Ukrainian Patriots

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - Five months after the Kiev coup, vigorously supported by Berlin, a rightwing extremist party may become pro-Western Ukraine's strongest political force. According to a recent survey, the Radical Party, of the ultra-rightwing politician, Oleh Lyashko, could currently expect 23, 2 percent of the votes. Lyashko made himself a name with his brutality against the Kiev regime's eastern Ukrainian opponents. He is also co-founder and supporter of the Azov Battalion, a militia of over one hundred - mainly fascist - combatants, including a Swedish Neo-Nazi sniper. He has reported that other snipers had already been in action for the opposition during the Maidan protests. It has never been revealed, who fired the fatal shots on February 20. In this highly charged atmosphere, the Ukrainian government is taking steps that indicate a political cultural development even further to the right. It is planning to censure films and books from Russia or to restrict their sales. Outlawing the Communist Party, as fascists have already demanded, is being processed. This development is also due particularly to German interventions in Kiev.

Nearly a Third for the Ultra-Right

Five months after the Kiev coup, vigorously supported by Berlin, an extreme rightwing party may become pro-Western Ukraine's strongest political force. According to a survey by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, the Radical Party of the ultra-rightwing politician, Oleh Lyashko, could currently expect 23.2 percent of the vote - more than any other party.[1] Already at the presidential elections on May 25, Lyashko received 8.3 percent - a surprise success, practically out of nowhere. His popularity has grown through his public display of brutality against the Kiev regime's eastern Ukrainian opponents. On his website, on May 7, for example, he published a video of him interrogating a nearly naked, bleeding Eastern Ukrainian insurgent prisoner. In last May's municipal council elections, leading members of the fascist organizations Social-National Assembly (SNA) and "Patriot of Ukraine" ran on the electoral list of Lyashko's Radical Party. According to the survey, the fascist Svoboda party would receive 5.7 percent and the militarist Pravy Sector 1.9 percent of the votes. Together with the 23.2 percent for the Radical Party, ultra-rightwing parties would poll nearly one third of the votes.

Freedom of Expression

Typical for the Berlin supported Kiev government are its efforts to eliminate as much Russian influence as possible. Benefitting from the current right-wing trend, it is planning cultural restrictions. The State Film Agency has announced that, in the future, it will closely "examine" Russian films before they may be shown in the Ukraine. Several films have already fallen victim to this censorship. Restrictions will also affect the sale of books. According to the Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych, so far only one fifth of the books sold in the country are of Ukrainian production. In fact, throughout the ex-Soviet region, Russian books have been widely sold because of the still widespread knowledge of the Russian language. The Deputy Prime Minster affirms that the government is "forced to protect the Ukrainian consumers from xenophobic publications." The government is now "introducing licensing for Russian books and a quota for foreign books."[2] Sych is a member of the fascist Svoboda party. This party's chief, Oleh Tiahnybok, once made headlines, when he announced that Ukraine must be "liberated" from a "Jewish mafia from Moscow."[3]

Political Freedom

Svoboda is also approaching the realization of another of its primary objectives, outlawing the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). In its struggle against the CPU, initially the Svoboda-affiliated C14 paramilitary organization had, immediately following the February 22 putsch, occupied Kiev's Communist Party headquarters. Other party offices had also been ransacked by fascist organizations. When, on April 10, the occupiers finally withdrew, they set fire to the premises. Svoboda then sought to have the parliament outlaw the CPU, which, for reasons of formality, failed to pass. A court is the only authority that can issue a ban of a political party. A demand for the dissolution of the CPU has been made and is now being examined by the court. The parliament has taken supplementary measures against the CPU. Retroactively, it has reset the quantity of parliamentarians needed to constitute a parliamentary caucus to supersede that of the number of Communist parliamentarians currently elected, thereby depriving them of the parliamentary rights afforded by "caucus" status. Repeatedly over the past few months, CP Chair, Petro Symonenko and many other Communist activists have been brutally attacked - even inside the parliament. Oleh Lyashko has also lodged a demand for banning the Party of Regions of overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych.

"Liberation of the White Race"

While efforts are made to outlaw the CPU, the "Social National Assembly" (SNA) has nothing comparable to worry about. Founded in 2008 as a merger of various fascist organizations, it had been very engaged in creating the Right Sector in November 2013 during the Maidan protests. According to its own admission, it is struggling "for the liberation of the entire white race from the domination of internationalist speculative capital" - a well-known anti-Semitic codeword - and "to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man."[4] Anton Gerashchenko, a high-ranking advisor of the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior, explicitly affirmed that the Social National Assembly is "not a neo-Nazi organization," but rather a "party of Ukrainian patriots." He felt called upon to make this clarification to a BBC journalist's statement about a leader of the assembly, Andriy Biletsky, who is currently a commander of the Azov Battalion, a unit of several hundred, which was founded and armed for warfare in Eastern Ukraine by Kiev's Ministry of the Interior. In fact, numerous activists from the Social National Assembly and its "Patriot of Ukraine" paramilitary wing are members of the Asov Battalion. "Patriot of Ukraine" was commanded in the 1990s by Andriy Parubiy. Today, Parubiy, in his function as Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, bears a major responsibility for the war in the country's east.

Snipers

The Asov Battalion recently caused an international stir, when it was reported that neo-Nazis from various other European countries e.g. from Italy, France and Sweden, are also members of the unit. Apparently, the battalion is being trained professionally. A Georgian special forces trainer is said to be among the instructors.[5] The Asov Battalion is one of three special commandos - with the Dnipro and Donbass Battalions - being set up in pro-western Ukraine.[6] The Swedish neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt is a member of the Asov Battalion. Skillt, a member of the fascist Svenskarnas Parti (Party of the Swedes), says that he has "at least" three purposes in the unit: commander of "a small reconnaissance unit," a "sniper" and sometimes he works "as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas." The person, who is rumored to have been captured by East Ukrainian insurgents, had been a sniper for six years in the Swedish military. He says, he has only been engaged in the Ukrainian conflict since March. He admits, however, to having spoken to at least two snipers, who, during the Maidan protests had shot at police from the Trade Union House in Kiev - at the time, the headquarters of the protestors. "Their mission was to take out Berkut's snipers," explained Skillt.[7] The deadly shots from the Maidan, which in Western propaganda had been used to legitimize the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, have never been investigated by the putsch regime, and Berlin has never applied pressure for an investigation.

Political Prisoners

The Asov Battalion has close ties to Oleh Lyashko, whose "Radical Party," would currently be able to poll a fourth of the votes if elections were held. Lyashko is considered to be one of the Asov's founders. For internet videos, he allows himself to be filmed at joint actions with Asov combatants. The Asov Battalion's second in command, Ihor Mosiychuk, had been elected to Kiev's Municipal Council on the electoral list of Lyashko's Radical Party. This was not the first time Lyashko had intervened on his behalf. January 10, 2014, Mosiychuk and two other fascists had been found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison for a planned August 2011 bombing attack. On the evening of January 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demonstrations protesting the sentence. The demonstrations degenerated into violent confrontations with the police. These confrontations, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brussels and Washington to accuse Yanukovych of excessive use of force on the "movement fighting for democracy." The protests were unsuccessful. However, immediately after the Kiev coup, Mosiychuk and his accomplices profited from the amnesty, the pro-western Ukrainian parliament granted February 24, 2014 to "political prisoners". Due to Lyashko's decisive engagement, Mosiychuk profited from the amnesty, was liberated from prison and could participate in the organization the Asov Battalion.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Ukraine and the right-wing development in that country 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", Crisis of Legitimacy and "Fascist Freedom Fighters", The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV), For Peace and Freedom, The Finnish Model, Second-Class Stakeholders and Establish Facts.

[1] Jakov Devcic: Jazenjuks Rücktrittsversuch. www.kas.de 29.07.2014.
[2] Ukraine will russische Kultur zurückdrängen. www.n-tv.de 29.07.2014.
[3] S. dazu Termin beim Botschafter.
[4] Dina Newman: Ukraine conflict: "White power" warrior from Sweden. www.bbc.co.uk 16.07.2014.
[5] Daniel McLaughlin: Foreigners join far-right militias in Ukraine's fight against rebels. www.irishtimes.com 17.07.2014.
[6] Hal Foster: A special-forces unit, started from scratch, wins a key battle in Ukraine. en.tengrinews.kz 21.06.2014.
[7] Swede Patrols Ukraine's Streets with Right-wing Paramilitaries. www.friatider.se 26.03.2014.