Plast-scouts and “Forest Devils”: whom MPs want to turn our children into

Thanks to Parliamentarians, “Forest Brothers” will inhabit all of Ukraine. Photo: UOJ

A new law opens up another way for the Ukrainians to be papalized for budget money.

On May 30, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the second reading the law “On State Recognition and Support of “Plast” – the National Scout Organization of Ukraine. According to the document, this organization must be supported by all state as well as local self-government bodies. Both state and local budgets will be attracted for allocation of funds to finance this organization.

"Children of war"

For a start, a little reference. Scouting as such is a product of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), during which three states in southern Africa opposed British forces. The English General Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1948) during this war widely practiced the use of local adolescents for military intelligence (scout means intelligence officer).

General Robert Baden-Powell. Photo: US Library of Congress

History is silent about how many of them died for the glory of the English crown. However, returning home as a winner and gaining widespread popularity, Robert Baden-Powell decided to adapt the system of military training and motivation for British children.

In the summer of 1907, he organized the first scout camp on Brownsi Island, in the English Channel. Despite the fact that there were only 22 boys in the first camp, it was great success. In 1908, Baden-Powell published the book Scouting for Boys, and as early as in the following 1909 there were 14,000 scouts in England.

Baden-Powell worded the basic principles and methods of scouting: physical and ideological training, uniform and insignia, a system of rituals, oaths and initiations.

At that time, all the major European states were already in full swing preparing for a large-scale military conflict – the First World War. Two opposing blocs have already been formed: the Entente (Russia, Great Britain, France) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy). There were conducted reorganizations of armies and made deliveries to the troops of the latest technology at that time – tanks and airplanes.

Given these circumstances, it becomes clear the main goal of scouting invented by the English General. But scouting by itself appealed to children and adolescents and soon became very fashionable all over the world. In the years of 1911-1912, the scout movement already encompassed a lot of countries not only in the European continent. There were already more than a million scouts in 31 countries of the world in 1922.

Today, the original military orientation of scouting is reluctantly remembered. Today, scouting is basically an exciting and interesting vacation in the camps, raising young elders on the basis of personal informal communication, hiking, camping and other forms of communing with nature. Modern scouts are instilled a sense of love for the native land, obedience to elders, willingness to help those in need, loyalty to comrades, a sense of duty and other good qualities. "Building a more tolerant and responsible world" is recognized as a goal of the scout movement. In most scout organizations, children are not prepared for war with weapons in their hands.

True, running a little ahead, let's say that the Ukrainian scout organization Plast for some reason is on the website of the Ukrainian Weapon Owners Association.

Screenshot of the website

Now there are about 28 million scouts in the world. Since 1920, there has been operating the World Organization of the Scout Movement, which includes organizations from 160 countries. The headquarters is located in Geneva (Switzerland).

Emblem of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Photo:

The World Organization of the Scout Movement includes national organizations from different countries. They, in turn, unite quite a lot of primary organizations of scouts. For example, the National Organization of Russian Scouts includes 70 organizations.

In 2007, the National Organization of the Scouts of Ukraine (NOSU) was created, and in 2008 it became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The founders of NOSU are the National Scout Organization of Ukraine “Plast”, the All-Ukrainian Youth Public Organization SPOK and the All-Ukrainian Organization “Sich”

Emblem of the National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine. Photo:

Here comes the first bewilderment. Why, if all over the world the government supports national scout organizations, in Ukraine they decided to support only Plast? After all, there is also SPOK, and Sich, and other scout organizations in different regions. For example, scout organization "Pathfinder" from Zaporozhye.

Screenshot of the website

The law, passed by the Verkhovna Rada, calls Plast the only National Scout Organization. Here’s how Article 4, paragraph 3, of the law says about this: “Plast is the only National Scout Organization in Ukraine that operates throughout Ukraine, creates separate subdivisions and related education units through which it carries out its activities in accordance with the Charter of Plast and the Law.”

The task of the state is declared neither more nor less as the involvement of all Ukrainian children and teenagers in Plast. Paragraph 1 of Article 2: “The purpose of the state recognition of Plast is the institutional support of Plast so that Plast becomes accessible to every child and young person in Ukraine, while the Plast movement is accessible to all children and youngsters who permanently reside outside of Ukraine (Ukrainian Diaspora).”

A Plast branchs has to be created not only in every city, but in every village and town. Article 3 says: "Access to the participation of children and young people in Plast is guaranteed through <...> the development of Plast's infrastructure, with the goal of creating Plast units in each territorial community." In other words, the state guarantees that a Plast branch will be created in each settlement.

Moreover, the activities of Plast should be budgeted by each village and town under Article 5 of the law: “The executive authorities and local self-government bodies shall provide financial support for the activities of Plast within the framework of the powers defined by the Law. When approving local budgets, expenses are envisaged for the implementation of Plast development assistance programs.”

“The purpose of the state recognition of Plast is the institutional support of Plast so that Plast becomes accessible to every child and young person in Ukraine.

A citation from Bill # 10184

But what if local residents do not want to have namely Plast? What is they prefer to have, for example, a similar scout organization SPOC? No, Plast turns out to be a must everywhere. Moreover, the law obliges to involve Plast in any program of the village council, which concerns children and youth. Article 3: "Local self-government bodies shall attract Plast to the execution of programs of local significance regarding children and young people in the manner prescribed by law."

This means that not a single children's matinee, not a single concert, nor any other children's or youth event in any city, village or town can do without Plast. Moreover, local authorities, who are supposed to finance Plast from their budgets, are prohibited from interfering in its activities. Paragraph 2 of Article 4: “Intervention of state authorities, local self-government bodies, their officials and functionaries in the activities of Plast shall be prohibited, except for the cases stipulated by the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine.”

The pioneer organization in the Soviet Union is just a Sunday-school picnic if compared with Plast. One may wonder and exclaim: this cannot be true! But alas, we are quoting from the bill adopted by the Verkhovna Rada.

And now let's see what the Ukrainian Plast is. This organization was established in Lvov in 1911-1912, in Galicia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The creation of the organization was clearly intended to prepare children and young men for the imminent European war. They were mainly engaged in combat training, including handling of weapons.

Since the beginning of World War I, most of the Plast members left to fight on the side of Austria-Hungary. In the future, Plast-members played a significant role in the army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Such ambiguous historical figures as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich came from the ranks of Plast.

Stepan Bandera in the Plast uniform, 1923. Photo:

Plast has always been associated with Ukrainian nationalism and the Greek Catholic Church. In many ways, their stories in the 20th century resemble each other. During the Second World War, the scouts experienced periods of persecution by the authorities (both German and Soviet) and periods when the German authorities used them as allies.

For example, Roman Shukhevich from 1941 was a deputy commander of the 201st SS battalion, formed from the special units of the Ukrainian nationalists Nachtigall and Roland (Wikipedia data).

In the postwar years, the Plast organization was developed in emigration, namely in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Britain, Germany and the United States, where there were a large number of immigrants from Western Ukraine. From there, the Plast movement again headed for Ukraine in the late 1980s - early 90s.

As of the beginning of 2019, the organization has 8,500 members in Ukraine. According to Plast, it is the most numerous youth organization in Ukraine. However, this is not the case. For example, the All-Ukrainian Youth Public Organization “People’s Democratic Youth League” has more than 42,000 members, i.e. almost five times more. However, to support it, they did not adopt a separate law, which obliges to finance its activities from all budgets.

Plast and Uniates

No less close than with the Ukrainian nationalist organizations is the connection of Plast with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Its head Andrey Sheptitsky stood at the origins of Plast. His contribution to the development of the organization was so significant that a whole historical study has been published on this issue today – "Metropolitan Andrey Sheptitsky and Plast".

The book “Metropolitan Andrey Sheptitsky and Plast”. Photo:

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptitsky, who was the head of the UGCC from 1901 to 1944, as well as Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevich and other Ukrainian nationalist figures, is a very ambiguous historical figure. In 1941, he sent a congratulatory greeting to Adolf Hitler on the occasion of the seizure of Kiev by the "victorious German army". And in 1944 a greeting of the same content was sent to Joseph Stalin on the occasion of seizure of Lvov by the "victorious Soviet troops".

In 1943, the clergy of the Greek Catholics under the leadership of Sheptitsky took part in the creation of the 14th SS Grenadier Division "Galicia", which was staffed by Uniate chaplains and partially by Uniate seminarians. In 1944, they condemned the Bandera movement and called on members of the OUN-UPA to lay down their arms.

Today, the Vatican is preparing to announce Andrey Sheptitsky a Catholic saint.

From the times of Sheptitsky to the present day, the Plast movement is inextricably linked with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church despite the religious indifference declared by members of the movement. The current leadership of the UGCC also continues to provide spiritual guidance to Plast.

For example, a photo of the visit of the head of the UGCC, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, to Sokol plast-camp in 2017.

Sviatoslav Shevchuk in the Sokol camp. Photo:

In 2017, the UGCC and Plast formalized their relations by signing a memorandum of cooperation. “It is extremely important that we see our priests in the Plast and that the Plast members be active members of our parishes,” said Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

The head of the UGCC reminded that Plast educated the leaders and heroes of the national liberation struggle, unambiguously hinting at Bandera and Shukhevich: “We can say that Andrey Sheptitsky’s dream has come true. Indeed, the leaders of our people, the heroes of the national liberation struggle, grew and emerged from the Plast.”

Who are “Forest Devils”?

Forest Devils is one of the main divisions of Plast, which was created in 1922. They are quite active and carry out many different activities. They call their strategic activity “in favor of and for the glory of Ukraine, Ukrainian Plast and their Great Tribe”.

Emblem of "Forest Devils". Photo:

The unit has expressly satanic symbolism, the text of its hymn in a positive sense mentions hell, Lucifer, and devils. The organization allegedly maintains “direct links with the Infernal Office of Lucifer”. Without any embarrassment, its leaders call themselves Lucifer and Satan. The titles of subdivisions units are: Dwarf, Ghost, Devilkin, Forest Zabolus (also honorary degrees "Forest Devil" and "Forest Archdevil").

Screenshot of the website

Grigory Khomishin, Uniate Bishop of Stanislav, in a message to Andrey Sheptitsky wrote that his actions in support of Forest Devils cannot be regarded otherwisw as blasphemy: “Some steps of Your Excellency cannot be explained, such as the consecration in the Archcathedral Church of the flag of the Ukrainian Plast Organization called "Forest Devils". Doesn't this have to hurt every believing Christian who sees in it a kind of disregard for Christ, our highest Lord and Savior? If such a demonstration of Ukrainian sentiments contributes to the likes and popularity of Your Excellency, then this will happen at the expense of faith and the Church.”

Since that time, nothing has changed in the attitude of the UGCC to “Devils”. Despite all this pronounced Satanism, the Uniate clergy consider it possible to “consecrate” both the “Forest Devils” and their banners.

"Consecration" of flags "Forest Devils". Photo: Forest Devils page on Facebook

Moreover, there are priests and even bishops of the UGCC who are members of this organization, for example, Stepan Sulyk and Gleb Lonchina.

Gleb Lonchina and Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Photo:

At the same time, “Forest Devils” declare that their patron is the holy martyr George, who “with his spear protects us all from the routine”.

This is what Plast carries to Ukrainian children. This is what the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church approves and “sanctifies”.

Of course, the cooperation between the UGCC and Plast itself is not reprehensible, especially if we recall that it has been going on for more than a century. In the end, both Plast and the UGCC are regional phenomena that are inherent exclusively in the mentality of Western Ukraine and particularly of Galicia.

But to date there is a powerful expansion of Uniates throughout Ukraine. The temples of the UGCC are built in cities where there have never been Greek Catholics. And the fact that, according to the law, Plast subdivisions should appear in every locality, is a matter of serious concern, since it is very similar to the attempt to impose Catholicism on Ukrainian children. After all, any Plast-joining child (according to the law, it must be every Ukrainian child) will be inculcated with the ideology of Plast. And this ideology is simple – exaltation of nationalism and the imposition of Uniatism, i.e. betrayal of Orthodoxy. All this will be done at the expense of the state and local budgets, in other words, at our expense.

It is known that the most effective way to conquer any nation is to educate its children. Now Ukraine is considered an Orthodox country, the share of supporters of the UGCC here is less than 10%. But if Plast extends its tentacles into Ukrainian children, in one generation the statistics can look completely different.

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