Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has committed a gross faux pas by tweeting a photo that enraged the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.
On October 21, the day the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic began the deportation of Nazi collaborators and pro-Nazi nationalists from Ukraine’s western regions back in 1947, President Poroshenko tweeted a picture ostensibly showing a group of these deportees—who had collaborated in the murders and deportation of three million Ukrainian Jews, accompanied by the statement: “We remember.”
Poroshenko’s government relies on the Svoboda party, a.k.a. the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, which is inspired by Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator. Party members wear Nazi symbols and organize Nazi-style rallies.
Eduard Dolinsky, Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, reacted on his Facebook page to the president’s obviously pro-Nazi tweet, noting that the photo has nothing to do with the events Poroshenko was recalling – Nazi collaborators driven out of Ukraine – but was taken in Lodz, Poland, in 1942, and the people in it are Jews being driven by the Nazis from the ghetto to the death camps.
“Strange, but in the tweet of the head of state over the 70th anniversary of the mass deportation of the population of Western Ukrainian lands to Siberia, as an illustration, appears a photograph of the Nazi deportation of Jews from lodz to death camps in 1942,” Dolinsky noted, enclosing the correct original photo from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.
Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko, an oligarch with a lucrative career in acquiring and building assets, was elected president in May 2014, with more than 54% of the vote. He owns the all-news TV channel 5, and Roshen, a large confectionery company – which has earned him the nickname “Chocolate King.”