A storm of emotions — from explosive laughter to the most ardent indignation — aroused Russian experts another military reform in Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko today signed a law establishing a ban on the wearing of stars on the shoulder straps all the armed forces. In their place will come the Golden diamonds of the Ukrainian insurgent army. What is the obsession with the idea of total de-Sovietization and the rejection of everything that has anything to do with Russia or the deliberate collapse of the military traditions established long before the great Patriotic war? “MK” interviewed prominent military figures and historians and found their attitude to new symbolism of the Ukrainian army.
photo: Natalia Gubernatorova
Igor Korotchenko, military expert, retired Colonel: “This is utter nonsense and completely idiotic actions. Ukraine is now the weakest army in Europe. Even in Kosovo, the army is stronger. And they’re changing the titles, epaulettes, cockade. The only emotions that are possible in connection with this development in military environment is the irritation. No explosion of indignation, the division of the army on ideological grounds will not. For professional soldiers, these “reforms” are just pawns. How to wait for response? It’s very simple. Is the discussion of unprintable words. But it will be quiet in the hallways, the corridors and in the kitchen.”
Sergey Shestov, retired Colonel of the KGB, President of the International public organization of veterans of special forces “Vympel”: “Here we are not dealing with a mental disorder of politicians and not with the desire to just erase the Soviet past. It is long lasting, accurate and methodical ideological work. It is NATO since 1994. Since that time the higher ranks of the Ukrainian army began to receive proposals to change course with the Soviet-Russian in the West. Further, this processing down to the lower echelons. As for military uniform, NATO unofficially, without official accounts estimates and allocates funds for Ukrainian army in preobladanie. Via all kinds of social organizations — Vietnamese, Iranian and other funds going delivery of materials, merchandise. So one can hardly say that Ukrainian politicians themselves, without anybody’s assistance and support, came up with the replacement of the stars on diamonds”.
Konstantin Zalessky, a military historian, a specialist in the history of the Third Reich: “Those diamonds, which the Ukrainian leadership presented on display, it is not the symbolism of the UPA. Poroshenko made a mistake, and I don’t think he fully understands how much. Initially uniform, the UPA was an eight-pointed stars: from the round Central base went eight sharp rays. But they had nowhere to make. And the Wehrmacht uniforms and the cuts were many. So during the great Patriotic war, the fighters of the UPA just began to wear German uniforms. So the straps, which legalized Petro Poroshenko, is the shoulder straps of the Wehrmacht. As for the stars, they are not purely Soviet legacy. Stars was originally used on the shoulder straps of the Russian army long before the revolution. When Stalin claimed form of the red army, he simply borrowed these traditional stars.”
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