Staunton, January 24 – This week, the Russian news agency Novosti featured an article entitled “The CIA has Published Archive Documents about Bandera as ‘an Agent of Hitler’” (ria.ru/20200124/1563807705.html), a story that went viral especially after it was boosted by Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Mariya Zakharova (ria.ru/20200124/1563811440.html).
Not surprisingly, given the subject and given the Russian government’s desire to blacken the reputation of Ukrainian nationalists of all stripes, the story has gone viral in the Russian media from which it can be counted on to spread to sympathetic media in Ukraine and in the West.
But as Yury Bershidsky of The Insider portal points out, there are serious problems with the story itself, problems which were ignored by those who reported it in the first place and even more often by other outlets that have repeated the story and left out key aspects of it (theins.ru/antifake/198015).
As the media analyst points out, the story was not just released by the CIA but rather released more than a decade ago as a declassified document from the early 1950s. It was not a CIA study but rather a translation of an émigré publication and identified as ‘unevaluated.’” And the original emigre article itself contains information which undercuts its conclusions.
The article Moscow has published now was declassified by the CIA in 2006 (cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/BANDERA%2c%20STEFAN_0018.pdf) and consists of a translation a 1951 article from the Menshevik émigré journal Sotsialistichesky vestnik identified by that publication as the personal view of its author (archive.org/details/lucile-ait_mail_51_201509/page/n17/mode/2up).
But there is more that should be noted in using this article, Bershidsky specifies. The 1951 story says that Bandera was run as an agent by a man who was later identified as a Soviet agent. Using the standards Moscow has applied in this case, one could thus conclude that Bandera was not an agent Hitler but of Stalin.
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