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Together against the empire

Since the beginning of the war in 2014, representatives of various nations and countries along with Ukrainians, have been fighting against the current Russian Empire.

Dzokhar Dudayev and Sheikh Mansur’s Chechen battalions stood side by side with us. In 2014, the Georgian National Legion also started fighting for Ukraine. In 2016, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a decree that officially allowed foreigners to enter the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

This is not the first time in history that Ukrainians were solely fighting for Ukraine’s independence. In 1919, a separate Jewish unit was established within the ranks of the Ukrainian Galician Army.

The creation of non-Ukrainian formations was even widespread during the years of struggle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The ideological basis for their struggle was the concept of the front of the enslaved people, which was developed by the Banderites.

The message of their struggles was “Freedom to the Nations! Freedom to the People!” and was formulated in 1940, foreshadowing the need to unite the representatives of other peoples of the USSR in their anti-Soviet struggle. They were considered the main allies of Ukrainians during the Second World War.

Therefore, in parallel with the deployment of the UPA in 1943, an active information campaign was conducted toward the representatives of these peoples, prisoners of war or Red Army soldiers. Interestingly, the author of the leaflets distributed to the Central Asian and Caucasus peoples was a Jew, Leiba Itzyk Dobrovsky, aka “Valeriy”, who worked as a political consultant to the UPA-North commander Dmytro Kliachkivsky.

At first, the UPA was joined by a few former Red Army soldiers or officers who became instructors in the insurgent army, which at that time lacked military specialists. Then, in the second half of 1943, entire national divisions of Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Uzbeks, Turkmen and Tatars began to be formed.

We read the following in an insurgent document: “In August 1943, an UPA unit composed of Uzbeks, Georgians and Russians killed 60 Nazi-bandits in the Mlyniv district, Rivne oblast in their battles with the Germans…”. A report from 31 October 1943 indicated a battle with the Germans when “brave Azerbaijanis, seeing the hated enemy in front of them, went to battle with a great zeal and with their heroism added the initiative needed for some of our young fighters who were in battle for the first time.”

In November 1943, the Banderites held the Conference of the Enslaved Peoples of Eastern Europe and Asia which took place in the UPA-controlled territories of the Rivne oblast. The conference brought together 39 representatives of 13 nations “enslaved by the Soviet empire.”

The rapid movement of the German-Soviet front in 1944 did not allow the further development of the idea of creating a joint front of the enslaved peoples of the USSR. But cooperation between representatives took place throughout the 1950s to the 1980s and played an important role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Similarly, the joint struggle of Ukrainians and other peoples against Russia will be the beginning of its end.

After a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian hordes, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on people from all over the world to come and defend the security of Europe and the world.

On February 27, the creation of the International Legion of the Territorial Army was announced.

Within a few weeks, tens of thousands of citizens from more than 50 countries have applied via Ukrainian embassies.

Hundreds of Belarussian have joined the Kastys Kalynovsky Battalion, some of whom have already died in battles for Ukraine. In an oath taken by members of the Belarussian battalion on March 25, they vowed not only to fight for Ukraine but also to liberate their homeland, Belarus.

Today, the Armed Forces of Ukraine provide an opportunity for the representatives of the enslaved peoples to gain combat experience and create a basis for armies that will sooner or later throw off the Moscow yoke.

Just like the slogan of “Freedom to the Nations! Freedom to People!”

Volodymyr ViatrovychVolodymyr Viatrovych, PhD, historian and member of Parliament of Ukraine
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