"Fascist Freedom Fighters"

BERLIN/KIEV/MUNICH | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV/MUNICH (Own report) - The reinforcement of fascist forces in Ukraine, under the aegis of the putsch regime in Kiev, is having repercussions on its German supporters. The commemoration of a Ukrainian supporter of the Holocaust has ignited a debate in Munich. The "question" is being raised in the press, whether the commemoration of "a fascist freedom fighter"[sic!] should be publicly honored. Kiev's Minister of Education, a graduate of Munich's "Ukrainian Free University," takes up the defense of the supporter of the Holocaust in the German media. The fascist "Pravy Sektor" ("Right Sektor") militia is intensifying its relations with rightwing extremists in several European countries, including Germany. The organization that had participated in the Odessa Massacre has ties to violence-prone neo-Nazis in Sweden as well as to Germany's NPD. Whereas the leader of this organization insists he is working closely with Ukraine's official repressive authorities, the media is reporting that these authorities are also supported in their brutal repressive measures ("anti-terror operations") against the insurgents in Eastern and Southern Ukraine by the CIA and FBI. Evidence of a BND involvement remains unconfirmed.

Should a Fascist be Commemorated?

In Munich, a hub of Ukrainian exile activities in the post-World War II period,[1] a public debate has erupted around the memorial plaque for Yaroslav Stetsko, one of the leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The plaque has been installed at the former address of the OUN headquarters, in Munich's Zeppelinstr. 67, by former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko during his incumbency (2005 - 2010). This was part of his efforts to reinforce the cult around the fascist OUN, the Ukrainian Partisan Army (UPA) and their leaders.[2] Stetsko, who, after the war, was working out of the OUN headquarters in Munich, is, today, one of the people held in high esteem in West Ukraine. The Svoboda Party still propagates his "two revolutions" theory, developed in the 1930s - a "national" and a "social" revolution, which must be combined. In 1941, Stetsko declared that "the Jews must be exterminated and, it would be expedient to introduce the German extermination methods in Ukraine." (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) In Munich, the local district council has now commissioned an expert assessment of the public commemoration of a supporter of the Holocaust in its district. "The question is," according to the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" "whether a fascist freedom fighter[sic!] should be publicly commemorated?"[4]

"No Anti-Semitism"

The "Süddeutsche Zeitung's" article indicates that the OUN and its leaders, such as Stetsko, are not only widely acclaimed in Ukrainian organizations in Germany, but also within the putsch regime in Kiev, even among ministers, who are not in the notorious Svoboda Party. As evidence, the article quotes Serhiy Kvit, "Minister of Education" in the putsch regime. Kvit calls Stetsko's autobiography, containing his plea for adaptation of the "German methods of Jewish extermination," a "counterfeit document," alleging that the OUN, whose activists had participated in a considerable number of massacres of Jews, "had nothing to do" with anti-Semitism.[5] Kvit had been active in the 90s in extremist rightwing organizations, for example, in the "Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists" (CUN), a fascist conglomerate, organized in part by Stetsko's widow, Yaroslava. Yaroslava, who had been a UPA member, had worked alongside her husband in their Munich exile, and has also been honored in Munich with a commemorative plaque. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6]) Kvit later embarked on a scholarly carrier. In 2001, he received his PhD at Munich's "Ukrainian Free University," where OUN veterans had been active for a long time, and in 2007, was named President of the Kiev Mohyla Academy National University, until he was recently named "Minister of Education" in the putsch regime.

"Enemy of Ukraine"

Two years ago, Kvit, for example, helped create a confrontation with Grzhegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, a historian from Berlin. Rossolinski-Liebe, the author of a dissertation on OUN leader, Stepan Bandera, scheduled to be published this fall, had been invited to Ukraine for a speaking tour, in early 2012. Six talks were on the schedule - two in Lviv, two in Dnipropetrovsk and two in Kiev. There were protests against Rossolinski-Liebe because of his being a known Bandera critic. In Lviv, the organizers were unable to acquire a venue, reported the historian later. Of the four other speaking engagements, three had been cancelled on short notice. Some of the cancelations had been directly traceable to interventions made by the Svoboda Party, because of his criticism of Bandera. Whoever expresses such criticism is considered - at least in the West, and even in some regions of Central Ukraine - "an enemy of Ukraine or a traitor." One university professor confirmed to him that "in Ukraine, historians cannot openly speak about history." In response to his suggestion that a memorial be erected to the victims of the Lviv Pogroms of 1918 and 1941, "scholars from Lviv ... said he was crazy." Even the president of the Kiev Mohyla Academy National University, at the time, Serhiy Kvit, angrily attacked him and refused him the possibility to deliver his talk.[7] Kvit is considered a follower of the publicist Dmytro Dontsov, who is credited with the creation of an "indigenous Ukrainian fascism."[8] Dontsov had translated Hitler, Mussolini and others into Ukrainian.

Under Police Protection

From Rossolinski-Liebe's report, one learns also that the German Embassy in Kiev was completely cognizant of the situation - and therefore knew also about the dramatic growth in influence of Ukraine's Bandera followers. When he received a telephone call from a man, identifying himself as a militiaman, saying he would drop by, Rossolinski-Liebe says that "the German Embassy ... made arrangements for me to move into an apartment of an embassy employee, where I would be safe." Of the six scheduled lectures, he was only able to hold the lecture in the German Embassy, "under militia protection" - "about 100 Svoboda followers were demonstrating outside."[9] Nearly two years later, to the day, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) invited Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, to the German Embassy in Kiev for talks. One result - Svoboda is now represented in the putsch regime.[10]

National Heroes

Many of the Pravy Sektor activists, who participated in the May 2, Odessa Massacre and the May 9, massacre in Mariupol had come from the ultra-nationalistically charged milieus, particularly those in West Ukraine. The armed organization, playing a major role in overthrowing the Yanukovich government, originated as an alliance of rightwing extremist groups.[11] In the meantime, it has developed good contacts to numerous extremist rightwing associations throughout Europe. Pravy Sektor's press attaché, Olena Semenyaka, reported that she could not attend the March 22 Young National Democrates's (JN) "Europe Congress" of the German NPD's youth association, in Thuringia, only because of a conflict with other scheduled engagements. The Swedish Nordisk Ungdom neo-Nazi organization, which, according to Semenyaka, financially supports the Pravy Sektor, had attended the NPD congress, along with the Svenskamas Party, some of whose activists had also participated in the violent Maidan riots. In March, one of those Maidan participants stabbed a leftist in Malmo, soon after returning from Kiev. Charged with attempted murder, he has been on the run since.[12] Recently, Semenyaka gave an interview to the NPD party's "Deutsche Stimme" journal. In the course of her interview, she boasted that at the Maidan, "ultra-nationalists" became transformed into "national heroes." The Pravy Sektor is a "great partisan movement," she boasted.

CIA, Blackwater, BND?

Meanwhile, German forces further to the right than the NPD are showing a growing interest in the Pravy Sektor. In April, the ultra-right online platform "Blaue Narzisse" (Blue Daffodil) published an interview with Olena Semenyaka. She emphasized that "even modern Nazi sympathizers will find their place in our broad ranks" and explained that the Pravy Sektor's most important current task is to "liberate" Ukraine "from collaborators, separatists and marionettes of Russia and the West."[13] As a matter of principle, the Pravy Sektor coordinates its operations with the respective Ukrainian authorities, according to its leader Dmitro Yarosh. "Our battalions are integrated into the new territorial defense," explains Yarosh. "We have very close contacts to the secret service and the military staff. We really have good relations with everyone, except the police."[14] Yarosh has already been closely cooperating with the head of the National Security Council Andriy Parubiy to overthrow the Yanukovych government. Parubiy, a leader of the extreme right in the 1990s, was considered, last winter, the "commander of the Maidan." Today, he is organizing the regime's "anti-terror missions" in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. US specialists from the CIA and FBI are serving as "advisors" and - according to reports - 400 elite soldiers from the US mercenary company "Academi" (formerly "Blackwater") are providing operational support.[15] It is not yet clear, whether the BND is also involved in the Ukrainian "anti-terror mission." However, what is known, is that the German military observers, who had been held in Slavyansk in late April, were in contact with the BND.[16] The German government is refusing any further information.

More reports and background information on the current German policy toward Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russian Alliance, Expansive Ambitions, Our Man in Kiev, Integration Rivalry with Moscow, On the Offensive, At all Costs, The Crimean Conflict, The Kiev Escalation Strategy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Violation, The Europeanization of Ukraine, Official Government Vocative, An Unusual Mission, "Scientific Nationalists" and Crisis of Legitimacy.

[1] See "Ein Sammelpunkt der OUN".
[2] See Juschtschenkos Mythen and "Scientific Nationalists".
[3] See Alte, neue Verbündete.
[4], [5] Ukrainischer Exilant von zweifelhaftem Ruf. www.sueddeutsche.de 08.05.2014.
[6] See Alte, neue Verbündete.
[7] "Es ist tabu, heikle Themen an der Uni zu diskutieren". junge Welt 09.03.2012.
[8] Per Anders Rudling: The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right: The Case of VO Svoboda. In: Ruth Wodak, John E. Richardson (Hg.): Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text, 228-255. London 2013. Online-Zugang: www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415899192/
[9] "Es ist tabu, heikle Themen an der Uni zu diskutieren". junge Welt 09.03.2012.
[10] See Vom Stigma befreit.
[11] See On the Offensive and The Kiev Escalation Strategy.
[12] See Die Dynamik des "Pravy Sektor".
[13] Der Bürgerkrieg des Rechten Sektors. www.blauenarzisse.de 04.04.2014.
[14] Nationalistenführer Jarosch: "Jeder Ukrainer soll eine Schusswaffe tragen dürfen". www.spiegel.de 23.04.2014.
[15] Russische Luftwaffe verletzte absichtlich den Luftraum der Ukraine. www.bild.de 10.05.2014.
[16] Bundeswehrinspektoren vom BND beraten. www.sueddeutsche.de 05.05.2014. See An Unusual Mission.