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Ukrainian Nationalist's Son To Fight For Father's 'Hero' Title

Roman Shukhevych
Roman Shukhevych

KYIV -- The son of a controversial commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Liberation Army during World War II says he will fight to retain his father's posthumous Hero of Ukraine title, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

An appeals court in the eastern city of Donetsk ruled on April 21 that a presidential decree signed by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in 2007 posthumously awarding Roman Shukhevych the title Hero of Ukraine should be annulled.

The court said Shukhevych -- who died in 1950 -- cannot be a hero of a country he never lived in. Shukhevych's son, Yury Shukhevych, says the court's decision is illegal since under Ukrainian law only the Kyiv regional court is empowered to revise presidential decrees.

Earlier this month, a Donetsk appeals court similarly ruled that the late leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Stepan Bandera, should be stripped of his Hero of Ukraine title, given to him by Yushchenko in January. The Donetsk court also based its ruling on the fact that Bandera died in 1959, well before Ukraine became an independent state.

In March, newly elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych promised Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his official trip to Moscow that both Shukhevych and Bandera would have their titles rescinded.

Bandera and Shukhevych are revered in western Ukraine as fighters for Ukraine's statehood and independence, but regarded as Nazi collaborators in the eastern part of the country, which is predominantly populated by ethnic Russians.

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