30 JUNE 1941

30 June 1941 was the date of the Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood by the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). After the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941 OUN-B hoped to force the German government to accede to the formation of an independent Ukrainian state. It was hoped that the Germans would take a rational course and ally themselves with the occupied nations of the USSR, who were eager to rid themselves of the Soviet yoke.

As part of this strategy, Yaroslav Stetsko, Bandera’s second-in-command, entered Lviv with the Germans on 30 June. Stetsko declared, that by the will of the Ukrainian people, OUN-B was creating a Ukrainian state. By a decree issued by Bandera, Stetsko was appointed premier of the Ukrainian State Administration. The proclamation went on to state that the Ukrainian State Administration would submit itself to the authority of a national government yet to be created in Kyiv.

The German authorities reacted harshly to this declaration; on 12 July 1941 Stetsko was taken to Berlin for ‘consultations,’ where he was placed under arrest. He was imprisoned until 1944. Bandera was also arrested and imprisoned. After most of Ukraine had been occupied, mass arrests of OUN activists began in September 1941. Many were executed. It became obvious that the struggle for an independent Ukraine would have to fight two tyrannical imperialisms – German and Soviet. OUN began an underground struggle against the German occupiers.

After the war, Soviet propaganda would attempt to paint OUN-B as evil collaborators of the Germans; the fact that most of the leadership of OUN was imprisoned by the very regime they were supposedly collaborating with was never explained by the slanderous lies of Soviet propaganda.