One of the aspects of news about Ukraine that does not make it past the gatekeepers of the American and Western news media is how a significant contingent of Ukrainian nationalists have espoused a sense of reverence for Nazis. The idea that this could even happen anywhere in the world in an open manner makes the claim seem too absurd to be taken seriously. Gone are the days when the Nazi swastika adorned streets and buildings in Europe. Right?
Well, maybe, wrong.
This was seen in Kyiv’s Gorodok (or Horodok, if you insist) Gallery, a shopping center in that city, located on Bandera Avenue.
The pro-nationalist news service UNIAN wasted no time going to press with their explanation of this incident, which admittedly may be accurate:
Children and teenagers who participated in the All-Ukrainian break dance festival held in the Kyiv-based Gorodok Gallery shopping mall were shocked to see a swastika image projected onto an LED staircase.
The mall administration apologized to visitors, explaining saying that their computer system had apparently been hacked.
“The administration and staff have no relation to whatever was projected onto the LED-staircase, and in no way does it support such [an] act. Now we are actively searching for those involved in the attack,” it said in a statement.
According to Gorodok Gallery’s administrative office, it was not the first time a cyber breach took place.
As reported earlier, Ukraine is believed to be a testing ground for cyberattacks, many of which are launched from Russia. Hackers have earlier targeted critical energy infrastructure, state institutions, banks, and large businesses.
This time, it appears, hackers aimed to feed the Kremlin’s narrative of “Nazis in power in Ukraine” and create a relevant hype-driving viral story for Russian media to spread it worldwide.
The Gorodok Gallery also apologized on its Facebook page and said that this was a result of hacking.
But what about the street that the mall is on? From the self-same Facebook page, this is what we see:
23 Steven Bandera Prospekt, Kyiv, Ukraine 04073
This street was formerly called “Moscow Avenue.” Big change, as we shall see.
Steven Bandera got his birthday designated as a national holiday in Ukraine last December. He is known in Ukraine’s history for one thing. According to the Jerusalem Post:
The street where the shopping mall is located is named for Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who briefly collaborated with Nazi Germany in its fight against Russia.
His troops are believed to have killed thousands of Jews.
Several Israeli papers picked this bit of news up, and of course, the reasons are understandable. However, for the West, it appears possible that this news event will largely go unnoticed, even by that great nation that is often called “Israel’s proxy”, the United States.
This is probably because for certain people in the US, there is a sense of desperation to mask the nature of events that are happening in Ukraine.
The usual fare of mainstream news for the West probably consists of things like “Putin’s military seizes innocent Ukrainian sailors in Kerch incident” or, “Ukraine’s Orthodox Church declared fully independent by Patriarch of Constantinople” (not that too many Americans know what a Constantinople even is, anyway), but the overriding narrative for the American people about this country is “Ukraine are the good guys, and Russia are the bad guys,” and this will not be pushed aside, even to accommodate the logical grievance of Israel to this incident.
If this article gets to Western papers at all, it will be the UNIAN line they adhere to, that evil pro-Russia hackers caused this stairway to have a swastika to provoke the idea that Ukraine somehow supports Naziism.
But UNIAN neglected to mention that the street name was recently changed to Stephan Bandera (in 2016), and no one appears to have hacked this. Nor does UNIAN talk about the Azov fighters that openly espoused much of the Nazi ideology. For nationalist Ukrainians, this is all for the greater good of getting rid of all things Russia.
A further sad fact about this is the near impossibility of getting assuredly honest and neutral information about this and other similar happenings. Both Ukrainian nationalists and Russian media agencies have dogs in the race, so to speak. They are both personally connected to these events. However, the Russian media cannot be discounted here, because they do offer a witness and perspective, probably the closest to any objective look at what is going on in Ukraine. We include a video of a “torchlight march” that took place in 2017 that featured such hypernationalist activity, which is not reported in the West.
More such reports are available, but this one seemed the best one to summarize the character of what is going on in the country.
While we do not know the motive and identities of whoever programmed the swastika, it cannot really be stated that this was just a random publicity stunt in a country that has no relationship with Nazi veneration.
The street the mall is on bears witness to that.