Talk:Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia

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The neutrality of this article's introduction is disputed - since March 2012[edit]

Do you continue the dispute or the tag should be removed?Xx236 (talk) 09:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I think it can be removed.Faustian (talk) 18:02, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
The whole article is a big mess. It is basically written to discredit the Ukrainian underground resistance and depict them as unreasonable manics. The author of the article is apparently geographically and historically challenged mixing regions of Galicia and Volhynia as well as Ukraine and West Ukraine altogether. As it is widely known the area was constantly contested by neighboring factions (not only Poles and Ukrainians) and Polish - Ukrainian struggle traces its roots back to times of the Grand Duchy of Kiev and Kingdom of Galicia and Volhynia, not the 18th century partition of Poland. However, after the partition practically the whole Volhynia ended up as part of the Russian Empire, not the Austrian Empire. Petliura did not have any intentions to expand westwards, but rather to defend Polish territorial claims and aggression as both Russian and Austrian empires were falling apart. The reason the author put Petliura in the article only proves his intentions to add another evidence of pointless barbarity of Ukrainians whose national leader Petliura became a famous anti-Semite along with the Poles number enemy Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The article also does not try provide any real reasoning to the hostilities for Ukrainian factions other than blind faith of Nazism. The paragraph about OUN-B clearly accuses Bandara's faction in Nazism in reference to Timothy Snyder's work without critical evaluation of his claims. There are no critical evaluation of Polish national policies other than to justify them such as "...Harsh policies implemented by the Second Polish Republic, while often provoked by the OUN-B violence..." According to the Polish historian Motyka, he approves forceful pacification of the issue rather than to find a middle ground. The article also completely fails to disclose real reasons for the volatile situation in the region and simply hangs number of blind claims cut out of context from various historians. Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 18:45, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
So called "Ukrainian underground resistance" successfully discredited itself by killing thousands of children, which is confirmed by numerous sources. 89.218.174.8 (talk) 12:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

The article needs improvement, unless it is indeed propaganda, e.g. Why have entire OUN section duplicating another article? Xobbitua (talk) 11:40, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Ukrainian casualties[edit]

The paragraph doesn't infom about Ukrainian victims of Ukrainian formations. According to Timothy Snyder the number of Ukrainian victims of Ukrainians was comparable to the number of Polish victims in 1943. Xx236 (talk) 10:29, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

agreed, for context's sake this should be included in the introduction at the very least. --Львівське (говорити) 21:43, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

POV title[edit]

The current title of the article reflects a translation of what Polish historiography calls the event, and only concerns the Polish point of view of the event. Is there not a neutral, descriptive title that can be used, or a common use english title? It seems to be partisan to choose "Volhynian Massacre" over the Ukrainian title "Volyn Tragedy", or to ignore Ukrainian deaths to prop up Polish losses. --Львівське (говорити) 21:42, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

IMO, Since there were many more Polish than Ukrainian victims some skew seems natural.Faustian (talk) 00:57, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Well that's just a weight issue. Even at 2:1, does the Polish narrative take license to the article? Even if entirely Polish (forgetting the other argument), is the title neutral or wp:common? --Львівське (говорити) 01:15, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

I think the most recent past discussion on this matter is here [1], though I think there has been half a dozen of them.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:23, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Polish sources call the event "Volhynian slaughter" or "Volhynian-Galician slaughter" - "Rzeź Wołyńsko-Galicyjska". Western authors write about massacres of Poles or ethnic cleansing.Hedviberit (talk) 06:22, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
is there a common title among the scholarship? Based on the further reading section, using 'ethnic cleansing' to describe the event seems to be a trend (non use massacres in the title). I like Terles title, "Ethnic Cleansing of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia" tbh (to the point, sterile language, nothing to debate about it, etc.) --Львівське (говорити) 03:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think there is a common title. There is a dispute in Polish scholarship whether it was ethnic cleansing or genocide. In the further reading section, you have extermination, genocide and ethnic cleansing. I understand you consider the word "massacre(s)" too inflammatory. Are you interested only in the title? There are 16 occurrences of this term across the article.
The word "massacres" is used by scholarly sources, and in many other cases here – Zawadka Morochowska massacres (Ukrainians killed by Poles), Massacre of Brzostowica Mała, Ponary massacre, Katyn massacre, Srebrenica massacre, Massacre of Lviv professors, Naliboki massacre, Category:Massacres of Ukrainians during World War II etc. It doesn't seem to be a problematic term. In my opinion, the current title is the best description of what happened. Ethnic cleansing is not more to the point, because it can be carried out without bloodshed.Hedviberit (talk) 17:58, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
i dont mind using the word massacres in the article, there were massacres for sure, just in ensuring the title and scope are neutral. Polish scholars dispute whether it was genocide on top of ethnic cleansing, not one or the other though, right? --Львівське (говорити) 18:00, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, the word "massacre" is used in both Polish and Western sources to describe the subject matter of this article. We've been over this. Unless you can present novel arguments here I don't see why the POV tag should be placed in the article. The issue was previously resolved, now you're trying to unresolve it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 16:18, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't appreciate you reverting to "your" version without actually discussing things. Using Motyka and ignoring other scholars, for one, and skewing figures is really POVy of you. You're a better editor than this behavior, VM.--Львівське (говорити) 16:19, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
The particular numbers you changed were specifically sourced to Motyka, not to the table. So changing them mis-represents the source. To clarify it I added attribution. Additionally if we really went "by the table" then we'd put 200k as the upper bound, right? The other number-changing had to do with the conflation - again - of numbers who died in all the regions with just those for Volhynia.
As far as Motyka goes, this has also been discussed before. He is the major scholar here. Snyder's numbers, as well as that as some of the others, come from him (essentially Motyka did the archival hard work, published in Polish (and Ukrainian?) Snyder took those numbers and published them in English). And let's not start throwing around accusations of who's POVing what here.
Now, about the title. Is there an argument here that has not been previously discussed already? Volunteer Marek (talk) 16:57, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
the lower bounds range from a smally 10k discrepancy, the upper bound fringe is hundreds of thousands off, and not even used by scholars. Might I add...you just added the 200k figure, too. So where are your priorities? --Львівське (говорити) 17:11, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
You changed the lower bound, downward, because "that's what's in the table". Ok. If we're going to be consistent then we need to change the upper bound as well, in this case, upward, because 'that's what's in the table". Alternatively we could take what are probably the most reliable estimates, those of Motyka and just use these. That's what was there, essentially, before you started changing it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:34, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
upper bound doesnt come from credible sources, lower bound does. this isnt rocket appliances. --Львівське (говорити) 17:45, 19 February 2014 (UTC)


I just want to say, isn't the premise of "make your own article, this article is for X" entirely in violation of WP:OWN? Regardless of a previous 'consensus', if there isn't enough content for a standalone article, it shouldn't be excluded on grounds of this article owning the narrative.--Львівське (говорити) 14:10, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Seems this article is still under 'ownership' and only allowed to represent the NPOV Polish-centric narrative with VM deleting other users' edits which show competing historiography. VM, I like you, but not these POVy edits against myself and others. --LeVivsky (ಠ_ಠ) 20:27, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

This isn't about "ownership" it's about reflecting what reliable sources say. The recent edits were highly pov and not based on reliable sources. Also, they contained blatant factual errors (like that the Massacres coincided with Operation Tempest). It is also very pov and inaccurate to portray this as some kind of "Polish historiography" vs "Ukrainian historiography". That's not how this subject treated in sources. There's the "UPA-apologetic historiography" which few scholars take seriously, and there's everything else, the historiography of reliable sources, of which works by Polish historians are but a subset.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:32, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Please explain this ES used to revert sourced content. Who is the we that has worked "worked way to hard on this article"? I'm also finding it difficult to comprehend how "no, this is just not the case" serves as a valid ES for rolling back. It certainly sounds like WP:OWN. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 22:51, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Or how about the above situation - I was reverted without justification and told to take it to talk, so I put a template in lieu of it. Nobody wanted to talk, so my template was reverted too. I people can't edit and wont be engaged, that just leads one direction...--LeVivsky (ಠ_ಠ) 00:28, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

recent edits[edit]

In regard to this edit I already addressed the issues with it in the section right above. Since I was reverted, allow me to elaborate:

  1. The term "massacres" is NOT confined to Polish historgiography. To make that - unsourced - claim, is POV
  2. Ukrainian historiography, from what I understand, is split on how it describes the events.
  3. Organized Polish underground units played a very very minor role in the events in Volhynia. There basically was no organized Polish resistance there (it had been eliminated by both the NKVD and the Nazis, and the % of Poles there was relatively small). The events in Volhynia were pretty much a one sided massacre. Polish resistence was formed in response to the massacres, and at a pretty late date (not really operational until summer of 1943)
  4. It's just factually incorrect to say that Operation Tempest somehow coincided with the massacres in Volhynia. The massacres took place from Feb 1943 to the end of that year, with the apogee occurring in July. Operation Tempest began in early 1944. The two actually had nothing to do with one another.
  5. It's POV to describe Operation Tempest as "collaborating with the Soviets". By that token you might as well label the landing in Normandy as "collaboration with the Soviets".

Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:42, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Volunteer Marek, well that may have been true. However here are few issues.
  1. The term "massacre" is NOT a neutral point of view and completely ignores the Ukrainian sources facts.
  2. Ukrainian historiography, from what you understand only shows your intentions - pushing your personal point of view. Also some Polish historians such as Grzegorz Motyka also have different point of view on the subject.
  3. Your knowledge of Polish underground organizations seems to be quite limited. However Armija Krajowa could have not appeared out of the thin air.
  4. Look at the article on Operation Tempest before claiming when it started. Plan for it were initiated in 1942.
  5. Have you read the article on Operation Tempest. Yes, it does say something about allies of ally, but it does not change the fact.

Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 23:36, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

According to the first few sentences, the purpose of the article is simply to discredit the Ukrainian resistance movement rather than familiarize the reader with subject of the article. There were no court cases that prove the fact of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army conducting the ethnic cleansing, yet the wikipedia has the nerve to do so. Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 23:40, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Volunteer Marek, frankly, are you trying to use wikipedia to build your own legal case against the Ukrainian resistance movement? Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 23:47, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

The book Polskie Siły Zbrojne w drugiej wojnie światowej: Armia Krajowa, t. III, "Instytut Historyczny im. Gen. Sikorskiego". Londyn, 1950 says that the end goal of Operation Tempest was the recognition by the Soviet government the Polish exiled government in London and without any concessions on the issue of the Polish eastern borders. Ilyushyn, Ihor. Polish underground on the territory of the Western Ukraine during the World War II. Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 00:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Now, a question. How do you oscillate two major battle events one from another when they were taken place during the same time and at same place: the "massacre" 1943-1945 and operation tempest 1943-1945? Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 00:06, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Aleksandr, you left four comments here so it's sort of hard to reply to everything at once. But let me try.
Whether the term "massacre" is POV or not is determined by reliable sources. If reliable source use that term, then that's the term we go with. And they do.
In terms of Ukrainian historiography my comment was only meant to highlight the differences in how various Ukrainian authors approach the subject. In terms of "Polish historiography", Grzegorz Motyka is already used extensively in the article. Which is as it should be given that he's the expert on the subject. And yes, he has very often been accused by (some fringe authors) of being a "UPA-apologists". But those fringe authors are not used in the article. And Motyka himself describes the events as "massacres" although he categorically rejects the label "genocide".
My knowledge of Polish underground organizations is just fine, thank you very much.
I have looked at the article on Operation Tempest (which isn't very good btw) and also I'm quite familiar with the relevant literature. While plans for it may have began in 1942 the operation itself was not began until well after the massacres were over. Which is even what the (crappy) Wikipedia article says. Basically, there's no way you can argue that stuff that happened in 1944 somehow caused stuff that happened in 1943. It's not relevant to this topic.
The purpose of the lede is to summarize the article. It's not necessarily to "discredit Ukrainian resistance". But if the actions of UPA/OUN speak for themselves then that's what we put in there. History has no POV.
Personally I see the Ilushyn source as highly problematic, not just in the parts that you mention but generally. I'd very much like to remove it per WP:FRINGE. I've refrained from doing so so far in the interest of compromise but my sense of it is that it should go.
Your last question is simply not correctly posed, as I've already explained. The massacres took place during 1943. Tempest didn't commence until 1944. The massacres were aimed at Polish villages. Tempest was aimed at fighting Germans. They had nothing to do with each other.
Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:37, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Serious issues with interest group ownership[edit]

To be honest, I've started delving into the references here and am finding sources that should, at the very least, be discussed at the RS/N. Approaching the article's subject from an "from what I understand" stance could be problematic if the sources been using are far from neutral (i.e., Tadeusz Piotrowski (sociologist) per WP:BIASED and Wikipedia's list of controversial issues, although I've not checked into other sources as yet). While VM may possibly have a point about "massacres" issue, the content, in general, is representative of a pattern of narrative being represented in English Wikipedia: new articles, such as Yaroslav Hrytsak; misuse of article talk pages such as Talk:Ukrainian Insurgent Army (recently featuring Yaroslav Hrytsak and Tadeusz Piotrowski as if they weren't controversial); unsourced characterisation of Rzeczpospolita (newspaper) as "Rzeczpospolita's political profile is moderately conservative and arguably comparable to that of The Times in Britain. It should be noted, however, that the contemporary Rzeczpospolita reveals a moderately national taste, especially when defending the Polish raison d'etat during historical debates about Polish-German and Polish-Russian relations."; etc.

I'm beginning to wonder whether a neutral editor should be called in, or whether its an AN/I issue. At the moment, it's being regulated by interest groups... which doesn't really tally with the spirit of Wikipedia. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 00:42, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Iryna Harpy, the article is written according with principle of cherry picking to expose an own belief for reality. Aleksandr Grigoryev (talk) 01:43, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, I certainly don't feel comfortable about potentially unethical goings on. Just to clarify, Aleksandr, VM + everyone else concerned, I'm most certainly not squawking about any form of cabal as I know the usual editors on either side of the disagreements are good people and good editors who are transparent about their views. I'm concerned about the number of POV pushers that have started to surface since the recent events in Ukraine have brought new contributors into the mix, or has resurrected others who made reasonable decisions to back off. Focus on current affairs articles has opened the doors to POV-ers on all things Ukrainian and Russian. It's a worrying trend, which is why I'd prefer to see some sort of neutral administrative input. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 01:47, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Iryna, I certainly understand the concern that some people might try and use this particular article as a way of agenda-pushing in light of the recent events in Ukraine. And if that happens I'll be the first to revert them. But this isn't about that. This is about stuff that happened eighty years ago - but it did happen. History has no POV and our responsibility as Wikipedia editors is to present what happened in an encyclopedic and neutral manner. There's basically no way to get around the fact that OUN/UPA massacred Poles in Volhynia and that's what the article's about. Just because some individuals and countries try to twist history today in a cynical attempt to screw Ukraine over, is no excuse to try and counter those efforts by whitewashing what happened... eighty years ago. History's complicated and not always pretty, and not always the way we want it to be. My only purpose is to present it as neutrally as possible - and that means basing it on reliable sources - whether it has to do with the 1943 massacres by OUN, or the present Russian attack on Ukraine.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:55, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Apologies Marek (plus Lvivske and Aleksandr). I've actually gone OFFTOPIC by posting this section on this article page. They're concerns of a far broader nature so, if no one has any objections, I think I should move this section to my own talk page. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:41, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I don't fully understand the contention that "history has not POV", as we all know, history is very much point of view; replete with competing narratives. Yes, massacres happened and I don't think anyone is denying that. However, when we start censoring half of the story to push an objective, that becomes a major issue. Also, as I've pointed out, the title, which is blatant original research. --LeVivsky (ಠ_ಠ) 04:51, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

History doesn't have a POV, individuals do. But this isn't a place to discuss epistemology. And we're not "censoring half the story". We are following reliable sources - hence this isn't "blatant original research" either - in presenting how the events are described. There's a common misconception, of which you should be very well aware, that "NPOV" or "BALANCE" requires giving equal weight to all "sides" of a topic. This isn't the case (otherwise we'd be giving as much space to crazy rumors originating from the Russian internet about the current Ukrainian crisis as to legitimate reports). What NPOV involves is presenting the various "sides" in proportion to how seriously they're treated in reliable sources.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:53, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I understand it as being an flawed contention. It is subject to various narrative lines and, the further the events are from the time of the occurrences, the more prone they are to be deconstructed and reconstructed (to the point of being reinvented) according to POV interpretations. That being the case, it is a misnomer to work on the premise that one narrative is the true narrative. This is why I consider that reliable sources are not simply the ones that pop up in google searches or google books. All that demonstrates is the most popular and/or POV-pushed narrative lines. Specifically searching for 'scholarship' backing a personal preference is not the equivalent of WP:RS. Approaching historical subject matter in this manner is neither neutral nor providing the reader with vital context. Events of such terrible magnitude are not born of a vacuum. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 05:41, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
For the purposes of Wikipedia, while there is no "true narrative" there is a narrative which represent reliable sources, and that's what we follow. And yes, because this is a mainstream encyclopedia, these views are going to be those which tend to be "most popular", at least as far as scholarly and academic views go (not necessarily popular views among the populace). No one's "searching" for scholarship to back a personal preference. Well, ok. Some editors may be doing that - but that is the OTHER editors, not me. Like looking for sources whose points of view are not shared by the wider academic community, but which support a particular narrative. That's the essence of WP:FRINGE. On the other hand, major works on the subject do call this historical event a "massacre". And most certainly they do not say that the massacres were concurrent or had anything to do with Operation Tempest (which would be silly, seeing as how one happened later than the other).
As far as the "vacuum" goes - note that the article already has a very extensive section about the "background". Personally, I happen to think that that section is a bit too long and somewhat POV (it tries to draw a direct link between the interwar repressions against Ukrainians and the massacres, which is just not there. An indirect link, yes. But not a direct one). So this can't be an objection.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:53, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

picture of children hanged on a tree is not from the massacres[edit]

It is often presented falsely as an account of UPA murder. But instead this is a police picture of children hanged by mentally ill gypsy woman in central Poland in 1923. There is article on Polish wiki, that needs a translation. pl:Marianna Dolińska, I don't know but maybe other pictures from these years are falsely attributed, there was a war then and people were killed in many unusual circumstances, without witnesses, sometimes on personal vendetta, even people who did the pictures, were physically on the place, had interest in falsely attributing the perpetrators to shape the historical memory and direct sentiments to particular nation pwjb (talk) 09:54, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

I see from archive that the picture has been in the article and then was removed but, I think it should be inserted here again but with an explanation about the error. Problem is that there are many books that will be with us forever that have the picture with false information and people will use it for the rest of the history to illustrate the subject. pwjb (talk) 10:01, 13 July 2014 (UTC)