Former Prime Minister of Poland Jan Olszewski believes that Stepan Bandera is unfairly demonized in his country, since the Ukrainian nationalist leader is unlikely to have been involved in the tragic events in Volhynia during the Second World War, reports Polskie Radio.
"Stepan Bandera’s crime against the Polish people was really only one. And those who are eager to speak of banderism in Poland today have often forgotten about it. This crime was the attempted assassination of Polish Minister of Internal Affairs Colonel Bronisław Pieracki in 1934. Significantly, the accused [parties], including Bandera, were sentenced to death during the trial," said the former Prime Minister of Poland, although he added that Bandera can hardly be called a "pleasant face" for the Poles.
According to Olszewski, a different Ukrainian nationalist leader, Roman Shukhevych, could be linked with the events in Volhynia. But this requires extensive research.
Regarding Ukrainian-Polish relations, the former Prime Minister stressed that the current Polish government has departed from the concept promoted by ex-president Lech Kaczynski.
“I hope that this is not a lasting move. And that mistakes, such as the inclusion of the Ukraine issue into the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, result from the fact that the polling results have blinded Polish politicians from rational thinking and real hard politics," Olszewski said, recalling the strategic importance of Ukraine for the security of Poland.
Olszewski criticized the amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance. He noted the importance of the issue of Polish-Jewish relations, which cannot be linked to a painful historical dialogue with Ukraine.
"Combining these two themes is at least bizarre. And throwing it into one act is something between obsession and diversion," the publication quotes Olszewski as saying.
Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki said earlier that there is no crisis in Polish-Ukrainian relations.