The anti-socialism of the ObserverGuardian group of newspapers has sunk to a new low with the reproduction on Sunday (July 19) of postage stamps issued by Ukrainian Nationalist groups in exile during the Soviet era.  Some of these stamps, published in the Observer and on the Guardian website, celebrate the foundation of the ‘Ukrainian Insurgent Army’ (UPA) in 1942. This organisation actively participated in the mass extermination of Jews and Poles during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine in World War Two.  

Instead of pointing this out, the article quotes photographer and collector Oleksandr Kosmach’s praise for “the ideas and values” of those who fought what Observer commissioning editor Kadish Morris calls “the horrors of Soviet oppression”. 

There are no words of praise for those Ukrainian partisans who fought the horrors of Nazi oppression and against the UPA which helped staff the death camps and carried out its own round-ups and massacres of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Jews and minority Poles.  Other stamps in the article accuse the Soviet Union of murdering 70m people – a figure which can only include all the military and civilian victims of Nazi aggression – and of inflicting the Chernobyl nuclear reactor melt-down on the people of Ukraine as a deliberate act of policy. 

This is a shocking betrayal of all who fought fascism in World War Two and who campaign against racism and fascism today. That the Observer and the Guardian should join Ukrainian nationalists and fascists – and the EU Parliament – in this rewriting of history is a measure of how far these papers have departed from the progressive ideals they once claimed to represent.   Their anti-socialism is leading them into the swamp alongside the kind of fascists and racists they once opposed.