Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) 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 Germany attacked 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 in October 1959 by the NKVD, who used cyanide gas.
Bandera's legacy continues to be controversial even in modern Ukraine.
Stepan Bandera and his followers took advantage of the 1938 European war and the subsequent multi-national invasion of the Soviet Union led by Germany beginning in 1939 to push for Ukrainian independence. His followers, "Banderists" proved an occasional hinderance to the Soviet Red Army as it attempted to push back against the invaders.
In Winter, 1941, Ivan Kuchkov's unit came across a group of Banderists in an orchard. Rather than fight, Kuchov convinced them they were outnumbered and to retreat. The Banderists agreed, retreating without a firefight between the two groups.