Stepan Bandera (1 January 1909 - 15 October 1959) was a Ukrainian politician and nationalist. Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bandera spent much of the period between World War I and World War II agitating for Ukrainian rights against both Poland and the Soviet Union. He became the head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in 1933, at one point facing execution for OUN's assassination of Poland's Minister of the Interior in 1934. His sentence was commuted, however, and Bandera was eventually released at the start of World War II in September 1939. When Germanyattacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, Bandera proclaimed an independent Ukrainian State. However, relations between the OUN and the Nazi Party, always purely opportunistic before, soured quickly. Bandera was arrested and held in Berlin until 1944, when it was hoped that Bandera could rouse Ukrainians against the advancing Soviets. He failed.
After the war, as Ukraine fell under Soviet rule, Bandera continued his efforts abroad. He was killed in Munich on 15 October 1959 by the KGB, who used cyanide gas.
Bandera's legacy continues to be controversial even in modern Ukraine.
Stepan Bandera had initially welcomed the Germans when they invaded the Ukraine in 1941, but they imprisoned him a few months later. When the Raceinvaded in 1942, the Germans released him to promote solidarity between the Ukrainian people and the Germans. Instead, Bandera and his followers began collaborating with the Race.
In Winter 1941, Ivan Kuchkov's unit came across a group of Banderists in an orchard somewhere west of Kiev. Rather than fight, Kuchov convinced them they were outnumbered and to retreat. The Banderists agreed, retreating without a firefight between the two groups.
Bandera's followers kept up their fight against the Soviets even as the Second World War ended in Europe in mid-1944.