Regional Allies Attempt to Heal Historic Wounds
On February 28 Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and his Polish counterpart Lech Kachinsky participated in a joint ceremony to mark the opening of a memorial to the estimated 1000 Poles who died 65 years ago during military operations in the village of Huta Penyatska, which is located in the Brodovsky area of Lviv Oblast. For decades the massacre was attributed to Ukrainian forces operating within the Germany military chain of command, but in recent years the emphasis has shifted slightly towards reconciliation as both Polish and Ukrainian authorities seek to acknowledge their shared inheritance of suffering at the hands of the Nazi and Soviet regimes. Since the 2004 Orange Revolution Poland has been a vocal advocate of Ukraine’s further integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, a policy which has been accompanied by effects in both Warsaw and Kyiv to address the controversial chapters of the two countries’ common history and allow local populations to move closer to a form of closure with the crimes against humanity of the 20th century. Throughout WWII Lviv Oblast was the stage of a brutal underground war which pitted Ukrainian and Polish insurgents against conventional Red Army and Axis forces. The ultimate victory of the Soviet regime meant that for decades the complex truths of this forgotten conflict have been distorted or airbrushed out of official histories.