Chrystia Freeland tweeted slogan with far right history
Canada's Deputy PM and Finance Minister tweeted Героям слава! (Heroiam slava!) "Glory to heroes" in 2019, a Ukrainian nationalist slogan with an established and disturbing far right history.
Chrystia Freeland at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, 2019
Canada's one-time Foreign Minister and present Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, has certainly courted controversy when it comes to her family history and her support for the new regime in Ukraine despite its very disturbing far right aspects and overtones.
Back in 2017 -- in what would have surely been a bigger issue for Freeland were it not for the new emerging "cold war" that western liberals and elites wish to wage against Russia -- The Left Chapter was one of a few publications that looked into Freeland's disturbing praise for her grandfather who was a Nazi collaborator during WWII.
As we summarized it at the time:
- Freeland KNEW her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator
- Freeland appears to have lied about this and claimed it was all a Russian fabrication
- Freeland, knowing that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator, tweeted about how proud she was of her grandfather's commitment to "freedom and democracy" in the Ukraine!
It should be noted that she also made that tweet on Black Ribbon Day, which is supposed to actually, in part, honour victims of Nazism! It would be hard to make this up.
We also published a number of previously undiscovered facts about her grandfather, Mykhail Chomiak and the publication he edited during the war. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, he was the editor of a virulently anti-Semitic publication that supported the Nazi invasion of the USSR, the mass killings in Ukraine, and the war effort against the Allies and that was printed on a press stolen from a Jewish family that was killed in the Holocaust.
While Freeland was largely, fortunately for her, given a pass on this by the mainstream media, liberals and social democrats, occasionally someone will raise the issue as a reminder that she should be under scrutiny not for the actions of her grandfather but for her seeming support of them.
Most recently Davide Mastracci on August 27, 2020, wrote a piece Chrystia Freeland Must Account For Her Nazi Collaborator Grandfather in which he gives a very solid overview of all of the most important points. He concludes it by saying:
To review, these are the facts: Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator for ideological reasons. She has never publicly condemned his views or actions, instead citing at least some of them as inspiration for her own career. She is now in a position of power, and has taken part in making decisions for Canada as a whole that are in line with that ideology. As such, it’s not only fair to criticize Freeland for how she has handled her grandfather’s past, but of the utmost necessity. This story should stick to Freeland and follow her wherever she goes.
Now, to add a further twist to this sordid tale, someone on Facebook has found a recent tweet from Freeland that is rather disturbing.
While the post on Facebook was private, I have permission to share the information they uncovered and to use the wording of their post.
In their post they link to two tweets by Freeland. In the more recent one she uses the slogan Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!) "Glory to Ukraine" which -- more on this below -- was an early nationalist slogan dating to 1917-21. This is not considered extreme and Bill Clinton used the greeting when he visited the Ukraine in the 1990s. In a 2019 tweet, however, she writes Героям слава! (Heroiam slava!) "Glory to heroes" (or literally "to heroes glory"), which is the fascist response to cries of "Glory to Ukraine".
To fully understand the significance of this you need to understand what the slogans represent:
"The phrase “Slava Ukraini!” (Glory to Ukraine!) first appeared in different military formations during the Ukrainian War of Independence (from 1917 to 1921). It became part of the lexicon of Ukrainian nationalists in the 1920s....The modern response "Heroiam slava!" (Glory to the heroes!) appeared in the 1930s among members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) who started using this slogan." The OUN was "a radical far-right Ukrainian ultranationalist political organization... As revolutionary ultra-nationalists the OUN have been characterized by most historians as fascist". The UPA "was the primary perpetrator of the ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia". The "OUN police, working for the Germans, played a crucial supporting role in the liquidation of 200,000 Jews in Volhynia in the second half of 1942" and "According to John Paul Himka, [Chrystia Freeland's uncle] OUN militias were responsible for a wave of pogroms in Lviv and western Ukraine in 1941 that claimed thousands of Jewish lives"
This makes Freeland's use of the slogan "Glory to heroes" exceptionally disturbing especially given the personal history involved.
As the person who uncovered it asks "How is this acceptable?"
That is a very good question. The truth is that it is really not.