Stepan Bandera arranged meeting with the heads of Germany`s intelligence, concerning the formation of ‘Nachtigall’ and ‘Rolland’ Battalions.
On 22 June 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the USSR, having broken the terms of Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact. On 30 June Stepan Bandera and the Bandera faction of OUN declared an independent Ukrainian State, ‘Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood’. The government of Nazi Germany demanded to repeal that act. For his refusal to repeal the act, Bandera was arrested. All partakers were arrested and sent to prisons, too. Two of Bandera`s brothers were arrested by Germans and interned to Auschwitz. They were allegedly killed there by Poles in 1942.
On 5 July Stepan Bandera was transferred to Berlin, 9 days later he was released from custody and was required to stay in Berlin. On 15 September 1941 he and OUN members were arrested by the Gestapo.
In January 1942, Stepan Bandera was transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp`s special barrack.
In September 1944 Bandera was released by the government of Nazi German. The German authorities wanted him to incite the native populace to fight the Soviet Army. Bandera`s requirements remained the same, he wanted Germany to accept the ‘Act of proclamation of Ukraine Statehood’ and to give a possibility to form an independent Ukrainian army.
However, Germany didn`t do any of Bandera`s requirements, because the Soviet Army soon captured the Western Ukraine. And on 7 May 1945 Nazi Germany signed the act of surrender.
Stepan Bandera became a member of the OUN leadership in 1945, two years later he became a head of the OUN leadership. Bandera always held to the principles of integral nationalism. In 1953 he was a leader of the sections of the OUN Abroad.
Then the fight for independence began on the territory of the Western Ukraine against the Soviet occupation authorities, and it was held until 1955.Stepan Bandera controlled the Anti-soviet opposition from abroad.
On 15 October 1959 Stepan Bandera was killed in Munich. The cause of his death was a poison by cyanide gas. Bandera`s murderer was a KGB defector Bohdan Stashynsky. He acted on the orders of Soviet KGB head alexander Shelepin and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. Bohdan Stashynskywas sentenced to eight years in prison.
Now in Ukraine there are someStepan Bandera museums in Ukraine (in Dubliany, Volia-Zaderevatska, StaryiUhryniv, Yahilnytsa) and a Stepan Bandera Museum of Liberalization Struggle in London.There is also The Bandera`s Family Museum in Stryi.
Moreover, a lot of monuments dedicated to Stepan Bandera have been constructed in many western cities of Ukraine.
Stepan Bandera was named an honorary citizen of many western Ukrainian cities in 2010, 2011.
There are also a lot of streets in Ukrainian cities named after Stepan Bandera.
In 1995 a film about Bandera was released. It is called ‘Assassination: An October Murder in Munich’. In 2000 another film named ‘The Undefeated’ was released; these two films were directed by OlesYanchuk.
On 22 January 2010 the then-president of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko awarded to Stepan Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine. A grandson of Bandera received the award during the state ceremony to commemorate the Day of Unity of Ukraine. However, people had different attitudes to that event, their reactions to the award varied. In January 2011 that award was canceled.
Nowadays, there are also different attitudes in Ukraine towards Stepan Bandera. Some citizens have a negative opinion,some say that they are followers of Stepan Bandera.