An attempt by the Ukrainian president to bring some unity to his country appears to have backfired. Viktor Yushchenko approved a march by veterans of the nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its formation. But left-wing groups mounted a demonstration against the veterans, saying they were fascists who had collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war.
The old soldiers say it was communists and Soviet propaganda that spread lies about their history, because as a nationalist force, they also fought Stalin’s troops in an attempt to win Ukraine its independence. It was this sense of national pride that President Yushchenko had hoped to tap into, in an attempt to unify today’s Ukraine.
Away from the street, the politicians have battles of their own over the formation of a government. A power-sharing plan to form a coalition between the President and the main pro-western parliamentary bloc still is not ready, and has been put back till next week.