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FTR #1004 Update on Ukrainian Fascism and a Possible Third World War

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by the fall of 2017. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more.)

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [5].

Introduction: Supplementing previous coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, this broadcast further explores the role of Nazi formations and individuals in the security services of that benighted country. In addition, the broadcast highlights developments in Ukraine’s military industry and burgeoning international security alliances.

[6]

Ukrainian Nazis honor David Lane’s passing. Lane was a member of The Order and minted the 14 words, from which  C14 takes its name.

The Kiev city government recently gave C14 –Svoboda’s paramilitary cadre literally named after the white supremacist ’14 words’ [7] slogan – the right to establish a “municipal guard” to patrol the streets there. ” . . . . But connections between law enforcement agencies and extremists give Ukraine’s Western allies ample reason for concern. C14 and Kiev’s city government recently signed  [8]an agreement [9] allowing C14 to establish a ‘municipal guard’ to patrol the streets; three such militia-run guard forces are already registered in Kiev, and at least 21 operate in other cities. . . .”

The C14 police formations cracking down on political activists, including LGBT and anti-war proponents.

It is not surprising that C14 militia members have used their office to attack and harass Roma, one of the “out” groups that have been the focus of social oppression/genocide from the Third Reich’s above-ground manifestation through the present resurgence of fascism in Europe.

C14 and the municipal patrol duties they have been granted in Kiev have provided a platform to attack the Roma, with the full support of local authorities ( including the police and the media.) [10]   ” . . . . the police appear to see no need to take action and merely state that they have received no complaints. It is also alarming how many Ukrainian media (such as TSN [11]Channel 5 [12]) have simply reported this ‘raid’ effectively in Mazur’s words, without considering what threats must have been used to ‘persuade’ around 15 families to leave their makeshift homes in such haste. If Mazur is telling the truth, then the measures to remove the Roma families who had reportedly come to Kyiv from Transcarpathia in search of work were the result of collaboration between C14 members of the so-called ‘Municipal Guard’ and the Holosiyiv District Administration. . . .”

In addition, the C14 cadre are:

  1. Apparently functioning as something of a “freikorps,” serving as punitive muscle for important donors from the private sector. ” . . . . On 26 February 2018, C14 posted an advertisement on their Facebook page which quite openly offered their services as thugs to regular donors. This said that ‘C14 works for you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For regular donors, we are opening a box for wishes. Which of your enemies would you like to make life difficult for? We’ll try to do that.’ . . .”
  2. Working in conjunction with Nazis from the large Nazi milieux in Russia and Belarus. ” . . . . On 19 January 2018, C14 activists prevented  [13]the traditional remembrance gathering for Sevastopol journalist Anastasia Baburova and Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov, murdered in Moscow in 2009 by neo-Nazi Russian nationalists. The claim that those honouring the two slain anti-fascists were ‘separatists’ was preposterous, and Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the organizers of the remembrance event, asserts that they were confronted not only by C14 thugs, but by Russian and Belarusian neo-Nazis. . . .”
  3. Receiving tactical, logistical assistance from uniformed police authorities. ” . . . . They instead detained eight people who had come to honour Baburova and Markelov. The police involved later tried to claim that there had been no detention, and that the activists had been ‘invited’ to the police station. There was no suggestion that the ‘invitation’ could have been turned down. The detained activists reported later that they had been ‘hunted down’ by the far-right thugs after leaving the police station. A member of the Human Rights Information Centre who spoke with them believes  [14]that the thugs could have only discovered which station the activists were being held in from the police themselves. . . .
[15]

Combat helmets of the Azov Battalion.

The Nazi Azov Battalion is also spawning civil police formations [16] as well.

Ukrainian fascist organizations have powerful political protection, because of the close relationship between Interior Minister Arsen Avakov (an important backer of the Azov Battalion) and figures like Azov leader Andriy Biletsky and Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran who is now a high-ranking police official.

Avakov’s Peoples’ Party is the main partner in the parliamentary coalition led by Poroshenko’s Bloc. Should Petro Poroshenko decided to challenge Avakov and, as a result, the growing role of these neo-Nazi militias, his governing coalition might collapse.

” . . . . In an ideal world, President Petro Poroshenko would purge the police and the interior ministry of far-right sympathizers, including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Biletsky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran [17] who is now a high-ranking police official. But Poroshenko would risk major repercussions if he did so; Avakov is his chief political rival [18], and the ministry he runs controls the police, the National Guard and several former militias. . . .”

” . . . . Avakov’s Peoples’ Party status as the main partner in Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition increases Avakov’s leverage over Poroshenko’s Bloc. An attempt to fire Avakov could imperil Poroshenko’s slim legislative majority, and lead to early parliamentary elections. Given Poroshenko’s current unpopularity [19], this is a scenario he will likely try to avoid. . . .”

[20]

Stephan Bandera, head of the OUN/B

Former Azov Battalion commander Vadim Troyan was a point element [21] in the assumption of police duties by Azov Battalion and C14. He became acting head of the National Police after the resignation of Khatia Dekonoidze. ” . . . . Vadim Troyan, who takes over as Acting Head, is not politically independent and therefore unsuited to the post.  Doubts about the former Azov Battalion commander’s suitability for high police posts were first expressed after his appointment as head of the Kyiv regional police and they remain of concern. . . .”

Troyan is now Arsen Avakov’s Deputy Interior Minister [22]” . . . . The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has appointed the first Deputy Head of the National Police Vadym Troyan as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. . . . “

The milieu of  the Azov Battalion has influential proponents in the U.S.

The same smear machine that targeted former Rep. John Conyer’s over his opposition to arming the neo-Nazi Azov battalion is turning its focus on Rep. Ro Khanna (Democrat from California) after Khanna ensured that the ban on funds going to arming or training the Azov Battalion remained in place in the congressional spending bill that passed a couple weeks ago. In a particularly disgusting op-ed in The Hill [23], Kristofer Harrison – a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and who also happens to a co-founder of a company that specializes in Russian “information warfare,” with offices in Washington and Kyiv – declared that Khanna’s characterization of the Azov Battalion as neo-Nazi in nature is ridiculous and part of a big lie pushed by Putin.

[24]

OUN/B World War II Ukrainian prime minister Jaroslav Stetzko and then Vice-President George H.W. Bush

[25]

Roman Zvarych, Jaroslav Stetzko’s secretary and Minister of Justice under Viktor Yuschenko

We note again that Harrison–whom we have noted attacked John Conyers as “Putin’s Man in Congress” [26]–relies on Roman Zvarych for his exoneration of the Azov Battalion. In addition to being the spokesman for Azov, Zvarych was:

  1. Minister of Justice under Viktor Yuschenko [27].
  2. Minister of Justice under both Tymoshenko governments.
  3. An adviser to Petro Poroshenko [28].
  4. In the 1980’s, the personal secretary to Jaroslav Stetzko [27], the wartime head of the Nazi collaborationist government in Ukraine. Stetzko implemented Nazi ethnic cleansing in Ukraine during World War II.

Next, we revisit the issue of the sniper attacks during the Maidan demonstrations, covered at length in FTR #’s 982 [29]and 993 [30]. In what appears to be a faction fight in the Ukrainian fascist milieu, former Ukrainian far-right folk hero Nadia Savchenk [31]o has echoed the charge that Svoboda Party’s parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy was involved with the sniper attacks during the Maidan coup. Pushed on her charge, she equivocated that it was a different member of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament.)

In a development that could light a match to the Ukrainian/Russian tinderbox, Ukraine is angling toward NATO membership [31].This is to be evaluated against the background that Ukraine has now tested a new cruise missile [32] and is employing Tony Tether [33], the former head of DARPA to augment its weapons development programs. DARPA is also directly aiding Ukraine.

Among the nations most hospitable to the post-World War II OUN/B diaspora is Canada, a NATO member.

In FTR #948 [34], we noted that Canada’s Foreign Minister Christia Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator. (“Foreign Minister” is the Canadian equivalent of Secretary of State. Freeland describes her grandfather as a major influence on her.) Now, four Russian diplomats [35] have been expelled from Canada for telling the truth about Chomiak and Freeland.)

In conclusion, we note that the “PropOrNot” [36] group attacked Robert Parry after his death. (Mr. Emory interviewed Robert Parry a number of times. Parry was one of the few journalists in the U.S. willing to tell the truth about the OUN/B successor organizations and their profound presence in Ukraine.) In FTR #943 [37], we noted the presence of PropOrNot in the OUN/B milieu.

1a. The Kiev city government recently gave C14 –Svoboda’s paramilitary cadre literally named after the white supremacist ’14 words’ [7]slogan – the right to establish a “municipal guard” to patrol the streets there. ” . . . . But connections between law enforcement agencies and extremists give Ukraine’s Western allies ample reason for concern. C14 and Kiev’s city government recently signed  [8]an agreement [9] allowing C14 to establish a ‘municipal guard’ to patrol the streets; three such militia-run guard forces are already registered in Kiev, and at least 21 operate in other cities. . . .”

They’re also cracking down on political activists, including LGBT and anti-war proponents.

As the article below also notes, Ukrainian fascist organizations have powerful political protection, because of the close relationship between Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and figures like Azov leader Andriy Biletsky and Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran who is now a high-ranking police official.

Avakov’s Peoples’ Party is the main partner in the parliamentary coalition led by Poroshenko’s Bloc. Should Petro Poroshenko decided to challenge Avakov and, as a result, the growing role of these neo-Nazi militias, his governing coalition might collapse.

” . . . . In an ideal world, President Petro Poroshenko would purge the police and the interior ministry of far-right sympathizers, including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Biletsky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran [17] who is now a high-ranking police official. But Poroshenko would risk major repercussions if he did so; Avakov is his chief political rival [18], and the ministry he runs controls the police, the National Guard and several former militias. . . .”

” . . . . Avakov’s Peoples’ Party status as the main partner in Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition increases Avakov’s leverage over Poroshenko’s Bloc. An attempt to fire Avakov could imperil Poroshenko’s slim legislative majority, and lead to early parliamentary elections. Given Poroshenko’s current unpopularity [19], this is a scenario he will likely try to avoid. . . .”

“Commentary: Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem” by Josh Cohen; Reuters; 03/19/2018 [38]

As Ukraine’s struggle against Russia and its proxies continues, Kiev must also contend with a growing problem behind the front lines: far-right vigilantes who are willing to use intimidation and even violence to advance their agendas, and who often do so with the tacit approval of law enforcement agencies.

A January 28 demonstration, in Kiev, by 600 members of the so-called “National Militia,” a newly-formed ultranationalist group that vows “to use force to establish order,” illustrates this threat. While the group’s Kiev launch was peaceful, National Militia members in balaclavas stormed a city council meeting in the central Ukrainian town of Cherkasy the following day, skirmishing with deputies and forcing them to pass a new budget.

Many of the National Militia’s members come from the Azov movement, one of the 30-odd privately-funded “volunteer battalions” that, in the early days of the war, helped the regular army to defend Ukrainian territory against Russia’s separatist proxies. Although Azov uses [39]Nazi-era symbolism and recruits [40]neo-Nazis into [41]its ranks, a recent article in Foreign Affairs [42] downplayed any risks the group might pose, pointing out that, like other volunteer militias, Azov has been “reined in” through its integration into Ukraine’s armed forces. While it’s true that private militias no longer rule the battlefront, it’s the home front that Kiev needs to worry about now.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea four years ago first exposed the decrepit [43] condition of Ukraine’s armed forces, right-wing militias such as Azov and Right Sector stepped into the breach, fending [44]off the Russian-backed separatists while Ukraine’s regular military regrouped. Though, as a result, many Ukrainians continue to regard the militias with gratitude and admiration [45], the more extreme among these groups promote an intolerant and illiberal ideology that will endanger Ukraine in the long term. Since the Crimean crisis, the militias have been formally integrated into Ukraine’s armed forces, but some have resisted full integration: Azov, for example, runs [46] its own children’s training camp, and the careers [47] section instructs recruits who wish to transfer to Azov from a regular military unit.

According to Freedom House’s Ukraine project director Matthew Schaaf, “numerous organized radical right-wing groups exist in Ukraine, and while the volunteer battalions may have been officially integrated into state structures, some of them have since spun off political and non-profit structures to implement their vision.”Schaaf noted that “an increase in patriotic discourse supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia has coincided with an apparent increase in both public hate speech, sometimes by public officials and magnified by the media, as well as violence towards vulnerable groups such as the LGBT community,” an observation that is supported by a recent Council of Europe study [48].

In recent months, Ukraine has experienced a wave of unchecked vigilantism. Institute Respublica, a local pro-democracy NGO, reported [49] that activists are frequently harassed by vigilantes when holding legal meetings or rallies related to politically-controversial positions, such as the promotion of LGBT rights or opposition to the war. Azov and other militias have attacked anti-fascist [50] demonstrations, city council  [51]meetings, media outlets [52]art exhibitions [53]foreign students and Roma [54]. Progressive activists describe a new climate of fear that they say has been intensifying ever since last year’s near-fatal stabbing of anti-war activist Stas Serhiyenko, which is believed to have been perpetrated by an extremist group named C14 (the name refers to a 14-word slogan popular among white supremacists). Brutal attacks this month on International Women’s Day marches in several Ukrainian cities prompted an unusually forceful statement from Amnesty International, which warned that “the Ukrainian state is rapidly losing its monopoly on violence.”

Ukraine is not the only country that must contend with a resurgent far right. But Kiev’s recent efforts to incorporate independent armed groups into its regular armed forces, as well as a continuing national sense of indebtedness to the militias for their defense of the homeland, make addressing the ultranationalist threat considerably more complicated than it is elsewhere. According to Schaaf and the Institute Respublica, Ukrainian extremists are rarely punished for acts of violence. In some cases — such as C14’s January attack on a remembrance gathering [55]for two murdered journalists — police actually detain peaceful demonstrators instead.

To be clear, the Kremlin’s claims that Ukraine is a hornets’ nest of fascists are false: far-right parties performed poorly in Ukraine’s last parliamentary elections [56], and Ukrainians reacted [57]with alarm to the National Militia’s demonstration in Kiev. But connections between law enforcement agencies and extremists give Ukraine’s Western allies ample reason for concern. C14 and Kiev’s city government recently signed  [8]an agreement [9] allowing C14 to establish a “municipal guard” to patrol the streets; three such militia-run guard forces are already registered in Kiev, and at least 21 operate in other cities.

[15]

Combat helmets of the Azov Battalion.

In an ideal world, President Petro Poroshenko would purge the police and the interior ministry of far-right sympathizers, including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Biletsky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran [17] who is now a high-ranking police official. But Poroshenko would risk major repercussions if he did so; Avakov is his chief political rival [18], and the ministry he runs controls the police, the National Guard and several former militias.

As one Ukrainian analyst noted [58] in December, control of these forces make Avakov extremely powerful and Poroshenko’s presidency might not be strong enough to withstand the kind of direct confrontation with Avakov that an attempt to oust him or to strike at his power base could well produce. Poroshenko has endured frequent verbal threats, including calls for revolution, from ultranationalist groups, so he may believe that he needs Avakov to keep them in check.

Avakov’s Peoples’ Party status as the main partner in Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition increases Avakov’s leverage over Poroshenko’s Bloc. An attempt to fire Avakov could imperil Poroshenko’s slim legislative majority, and lead to early parliamentary elections. Given Poroshenko’s current unpopularity [19], this is a scenario he will likely try to avoid.

Despite his weak position, Poroshenko still has some options for reducing the threat from the far right. Though Avakov controls the Ukraine’s police and National Guard, Poroshenko still commands Ukraine’s security and intelligence services, the SBU, and could instruct the agency to cut its ties with C14 and other extremist groups. Poroshenko should also express public support for marginalized groups like the Roma and LGBT communities, and affirm his commitment to protecting their rights.

Western diplomats and human rights organizations must urge Ukraine’s government to uphold the rule of law and to stop allowing the far right to act with impunity. International donors can help by funding more initiatives like the United States Agency for International Development’s projects

supporting training [59] for Ukrainian lawyers and human rights defenders, and improving equitable access [60] to the judicial system for marginalized communities. . . .

1b. C14 and the municipal patrol duties they have been granted in Kiev have provided a platform to attack Roma, with the full support of local authorities ( including the police and the media.) [10]   ” . . . . the police appear to see no need to take action and merely state that they have received no complaints. It is also alarming how many Ukrainian media (such as TSN [11]Channel 5 [12]) have simply reported this ‘raid’ effectively in Mazur’s words, without considering what threats must have been used to ‘persuade’ around 15 families to leave their makeshift homes in such haste. If Mazur is telling the truth, then the measures to remove the Roma families who had reportedly come to Kyiv from Transcarpathia in search of work were the result of collaboration between C14 members of the so-called ‘Municipal Guard’ and the Holosiyiv District Administration. . . .”

In addition, the C14 cadre are:

  1. Apparently functioning as something of a “freikorps,” serving as punitive muscle for important donors from the private sector. ” . . . . On 26 February 2018, C14 posted an advertisement on their Facebook page which quite openly offered their services as thugs to regular donors. This said that ‘C14 works for you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For regular donors, we are opening a box for wishes. Which of your enemies would you like to make life difficult for? We’ll try to do that.’ . . .”
  2. Working in conjunction with Nazis from the large Nazi milieux in Russia and Belarus. ” . . . . On 19 January 2018, C14 activists prevented  [13]the traditional remembrance gathering for Sevastopol journalist Anastasia Baburova and Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov, murdered in Moscow in 2009 by neo-Nazi Russian nationalists. The claim that those honouring the two slain anti-fascists were ‘separatists’ was preposterous, and Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the organizers of the remembrance event, asserts that they were confronted not only by C14 thugs, but by Russian and Belarusian neo-Nazis. . . .”
  3. Receiving tactical, logistical assistance from uniformed police authorities. ” . . . . They instead detained eight people who had come to honour Baburova and Markelov. The police involved later tried to claim that there had been no detention, and that the activists had been ‘invited’ to the police station. There was no suggestion that the ‘invitation’ could have been turned down. The detained activists reported later that they had been ‘hunted down’ by the far-right thugs after leaving the police station. A member of the Human Rights Information Centre who spoke with them believes  [14]that the thugs could have only discovered which station the activists were being held in from the police themselves. . . .

“Ukrainian neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes drive out Roma families, burn their camp” by Halya Coynash; Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group; 04/23/2018 [10]

A prominent activist from the far-right C14 organization has boasted on his Facebook page about an operation which resulted in Roma families fleeing their camp on Lysa Hora in Kyiv. Despite the fairly unveiled hints in Serhiy Mazur’s two Facebook posts, as well as clear signs that the Roma fled without taking children’s clothing, etc., the police appear to see no need to take action and merely state that they have received no complaints. It is also alarming how many Ukrainian media (such as TSN [11]Channel 5 [12]) have simply reported this ‘raid’ effectively in Mazur’s words, without considering what threats must have been used to ‘persuade’ around 15 families to leave their makeshift homes in such haste.

If Mazur is telling the truth, then the measures to remove the Roma families who had reportedly come to Kyiv from Transcarpathia in search of work were the result of collaboration between C14 members of the so-called ‘Municipal Guard’ [«???????????? ?????»] and the Holosiyiv District Administration. As reported [9], this ‘Municipal Guard’, which is headed by Serhiy Bondar from C14, signed a memorandum of cooperation with both the Holosiyiv District Administration and the Holosiyiv National Police back in December 2017.

In his report [61] on 19 April and elsewhere, Mazur omits two letters in order to use a term now generally felt to be offensive when referring to Roma.

He says that the Roma have “occupied Lysa Hora” and that there are more of them this time “and of their rubbish”.

Together with representatives of the Holosiyiv administration, he says, they “presented an ultimatum to leave the prohibited territory of the park by TOMORROW.

If they don’t carry out this demand, they will be asked in a different way to go. Within the framework of the law”.

Mention of the law here seems on a par with semi-avoidance of offensive labels, and lacks any credibility. If the local administration is entitled to issue an ultimatum, it should then approach law enforcement officials if the ultimatum is ignored.

Any ‘other’ methods hinted at in Mazur’s post are either not the business of C14 activists or are a code term for means of duress which are assuredly not lawful.

The rest of the post is simply offensive. If, which can be disputed, it falls within the boundaries of free speech, such effective incitement to enmity and prejudice against any ethnic or other group is certainly unacceptable from top representatives of an organization which is working with a public authority.

On 21 April, Mazur stated in a post that there were no longer any Roma (not the term he uses) on Lysa Hora.

“Yesterday they did not carry out the demand, and only some left the camp in the park. However after convincing lawful arguments, the others also decided to leave the prohibited territory. “ The C14 activists then “cleaned up almost all the rubbish” and burned the tents.

If the so-called “convincing arguments” had been lawful, it seems unlikely that the Roma families would have left children’s clothes and food items behind.

Journalist Yevhen Savateyev told [62] Hromadske Radio that “it looks as through the people who were living in this camp were forced to flee and didn’t even take most-needed items”.

He says that there were around 15 makeshift shacks, each ‘housing’ one family.

According to Zola Kondur [63]from the Chirikli Roma Foundation, there has been an issue over this camp for the last four years.She says that the people living there wanted to integrate and to cooperate with the authorities, however other residents of the district demanded that the Roma not be allowed onto minibus public transport and in shops. The pretext giving was that the residents feared being infected with tuberculosis, although Kondur points out that a medical examination did not find any tuberculosis or AIDs among the inhabitants of the camp.

She accuses the Holosiyiv District Administration of not being willing to involve the social services and does not accept that the camp, positioned deep inside the nature reserve at Lysa Hora and hard to find, was disturbing anybody.

This was not C14’s first such ‘raid’. Mazur reported [64] on 18 April that the previous day “good people carried out a raid of the Railway Station which had been almost totally occupied by Gy..ies”. There are the usual offensive claims about “the negative demonstrations of behaviour from the Roma” that their “walk” had supposedly curtailed. Mazur also reports that they “checked for documents and tickets. A day or two and there won’t be any of them here”, and asks why such ‘patrols’ are not carried out by the police. . . .

. . . . Mazur ends his post by claiming again that they are not fighting “Gy..ies”, only “the negative demonstrations of behaviour of their representatives”, and invites others to join them. He has promised other such ‘raids’ as those against the Roma on Lysa Gora.

There are compelling grounds for demanding an investigation by the law enforcement bodies into all of these ‘raids’ by C14 vigilantes. If the methods used to disperse the camp on Lysa Hora was indeed carried out together with the Holosiyiv District Administration, an investigation would seem appropriate, as well as some serious consideration as to whether such ‘cooperation’ can be legitimately continued.

Questionable ‘partnership’

C14 calls itself a ‘nationalist’ organization and denies that it is neo-Nazi.Vyacheslav Likhachev, who has been monitoring far-right movements in Ukraine for well over a decade, is unconvinced. He points out [65] that the C14 activists who occupied the Kyiv City Administration building during Euromaidan covered it with neo-Nazi banners and graffiti.

C14 activists try to present themselves as fighting ‘separatists’, ‘titushki’ or paid thugs (who worked closely with the police under the regime of Viktor Yanukovych), as well as corrupt courts, etc.

Their rationale for determining who are ‘separatists’, or more generally who to fight, gives considerable grounds for concern.

On 19 January 2018, C14 activists prevented  [13]the traditional remembrance gathering for Sevastopol journalist Anastasia Baburova and Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov, murdered in Moscow in 2009 by neo-Nazi Russian nationalists. The claim that those honouring the two slain anti-fascists were ‘separatists’ was preposterous, and Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the organizers of the remembrance event, asserts that they were confronted not only by C14 thugs, but by Russian and Belarusian neo-Nazis.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the events that day was the total failure of the Kyiv police to react adequately to the aggressive behaviour of those opposing the remembrance gathering.

They instead detained eight people who had come to honour Baburova and Markelov. The police involved later tried to claim that there had been no detention, and that the activists had been ‘invited’ to the police station. There was no suggestion that the ‘invitation’ could have been turned down.

The detained activists reported later that they had been ‘hunted down’ by the far-right thugs after leaving the police station. A member of the Human Rights Information Centre who spoke with them believes  [14]that the thugs could have only discovered which station the activists were being held in from the police themselves.

C14 has been involved in attacks on activists taking part in the annual Equality March (Kyiv Pride), rights activists, on an art exhibition and even protesters with strictly socio-economic demands. Their members may have been among the 50 young far-right louts [66] who on 26 March 2018, descended on events linked to the Kyiv Docudays Film Festival, demolishing posters promoting tolerance and diversity abd trying to stop a panel discussion on far-right movements.

There are other reasons for concern over any cooperation by other local authorities or the police with C14. Back in December 2012 under the Viktor Yanukovych regime, Yevhen Karas and his C14 mates organized an attack [67] on rights activists and others protesting against a repressive legislative bill which proposed the same ban on so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ as was passed in neighbouring Russia. It was mainly the protesters who were detained by police.

C14 has been involved in various acts of violence, and there are indeed reports [68] that they attacked members of another local group on 13 December 2017, with two people from that group ending up hospitalized with gun wounds. It seems likely that the conflict was about establishing their power over a particular area.

On 26 February 2018, C14 posted an advertisement on their Facebook page which quite openly offered their services as thugs to regular donors. This said that “C14 works for you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For regular donors, we are opening a box for wishes. Which of your enemies would you like to make life difficult for? We’ll try to do that.” The organization has presumably understood that such openness rather undermines their attempts to pitch themselves as principled defenders of Ukraine, and the post is now unavailable. It can, however, be seen here [69], and was on the sight for several weeks. The invitation to join in C14’s ‘raids’ on Roma people at the station or in places where they are living says nothing about motives required for taking part in raids of highly-questionable legality coated in claims that incite hatred and xenophobia.

1c. In addition to C14, the Azov Battalion’s National Militia have assumed police duties in Ukraine.

[70]

Azov Civil Corps

“In Ukraine, Ultra-Nationalist Militia Strikes Fear in Some Quarters” by Christopher Miller; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; 1/30/2018. [16]

. . . . But Ukraine observers and rights groups are sounding the alarm, because this was not a typical commencement, and the men are not police officers. They are far-right ultranationalists from the Azov movement, a controversial group with a military wing that has openly accepted self-avowed neo-Nazis, and a civil and political faction that has demonstrated intolerance toward minority groups.

“We will not hesitate to use force to establish order that will bring prosperity to every Ukrainian family!” reads a message alongside the video, published on the Facebook page of the newly formed group, called the National Militia. In the clip, they vow also to protect the nation “when government organs can’t or won’t help Ukrainian society.”

That approach could concern Western backers in Kyiv’s campaign against armed Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, where a conflict that has lasted nearly four years has killed at least 10,300 people.

[15]

Combat helmets of the Azov Battalion.

“Ukraine would be violating its international obligations under human rights law if authorities either tolerate abusive militia who undermine [the] population’s liberty, security, freedoms or provide an abusive militia with the color of law but [do] not impose on them exacting standards on use of force,” Tanya Cooper, Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s Ukraine researcher in Kyiv, told RFE/RL in e-mailed comments as media buzzed over the appearance of the National Militia.

Matthew Schaff, Ukraine director of the U.S.-based NGO Freedom House, told RFE/RL by phone that simply their creation “does damage to democracy in Ukraine.”

Nationalistic Agenda

Founded in 2014 as a volunteer battalion to help an overmatched Ukrainian military fight off the threat in its east, the Azov movement uses fascist symbols and has been accused by international humanitarian organizations of human rights abuses in the conflict zone.

The National Militia is an independent group that is merely the latest component of Azov’s civilian and political wing, known as the National Corpus. It is led by lawmaker and former Azov Battalion commander Andriy Biletsky, once the head of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Social-National Party, who attended the ceremony.

Azov officially founded the National Corpus in October 2016, incorporating two other nationalist groups, including Patriot Of Ukraine, which according to Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group [9] “espoused xenophobic and neo-Nazi ideas and was engaged in violent attacks against migrants, foreign students in Kharkiv, and those opposing its views.”

That inaugural ceremony arguably had pomp more reminiscent of 1930s Germany [71] than of postwar democracy. It included nationalist chants, raised fists, and a torchlight march through central Kyiv.

[72]

Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion

National Corpus’s political aims at the time of its creation included the restoration of Ukraine’s nuclear-power status, which was abandoned in a major boost to nonproliferation soon after the breakup of the Soviet Union; the nationalization of companies that were owned by the government when Ukraine gained independence in 1991; and the legalization of firearms for personal protection.

Its foreign policy sought to cut cultural, diplomatic, and trade ties with Russia, and urged a public discussion about restoring the death penalty in Ukraine for crimes such as treason and embezzlement of government funds.

While the National Corpus appears to draw limited support from Ukraine’s electorate — polls show it under the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament — its public presence has grown, worrying international observers and making it a favorite target for Russian propaganda. Russian state news agencies and politicians suggest the government in Kyiv’s perceived tolerance for the far-right movement makes it fascist. The Ukrainian government’s failure to aggressively challenge the group has done little to calm its critics.

Police, Or Not Police

So it came as something of a surprise on January 30 when Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has enjoyed a close relationship with the Azov movement in the past, appeared to distance himself from the group, saying in a statement posted to the ministry’s website [73] that “in Ukraine, there is only one monopoly on the use of force — the state: the National Guard, the National Police, and the Armed Forces.”

He added, “All other paramilitary entities that try to position themselves on the streets of cities are not legal.”

Ivan Varchenko, an Avakov adviser, told Hromadske Radio [74] that Ukrainian law provides for registration of civic organizations that assist law enforcement agencies.

Roman Chernyshov of the National Corps also tried to calm concerns, telling Hromadske Radio that its members do not bear arms.

Armed or not, as news of the National Militia spread across Ukrainian media, critics raised serious concerns about the type of order the unit may enforce on the streets of Kyiv.

“It’s the police responsibility to enforce the law on the street and hold people accountable for crimes they’ve committed,” Freedom House’s Schaaf said. “When there are groups that are roaming the streets in units like this, with slogans like this, it definitely raises concerns about what are their intentions, how they will they be implementing their visions, what rules they are trying to enforce.”

HRW’s Cooper said one of her primary concerns was who would be targeted by the group. “Members of this political party espouse intolerance towards ethnic minorities and LGBT people, so it seems completely absurd that these people would be able [and willing] to protect everyone,” she said of the Azovs.

She added, “The bottom line is that if these units are going to be carrying out any kind of policing duty, they have to be held to the exact same human rights standards as regular police: on use of force, powers of detention, nondiscrimination, etc., and they have to be trained and held accountable just like regular police are.”

Perhaps in an attempt to alleviate public concerns, Avakov insisted, “I, as a minister, will not allow for parallel structures that try to behave as alternative military formations on the streets.”

2a. Former Azov Battalion commander Vadim Troyan was a point element in the assumption of police duties by Azov Battalion and C14. He became acting head of the National Police after the resignation of Khatia Dekonoidze. ” . . . . Vadim Troyan, who takes over as Acting Head, is not politically independent and therefore unsuited to the post.  Doubts about the former Azov Battalion commander’s suitability for high police posts were first expressed after his appointment as head of the Kyiv regional police and they remain of concern. . . .”

“Accusations Flying as Police Head Resigns, Leaving Contentious Deputy in Charge” by Halya Coynash; Human Rights in Ukraine; 11/15/2016. [21]

Khatia Dekonoidze has resigned from her post as Head of National Police just one year after her appointment, seemingly in frustration at the limited powers she had to carry out real reform and political interference.  She also said that Vadim Troyan, who takes over as Acting Head, is not politically independent and therefore unsuited to the post.  Doubts about the former Azov Battalion commander’s suitability for high police posts were first expressed after his appointment as head of the Kyiv regional police and they remain of concern. . . .

2b. Former Azov commander Troyan is now Avakov’s Deputy Interior Minister. ” . . . . The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has appointed the first Deputy Head of the National Police Vadym Troyan as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. . . . “

[75]

Vadim Troyan, who took over as acting head of the National Police (right)

“Cabinet Appoints Troyan as Deputy Interior Minister” [Interfax Ukraine]; Kyiv Post; 2/8/2017. [22]

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has appointed the first Deputy Head of the National Police Vadym Troyan as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

“We have appointed Troyan as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs,” Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Oleksandr Sayenko told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Feb. 8. . . .

2c. The same smear machine that targeted former Rep. John Conyer’s over his opposition to arming the neo-Nazi Azov battalion is turning its focus on Rep. Ro Khanna (Democrat from California) after Khanna ensured that the ban on funds going to arming or training the Azov Battalion remained in place in the congressional spending bill that passed a couple weeks ago. In a particularly disgusting op-ed in The Hill [23], Kristofer Harrison – a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and who also happens to a co-founder of a company that specializes in Russian “information warfare,” with offices in Washington and Kyiv – declared that Khanna’s characterization of the Azov Battalion as neo-Nazi in nature is ridiculous and part of a big lie pushed by Putin.

We note again that Harrison–whom we have noted attacked John Conyers as “Putin’s Man in Congress”–relies on Roman Zvarych for his exoneration of the Azov Battalion. In addition to being the spokesman for Azov, Zvarych was:

  1. Minister of Justice under Viktor Yuschenko.
  2. Minister of Justice under both Tymoshenko governments.
  3. An adviser to Petro Poroshenko.
  4. In the 1980’s, the personal secretary to Jaroslav Stetzko, the wartime head of the Nazi collaborationist government in Ukraine. Stetzko implemented Nazi ethnic cleansing in Ukraine during World War II.

“Did California’s Ro Khanna get duped by Russia’s propaganda?” by Kristofer Harrison; The Hill; 04/02/2018 [23]

Congratulations, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), it appears you were just duped by Russia (and bragged [76] about it). As a result, you promoted [76] Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s Azov Battalion being Nazis with text in the behemoth $1.3 trillion spending bill. The question is, who put you up to it?

Ukraine is not your jam. Your focus is on visiting coal mine towns [77], antitrust [78] issues and, as one of Silicon Valley’s representatives, technology [79] — all legitimate issues. Yet, even though experts on Ukraine are typically unfamiliar with the Azov Battalion, you weighed in on the issue. Of course, it is always possible that you have a secret obsession with Ukraine, but it’s more likely that some K Street swamp creature asked for a favor.

Just know, the favor was for Vladimir Putin.

It is ridiculous nonsense [80] that Ukraine is beset with a bunch of Nazis. The Russians have been pushing this foolishness for a while. In Russia, if you want to discredit someone, call them a Nazi. Putin is using it to justify his war to his subjects. Russians are not particularly keen on attacking Ukraine. But if it is to free them from the yoke of Nazis, well, that’s different.

The reason why the Kremlin is using information war against the Azov Battalion, specifically, is partially because they sometimes make themselves easy PR targets. These are guys with guns fighting a Russian invasion, not a PR agency with media training. But the bigger reason is that the Azov Battalion is one of the most effective defensive units.

Russia can’t beat them on the battlefield, so they use K Street lobbyist sellouts to help cripple them. Who wants to provide guns to fascists? Nobody. That is the ruse you fell for.

You are filling illustrious shoes. In 2015, an unidentified lobbyist snookered Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to do exactly what you have done. Conyers singled out the Azov Battalion to prevent it from getting assistance in the defense appropriations bill. The Defense Department objected, and the process of correcting the mistake in Conference created yet another opening for Russian propaganda. Only, this time, the bill has been signed into law. So whatever fix you choose has to make it to the president’s desk.

The technique Russia used was a classic KGB tactic — that’s the sure tell that what duped you was a Kremlin operation. In the 1980s [81], the KGB used this technique to spread the falsehood that the CIA created AIDS. Somehow, they convinced an Indian medical journal to print an article “proving” the case. They then referenced that article in publications all over the world.

In this instance, the Russian active measure began [82] with an article in a publication that should know better: Foreign Policy. John Conyers read the piece on the Congressional Record. It then spread like wildfire among lazy [83] journalists [84] and Russia’s network of fools [85], knaves [86] and propagandists [87].

Naturally, correcting the mistake should be your first order of business. And Khanna, should forswear writing laws, about which you have no expertise, at the instigation of lobbyists. That is just good governance. There is also a lesson here about how massive, 2,000-plus page spending bills lend themselves to corruption.

But this need not be a black mark on your record as the process of correcting it presents an opportunity for you to help your country. Help the country smoke out the K Street sellout. Identify who played you for a fool and left you holding Putin’s dirty laundry.

Russia is attacking the U.S., and quisling K Street lobbyists are helping them. Help us identify them.

Kristofer Harrison worked for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. He is a co-founder and principal of ITJ Strategies [88], a grassroots PR consultancy, and of AMS, a company that specializes in Russian information warfare, with offices in Washington and Kyiv. The company does not do any work on behalf of the Azov Battalion or related interests.

3. In what appears to be a faction fight in the Ukrainian fascist milieu, former Ukrainian far-right folk hero Nadia Savchenko has echoed the charge that Svoboda Party’s parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy was involved with the sniper attacks during the Maidan coup. Pushed on her charge, she equivocated that it was a different member of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament.)

” ‘War Hero’ Savchenko Accused of Terror Plot, Levels Own Accusations in Ukraine” [Reuters]; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; 3/15/2018. [31] 

Lawmaker and former Russian captive Nadia Savchenko has traded incendiary accusations with senior Ukrainian authorities and faces possible arrest over what Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko alleged was a detailed plan for a devastating “terrorist” attack on parliament.

Savchenko, a former military aviator who spent 22 months in Russian prisons after being detained by separatists in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, claimed on March 15 that lawmaker Serhiy Pashinskyy played a prominent role in a deadly crackdown on pro-European demonstrators during antigovernment Maidan protests that toppled Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

Speaking to journalists in front of the Security Service (SBU) headquarters in Kyiv, before she was questioned as a witness in a case against a man arrested last week on suspicion of plotting to kill President Petro Poroshenko and other officials in a series of armed attacks, Savchenko also asserted that Lutsenko covered up what she alleged was current parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy’s involvement in sniper shootings that authorities say killed dozens of people during the crackdown on the Maidan protests.

However, Savchenko said later that she meant to accuse not Parubiy but Pashinskyy, and publicly apologized to the parliament speaker for “a slip of the tongue.”

Lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada swiftly responded by kicking Savchenko out of the single-chamber parliament’s national security and defense committee. Lutsenko, meanwhile, told parliament that Savchenko had planned an attack using grenades, mortars and automatic weapons.

Investigators have “irrefutable proof that Nadia Savchenko…personally planned, personally recruited, and personally gave instructions about how to commit a terrorist act here, in this chamber,” Lutsenko said. He asked the Rada to strip her of her parliamentary immunity so that she could be arrested.

Lutsenko claimed that Savchenko’s plan included destroying the Rada’s roof cupola and killing surviving lawmakers with assault-rifle fire. . . .

. . . . More than 100 protesters were killed in the 2013-14 demonstrations, centered on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnost (Independence Square) that preceded Yanukovych’s flight to Russia. Forty-eight of them were allegedly gunned down in February 2014 by snipers who Ukrainian authorities claim received direct orders from the Moscow-friendly Yanukovych.

In her remarks on March 15, Savchenko said that she saw Parubiy, who was on the antigovernment side at the time, “leading snipers into the Hotel Ukraine,” which looms over the Maidan. “I saw a blue minibus and armed people coming out of it, I have said earlier [to investigators] who those people were. Those people are now lawmakers.”

She said the deaths on the Maidan will never be thoroughly investigated, asserting that the government that came to power after Yanukovych’s downfall does not want it to happen. . . . 

4. Ukraine has tested a new cruise missile.

“Ukraine Tests New Cruise Missile (VIDEO)” by Illia Ponomarenko; The Kyiv Post; 1/30/2018. [32]

A new Ukrainian ground-based cruise missile underwent a successful test launch on Jan. 30, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov announced.

According to the Turchynov, the missile, a solely Ukrainian project designed by the Kyiv-based Luch defense development bureau, can deliver precise strikes on ground and seaborne targets.

“During the successful tests, the missile’s flight efficiency and systems operations were checked,” Turchynov said. . . .

5. Ukraine has employed Tony Tether, the former head of DARPA to upgrade its military capabilities. He may very well be the architect of Ukraine’s new cruise missile.

“What is DARPA Doing in Ukraine?” by Aaron Mehta;  [33]Defense News; 3/1/2018. [33]

DARPA, the Pentagon’s high-tech office [89], is working with the government of Ukraine to develop capabilities [90] to help Kiev in its hybrid warfare challenge.

DARPA director Steven Walker, who recently took over that job after five years as the agency’s deputy, told reporters that he had personally visited the country in 2016 for talks with Ukrainian military, intel and industry leaders [91].

“We did have a good visit to the Ukraine,” Walker said Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Defense Writer’s Group. “Yes, we have followed up with them, and through the U.S. European Command, we have started several projects with the Ukraine, mostly in the information space.”

“Not providing them weapons or anything like that, but looking at how to help them with information,” Walker added, before declining to go into further detail.

Ukraine has become a testing ground for hybrid warfare techniques from Russia and Russian-backed militant groups ever Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory in 2014, including disinformation campaigns. While that has allowed Moscow to test out new capabilities and techniques, it also provides an opportunity to develop counter techniques — which may benefit the U.S. and its allies in the long term.

“I think we’ve got to get better, as a country, in information warfare and how we approach info warfare,” Walker said. “I think there are capabilities there that we need to improve upon, and DAPRA is working in some of those areas.”

This is not the first tie between DARPA and Kiev. The Ukrainian government has hired Tony Tether, who led DARPA for the entirety of the George. W. Bush administration, to help lead a reorganization of their science and technology efforts, something Tether in a LinkedIn post [92] said was necessary in part because so much of Ukraine’s S&T facilities were in the territory seized by Russia.

The former DARPA head has also consulted for the Ukroboronprom group [93], Ukraine’s largest defense contractor, and just a few weeks ago was added to the group’s supervisory board in a move that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called [94] a “symbol of effective cooperation between Ukrainian and American partners.” . . . .

7. In a development that could light a match to the Ukrainian/Russian tinderbox, Ukraine is angling toward NATO membership.

“Ukraine’s NATO Bid Risks Even Worse U.S.-Russia Ties’ ” by Will Porter; Consortium News; 4/18/2018. [95]

. . . . But a more recent development has implications that are rarely explored in American media, despite what it could mean for broader U.S. international relations. Ukraine is vying to take its place as NATO’s newest member state, a move that could seriously escalate tensions between Washington and Moscow beyond their current high point.

“It’s safe to say that Russia would be, and has been, opposed to NATO membership for Ukraine,” James Carden, former advisor to the State Department’s U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, said in an email exchange.

Neighboring states such as Ukraine and Georgia, Carden added, “are red lines for Russia and we should take them at their word.”

In a March Facebook post, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine’s “next ambition” on its path to membership was to seek a Membership Action Plan (MAP). Countries seeking to join NATO must go through a multi-step process that ensures the prospective member meets the alliance’s various obligations in areas ranging from military spending to law.

“This is what my letter to [NATO Secretary General] Jens Stoltenberg in February 2018 was about, where, with reference to Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, I officially [put forward] Ukraine’s aspirations to become a member of the Alliance,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

The renewed effort to join the alliance, if successful, could further ratchet up tensions between Russia and the United States, who–in case anyone could forget–preside over the world’s two largest hydrogen bomb arsenals. . . .

. . . . Founded in 1949 as a bulwark against alleged Soviet expansionism in post-war Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization functions as a mutual defense pact between its 29 member states. Until the early 1990s, NATO existed ostensibly to counter the Soviet Union’s analogous alliance, the Warsaw Pact.
In December of last year, the National Security Archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified documents which reveal that strong assurances were given to the crumbling USSR that NATO, in the words of then-Secretary of State James Baker, would not advance “one inch eastward” in the post-Soviet era.

Yet between the time those promises were made, beginning in early 1990, and the present, NATO has expanded to encompass thirteen additional states, all of them in Eastern Europe. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary joined; in 2004 the alliance expanded to include Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, while Albania and Croatia followed in 2009. . . . .

8. Among the nations most hospitable to the post-World War II OUN/B diaspora is Canada, a NATO member. In FTR #948 [34], we noted that Canada’s Foreign Minister Christia Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator. (“Foreign Minister” is the Canadian equivalent of Secretary of State. Freeland describes her grandfather as a major influence on her.) Now, four Russian diplomats have been expelled from Canada for telling the truth about Chomiak and Freeland.)

“Why did Canada expel four Russian diplomats? Because they told the truth” by Thomas Walkom; The Star; 04/05/2018 [35]

We now know how the Russians have been subverting Canadian democracy. They have been propagating truthful news.

That information comes courtesy of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who on Wednesday finally explained the motive behind his government’s decision last week to expel four Russian diplomats and refuse entry to three more.

At the time, Ottawa said it was making the move in support of Britain, which blames Russia for using a deadly nerve agent to poison a double agent living in England.

But in a written statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland also said the Russians had been using their diplomatic status “to interfere in our democracy.”

How exactly the Russians had been interfering was not explained. Efforts to get more information from Freeland’s office were unsuccessful. In an interview on CBC, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that he had to stay mum for reasons of national security. Nobody else would talk.

Then, on Wednesday,Trudeau spilled the beans. The Russians are being punished for saying that Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War.

Trudeau called this an effort “by Russian propagandists” to smear Freeland, which perhaps it was.

The only trouble with all of this is that the Russians were telling the truth. Freeland’s maternal grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War.

A Ukrainian nationalist, he fled Stalin’s advancing armies in 1939 and sought refuge in what was then German-occupied Poland.

There, under the aegis of the Nazis he edited a Ukrainian-language, anti-Semitic newspaper.

I first learned of this from a front-page story in that well-known vehicle of Russian propaganda, the Globe and Mail.

The Globe got its information by interviewing Freeland’s uncle, a historian who in 1996 wrote – with some assistance from his niece – a scholarly article detailing Chomiak’s wartime activities.

Was the Russian government happy to see this being made public? I expect it was. Freeland is a vocal critic of Moscow’s heavy-handed approach to Ukraine and is currently persona non grata in Russia.

The Russian government also finds it convenient to paint all of its critics in Ukraine as unreconstructed fascists. And while Freeland is certainly no fascist, she has publicly praised her grandparents for their influence on her and for their commitment to Ukrainian independence.

Given all of that, the Chomiak story was a gift to the Russians. Soon after Freeland’s appointment as foreign affairs minister last year, pro-Moscow websites began to pick it up.

To use Trudeau’s words, Moscow was probably trying to push a “pro-Russia narrative.”

But is it illegitimate for countries to use verifiable facts to make a case?

Certainly, the West doesn’t think so when it comes to the nerve agent story. Its decision to blame Moscow for the attack is based on one fact – that the poison used was first developed in the old Soviet Union.

The possibility that some other entity might have copied it is never entertained.

Instead, the world is presented with a complicated explanation that goes something like this: After years of ignoring retired double agent Sergei Skripal, Russian President Vladimir Putin finally decides to kill him.

In order to show who is responsible, Putin has his minions use a signature Russian nerve agent. But in order to hide who is responsible, he has another set of minions vigorously deny Russian culpability.

The attack isn’t particularly successful, since Skripal is still alive.

All of this is done for no apparent reason other than pure evil. . . .

9. In FTR #943 [37], we highlighted the Ukrainian fascist “PropOrNot” group as a contributor to the “Russia-Gate” hysteria. Now, the group has launched a posthumous attack [36] on Robert Parry.