‘We forgive and ask for forgiveness' – only correct formula for reconciliation of Poles and Ukrainians
In the wake of the voting in Polish Sejm (lower chamber of Polish Parliament) on recognizing the Volhynia massacre as genocide, Ukraine Today spoke to prominent Ukrainian historian Volodymyr Viatrovych about politicizing Ukrainian-Polish conflict in 1943 and the ways to reconcile both nations.
"Ring-wing Polish politicians, which see Russia as their main threat as well, which gained the popularity among their voters because of the Russian threat, right now seem to have lost any political vision. In reality these historical discussions harm Ukrainian-Polish relations a lot and may hinder all previous achievements of the political relations between Ukraine and Poland. But current Polish politicians continue raising these questions. They want to recognize the anti-Polish activities of the Ukrainian resurrection army as genocide, thus resulting in totally incorrect one-sided responsibility of the Ukrainians for this conflict. And thus also hiding the crimes of Polish resistance movement against Ukrainians."
"Russian propaganda and Russian agents play an important role in keeping stirring up confrontation around this issue. And Russians will be the first ones to benefit from the deterioration of Ukrainian-Polish relations. And I really hope that the time will come, when Polish politicians will realize that right now, as back in 1943, there will be only one party to benefit from this conflict. And as in 1943 this party will be Russia."
"We posted online 380 documents of the Ukrainian insurgent movement about the Ukrainian-Polish conflict. These documents show various sides of Polish-Ukrainian conflict, in particular the cooperation between the two sides, negotiations and even joint activities of Polish and Ukrainian insurgent movements. Obviously, there's a lot to be done here in Ukraine for our people to know more about Ukrainian history and about various aspects of Ukrainian-Polish relations. And not only Ukrainians will benefit from that. Our Polish neighbors will benefit as well. A lot of Ukrainians first heard the term ‘Volyn massacre' from Russian propaganda."
"Very often historic information in Poland is shortened, simplified and sensationalized for the media to pick it up and spread around. Very often a very complex historic event was presented in very simple terms. Therefore, the Polish people formed their opinion about this conflict not based on the historic facts, but rather based on the tabloid media, based on short TV stories, which obviously cannot explain comprehensively everything that happened. Thus, I believe that right now our Polish colleagues have a problem, where they lack the in-depth analysis and scientific research works on this matter. True, there are a lot of material and information about this, but for many years there hasn't been any significant scientific research work of the Polish scientist on this."