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From CIA archives: Stepan Bandera’s 1954 interview to German radio

From Stepan BANDERA’s interview to Cologne (Germany) Radio Station in 1954: The conceptions “Ukrainian nationalist,” “nationalistic movement,” differ from similar terms used in the West. The Ukrainian nationalistic movement has nothing in common with Nazism, fascism or national-socialism. Ukrainian nationalism is fighting against totalitarianism, racism, dictatorship and violence of any kind. The name “Ukrainian nationalist” is consonant with “Ukrainian patriot” who is ready to fight for freedom of his people, to sacrifice for his people everything he has, even his life.”
From CIA archives: Stepan Bandera’s 1954 interview to German radio
Edited by: A. N.

On 17 January 2017, the CIA declassified more than 930,000 documents from the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) system and hosted them online. Previously, the reports were available to the public at the National Archives in Maryland, USA. The CREST system covers various topics including early CIA history, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Berlin Tunnel project, the Korean War, and the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

In the archives, we found a curious interview of Stepan Bandera to the Cologne German radio station given in 1954. Then, the leader of the independence and nationalist movement of Ukraine was living in Germany. In the early months of World War II he cooperated with Nazi Germany, but when he declared a Ukrainian independent state, he was arrested in 1941 and later imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he spent over two years. In 1944, with Germany rapidly losing its supremacy in the war before the advancing Allies, Bandera was released, in the hope that he would organize an anti-Soviet movement in the rear of the Red Army – an offer which he refused. The Soviet government tasked the KGB to assassinate Bandera. Bander was killed by Soviet agent Bogdan Stashynsky in 1959.

Until his death, Bandera remained the leader of one of two wings of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. In this interview, he tells about the outlooks and plans of the Ukrainian nationalist movement which was all but defeated following its fight against both Nazi Germany and the Red Army in WWII.[hr]

DATE 2004 2006

Shlyakh Peremohy (The Way to Victory) Number 43, Volume I, December 19, 1954, page 1


On Thursday, Dec. 9, 1954, the northwestern German radio station COLOGNE broadcast an interview with the Head of the Governing Body of ZCh OUN, Stepan BANDERA, which lasted from 7,45 to 8,13 hours. In his interview the Head of the Governing Body of ZCh OUN characterized the present state of the liberation fight of the Ukrainian people, primarily that of the nationalistic underground organization, and outlined the methods and objects of that fight. In view of the urgency of the problem, we reprint the whole text of the broadcast with the consent of the radio station. /It has reserved all rights in that broadcast; the interview or parts thereof may not be reprinted without permission/.

The Editorial Office of Sh. P. [Shlyakh Peremohy – Ed.]

Before me there sits a man whom, my listeners, I dare not describe. Few people know how he looks like, where he lives and under what name he goes today. This man is Stepan BANDERA.

Stepan BANDERA has already become a legendary figure of the national liberation fight of enslaved nations; like ABD-EL-KRIM, he is one of today’s most dangerous and strongest enemies of Soviet imperialism because he, the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, is backed by 40 million of Ukrainians. Bandera embodies their striving for national independence.

Since 1941, when he proclaimed the independence of Ukraine upon the marching of the Germans in the Soviet Union and when UPA, the Ukrainian Insurrection Army headed by him, took up arms—the Soviet secret service has tried to catch him. However, the Soviets have failed to reach BANDERA. Having remained unidentified, he is living in a secret place.

In 1945, at the end of the War, Stepan BANDERA was confined in a German concentration camp. The insurrection of the Ukrainian people in 1941 was not in line with HITLER’s conception of eastern policy. He invited BANDERA to BERLIN for political negotiations and ordered the latter to be arrested there. BANDERA’s adherents, the famous BANDERAITES, continued their fight on two fronts—against HITLER and against Russia. Stepan BANDERA has remained their unquestionable Leader.

In 1945 the Soviets made a thorough search after Stepan BANDERA all over Western Europe. Although at that time BANDERA was in a place which belonged to the Soviet sphere of influence, he was not identified. The Soviets have not found him. BANDERA is alive. Some time it may cost Russia dear because the striving for independence of the peoples enslaved by Russia, primarily that of the Ukrainian people, has always been a mortal danger threatening the unity and strength of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian problem has always been the weakest point of the Soviet Union, and it may undermine the very existence of the whole Soviet empire. The speeches made by KHRUSHCHEV, KAGANOVICH and others in summer 1954 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the reunion of Ukraine and Russia, which accused the West of “supporting the Ukrainian nationalism due to imperialist motives,” prove that Russia does not know how to solve the Ukrainian problem, despite the fact that it has gained the victory and in spite of its ruthless terrorism in Ukraine. Those speeches prove more convincingly than any other arguments that the Ukrainian people continues to offer resistance to Russia, and that this resistance increases. Stepan BANDERA who sits before me is the head, aspiration and conscience of the Ukrainian resistance movement.

I have met with BANDERA in order to put to him a few questions concerning the organization, methods, and objects of the Ukrainian liberation movement. Would you be so kind, Mr. BANDERA, as, first, to tell me what the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists is like and how it acts.

BANDERA: The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists with organizes and leads the fight of the Ukrainian people develops its activity in Ukraine as well as abroad, primarily in those western countries where the Ukrainian emigration has settled. Between those two parts of the Ukrainian liberation movement there is maintained a communication service across the Iron Curtain, which is based on the courier principle. Armed groups of messengers recruited among members of OUN and soldiers of UPA/Ukrainian Insurrection Army/ are sent from Ukraine abroad and vice versa; they make their way along secret routes in a way which is known to proper organs only; often they force their way by force of arms from one unit of the Organization to another.

HOPPE: Can you, Mr. BANDERA, tell us the details of the communication service between you and your underground groups in Ukraine?

BANDERA: Before their departure the members of a connecting group receive and study exhaustive verbal reports, explanation of the general situation and individual important events, the tendency of their development, as well as reports on the state, activity and plans of the respective parts of the liberation movement. From time to time leading members of the Organization go to Ukraine and vice versa along with connecting groups in order to strengthen the personal contact between the Governing Body in the Native Country and that in the emigration, and to carry out special instructions. Those leading members carry most exhaustive verbal informations. Besides verbal reports, the connecting groups also carry in both directions the mail which includes various documents, reports, encoded instructions, originals and copies of important publications, copies of periodicals and the like. Due to extraordinary difficulties, the couriers cannot be sent very often. The starting-bases on both sides are at an above one thousand kilometers distance from each other. This route which often crosses the territory occupied by the Bolsheviks is blocked by numerous refined obstructions in order to make every uncontrolled infiltration impossible. It is especially difficult to cross two or three frontiers and borderlands with wire-entanglements, depopulated and ploughed zones cleared of forests with electric barbed wire obstructions, mine barrages, masked and concealed alarm devices, flares and a great number of frontier guards and their patrols.

HOPPE: I can imagine what sacrifices are required by the maintenance of your communication with Ukraine. . .

BANDERA: The maintenance of the communication between the Native Country and the emigration belongs to the most difficult problems which the Organization must solve in its revolutionary fight and underground activity against Bolshevism. Strong-willed, reliable in the ideological and moral respect, courageous, self-sacrificing and shrewd members of the Organization are picked out in the Native Country and abroad for that service. The members of the communication service are trained and prepared thoroughly for their special tasks. Despite our efforts and in spite of the thorough training, on an average one half of the messengers die during the discharging of their duties. Sometimes the casualties are major. It happens that whole groups of the best fighters for freedom whose training and equipment required much trouble and money are completely annihilated by the enemy. However, the broken communication is repaired by new groups and the destroyed routes are replaced by new ones, but this requires new expenses.

Besides the so-called “living” communication which is maintained by the couriers, the Ukrainian liberation movement has other ways and means by which the part of the Organization in the Native Country and that in the emigration keep in touch with each other. However, the couriers’ service is most important because such a communication is the surest and most exhaustive one. News, documents and comments on individual events and tendencies of the development of the situation, which are sent in both directions, are important not only because of their contents. They make possible the proper understanding of news which are broadcast by radio and sent by the press and various publications across the Iron Curtain in both directions. Thanks to its own informations on the processes and events in the Soviet Union which are concealed from the West by the Soviet Government, ZCh OUN is able to comment properly on the official informations of the Soviet Government which are disseminated by the press and radio in a distorted and one-sided form.

Therefore, our appraisal of various processes and events of the political life in the Soviet Union differs from the similar appraisal by western observers and politicians most of whom rely on Soviet official news and sources.

On the other hand, the news and comments brought to Ukraine from the units abroad help the units of OUN in the Native Country appraise properly the political development on this side of the Iron Curtain and contend against the Russian propaganda.

HOPPE: Mr. BANDERA, what do the vast masses of the Ukrainian people think of communism and Russian imperialism?

BANDERA: The Ukrainian people takes up an extremely hostile attitude towards Bolshevism, communism, communist system and regime. It also takes a hostile attitude towards all the kinds of enslavement and exploitation of Ukraine by Russian imperialists. There is only a small number of Ukrainian fellow travelers of the Bolshevik regime who take up another attitude towards it. The revolutionary anti-Bolshevik fight of the Ukrainian liberation movement is the true spokesman of the attitude and aspiration of the Ukrainian people. The broad masses of the Ukrainian people support this movement by every possible means and follow its political leaders. In consequence of that the Bolshevik government is faced by a mass passive resistance and active sabotage of its plans and actions in different spheres. It is evident primarily in the field of national and cultural life as well as in the social and economic policy of the Government.

HOPPE: By what means does Russia maintain its power over the Ukrainians?

/To be continued. All rights reserved by the Northwestern German Radio Station COLOGNE/.


Shlyakh Peremohy (The Way to Victory) Number 44, Volume I, December 26, 1954, page 1


HOPPE: By what means does Russia maintain its ruling over Ukrainians?

BANDERA: The ultimate end of the Bolshevik policy is to destroy the peculiar substance of the Ukrainian people in every respect, and to drown the Ukrainian people in the sea of the so-called Soviet people or, rather, in the modern form of the Russian imperialism devouring other people. In this way, the Ukraine would allegedly turn into one of the Russian provinces. However, the Bolsheviks dare not speak openly of that end and pursue it in a straight way. On the contrary, they are compelled to apply very complicated means, and even to retreat in some fields. Russia is compelled to do so, on the one hand, by the firm attitude of the whole Ukrainian people in its fight against the Russian imperialism and communism and the revolutionary fight of the Ukrainian nationalistic liberation movement, and on the other hand, by the numerical strength of the Ukrainian people and the universal potential of Ukraine. The striving for independence of the Ukrainian people has not been broken by Russia either by means of mass liquidation of the national cadres or by the unheard-of terrorizing of the whole Ukrainian people, which were carried on by the Soviets from the year 1930 to World War II by means of an artificial famine, mass deportations and executions. Besides the terrorizing all the opponents of Bolshevism, Russia is trying to apply new tactics: to change the striving for independence of the Ukrainian people into Soviet patriotism. Those tactics manifest themselves especially in today’s Soviet propaganda which recently began to emphasize the role of Ukraine as the second in size Soviet republic, to emphasize the grandeur of the Ukrainian people, the weight of the Ukrainian culture and Ukraine and its people in general.

HOPPE: What do you think, Mr. BANDERA, about the subject of the Crimean peninsula to the administration of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, which took place after the year 1945, the demonstrative celebrations of this year of the incorporation of Ukraine in the Soviet empire on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the PEREYASLAV treaty, the nomination of communists with Ukrainian names, loyal to Russia, to high public posts, and today’s Russian tactics with regard to Ukraine?

BANDERA: In this way Russia tries to convince the Ukrainians that Ukraine and the Ukrainian people could have in the framework of USSR the best opportunity to develop, an opportunity to satisfy its national and political aspirations and even to become a ruling nation. Especially the latter possibility is emphasized by the Soviet propaganda which says that the “great Russian people” is willing to share its hegemony with the “great Ukrainian brotherly people.” Behind this suggestion, there is a Russian endeavor to connect Ukraine with the Soviet imperialism, to make Ukraine propagandize and defend it along with the Russians and to make the fate of Ukraine dependent on its fate.

The Russian treacherous plans with regard to Ukraine manifest themselves in the resettlement of the Ukrainian population, primarily that of the youth, to sparsely populated regions of Soviet Asia, which became recently well known. This resettlement is being carried on under the pretext of population of the virgin soil and changing it into arable land. The whole migration is allegedly voluntary. In fact, however, it is the Soviet national policy which is being realized by this new form of forced resettlement.

Economic plans play a second-rate role in this resettlement. By those means the Soviets try to decrease the Ukrainian youth and to weaken the potential of the population of Ukraine.

In the new regions, the resettled people should play the role of colonizers who, on the one hand, are completely dependent on the Soviet regime and must realize its colonial policy, and on the other hand, they will bring the hatred of the indigenous population upon themselves. The object of this policy is to weaken the national aggregate and the power of resistance in Ukraine as well as in the colonized lands and to sow dissention among the peoples enslaved by Russia, primarily the Ukrainians and the Turkmen population.

However, Bolshevik Russia will not gain its end. Everything will be against Russia. The Siberian concentration camps and forced settlements will be unable to break the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians and their hate toward Bolshevism and Russian imperialism. Neither will they be able to influence the profound friendship of the peoples enslaved by Russia.

In the hearts of the Ukrainians, there is no feeling of hate toward the allied nations. On the contrary, they wish all the people to unite in their common fight against the enslaver, Russian Bolshevism.

HOPPE: Mr. BANDERA, what are the political objectives of your Organization?

BANDERA: The anti-Bolshevik liberation fight in Ukraine which is being carried on by the nationalist underground organization has already lasted 10 years. The main objectives of this fight are:

  1. Destruction of the Bolshevik rule;
  2. Separation of Ukraine from USSR and liquidation of the Russian empire on the whole;
  3. Liquidation of communism, communist system and regime;
  4. Restoration of the Independent Ukrainian State within its national ethnographic frontiers with a democratic system of governing which would guarantee the democratic freedoms in all the spheres of life and all the citizens of Ukraine, primarily in the sphere of spiritual, cultural, political and social life.

HOPPE: Would you be so kind, Mr. BANDERA, as to explain in detail the conception “Ukrainian nationalism”?

BANDERA: Today the anti-Bolshevik liberation fight in Ukraine is organized and led by OUN, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The conceptions “Ukrainian nationalist,” “nationalistic movement,” differ from similar terms used in the West. The Ukrainian nationalistic movement has nothing in common with Nazism, fascism or national-socialism. Ukrainian nationalism is fighting against totalitarianism, racism, dictatorship and violence of any kind.

The name “Ukrainian nationalist” is consonant with “Ukrainian patriot” who is ready to fight for freedom of his people, to sacrifice for his people everything he has, even his life.

Ukrainian nationalism sets off the idea of independence and a free development of every nation against the so-called Bolshevik internationalism. We fight against the Bolshevik endeavors to impose the Russian rule on other nations. We oppose every form of Russian Bolshevism in every sphere of life.

HOPPE: In what form does the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists carry on its fight in Ukraine today?

BANDERA: During World War II and in the first years after the War, the Ukrainian liberation fight was carried on in the form of partisan warfare of the Ukrainian Insurrection Army, in which the broad masses of the Ukrainian people participated. Since 1949, the military activity of the Ukrainian Insurrection Army has decreased. However, its cadres have been maintained as a skeleton organization of its units for future operations. The revolutionary anti-Bolshevik fight of the Ukrainian people continues in the form of a political underground work. The task of the underground organization is to change the concealed hate toward the Russian-Bolshevik imperialism and the enslavement of non-Russian peoples living in the Soviet Union into an active resistance to Russia.

The Ukrainian liberation fight is a component of the general liberation fight of all peoples enslaved by Russian imperialism. In our opinion, Bolshevism is only one of the forms of the traditional Russian imperialism. In our fight against the Russian-Bolshevik imperialism, we consider ourselves an ally of all the freedom-loving nations. We offered resistance to the Russian-Bolshevik imperialism in the past, we are opposing it now and we shall oppose it in the future.



Scans of the Original Declassified Documents from the CIA Archive

Part 1

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Part 2

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Edited by: A. N.
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