Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #783 Can You Put Lipstick on a Nazi?

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahanybok salutes

Introduction: This pro­gram con­tin­ues analy­sis of the instal­la­tion in the Ukraine of a gov­ern­ment com­posed largely of polit­i­cal forces evolved from, and man­i­fest­ing ide­o­log­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity with, the fas­cist OUN/B.

(We have done six pro­grams to date about the Ukrain­ian cri­sis: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782.)

Hav­ing staffed the 14th Waf­fen SS (Gali­cian) Divi­sion and the Ein­satz­grup­pen (mobile exe­cu­tion squads) in the Ukraine, the OUN/B was a piv­otal ele­ment in the post­war Gehlen spy out­fit in its CIA and BND incar­na­tions, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the GOP eth­nic out­reach organization.

OUN/B has been deeply involved with covert oper­a­tions and fig­ures in the inves­ti­ga­tion into the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, as well as the de-stabilization of the Soviet Union dur­ing the cli­mac­tic phase of the Cold War. With a pro­found pres­ence in the GOP’s eth­nic divi­sion, as well as the con­tem­po­rary Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal infra­struc­ture, the OUN/B is any­thing but an his­tor­i­cal relic. The devel­op­ment of the OUN/B in both the U.S. and the Ukraine is explained in great his­tor­i­cal depth in AFA #37.

The Orwellian aspects of the Ukrainian crisis could not be exaggerated and are explored at greater length in this program.

An important new post by George Eliason raises a number of important points and, in so doing, deepens our understanding of the horror show unfolding in Ukraine.

Mr. Eliason informs us:

  • That Yatseniuk is cut from the same OUN/B fabric as Swoboda and Pravy Sektor: ” . . . . Even Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk falls among this moderate [?!–D.E.] majorityFor generations his own family has had a proud tradition of service to the Ultra- Nationalist cause and has won awards for their service. . . .” [That is not much of a surprise, considering he was the central banker under OUN/B front man Yuschenko–D.E.]
  • Giving us some working numbers for the murders committed by the forbearers of Swoboda and Pravy Sektor: ” . . . . Under the mil­i­tant lead­er­ship of Stepan Ban­dera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists orga­nized the Ukrain­ian Waf­fen SS Gali­cian, Nicht­en­gall, and Roland Divi­sions that col­lab­o­rated with the Nazis and were respon­si­ble for the geno­cide of over 500,000 peo­ple. . . .”
  • Like the Ustachi, the OUN/B murderers went about their murderous business with a medieval cruelty; ” . . . . Accord­ing to Szawlowski’s descrip­tion of the meth­ods the Ban­derites employed against the Poles at Vol­hy­nia, treach­ery was the most fre­quently used. The Ban­derites told the Poles they were one peo­ple and fam­ily with them and that it would be trea­son if they left. The Ban­dera groups even promised to pro­tect them–in writing! What else sep­a­rates the Ban­deras from every other geno­ci­dal per­pe­tra­tor of the war is this: Even though the Ger­man SS had units ded­i­cated to geno­cide, the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) approached this mis­sion with a zeal and bar­bar­ity that Hitler’s own units could not muster. They rou­tinely tor­tured peo­ple with saws and axes, and used the most painful meth­ods they could devise as means to kill them. The Ban­dera would attack using “self defense groups” that were locally orga­nized. These civil­ian Ban­deras were the main force used to attack and slaugh­ter the Poles. If any of the mas­sacre vic­tims man­aged to sur­vive, they were torched, robbed, and killed by follow-up groups of women and children. . . . .”
  • As we saw in previous discussion, the crimes of the OUN/B urder units are celebrated by their heirs in Swoboda and Pravy Sektor. ” . . . . Szawlowski’s work on the geno­cide com­mit­ted by Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists dur­ing World War II is brought up to date by the recent obser­va­tions of Ukrain­ian Wik­tor Poliszczuk. “… he con­demns the dan­ger­ous activ­i­ties of the post-UPA [Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army] nation­al­ists in present-day Ukraine, tak­ing place not only in Lvov, but even in Kiev, ‘Gali­cian Fun­da­men­tal­ism,’ and other such phe­nom­ena. Also crit­i­cized by him are the pro­mot­ing of the total­i­tar­ian and geno­ci­dal doc­trines of the Ukrain­ian Dmytro Dontsov, the erect­ing of mon­u­ments to the SS-men of the 14th Ukrain­ian SS Divi­sion “Gal­izien” (“Haly­chyna”), the OUN [Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists] and UPA lead­ers: Yevhen Kono­valets, Andryi Mel­nyk, Stepan Ban­dera, Roman Shukhevych and oth­ers, and the glo­ri­fy­ing of the mur­der­ers of Poles, Jews, Rus­sians and Ukraini­ans as national heroes of the Ukraine, after whom streets and squares are named, awak­ing the spirit of the Dontsov and Ban­dera era, so much hated by peo­ple.” This was writ­ten only a few years ago. . . .”
  • Attempting to put lipstick on the proverbial pig, Dymytro Yarosh, head of Pravy Sektor, met with the Israeli Ambassador to the Ukraine and pumped him up with some Ministry of Truth PR: ” . . . . Accord­ing to Huff Post, “Dmitri Yarosh, leader of Right Sec­tor, met with Israel’s ambas­sador to Ukraine, Reuven Din El, and told him that their move­ment rejects anti-Semitism and xeno­pho­bia and will not tol­er­ate it. . . . ”  
  • Both Victor Yuschenko and Yulia Timoshenko were proteges of Slava Stetsko, the widow of Yaroslav Stetsko and the head of the OUN/B Ukrainian Nazi government in exile: ” . . . On June 30, 1941 Stepan Bandera declared the formation of the Ukrainian State in Lviv. Stepan Bandera made his lieutenant Yaroslav Stetsko the Premier. After the war the Bandera groups formed their Government in Exile that was given quiet legitimacy by both the US and Canadian governments shortly after WW2. Part of this was due to their support during the cold war against the Soviet Union, and part due to the size of their lobbying effort. They pump a lot of money into Congress. That they were legitimized by the US Government is clear from all the released Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act documents I have come across. It is very clear that the most important branches of the Diaspora government are in the US and Canada. Until 2003 the exiled leadership of the Bandera Government of Ukraine was only one step away from the person of Stepan Bandera himself. The supreme leadership of Bandera’s Ultra Nationalists worldwide changed hands twice after his assassination. Both supreme leaders had been his closest associates.The first was Yaroslav Stetsko, Bandera’s Premier in exile. He took over control of the Ultra Nationalist Government in Exile on the death of Stepan Bandera and held the position until his own death in 1986. Upon his death, his wife Slava Stetsko took over the leadership role and lived to bring the worldwide movement home to Ukraine. Most recognizable Ukrainian politicians, including Victor Yushhenko and Yulia Tymoshenko , are protégés of Slava Stetsko. This will explain why Mr. Yuschenko made Stepan Bandera a “Hero of Ukraine.” The EU sharply objected to this at the time, because of Bandera’s involvement in genocide, and Victor Yanukovych subsequently rescinded the award. That didn’t work out well for him.The 1st generation Bandera government, which pledged fidelity to Adolf Hitler and committed rampant and brutal genocide that it still denies, was alive and well until 2003. It ruled and raised funds from the Ukrainian Diaspora, which constitutes a third of the Ukrainian population worldwide, or 20 million people. . . . .”
  • Under the OUN/B government holding sway in Ukraine, the educational system is indoctrinating Ukrainian children with a doctrinaire Russophobia: ” . . . . One of the changes hap­pen­ing now in Ukraine is forced Ukrainiza­tion. If you remem­ber Nazi his­tory and the Hitler Youth, you’ll under­stand what Ukrainiza­tion means. It demands the same unques­tion­ing loy­alty from lit­tle chil­dren, a loy­alty even greater than that to family.What is forced Ukrainiza­tion at the pre school level? Irina Far­ion was a favorite for the Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion slot, until a dis­cus­sion behind closed doors in the Sen­ate. Sergei Kvit from Trizub (Yarosh core group), a real Ultra-Nationalist, got the nod instead.  Here is Irina Far­ion speak­ing to a lit­tle child: “What is your name? Misha. It’s not Ukrain­ian. You are Mihailo! And your name? Masha. You are Marusa. But my mom calls me this! If you want to be Masha, go to Moscow! Don’t call other chil­dren Russ­ian names. It is degrad­ing. It’s like call­ing them an ani­mal that lives in the woods and walks on all fours. . . .” Imag­ine a gov­ern­ment offi­cial speak­ing to chil­dren like this. Chil­dren are now taught that if they have Russ­ian names they are second-class cit­i­zens. All of the chil­dren of Ukraine will grow up to be Ultra Nation­al­ists. Those instilled with National Social­ism will get a bet­ter edu­ca­tion, a bet­ter job, a bet­ter life. . . .”
  • Yarosh is talking about “liberating” territory that is in Russia: ” . . . Dmitri Yarosh (Trizub and Pravy Sek­tor, and Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense [Mil­i­tary] and National Secu­rity): “It is bet­ter for us to build our own National State! Does that mean knives to the Moskals [Russians] and ropes to the Jews? Well, not so unso­phis­ti­cated. There must be a Ukrain­ian author­ity in Ukraine; the tit­u­lar nation must dom­i­nate in busi­ness, pol­i­tics, and culture…then–forced Ukrainiza­tion. Rus­sians do not like it? Well, go back to Fucking Rus­sia! Those that don’t want to go–we can help them. Rus­sians are not even Slavs…. Next we will lib­er­ate our lands: Voronezh, Kursk, Bel­o­gorod Oblast, and Kuban. These are all Ukrain­ian lands!” The only prob­lem is all of these Oblasts (regions) are in Russia! . . .”
  • As we have seen in previous programs and posts, both Pravy Sektor and Swoboda have a history and tactical association with street fighting. In that context, the formal militarization of these elements in the Ukraine are ominous. The possibility for provocation and a subsequent outbreak of war are very serious: ” . . . The Russ­ian inva­sion of Crimea took a turn for the weird yes­ter­day. The Prime Min­is­ter of Crimea, Sergei Aksy­onov, directed Crimea’s vol­un­teer mili­tia to arrest any per­son they see that looks like a Russ­ian soldier! Crimean author­i­ties have heard that Pravy Sek­tor is mas­querad­ing as Russ­ian sol­diers, try­ing to pro­voke con­flict. The now offi­cial Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion tried to set off a bomb at a cafe in Crimea 2 days ago. . . . “
  • The Swoboda-dominated government has passed a law legalizing the dissemination of Nazi propaganda, as well as garnishing 10% of the pay of Ukrainians in the southeast to subsidize the families of their supporters. It is difficult to imagine that the latter move did not affect Crimea’s decision to secede.: ” . . . . But, quite to the contrary, the first thing the Kiev government did was to make laws that legalized the teaching of Nazi propaganda. Without representation, they decided that 10 percent of people’s pay in the southeast would be taken without consent and given as support to the families of people that overthrew a constitutional government. . . . .”

Of major significance in understanding the Ukraine situation is the support given to the outright Nazis and fasists of Swoboda by Western governments. (Swoboda dominates the “new” Ukrainian government.) An arti­cle in Germany’s ven­er­a­ble Der Spiegel informs us that, in addi­tion to the rela­tion­ship between Germany’s top neo-Nazi party and Swo­boda, the lat­ter has inter­faced with, and received sup­port from, Germany’s ambas­sador to the Ukraine and NGO’s asso­ci­ated with Angela Merkel’s CDU.

A fac­tor that is cen­tral to the Ukrain­ian sit­u­a­tion is that country’s nat­ural gas reserves. The Ukraine has a quar­ter of the world’s proven nat­ural gas reserves. The Russian absorption of the Crimea will significantly improve Russia’s ability to develop the offshore gas fields.

Program Highlights Include: The pride in the OUN/B mileiu of the dominant Ukrainian participation in the Babi Yar massacre during World War II; review of the OUN/B milieu’s deliberate distortion of the Holocaust, making it seem as though their Nazi/SS collaborators were actually resistance figures; discussing the possibility of NATO arming of the Ukraine, Defense Secretary Hagel has been speaking with his counter part Ihor Tenyukh of Swoboda .

1. A very important article by George Eliason illustrates just how extreme the OUN/B heirs dominating Ukrainian politics really are.

“The Nazis Even Hitler Was Afraid Of” by George Eliason; OpEdNews; 3/16/2014.

EU politicians that supported the Maidan Revolution are voicing concerns bordering on fear about how much control Ultra Nationalists have over the government in Kiev. Chancellor Merkel’s government is telling her she can no longer afford to ignore the Ultra Nationalists in Ukraine. They are scared Germany will be responsible for setting up a new Reich. It’s time to strip away the rest of the veneer and take a look at what’s really there.

Forget about the Nazi symbolism, and ultra-nationalist exuberance. I will even grant supporters of the current government that much.

Every important ministry, from education and social policy to policing, prosecution and national defense, is headed by Ultra Nationalists. In every aspect of national life, Ultra Nationalists now determine what it means to be Ukrainian and all the policies needed to enforce it.

Even Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk falls among this moderate [?!–D.E.] majority. For generations his own family has had a proud tradition of service to the Ultra- Nationalist cause and has won awards for their service. Before Maidan it hurt his chances for election. After Maidan he didn’t need to worry about election.

What is Scary

In an OpEd in the LA Times, entitled “Ukraine’s Threat from Within,” Director of the School of International Relations at USC Robert English very concisely warns that “the way Ukrainian Ultra Nationalists whitewash Bandera history, which is their past, makes the present and future all that much more scary.”
The Banderas, or Banderites, are activists in the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement that is now in control of the government in Ukraine. Under the militant leadership of Stepan Bandera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists organized the Ukrainian Waffen SS Galician, Nichtengall, and Roland Divisions that collaborated with the Nazis and were responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 people. Following the war, however, Ukrainian Nazis were the only group to escape trial at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. Moreover, neither the Banderas, the Ukrainian Waffen SS, nor any other Ukrainian collaborators have ever apologized for their participation in genocide.

In the landmark work on the subject , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:

“…the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly …. [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 … ‘I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.’ Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words ‘I apologize’ ….

“Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide …. [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and … up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is “relative’ or other such evasions.”

According to Szawlowski’s description of the methods the Banderites employed against the Poles at Volhynia, treachery was the most frequently used. The Banderites told the Poles they were one people and family with them and that it would be treason if they left. The Bandera groups even promised to protect them–in writing!

What else separates the Banderas from every other genocidal perpetrator of the war is this: Even though the German SS had units dedicated to genocide, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) approached this mission with a zeal and barbarity that Hitler’s own units could not muster. They routinely tortured people with saws and axes, and used the most painful methods they could devise as means to kill them.

The Bandera would attack using “self defense groups” that were locally organized. These civilian Banderas were the main force used to attack and slaughter the Poles. If any of the massacre victims managed to survive, they were torched, robbed, and killed by follow-up groups of women and children.

Szawlowski’s work on the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is brought up to date by the recent observations of Ukrainian Wiktor Poliszczuk. “… he condemns the dangerous activities of the post-UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] nationalists in present-day Ukraine, taking place not only in Lvov, but even in Kiev, ‘Galician Fundamentalism,’ and other such phenomena. Also criticized by him are the promoting of the totalitarian and genocidal doctrines of the Ukrainian Dmytro Dontsov, the erecting of monuments to the SS-men of the 14th Ukrainian SS Division “Galizien” (“Halychyna”), the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] and UPA leaders: Yevhen Konovalets, Andryi Melnyk, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and others, and the glorifying of the murderers of Poles, Jews, Russians and Ukrainians as national heroes of the Ukraine, after whom streets and squares are named, awaking the spirit of the Dontsov and Bandera era, so much hated by people.” This was written only a few years ago.

Every major scholarly work–a prime example is the papers of Pers Anders Rudling–show that the Banderas murdered 500,000 people without even the pretext of an apology. They have lied and tried to change history in an effort to make Stepan Bandera and the Waffen SS heroes of the Great War. Among other tactics, they have tried to petition the UN to reclassify Bandera and take his name off the UN’s list of leading Nazi collaborators and perpetrators of genocide. Legitimizing these men would irrevocably change the history of the Great War.

According to Huff Post , “Dmitri Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, met with Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Reuven Din El, and told him that their movement rejects anti-Semitism and xenophobia and will not tolerate it.”

Right Sector became famous at the beginning of the Euro Maidan protests and subsequent revolution. It serves as the umbrella group for the combined militant Ultra Nationalist groups that existed in Ukraine prior to the revolution and that insist on a pure Ultra Nationalist Ukrainian nation under the most rigid conformity to Stepan Bandera’s philosophy. Mr. Yarosh is the leader of Tryzub (Trident) which is the core Right Sector group. He has spent twenty years doing nothing else but preparing for the revolution that will sweep Ukraine’s government into extreme Ultra Nationalism.

Despite his words to the Israeli ambassador, Dmitri Yarosh has been very clear from his first interviews that he is guided only by Bandera’s writings and the writings of the group’s founding leaders. He adheres to nothing else. Mr. Yarosh is adamant about the fact that Stepan Bandera was not an anti-Semite.

Both the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the State of Israel accept at face value that, given Yarosh’s claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite–a claim he himself believes–the Jewish community can now relax about any contemporary threat from Ukrainian nationalists.

But can the State of Israel, or Abe Foxman, chairman of the ADL, or anyone else sticking his fingers into this pie explain away the deaths of over 200,000 Jews at Banderite hands? No! The ADL describes its main purpose as fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, and defending democratic ideals. Counterpose to that the entire history of the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement, including its history of today. When you do, can there be any assurances from its representatives that don’t ring hollow?

Babi Yar

The thinking today is true to pre-WW2 form: “This can’t happen again.” Part of what is clouding the issue is the very Jewish backgrounds of some in the Kiev government–including Yatsenyuk. A few of the Oligarchs-turned-governors even have Israeli citizenship.

During WW2, Babi Yar was the single most horrific act of holocaust at the time. Even today, the Banderite response to Babi Yar is “I am proud of the fact that among 1,500 Polizei executioners in Babiy Yar there were 1,200 OUN men but only 300 Germans.” This quote is from a Rivne city official named Shkuratiuk, and appears in the book Organized Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Ukraine: Structure, Influence and Ideology by Pers Anders Rudling.

Babi Yar

The atrocities at Babi Yar, and the accompanying brutality, were left to SS Nachtigall and the polizei. Both were Banderite. The reason was simple. The brutal work of genocide at this level made even hardened German SS uncomfortable. This fact is even obscured in the Holocaust Encyclopedia at the United States Holocaust Museum.

During the period September 29-30, 1941, the first massacre at Babi Yar killed over 30,000 Jews. Over the next few years the genocide piled up. Victims from the Roma (Gypsies) alone numbered almost 200,000. Banderite apologists have offered a range of rationalizations, from “Ukrainians suffered too” to the surreal “Bandera’s men stepped back and the Jews did it themselves.” No kidding. Babi Yar was racial suicide.

What separates Germany from the Bandera Nationalists in Ukraine is that Germany has taken responsibility for the atrocities they committed. Until recent events, they could say believably, “Never Again.” Contrast this to Lviv, Ukraine, where surviving members of the WW2 Galician SS, willing participants in genocide, still parade on holidays, proudly displaying medals given them by the German Third Reich.

Instead of apologies, the Ukrainian OUN/Banderites/UCCA offer apologetics and write handbooks on how to escape responsibility for grievous crimes against humanity. They paint themselves, quite literally, as both victims and heroes, not perpetrators.

Ironically, one such handbook is entitled “Genocide- NEVER AGAIN- The Teacher and Student Workbook”, printed by the UCCA (Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America) on the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide. The “NEVER AGAIN” in the title is of course the cry of people that managed to survive the genocide. Can it also be used by the people that committed it, unrepentantly?

How can a group that unquestionably committed the most brutal torture and barbaric murder in WW2 morph into champions of social justice? They continually deny involvement and try to convince the world of the same thing they teach their own people. They were victims and heroes. At the same time, they glorify their SS heroes at will. The 1st Division link is their homage to the Galician SS.

Typical UCCA Banderite propaganda looks like this: ” The only important OUN idea from the past that survived is a desire for a free and democratic Ukraine where all Ukrainians, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, can live in peace.”

This response from a former Arizona UCCA state chapter president really needs to be considered in the light of history and present circumstances. That one statement says it all. The only question he leaves unanswered is, Who is a Ukrainian? Do they include all families that have lived there for hundreds of years and speak Russian? How about people that do not support Bandera?

How Does Bandera Fit in 70 Years Later?

On June 30, 1941 Stepan Bandera declared the formation of the Ukrainian State in Lviv. Stepan Bandera made his lieutenant Yaroslav Stetsko the Premier. After the war the Bandera groups formed their Government in Exile that was given quiet legitimacy by both the US and Canadian governments shortly after WW2. Part of this was due to their support during the cold war against the Soviet Union, and part due to the size of their lobbying effort. They pump a lot of money into Congress. That they were legitimized by the US Government is clear from all the released Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act documents I have come across.

It is very clear that the most important branches of the Diaspora government are in the US and Canada. Until 2003 the exiled leadership of the Bandera Government of Ukraine was only one step away from the person of Stepan Bandera himself. The supreme leadership of Bandera’s Ultra Nationalists worldwide changed hands twice after his assassination. Both supreme leaders had been his closest associates.

The first was Yaroslav Stetsko, Bandera’s Premier in exile. He took over control of the Ultra Nationalist Government in Exile on the death of Stepan Bandera and held the position until his own death in 1986. Upon his death, his wife Slava Stetsko took over the leadership role and lived to bring the worldwide movement home to Ukraine.

Most recognizable Ukrainian politicians, including Victor Yushhenko and Yulia Tymoshenko , are protégés of Slava Stetsko. This will explain why Mr. Yuschenko made Stepan Bandera a “Hero of Ukraine.” The EU sharply objected to this at the time, because of Bandera’s involvement in genocide, and Victor Yanukovych subsequently rescinded the award. That didn’t work out well for him.

The 1st generation Bandera government, which pledged fidelity to Adolf Hitler and committed rampant and brutal genocide that it still denies, was alive and well until 2003. It ruled and raised funds from the Ukrainian Diaspora, which constitutes a third of the Ukrainian population worldwide, or 20 million people.

Today, the Kiev government is only the 2nd generation of Bandera government. Looked at realistically, it still promotes the teachings, policies, and doctrines of Stepan Bandera less than 10 years removed from their institutional moorings.

The Bandera leaders of today were cultivated to make sure they would not stray far. The present government in Kiev can also be counted to be true to its history.

One of the changes happening now in Ukraine is forced Ukrainization. If you remember Nazi history and the Hitler Youth, you’ll understand what Ukrainization means. It demands the same unquestioning loyalty from little children, a loyalty even greater than that to family.

What is forced Ukrainization at the pre school level ? Irina Farion was a favorite for the Minister of Education slot, until a discussion behind closed doors in the Senate. Sergei Kvit from Trizub (Yarosh core group), a real Ultra-Nationalist, got the nod instead.

Here is Irina Farion speaking to a little child: “What is your name? Misha. It’s not Ukrainian. You are Mihailo!

And your name? Masha. You are Marusa. But my mom calls me this! If you want to be Masha, go to Moscow!

Don’t call other children Russian names. It is degrading. It’s like calling them an animal that lives in the woods and walks on all fours.”

Imagine a government official speaking to children like this. Children are now taught that if they have Russian names they are second-class citizens. All of the children of Ukraine will grow up to be Ultra Nationalists. Those instilled with National Socialism will get a better education, a better job, a better life.

What Does This Mean for South and East Ukraine?

South and East Ukraine don’t want their children taught these things. Would you? Vladimir Putin and Russia are the only parties putting the brakes on that right now. The same Europe and America that 70 years ago violently overthrew the forces of bigotry and indoctrination are now saying that the Ukrainian people must accept them quietly!

Dmitri Yarosh (Trizub and Pravy Sektor, and Assistant Secretary of Defense [Military] and National Security): “It is better for us to build our own National State! Does that mean knives to the Moskals and ropes to the Jews? Well, not so unsophisticated. There must be a Ukrainian authority in Ukraine; the titular nation must dominate in business, politics, and culture…then–forced Ukrainization. Russians do not like it? Well, go back to Fucking Russia! Those that don’t want to go–we can help them. Russians are not even Slavs…. Next we will liberate our lands: Voronezh, Kursk, Belogorod Oblast, and Kuban. These are all Ukrainian lands!”

The only problem is all of these Oblasts (regions) are in Russia!

No, I am not talking about the US and Russia. The spit propaganda that became western media portrays this as Cold War redux. Are you for the West? Good, you support democracy! Not so fast.

The Russian invasion of Crimea took a turn for the weird yesterday. The Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, directed Crimea’s volunteer militia to arrest any person they see that looks like a Russian soldier!

Crimean authorities have heard that Pravy Sektor is masquerading as Russian soldiers, trying to provoke conflict. The now official Ukrainian government organization tried to set off a bomb at a cafe in Crimea 2 days ago.

This isn’t about East vs. West. The choice is simpler than that. It is about life and death. There are no compromises to make. If Kiev declares Stepan Bandera and all associated groups are illegal and genocidal war criminals, the southeast in Ukraine will relax. But, quite to the contrary, the first thing the Kiev government did was to make laws that legalized the teaching of Nazi propaganda. Without representation, they decided that 10 percent of people’s pay in the southeast would be taken without consent and given as support to the families of people that overthrew a constitutional government.

Ukraine is not West vs. East. They want you to make the same decision with them. Are you for a world ruled by Ultra Nationalists? Ukraine says no. Are you for a government that supports the doctrines of the 3rd Reich? Will you support one? Are you supporting one?

If the Ukrainian government that was propelled into power is not Ultra Nationalist, why are they making every move to show otherwise? Does the US government support Ultra Nationalist values? If not, why are they showing otherwise?

Clarification starts with both governments adhering to the rule of law. Otherwise, as I once heard someone I respected put it: “You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig.”

2. An arti­cle in Germany’s ven­er­a­ble Der Spiegel informs us that, in addi­tion to the rela­tion­ship between Germany’s top neo-Nazi party and Swo­boda, the lat­ter has inter­faced with, and received sup­port from, Germany’s ambas­sador to the Ukraine and NGO’s asso­ci­ated with Angela Merkel’s CDU.

“Tight on the Right: Germany’s NPD Main­tains Close Ties to Swo­boda” by Stef­fan Win­ter; Der Spiegel; 3/17/2014.

When Hol­ger Apfel showed up at the Sax­ony state par­lia­ment with a “par­lia­men­tary del­e­ga­tion” from Ukraine last May, few had even heard of a party called Svo­boda. Apfel, who was head of the right-wing extrem­ist National Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Ger­many (NPD) at the time, proudly showed his guests — Ukrain­ian par­lia­men­tar­ian Mikhail Golovko and two munic­i­pal politi­cians from the Ukrain­ian city of Ternopol — around the par­lia­ment build­ing in Dresden.

Speak­ing to other NPD par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, Apfel called the nation­al­ist Svo­boda party “one of the most impor­tant Euro­pean right-wing parties.”

With a view to approach­ing elec­tions for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Apfel added that an “oppos­ing model to the EU dic­ta­tor­ship of Brus­sels Euro­crats” must be estab­lished and said that EU offi­cials were noth­ing but “will­ing helpers to inter­na­tional cap­i­tal.” Svo­boda, he exulted fol­low­ing the visit, is part of the “pha­lanx of patri­otic pow­ers” and encour­aged the “inten­si­fi­ca­tion of coop­er­a­tion.” Apfel’s Ukrain­ian guests agreed, say­ing that col­lab­o­ra­tion between the NPD and Svo­boda should be expanded.

Given such ties, it is astound­ing that Ger­many has approached the Ukrain­ian right-wing extrem­ists in a man­ner that would be unthink­able with the NPD. On April 29, 2013, for exam­ple, Germany’s ambas­sador in Kiev met with Svoboda’s par­lia­men­tary floor leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok. Dur­ing the meet­ing, Berlin has insisted, the ambas­sador exhorted Tyah­ny­bok to respect the invi­o­la­bil­ity of human dig­nity and human rights.

But the Ukrain­ian right wing has also received instruc­tion financed by Ger­man tax­pay­ers. Party mem­bers appeared at events hosted by the Kon­rad Ade­nauer Stiftung, the Ger­man polit­i­cal foun­da­tion affil­i­ated with Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives. Exam­ples include the con­fer­ence enti­tled “Lessons from the 2012 Par­lia­men­tary Elec­tions,” the sem­i­nar series called “The Higher School of Pol­i­tics” and a dis­cus­sion on the 2012 elections.

Hon­or­ing the SS

Even the Ger­man Soci­ety for Inter­na­tional Coop­er­a­tion (GIZ) has sup­ported the party. GIZ over­saw a project for the “for­ma­tion of admin­is­tra­tive capac­i­ties in the pub­lic financ­ing sec­tor.” Svo­boda par­lia­men­tar­i­ans took part in two trips to Berlin in 2013 in con­junc­tion with the project.

One promi­nent party mem­ber even gave an inter­view in early May 2013 to the NPD pub­li­ca­tion Deutsche Stimme. In an inter­view con­ducted by senior NPD mem­ber Jens Pühse, Ternopol Mayor Sergei Nadal was asked why Svo­boda sup­ports the recog­ni­tion of descen­dants of for­mer mem­bers of the Ukrain­ian 14th Divi­sion of the Waf­fen SS as national heroes. “These Ukrain­ian heroes must be hon­ored irre­spec­tive of what has been writ­ten about them in the his­tory books of those peo­ples who were once our ene­mies,” Nadal answered.

Germany’s Inte­rior Min­istry has also taken note of the Svoboda-NPD con­nec­tion. In response to a par­lia­men­tary query from the Left Party, the min­istry noted that the NPD had estab­lished a depart­ment tasked with main­tain­ing con­tact with right-wing extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions in East­ern Europe. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment, the min­istry said, con­sid­ers Svo­boda to be a “right-wing pop­ulist and nation­al­ist party” which rep­re­sents “in part right-wing extrem­ist posi­tions.” The party, for exam­ple, orga­nized a rally to mark the 70th anniver­sary of the found­ing of the 14th Waf­fen SS Division.

Svo­boda, mean­while, has estab­lished chap­ters in Frank­furt, Cologne and Munich. The Anti-Fascist Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter in Munich noted recently that in August of last year, some 40 par­tic­i­pants gath­ered in a Catholic parish hall to elect a Munich stu­dent of Ukrain­ian descent as their chairman.

3a. A fac­tor that is cen­tral to the Ukrain­ian sit­u­a­tion is that country’s nat­ural gas reserves. The Ukraine has a quar­ter of the world’s proven nat­ural gas reserves. Those reserves may well be seen as the answer to the EU’s energy situation. We won­der if the Fischer-Tropsch process might be used to derive motor fuel from that nat­ural gas, as is being done in the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood–affil­i­ated nation of Qatar.

“This Oil Giant Could Get Crushed by Ukraine” by Lawrence Lewitinn; Yahoo News; 3/06/2014.

 Once known as the “Bread­bas­ket of Rus­sia”, Ukraine is now also Russia’s fuel tank. And, one Amer­i­can com­pany has 10 bil­lion rea­sons to hope noth­ing goes wrong.

Ukraine sits on 39 tril­lion cubic feet of nat­ural gas reserves. That’s about one-quarter the world’s entire proven reserves. . . .

3b. The Russian absorption of Crimea is very significant for the Ukrainian natural gas situation. It will significantly facilitate Russian extraction of the natural gas from offshore fields. It also complicates things for U.S. and Western firms that had contracted with the old government in Ukraine for developing those natural gas fields.

“The Bear Steps In–A Russian Thriller” by Andreas Jenei; Natural Gas Europe; 3/12/2014.

. . . . Russ­ian con­trol over the Crimean Penin­sula — beside the fact that it would solve the eth­nic prob­lem and the ques­tion of the fleet — would cre­ate a brand new sit­u­a­tion regard­ing the oil and gas mar­ket, because the stakes are high: if Crimea falls under Russ­ian author­ity, Rus­sia will be able to greatly expand its bor­ders in the Black Sea, among oth­ers, to the three enor­mous oil and gas field that can be found next to Crimea.

Fur­ther­more, there is a tremen­dous amount of gas under the shal­low waters of the Sea of Azov, as there are fields with great poten­tial to the south­east and to the west of Crimea as well. Each one of the hydro­car­bon loca­tions can be found on the shal­low con­ti­nen­tal shelf, which has the advan­tage of the sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper extrac­tion of the oil and gas there, com­pared to the deeper parts of the Black Sea.

Amer­i­can and Ital­ian com­pa­nies have con­ces­sions in these ter­ri­to­ries, but their terms were made with the Ukrain­ian state, and the cre­ation of a Russ­ian enclave sim­i­lar to Kalin­ingrad would cre­ate a rather sen­si­tive legal sit­u­a­tion. Addi­tion­ally, the Ukrain­ian lead­er­ship knows well the impor­tance of these ter­ri­to­ries, as beside the uncon­ven­tional ter­res­trial uti­liza­tion of nat­ural gas, the Black Sea loca­tions form one of the key­stones of their energy strat­egy. So Kiev will fight for the Crimean Penin­sula tooth and nail, not only because of its sov­er­eignty, but because of its hydro­car­bon trea­sures as well. . . .

4. As NATO weighs military assistance to Ukraine, Defense Secretary Hagel is joining the ranks of those interfacing with Swoboda officials. Ihor Tenyukh is the top Ukrainian defense official and a member of Swoboda.

“NATO Weighs Assistance for Ukraine to dissuade Further Moves by Moscow” by Michael R. Gordon; The New York Times; 3/20/2014.

. . . . The Obama administration has not signaled what additional steps it is prepared to take, but noted that it would participate in a previously planned multinational military exercise in Ukraine this summer, called Rapid Trident. Mr. Hagel spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Ihor Tenyukh [from Swoboda–D.E.], on Wednesday. Carlos Pascual, the State Department’s special envoy for international energy affairs, left on Wednesday for a meeting in Kiev on how to lessen Ukraine’s energy dependence on Russia. . . .

Discussion

4 comments for “FTR #783 Can You Put Lipstick on a Nazi?”

  1. The cycle of violence can take many forms one of the most frequent being violent flares up followed by a “hunkering down and digging in” period when both sides prepare for the next round of violence:

    BuzzFeed
    Radical Factions Square Off In East Ukraine

    As fear of imminent invasion fades, pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine groups hunker down for the long fight in Kharkiv.
    posted on March 23, 2014 at 11:56am EDT
    Mike Giglio BuzzFeed Staff

    KHARKIV, Ukraine — The local leader of the Right Sector, a militant nationalist Ukrainian group, had the air of a hunted man as he sat down for an interview at a hotel in this eastern city last week. His eyes darted nervously. Two of his men stood guard in the parking lot. “I’m taking what precautions I can,” he said. “But it might not be enough.”

    With Russia just 20 miles away, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city and a bastion of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, would be a likely first target of a potential Russian incursion, and the man said it was important to show that there would be resistance here.

    “People in Kharkiv are not nearly as supportive of Russia as people in Crimea,” he said. Protests calling for referendums on secession and for Russian protection have been gripping cities around the region since Russian troops took control of the Crimean peninsula this month. If these pro-Russia movements weren’t confronted, the man said, “the Crimea scenario would likely play out in the east” — meaning that Russia could use the cover of local support to invade.

    Virulently nationalist, the Right Sector is the group that most unnerves Ukrainians opposed to last month’s revolution, especially here. Its Kharkiv leader declined to use his name, but he’s well known to his enemies in the city. The names, photos and home addresses of several Right Sector members, himself included, had recently been leaked online — something he saw as the latest salvo in a simmering conflict between his group and the pro-Russia forces in the city.

    The conflict turned deadly on the night of March 14, when pro-Russia protesters stormed the Right Sector’s local office. The protesters said members of the Right Sector had attacked them while gathered around the Lenin statue that towers over Kharkiv’s main square. What happened next is disputed by both sides. The Right Sector leader claimed that he and his comrades who gathered to defend the building faced rubber bullets, stun grenades and even live bullets from the pro-Russia crowd. When the dust settled that night, though, it was two pro-Russia activists who had been shot and killed.

    The confrontation jolted tensions in the city, as well as fears of Russian intervention, with the Kremlin having repeatedly invoked a right to protect Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine — its same justification for taking over Crimea.

    It also saw the hardliners from both sides hunker down.

    The Right Sector leader said the group was keeping its guard up, and he declined to make other members available for interviews. His counterpart on the pro-Russia side — Eugene Zhilin, who leads a group called Oplot that made up much of the crowd storming the Right Sector office — adamantly refused an interview request when contacted via Skype.

    Zhilin is a former police officer who reportedly served prison time for armed robbery and is known for running mixed martial arts (MMA) tournaments in Kharkiv. Many of Oplot’s members are drawn from a local MMA club of the same name, and they form the muscle of the pro-Russia movement in Kharkiv. Zhilin took refuge in Russia this month, fearful that Ukraine’s new government would target him with criminal charges, possibly in retaliation for his activism. Shortly after he was contacted on Skype, he posted a message on his Facebook page warning Oplot members not to speak to foreign journalists, whom he accused of being provocateurs.

    The tension between the city’s two most extreme factions has left many in Kharkiv feeling caught in the middle, as the geopolitical struggle being waged over Ukraine plays out on the streets. “They are just instruments,” said one pro-Russia activist in Kharkiv, an engineer and father of two who gave only his first name, Dmitry, because he was concerned for his safety. “It’s a political conflict for political power in east Ukraine. They’re just meat for the fire.”

    “Blood was spilled. People were killed,” said Igor Korol, the regional head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, a political party that supports the new government in Kiev. “It’s not supposed to happen.”

    Sometimes the cycle of violence can be alleviated with outside help. But sometimes that outside help, shows up to help with the violence:

    Violence erupts in Kharkiv amid political turmoil

    Though Kharkiv was largely spared the violent protests that rocked Kyiv last month, ethnic tensions have since increased. Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian activists are facing off for control of the divided city.

    Date 22.03.2014
    Author Charles McPhedran, Kharkiv, Ukraine
    Editor Martin Kuebler

    “I saw unarmed people wearing black masks, helmets and bandages like those on Maidan, running away from an office and being shot at,” Marc, who declined to give his last name, told DW from his campus located on Kharkiv’s cavernous Freedom Square.

    Marc saw little more than that – he ducked away amidst the gunfire. But witnessing what appeared to him to be a massacre on Friday night (14.03.2014) has unnerved the Ukrainian-speaking teenager, who chain-smoked and scanned the street as he spoke with DW.

    Last weekend, two people died as rival political groups opened fire at an office housing far-right Ukrainian nationalist group Pravy Sektor in Kharkiv.

    DW visited the site of the incident and spoke to eyewitnesses and activists on both sides about what happened that night, reconstructing a story of increasing ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine.

    Accounts from those on site suggest that both sides were armed, but the nationalists opened fire first. The building’s security guard said they shot out the window at the pro-Russians gathered outside, an account matching that of three pro-Russian leaders. By the time the building’s owner, Alexei Popov, arrived, both sides were shooting as police watched on.

    According to Popov, the two sides were unevenly matched in the firefight that followed. Around 15-20 nationalists were concealed inside his building, and more than 200 pro-Russian activists were crowded in the narrow street outside.

    Popov told DW that the city’s mayor eventually showed up to try to negotiate an end to the situation, talking with both sides until 5 a.m. before the nationalists agreed to come out. They were then taken into custody, where around 30 remained until the weekend, according to Pravy Sektor. The far-right group said that none of the pro-Russians involved were arrested and have demanded the detention of the Oplot members.

    Pro-Russian leaders said two of their comrades were killed in Friday’s firefight. Pravy Sektor say they do not know who died in the incident, but have denounced the subsequent arrest of their members and blamed a pro-Russian mob for descending on the office and triggering the violence. Artem Skoropadsky, a spokesman for Pravy Sektor, said that given their relative weakness in Kharkiv, there was no way that they would have provoked the incident.

    “We are not doing anything that could be described as a provocation,” said Skoropadsky, speaking in Kyiv. “We are under a lot of pressure from the Russian mass media, which will take any opportunity to smear us.”

    While several crucial parts of the Rumarska Street incident remain contested, the firefight appeared to mark yet another escalation in the local political struggle between pro-Russian and pro-Maidan forces. The former is seeking greater autonomy for their region, while the latter aims to clean out remnants of former President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime in the east.

    “Right now the civil cold war has broken down,” said Alexandr S. Alexandrovskiy, a political consultant from Yanukovych’s one-time ruling Party of the Regions, in relation to events both local and throughout Ukraine. “We are now moving into an active phase.”

    Political turmoil

    Unlike in Kyiv, where dozens of protesters and scores of police died in February’s clashes, Kharkiv and eastern Ukraine have largely been spared fatalities during the political unrest that has gripped the country since last November.

    But the areas have not been spared political turmoil. Each side blames the other for violence in the city, which is located just 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) from the Russian border. Riot police stand protecting government headquarters in the central Freedom Square, which has been occupied by both pro-Maidan protesters and pro-Russian crowds in recent weeks.

    Pro-Russian activists have said the cycle of violence was sparked by the release of a local Pravy Sektor leader from prison under an amnesty in early March. Accounts from locals, however, differ. They say that after attacks on the office of the Ukrainian nationalists, which was originally used by Maidan, by pro-Russians, Pravy Sektor bussed in reinforcements from elsewhere in Ukraine and later took control of the Rumarska Street space.

    Some in Kharkiv have interpreted the violence as being part of a struggle for control and influence following the February revolution in Kyiv. Based on accounts given to DW, both sides appear to have drafted supporters from outside the city in their attempt to win control of Kharkiv’s streets.

    Caught between them are locals, most of whom have divided loyalties. “The city is neutral,” said Dmitri, a sociology student at the University of Kharkiv, who also declined to give his last name. “We support European values but have a connection to Russia.”

    “It’s only a small number of those who are strongly for and against – the situation is undetermined.”

    A rejection of violent, intolerant, extremist philosophies generally helps break the cycle of violence and that rejection appears to be still be taking place amongst all sides in Ukraine’s society so there’s still hope out here. The growing concentration of street fighters in ethnically divided cities is far less hopeful.

    The recent killings of Right Sector’s coordinator in the Western city of Rivne is another very ominous event, although the recent firing of Svoboda member Ihor Tenyhuk as Ukraine’s minister of Defense is potentially positive (if you ignore that fact that he’s being fired due to indecision over Crimea). Now Right Sector in Rivne is promising revenge. The cycle continues:

    25 March 2014 Last updated at 09:19 ET
    BBC
    Ukraine far-right leader Muzychko dies ‘in police raid’

    A Ukrainian ultra-nationalist leader has been shot dead in what officials describe as a special forces operation.

    Oleksandr Muzychko, better known as Sashko Bily, died in a shoot-out with police in a cafe in Rivne in western Ukraine, the interior ministry said.

    He was a leader of Right Sector, a far-right group which was prominent in the recent anti-government protests.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine’s parliament has voted to accept the resignation of Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh.

    Mr Tenyukh had been accused of indecision in the face of Russia’s military takeover of Crimea.

    The shooting of Muzychko happened just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia – their first meeting since Russia’s move into Crimea triggered a diplomatic crisis.

    Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov said Muzychko died after opening fire at police and Sokol special forces, who had raided a cafe to arrest him and fellow ultra-nationalists. The authorities described Muzychko as a criminal gang-leader.

    During the raid, Muzychko fired at police as he was trying to flee, wounding one of them. Police then returned fire and captured him and three others in his “criminal gang”, Mr Yevdokimov said.

    “He was still alive as they were arresting him – but then the paramedics, called to the scene, found that he had died,” Mr Yevdokimov said. The three arrested gang members have been taken to Kiev for questioning.

    A Right Sector organiser in Rivne has now threatened revenge for the killing of Muzychko, saying he had not been summoned by investigators.

    “We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister,” said Roman Koval of the Right Sector in Rivne region, quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website.

    Conflicting account

    Earlier, a Ukrainian MP, Oles Doniy, gave a different version of events. He said two cars had forced Muzychko’s car to stop, and he had then been dragged into one of the other cars. Later his body was found dumped, his hands tied behind his back and two bullet wounds in his heart, Doniy wrote overnight on his Facebook page.

    Correspondents say Muzychko acquired notoriety in Ukraine after he was filmed brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle at a town hall session in western Ukraine, and then harassing a local prosecutor. After that, in February, the Ukrainian interior minister condemned his behaviour and promised to investigate.

    Moscow says the activities of Right Sector and other Ukrainian nationalist groups pose a threat to the large Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin gave that as one of his reasons for intervening in Crimea.

    However, some commentators say Russia has deliberately whipped up such fears, and that the influence of Right Sector in Ukrainian politics is exaggerated.

    Earlier, Russian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Muzychko, accusing him of atrocities against Russian soldiers in Chechnya.

    The Russian indictment says he tortured captive Russian soldiers in the 1990s, when Moscow was trying to crush Chechen separatist guerrillas. Muzychko denied the allegations. Reports say he led a group of Ukrainian nationalists who fought alongside the Chechen rebels.

    Crimea withdrawal

    In the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday MPs appointed Gen Mykhaylo Koval as the new defence minister, after approving the resignation of his predecessor, Ihor Tenyukh.

    Mr Tenyukh had offered to leave the post following growing criticism of his response to the Russian annexation of Crimea. Many deputies had described that response as indecisive.

    Gen Koval has served in the country’s Border Service, and was briefly detained by pro-Russian forces during their takeover of Crimea.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 25, 2014, 8:27 am
  2. Following the resignation of Ukrainian minister of defense, Ihor Tenyukh of Svoboda, the leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tiahnybok, is now saying the Ukraine faces two enemies: Russia, and “our inner enemies – those traitors who work for Russia … and now we should do our best to track the traitors and remain unprovoked – because only Ukraine’s future matters now”:

    Kyiv Post
    Parliament names new defense minister as Turchynov calls Russia’s takeover of Crimea ‘our general tragedy’

    March 25, 2014, 1:06 p.m. | Politics — by Olena Goncharova

    In a day of accusations and recriminations over Ukraine’s inability to repel Russia militarily from the Crimean peninsula, parliament on March 25 voted to replace its defense minister.

    Lawmakers named Colonel-General Mykhailo Koval, 58, as the new acting defense minister with 251 out of 450 votes.

    While adressing the deputies, Koval said he understands his responsibility and said that “he believes in the armed forces of Ukraine.” Koval, who previously headed the special group of the State Border Service on the situation in Crimea, was kidnapped on March 5 near Yalta by Russian troops. He was surrounded by a group of 40 armed people, but released later in the day.

    Koval, who holds the rank of colonel general of Ukraine’s border guard troops, was born in the town of Iziaslav on Feb. 26, 1956.

    Koval’s appointment came after the Verkhovna Rada accepted the resignation of interim Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh, who has been under fire for the military’s slow response to the Russian invasion. Before the vote, Tenyukh talked about war-time preparations. “We prepared nine military units in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast to accommodate the militants and I need to stress that all Ukrainian troops will be redeployed to the mainland” and that the army is on full alert now and the mobilization campaign continues.

    But Tenyukh’s resignation was backed by 228 votes, a majority in the 450-seat parliament.

    The change is just one sign that Ukraine’s leaders are struggling in their response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the possible broader military invasion of the Ukrainian mainland.

    Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov called Russia’s annexation of the nation’s Crimean peninsula “our general tragedy.”

    Vitali Klitschko, the leader of Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms party, said that all officials who can’t do their jobs should be fired.

    “The Rada doesn’t work effective now as we see it. So we will soon include into agenda the appointment of a new Verkhovna Rada chairman,” Klitschko said. “And the defense minister should be replaced by a professional. We should stop waiting for help from the West and do something. Nobody will come and rescue us. Ukraine needs to close, strengthen the security on the borders and track all those responsible for separatist moves,” Klitschko said.

    Hanna Herman, a lawmaker from Party of Regions, is certain that Ukraine is a state of war now.

    “And now Ukrainian parliament needs to thinks about laws which will help to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and we need to find some kind of national idea to unite people in east and west,” Herman said.

    Herman said she doesn’t support the idea of fighting and said that the “Verkhovna Rada should rather think about the leader who can unite the country and calm down the citizens. Another task is to support Ukrainian army, which is left in the occupied territory of Crimea.”

    Herman, a Party of Regions member who was a top adviser to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, said the government needs to initiate a Ukrainian-Russian roundtable to find the way out of the crisis.

    Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of Svoboda Party said that “Ukraine faces two enemies now” — Russia and traitors in Ukraine.

    “The invader – Putin’s Kremlin – is enemy No. 1 in Ukraine has to deal with. On the other hand, we still have our inner enemies – those traitors who work for Russia,” Tiahnybok said. “And Svoboda Party warned everyone the talks with Russia couldn’t be as mild as Ukraine used to do it.”

    The lawmaker is certain that the Russian government just wants Ukraine to “be divided.”

    But the three opposition parties – Svoboda, UDAR and Batkivshchyna united to oust the dictatorship. And now we should do our best to track the traitors and remain unprovoked – because only Ukraine’s future matters now. We need to unite and make it till the end – to the victory – that’s what Ukrainians will appreciate now,” Tiahnybok said.

    Note that Vladimir Klitschko also says “Ukraine needs to close, strengthen the security on the borders and track all those responsible for separatist moves”. So is tracking ethnic Russians now going to be the uniting force that keeps the country together? That doesn’t seem very unifying.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 25, 2014, 11:20 am
  3. The international community has more good news for Ukraine:

    The Wire
    Ukraine Gets $27 Billion Bailout Package, as Tymoshenko Enters the Presidential Race
    Danielle Wiener-Bronner
    3/27/2014

    The International Monetary Fund announced today that it will give Ukraine up to $18 billion in loans over the next two years, to shore up its fragile economy in the midst of equally perilous political crisis. Once other countries join the bailout plan Ukraine should see a total of $27 billion in loaned funds over that period. But the money comes at a steep price.

    On Wednesday, leaders in Kiev agreed to hike up gas prices by 50 percent starting on May 1, and to phase out all energy subsidies by 2016 in preparation for the bailout deal According to Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, the price in local gas could rise by 79 percent altogether. Yatseniuk explained to parliament that the austerity measures were necessary to secure the deal, without which the Ukrainian economy could shrink by up to 10 percent this year. In short, he said, “Ukraine is on the edge of economic and financial bankruptcy.”

    In a statement, IMF Mission Chief for Ukraine Nikolay Gueorguiev offered more details on the deal, which is pending approval by the IMF Management and the Executive Board next month:

    The mission has reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities of Ukraine on an economic reform program that can be supported by a two-year Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF. The financial support from the broader international community that the program will unlock amounts to US$27 billion over the next two years. Of this, assistance from the IMF will range between US$14-18 billion, with the precise amount to be determined once all bilateral and multilateral support is accounted for…

    Gueorguiev also explained the ultimate purpose of the bailout:

    The goal of the authorities’ economic reform program is to restore macroeconomic stability and put the country on the path of sound governance and sustainable economic growth while protecting the vulnerable in the society. The program will focus on reforms in the following key areas: monetary and exchange rate policies; the financial sector; fiscal policies; the energy sector; and governance, transparency, and the business climate.

    Speaking of elections, today former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko formally announced that she will run for president in the upcoming May election:

    Maxim Eristavi @MaximEristavi

    Tymoshenko: Ukraine’s future is not possible with oligarchs
    7:25 AM – 27 Mar 2014

    Tymoshenko, who was released from prison last month after ousted prime minister Viktor Yanukovych fled from his palace, is a controversial figure with her own history of corrupt leadership, which she denies:

    Maxim Eristavi @MaximEristavi

    .@YuliaTymoshenko: my record is completely clean, even Yanukovych couldn’t find any dirt on me
    7:34 AM – 27 Mar 2014

    Based on her announcement, if Tymoshenko wins things could get pretty heated in Kiev again:

    Maxim Eristavi @MaximEristavi

    Tymoshenko: We are at war with Russia
    7:40 AM – 27 Mar 2014

    So a 50%-79% rise in gas prices and austerity is officially on the way for Ukraine and now Yulia Tymoshenko just threw her hat into the presidential race and declared war on Russia. Yeah, things could get pretty heated in Kiev again. They could also get, uh, ‘pretty heated’ in the East too:

    Washington Post
    In latest wiretapping leak, Yulia Tymoshenko appears to say ‘nuclear weapons’ should be used to kill Russians

    By Adam Taylor
    March 25 at 12:17 pm

    On Monday night, a leaked recording purporting to be of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appeared on the video sharing Web site YouTube.

    According to the Moscow Times, the recording, apparently made March 8, details a conversation between Tymoshenko and Nestor Shufrych from Ukraine’s National Security Council, and has Tymoshenko suggesting that Ukrainians should kill Russians, and, in particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The recording, which may have been altered, also apparently features Tymoshenko suggesting that the 8 million Russians living in Ukraine should be killed with “nuclear weapons.”

    The video containing the recording was initially uploaded to a YouTube account under the name Sergiy Vechirko, and has since been widely shared on pro-Kremlin media outlets, with Russia Today producing its own version with translation:
    [see video]

    While the Moscow Times reports that Shufrych has denied the recording is real, a tweet from Tymoshenko appears to suggest she believes at least part of it is:
    [see tweet]

    In the above tweet, Tymoshenko says that the recording has been edited, and that she in fact said that the Russians in Ukraine “were Ukrainian.” She also added “Hello FSB :)” in reference to Russia’s security agency. Tymoshenko, widely considered a potential candidate for the Ukrainian presidential election in May, does not have a reputation for being anti-Russia, which has struck some as strange, and had enjoyed a working relationship with Putin in the past.

    The incident is the latest in a series of leaks that appear to show officials involved in Ukraine have been targeted by wiretaps. In February, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was recorded saying “F— the E.U.” in a private conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, that was apparently recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Another leaked phone call between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton appeared to show Paet raise the possibility that snipers who shot dead protesters in Kiev could have been working under orders from Maidan opposition leaders.

    While all these calls appear genuine, there are suggestions that they have been presented to appear more controversial than they should: Estonia later released a statement that said: “We reject the claim that Paet was giving an assessment of the opposition’s involvement in the violence.”

    This is one of those stories that should remind us that Nazis don’t get elected in a vacuum. It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of her platform looks like.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 27, 2014, 10:39 am
  4. The Ukrainian government is apparently now demanding the disarming of far-right gangs like Pravy Sektor with threats of arrest but also with appeals for them to join the National Guard instead. The far-right doesn’t sound very interested:

    Bloomberg
    Nationalists Keep Ukraine on Edge as Stability Is Elusive
    By Aliaksandr Kudrytski and Jake Rudnitsky Mar 27, 2014 8:23 AM CT

    Beneath the scorched, black facade of the Trade Union building in Kiev’s central square, armed nationalists who stoked the deadly overthrow of Ukraine’s previous rulers are undermining their successors.

    A month after the uprising, militants in camouflage gear and flak jackets line up empty glass bottles ready to be turned into Molotov cocktails, defying demands to abandon their arms. Some of the protesters who fought riot police for regime change are now turning on the new administration. One of their commanders was killed in a firefight with police this week.

    “The people who’re still here helped install the new authorities but now they want to slip out of our control,” said Vyacheslav, 40, a Pravyi Sektor activist in sand-colored U.S. military fatigues. He declined to give his last name because of the tensions. “We’ll stay to keep them in check.”

    As Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk races to stave off bankruptcy and grapples with Russia’s takeover of Crimea, his interim cabinet is battling unrest among former allies within the country’s borders. Nationalist groups risk damaging security, discrediting the government and handing Russia a pretext to push its forces further into Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin says is in the grip of fascists.

    Order, Corruption

    Nationalists, including supporters of the anti-immigration Svoboda party, fought shoulder-to-shoulder with pro-European demonstrators for three months to topple President Viktor Yanukovych in street battles that cost more than 100 lives in the capital, Kiev.

    As the dust settles, some are now challenging the government’s ability to maintain order or fight the corruption rampant under Yanukovych. Protesters have yet to leave the tent camp at Independence Square, or Maidan, the core of opposition since last year. Pravyi Sektor, an umbrella group uniting movements that rely on nationalist rhetoric and some that display neo-Nazi symbols, maintains a dominant presence.

    “The government understands that the existence of ultra-right wing players gives the Kremlin leverage over domestic politics,” Alexei Makarkin, a deputy director at the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies, said March 26 by phone. “That’s why they’ve given this ultimatum to disarm.”

    The threat of smoldering violence led the authorities to set a deadline of March 24 to turn in unregistered weapons.

    Neo-Nazis Targeted

    In the eastern city of Kharkiv, two pro-Russian protesters were killed by shotgun fire after organizing an assault on the neo-Nazi Patriot Ukrainy group’s office. In the Zaporizhya region, assailants decked out in the masks and army garb that characterized the nationalist protesters took over a factory.

    Incidents like these have prompted a crackdown on the self-defense units that shielded anti-government activists in Kiev’s Independence Square and elsewhere.

    “The time for freely laying down arms is over,” First Deputy Interior Minister Volodymyr Evdokimov told reporters in Kiev March 25. “From now on, police will detain all citizens with illegal weapons.”

    Pravyi Sektor, an umbrella group that unites the majority of the nationalist protesters, has no plans to comply, saying it doesn’t trust a police force that includes many who fought against demonstrators this year.

    Oleksandr Muzychko, a Pravyi Sektor leader in western Ukraine, was killed after shooting and wounding a police officer, the Interior Ministry said March 25. Pravyi Sektor head Dmytro Yarosh labeled Muzychko’s death a murder and urged Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to resign, according to a statement on the group’s website.

    Nationalist Backlash

    “Muzychko’s death was a signal to other ultra-right wing groups,” Makarkin said. “Europe and the U.S. have told the authorities in no uncertain terms that the government needs to deal with this issue.”

    Arresting “Goons”

    A Kiev court on March 25 ordered providers to stop carrying three Russian state channels as of today, according to a statement from Volia, a Ukrainian cable operator. Volia added TV Rain, an independent Russian channel that has been dropped by major cable companies at home amid a crackdown on the opposition.

    “Moscow is continuing to gather multiple cases of gross violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking population and other ethnic groups in Ukraine by homegrown ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said March 26.

    The government, which has seen the hryvnia drop 20 percent since Yanukovych was deposed, has begun to fight back. Prosecutors opened a criminal case into the UT1 attack, while Interior Minister Avakov pledged to arrest “goons” who dress in protest-movement outfits after a “huge number” of disturbances.

    Kalashnikovs, Handguns

    “Let’s distinguish between the real self-defense force that did and still does exist and those thugs who disguise themselves in the same clothes,” Avakov said. “Everyone who’s covering themselves and acting under the guise of self-defense, carrying weapons or shields, is a criminal.”

    More than 3,000 guns and 30,000 bullets were surrendered to authorities during the amnesty, the Interior Ministry said March 24 on the government website.

    The government is also proposing militants join a newly created National Guard in which 4,000 enlisted on the first day. Many of those who’ve remained stationed in the tent camp at Independence Square, or Maidan, have refused because the new force reports to the police rather than the army, which remained neutral as Yanukovych fled to Russia.

    Aside a rickety wooden table that doubles as a recruiting post, Pravyi Sektor nationalists lure passers-by to join their militia instead of the National Guard, which is seeking volunteers nearby. The bulk of the uniformed paramilitaries — who show off weapons including a hunting rifle, a handgun and a Kalashnikov — scoffed at the idea of uniting protesters with the police with whom they so recently locked horns.

    “What we see here is Maidan syndrome,” said Oleksandr Suprunyuk, a 51-year-old construction-company owner who’s also a member of the 38th division of the protesters’ defense force. “Many of these people lost their friends here and they’re still full of hatred. Time must pass to heal this.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 27, 2014, 1:58 pm

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