Fatherland and Freedom

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - A CDU Ukrainian partner organization has announced its close cooperation with an extremist right-wing party. As reported from Kiev, the "Batkivschyna" (Fatherland) Party - in which CDU ally Yulia Tymoshenko is playing a leading role - is planning to form a parliamentary coalition with the "Svoboda" ("Freedom") Party. Svoboda stands in the tradition of Nazi collaborators and internationally is affiliated with Hungary's neo-fascist "Jobbik" Party. Svoboda won 8.3 percent of the votes in last Sunday's parliamentary elections. It is not yet certain, whether the CDU's second partner in Kiev, world heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko and his "UDAR" Party will join the coalition. This cooperation will not be the first time that extremist right-wing forces have been integrated into the pro-Western Ukrainian opposition. Similar alliances had already emerged during the "Orange Revolution" in late 2004.

Germany's Partners

Following the parliamentary elections, President Viktor Yanukovych's "Party of the Regions" will continue to hold the majority in a coalition with the Communist Party in the Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada. According to preliminary results, the "Party of the Regions" had received 35.06 percent and the Communist Party advanced considerably reaching 14.92 percent. The " Batkivschyna" ("Fatherland") Party of Yulia Tymoshenko, the politician courted by the West, remains the strongest party of the opposition with 21.95 percent of the vote. With 12.87 percent, Vitali Klitschko's oppositional "UDAR" entered parliament for the first time. Tymoshenko is closely cooperating with the CDU. Some CDU politicians even claim that the Konrad Adenauer Foundation had charged the world heavyweight champion Klitschko with the organization of a Ukrainian Christian Democratic party. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) The "Svoboda" ("Freedom") Party is part of the opposition. With 8.31 percent, it could, for the first time, overcome the five percent hurdle to enter the Ukrainian parliament.

Openly Neo-Fascist

Svoboda evolved in 2004 from an older, openly neo-fascist organization, the "Social-National Party of the Ukraine" (SNPU). Svoboda replaced the SNPU symbol - a reflected wolf hook - with a stylized trident. Experts explain that "the transformation of the appearance was undertaken while maintaining SNPU's basic ideological principles." This camouflage has permitted Svoboda "to dissociate itself, in the public eye, from its openly neo-fascist past" while holding on to its extremist right-wing supporters.[2] The party achieved its political breakthrough March 15, 2009, when it was elected to the West Ukrainian Oblast Ternopil (parliament) with 34.69 percent of the votes, taking 50 of the 120 seats in the legislature. It is participating in the efforts of several extremist right-wing parties throughout Europe to found a continental umbrella organization. Among the members of the "Alliance of European National Movements" are the neo-fascist Hungarian Jobbik, France's Front National (FN) and the British National Party (BNP).

Renaissance of Collaborators

Svoboda is directly drawing on the tradition of West Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, who, fighting on the German side in the Second World War, had carried out numerous massacres in the occupied Soviet Union. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) The party considers itself to be "the modern day equivalent of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists" (OUN), according to research published by the political scientist Andreas Umland.[4] And yet, the OUN, which was founded in close collaboration with German authorities,[5] had been simply "one of the diverse forms of international fascism" - "similar to other Central European classical fascisms, such as the Slovak Hlinka Guards and the Croat Ustashi." Their renaissance - in the form of the Svoboda Party - corresponds to the renaissance of other organizations in the tradition of Nazi collaborators, for example the Hungarian Jobbik Party,[6] the Belgian Vlaams Belang [7] or the Austrian Freedom Party [8]. The renaissance of collaborators coincides with the imposition of a new, widely accepted, German predominance over Europe.[9]

Right-Wing Coalition

Already before parliamentary elections were held, Tymoshenko's Batkivschyna Party had begun comprehensive cooperation with the Svoboda Party. As a first step, the two parties reached agreements on where their respective candidates would seek majority mandates - reaching an agreement not to run against one another in the same circumscription. Within the framework of these accords, Tymoshenko's electoral organization ceded 35 circumscriptions to Svoboda. About ten days before elections were held, Batkivschyna and Svoboda agreed to form a coalition in the Verkhovna Rada, should Svoboda win entry into the legislature. Kiev has confirmed that the coalition will now be established, and that Klitschko is considering bringing his party into the coalition. But Klitschko, for the moment is having it be known that he detects a "right-wing radicalism" in Svoboda and therefore is having certain "misgivings."[10] Some of the German media organs, which, for years, have been supporting the opposition in the Ukraine, have now begun to shy away from this assessment. Often, Svoboda is no longer being characterized as "right-wing extremist" or "right-wing radical," but it is merely being mentioned "that its critics consider it to be right-wing radical."[11]


One could already observe the integration of extremist right-wing forces into the ranks of the Ukrainian pro-western opposition during the "Orange Revolution" in late 2004. For example, the "Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists," (KUN) had been included in the electoral alliance "Our Ukraine Block," of Viktor Yushchenko, who later became president. The KUN was founded in 1992 by emigrants returning from their exile in West Germany.[12] Yushchenko, himself, had supported a journal, whose publisher had expressed his belief that the Ukraine was being ruled "by a small group of Jewish oligarchs," who were "economically and politically in control."[13] Yushchenko's candidacy, in turn, was supported by the militant anti-Semitic UNA-UNSO organization. In fact, extremist right-wing milieus, for years, have been part of the pro-western spectrum particularly in the West Ukraine. One of their main motivations is hatred of Russia. Already in 2004, Berlin had accepted them as its covert allies to help weaken Moscow's influence on Kiev.

Please read also Between Moscow and Berlin, The Boxer's Punch and Between Moscow and Berlin (III).

[1] see also Der Schlag des Boxers (II)
[2] Anton Schechowzow, Andreas Umland: Der verspätete Aufstieg des ukrainophoben Rechtsradikalismus in der postsowjetischen Ukraine - Teil II; ukraine-nachrichten.de 28.10.2012
[3] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (IV) and Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (V)
[4] Andreas Umland: Der ukrainische Nationalismus zwischen Stereotyp und Wirklichkeit; ukraine-nachrichten.de 11.10.2012
[5] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (IV)
[6] see also The New Era of Ethnic Chauvinists
[7], [8] see also The Collaborator's Tradition
[9] see also Europe's Chancellor, The Next Crisis Victory and Deutsche Führung
[10] Parlamentswahl wirft Ukraine zurück; www.dw.de 29.10.2012
[11] Erfolg für die Opposition zeichnet sich ab; www.faz.net 28.10.2012
[12] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (V)
[13] see also Antisemitische "Kultur"