The council of the Ukrainian Lviv region instituted a prize named after Stepan Bandera, one of founders of the WWII-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) that fought against the Soviet Red Army and Nazis, the council said at its web-site on Saturday.
The council plans to award the prize to "the best politicians, public people and scientists of the Lviv region". The prize may be granted for "a significant contribution to the development of the Ukrainian nation state" or for "important public policy decisions, scientific and theoretical formulations in the field of the nation-building".
Before, during and after WWII, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its militant wing, the UPA, fought for Ukrainian independence first from Poland and then from Nazi Germany after it became apparent that Germany had no plans of giving the Ukrainians sovereignty. However, later the organization rejoined German efforts to fight against a common enemy, the Soviet Union.
Ukrainian society is deeply divided over the wartime role of the country's nationalists, namely the UPA. One part, mostly residents of the eastern regions bordering Russia, believe UPA fighters were traitors who killed Soviet soldiers, while another, mainly residents of western Ukraine, regard them as patriots who fought for an independent Ukraine.
The prize will be annually awarded on the eve of Bandera's birthday on January 1. This year the ceremony will be on June 30, on a day when the Act of the renewed Ukrainian state was published in 1941. The prize-winner will get 20,000 grivnas (over $2,385) in cash.