Rectification of facts about Galicia Division

Dear Editor:

The article, "Philatelic vestiges of the Galicia Division" by Ingert Kuzych (March 5) describing one of the diverse facets of the division's past, while being very interesting, contained several inaccuracies that need to be rectified. First of all, the translation of the division's Ukrainian name "Striletska Dyviziia' as "Sharpshooter Division" was quite awkward. A sizable amount of English language literature about the division exists and an acceptable translation "Riflemen Division" is already being used.

The statement that the division's command corps consisted entirely of German officers is inaccurate. Most of the company commanders, platoon commanders and a few battalion commanders were Ukrainians. Even in the divisional command staff there were Ukrainian officers like Paliiv, Makarushka, Ferkuniak and Tys-Krochaliuk.

After one full year of training, the division was deployed on the eastern front and contrary to statements in the article, was at that time fully trained, and equipment and weapons were adequate and in many cases superior to some German divisions. Unfortunately the deployment happened during the largest Soviet offensive of the war and against the overwhelming superiority of Soviet armor, aviation and manpower. It ended in a disaster.

To learn more about the Galicia Division the reader is referred to the webpage: http://www.infoukes.com/galiciadivision/.

Roman Hawrylak
New York

The letter writer is a member of the executive of the Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army.

Political viewpoints do not denote morality

Dear Editor:

On occasion, I find the writing of Dr. Myron Kuropas to be interesting; at times, I agree with some of what he says. Unfortunately, his column has recently become offensive. In his March 5, column Dr. Kuropas uses epithets against those who disagree with his world view and calls "alternative lifestyle" a perversion. Possibly, Mr. Kuropas is not aware of the fact that resorting to name-calling and to hate speech is usually indicative of one's inability to convince others through logic and clear argument.

I will not address the many outrageous and inaccurate statements in the column of March 5, nor the many false parallels that Dr. Kuropas draws, such as suggesting that left-wing theory is somehow based on Nietzche's ultra right-wing fascism. Suffice it to say that I have not read such a hodge-podge of half-truths and baseless accusations in a very long time.

Dr. Kuropas' March 5 column implies that one can be moral only if one agrees with Dr. Kuropas' right-wing views and considers people such as Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes to be enlightened.

Surely it is possible to be a moral person, a good Ukrainian, and a good American without subscribing to the politics of George W. Bush, during whose short tenure as governor of Texas over 120 persons were killed by that state. Surely, one can support affirmative action and freedom of speech, can believe that Gen. Augusto Pinochet was not the savior of Chile, can consider programs on the History Channel about the evils of Nazi Germany to be important, can support the rights of gays, can believe that Elian Gonzalez belongs with his father, and can still be a moral person.

Surely a person who holds some or all of the above-mentioned views could, at the same time, consider Stalin to have been an incarnation of evil and could support the efforts to make the world aware of the tragedy of the Great Famine of 1932-1933.

Surely there is no one set of political views that a person must hold to be moral or to be a worthwhile member of the Ukrainian community. And most assuredly, columnists damage our community when they indulge in name-calling.

Tatiana B. Durbak
Albany, N.Y.

Language is crucial to Ukraine's survival

Dear Editor:

The issue of language is crucial to the future of Ukraine's independence. Although Ukraine is independent, the fight for Ukraine's soul continues in full force. Ultimately the Russophiles in Ukraine want Ukraine to become a "Russian Ukraine," totally eliminating the Ukrainian language and that for which it stands.

The U.S. military has been visiting Ukraine since 1993. Currently over 100 missions per year are planned with Ukraine, dealing from combat arms to medical training. From 1993 to 1997, the Ukrainian military attempted to use Ukrainian in most situations. Since 1997, however, there was a shift to Russian.

Ukrainian interpreters in the U.S. military noted the change, but initially this appeared as confusion or lack of policy implementation.

During 1997, I saw first hand that the shift to Russian was obvious. The reasons for the change varied. The Russians in the Ukrainian military felt that Russian was the "language of diplomacy, while Ukrainian was not." Others in the Ukrainian military assured us that this is a "temporary" phenomenon and that Ukrainian will become the national language.

The assurances given are not in sync with the feelings of patriotic Ukrainians in Ukraine. A former commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army stated that initially most Russians used Ukrainian because they feared repercussions. Once the fear was alleviated by President Leonid Kuchma's pro-Russian language policies, the Russophiles in the military re-initiated the Russification policies of the Soviet Union.

Since 1997 Ukrainian interpreters in the U.S. military have had to battle Ukrainian versus Russian language use. The use of language has now become an issue of geopolitical strategy.

In my opinion, if Ukraine loses its language it will cease to exist as an independent state. For many this is a difficult concept to grasp - how could the use of a particular language determine independence? For the Russophiles, the Ukrainian language denotes freedom, patriotism and democracy. Russian denotes permanent dependence on Moscow and relegates Ukrainians to the status of second-class citizens. Russia has always seen Ukrainian as a threat to its imperial aspirations.

To chauvinistic Russians, Ukraine and the Ukrainian language must be subordinated and not allowed to flourish.

It is in the United States national interest that Ukraine remain a free, independent state.

When we send Ukrainian interpreters to Ukraine, this sends a strong message to the Russophiles and underlines that the U.S. supports a free and independent Ukraine. However, when we send Russian interpreters to Ukraine, this signifies to the Russophiles that the United States may not be all that committed to Ukraine's continued independence. Ukrainian patriots become demoralized.

The hypocrisy of Russia in demanding "equal rights" for its citizens in Ukraine defies the realities of the past 300 years. Russia, whether tsarist or Communist, demanded and implemented policies for the total elimination of the Ukrainian language. Now Russia is protesting Ukraine's implementation of policies its state language.

Today, Ukraine is under great pressure to implement Russian. To a great degree, Russian is being used in military circles and in the diplomatic arena. How long should a nation wait to make its language a national language?

Roman G. Golash
Palatine, Ill.

About 'pyrohy ladies' and Canadian perogies

Dear Editor:

Re "Magazine spotlights 'pyrohy ladies'" (February 13): It's about time another mainstream magazine featured varenyky/pyrohy. In Canada, especially in the Prairies and out to British Columbia, they are a staple, a genuine Canadian food.

But they are not called "pierogies" here by anyone (other than the Poles). They are perogies (pl.), perogy (s.), a "Canadian" term. And they are definitely now a mainstream Canadian food. I was surprised to see "pierogies" on the menu at the Future Bakery deli in Toronto. Surely a Ukrainian restaurant in eastern Canada should know the Canadian spelling of the term.

At least two companies mass produce them and, on the prairies, perogies are found in practically every supermarket in the frozen food section. Personally, I would not buy these, although there seems to be a big market. One company's perogies are passable, the other one's are an embarrassment, sheer cardboard.

In Winnipeg, there are two restaurants, Alycia's and Savela's, which sell tons of fresh ones by the dozens. The latter supplies Costco, and can barely keep up with the demand. Throughout the city you have Ann's Perogey Palace, Perogy House, Karen's Home Cooking ("perogies, cabbage rolls, perishky") and others.

The Ukrainian churches have been built and maintained on varenyky - thousands of dollars fill church coffers from the weekly sale of fresh perogies. St. John Suchavsky Cathedral or, as Winnipeggers know it, the Bukovynska church, is legendary for varenyky with a variety of fillings, including sauerkraut, which usually sell out.

One innovation is the golden, or orangey filling that may surprise Ukrainian Americans visiting western Canada. Rarely will you find the potato/farmer's cheese filling here. The most popular one is the potato/cheddar cheese filling. Yes, indeed, sometimes CheezeWhiz is used! Culinary progress, go figure.

Orysia Tracz

The Ukrainian Weekly welcomes letters to the editor and commentaries on a variety of topics of concern to the Ukrainian American and Ukrainian Canadian communities. Opinions expressed by columnists, commentators and letter-writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either The Weekly editorial staff or its publisher, the Ukrainian National Association.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, March 26, 2000, No. 13, Vol. LXVIII

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