Stepan Bandera is no longer a Hero of Ukraine

12 January 2011, 14:26 | National religious question | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

The Presidential Administration announced on Jan. 12 that Stepan Bandera is no longer a Hero of Ukraine, saying a court has cancelled the honor, Kyiv Post reports.

Bandera posthumously received the honor pursuant to a Jan. 20, 2010, presidential decree signed by former President Viktor Yushchenko.

Vyacheslav Kirilenko, a deputy from the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense faction of the parliament on Jan. 12 condemned the decision to rescind Bandera's award.

"This is an anti-Ukrainian decision," he was quoted by the Forum website as saying in parliament. "I don't know anymore if the country's legal system is Ukrainian. The court decision, motivated by political concerns, will widen the split in society and increase political tension."

The Donetsk District Administrative Court in April declared Yuschenko's decree conferring the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera as unlawful. The plaintiff in the case – lawyer Volodymyr Olentsevych – said that under Ukrainian legislation the title of Hero of Ukraine may be conferred only on a citizen of Ukraine. According to him, Bandera is not a citizen of Ukraine, since he died in 1959 before Ukraine gained independence in 1991.

Yushchenko appealed to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine against the ruling by Donetsk District Administrative Court.

At the same time, the Constitutional Court refused to start constitutional proceedings on the constitutionality of Yuschenko's decree.

Bandera was a Ukrainian political activist who headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which was fighting for Ukraine's independence from Polish, Russian and other foreign invaders. Bandera was killed by KGB agent Bohdan Stashynsky in Munich on October 15, 1959.

Stepan Bandera father was a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest who was murdered by KGB. Now the church has started the beatification process.

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