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For The Record  

FTR #1030 Walkin’ the Snake from Ukraine, to the United States and Around the World

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

Introduction: We have spoken repeatedly about the Nazi tract “Serpent’s Walk,” in which the Third Reich goes underground, buys into the opinion-forming media and, eventually, takes over.

Hitler, the Third Reich and their actions are glorified and memorialized.

Something similar is happening today in Ukraine.

In 2015, a book was pub­lished exam­in­ing the life of Stepan (also transliterated as “Stephan”) Ban­dera, the Ukrainian fascist and Third Reich ally whose political heirs ascended to power in Ukraine through the Maidan coup. CORRECTION: Mr. Emory, working from memory, misidentified the publication in which Daniel Lazare’s article  appeared. It was Jacobin Magazine, not Counterpunch. 

Stephan Bandera, head of the OUN/B

We have repeatedly made the point that the dimensions of official lying in the West were of truly Orwellian proportions–documented World War II history was being dismissed as “Russian propaganda” or “Kremlin propaganda.”

” . . . But thanks to Grze­gorz Rossolinski-Liebe’s Stepan Ban­dera: The Life and After­life of a Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ist, it now seems clear: those ter­ri­ble Rus­sians were right. . . Although Ban­dera and his fol­low­ers would later try to paint the alliance with the Third Reich as no more than ‘tac­ti­cal,’ an attempt to pit one total­i­tar­ian state against another, it was in fact deep-rooted and ide­o­log­i­cal. Ban­dera envi­sioned the Ukraine as a clas­sic one-party state with him­self in the role of führer, or provid­nyk, and expected that a new Ukraine would take its place under the Nazi umbrella, much as Jozef Tiso’s new fas­cist regime had in Slo­va­kia or Ante Pavelic’s in Croatia. . . .”

Indeed. This is the point we have been making for many years.

The Ukrainian government continues its reversal of the documented history of World War II: An exhibit celebrating “Ukrainian independence” revels in the OUN/B, Nazi-allied forces that ascended in Ukraine after the Third Reich’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

” . . . . An exhibition inside the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada last week glorified the leading Ukrainian Nazi collaborators of World War II. . . . ‘The organizers of the exhibition: All-Ukrainian charitable Sobornist foundation, International charitable Jaroslav Stezko foundation, MP Jury Shuchevich.’ Jaroslav Stezko was leader of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of the Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) military brigades from 1968 until his death. A fervent Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, in 1941 during the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was self-proclaimed temporary head of the ostensibly independent Ukrainian government declared by Stepan Bandera. Stetsko was the head of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations from the time of its foundation until 1986, the year of his death. MP Jury Shuchevich is the octogenarian son of Roman Shuchevich, who was the one of the leaders of the infamous the SS Nachtigall battalion. SS Captain Roman Shuchevich was awarded the Nazi Iron Cross for his “exploits” during the Second World War in Ukraine and was an Abwehr agent from 1926. ‘The fact that the son of the political leader of the SS Nachtigall battalion and the bearer of the Nazi Iron Cross is the most respected – according to Ukrainian authorities – member of their parliament is telling all by itself,” wrote co-founder and President of the Rogatchi Foundation Dr. Inna Rogatchi. . . .”

World War II-era monument in memory of UPA freedom fighters with inscription “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”, in place of the Janowa Dolina massacre, Bazaltove, Ukraine

In addition, the official salute of the OUN/B is set to become the official salute of the Ukrainian army. ” . . . . ‘Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to the Heroes!’ is a slogan of the UPA, the Ukraine Rebel Army who fought on the side of the Nazis. The slogans, their origin, and history are well known in Ukraine. . . . Present neo-Nazi Ukrainian military formations established by order of the Ukrainian authorities appropriated the slogan from the end of 2013 onward. Now, the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator’s greeting will become the official salute in that country’s army. . . .”

Not only has the UPA salute become the official salute of the Ukrainian army, but it has become the official salute of the police as well. ”  . . . . Also, the law on the National Police was amended. According to it, when the police officers are in line for the greeting of the leader or senior officer, when they hear the salute ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ they reply ‘Glory to Heroes’. The same actions take place during the parting. . . .”

C14 cadre

As discussed in FTR #’s 1004 and 1014, the fascist Svoboda Party’s militia, C14, and the Nazi Azov Battalion’s National Druzhyna militia have been incorporated into the Ukrainian police establishment. This is not surprising since Vadim Troyan, the former Deputy Commander of the Azov Battalion became: head of the Kyiv police, acting head of the National Police and then Deputy Interior Minister to OUN/B acolyte Arsen Avakov, the main patron of the Azov Battalion.

Combat 14’s Logo.

C14’s police cadre has conducted another ethnic cleansing raid against Roma, while receiving favorable coverage from major Ukrainian media: ” . . . . Members of the neo-Nazi C14 movement, together with the ‘Kyiv Municipal Watch’ civic organization which is led by C14 activist Serhiy Bondar, have carried out another raid, driving Roma citizens out of the area around the Southern Railway Station in Kyiv. The raid does not appear to have been accompanied by shocking images of violence like some five others this year, but that is the only positive difference. What is much more disturbing is that the action appears to have been with the cooperation of the police, and was essentially given glowing coverage on a national television news broadcast. . . . the presenter of the feature virtually parrots parts of the C14 video, with only two Roma people driven out shown in a negative light. There is one telling detail, namely that the television program is carefully not to ethnically label the people driven out, with the feature entitled: ‘Police and civic activists tried to clean the capital’s station of thieves’. It does, however, show the activists wearing camouflage gear and chevrons clearly showing the C14 symbol, and little effort would be required to find out how C14 presents its vigilante activities, and why this organization has gained notoriety over recent months. . . .”  

Roman Shukhevych in his Nachtigall Battalion Uniform

Additional perspective on the physical, political and historical reality underlying the salute “Glory to Ukraine–Glory to the Heroes” is the slogan’s display on a monument to the massacre of the 600 residents of the Polish town of Janowa Dolina by the UPA. ” . . . . On the night of April 22–23 (Good Friday), 1943, the Ukrainians from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, together with local peasants, attacked Janowa Dolina. Some 600 people, including children and the elderly, were brutally murdered (see Massacres of Poles in Volhynia). Most homes were burned to the ground and the settlement deserted. The perpetrators, commanded by Ivan Lytwynchuk (aka Dubowy) exercised rare cruelty. Poles, unprepared and caught by surprise, were hacked to death with axes, burned alive, and impaled (including children). The murderers did not spare anyone, regardless of age and sex. German garrison, numbering around 100 soldiers, did not act and remained in its barracks. After the first wave of murders, the Ukrainian nationalists started searching the hospital. They carried its Ukrainian patients away from the building, while Polish patients were burned alive.[2] Dr Aleksander Bakinowski, together with his assistant Jan Borysowicz, were hacked to death on the square in front of the hospital. In several cases, Ukrainians were murdered for trying to hide their Polish neighbours. Petro Mirchuk, Ukrainian historian, counted several hundred massacred Poles, with only eight UPA members killed. . . .”

 To put the salute of the brutal murderers of the residents of the town on a monument commemorating the massacre is surreal.

It is stunning to take stock of the open celebration of the OUN/B’s Nazi alliance by the institutions of the Maidan government, including celebrations of atrocities like Janowa Dolina:

  • Babi Yar Massacre

    President Petro Poroshenko laid a wreath at the site of the Babi Yar Massacre, honoring the OUN/B. The Schutzmannschaft, who did much of the dirty work at Babi Yar, were culled from the ranks of the UPA, the military wing of the OUN/B.

  • The city of Lviv (Lvov) in Western Ukraine has established Skhukhevychfest, to honor Roman Schukhevych, who led the Nachtigall Battalion in their massacre of the Jewish citizens of that city. The “fest” coincides with the date of the commencement of the execution.
  • Ukraine has established a government ministry to stand World War II history on its head–the Orwellian-titled Institute of National Memory.
  • The lustration laws forbid negative commentary about the UPA or the OUN/B.

Key Ukrainian national security personnel have given hard proof of their Nazi orientation, including:

  • Former Ukrainian intelligence officer Vasily Vovk, who called for the extermination of Ukraine’s Jews on his Facebook page. (Vovk was in charge of the “investigation” of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.)
  • In FTR #1024, we noted that Anatoliy Matios–Ukraine’s top military prosecutor and pivotally involved in the investigation of the Maidan sniper attacks, has manifested Nazi-style anti-Semitism.

The program concludes with two items that exemplify the focus of FTR #1021 FascisBook: (In Your Facebook, Part 3–part-3/A Virtual Panopticon, Part 3.)

Marjana Batjuk, posted birthday greetings to Adolf Hitler on her Facebook page on April 20 (Hitler’s birthday). She also taught her students the Nazi salute and even took some of her students to meet far right activists who had participated in a march wearing the uniform of the the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS. ” . . . A public school teacher in Ukraine allegedly posted birthday greetings to Adolf Hitler on Facebook and taught her students the Nazi salute. Marjana Batjuk, who teaches at a school in Lviv and also is a councilwoman, posted her greeting on April 20, the Nazi leader’s birthday . . . . She also took some of her students to meet far-right activists who over the weekend marched on the city’s streets while wearing the uniform of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, an elite Nazi unite with many ethnic Ukrainians also known as the 1st Galician. . . .”

That was back in April. Flash forward to today and we find a sudden willingness by Facebook to ban people for post Nazi content . . . except it’s Eduard Dolinsky getting banned for making people aware of the pro-Nazi graffiti that has become rampant in Ukraine: ” . . . . He says that some locals are trying to silence him because he is critical of the way Ukraine has commemorated historical nationalist figures, ‘which is actually denying the Holocaust and trying to whitewash the actions of nationalists during the Second World War.’ . . . . Ironically, the activist opposing antisemitism is being targeted by antisemites who label the antisemitic examples he reveals as hate speech. ‘They are specifically complaining to Facebook for the content, and they are complaining that I am violating the rules of Facebook and spreading hate speech. So Facebook, as I understand [it, doesn’t] look at this; they are banning me and blocking me and deleting these posts.’ . . . .”

Facebook’s policy on such issues should be more carefully scrutinized: ” . . . . Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for who it bans and why. In July founder Mark Zuckerberg made controversial remarks appearing to accept Holocaust denial on the site. ‘I find it offensive, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think they’re doing it intentionally.’ . . . .”

1. The fundamental standing of Eastern European history on its head continues, with a Ukrainian parliament exhibition glorifying the OUN/B and the UPA.

“Exhibition in Ukrainian Parliament Glorifies Nazi Collaborators” by Mordechai Sones; IsraelNationalNews.com; 08/07/2018

An exhibition inside the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada last week glorified the leading Ukrainian Nazi collaborators of World War II.Information on the exhibition is available on the Ukraine Parliament’s official website in Ukrainian and Russian, but on the Rada’s English-language website the information is absent.

The Ukrainian site says, “A special exhibition has been organized in the parliament of Ukraine in Kiev. The dates of the exhibition: July 3- July 6, 2018. The name of the exhibition: Celebrating the Restoration of the Ukrainian Statehood, June 30, 1941-2018.

“The organizers of the exhibition: All-Ukrainian charitable Sobornist foundation, International charitable Jaroslav Stezko foundation, MP Jury Shuchevich.”

Jaroslav Stezko was leader of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of the Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) military brigades from 1968 until his death. A fervent Ukrainian Nazi collaborator, in 1941 during the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was self-proclaimed temporary head of the ostensibly independent Ukrainian government declared by Stepan Bandera. Stetsko was the head of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations from the time of its foundation until 1986, the year of his death.

MP Jury Shuchevich is the octogenarian son of Roman Shuchevich, who was the one of the leaders of the infamous the SS Nachtigall battalion. SS Captain Roman Shuchevich was awarded the Nazi Iron Cross for his “exploits” during the Second World War in Ukraine and was an Abwehr agent from 1926.

“The fact that the son of the political leader of the SS Nachtigall battalion and the bearer of the Nazi Iron Cross is the most respected – according to Ukrainian authorities – member of their parliament is telling all by itself,” wrote co-founder and President of the Rogatchi Foundation Dr. Inna Rogatchi. “He spent many decades in the Soviet Gulag and is clearly motivated against anything Russian – he even added a new Ukrainian name to his existing name of Jury. But it’s ridiculous to see how a personal vendetta has driven the policy of a country with a population of 45 million.

“Recognized in his country as a political heavy-weight, Jury Shuchevich was asked recently by the very pro-governmental Kyiv Post English-language newspaper, ‘is it not too much glorification of the Ukrainian nationalists, with the historically known record of their activities?’ The senior MP of the Ukrainian parliament responded: ‘It’s a very complicated question which has to be examined in full detail. But what about those Jews? Those ones who were in Judenrats, and who were after their own people in ghettos? I saw it with my own eyes. But Jews don’t like to talk about it’.”

The exhibition shows blown-up images from pro-Nazi newspapers dated June 1941 heralding “the Act of establishing the Ukrainian state”, after Nazi Germany occupied Ukraine. There are also enlarged images of documents issued by the Ukrainian Nazi collaborating bodies at the time, and large portraits of the leading Ukrainian Nazi collaborators – Bandera, Shuhevich, Stezko, and Konovaletz who all are presented as heroes. The colors of the exhibition are those of the current Ukrainian flag.

The exhibition’s stand features the following text from the Act of the Establishing of the Ukrainian State dated June 30, 1941:

“3. Newly established Ukrainian State will closely co-operate with National Socialist Great Germany under the leadership of its Leader Adolf Hitler building the New Order in Europe and the world”.

This text has become the classic document on the Nazi character of Ukrainian nationalists and their bodies.

Many other documents at the exhibition openly glorify Nazism.

At the exhibition’s opening, current leaders of Ukraine’s nationalistic organizations spoke, along with openly pro-Nazi MP Jury Shuchevich, son of the SS captain and the commander of the Nachtigall division Roman Shuchevich.

In his opening speech, MP Jury Schuchevich said: “The fact of us having an independence today, in truth, is a huge cornerstone of the edifice called today the Ukrainian State. That huge cornerstone was laid into this edifice by this very struggle (of the Ukrainian nationalists) and by these very people (Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators), and I beseech you all very much to visit this exhibition which the Congress of the Ukrainian nationalists is carrying on in commemoration of this date.” In any other official sources the participation of the pro-Nazi Ukrainian Nationalists Congress is not mentioned.

The official site of the Ukraine Parliament said: “In the beginning of the Second World War, OUN under Stepan Bandera’s leadership started preparing for re-establishing Ukraine’s independence. As the German-Bolshevic War (Nazi term for WWII used today by Ukraine’s Parliament) ignited, mobile OUN groups went to Ukraine to establish there Ukrainian power.

“On June 30th, Nachtigall division under the command of Roman Shuchevich and OUN group under the command of Jaroslav Stazko entered Lvov with their first aim to announce re-establishing Ukrainian statehood. The Act of re-establishing Ukrainian statehood declared the independent policy of Ukraine. By it, it has been stated to the international community that the Ukrainian people is content neither with an imperial occupation, nor with a communist one … it will continue its struggle to the end.”

Upon entering Lvov, the Nachtigall division and OUN forces initiated and conducted the unprecedentedly horrific massacre of Lvov’s Jews known in history as Lvov massacre of June-July, 1941 in which at least seven-thousand Jews were barbarically murdered. The exhibition in Ukraine’s Parliament opened on July 3rd, the peak day of the horrendous Lvov massacre, the one of the most terrible genocides of the twentieth century.

At the same time, a similar exhibition called Fighters for the Ukrainian State opened at the National History of Ukraine Museum in Kiev. That exhibition was ceremonially visited by Vice Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko, as stated on the Ukraine government’s official website, who said: “It’s only relatively recently when we started to get familiar with history works, art works celebrating UPA (Ukrainian Patriotic Army, Nazi collaborators and war criminals). It was a long way for Ukraine to recognize UPA, which is our common history.”

Dr. Rogatchi responded to the exhibition: “Just imagine that inside the Bundestag today there would be a non-critical exhibition demonstrating in full seriousness and with pride the Third Reich newspapers from 1941 on colorful big stands with captions commenting that those slogans, policies, events, documents, and people who perpetrated them were all ‘assuring and strengthening Germany’s Independence and statehood.

“Imagine the same thing at any parliament of any European country or 90% of the countries world-wide, for that matter. Imagine this being done at the United Nations or UNESCO. They’d be called lunatics, quite correctly.

“But this is exactly what’s going on today inside the Ukraine Parliament, and the world’s leaders are shy to condemn. Or perhaps they’re unaware of it. After all, there were ‘just’ three big stands for ‘just’ four days, and the exhibition wasn’t public, it was inside the Parliament, and one needs journalist accreditation to get inside to be honored to view this sheer Nazi salutation.

“I’d like to hear the comment and reaction of Chancellor Merkel, the big patron of the current Ukraine and its leadership to that open glorification of Hitler and Nazism as displayed in the parliament of Ukraine. And I hope the State of Israel won’t tolerate such open declaration of pro-Nazi sympathies by the parliament of Ukraine.

“By organizing and exhibiting this open glorification of Nazism, and identifying Ukrainian statehood with it as done in this exhibition, the Ukrainian legislating body and government represented by its Vice Prime Minister who visited the exhibition with a supportive speech, declared to the world who they are: Followers of the Nazis. Period. And they should be treated like that, world-wide and officially. They asked for it themselves. Never before have the Ukrainian pro-Nazis gone that far. When given free reign they enjoy it. And Europe and the rest of the world stay silent, again. Not one or another Nazi-glorifying exhibition in the modern-day Ukraine, which is a daily reality there, but Europe’s and the world’s ongoing numbness regarding it is outrageous and intolerable,” Rogatchi said.

2.  “Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to the Heroes!”, the same slogan used by the UPA, is about to become the official slogan of the Ukrainian army.

“Nazi Collaborator Greeting Becomes Official Ukraine Army Salute” by Mordechai Sones; IsraelNationalNews.com; 08/16/2018

August 24th, Ukrainian Independence Day, will see a ceremony introducing the country’s new official army salute, as prescribed by Ukraine’s Presidential decree: Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to the Heroes!“We have consulted with the Minister of Defense, National Security and Defense Council, Government and I have decided that starting from August 24 these words will be heard for the first time as part of the official military parade ceremony on the Independence Day of Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko was quoted saying on the Ukraine President’s official site.

Glory to Ukraine! – Glory to the Heroes! is a slogan of the UPA, the Ukraine Rebel Army who fought on the side of the Nazis. The slogans, their origin, and history are well known in Ukraine, although the President’s website does not make mention of these. Present neo-Nazi Ukrainian military formations established by order of the Ukrainian authorities appropriated the slogan from the end of 2013 onward. Now, the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator’s greeting will become the official salute in that country’s army. . . .

. . . . The Head of State also noted the new military greetings will be enshrined officially in the documents after the beginning of the Verkhovna Rada‘s regular session and Parliament’s corresponding decision, as it requires changes in particular to statutes of all Armed Forces of Ukraine troops. But after completion of proper procedures, “these words and this greeting will become the official military greetings of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”. . . .

3. It’s official: Ukraine’s parliament just approved the bill making “Glory to Ukraine!” the official military salute. Also, the law on the the National Police was also amended to make “Glory to Ukraine!” the official greeting and parting for Ukraine’s police officers.:

“Ukraine’s Parliament Approves “Glory to Ukraine!” New Army Chant”; 112 International; 10/04/2018

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the draft law #9036 that provides the implementation of the military salute “Glory to Ukraine!” and the reply “Glory to Heroes!” at the second reading and generally. 271 MPs voted in the affirmative as 112 Ukraine broadcasted.The salute “Glory to Ukraine!” and the reply “Glory to Heroes!” is provided in the drill regulations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Moreover, the ritual of the raising of the state flag of Ukraine was regularized in the statute of the internal service of the Armed Forces. According to the current legislation, during the delivery of the flag, a person welcomes the personnel with its receiving and the soldiers reply with tripled “Glory”. The law provides that during the delivery of the flag, a person welcomes the personnel with the words “Glory to Ukraine!” and they reply “Glory to Heroes!”.

During the elaboration of the law for the second reading, a word “comrade” was replaced by “Mr. or Madam” in the statute of the internal service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and drills charter of the forces.

Also, the law on the National Police was amended. According to it, when the police officers are in line for the greeting of the leader or senior officer, when they hear the salute “Glory to Ukraine!” they reply “Glory to Heroes”. The same actions take place during the parting. . . .

4. Additional perspective on the physical, political and historical reality underlying the “Glory to Ukraine–Glory to the Heroes” is the slogan’s display on a monument to the massacre of the 600 residents of the Polish town of Janowa Dolina by the UPA.

“Janowa Dolina Massacre;” Wikipedia

The Janowa Dolina massacre took place on 23 April 1943 in the village of Janowa Dolina, (now Bazaltove, Ukraine) during occupation of Poland in World War II. Before the Nazi-Soviet invasion of the Polish Second Republic, Janowa Dolina was a model settlement built in the Kostopol County of the Wołyń Voivodeship by workers of the Polish State Basalt Quarry. The town was inhabited by 2,500 people. Its name, which translates as the “Jan’s Valley” in Polish, came from the Polish king Jan Kazimierz, who reportedly hunted in the Volhynian forests, and after hunting — rested on the shore of the Horyń (Horyn) River. The town was destroyed during World War II by Ukrainian nationalists who murdered most of its Polish population including women and children. . . .

. . . . In June 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Janowa Dolina was added to the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. As Volhynia was the area of activity for various Ukrainian nationalist groups whose aim was to cleanse the land of Poles and Jews, the settlement’s fate was inevitable. On the night of April 22–23 (Good Friday), 1943, the Ukrainians from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, together with local peasants, attacked Janowa Dolina. Some 600 people, including children and the elderly, were brutally murdered (see Massacres of Poles in Volhynia). Most homes were burned to the ground and the settlement deserted.

The perpetrators, commanded by Ivan Lytwynchuk (aka Dubowy) exercised rare cruelty. Poles, unprepared and caught by surprise, were hacked to death with axes, burned alive, and impaled (including children). The murderers did not spare anyone, regardless of age and sex. German garrison, numbering around 100 soldiers, did not act and remained in its barracks. After the first wave of murders, the Ukrainian nationalists started searching the hospital. They carried its Ukrainian patients away from the building, while Polish patients were burned alive.[2] Dr Aleksander Bakinowski, together with his assistant Jan Borysowicz, were hacked to death on the square in front of the hospital. In several cases, Ukrainians were murdered for trying to hide their Polish neighbours. Petro Mirchuk, Ukrainian historian, counted several hundred massacred Poles, with only eight UPA members killed. . . .

5. The mainstreaming of vigilante Nazi groups in Ukraine now includes glowing national TV new coverage: A group of C14 members, along with the ‘Kyiv Municipal Watch’ organization which is led by C14 activist Serhiy Bondar, carried out another raid on a group of Roma. This time, Roma were driven out of the area around the Southern Railway Station in Kyiv. Bondar posted a video of raid on his Facebook page on October 24, which he titled “A purge of gypsies at the capital’s railway station”.  That same day, the TSN.ua news broadcast reported on the raid, where the newscaster virtually parrots part of Bondar’s video and never mentions the ethnicity of the targets. The feature is simply titled: ‘Police and civic activists tried to clean the capital’s station of thieves’:

“Neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes appear to work with Kyiv police in latest ‘purge’ of Roma”; Halya Coynash; Kharkiv Human Rights Group; 10/25/2018

Members of the neo-Nazi C14 movement, together with the ‘Kyiv Municipal Watch’ civic organization which is led by C14 activist Serhiy Bondar, have carried out another raid, driving Roma citizens out of the area around the Southern Railway Station in Kyiv. The raid does not appear to have been accompanied by shocking images of violence like some five others this year, but that is the only positive difference. What is much more disturbing is that the action appears to have been with the cooperation of the police, and was essentially given glowing coverage on a national television news broadcast. Bondar posted a video on his Facebook page on 24 October, together with a caption reading (in his words): “A purge of gypsies at the capital’s railway station”. He later began backtracking, claiming that they had not driven anybody away that they had simply posted videos “with gypsies who rob people” – as their “ethnic trade” – and that the police, to their amazement, had done it themselves.

It is worth noting that the above language, and worse, are used extensively by Bondar and other C14 activists. This is just one of the reasons for concern at indications that these far-right vigilantes appear to be working closely with the police. That is certainly the impression given by the TSN.ua news broadcast on 24 October, which Bondar proudly posted on his FB page. It is small wonder that he was pleased since the presenter of the feature virtually parrots parts of the C14 video, with only two Roma people driven out shown in a negative light. There is one telling detail, namely that the television program is carefully not to ethnically label the people driven out, with the feature entitled: ‘Police and civic activists tried to clean the capital’s station of thieves’. It does, however, show the activists wearing camouflage gear and chevrons clearly showing the C14 symbol, and little effort would be required to find out how C14 presents its vigilante activities, and why this organization has gained notoriety over recent months.

There may well be a problem with thieves at Kyiv stations, and there is little sense in closing ones eyes to the fact that some of the Roma who come to Kyiv and live temporarily near the stations are involved in criminal activities. Thieves should undoubtedly be stopped, but that is the task of the police, not of C14 vigilantes with racist views, a a shocking track record and openly declared willingness to cause trouble to people’s ‘enemies’ for money.

There have been a minimum of five attacks on Roma camps since April this year; with the last leaving one young man dead and a woman and child injured. All of the attacks – at Lysa Hora in Kyiv on 21-22 April; Rudne on 9 May; the Ternopil Oblast on 22 May; at Holosiyiv Park in Kyiv on 7 June and near Lviv on 24 June – seem to have been carried out by activists involved in far-right groups. One C14 activist, Serhiy Mazur, was recently placed under house arrest over charges relating to the attack on a Roma settlement on Lysa Hora in Kyiv.

As reported, there was effectively a pogrom on April 21-22, with families driven out and their makeshift homes burned. All of this was described in detail, albeit with euphemisms, by Mazur on his Facebook page.

The Kyiv police continued to downplay this raid by vigilantes with neo-Nazi leanings right up until 25 April when the Internet publication LB.ua posted a video showing whole families running in terror from young men, many in masks, hurling stones and spraying gas canisters in the direction where families with some very small children were trying to take shelter. One Roma man can be seen on the video trying to use a thin branch in defence, but then realizing he is outnumbered and also fleeing. That evening the Kyiv police finally announced that a criminal investigation had been initiated. Human rights activists are reportedly working to ensure that the police keep their promise and change the classification of the crime from ‘hooliganism’ to that of a hate crime under Article 161 of the Criminal Code.

It was noticeable, and worrying, that in his report on 19 April, Mazur asserted that the C14 activists had first appeared, with an ultimatum to get out by the following day, together with representatives of the Holosiyiv administration. . . .

6. Next is an article about a Ukrainian school teacher in Lviv, Marjana Batjuk, who posted birthday greetings to Adolf Hitler on her Facebook page on April 20 (Hitler’s birthday). She also taught her students the Nazi salute and even took some of her students to meet far right activists who had participated in a march wearing the uniform of the the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS.

Batjuk, who is a member of Svoboda, later claimed her Facebook account was hacked, but a news organization found that she has a history of posting Nazi imagery on social media networks.

“Ukrainian Teacher Allegedly Praises Hitler, Performs Nazi Salute with Students” by Cnaan Liphshiz; Jewish Telegraph Agency; 04/23/2018

A public school teacher in Ukraine allegedly posted birthday greetings to Adolf Hitler on Facebook and taught her students the Nazi salute.Marjana Batjuk, who teaches at a school in Lviv and also is a councilwoman, posted her greeting on April 20, the Nazi leader’s birthday, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told JTA. He called the incident a “scandal.”

She also took some of her students to meet far-right activists who over the weekend marched on the city’s streets while wearing the uniform of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, an elite Nazi unite with many ethnic Ukrainians also known as the 1st Galician.

Displaying Nazi imagery is illegal in Ukraine, but Dolinsky said law enforcement authorities allowed the activists to parade on main streets.

Batjuk had the activists explain about their replica weapons, which they paraded ahead of a larger event in honor of the 1st Galician unit planned for next week in Lviv.

The events honoring the 1st Galician SS unit in Lviv are not organized by municipal authorities.

Batjuk, 28, a member of the far-right Svoboda party, called Hitler “a great man” and quoted from his book “Mein Kampf” in her Facebook post, Dolinsky said.She later claimed that her Facebook account was hacked and deleted the post, but the Strana news site found that she had a history of posting Nazi imagery on social networks.

She also posted pictures of children she said were her students performing the Nazi salute with her.

Education Ministry officials have started a disciplinary review of her conduct, the KP news site reported.

Separately, in the town of Poltava, in eastern Ukraine, Dolinsky said a swastika and the words “heil Hitler” were spray-painted Friday on a monument for Holocaust victims of the Holocaust. The vandals, who have not been identified, also wrote “Death to the kikes.”

In Odessa, a large graffiti reading “Jews into the sea” was written on the beachfront wall of a hotel.

“The common factor between all of these incidents is government inaction, which ensures they will continue happening,” Dolinsky said.
———-

7.  That was back in April. Flash forward to today and we find a sudden willingness to ban people for post Nazi content…except it’s Eduard Dolinsky getting banned for making people aware of the pro-Nazi graffiti that has become rampant in Ukraine:

“Jewish activist: Facebook banned me for posting antisemitic graffiti” by Seth J. Frantzman; The Jerusalem Post; 08/21/2018

Eduard Dolinksy, a prominent Ukrainian Jewish activist, was banned from posting on Facebook Monday night for a post about antisemitic graffiti in Odessa. Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, said he was blocked by the social media giant for posting a photo. “I had posted the photo which says in Ukrainian ‘kill the yid’ about a month ago,” he says. “I use my Facebook account for distributing information about antisemitic incidents and hate speech and hate crimes in Ukraine.”

Now Dolinsky’s account has disabled him from posting for thirty days, which means media, law enforcement and the local community who rely on his social media posts will receive no updates.

Dolinsky tweeted Monday that his account had been blocked and sent The Jerusalem Post a screenshot of the image he posted which shows a badly drawn swastika and Ukrainian writing. “You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature,” Facebook informs him when he logs in. “The block will be active for 29 days and 17 hours,” it says. “To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards.”

Dolinksy says that he has been targeted in the past by nationalists and anti-semites who oppose his work. Facebook has banned him temporarily in the past also, but never for thirty days. “The last time I was blocked, the media also reported this and I felt some relief. 

It was as if they stopped banning me. But now I don’t know – and this has again happened. They are banning the one who is trying to fight antisemitism. They are banning me for the very thing I do.”

Based on Dolinsky’s work the police have opened criminal files against perpetrators of antisemitic crimes, in Odessa and other places.

He says that some locals are trying to silence him because he is critical of the way Ukraine has commemorated historical nationalist figures, “which is actually denying the Holocaust and trying to whitewash the actions of nationalists during the Second World War.”

Dolinksy has been widely quoted, and his work, including posts on Facebook, has been referenced by media in the past. “These incidents are happening and these crimes and the police should react.

The society also. But their goal is to cut me off.”

Ironically, the activist opposing antisemitism is being targeted by antisemites who label the antisemitic examples he reveals as hate speech. “They are specifically complaining to Facebook for the content, and they are complaining that I am violating the rules of Facebook and spreading hate speech. So Facebook, as I understand [it, doesn’t] look at this; they are banning me and blocking me and deleting these posts.”

He says he tried to appeal the ban but has not been successful.

“I use my Facebook exclusively for this, so this is my working tool as director of Ukrainian Jewish Committee.”

Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for who it bans and why. In July founder Mark Zuckerberg made controversial remarks appearing to accept Holocaust denial on the site. “I find it offensive, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think they’re doing it intentionally.” In late July, Facebook banned US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for bullying and hate speech.

In a similar incident to Dolinsky, Iranian secular activist Armin Navabi was banned from Facebook for thirty days for posting the death threats that he receives. “This is ridiculous. My account is blocked for 30 days because I post the death threats I’m getting? I’m not the one making the threat!” he tweeted.

 

 

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #1030 Walkin’ the Snake from Ukraine, to the United States and Around the World”

  1. When will you put the download version up?

    Posted by Sue | November 6, 2018, 9:48 pm
  2. @Sue–

    It will be up in about a week.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 6, 2018, 9:50 pm
  3. Here’s a story that should hammers home to Americans one of the dangers of the systematic coddling of the Ukrainian government’s embrace of neo-Nazi and fascists: The FBI arrested four members of a California-based neo-Nazi group, Rise Above Movement (RAM). They’re charged with a series of violent attacks in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, California, in 2017. The Huntington Beach rally happened to be a pro-Trump rally. The neo-Nazis were, of course, there in support of Trump.

    Four other members of RAM were arrested earlier in October in connection with charges over the deadly 2017 Charlottesville, VA, “Unite the Right” march.
    Here’s where Ukrainian neo-Nazi, government supported Ukrainian neo-Nazis, come into the story: according to the FBI, three of recently arrested RAM member had traveled to Germany, Italy, and Ukraine in the spring of this year to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday. And according to the FBI, this trip wasn’t just about celebrating Hitler. It was also about network with European neo-Nazis. And one of those European neo-Nazis just happened to be Olena Semenyaka, described as a leading figure within the fascist, neo-Nazi scene in Eastern Europe and an important voice within the Militant Zone and National Corps organizations and the Pan-European Reconquista movement, all of which have ties to the Azov Battalion. Recall that Noationa Corp (or National Corpus) is the political wing of the Azov Battalion.

    Semenyaka has also acted as a spokesperson for Right Sector. In 2014, Semenyaka was openly inviting non-Ukrainian neo-Nazis to join Right Sector, declaring that “even modern Nazi sympathizers will find their place in our broad ranks” and that Right Sector’s most important current task is to “liberate” Ukraine “from collaborators, separatists and marionettes of Russia and the West.” So just as RAM may have been recruiting during its trip to Europe, you have to wonder if Semenyaka was trying to recruit them too. It’s all one big horrible Nazi family.

    And it doesn’t sound like was an unusual meeting with American neo-Nazis and the Azov Battalion: According to the FBI, Azov has participated in training and radicalizing U.S.-based white supremacist organizations. You have to wonder how intense to the radicalization must be to radicalize a organization that’s already white supremacist, but that’s what the FBI describes.

    So if it wasn’t already totally obvious to Americans that official embrace of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is a really, really stupidly dangerous thing for the American government to support, hopefully the fact that those Ukrainian neo-Nazis are training and further radicalizing US neo-Nazis will help make that clear:

    Southern Poverty Law Center
    Hatewatch

    Three members of Rise Above Movement arrested in California, fourth sought as fugitive turns himself in

    Brett Barrouquere
    October 29, 2018

    The founder of the violent white supremacist gang known as the Rise Above Movement and two others traveled to Europe to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday and later met with a paramilitary chief there, federal prosecutors say.

    Robert Rundo, a 28-year-old Huntington Beach, California, resident, 29-year-old Michael Paul Miselis, of Lawndale, California, and 25-year-old Benjamin Drake Daley of Redondo Beach went to Germany, Italy and Ukraine in spring 2018 not only to celebrate, but also to meet with European white supremacist groups, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint against Rundo unsealed this week.

    FBI agents arrested Rundo on Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, said Katherine Gulotta, a spokesman for the agency in Los Angeles. He had been arrested in Central America before being returned to the U.S.

    Two others, 25-year-old Robert Boman of Torrance, California, and 22-year-old Tyler Laube of Redondo Beach, California, were arrested Wednesday.

    A fourth RAM member, 38-year-old Aaron Eason of Anza, California, surrendered to the FBI over the weekend.

    The four are charged with a series of violent attacks during events in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, California, in 2017.

    Prosecutors said the four men used the internet to coordinate “combat training,” recruit members and organize riots.

    “Every American has the right to peacefully organize, march and protest in support of their beliefs — but no one has the right to violently assault their political opponents,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.

    The arrests and charges are the second batch filed this month against members of RAM, a violent white supremacist group that practices mixed martial arts and has been accused of showing up for rallies prepared to attack people.

    Prosecutors in Charlottesville, Virginia, charged four other California men with traveling to that city on Aug. 11-12, 2017, to take part in and attack people at the “Unite the Right” rally.

    Michael Paul Miselis, a 29-year-old Lawndale, California, resident, 34-year-old Thomas Walter Gillen of Redondo Beach, California, 24-year-old Cole Evan White of Clayton, California, and Daley are awaiting a court hearing in Virginia. They are also charged with rioting and conspiracy to riot.

    Rundo is the owner of Right Brand Clothing, which promotes white supremacist themes and logos. The FBI believes he ran RAM’s now-suspended Twitter account.

    RAM has been making entreaties overseas, including in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe. The FBI said Rundo, Miselis and Daley met with European white supremacy extremist groups, “including a group known as White Rex.”

    FBI Special Agent Scott Bierwirth, in the criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday, noted that Right Brand Clothing’s Instagram page contained a photo of RAM members meeting with Olena Semenyaka, a leading figure within the fascist, neo-Nazi scene in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, Semenyaka is an important voice within the Militant Zone and National Corps organizations and the Pan-European Reconquista movement, all of which have ties to the notorious Azov Battalion.

    Bierwirth said Azov Battalion, now a piece of the Ukrainian National Guard, is known for neo-Nazi symbolism and ideology and has participated in training and radicalizing U.S.-based white supremacist organizations.

    Rundo was filmed reciting the “14 Words” pledge popular in white supremacist circles.

    “I’m a big supporter of the fourteen, I’ll say that,” Rundo told fellow RAM members on the video.

    The rioting and conspiracy charges stem from a “Make America Great Again” rally on March 25, 2017, in Huntington Beach. The FBI said RAM members split from the main rally and attacked counter-protesters, and Rundo, Boman and Laube hit a number of people, including two journalists.

    Daley, who is not charged in California, was also at the Huntington Beach rally, Bierwirth noted.

    The violence was later celebrated by RAM members online, noted on neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, and used in solicitation for others to attend the Berkeley rally and combat training to be held in a park in San Clemente.

    “Front page of the stormer we did it fam,” Daley texted another RAM member on March 25, 2017.

    At the Berkeley rally, on April 17, 2017, Rundo, Boman and Eason attacked multiple people, Bierwirth wrote. Rundo was later arrested after punching a “defenseless person” and a Berkeley police officer.

    Again, Bierwirth noted, the attacks were celebrated online, with Boman posting photos of himself attacking people and RAM members taking part in combat training.

    Bierwirth also wrote that Rundo and other RAM members participated in an “Anti-Islamic Law” rally in San Bernardino on June 10, 2017. The rally was part of a nationwide demonstration put on by anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America. According to Bierwirth, RAM members took part in violent attacks at the ACT event.

    ———-

    “Three members of Rise Above Movement arrested in California, fourth sought as fugitive turns himself in” by Brett Barrouquere; Southern Poverty Law Center; 10/29/2018

    “Robert Rundo, a 28-year-old Huntington Beach, California, resident, 29-year-old Michael Paul Miselis, of Lawndale, California, and 25-year-old Benjamin Drake Daley of Redondo Beach went to Germany, Italy and Ukraine in spring 2018 not only to celebrate, but also to meet with European white supremacist groups, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint against Rundo unsealed this week.”

    It’s quite a vacation for a neo-Nazi: celebrating Hitler’s birthday with European neo-Nazis. But RAM’s neo-Nazi networking was limited to these personal meetings. Federal prosecutors are also charging the four arrested men with using the internet to coordinate “combat training,” recruit members and organize riots. Neo-Nazi networking has a lot of options these days:


    The four are charged with a series of violent attacks during events in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, California, in 2017.

    Prosecutors said the four men used the internet to coordinate “combat training,” recruit members and organize riots.

    “Every American has the right to peacefully organize, march and protest in support of their beliefs — but no one has the right to violently assault their political opponents,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.

    Rundo was filmed reciting the “14 Words” pledge popular in white supremacist circles.

    “I’m a big supporter of the fourteen, I’ll say that,” Rundo told fellow RAM members on the video.

    The charges over the Huntington Beach violence stem from a pro-Trump rally, where these RAM members split off from the main pro-Trump group and attacked a number of counter-protesters, including two journalists:


    The rioting and conspiracy charges stem from a “Make America Great Again” rally on March 25, 2017, in Huntington Beach. The FBI said RAM members split from the main rally and attacked counter-protesters, and Rundo, Boman and Laube hit a number of people, including two journalists.

    And this is the second group of individuals arrested from RAM in October. Another four members were arrested in connection with the Charlottesville violence last year on charges of rioting and conspiracy to riot. So RAM has clearly been doing quite a bit a networking of late, foreign and domestic:


    The arrests and charges are the second batch filed this month against members of RAM, a violent white supremacist group that practices mixed martial arts and has been accused of showing up for rallies prepared to attack people.

    Prosecutors in Charlottesville, Virginia, charged four other California men with traveling to that city on Aug. 11-12, 2017, to take part in and attack people at the “Unite the Right” rally.

    Michael Paul Miselis, a 29-year-old Lawndale, California, resident, 34-year-old Thomas Walter Gillen of Redondo Beach, California, 24-year-old Cole Evan White of Clayton, California, and Daley are awaiting a court hearing in Virginia. They are also charged with rioting and conspiracy to riot.

    But it’s the particular neo-Nazis that RAM met in Europe that make this such a scandalous story: they met with a leading figure in the European neo-Nazi scene who just happens to be an important voice for Azov’s National Corps. And according to the FBI, Azov is known for training and radicalizing (further radicalizing) US-based Nazi organizations:


    Rundo is the owner of Right Brand Clothing, which promotes white supremacist themes and logos. The FBI believes he ran RAM’s now-suspended Twitter account.

    RAM has been making entreaties overseas, including in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe. The FBI said Rundo, Miselis and Daley met with European white supremacy extremist groups, “including a group known as White Rex.”

    FBI Special Agent Scott Bierwirth, in the criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday, noted that Right Brand Clothing’s Instagram page contained a photo of RAM members meeting with Olena Semenyaka, a leading figure within the fascist, neo-Nazi scene in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, Semenyaka is an important voice within the Militant Zone and National Corps organizations and the Pan-European Reconquista movement, all of which have ties to the notorious Azov Battalion.

    Bierwirth said Azov Battalion, now a piece of the Ukrainian National Guard, is known for neo-Nazi symbolism and ideology and has participated in training and radicalizing U.S.-based white supremacist organizations.

    “Bierwirth said Azov Battalion, now a piece of the Ukrainian National Guard, is known for neo-Nazi symbolism and ideology and has participated in training and radicalizing U.S.-based white supremacist organizations.”

    And that’s what’s so disturbing about this report. It’s not just that a leading figure in Azov met with these RAM members during their ‘Hitler holiday’ in Europe. It’s that this apparently isn’t the only US-based neo-Nazi group that Azov has been meeting with and training.

    It’s especially disturbing when you consider the role the US has played in training Azov. Don’t forget that it was only March of this year when Congress formally banned US funds being used to train and equip Azov, suggesting that there was 3 years when the US was actually training and equipping Azov since that practice reportedly started in 2015. So it’s entirely possible that the training RAM or other US neo-Nazi outfits have received from Azov over the past several years has indirectly came from the US military.

    Of course, given the fact that Azov is now absorbed into the Ukrainian military, it’s not like the group suffers from a lack of sources for military training. Which, again, is why the acceptance in the West of Ukraine’s embrace of these neo-Nazi is so dangerously disturbing: these neo-Nazis aren’t just receiving military training. They’re sharing that training. Including with US neo-Nazis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 8, 2018, 1:07 pm
  4. Here’s another story that involves a disturbing relationship between Ukraine’s state-sanctioned neo-Nazis in the police: Kateryna Handzyuk, a Ukrainian civic activist known for her criticism of the police corruption, just died several months after being attacked with sulfuric acid outside of her home in July 31st of this year. As the following article notes, it’s just one of numerous attacks on Ukraine’s civic activists this year, albeit a particularly gruesome one.

    The attacker ran away and police initially called the case an act of hooliganism. Additionally, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general and a presidential appointee, said activists were themselves partly to blame for all of these attacks because they “stir up” an “atmosphere of total hatred toward the authorities.” Keep in mind that Handzyuk accused a department head in the Kherson Regional Police of demanding a 3 percent cut from all contracts and tenders in the region in September of 2017. It resulted in a court case that she won.

    On August 3, authorities arrested an initial suspect. But this individual was widely seen as a scapegoat and eventually released on August 22 after he was able to establish an alibi which was back up by a Ukrainian newspaper. By then, there were 5 new suspects who happen to be members of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, a splinter faction of Right Sector. Four of these new suspects claim that the fifth suspect, Serhiy Torbin, was the main suspect. Torbin was a former officer of Kherson police.

    So it appears that a group of Right Sector neo-Nazis attacked one of Ukraine’s civic activists who was known for criticizing Kherson Region police corruption, and the leader of this group was, himself, a former Kherson police officer. After the attack, authorities first tried to blame it on hooliganism while blaming the activist community in Ukraine for bringing this violence on themselves. And it was only after an initial scapegoat had their alibi verified by a local news outlet that authorities arrested the real culprits:

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

    Ukrainian Activist Doused With Acid Dies

    By Christopher Miller
    Last Updated: November 04, 2018 18:23 GMT

    KYIV — Kateryna Handzyuk, a Ukrainian civic activist and adviser to the mayor of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, has died from wounds she suffered from an acid attack three months ago.

    The 33-year-old Handzyuk died on November 4 in a Kyiv hospital where she was being treated for burns from the attack, colleagues and officials said.

    Local media suggested that Handzyuk’s death was caused by a blood clot.

    Several hundred supporters gathered around Ukraine’s Interior Ministry building in Kyiv late on November 4, demanding that those responsible for her death be brought to justice.

    The activist, who was known for her scathing criticism of police corruption, was doused with sulfuric acid outside of her Kherson home on July 31 by an unknown attacker.

    Her death comes amid a wave of attacks against Ukraine’s civic activists, with rights campaigners claiming law-enforcement agencies have failed to thoroughly investigate the cases and may even be complicit in some of the attacks.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, speaking during his trip in Turkey, expressed his condolences to Handzyuk’s family and called on law-enforcement agencies to do everything in their power to bring her killer to justice.

    Five suspects have been detained for their alleged involvement in the attack, but there was no information about its mastermind.

    “Attacks against civil society activists are unacceptable. The perpetrators of this vicious crime must be brought to justice,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn tweeted.

    Handzyuk suffered severe burns to nearly 40 percent of her body and lost sight in one of her eyes after the acid attack, according to doctors who treated her at a burn center in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

    Doctors performed 11 surgical operations to try to save her life. From her hospital bed, Handzyuk vowed to track down her attackers.

    Police initially listed the case as hooliganism but changed it to attempted murder committed with extreme cruelty after public outcry.

    Ukrainian lawmaker Olena Sotnyk on November 4 renewed her previous call for a special investigative committee to be formed in parliament to probe her case.

    Local and international civil society groups have recorded at least 55 unsolved attacks against activists, including on Handzyuk, since 2017.

    In recent months, protesters demanding a proper police response have gathered outside government buildings across the country in a campaign dubbed “silence kills.”

    Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general and a presidential appointee, caused uproar after one of the protests in September, when he said activists were themselves partly to blame because they “stir up” an “atmosphere of total hatred toward the authorities.”

    Handzyuk was stinging in her criticism of police corruption.

    In September 2017, she accused Artem Antoshchuk,, a department head in the Kherson Regional Police, of demanding a 3 percent cut from all contracts and tenders in the region.

    The accusation led to a fierce court battle, which she won.

    Police have arrested five former fighters of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, a splinter faction of the ultranationalist Right Sector militia, suspected of involvement in the attack.

    Four of the men have claimed the fifth, Serhiy Torbin, a former officer of Kherson police, was the main suspect.

    Torbin is in the custody of the Security Service of Ukraine at a pretrial detention center in Kyiv, his defense lawyer Yuriy Khazov told the Kyiv Post newspaper.

    Stills from a CCTV camera published by local media appear to show the alleged attacker running away from the scene of the crime.

    Six weeks before her death, Handzyuk recorded a video message for Hromadske TV from her hospital bed. Wrapped in bandages, she said she was certain the attack was meant to kill her.

    “Why do I consider it to be assassination attempt? Because the acid was poured on my head,” she said. “If someone wanted to warn or silence me, they could have targeted my arms, legs, or face — anywhere. But they poured a liter of acid on my head.”

    ———-

    “Ukrainian Activist Doused With Acid Dies” by Christopher Miller; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; 11/04/2018

    “Her death comes amid a wave of attacks against Ukraine’s civic activists, with rights campaigners claiming law-enforcement agencies have failed to thoroughly investigate the cases and may even be complicit in some of the attacks.”

    That’s part of what’s so disturbing about this attack: it’s not just an attack on Ukraine’s beseiged civic activist community. Ukraine’s authorities appear to, at a minimum, welcome the attack and might even have been complicit. At a minimum, the initial declaration of “hooliganism” appears to be a kind of trollish endorsement:


    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, speaking during his trip in Turkey, expressed his condolences to Handzyuk’s family and called on law-enforcement agencies to do everything in their power to bring her killer to justice.

    Five suspects have been detained for their alleged involvement in the attack, but there was no information about its mastermind.

    “Attacks against civil society activists are unacceptable. The perpetrators of this vicious crime must be brought to justice,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn tweeted.

    Handzyuk suffered severe burns to nearly 40 percent of her body and lost sight in one of her eyes after the acid attack, according to doctors who treated her at a burn center in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

    Doctors performed 11 surgical operations to try to save her life. From her hospital bed, Handzyuk vowed to track down her attackers.

    Police initially listed the case as hooliganism but changed it to attempted murder committed with extreme cruelty after public outcry.

    Ukrainian lawmaker Olena Sotnyk on November 4 renewed her previous call for a special investigative committee to be formed in parliament to probe her case.

    Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, even blamed the activists themselves for these attacks for ‘stirring up’ hatred towards authorities, presumably in reference to Handzyuk exposure of corruption in the Kherson Regional Police last year:


    In recent months, protesters demanding a proper police response have gathered outside government buildings across the country in a campaign dubbed “silence kills.”

    Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general and a presidential appointee, caused uproar after one of the protests in September, when he said activists were themselves partly to blame because they “stir up” an “atmosphere of total hatred toward the authorities.”

    Handzyuk was stinging in her criticism of police corruption.

    In September 2017, she accused Artem Antoshchuk,, a department head in the Kherson Regional Police, of demanding a 3 percent cut from all contracts and tenders in the region.

    The accusation led to a fierce court battle, which she won.

    But Lutsenko was also presumably excusing all the other unsolved attacks Ukrainian activists since 2017. At least 55 of them:


    Local and international civil society groups have recorded at least 55 unsolved attacks against activists, including on Handzyuk, since 2017.

    And it was only after the initial scapegoat was release that authorities arrested 5 members of a Right Sector offshoot group, one of which was a former Kherson police officer:


    Police have arrested five former fighters of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, a splinter faction of the ultranationalist Right Sector militia, suspected of involvement in the attack.

    Four of the men have claimed the fifth, Serhiy Torbin, a former officer of Kherson police, was the main suspect.

    Now here’s an article that discusses the initial scapegoat who was arrested. He had a pretty strong alibi: he wasn’t in Kherson at the time of the attack, which was later confirmed through an investigation by the Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper:

    Kyiv Post

    Death of activist Gandziuk shocks nation, protesters demand proper investigation (UPDATED; VIDEO)

    By Veronika Melkozerova, Olga Rudenko.
    Published Nov. 4. Updated Nov. 4 at 12:47 pm

    Kateryna Gandziuk, a civic activist and local council member from Kherson, a city some 550 kilometers south of Kyiv, died on Nov. 4 in a Kyiv hospital. Gandziuk, 33, was attacked with acid on July 31, resulting in severe burns of her head and body.

    The attack is believed to be linked to her activism, including her efforts to expose corruption in Kherson. It was just one in the series of attacks on activists in Ukraine in 2018. Gandziuk became the symbol of a protest movement against the lack of investigation into the attacks on activists.

    Two friends of Gandziuk, Kherson journalist Ivan Antypenko and Kyiv lawyer Masi Nayyem, confirmed to the Kyiv Post Gandziuk died but didn’t reveal any detail. The cause of death is yet to be announced.

    An unknown man attacked Gandziuk near her home in Kherson when she was leaving for work. He poured an estimated one liter of acid into the woman, causing severe burns of 40 percent of her body surface. She was getting treatment first in Kherson and later in Kyiv.

    Gandziuk refused to cooperate with Kherson police, suspecting they could be connected to the attack, but testified to the Kyiv investigators. Authorities originally classified the attack as hooliganism, but after the public uproar changed it to “intentional injury with the purpose of intimidation” and later to “assassination attempt.” After Gandziuk died in hospital, the police reclassified the case into contract killing.

    Gandziuk was sure that the attack on her was an attempted killing.

    “If they just wanted to warn me, they would splash some acid on my hands or legs or even into my face. But to splash a litter of battery acid on my head…It was an attempt to kill me,” she told Hromadske news website on Sept. 25.

    Several suspected perpetrators of the attack are in custody, but the investigation revealed nothing about those who ordered the attack.

    Reacting to the news of Gandziuk’s death, President Petro Poroshenko released a statement on Nov. 4 calling on the law enforcement to find and prosecute the killers. The statement mentioned “the killers” but didn’t specifically demand to find those who ordered the murder.

    “We all must help the law enforcers so that the evil is punished,” the statement read.

    About 1,000 people came to the Interior Ministry Headquarters in Kyiv later on Nov. 4 to hold a vigil and demand a proper investigation of Gandziuk’s murder.

    Despite her severe condition, Gandziuk recorded a video address on Sept. 26. In the video, she lies on the hospital bed, her face covered with burns, and talks about impunity and lack of justice in Ukraine.

    “I know I look bad,” she says, looking into the camera. “But still not as bad as current Ukrainian justice and rule of law. I’m getting treatment. But nobody is curing our justice system.”

    Following it, several hundred people protested near the president’s administration in Kyiv on Sept. 28 demanding that the authorities investigate the attacks on Gandziuk and other activists.

    Police arrested a suspect in the attack, Mykola Novikov, on Aug. 3. But he was widely believed to be a scapegoat. His sister said he had an alibi since he was not in Kherson at the time of the attack, which was later confirmed through an investigation by the Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper. On Aug. 22, police released Novikov.

    By then investigators had identified new suspects – a group of five people, all former fighters of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, an offshoot of the nationalist Right Sector group.

    As of November, Serhiy Torbin, a former officer of Kherson police, remains the main suspect in Gandziuk’s case. Torbin was arrested on Aug. 17 and for a long time, he kept silence. He denied accusations during a court hearing on Oct. 17.

    Another suspect, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, claimed in court that Torbin was the organizer of the attack on Gandziuk. Vasyanovych said that he was only a driver – his role was to take four other suspects to Kherson from a village in Kherson Oblast the day before the attack. He was put under house arrest.

    Viktor Gorbunov, another suspect who had allegedly bought the acid for the attack, was also released under the house arrest on Oct. 16 and has also named Torbin as the organizer.

    On Oct. 28, Torbin was taken from Kherson to Kyiv and stays in the Security Service of Ukraine’s pre-trial detention center, his defense lawyer Yuriy Khazov told the Kyiv Post on Nov. 4.

    ———-

    “Death of activist Gandziuk shocks nation, protesters demand proper investigation (UPDATED; VIDEO)” by Veronika Melkozerova, Olga Rudenko; Kyiv Post; 11/04/2018

    “Police arrested a suspect in the attack, Mykola Novikov, on Aug. 3. But he was widely believed to be a scapegoat. His sister said he had an alibi since he was not in Kherson at the time of the attack, which was later confirmed through an investigation by the Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper. On Aug. 22, police released Novikov.”

    So the initial suspect, Mykola Novikov, had an alibi, but it was up to a Ukrainian newspaper to actually verify that alibi.

    And now that the five Right Sector culprits have been arrested, several of them have basically admitted to the attack, while pinning the ultimate blame on a member of their group who happens to be a former Kherson officer:


    As of November, Serhiy Torbin, a former officer of Kherson police, remains the main suspect in Gandziuk’s case. Torbin was arrested on Aug. 17 and for a long time, he kept silence. He denied accusations during a court hearing on Oct. 17.

    Another suspect, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, claimed in court that Torbin was the organizer of the attack on Gandziuk. Vasyanovych said that he was only a driver – his role was to take four other suspects to Kherson from a village in Kherson Oblast the day before the attack. He was put under house arrest.

    Viktor Gorbunov, another suspect who had allegedly bought the acid for the attack, was also released under the house arrest on Oct. 16 and has also named Torbin as the organizer.

    As we can see, if those journalists hadn’t verified Mykola Novikov’s alibi, the actual perpetrators probably would have gone free.

    So why did it take journalists to verify Novikov alibi? Well, according to the following article from August 14th (two weeks after the attack), the Kherson police simply didn’t interview people who claimed to be witnesses backing up that alibi. And also stalled on handing over documents to the SBU after the SBU got involved in the investigation:

    The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

    Investigation sabotaged into savage acid attack on civic activist who exposed police corruption

    14.08.2018 | Halya Coynash

    New and very disturbing details have emerged regarding the police investigation into the savage acid attack on Kateryna Handziuk, an adviser to the Mayor of Kherson and a civic activist known for her hard-hitting criticism of the police. Not only are the Kherson police obstructing the investigation by the SBU [Security Service], but they are also showing suspiciously little interest in interviewing people who can provide their suspected assailant with a firm alibi for 31 July, when the attack took place.

    As reported, 38-year-old Mykola Novikov was arrested on 3 August and was remanded in custody for two months. His sister’s testimony that the two had been on holiday at the sea from 27 July through to 1 August was not taken into consideration by the court on the grounds of the close tie between them. It was, however, clearly stated at the time that there were other witnesses who could confirm this alibi.

    Since the Kherson police did not see the need to question these other witnesses, two well-known journalists Maryana Pyetsukh and Denis Kazansky decided to do so themselves.

    Anna Antonishyn and her husband, Serhiy, are from Lviv, but say that they were on a camping holiday in the Kherson oblast at the sea with Novikov’s sister, Iryna, her husband and two children, as well as with Novikov himself. The two couples know each other through a fatal car crash which killed Antonishyn’s cousin and Iryna’s daughter. Since they say that they knew Novikov, there seems no obvious reason for them to try to protect him.

    The village Prymorske, where they set up their camp, is about 95 kilometres from Kherson where the attack took place. The roads are bad, so it would take at least one and a half hours to reach the scene of the crime from his tent.

    Novikov is emphatic that he spent his time in the tent, in the sea or in a café. While Antonishyn cannot confirm what he was doing to the hour, she is adamant that he was there with them, and that she would have noticed any absence longer than half an hour or so. The police did question the campsite administrator and the local café’s barman, both of whom could confirm that Novikov had been there for several days, but could not say with any certainty whether he had been there on 31 July.

    The two people who are not related to Novikov, and who can say with certainty that he was with them, have simply not been approached by the police. They are themselves baffled as to why not.

    The suspicion is that Novikov who, according to Kazansky, has a criminal record, is seen as a convenient scapegoat. He also lives close by, although that is, if anything, a reason to not suspect him. The attack was carried out in broad daylight, with the assailant seemingly making no real attempt to conceal his identity.

    Nor is this all. Lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska reports that the Kherson police are also dragging their heels and not passing on their material to the SBU. The latter initiated a criminal investigation on 6 August, and have still not received the police file. Since it is now two weeks since the attack, any such delay could seriously hamper their progress.

    Is this what is intended? For the moment, Zakrevska notes, there are really only ‘reports’ from the police via Facebook which can clearly not be used by the criminal investigators.

    Handziuk herself believes that people from the Kherson police may be behind the attack on her, and, according to Kazansky, a friend of hers, it is this that she told the Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko when he visited her on 3 August. As reported, he wrote that it was after hearing her explanation for the attack that he decided to pass the investigation on to the SBU. The latter added the case to the Single Register of Pre-trial Investigations with it described as being “over the organization of s murder attempt, carried out with particular brutality, against Kateryna Handziuk, assistant to the Mayor of Kherson, and undertaken on the commissioning by police or state agency staff, with the support of separatist organizations in the South of Ukraine, in order to destabilize the socio-political situation in this southern region of the country

    Put most bluntly, arresting the wrong person and holding up the SBU’s investigation can only result in those who organized and carried out a vicious and potentially fatal attack going unpunished.

    The attack on 31 July left Handziuk with second and third degree burns over 30% of her upper body. This was the latest and most dangerous of many attacks on civic activists over recent months, and Handziuk’s very public criticism of certain people in or linked with the police made it even more high-profile.

    The police initially qualified the attack as ‘hooliganism’, however that same day, this was changed to ‘causing grave bodily injuries in order to intimidate a person’ (Article 121 § 2 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code). It soon became clear that Handziuk’s assailant had used a concentrated form of sulphuric acid, which the police reported as being double the density of the acid used in car accumulators. After the forensic medical assessment was made, the investigation became one of attempted murder.

    On 7 August, the Head of the National Police, Serhiy Knyazev reported that they were looking for a second person believed to be involved in the attack, publishing CCTV footage of the person they want to question. The following day, Knyazev’s deputy, Vyacheslav Abroskin announced that they had established the place where the acid was bought. He also produced video footage of the person who allegedly purchased it. He has reacted defensively to the reports linking the attack with the police. He writes that none of the people investigating the crime was ever in conflict with Handziuk and also claims, without providing any names, that “the person who was really in conflict with her did not and does not now work in any departments of the National Police in the Kherson oblast.

    ———-

    “Investigation sabotaged into savage acid attack on civic activist who exposed police corruption” by Halya Coynash; The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group; 08/14/2018

    “New and very disturbing details have emerged regarding the police investigation into the savage acid attack on Kateryna Handziuk, an adviser to the Mayor of Kherson and a civic activist known for her hard-hitting criticism of the police. Not only are the Kherson police obstructing the investigation by the SBU [Security Service], but they are also showing suspiciously little interest in interviewing people who can provide their suspected assailant with a firm alibi for 31 July, when the attack took place.”

    This was situation before the Right Sector suspects were found: the Kherson police weren’t actually looking into their initial suspects alibi, nor were they cooperating with the SBU. It certainly looks like the Kherson police didn’t actually want to find the real suspects:


    As reported, 38-year-old Mykola Novikov was arrested on 3 August and was remanded in custody for two months. His sister’s testimony that the two had been on holiday at the sea from 27 July through to 1 August was not taken into consideration by the court on the grounds of the close tie between them. It was, however, clearly stated at the time that there were other witnesses who could confirm this alibi.

    Since the Kherson police did not see the need to question these other witnesses, two well-known journalists Maryana Pyetsukh and Denis Kazansky decided to do so themselves.

    At the same time, the police did in fact question the campsite administrator and a barman at Novikov had indeed been camping with his sister and another couple during the time they claimed he was with them. But these witnesses couldn’t confirm that Novikov was actually there on July 31st, the day of the attack. But the couple that Novikov and his sister were camping with could indeed confirm that he was with them that day, and yet the police haven’t approached them:


    Anna Antonishyn and her husband, Serhiy, are from Lviv, but say that they were on a camping holiday in the Kherson oblast at the sea with Novikov’s sister, Iryna, her husband and two children, as well as with Novikov himself. The two couples know each other through a fatal car crash which killed Antonishyn’s cousin and Iryna’s daughter. Since they say that they knew Novikov, there seems no obvious reason for them to try to protect him.

    The village Prymorske, where they set up their camp, is about 95 kilometres from Kherson where the attack took place. The roads are bad, so it would take at least one and a half hours to reach the scene of the crime from his tent.

    Novikov is emphatic that he spent his time in the tent, in the sea or in a café. While Antonishyn cannot confirm what he was doing to the hour, she is adamant that he was there with them, and that she would have noticed any absence longer than half an hour or so. The police did question the campsite administrator and the local café’s barman, both of whom could confirm that Novikov had been there for several days, but could not say with any certainty whether he had been there on 31 July.

    The two people who are not related to Novikov, and who can say with certainty that he was with them, have simply not been approached by the police. They are themselves baffled as to why not.

    The suspicion is that Novikov who, according to Kazansky, has a criminal record, is seen as a convenient scapegoat. He also lives close by, although that is, if anything, a reason to not suspect him. The attack was carried out in broad daylight, with the assailant seemingly making no real attempt to conceal his identity.

    In addition, after the SBU started its own investigation on August 6th, the Kherson police still hadn’t given them the police file as of the date of this report (August 14th). It’s an odd delay for such a high profile crime:


    Nor is this all. Lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska reports that the Kherson police are also dragging their heels and not passing on their material to the SBU. The latter initiated a criminal investigation on 6 August, and have still not received the police file. Since it is now two weeks since the attack, any such delay could seriously hamper their progress.

    Is this what is intended? For the moment, Zakrevska notes, there are really only ‘reports’ from the police via Facebook which can clearly not be used by the criminal investigators.

    And when Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko open the SBU’s investigation after meeting with Handziuk, he appeared to describe the attack as having taken been commissioned by “by police or state agency staff, with the support of separatist organizations in the South of Ukraine, in order to destabilize the socio-political situation in this southern region of the country.” So Lutsenko appeared to be blaming in on the police and Ukrainian separatists:


    Handziuk herself believes that people from the Kherson police may be behind the attack on her, and, according to Kazansky, a friend of hers, it is this that she told the Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko when he visited her on 3 August. As reported, he wrote that it was after hearing her explanation for the attack that he decided to pass the investigation on to the SBU. The latter added the case to the Single Register of Pre-trial Investigations with it described as being “over the organization of s murder attempt, carried out with particular brutality, against Kateryna Handziuk, assistant to the Mayor of Kherson, and undertaken on the commissioning by police or state agency staff, with the support of separatist organizations in the South of Ukraine, in order to destabilize the socio-political situation in this southern region of the country

    Keep in mind that Lutsenko was blaming “separatist organizations in the South of Ukraine” before the Right Sector suspects emerged. Keep in mind that the Kherson region is adjacent to Crimea, so that proximity presumably had something to do with the initial suspicions that it was an act of “separatist organizations in the South of Ukraine”. But given that the neo-Nazis groups like Right Sector have been openly terrorizing Ukraine’s civic activist community for years, largely with impunity, it’s an example of how the obvious suspects in these attacks on Ukraine’s civic activist community are almost reflexively protected and coddled by Ukraine’s authorities. So while the Kherson police appeared to be trying to protect that actual perpetrators of this crime, we have to keep in mind that the SBU was also probably not very interested in discovering that this was done by Right Sector.

    It’s also worth noting that protestors have been demanding that both Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Lutsenko resign in the wake of Handziuk’s death. Recall that Avakov is a patron of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and is generally seen as close to the far right. So it’s looking like the murder of Handziuk and subsequent cover up attempt is leading to a public boiling point over the Ukrainian government’s close ties and protection of groups like Right Sector that are terrorizing Ukraine’s civil society. Lutsenko offered his resignation to the parliament on November 6th after members of parliament criticized his office’s investigation of the attack on Handziuk. The parliament didn’t accept his resignation, but did vote to set up a commission to investigate Lutsenko’s investigation of Handziuk’s attack. That’s how wildly corrupt this investigation looks: even Ukraine’s parliament agreed to investigate the investigation.:

    Kyiv Post

    Lutsenko submits resignation letter to Poroshenko

    By Artur Korniienko.
    Published Nov. 7 at 5:54 pm

    Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko formally submitted a resignation letter to the Presidential Administration on Nov. 7, according to his press secretary Larysa Sarhan.

    “Yes, not long ago today (he) filed a statement to the president,” Sarhan told Ukrayinska Pravda.

    President Petro Poroshenko has not yet commented on whether he will accept Lutsenko’s resignation. He is in Helsinki, Finland, at the summit of the European People’s Party, the European Union’s largest political party, on a working visit until Nov. 8.

    Lutsenko announced his resignation at parliamentary hearings on Nov. 6 after members of parliament criticized his office’s investigation of the attack on activist Kateryna Gandziuk, who died two days earlier.

    “In order that there are no doubts that nobody clings for power, today I will submit a statement of resignation to the president of Ukraine and you should consider this question,” Lutsenko told the parliament.

    Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy called a vote on whether the Rada should consider the general prosecutor’s resignation – even though Lutsenko had not then submitted an official letter of resignation, as parliamentary protocol demands.

    Only 38 lawmakers voted to consider Lutsenko’s resignation, with 226 votes needed for a vote in parliament to pass – a predictable outcome in the parliament controlled by the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, with 135 out of 422 seats, to whom Lutsenko is a firm loyalist.

    Lutsenko staged his resignation as a protest to the deputies’ demand to create a parliamentary commission on investigating Gandziuk’s murder. However, following the failed vote on Lutsenko’s resignation, the Rada proceeded to create the commission.

    Gandziuk, a civic activist and local council member from Kherson, a regional capital of 290,000 people located 550 kilometers south of Kyiv, was attacked with acid on July 31. She was hospitalized with severe burns to her head and body and died on Nov 4. Investigators have so far failed to identify who may have ordered the attack.

    So far, 84 non-governmental organizations, including Transparency International Ukraine and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, have signed a statement deploring the quality of the investigation into Gandzuik’s murder and demanding Lutsenko’s resignation.

    In the statement, the general prosecutor was also criticized for the state’s failure to solve cases of other recent attacks on journalists and activists. The most notable cases that have gone unsolved during Lutsenko’s tenure are those of the mass killings of more than 100 people during the EuroMaidan Revolution that ended President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule in 2014; the July 2016 car-bomb assassination of Pavlo Sheremet, a renowned journalist; and many others.

    Some cases currently in court have dragged on for years, with suspects being released or convicted and sentenced to minimal jail terms.

    The case of journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy, who was beaten and fatally shot on Feb. 19, 2014, after he tried to take a picture of armed men, is still being heard in court. Yuriy Krysin, one of the attackers, initially received a four-year suspended sentence. After a huge public outcry, the ruling was eventually overturned, with Krysin receiving a five-year sentence. Krysin has appealed against the latest sentence.

    ———-

    “Lutsenko submits resignation letter to Poroshenko” by Artur Korniienko; Kyiv Post; 11/07/2018

    “Lutsenko announced his resignation at parliamentary hearings on Nov. 6 after members of parliament criticized his office’s investigation of the attack on activist Kateryna Gandziuk, who died two days earlier.”

    Yep, Lutsenko announced his resignation following the criticism of the Handziuk attack investigation, although it looks like the resignation offer was purely a show intended to placate those demanding a parliamentary commission to investigate the murder:


    “In order that there are no doubts that nobody clings for power, today I will submit a statement of resignation to the president of Ukraine and you should consider this question,” Lutsenko told the parliament.

    Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy called a vote on whether the Rada should consider the general prosecutor’s resignation – even though Lutsenko had not then submitted an official letter of resignation, as parliamentary protocol demands.

    Only 38 lawmakers voted to consider Lutsenko’s resignation, with 226 votes needed for a vote in parliament to pass – a predictable outcome in the parliament controlled by the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, with 135 out of 422 seats, to whom Lutsenko is a firm loyalist.

    Lutsenko staged his resignation as a protest to the deputies’ demand to create a parliamentary commission on investigating Gandziuk’s murder. However, following the failed vote on Lutsenko’s resignation, the Rada proceeded to create the commission.

    Also keep in mind that Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy is, himself, a neo-Nazi who actually founded Ukraine’s National Socialist Party in 1991.

    So we have the parliament stage a kind of sham vote rejecting Lutsenko’s resignation, but then the parliament also votes to create a commission investigating the attack. It’ll be interesting to see the quality of this commission. But given the attention this murder is getting, the pressure is going to be on for the parliament to produce some sort of results that don’t look like a sham, with 84 NGO signing on statement demanding Lutsenko’s resignation over the handing of this investigation and a host of other investigations that have yet to be solved, including the Maidan sniper attacks:


    So far, 84 non-governmental organizations, including Transparency International Ukraine and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, have signed a statement deploring the quality of the investigation into Gandzuik’s murder and demanding Lutsenko’s resignation.

    In the statement, the general prosecutor was also criticized for the state’s failure to solve cases of other recent attacks on journalists and activists. The most notable cases that have gone unsolved during Lutsenko’s tenure are those of the mass killings of more than 100 people during the EuroMaidan Revolution that ended President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule in 2014; the July 2016 car-bomb assassination of Pavlo Sheremet, a renowned journalist; and many others.

    Don’t forget that evidence strongly suggests that the sniper attacks were carried about by the far right elements of the Maidan protests. And Lutsenko himself warned the Ukrainian public in 2016 that they will be shocked when they learn about the people involved with those attacks having ties to the Maidan protests. Also note that the murder of Pavlo Sheremet appears to have been an assassination by the SBU. So it’s going to be interesting to see what, if anything, this new parliamentary commission uncovers.

    So as we can see, the murder of Kateryna Handziuk is a particularly grim example of the extent which Ukraine’s government has embraced and protected the far right groups terrorizing the country, but still only one of many examples. Which is a particularly grim situation for Ukraine.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 9, 2018, 4:37 pm
  5. The Associated Press has a report on one of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi military training youth camps. In this case it’s a Svoboda youth camp, with kids as young as 8 years old. The children at the camp are taught never to aim guns at people, but are also taught that “separatists, little green men, occupiers from Moscow” aren’t people so it’s fine to aim at them.

    But the dehumanizing propaganda isn’t limited to Russian and separatists. They are also teaching the children to battle “challenges that could completely destroy” European civilization. Challenges like LGBT rights, which they are told are perversions of “the modern Bolsheviks who have come to power in Europe”. The article doesn’t give other examples of these “challenges” to European civilization but given the neo-Nazi ideology at work here it’s a safe bet that human rights in general are seen as a ‘challenge’. So as we can see, these Ukrainian children are being taught that Russians and non-far right Europeans are enemies of European civilization that these children must go to war against:

    Associated Press

    Training kids to kill at Ukrainian nationalist camp

    By YURAS KARMANAU
    November 12, 2018

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The campers, some clad in combat fatigues, carefully aim their assault rifles. Their instructor offers advice: Don’t think of your target as a human being.

    So when these boys and girls shoot, they will shoot to kill.

    Most are in their teens, but some are as young as 8 years old. They are at a summer camp created by one of Ukraine’s radical nationalist groups, hidden in a forest in the west of the country, that was visited by The Associated Press. The camp has two purposes: to train children to defend their country from Russians and their sympathizers — and to spread nationalist ideology.

    “We never aim guns at people,” instructor Yuri “Chornota” Cherkashin tells them. “But we don’t count separatists, little green men, occupiers from Moscow, as people. So we can and should aim at them.”

    The nationalists have been accused of violence and racism, but they have played a central, volunteer role in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia — and they have maintained links with the government. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports earmarked 4 million hryvnias (about $150,000) to fund some of the youth camps among the dozens built by the nationalists. The purpose, according to the ministry, is “national patriotic education.”

    Ministry spokeswoman Natalia Vernigora said the money is distributed by a panel which looks for “signs of xenophobia and discrimination, it doesn’t analyze activities of specific groups.”

    Cherkashin is a veteran of the fight against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine; he was wounded in combat and later came to lead Sokil, or Falcon, the youth wing of the Svoboda party. It is important, he says, to inculcate the nation’s youth with nationalist thought, so they can battle Vladimir Putin’s Russia as well as “challenges that could completely destroy” European civilization.

    Among those challenges: LGBT rights, which lecturers denounce as a sign of Western decadence.

    “You need to be aware of all that,” said instructor Ruslan Andreiko. “All those gender things, all those perversions of modern Bolsheviks who have come to power in Europe and now try to make all those LGBT things like gay pride parades part of the education system.”

    While some youths dozed off during lectures, others paid attention. Clearly, some were receptive.

    During a break in training, a teenager played a nationalist march on his guitar. It was decorated with a sticker showing white bombs hitting a mosque, under the motto, “White Europe is Our Goal.”

    Aside from the lectures — and songs around the campfire — life for the several dozen youths at the Svoboda camp was hard.

    Campers were awakened in the middle of the night with a blast from a stun grenade. Stumbling out of their tents, soldiers in training struggled to hold AK-47s that were, in some cases, almost as tall as they were. They were required to carry the heavy rifles all day, and one of the girls broke down in tears from exhaustion.

    ———-

    “Training kids to kill at Ukrainian nationalist camp” by YURAS KARMANAU; Associated Press; 11/12/2018

    “The campers, some clad in combat fatigues, carefully aim their assault rifles. Their instructor offers advice: Don’t think of your target as a human being.

    Don’t think of your target as a human being. That’s the kind of training these kids are getting. And dehumanizing their targets isn’t just a mental trick they’re told to employ in order to get over any qualms they might have about shooting someone. They’re literally getting indoctrinated into far right ideologies that tell the kids Russians and separatists aren’t actually human:


    Most are in their teens, but some are as young as 8 years old. They are at a summer camp created by one of Ukraine’s radical nationalist groups, hidden in a forest in the west of the country, that was visited by The Associated Press. The camp has two purposes: to train children to defend their country from Russians and their sympathizers — and to spread nationalist ideology.

    “We never aim guns at people,” instructor Yuri “Chornota” Cherkashin tells them. “But we don’t count separatists, little green men, occupiers from Moscow, as people. So we can and should aim at them.”

    But it’s not just the Russians these kids are taught to dehumanize and view as existential threats to Ukraine. European human rights, like LGBT rights, are seen as “perversions of modern Bolsheviks who have come to power in Europe” that could completely destroy European civilization:


    Cherkashin is a veteran of the fight against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine; he was wounded in combat and later came to lead Sokil, or Falcon, the youth wing of the Svoboda party. It is important, he says, to inculcate the nation’s youth with nationalist thought, so they can battle Vladimir Putin’s Russia as well as “challenges that could completely destroy” European civilization.

    Among those challenges: LGBT rights, which lecturers denounce as a sign of Western decadence.

    “You need to be aware of all that,” said instructor Ruslan Andreiko. “All those gender things, all those perversions of modern Bolsheviks who have come to power in Europe and now try to make all those LGBT things like gay pride parades part of the education system.”

    And not how the teenagers playing a guitar with a “White Europe is Our Goal” had a sticker of a bomb hitting a mosque. Given the lack of any large scale Muslim migration into Ukraine, it highlights how white supremacist narratives being fed to these kids are part of a pan-European narrative. They aren’t just fighting for a “White Ukraine”, but a “White Europe”. You have to wonder if this is a reflection of the influence of the non-Ukrainian neo-Nazis who have come to Ukraine in recent years to fight in these neo-Nazi ‘volunteer battalions’. It also highlights how the rest of Europe shouldn’t expect the consequences of the promotion of neo-Nazi ideologies in Ukraine to stay in Ukraine:


    During a break in training, a teenager played a nationalist march on his guitar. It was decorated with a sticker showing white bombs hitting a mosque, under the motto, “White Europe is Our Goal.”

    Finally, the article mentions how Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports earmarked about $150,000 to fund neo-Nazi youth camps that aren’t focused on military training but instead purely promoting a ‘nationalist’ neo-Nazi ideology:


    The nationalists have been accused of violence and racism, but they have played a central, volunteer role in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia — and they have maintained links with the government. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports earmarked 4 million hryvnias (about $150,000) to fund some of the youth camps among the dozens built by the nationalists. The purpose, according to the ministry, is “national patriotic education.”

    Ministry spokeswoman Natalia Vernigora said the money is distributed by a panel which looks for “signs of xenophobia and discrimination, it doesn’t analyze activities of specific groups.”

    What the article left out is that one of the groups to get those youth camp funds was C14, the group literally named after the ’14 words’ white supremacist slogan minted by American neo-Nazi David Lane. Which, again, highlights how the strains of neo-Nazi ideology getting aggressively pushed onto Ukraine’s youth aren’t far right ideologies focused only on Ukrainian ‘nationalism’. Instead, what we’re seeing is Ukraine being turned into a hub for the international white supremacy movement. It’s one of the grand ironies of the use of the term ‘nationalism’ these days: it’s almost always used as a euphemism for transnational movement with global ambitions. A transnational movement that Europe is going to have to be dealing with for decades to come. These neo-Nazi kids are going to grow up and become adult neo-Nazis, after all. Adult neo-Nazis with a “White Europe” goal and military training.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 14, 2018, 4:09 pm

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