John Helmer: Chrystia Freeland’s Family Lie Grows Bigger And Blacker– Michael Chomiak Volunteered For Hitler Before Ukraine Was Invaded and Was Hunted by the Polish Police Until the 1980s

Yves here. This post is apparently so threatening that the version on Helmer’s regular site was down as of this writing due to a DDoS attack. You can also view it on his backup site here.

And the point is not that Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a loyal, well-rewarded, and very influential Nazi propagandist. Many blameless people have unsavory relatives. The issue is that Freeland flagrantly misrepresented her family history, repeatedly telling a totally fabricated story that they fled Nazi persecution as opposed to benefitted from perpetrating it.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

German military records have been found in a Polish government archive in Warsaw revealing that Michael Chomiak (lead image, left), maternal grandfather of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (right), volunteered to serve in the German invasion of Poland long before the German Army attacked the Soviet Union and invaded Ukraine.

Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada.

The newly disclosed documents expose Freeland’s repeated lying that Chomiak had been a victim of  World War II; an unwilling journalist overpowered by German military force;  compelled to write propaganda extolling the German Army’s successes, and advocating the destruction of the Jews, Poles and Russians. As for Freeland’s claim that Chomiak had secretly aided the Ukrainian resistance, sources in Warsaw believe Chomiak was trained by the Germans as a double-agent,penetrating Ukrainian groups and spying on them.

The Polish records also point to the likelihood that US Army, US intelligence and Canadian immigration records on Chomiak – concealed until now – can confirm in greater detail what Chomiak did during the war, as well as for years afterward, which made him a target for the Polish police until not long before his death in 1984.

Chomiak (rear, 3rd from left) at a party in Cracow hosted by Emil Gassner (front, extreme right), chief spokesman for the German administration of occupied Poland and Ukraine known as the Generalgouvernement (German) and Generalne Gubernatorstwo. Source:  

Chomiak (rear, left) with a German officer and a different group of  officials of the Generalgouvernement in Cracow. The source for the photographs is Ukrainian-Canadian researcher Alex Boykowich, who has reported his findings from the Chomiak archive here. 

Following her promotion to foreign minister in January of this year, Freeland repeated the lies after historians and reporters opened Chomiak’s personal papers at the Alberta province archives. The Chomiak papers can be found at accession number 85.191.  Click to open.

The papers reveal Chomiak’s enthusiastic writing in wartime media in Cracow and Chelm, as the German concentration camps nearby at Belzec, Majdanek, Sobibor and Auschwitz destroyed the populations of the Polish cities, of Jewish Lvov (Lviv), and of the Galician region which Chomiak sought to cleanse for his vision of Ukrainian independence, backed by German arms. For details of the story, and of the Canadian and Ukrainian evidence published so far, read this.


The 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division was formed by Heinrich Himmler in mid-1943 from 80,000 Ukrainian applicants. Just 13,000 were selected and the rest used to form police units and guards for the concentration camps.  The destruction of the German armies around Stalingrad by early 1943 left the German forces on the eastern front severely undermanned; Chomiak’s job included helping to raise the new force and ensure its recruits would remain loyal to the Nazis. For background, read this.

As controversy has intensified in Canada over Freeland’s coverup for Chomiak, she arranged in the parliament lobby for a reporter to ask the question Freeland’s staff had planted: “Recently, there has been a series of articles about you and your maternal grandparents making accusations that he was a Nazi collaborator in pro-Russian websites. I’d like to get your view on do you see this as a disinformation campaign by the Russians to try to smear you and discredit you? Which they have to have a tendency to have done.” In answer Freeland avoided the Chomiak evidence. Instead, she blamed Russian efforts “to destabilize” the US and Canadian political systems. “I am confident”, Freeland declared on March 6, “in our country’s democracy, and I am confident that we can stand up to and see through those efforts.” For the full story, click.

On March 9 Freeland was reported in the Washington Post as saying:  “Russia should stop calling my grandfather a Nazi”.

In Warsaw, a file on Chomiak has been discovered at the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN is the Polish acronym), which is part of the state’s Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.      There are four items in the file, which have been photographed,  and are published here for the first time. The IPN has tagged the Chomiak file No. Kr 010/5606.



The three original documents in the file comprise Chomiak’s identity card of 1941, issued by the German authorities; and two later documents in Polish, indicating a Polish intelligence and police search for Chomiak.




The document shows that Chomiak, then 36 years old, was in Vienna at the time the German authorities issued his identification. He was no longer a reporter or journalist, but titled Hauptschriftleiter – Editor in Chief. The card also confirms that although a Ukrainian by nationality, and a native of Lemberg (the German name for Lvov), Chomiak had been living and working for some time in Cracow, then occupied Poland. Cracow was the administrative capital of the Generalgouvernment, whose governor-general was a German, Hans Frank. Gassner, whom Chomiak’s own papers identify as his boss, was Frank’s spokesman and head of press operations for the Galician region.

Polish analyst Stanislas Balcerac points out that before Chomiak was granted his new Kennkarte (identity card) No. II 189941 for living and working in Cracow, the Germans had already granted him a Personal Ausweis (ID card), dated July 1, 1941. That had been issued by the Presse chef der Regierung (Government Head of Press) – that was Gassner (below, right).

Hans Frank (centre) and Emil Gassner (right) at the opening of the German Press Centre in Cracow, March 1942. Frank was convicted at Nuremberg for war crimes and executed in October 1946; Gassner testified at the trial on Frank’s behalf. By that time Chomiak was working for US Army Intelligence in Bavaria.

The German administration of Galicia commenced in Cracow in November 1939. The invasion of the Soviet Union began on June 22, 1941, and one week later, on June 29, 1941, German forces captured Lvov (Lviv). The entire Galician region north and east of Lvov was then incorporated into Frank’s governorate. By that time Chomiak was at work in Cracow for Gassner. He hadn’t fled the Ukraine from the Germans, as Freeland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian press claim. Chomiak fled to the Germans, slipping across the Ukraine border, running from the Soviet government of the Ukraine towards German rank, power, and money, including an apartment and furniture taken from Jews who had been sent to their deaths at Belzec.

When exactly Chomiak arrived in Cracow, and how long he spent in training in Vienna aren’t  revealed in the Polish file. The ID card suggests that Chomiak was in Vienna between July and September of 1941, before he was ordered back to Cracow, reporting there to Gassner. “This document destroys the narrative of the Chomiak apologists that he was just an administrative functionary and didn’t write much,” comments Stanislas Balcerac from Warsaw. “The card is very important evidence. Editor in Chief Chomiak was no mere small fish, caught in the tidal wave of the war. The Germans placed high value on him. Three months after the invasion [of the USSR] he was sent from Vienna to Cracow. With the title of Editor in Chief, I believe he was trained in Vienna; perhaps Vienna is the hidden part of his war record, with Cracow used initially as a cover for him during the first years of the German occupation of Poland, 1939-41.”

The papers Chomiak left behind at his death in Canada do not reveal what he was doing with the Germans in the 2-year interval. Polish sources suspect Chomiak arrived in Cracow soon after Frank became governor, offering himself as an agent of influence to inform the Germans on what fellow Ukrainians and anti-Russian nationalists then active in and around Lviv were thinking and planning. His work as a journalist was a cover for espionage on behalf of the Germans, Polish sources suspect.

There is no corroboration for this in the Polish files discovered to date. Two other documents in the IPN dossier, dating well after the German defeat and the end of the war, indicate that whatever Chomiak had been doing for the Germans became a fresh issue of interest to the Polish authorities in the mid-1960s.



The first document (left) is dated April 23, 1966. It confirms that Chomiak was a target of interest and search, and that part of his German war record had been recovered for a Polish review. His last known address was given as an apartment in Cracow. The search notice was signed by the head of Department C; that’s the intelligence branch of the Polish police; C stands for identification and archives. There is no mention of the purpose for which the information on Chomiak was being gathered, or what triggered the police interest in Chomiak in Warsaw in the spring of 1966.

The second document, originally dated May 12, 1966, reveals the search for Chomiak led initially to a case of mistaken identity. Another Michael Chomiak was found, but he turned out to have been born the day before the target, and was a peasant, not the professional editor in chief and administrator. The second note reveals also an official date stamp at the bottom for February 11, 1980; as well as a notation along the left side dated March 3, 1980.

By then Chomiak was in retirement in Canada; he had just four years left to live. The Polish police appear not to have been able to follow the German Army records which moved westward in 1945, along with Gassner and Chomiak, when the Soviets advanced on them. Nor until recently has the Polish Government realized that Chomiak ended up in Canada, and that the principal heir to his wartime Galician operations has become foreign minister in Ottawa.

According to the Canadian journalist Colby Cosh, “somehow Michael Chomiak reached far northern Alberta and lived out his days as a gentleman farmer. I am comfortable with that. Very few Western Canadians have anything like complete knowledge of their own family background: I suspect we would be astonished to learn how many have had surprises like Freeland’s, or at least received unnerving hints of them.”

Balcerac replies for Polish journalists investigating past and present Ukrainian threats to Polish sovereignty in the Galician region. “This Canadian statement is discreditable,  not only for its ignorance of the ‘surprises’  in the Polish and German records of World War II.  It’s also a declaration of comfortable complacency in not investigating how much Freeland aims to revive the takeover of Polish Galicia, with Canadian money and arms, which her grandfather tried with German money and arms.”

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  1. Bill Smith

    Who would care enough to launch a DDoS attack on Helmer’s site about this? Freeland is not likely the first person to find out that the family history that was related to her wasn’t quite ‘accurate’.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Did you miss that she’s the Foreign Minister of Canada, and she’s a huge backer of the government in Kiev? Help me. Are you this incapable of connecting the dots?

      1. glib

        this not news really. I think everyone knows that the Ukrainian diaspora in North America is very rich in Nazis, that the US brought them in after WWII and protected them all these decades, and that Banderites are among the US allies in Ukraine today. You don’t bomb Donbass every single day without a certain frame of mind. Then they are politically active, and occasionally someone makes it to the top.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You are choosing to divert attention from the point.

          Freeland went to great lengths to pretend she had no such history or motivation by consistently presenting her family as Nazi victims, specifically saying they left Europe years before they did as a result of Nazi persecution.

          So she’s actively lied about the fact that she appears to harbor a family grudge and isn’t objective on this topic.

          1. John Casey

            It’s not just that Freeland lied about her grandfather’s identity and ideological commitments. Freeland’s in a position to influence Canada’s policies toward Ukraine and Russia today, and she espouses a particularly harsh form of Russophobia. Given these latest revelations about Chomiak, I can’t help but wonder if Freeland’s been dishonest with the world about her real motives for choosing a career in politics and international relations.

  2. Mickey Hickey

    Ms Freeland is working hard to increase the size of Canadian armed forces and to equip them with up to date tanks, warplanes and weapons. The stated reason is to locate them as part of the NATO initiative on Russia’s western border to protect those countries from the Russkis’. Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia are mentioned as being the most vulnerable. Those countries have significant Russian minorities who are already under threat from domestic ultra nationalists. The likely result of giving the ultra nationalists the idea that they can attack anyone they consider to non true blue Ukrainian, Latvian or Estonian with the backing of NATO will no doubt lead to civil war, with Russia being forced to come to the aid of what they consider to be close kin. This is Europe we are talking about, centuries of senseless barbarity with no end in sight. As a Canadian citizen I am appalled at the the thought of Canada actively participating in the destabilisation of Eastern Europe. Enough damage has been done in the Middle East and North Africa, trying to start WW3 in Eastern Europe is beyond bounds.

  3. Alex Morfesis

    Goodness…thus obsession with nazis…come now…everyone knows how many americans were killed by russians during world war 2…why do we keep going over those “few” accidental deaths caused by germany…

    and all the americans killed by russia during world war one when Germany was obviously on our side too(everybody knows that)…

    goodness, including the american invasion and occupation of a few small parts of Russia almost 100 years ago, the grand total is almost three whole bus full of americans killed by russians in the last century…

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Lol 3 bus loads compared to the millions of football stadiums with the victims of the American Empire

  4. Petter

    This looks horrible and it was, but a a bit of historical perspective might be in order. An estimated three million kulaks (farmers) were were killed or shipped off the Gulag during the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union in the late twenties-early thirties (collectivization had actually started earlier than that but never mind). Five million died of famine as a result. Many of these were Ukrainians. This left a bitter taste among many Ukrainians, to state it mildly. When the Germans invaded, some Ukrainians welcomed them as liberators. For someone wanting to liberate their country from the Soviets back then, then, the only alternative was the Germans.
    I have no idea how loathsome a character Freedland’s grandfather was, but I would guess that he was motivated by a hatred of communism and the Soviet Union and saw the Germans as his only chance to free his country.
    I don’t know why Freedland didn’t choose to tell this story.

    Obbooks: The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    The Great Terror:A Reassessment – Robert Conquest

    1. Matt

      “I have no idea how loathsome a character Freedland’s grandfather was, but I would guess that he was motivated by a hatred of communism and the Soviet Union and saw the Germans as his only chance to free his country.”

      This is the same nationalist mythology that is currently in vogue across Eastern Europe. They hated the Soviets so much they happily helped to exterminate Jews, Poles, and Russians?

      1. Yves Smith Post author


        All of this is diversion from the real issue, that Freeland’s grandfather wasn’t just a casual collaborator but acted as a major propagandist, was protected by the Nazis even in the late stages of the war, and turned in Jews and Polish citizens. Yet Freeland has flagrantly lied about his history. From an earlier Helmer post:

        Chrystia Freeland (lead image), appointed last week to be the new Canadian Foreign Minister, claims that her maternal family were the Ukrainian victims of Russian persecution, who fled their home in 1939, after Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin agreed on a non-aggression pact and the division of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. She claims her mother was born in a camp for refugees before finding safe haven in Alberta, Canada. Freeland is lying.

        The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland’s maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army’s winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht’s “success” at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

        Just before Vienna fell to the Soviet forces in March 1945, Chomiak evacuated with the German Army into Germany, ending up near Munich at Bad Worishofen. On September 2, 1946, when Freeland says her mother was born in a refugee camp, she was actually in a well-known spa resort for wealthy Bavarians. The US Army then controlled that part of Germany; they operated an Army hospital at Bad Worishofen and accommodated Chomiak at a spa hotel. US Army records have yet to reveal what the Americans learned about Chomiak’s war record, and how he was employed by US Army Intelligence, after he had switched from the Wehrmacht. It took Chomiak another two years before the government in Ottawa allowed the family to enter Canada.

        The reason the Polish Government is now investigating Freeland is that Chomiak’s wartime record not only victimized Galician Jews, but also the Polish citizens of Cracow. In a salute to Freeland as a “great friend of Poland” by the Polish Embassy in Ottawa last week, Warsaw officials now believe a mistake was made.

        And as we pointed out:

        And what was the linchpin information for this account? Chomiak’s papers, which were found and included in research by John-Paul Himka, an expert in the Holocaust in Ukraine and a former professor of history at the University of Alberts. Himka is also Freeland’s uncle.

      2. FWX341844

        Let me see if I’ve got you right, Sirah. Unnecessary deaths are only “killing” if Obamacare, Trumpcare, or The American Empire fails to prevent them. If, however, the Soviet Revolutionaries systematically destroy The Black Army without whose help they would not have prevailed . . . well, at least they didn’t kill very many Americans.

    2. Harry

      So my uncle was born in lvov as were his 7 brothers. Sadly he was the only survivor of his family. How do you think the Germans managed to identify ALL the Jews in Lvov? That’s right – outsourcing!

      My uncle always had a fondness for Russians. And a mild aversion to Galicians.

      1. Mike

        I must agree with Matt’s entry above yours, Harry – and warn you that the same Galicia that spawned killers of Poles, Jews, and whoever else stood in their way to easy wealth and power, also spawned the urbane leftists who created the short-lived Galician SSR. I’m sure there were many who could also identify with the myriad other political stripes present in Europe then and now.

        My point? National borders contain a world of ideas, leanings, passions, hatreds. Those who achieve power are usually helped – from the outside in this case, but also from wealthy insiders – and ultimately “rule” as puppets at the behest of those forces who can afford them. Beware painting any “nation” with a brush such as yours. You assume a unity never there, and you know what happens when you ass-u-me.

  5. Harold

    Hans Frank, aka “The Butcher of Poland”. Hans Frank’s son has said he is opposed to the death penalty, except in the case of his father.

  6. McKillop

    It’s interesting that people call for some historical perspective in certain instances involving crimes against others.
    We are asked to understand and refrain from judgment – or involve ourselves in judgment and forgive people caught up in momentous events.
    Not everyone, of course, just for those who are found out long after events occurred; worked, say, as ‘gentleman farmers’ or ‘house builders’; became successful in their careers or elderly and “garndpapaish”. Even then, bygones might be “comeagains” unless the perpetrators belong to the right people, the vocal rather than the voiceless, people we like rather than dislike, good ol’ grampa Ronnie, not sleazy Unca Bill.
    Current political machinations can play a part, too. Those who misbehaved against others way back then can be exonerated if the others were Russians rather than Poles or Ukrainians, communists rather than Nazis, former slave owners or settlers and ‘injun fighters’ rather than the descendants of the victims.
    In this case, the descendant of Mr. Chomniak touted her grandfather’s heroism and, apparently his visceral hatred of the Stalinist Russians and Nazi Germans. She refuses to accept information that shows him to be less than heroic, to harbor less than hatred of the Nazis for whom he worked as a propagandist, according to Polish documents. And she is defended by others -reporters reportedly- who either diminish the importance of past crimes or vilify the messengers and the contemporary Russians with whom she must deal as a diplomat and representative of Canadians. It appears to be that Ms. Freeland uses the revelations about her grandparent to further a current agenda. A cynic might think that she used past reports for similar reasons.
    No giver of perspective, she.
    I believe we have aright to expect better from our political representatives.

    1. Petter

      Dwell on the past you’ll lose an eye. Forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes. Russian proverb

  7. Sydir Kovpak

    History serves the present. Not the past.

    And who does framing Christina Freeland as a nazi serve just at the time Trump is visiting Ukraine serve?

    That’s right. Russia. And the Novorossia narrative.

    Perhaps an article about the Lokot Republic and the true scale of ethnic Russian collaboration in the nazi enterprise is in order?

    You know for balance. In the present.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is the best you can do? So history and truth are irrelevant, all that matters is making sure Russia is demonized because it gets such good press as it is. This is foundational thinking for Holocaust revisionists.

      And the reality is that normalizing relations with Russia is something we’ve advocated. It happens to be one of Trump’s very few sensible policy positions, to the extent he actually has any (America’s recent actions in the Middle East, like attacking the Syrian air base and giving MBS the idea that he could overturn the Qatari government aren’t consistent with that).

      And Helmer corrects your record, and your distortions:

      The Lokot operation was a small collaborationist entity inside Russian territory: Not uncommon — Quisling in Norway, Laval in France.

      The second issue is fundamental, and I’m surprised at how many serious Canadians I know, who are still engaged in foreign policymaking, won’t or can’t address it. This is the Galician Programme — and it’s spelled out on the last line of the new piece, and in several earlier pieces. Freeland is lying, not to cover up the sins of her grandfather — ministers of state have a duty not to lie, and forfeit their office if caught. She is lying to conceal the shared commitment she has with Chomiak to the implementation of the Galician Programme — that was and still is to turn the multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-confessional Ukraine federation into a Greater Galicia, which will also include Polish territory. Chomiak sought German arms and money for the job, and used murder for his ethnic cleansing. Freeland has hijacked Canadian arms and money for the job, and in the east is also using murder.

      There are few Jews left in Galicia to round up, and those there are belong to the Kolomoisky gang, and are allied with the Freelanders and Galicians in the ethnic cleansing in the east. Kapos of an entirely new type, you might say.

      The Polish reticence on this issue is curious, especially since the Galicians started attacking Polish targets in the Lviv and border regions — the grenade attack on the Lutsk consultate, for example; cemetery desecrations, etc. I’m told that there is a pro-Ukrainian lobby inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; it sees two traditional enemies rfor Poland — Russia in the east, and Germany in the west. It is therefore willing to make an accommodation with the Galicians as a buffer between both. These are the men Sikorski promoted for years, but since he’s been ousted, it is taking time for the new incumbents to purge them.

      The presidency has a very different view, and is blocking the appointment of a new MFA candidate as ambassador to Ottawa. The post has been vacant now for months. In the interval, the charge went overboard in enthusiasm for Freeland.

      Why is President Duda blocking, but discreetly? He’s from Cracow, and his wife, Agata Kornhauser is Jewish, and also from Cracow. Her grandfather managed to survive the war and came out of Dachau alive. He died young later. Electorally, Poland is split between east, which voted for Duda, and the west which voted for Sikkie’s party candidate. I don’t know the details beyond the general impression that the voter balance is a delicate and unstable one.

      It’s likely to shift as more visa-free Ukrainians pour into Poland and take work, benefits, etc. My Polish colleagues are trying to get Duda’s staff to make a public statement on Freeland and the Galicia Programme, and privately help uncover more of the Chomiak file.

      It would be nice if Canadians would apply for the Chomiak files from the Canadian government, and a search dstart on the US side of OSS, CIA and US Army Intelligence unit files.

      1. Sydir Kovpak

        No, Mr Smith, that’s not the best i can do.

        First, thank you for your selective response.

        a)i ‘m not sure why you ignore the fact that ethnic Russians collaborated on a far greater scale than those they today label fascists. Discussion of this collaboration, and indeed anything other than a stalinist framing of ww2, including the Molotov Ribbentrop pact, and the development of the german army by Stalin is effectively banned by law in Russia today.

        b) Contemporary Russian celebrations of ww2 are not indicative of anything other than contemporary Russian fascism. The contemporary cult of ww2 was invented in the 1960s. Before that ww2 was a source of anger and great sorrow and shame because of the scale incompetence and genocide of the Stalinist regime against Soviet people during ww2. Everyone knew it. Now the generation that knew it has mostly green old and died. These stories remain.

        And any questioning of the current framing of ww2 as a Russian ( cf multinational) Soviet exercise has been excised. Did you know for example perhaps the most popular post ww2 Soviet film, “v boy idut odni stariki” was filmed in Kiev, features a Ukrainian cast, and celebrates the multiethnic character of the Soviet army? Why not mention that far more Soviet Ukrainians, Soviet Jews and Soviet Belarusians died than Soviet Russians?

        c) unfortunately conflating opposition to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine with nazism is a move favoured by adherents of Trump, such as Paul Manafort, and Le Pen. Also Seamus Milne.All of these individuals have received funding from Russia to push the same frame you are promoting. It is also the frame promoted at the meeting of euronazis in St Petersburg in 2015.
        Curious. Are you too the beneficiary of Russian funds?

        d) why have you timed this article to coincide with ukrainian president poroshenko’s meeting with Trump? Your timing, as your framing, is pure Russia Today. Again, in your expansive response you’ve neglected to respond to my earlier point.

        What is to be done Mr Smith? Perhaps some history reading may be in order. Perhaps also some transparency about the funding of this article?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I see you are determined to lower the quality and learning value of my comments section. You also have a reading comprehension problem and are engaging in agnotology, a violation of our written site Policies. Or to put it in terms closer to your comprehension level, it is you who continue to engage in outright distortions of history.

          Any simple Google search will show your depiction of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact to be false. Stalin sought to ally with the UK and France and was rebuffed. The non-aggression pact was a last ditch defensive effort meant to keep the Germans from invading….which they refrained from doing only for a time.

          As for popular movies not including the participation of important contributors to success in wars, the US a much bigger sinner that Russia. The British never or barely feature in our World War II movies even though the UK suffered nearly as many military losses and more total deaths. And as you ought to know, the military losses suffered by the USSR were a bare minimum of 20X each of the UK and US military losses, yet the USSR contribution is never included in popular movies, or is at most an incidental mention.

          And as for the logic of normalizing relations with Russia, even Angela Merkel, a long-standing Putin opponent, criticized the US plan to increase sanctions:

          So are you now going to tell me Merkel has a Russian paymaster?

          The fact that you have to resort to unfounded personal attacks, and just made it laughably obvious that you have no idea who I am, says you have run out of arguments and are too lazy to do anything resembling research.

          Better trolls, please.

          1. SummerhillDad

            Chrystia Freeland is my local MP and during the last election I bumped into her as she was campaigning at our local subway station. I normally don’t engage, but this was too good to be true. The civil war in Eastern Ukraine was still in the headlines and the embers still glowed. At the time, there was no talk at all in the Canadian press about her, , background (even as there was plenty available with a little digging.)

            I won’t recount the whole conversation — it went on longer than she or her aides would have liked — but general impressions were that she was not just not that well-informed, Rhodes Scholar status aside. “How can you support the coup in Kiev?” I asked. “You are not going to get anyone to call it that,” she replied. “You have Victoria Nuland on tape orchestrating the coup. How can you get caught more red-handed than that?” “Oh, I spoke to Victoria Nuland. She called and asked for my views.” She clearly was basking in a glow of self-importance.

            “If Quebec has the right to self-determination, as per the Supreme Court, why should not this same right be similarly accorded to the Donbass? Imagine if the Premier of Quebec were appointed by Ottawa? Would that go down well here?” Etc. Freeland stammered. My honest impression was that she had just not thought this out. She was quite slow on her feet. She struck me as a dull politician drawn to power as dull politicians are wont to be.

            But it was the morning rush hour and maybe she hadn’t had her coffee yet….

            Keep up the great work, Ms. Smith.

        2. John Casey

          Why not mention that far more Soviet Ukrainians, Soviet Jews and Soviet Belarusians died than Soviet Russians?

          I have heard this claim before. Out of curiosity, I’ve searched the Internet long and hard to find out if it’s true. But never once have I found a source that substantiates the assertion that Belarusian and Ukrainian WW2 casualties outnumber those suffered by Russia. All the sources indicate otherwise. Here’s a Wikipedia article on the subject. It cites numerous studies done by professional scholars:

          Sydir, can you please provide me with sources that support your claim about Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian casualties in WW2? I would like to assess those studies myself. Thanks in advance.

          … a stalinist framing of ww2, including the Molotov Ribbentrop pact…

          Yves Smith’s explanation of the USSR’s motives for making this pact is correct. Knowing that a German invasion was inevitable and unable to find allies, Stalin chose instead to placate Hitler in order to buy time and space so that the USSR could prepare its defenses in depth. William L. Shirer explains the circumstances in his classic study The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

          I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, during the height of the Cold War. I remember that, even then, with all the anti-Russian hysteria that existed at the time, everyone understood Moscow’s reasons for signing a pact with Hitler (which I explained above).

          Only in the past ten to 20 years has a new, revisionist explanation of Stalin’s motives become popular (among low information types, at least). This false theory alleges that Stalin didn’t expect to be invaded by Germany, and that he naively signed the pact to help Hitler start WW2, hoping to share in Nazi Germany’s spoils of victory. I even see this theme bandied about in mainstream media today. I wonder where it came from.

    2. Matt

      I’m not sure what the point is of brining up Russian collaboration. Russians today celebrate the Red Army and the partisans; Vlasov and the collaborators are condemned. This is not so in countries like Ukraine and the Baltic States, which are actively rehabilitating Nazi collaborators as “freedom fighters” and painting the USSR and Nazi Germany has mirror images in order to trivialize the Holocaust and exonerate local participants in it. “The Soviet regime came and committed genocide against us first, then the Germans came and exterminated Jews. Bad things happened all around, so, morally, it’s a wash.” If everyone is guilty, no one is. This is given a more-or-less-explicit antisemitic flavor when the Soviets are equated with Jews, so the Holocaust essentially becomes comeuppance for their “first genocide” in 1939-41.

    3. John Casey

      And the Novorossia narrative

      Let’s not forget that Russians were the first permanent settlers of many parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. They became established in these regions centuries ago, as far back as the 1500s. Russians have continued to live there in large numbers ever since.

      Ukrainians arrived in these areas only after the Russians colonized this territory (or in some cases, simultaneously with them). The regions of Kharkov, Donbass, and much of the Black Sea coast, during tsarist times, were regarded as a part of Russia that possessed large Ukrainian populations. In other words, southern and eastern Ukraine were known as a zone where Russia overlaps with Ukraine demographically. Only under the Soviets were these areas included within the Ukrainian polity for the first time in history. That’s the real reason why so many millions of Russians and Russophones populate East Ukraine today.

      When Ukraine declared independence in 1991, it gave Russia a mere 24 hours notice of its intention to secede. Consequently, the break-up of the two nations was handled carelessly, and – in spite of what West Ukrainian nationalists (i.e., Galicians) insist – Russia and Ukraine have remained hopelessly cross-entangled ever since.

      Kiev will never resolve the mess its in today without first confronting the reality that a huge chunk of its population today is, and has always been, Russian and Russified-Ukrainian. Those people are not “Little Ukrainians” or “Galicians-in-waiting.” These people have a national identity of their own, and it’s not the same as that which Kiev and Western mainstream media would make use believe.

  8. witters

    So what? The woman is a dangerous liar on a matter of immense relevancy when it comes to her policies. Don’t you see what you are doing, and so what you are here? I guess not.

  9. Harold

    It is a curious thing, as Yves points out, that Freeland’s uncle John Paul Himka, is a very respected historian who has questioned the Ukrainian nationalist version of history that Freeland’s grandfather promulgated. Himka points out that there is a wealth of documentation in the various holocaust archives that directly contradict the nationalist narrative and make it untenable. Himka has worked with Michael Marrus, a Canadian historian who is perhaps the world’s foremost holocaust scholar.

    1. McKillop

      Thank you for the link to Prof. Himk’a’s article. His belief that one is morally obliged to seek and express the trutlh (as much as possible) is a cornerstone to our democracy and civilization.

      Nowadays, when equivocation and denial and outright lie are commonplace, I am encouraged to know of his man’s bravery and commitment.

      I am myself hesitant – through laziness and fear and other character faults (and humility) to speak out or become involved but have been compelled to join the discourse needed. To remain silent in a world of deceit and torture and social criminality makes one an accomplice to knavery of all sorts. I owe better to others and myself.

  10. RMO

    I have to wonder if any Canadian news sources are covering this – I’m not currently aware of any, but then I’ve been busy lately so much of my reading has been NC or your links. I voted (strategically) in the last election for the Liberals and I’m personally disappointed in the government’s position on foreign affairs. Not that I expected truly great things in this field but at least the previous Liberal P.M.’s managed to keep us out of some of the reckless things being done around the world.

    My paternal grandmother was Russian and my paternal grandfather was Ukrainian (both were under three years old when they came to Canada) so I suppose I should be full of two way hatred for myself… Of course my maternal grandparents and great grandparents include Scottish, English, Welsh and (according to clan oral history anyways) Irish blood so that side is full of ethnic divisions too. And that’s not even getting into the probable Norse DNA in that part of the family!

    1. McKillop

      I enjoy your humour in your attitude to the complexity of your genetic history. What I’ve concluded is that we have to separate our need to belong to any old club that will take us. Say some magic words and charm ourselves to believe they have significance to any bullshit or lies or mythologies besides adding to the pile.
      It’s no wonder we’re confused. You refer to being a Scot and suffering from ethnic division , and everything you say is right but it’s all bullshit. And before I develop a scottish bond of fellow feeling for another Canadian I’ll need to know if you come from the the scottish Picts or the scottish Scots or Celtic/Gaelic group of scots, or if your significant ancestor was out ‘a-viking’ and left a begat on someone caught out in the fields and gangbanged.
      A guy I know claims that his father said that one could tell a scotirish or irishscot by knowing where he’d stolen his last cow. And the norman scots who galloped up from England, after siling down to northern Gaul and beating up on the anglo-saxons and not stopping (even now) were really scots – you remember, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce who fought and won, or lost for scau’ish Freedom.
      Which was won, for those scots until the buggers joined up with others to form Great Britain.
      There’s more, yeh, but I still enjoy my families’ histories and the scotish stories and the thrilling skirl of the pipes and the heartpleasing scottish way of talking.
      You feel a kinship to some of that,too,and being a Canadian, don’t you, And you also have the sense to know that it’s a fine thing but no reason to use to go around beating up on others. Perhaps our reason to develop a fellow feeling.
      By the bye – write our current Prime Minister to let him know what you think. You will probably get a response that is politically bland and tells of forwarding your concerns to Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Global Affairs (sic) but at least we’ll have done something to let those fokkers know we are not pleased, and will not be taken by smiles nor had by those who abuse our fellowship.
      Thank you.

  11. John Gilberts

    Upon Chrystia Freeland’s elevation to the post of Canada’s ‘Minister of Global Affairs’, a Kiev official tweeted that Ukraine now had ‘ our woman in the Canadian cabinet.’ Ukraine’s president, a personal friend, according to Freeland, has said that ‘Canada is the country most like Ukraine.’ Here is Freeland during the last election campaign which replaced Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals: “I really believe this is the best government that Ukraine has had in its entire history,” says Freeland. When one considers that the speaker of that whopper is now in charge of Canadian foreign policy, and will effectively ‘renegotiate’ NAFTA in upcoming talks with the Trump administration, the mind boggles. Especially given that she also claims the man who broke Glass Steagal, Larry Summers as her ‘guru’. Oh, and here she is recently in DC with another ‘friend of Ukraine’…

    1. james

      thanks john… all her commentary must have more to do with then the passing fact she has an apt. in kiev…. what has to happen to wake up the canuck fed gov’t to her mechanisms which are fairly transparent once the info on her is put in perspective?

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