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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kremlin smears Yushchenko’s dad (again)

It appears that the Kremlin has launched (or reinvigorated) yet another smear campaign against president Yushchenko. The target of this campaign is Yushchenko’s father Andriy who was a POW in Auschwitz during WW2.

On April 14, the Regnum website reported that a book entitled Andrei Yushchenko: Personality and “the legend” by “Israeli historian” Yuri Vilner has hit the bookstores in the Russian capital. In it Vilner claims that Andrei Yushchenko lied about his WW2 activities, was a “polizei” of Nazi concentration camps and an informer to the Nazis.

Vilner apparently said that the “biography of the Ukrainian president’s father has become one of the most discussed topics in Ukraine in recent years.” The last time this reporter saw the issue raised was during the 2004 presidential elections in propaganda leaflets limited, for some reason, to the eastern regions of Ukraine.

Vilner claims that “most documents of the captive camps and concentration camps having to do with the name of Andrei Yushchenko are archived … mostly in the territory of Russia.” Reading between the lines: “the FSB’s specialists will have no problem fabricating documents about Andrei Yushchenko and present them as the real thing as they have in the cases of Yaroslav Stecko and John Demjaniuk in the past.”

I guess this historian has never heard of Yad Vashem’s archives or the 68 million Holocaust documents that have been digitized by Bad Arolsen Holocaust archives and the International Tracing Service in Germany.

The timing of Vilner’s book is arguably not accidental: it comes just a little over 3 weeks before the commemoration of the “Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War,” celebrated every year on May 9.

Vilner’s PR courtesy of the Kremlin:

Information about Bad Arolsen Holocaust archives:

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