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FTR #818 Can You Put Lipstick on a Nazi? (Part 3): Update on Ukraine and Timeline of Ukrainian Fascism

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Azov bat­tal­ion’s insignia

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing analy­sis of the recent Ukrain­ian elec­tions, this broad­cast fur­ther devel­ops the so-called “mod­er­ate” forces’ incor­po­ra­tion of explic­it Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments, as well as their adop­tion of pol­i­cy advo­cat­ed by the extrem­ists.

Exem­plary of this dynam­ic is the issue of “lus­tra­tion laws.”  Osten­si­bly designed to fight the endem­ic cor­rup­tion that has plagued Ukraine since it gained inde­pen­dence, the laws actu­al­ly appear to be part of the ongo­ing purge of politi­cians sym­pa­thet­ic to Rus­sia and are in vio­la­tion of prin­ci­ples of law.

To gen­er­ate momen­tum for the lus­tra­tion laws, pres­i­dent Poroshenko select­ed a recip­i­ent of fund­ing from Pierre Omid­yar. Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk is now a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, hav­ing forged polit­i­cal dia­logue between the “mod­er­ate” par­ties and the fas­cist par­ties such as Svo­bo­da and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty.

At least two mem­bers of the Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion have been elect­ed to par­lia­ment, includ­ing its founder Andriy Bilet­sky.

The deputy com­man­der of the Azov Bat­tal­ion has been appoint­ed chief of police of Kiev. With a vet­er­an of a Nazi com­bat unit super­vis­ing the con­stab­u­lary of that nation’s cap­i­tal, demo­c­ra­t­ic process may very well be fur­ther imper­iled.

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800, 803, 804, 808, 811, 817.)

Insignia on Azov sol­diers’ hel­mets

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The role of Svo­bo­da mem­ber and for­mer defense min­is­ter Andriy Paru­biy as an advis­er to Poroshenko; Poroshenko’s comem­o­ra­tion of Octo­ber 14 (anniver­sary of the found­ing of the OUN-UPA) as a Ukrain­ian hol­i­day; an overview of the polit­i­cal evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B heirs that have come to pow­er in Ukraine; review of oth­er Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments that serve in an advi­so­ry role in the ranks of the “mod­er­ate” forces in Ukraine; dis­cus­sion of the spin placed by West­ern media on the Nazi and fas­cist pres­ence with­in the Poroshenko and Yat­senyuk blocs; the Azov Bat­tal­ion mem­ber­ship of a key Vitali Klitschko ally (Klit­shko is an impor­tant mem­ber of Poroshenko’s Bloc); Azov asso­ciate and Yat­senyuk func­tionary Tetyana Chorno­vol’s head of Poroshenko’s “anti-cor­rup­tion” task force–a posi­tion that places her in the fore­front of the “lus­tra­tion law” milieu.

1.  It turns out one of the key fig­ures in the Poroshenko admin­is­tra­tion, who was also heav­ily backed by Pierre Omidyar’s pro-Maid­an out­fits, was the per­son in charge of push­ing the lus­tra­tion laws. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that Svit­lana Zalis­chuk, the recip­i­ent of Omid­yar’s fund­ing, was a key play­er in coor­di­nat­ing the activ­i­ties of the so-called “respectable,” “mod­er­ate” pro-EU polit­i­cal cadre with the overt­ly fas­cist par­ties such as Svo­bo­da and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty.

“Omid­yar-Fund­ed Can­di­date Takes Seat in New Ukraine Par­lia­ment” by Mark AmesPan­do Dai­ly; 10/30/2014.

Ukraine just held its first post-rev­o­lu­tion par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and amid all of the oli­garchs, EU enthu­si­asts, neo-Nazisnepo­tism babies, and death squad com­man­ders, there is one new­ly-elect­ed parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her con­nec­tion to Sil­i­con Val­ley: Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk, from the bil­lion­aire president’s Poroshenko Bloc par­ty.

Zal­ishchuk was giv­en a choice spot on the president’s par­ty list, at num­ber 18, ensur­ing her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to pow­er to anoth­er oli­garch besides Ukraine’s pres­i­dent — Pierre Omid­yar, whose fund­ing with USAID helped top­ple the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment. Zalishchuk’s pro-Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion out­fits were direct­ly fund­ed by Omid­yar.

Ear­lier this year, Pan­do exposed how eBay bil­lion­aire and Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed with USAID Zalishchuk’s web of non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions — New Cit­i­zenChes­noCen­ter UAAccord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, New Cit­i­zen, which received hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars from Omid­yar, “played a big role in get­ting the [Maid­an] protest up and run­ning” in Novem­ber 2013. Omid­yar Network’s web­site fea­tures Zalishchuk’s pho­to­graph on its page describ­ing its invest­ment in New Cit­i­zen. Zal­ishchuk was brought into the NGOs by her long­time men­tor, Oleh Rybachuk, a for­mer deputy prime min­ster who led the last failed effort to inte­grate Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

Zalishchuk’s pho­tos also grace the Poroshenko Bloc’s web­site and twit­ter feed, as she emerged as one of the pres­i­den­tial party’s lead­ing spokesper­sons. The Poroshenko Bloc is named after Ukraine’s pro-West­ern pres­i­dent, Petro Poroshenko, a bil­lion­aire with a lock on Ukraine’s con­fec­tionary indus­try, as well as own­ing a nation­al TV sta­tion and oth­er prized assets. He came to pow­er this year thanks to the rev­o­lu­tion orig­i­nally orga­nized by Zalishchuk’s Omid­yar-fund­ed NGOs, and has reward­ed her with a seat in the Rada.

The president’s par­ty tasked Zalushchik with pub­licly sell­ing the high­ly con­tro­ver­sial new “lus­tra­tion law” — essen­tially a legal­ized witch-hunt law first pro­posed by the neo-fas­cist Svo­boda Par­ty ear­lier this year, and sub­se­quently denounced by Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral and by Human Rights Watch, which described a draft of the law as “arbi­trary and over­ly broad and fail(s) to respect human rights prin­ci­ples,” warn­ing it “may set the stage for unlaw­ful mass arbi­trary polit­i­cal exclu­sion.”

The lus­tra­tion law was passed under a wave of neo-Nazi vio­lence, in which mem­bers of par­lia­ment and oth­ers set to be tar­geted for purges were forcibly thrown into trash dumps.

Zal­ishchuk, how­ever, praised the lus­tra­tion law, claim­ing that the legal­ized purges would “give Ukraine a chance at a new life.”

Short­ly before the elec­tions, on Octo­ber 17, Zal­ishchuk used her Omid­yar-fund­ed out­fit, “Ches­no,”to orga­nize a round­table with lead­ers of pro-EU and neo-fas­cist par­ties. It was called “Par­lia­ment for Reform”and it brought togeth­er lead­ers from eight par­ties,includ­ing Zalishchuk’s “Poroshenko Bloc” (she served as both NGO orga­nizer and as pro-Poroshenko par­ty can­di­date), the prime minister’s “People’s Par­ty” and lead­ers from two unabashed­ly neo-Nazi par­ties: Svo­boda, and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko, who was denounced by Amnesty Inter­na­tional for post­ing YouTube videos of him­self inter­ro­gat­ing naked and hood­ed pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist pris­on­ers. Lyashko’s cam­paign posters fea­tured him impal­ing a car­i­ca­tured Jew­ish oli­garch on a Ukrain­ian tri­dent.

Mean­while, Zalishchuk’s boss, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, has led a bloody war against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try that left at least 3700 dead in a half year of fight­ing. Human Rights Watch recent­ly accused Poroshenko’s forces of “indis­crim­i­nate” use of clus­ter bombs in heav­ily pop­u­lated areas, that “may amount to war crimes.” Poroshenko’s forces include neo-Nazi death squads like the noto­ri­ous Azov bat­tal­ion.

Last month, Poroshenko fur­ther cement­ed his ties to the extreme right by hail­ing Ukraine’s wartime Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, the vio­lently anti-Semit­ic UPA, as “heroes.” The fas­cist UPA par­tic­i­pated in the Holo­caust, and were respon­si­ble for killing tens of thou­sands of Jews and eth­nic Poles in their bid to cre­ate an eth­ni­cally pure Ukraine. Many UPA mem­bers filled the ranks of the Nazi SS “Gali­cia” Divi­sion. The neo-Nazi Right Sek­tor, which spear­headed the vio­lent lat­er stages of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion, sees itself as the UPA’s con­tem­po­rary suc­ces­sors; Right Sektor’s leader, Dmit­ry Yarosh, believes that any “eth­nic minor­ity that pre­vents us from being mas­ters in our own land” is an “ene­my.” Yarosh was just elect­ed to the new par­lia­ment.

This week, Omid­yar Network’s “invest­ment lead” for Ukraine, Stephen King, accept­ed an award for Omid­yar Network’s role in a major new USAID-backed project, Glob­al Impact Invest­ing Net­work. . . .

2. The Kiev gov­ern­ment just passed a law osten­si­bly intend­ed to purge the gov­ern­ment of its past cor­rupt­ing influ­ences. The so-called “lus­tra­tion laws” actu­al­ly appear to be a thin legal veneer for a whole­sale purge of any Ukrain­ian civ­il ser­vants in any way linked to Rus­sia. The lus­tra­tion laws are the statutes that Omid­yar’s proptege Zalis­chuk has been empow­ered to gar­nish with a veneer of respectabil­i­ty and legal­i­ty.

“Ukraine Could Sack up to Mil­lion Offi­cials with Ties to Russ­ian Past” by Dmit­ry Zaks [AFP]; Yahoo News; 10/09/2014.

Ukraine’s pres­i­dent approved a dis­puted anti-graft mea­sure on Thurs­day that could see up to a mil­lion civ­il ser­vants with alleged links to past Sovi­et or pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ments imme­di­ately sacked.

The so-called “lus­tra­tion law” fol­lows the exam­ple of oth­er east­ern Euro­pean nations that broke free of decades of Moscow’s dom­i­na­tion at the end of the Cold War.

It was also a ral­ly­ing cry of the protests that con­vulsed Kiev last win­ter and led to the ouster of pro-Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and a secre­tive band of Ukrain­ian tycoons.

The law removes any­one who held a fed­eral or region­al gov­ern­ment posi­tion for more than a year under Yanukovych, who is now in self-imposed exile in Rus­sia.

It also sets up a spe­cial com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate judges and law enforce­ment agents sus­pected of liv­ing lav­ish lifestyles on hum­ble gov­ern­ment wages.

Anoth­er pro­vi­sion pre­vents any­one unable to explain their sources of income or assets from hold­ing office for five to 10 years.

Law­mak­ers’ ini­tial fail­ure to adopt the leg­is­la­tion last month sparked vio­lent protests out­side par­lia­ment that engulfed the build­ing in the black smoke of burn­ing tyres and brought riot police out on the streets.

The bill itself says it was draft­ed to help “restore trust in the author­i­ties and cre­ate a new sys­tem of gov­ern­ment that cor­re­sponds to Euro­pean stan­dards”.

“This is a his­toric day for Ukraine,” Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko post­ed on his Face­book account.

“The state machine will be cleansed. Glo­ry to Ukraine!”

- Way to set­tle scores? -

But the leg­is­la­tion has been bit­terly fought by law­mak­ers rep­re­sent­ing Russ­ian-speak­ing east­ern regions — the power­base of the for­mer regime and now par­tially con­trolled by sep­a­ratist rebels.

Its legal­ity has also been ques­tioned by the Coun­cil of Europe and busi­ness lead­ers who fear it will lead to a dam­ag­ing exo­dus of com­pe­tent bureau­crats.

Even the president’s own spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive on children’s issues com­plained that it “vio­lates basic rights and free­doms of cit­i­zens, is anti-con­sti­tu­tion­al and does not cor­re­spond to Euro­pean judi­cial pro­ce­dures or stan­dards.”

“It pro­vides a way to set­tle scores with your (polit­i­cal) oppo­nents,” children’s ombuds­man Yuriy Pavlenko wrote on his Face­book account.

Oth­er claus­es in the law bar any­one found guilty of back­ing sep­a­ratist caus­es and any­one who worked as a pros­e­cu­tor or held a top office when state agents shot dead near­ly 100 pro­test­ers dur­ing the Kiev unrest.

The com­mis­sion can addi­tion­ally probe civ­il ser­vants’ links to the Sovi­et-era secret ser­vice and Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

The mea­sures have already prompt­ed the res­ig­na­tion of two top finance and econ­omy min­istry offi­cials who are respect­ed by the busi­ness com­mu­nity but were hired dur­ing Yanukovych’s 2010–2014 pres­i­den­cy.

A suc­ces­sion of recent gov­ern­ments have been riv­en by squab­bles and busi­ness clan rival­ries that stalled the adop­tion of cru­cial eco­nomic restruc­tur­ing mea­sures and left the coun­try near­ly bank­rupt and depen­dent on for­eign help.

Yanukovych and his allies were accused of per­se­cut­ing their pre­de­ces­sors and jail­ing for­mer prime min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko for polit­i­cal rea­sons.

...

3.  Par­lia­men­t’s fail­ure to enact the lus­tra­tion laws sparked vio­lent protests out­side par­lia­ment that “engulfed the build­ing in the black smoke of burn­ing tyres and brought riot police out on the streets”.  These protests were staged by “usu­al suspects”–Pravy Sek­tor, Svo­bo­da et al. Again, Zal­ishchuck is basi­cal­ly Poroshenko’s legal and par­lia­men­tary run­ning dog for the leg­is­la­tion favored by the OUN/B heirs. Here’s a bit more on those protests:

“Watch Angry Ukrain­ian Pro­test­ers Throw a Politi­cian in the Dump­ster” by Sarah Kauf­man; Voca­tive; 9/16/2014.

 It’s been a hell of a year for Ukraine. Months of fiery protest, the over­throw of a pres­i­dent, a Russ­ian inva­sion and even a war.

But despite a cease-fire that’s in effect, there’s no sign that things are set­tling down. On Tues­day, some activists of the extrem­ist pro-Ukrain­ian par­ty Avtomaid­an threw a Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment mem­ber in a met­al trash can, doused him with an unknown liq­uid and threat­ened to light him on fire. It was all part of a demon­stra­tion out­side par­lia­ment in which hun­dreds of mem­bers of the far-right par­ties of Ukraine—Right Sec­tor, Avtomaid­an and Volya—demanded the pas­sage of law on some­thing called “lus­tra­tion.”

Lus­tra­tion in Ukraine means cleans­ing the gov­ern­ment from its past by screen­ing offi­cials and often pun­ish­ing them for involve­ment in a past regime. Pun­ish­ments can include stigma­ti­za­tion or removal from office. The point of lus­tra­tion for many Ukraini­ans is to ensure the cor­rup­tion that was so preva­lent in the regime of Vik­tor Yanukovich, who was forced from office ear­lier this year, is erad­i­cated. (The law passed, but it’s unclear what the net effect will be for mem­bers of par­lia­ment.)

The YouTube video shows Vitaliy Stanislavovich Zhu­ravskiy, a Ukrain­ian MP since 1998 with no par­ty affil­i­a­tion, lying in a dump­ster while a pro­tester force­fully holds his head down. Demon­stra­tors push and shove the dump­ster in every direc­tion until the cops grab Zhuravskiy’s hands and pull him out. In the back­ground, demon­stra­tors are burn­ing tires and shov­ing police offi­cers.

4. More depth on the nature of the “new” polit­i­cal make­up of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ed by German-Foreign-Policy.com. Note that the “mod­er­ate” Yat­senyuk’s par­ty has Andriy Bilet­sky, founder of the Azov Bat­tal­ion as an advis­er. Poroshenko has Svo­bo­da mem­ber Oleg Makhnit­sky as an advis­er, as well as Roman Svarych, the per­son­al sec­re­tary to Jaroslav Stet­sko.

“Nation­al­ist Upsurge”; german-foreign-policy.com;  10/24/2014.

The elec­tion cam­paign, end­ing this week in today’s pro-West­ern Ukraine, is char­ac­ter­ized by extrem­ist nation­al­ism. Accord­ing to opin­ion polls, the par­ty of the politi­cian, who had pro­mot­ed him­self using videos of his vio­la­tions of the human rights of alleged pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists, is set to become sec­ond in Sun­day’s elec­tions. Con­sid­er­ing the civ­il war’s nation­al­ist upsurge, oth­er par­ties have begun accept­ing mili­ti­a­men into their ranks. The com­man­der of the fas­cist Asov Bat­tal­ion, for exam­ple, is a mem­ber of the “mil­i­tary coun­cil” of Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Jazen­juk’s par­ty. Last week, Asov Bat­tal­ion mili­tia mem­bers par­tic­i­pat­ed in the vio­lent attacks on the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment. Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, it was alleged that Kiev’s troops had used inter­na­tion­al­ly banned clus­ter muni­tions in the Donet­sk region. New social cuts are antic­i­pat­ed — regard­less of the win­ner of the elec­tions — to pay for the essen­tial sup­plies of Russ­ian gas. Berlin and the EU, whose hege­mon­ic sphere Ukraine joined this year, are refus­ing to give Kiev addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al assis­tance. Aside from these issues, the for­mer Pol­ish for­eign min­is­ter, Radoslaw Siko­rs­ki, admit­ted that he had com­plete­ly invent­ed the seri­ous alle­ga­tions he made against the Russ­ian pres­i­dent. Ger­man media have wide­ly report­ed on these alle­ga­tions.

Sum­ma­ry Exe­cu­tion

The elec­tion cam­paign in today’s pro-West­ern Ukraine has been shaped, to a grow­ing extent, by extrem­ist nation­al­ism. Opin­ion polls pre­dict the vic­to­ry of the “Petro Poroshenko Bloc,” whose top can­di­date, Vitali Klitschko, had been sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly groomed by the CDU-affil­i­at­ed Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foundation.[1] For months already, poll­sters have been unan­i­mous­ly pre­dict­ing that Oleh Lyashko’s “Rad­i­cal Par­ty” will come in sec­ond. With his vio­la­tions of the human rights of alleged pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists, (german-foreign-policy.com report­ed [2]) Lyashko seems to attract a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of poten­tial­ly fas­cist vot­ers. Most recent­ly, he aroused atten­tion, when, in a TV talk show, he pre­sent­ed a pris­on­er — whom he claimed was a Russ­ian soldier.[3] Lyashko also announced that, in the future, he will have cap­tured sep­a­ratists sum­mar­i­ly exe­cut­ed. Polls give Lyashko more than ten per­cent of the vote. The Svo­bo­da Par­ty, which, up to now, had been the strongest force with­in the fas­cist spec­trum, is expect­ed to lose so many votes to Lyashko’s par­ty that it will have to wor­ry about whether it will achieve the 5% hur­dle or have to depend on direct man­dates. Svo­bo­da may also lose votes to the “Right Sec­tor,” which hard­ly has a chance of win­ning seats in the Verk­hov­na Rada.

“Cru­sade Against Unter­men­schen”

Beyond the spec­trum of overt­ly fas­cist par­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly the “Peo­ple’s Front” — the par­ty of Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk, who had been put in pow­er by the West — is cam­paign­ing with well-known rightwing extrem­ists. Tetiana Chorno­vol, the for­mer press sec­re­tary of the fas­cist UNA-UNSO orga­ni­za­tion, who, in the mean­time has joined the Asov Bat­tal­ion, is the sec­ond can­di­date on the bal­lot of the “Peo­ple’s Front.” The “Peo­ple’s Front” has also estab­lished a “Mil­i­tary Coun­cil” to prof­it from the coun­try’s nation­al­ist war fren­zy. The “Mil­i­tary Coun­cil” also includes Asov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der Andriy Bilet­sky. Bilet­sky once declared, “the his­toric mis­sion of our nation in this crit­i­cal moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final cru­sade for their sur­vival,” in “a cru­sade against the Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen.”[4] His Asov Bat­tal­ion had par­tic­i­pat­ed in the vio­lent attacks on the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment. These attacks began Octo­ber 14, when the major­i­ty of the deputies reject­ed the motion for declar­ing Octo­ber 14 an offi­cial hol­i­day. The Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA), which had also com­mit­ted mas­sacres on more then 90,000 Chris­t­ian and Jew­ish Poles, was found­ed Octo­ber 14, 1942.

Clus­ter Muni­tions

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, there were also seri­ous alle­ga­tions raised against the gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to recent reports — includ­ing those by west­ern human rights orga­ni­za­tions — Kiev gov­ern­ment forces, par­tic­u­lar­ly fas­cist mili­tias, are com­mit­ting seri­ous human rights vio­la­tions in the civ­il war in east­ern Ukraine. It has also been report­ed that gov­ern­ment units have used inter­na­tion­al­ly banned clus­ter muni­tions in the Donet­sk region. Clus­ter muni­tions are par­tic­u­lar­ly dan­ger­ous to civil­ians. To date, 114 coun­tries have signed the treaty ban­ning clus­ter muni­tions. The Ukraine has not joined the treaty even after the pro-west­ern coup in Kiev. Accord­ing to Human Rights Watch (HRW), there is strong evi­dence of Kiev’s gov­ern­ment forces hav­ing used clus­ter muni­tions in attacks in ear­ly Octo­ber — at the time, the cease­fire was already in effect. Accord­ing to HRW, at least six peo­ple have been killed and dozens wound­ed by these inter­na­tion­al­ly banned muni­tions. The real num­ber of vic­tims is prob­a­bly high­er, accord­ing to the human rights organization.[5]

Verge of Col­lapse

For the peri­od fol­low­ing the elec­tions, regard­less of elec­tion results, there are already indi­ca­tions of new social cut­backs. Eco­nom­i­cal­ly, Ukraine is on the verge of col­lapse. This year’s eco­nom­ic per­for­mance will shrink by up to ten per­cent, cor­re­spon­dents report. The bud­get could reach a deficit of more than sev­en per­cent of the gross domes­tic prod­uct. Since the begin­ning of the year, the Ukrain­ian cur­ren­cy, the hryv­na, has lost well over half of its val­ue vis à vis the US dol­lar, caus­ing the price of import­ed goods to soar. In addi­tion, the costs of ener­gy have also been ris­ing; infla­tion is run­ning at around twelve per­cent. No one expects the US $17 bil­lion in IMF bailouts — up to 2016 — to suffice.[6] There­fore, now that Kiev has joined the West­ern hege­mon­ic sphere of influ­ence, it is insist­ing on finan­cial sup­port from Berlin and the EU. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is only will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in lim­it­ed financ­ing. At best, a lim­it­ed share of the costs for Russ­ian gas deliv­er­ies to Ukraine could be cov­ered, accord­ing to the EU’s Ener­gy Com­mis­sion­er Gün­ther Oet­tinger’s entourage. The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment must revise its bud­get. This implies wide-rang­ing social cuts. The fact that no final agree­ment has been reached with Rus­sia on the sup­ply of nat­ur­al gas is advan­ta­geous to Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk. The absolute­ly essen­tial agree­ment and, with it, also the debate on more cuts, are, there­fore, post­poned until after elec­tions.

Lies

Recent Ger­man media reports have demon­strat­ed to what extent the west­ern “free­dom” PR cam­paign, even beyond the Ukrain­ian elec­tion cam­paign, is resort­ing to obvi­ous lies for their pow­er strug­gle with Rus­sia. Last week­end, Radoslaw Siko­rs­ki, until recent­ly, as Poland’s For­eign Min­is­ter, one of the EU’s most involved politi­cians in the Ukrain­ian con­flict, was quot­ed claim­ing that in Feb­ru­ary 2008, the Russ­ian Pres­i­dent, Vladimir Putin, pro­posed to him and the Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter, at the time, Don­ald Tusk, that Ukraine be divid­ed up between Poland and Rus­sia. “Tusk, for­tu­nate­ly, did not answer. He knew that the room was bugged,” claimed Siko­rs­ki. By Wednes­day, it was claimed that the “sus­pi­cion” of Rus­sia cur­rent­ly pur­su­ing “an old plan of con­quest,” has now “been fur­ther rein­forced” by Siko­rski’s declaration.[7] How­ev­er, by then, Siko­rs­ki already had had to admit that, con­trary to his ear­li­er alle­ga­tions, he had not even been present at the said meet­ing. He had been told that “a sim­i­lar” state­ment had been made. He has now also admit­ted that the meet­ing in ques­tion had not even tak­en place.[8] This inci­dent is but one in a long line of absur­di­ties being prop­a­gat­ed by west­ern polit­i­cal PR and media. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[9])

Oth­er reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on Ger­many’s pol­i­cy toward Ukraine can be found here: The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­e­gyThe Free WorldA Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tionThe Euro­peaniza­tion of UkraineCri­sis of Legit­i­ma­cy“Fas­cist Free­dom Fight­ers”The Restora­tion of the Oli­garchs (IV), Sec­ond-Class Stake­hold­ersUkrain­ian Patri­otsUkrain­ian Maneu­versA Les­son Learned and Under Tute­lage.

[1] See Our Man in Kiev.
[2] See Radikalisierung im Par­la­ment.
[3] Ben­jamin Bid­der: Rechter Poli­tik­er Ljaschko: Der Mann, der die Ukraine aufhet­zt. www.spiegel.de 22.10.2014.
[4] Ukraine cri­sis: the neo-Nazi brigade fight­ing pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists. www.telegraph.co.uk 11.08.2014.
[5] Ukraine: Wide­spread Use of Clus­ter Muni­tions. www.hrw.org 20.10.2014.
[6] Matthias Benz: Ein Land im Stresszu­s­tand. www.nzz.de 22.10.2014.
[7] Kon­rad Schuller: Ein schlechter Scherz? Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 22.10.2014.
[8] Siko­rs­ki entschuldigt sich. Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 23.10.2014.
[9] See “Moskaus Drang nach West­en”.

 

5. Poroshenko made Octo­ber 14 a nation­al hol­i­day, hon­or­ing the found­ing of the OUN-UPA.

6a. It appears that Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der Andriy Bilet­sky was elect­ed to Par­lia­ment as well.

“A Bilet­sky, Neo-Nazi, Azov Reg Com­man­der, Social Nation­al­ist A Leader Elect­ed with Sup­port from Pop­u­lar Front”;  Ukraine Antifa Twit­ter­feed; 10/26/2014.

6b. Deputy com­man­der of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, Vadim Troy­an, just become Kiev’s chief of police (Google trans­lated):

“Avakov Appoint­ed Chief of Police of Kiev Region Zamkom­bata ‘Azov’ “; 10/31/2014.

Ukrain­ian Inte­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov appoint­ed chief of Research Affairs in Kyiv oblast par­ty ATO, deputy bat­tal­ion com­man­der “Azov” Vadim Troy­an.

He announced from the stage of the Cen­ter of Cul­ture and Arts of Ukraine Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs on Fri­day, Oct. 31, trans­mits “Ukrin­form”.

“I have an order that has appoint­ed Lieu­tenant Colonel Vadim Troy­an depart­men­tal head of the Kiev region, and I hope that the patri­ots who proved his loy­alty in bat­tle coun­tries that are com­pe­tent, able, togeth­er with the old experts to form qual­i­ta­tively new mili­tia, which we expect,” — said the Min­is­ter.

Avakov added that Troy­an is a grad­u­ate of the Police Acad­emy, has expe­ri­ence, trust him, because he is well estab­lished in the ATO. “It frees Mar­i­upol with” Azov “, fought under Ilo­vaiskaya, par­tic­i­pated in the bat­tles of Shi­rokino. We trust him. And today, the deci­sion of the min­is­ter, he’s a police chief of Kiev region “- said the head of the Inte­rior Min­istry.

In reply, Vadim Troy­an assured that the Ukraini­ans will not let such a respon­si­ble posi­tion. “When I was study­ing, I dreamed of chang­ing the sys­tem and the fight against crime, to help the peo­ple of Ukraine. I think that this case is that God has giv­en me — the bat­tal­ion, the min­istry and the peo­ple — I will not fail, “- he said.

6c. Azov Bat­tal­ion mem­ber Igor Mosiy­chuk has been elect­ed to par­lia­ment on the Rad­i­cal Par­ty tick­et.

“Igor Mosiy­chuk, Nazi, Azov Reg­i­ment, Social-Nation­al­ist Assem­bly, elect­ed to Ukraine Par­lia­ment, Rad­i­cal Par­ty”; Ukraine Antifa Twit­ter­feed; 10/26/2014.

6d. Anoth­er Azov vet­er­an (killed in action in August) was a close ally of Kiev May­or Vitali Klitschko, who is a key mem­ber of Poroshenko’s polit­i­cal par­ty. His wid­ow, also an Azov asso­ciate and a mem­ber of Yat­senyuk’s Mil­i­tary Coun­cil, was head of the “anti-cor­rup­tion” task force. This places her promi­nent­ly in the “lus­tra­tion law” milieu!

“Hus­band of Kiev Rev­o­lu­tion Hero Killed in Bat­tle” by Christo­pher Miller; Mashable.com; 8/10/2014.

A close ally of Kiev May­or Vitali Klitschko and the hus­band of promi­nent jour­nal­ist-turned-activist Tetyana Chorno­vol, was killed in action in the country’s con­flict-torn east on Sun­day.

Myko­la Bere­zovy, 37, was fight­ing with the “Azov” bat­tal­ion, a group of vol­un­teer fight­ers under the con­trol of the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, against Russ­ian-backed rebels in the town of Ilo­vaisk some 30 miles south­east of the sep­a­ratist strong­hold of Donet­sk when he was fatal­ly wound­ed by a sniper’s bul­let, said Anton Gerashchenko, an advi­sor to Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov. . . .

. . . . Under the new gov­ern­ment, Chorno­vol was appoint­ed to lead Ukraine’s anti-cor­rup­tion task force. . . .

. . . . Bere­zovy, the for­mer head of Klitschko’s Ukrain­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) par­ty in in what is now rebel-occu­pied Hor­liv­ka, Donet­sk region, bled out while wait­ing for a med­ical assis­tance to arrive at the scene. . . . .

7.  An arti­cle about Ukraine fur­ther devel­ops the pres­ence of Nazis and fas­cists in the so-called “mod­er­ate” polit­i­cal ele­ments in Ukraine. The spin is inter­est­ing. Crit­ics from the pro-EU fac­tion are crit­i­ciz­ing this as giv­ing cre­dence to what Putin is say­ing. The fact is that Putin has been mak­ing those state­ments because the pro-OUN/B heirs in Ukraine are, in fact, Nazis and fas­cists!

“Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent Wowed Con­gress, But His Par­ty Has a Dark Side” by Anna Nemtso­va; The Dai­ly Beast; 9/19/2014.

Activists and oppo­nents warn that Poroshenko’s embrace of ultra-right­ists plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin.

Experts who mon­i­tor ultra-right-wing groups and hate crimes have sent an open let­ter ask­ing Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk, a key Poroshenko sup­port­er, to exclude sev­er­al Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist lead­ers from his new­ly found­ed People’s Front par­ty. These activists remind­ed Yat­senyuk and Poroshenko that some of the pub­lic fig­ures appoint­ed as the par­ty can­di­dates for the upcom­ing Octo­ber par­lia­men­tary elec­tions are open­ly anti-Semit­ic and are not known to have renounced their views. They pro­mote rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism, racism and neo-Nazi ideology—the heady brew of loath­some doc­trines that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his back­ers have warned about since the Feb­ru­ary change of pow­er in Kiev.

In pho­tographs of the recent par­ty con­gress, Yat­senyuk and for­mer act­ing Pres­i­dent Alexan­der Turch­nov stood shoul­der to shoul­der with Andrei Bilet­sky, a leader in the far-right Patri­ots of Ukraine and the Social-Nation­al­ist Assem­bly.

These groups are known for brawl­ing, attack­ing pub­lic fig­ures, and var­i­ous hate crimes. Before the Russ­ian-backed rebel­lion in east­ern Ukraine most were regard­ed as lit­tle more than hooli­gans. But in the face of Russia’s threats, Bilet­sky and oth­er far-right fig­ures have been trans­formed from fringe per­son­al­i­ties into nation­al heroes.

The vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion Bilet­sky serves with, Azov, counts a few hun­dred armed mil­i­tants. “We don’t deny that a major­i­ty of our guys are Ukrain­ian patri­ots,” Bilet­sky said in a recent inter­view, pub­lished on Azov’s Face­book page. West­ern vol­un­teers also sup­port­ed Bilet­sky, he said: “Brits, Ital­ians, Swedes, Rus­sians, Belaru­sians, some Greeks, Croats and Poles. For­eign­ers are our elite forces.” The battalion’s sym­bol is a mod­i­fied swasti­ka, although for the record the group denies it is Nazi-inspired.

The more mod­er­ate oppo­si­tion has crit­i­cized Poroshenko for seem­ing to wel­come the “Nazi” part­ners while using them as can­non fod­der in the war against Moscow and pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists.

In a recent inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast in Kiev, Grig­o­ry Nemi­ra, head of the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion com­mit­tee in the Ukraine par­lia­ment and a close ally of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko, said that Poroshenko pre­ferred to del­e­gate the respon­si­bil­i­ty for what hap­pened on the front lines to vol­un­teer com­man­ders and not the defense min­istry.

“The pres­i­dent still has not appoint­ed a chief of staff for the armed forces,” said Nemi­ra. “He has not admit­ted we are in a state of war, pre­fer­ring to throw the bat­tal­ions like Azov into the most dan­ger­ous com­bat zones, where author­i­ties would not have the courage to send reg­u­lar troops.”

The price these sup­pos­ed­ly hero­ic bat­tal­ion com­man­ders demand­ed for their com­bat roles is rep­re­sen­ta­tion in par­lia­ment. Russ­ian forces have killed dozens of vol­un­teer sol­diers in recent bat­tles, Bilet­sky said ear­li­er this month, and “those who made a major sac­ri­fice deserve to be rep­re­sent­ed in pow­er.” His bat­tal­ion fight­ers, some wear­ing undis­guised swasti­ka tat­toos, often express anti-Semit­ic views. But that did not stop hun­dreds of Ukraini­ans from push­ing “like” under Face­book pho­tographs of Bilet­sky and his men.

The “Mil­i­tary Coun­cil” of the People’s Front wel­comed a com­man­der of the Dnper‑1 Bat­tal­ion, Yuri Birch. Andriy Paru­biy, a co-founder of Patri­ots of Ukraine back in the 1990s, also has found a role in the pro-Poroshenko camp. [Paru­biy is from Svo­bo­da and was Defense Min­is­ter through much of the ear­ly part of 2014.] He and a few oth­er activists were tried for beat­ing demon­stra­tors in Lviv on Novem­ber 7, 1997. Dur­ing the Feb­ru­ary upris­ing on Maid­an square, he worked close­ly with far-right groups as a com­man­der of the Maid­an self-defense troops. Last year, Patri­ots of Ukraine sup­port­ers and Bilet­sky were accused of attempt­ing to kill jour­nal­ist Sergei Kolesnik. He was detained but nev­er con­vict­ed. Oth­er sup­port­ers of the orga­ni­za­tion were jailed in 2011 for prepar­ing a ter­ror­ist act. . . . .

8. The pro­gram con­cludes with a syn­op­tic overview of the his­tor­i­cal evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B milieu that came to pow­er in the wake of the Maid­an coup. (We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800, 803, 804, 808, 811, 817.)

  • Ukrain­ian fas­cists work­ing for the Third Reich were active in the U.S. dur­ing World War II.
  • Under Stephan Ban­dera and Jaroslav Stet­sko, the OUN/B were mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal allies of the Third Reich dur­ing the war. They explic­it­ly endorsed the ide­ol­o­gy and eth­nic cleans­ing of Nazi Ger­many and imple­ment­ed it against Jews, Poles and Rus­sians dur­ing the war.
  • The OUN-UPA–the mil­i­tary wing of the OUN/B–prosecuted a gueril­la war in Ukraine, begin­ning dur­ing World War II itself and con­tin­u­ing until 1952 with the active assis­tance of Frank Wis­ner’s Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion.
  • The OUN/B became the dom­i­nant ele­ment of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, a renam­ing of the Com­mit­tee of Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations formed by Adolph Hitler in 1943. Jaroslav Stet­sko head­ed the group, with his wid­ow Sla­va Stet­sko assum­ing the post after her hus­band’s death in 1986.
  • The Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations became a key com­po­nent of the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, which fig­ured promi­nent­ly in U.S. covert oper­a­tions and for­eign pol­i­cy dur­ing the Cold War. WACL was deeply involved in the sup­port for the Con­tra gueril­las in Nicaragua.
  • The ABN and the OUN/B also fig­ure in the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy.
  • The gueril­la war­fare in Ukraine was part of the Cru­sade For Free­dom, a covert oper­a­tion that had a pow­er­ful domes­tic com­po­nent. Thou­sands of Nazi and fas­cist col­lab­o­ra­tors, includ­ing OUN/B oper­a­tives, were import­ed into the Unit­ed States to become a crit­i­cal ele­ment of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. The CFF was the cre­ation of Allen Dulles and was over­seen by Richard Nixon. The chief spokesper­son for it was Ronald Rea­gan. William Casey han­dled the State Depart­ment machi­na­tions to bring these oper­a­tives into the Unit­ed States. George Her­bert Walk­er Bush installed the Nazis as a per­ma­nent wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty when he served as chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee.
  • Ronald Rea­gan’s elec­tion saw the CFF milieu insti­tu­tion­al­ized. Rea­gan (CFF spokesman) was Pres­i­dent; George H.W. Bush was Vice Pres­i­dent (he made the Nazis a per­ma­nent ele­ment of the GOP); William Casey, who was Rea­gan’s cam­paign man­ag­er, became head of the CIA (Casey han­dled the State Depart­ment machi­na­tions to bring the Nazis into the U.S.)
  • Rea­gan’s Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son was Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko, a key OUN/B oper­a­tive. OUN/B mem­ber Lev Dobri­an­sky became Rea­gan’s Ambas­sador to the Bahamas, while his daugh­ter Paula was placed on Rea­gan’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. Lat­er, Paula Dobri­an­sky became an Deputy Sec­re­tary of State under George W. Bush, in charge of the Tibet desk.
  • Roman Svarych served as Jaroslav Stet­sko’s per­son­al sec­re­tary dur­ing the 1980’s.
  • The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion imple­ment­ed “lib­er­a­tion ide­ol­o­gy”–a Nazi polit­i­cal war­fare strategy–to help break up the U.S.S.R.
  • The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion played a key role in the polit­i­cal infil­tra­tion and indoc­tri­na­tion of the for­mer War­saw Pact coun­tries and the Sovi­et Union itself. The head of its oper­a­tions there was Las­z­lo Pasz­tor, a Hun­gar­i­an Arrow Cross vet­er­an who was a key ABN agent after the war. Pasz­tor head­ed up the GOP’s Nazi wing. Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments track­ing back to World War II were pro­ject­ed into ter­ri­to­ries where the FCF was active. They took root there and have pro­vid­ed momen­tum and ide­o­log­i­cal sup­port for the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine. OUN/B forces were a major ele­ment of the FCF’s activ­i­ties in the for­mer Sovi­et Bloc.
  • After Ukraine gained its inde­pen­dence after the dis­so­lu­tion of the U.S.S.R., Roman Svarych and Sla­va Stet­sko formed the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Con­gress, which became a piv­otal ele­ment in post-Cold War Ukrain­ian gov­er­nance. Svarych served as jus­tice min­is­ter under Vic­tor Yuschenko and in both of Yulia Tim­o­shenko’s admin­is­tra­tions. Svarych is an advis­er to Petro Poroshenko.
  • Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko mar­ried Vic­tor Yuschenko and became first lady of Ukraine. Yuschenko imple­ment­ed an Orwellian re-write of Ukrain­ian World War II his­to­ry, lion­iz­ing the OUN/B and paving the way for the ascen­sion of Svo­bo­da and relat­ed ele­ments. Both Stephan Ban­dera and Roman Shukheyvych (head of the OUN-UPA) were name heroes of the Ukraine by Yuschenko.
  • Svo­bo­da head Oleh Tyhany­bok was hon­ored by vet­er­ans of the 14th Waf­fen SS divi­sion in 2010. Svo­bo­da returned the hon­or in 2013 in Lvov.
  • The Maid­an coup occurs in late 2013 and ear­ly 2014, with Svo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor, as well as oth­er OUN/B heir play­ing a promi­nent role in the coup, as well as gain­ing sev­er­al crit­i­cal cab­i­net appoint­ments in the pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment. A street in the Lvov dis­trict was name in hon­or of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion (Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall), that liq­ui­dat­ed the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of Lvov, as well as many of its Pol­ish res­i­dents. Roman Shukheyvych com­mand­ed the unit.
  • As the Ukrain­ian civ­il war devel­oped, peo­ple from OUN/B suc­ces­sors such as the Azov Bat­tal­ion, Svo­bo­da, Pravy Sek­tor, the Rad­i­cal Par­ty, the UNA-UNSO are incor­po­rat­ed into the so-called “mod­er­ate” polit­i­cal group­ings.

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR #818 Can You Put Lipstick on a Nazi? (Part 3): Update on Ukraine and Timeline of Ukrainian Fascism”

  1. Vice has a new report on the report­ed use of incen­di­ary weapons on civil­ians areas in east­ern Ukraine. Their con­clu­sion: such weapons were used, but it was­n’t banned white phos­pho­rous but instead a type of bare­ly reg­u­lat­ed incen­di­ary weapon devel­oped by the Sovi­et mil­i­tary that can be legal­ly be used against ene­my forces even if they are “in close prox­im­i­ty to con­cen­tra­tions of non-com­bat­ants” accord­ing to Pro­to­col III of the Con­ven­tion on Cer­tain Con­ven­tion­al Weapons (CCCW). But use in such cir­cum­stance is only allowed if it’s fire from a sur­face-to-sur­face mis­sile and not and air-to-sur­face mis­sile. The arti­cle also points out that the mis­sile launch­ers used in this instance are old­er sys­tems not known for their accu­ra­cy. So it’s pos­si­ble that incen­di­aries weapons were used against civil­ian pop­u­la­tions by the Kiev forces legal­ly, but only due to a hor­ri­ble loop­hole:

    Vice News
    ‘A Rain of Fire’: Ukrain­ian Forces Used Lit­tle-Known Sovi­et-Era Incen­di­ary Weapons to Attack Ilovi­ask

    By Har­ri­et Salem

    Novem­ber 13, 2014 | 12:19 pm

    Ilovi­ask was once a sleepy small town in east­ern Ukraine, but by mid August this year war was knock­ing at the door as fierce fights between pro-Rus­sia rebels and Ukrain­ian forces raged through sur­round­ing vil­lages and coun­try­side. The dis­tant explo­sions which illu­mi­nat­ed the night sky on August 14, how­ev­er, looked noth­ing like the grad rock­et and mor­tar fire that the locals had come to rec­og­nize.

    At first, the town’s res­i­dents thought the Ukraini­ans were just cel­e­brat­ing a vic­to­ry. “It seemed like they were set­ting off fire­works after retak­ing a near­by vil­lage from the mili­tia,” 52-year-old Ele­na Sycho­va, the care­tak­er at school 14, told VICE News. “But then we real­ized it was­n’t stop­ping. It was get­ting clos­er and clos­er to us. It was like a rain of fire.”

    A sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tion by VICE News, includ­ing an inde­pen­dent expert analy­sis of retrieved rock­et rem­nants by Arma­ment Research Ser­vices (ARES), showed that the “fire­works” were in fact thou­sands of incen­di­ary ele­ments cas­cad­ing out of a Sovi­et-era 9M22S rock­et in mid-flight.

    Up to 40 9M22S rock­ets can be fired in approx­i­mate­ly 20 sec­onds by the 9K51(aka BM-21 ) “Grad” Mul­ti­ple Launch Rock­et Sys­tem (MLRS). Ignit­ed at the point of ejec­tion, the 180 hexag­o­nal-shaped shells packed into the rock­et’s 9N510 war­head each con­tain a ther­mite-like sub­stance and burn furi­ous­ly as they plum­met to the ground.

    Although the ele­ments are small — 1.02 x 1.65 inch­es or 2.6 x 4.2cm — they reach a blaz­ing tem­per­a­ture. Most ther­mite com­po­si­tions ignite at tem­per­a­tures in excess of 3,992 degrees Fahren­heit (2,200 degrees Cel­sius). The heat is suf­fi­cient to reduce the out­er ML‑5 mag­ne­sium alloy cas­ing to ash.

    The night of August 14, around 10pm, local res­i­dents across Ilovi­ask — which at the time was under rebel con­trol — report hear­ing a num­ber of unusu­al-sound­ing explo­sions in quick suc­ces­sion and what appeared to be giant “fire­works” com­ing from the south-west.

    Alexan­der, a 44-year-old secu­ri­ty guard, was about to go to bed when he heard the rapid series of booms. “It seemed far away, so I did­n’t wor­ry. My wife and kids were already liv­ing in the bomb shel­ter under the cul­tur­al cen­ter at this time, but I stayed here to pro­tect the house,” he told VICE News.

    But by the time Alexan­der reached his back gate the “mas­sive fire­works” he at first saw out the win­dow had turned into “balls of fire falling from the sky.” The ground in his back­yard soon began burn­ing. “In the first moment I thought to lay on the floor but then I real­ized if one hit me I would be burned to the bone, so I ran back inside,” he said.

    Alexan­der and oth­er res­i­dents of Kom­so­mol­skaya Street said that five to ten min­utes after the “fire” stopped falling, the roofs of build­ings also start­ed catch­ing alight. “On this street we were lucky we had a big tank of water in one of the neigh­bor’s gar­dens so we worked togeth­er using buck­ets to put out the fires,” Alexan­der told VICE News. “They start­ed fir­ing Grad rock­ets short­ly after, while we were still putting out the fires. Bom­bard­ment was near con­stant at this point. We man­aged to save four hous­es on this street but one burned down. After this fire attack I’d had enough. I took my stuff and moved to the bomb shel­ter at about 4:30am that morn­ing.”

    That night at least eight hous­es were com­plete­ly destroyed and dozens more dam­aged by the “fire” that fell from the sky.

    In all the loca­tions where build­ings were iden­ti­fied by locals as start­ing to burn in the min­utes after the attack, VICE News found tell­tale charred hexag­o­nal rem­nants near­by and mul­ti­ple sites of small patch­es of charred earth around the area of the pri­ma­ry fire.

    The very nature of incen­di­ary attacks typ­i­cal­ly makes iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the weapons used excep­tion­al­ly dif­fi­cult. Most vital evi­dence, includ­ing the muni­tions rem­nants, is nor­mal­ly destroyed or dam­aged beyond recog­ni­tion in the blazes that fol­low.

    In the case of Ilovi­ask, how­ev­er, video footage filmed on the night of the attack from out­side the near­by vil­lage of Zelene — pro­vid­ed to VICE News by a local res­i­dent — along­side mul­ti­ple eye­wit­ness­es tes­ti­monies, gave unique clues that allowed for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the like­ly fir­ing posi­tion approx­i­mate­ly 11 miles (18.1 kilo­me­ters) south-west of the town.

    Over­look­ing the vast stretch­es of the region’s most­ly flat land­scape, around one mile short of the 9M22S’s max­i­mum range from Ilovi­ask, VICE News found an aban­doned Ukrain­ian hill­top camp. Here, buried under leaves and amid the desert­ed trench­es, lit­ter of bul­let cas­ings, and scat­tered ammu­ni­tion box­es, was vital evi­dence tying the site to the attack on Ilovi­ask, includ­ing charred earth, intact hexag­o­nal ele­ments, and sev­er­al rem­nants from unex­plod­ed and mis­fired rock­ets.

    When ana­lyzed by ARES experts, the com­po­nents were matched to the unusu­al and dis­tinc­tive rem­nants of the type of weapon found by VICE News in Ilovi­ask, mak­ing the windy hill­top spot the most like­ly ori­gin for the “rain of fire” over the near­by town.

    Doc­u­ment­ed use of fire-start­ing weapons in Ukraine dates back to fight­ing in Slo­vian­sk in June. How­ev­er lit­tle empir­i­cal research has been done into the types of muni­tions that may have been used. At the time of the first attacks, Russ­ian media wide­ly, and erro­neous­ly, report­ed the weapon was “white phos­pho­rus-based.”

    Famous­ly used by the US in Viet­nam and Israel in Gaza, white phos­pho­rus has attract­ed inter­na­tion­al con­dem­na­tion for its indis­crim­i­nate nature and well-known dead­ly and poi­so­nous effects, mak­ing its alleged use by Ukrain­ian forces in Don­bas an easy pro­pa­gan­da point-scor­er for Rus­sia.

    How­ev­er, expert analy­sis of video from sev­er­al incen­di­ary attacks filmed in east­ern Ukraine, includ­ing the footage obtained by VICE News of the attacks on Ilovi­ask, has con­clud­ed that the weapon in use is not con­sis­tent with the accounts in the Russ­ian media. “White phos­pho­rus is typ­i­cal­ly char­ac­ter­ized by a sig­nif­i­cant, ongo­ing out­put of bril­liant white smoke, which is absent in these cas­es, sug­gest­ing it is more like­ly an incen­di­ary or pyrotech­nic,” ARES’s direc­tor and incen­di­ary weapon researcher, N.R Jen­zen-Jones, told VICE News.

    In com­par­i­son to many white phos­pho­rous muni­tions, lit­tle is known about the 9M22S rock­et and the 9N510 war­head. Accord­ing to insid­er source infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed to ARES, the only pri­or con­firmed use of the rock­et is in Sovi­et-era wars in Afghanistan, but the weapon is also sus­pect­ed to have fea­tured in more recent con­flicts includ­ing in Libya and Chech­nya.

    Devel­oped and pro­duced in the secre­tive arms pro­grams of the Sovi­et Union, where incen­di­ary weapons con­tin­ued to be a main­stay long after they had fall­en out of favor with West­ern armies, the 9M22S/9N510 and oth­er muni­tions of that era have remained large­ly shroud­ed in mys­tery, even to the expert com­mu­ni­ty.

    “Many of these weapons devel­oped under the Sovi­et Union we know lit­tle to noth­ing about,” Mark Hiz­nay, a senior arms researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW), told VICE News. “Now after years gath­er­ing dust in stock­piles they’re pop­ping up, in Libya, in Syr­ia and, of course, in Ukraine which has its own stock­piles, and we have to try and fig­ure out exact­ly what’s going on and how they work,” added Hiz­nay, who has con­duct­ed field research in east­ern Ukraine’s bat­tle­fields and oth­er con­flict zones.

    One thing experts can say for sure, how­ev­er, is that the 9M22S/9N510 can start dead­ly blazes in a mat­ter of min­utes. “These types of weapons are designed to set fire to tar­gets of mil­i­tary impor­tance and are typ­i­cal­ly employed against infra­struc­ture such as ammu­ni­tion and fuel dumps, although they have also been employed in the anti-per­son­nel role. When fired into any infra­struc­ture, includ­ing built-up res­i­den­tial areas, if a suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ty of flam­ma­ble mate­r­i­al is present, there is the poten­tial for a fire to start. The high­er the den­si­ty of incen­di­ary ele­ments, the greater that chance typ­i­cal­ly is,” Jen­zen-Jones explained.

    Incen­di­ary weapons have long been used on the world’s bat­tle­fields. The use of fire-tipped arrows was doc­u­ment­ed as far back as 500BC in the first-ever known mil­i­tary man­u­al, The Art of War. Since then almost every fight­ing force, from the Spar­tans to the Sovi­ets, has used fire war­fare.

    Indeed, one of the fac­tors that has made the use of incen­di­ary weapons so per­sis­tent and valu­able through­out his­to­ry is not only fire’s abil­i­ty to cause death and wide­spread dam­age, but also its capac­i­ty to incite fear and reduce morale, not only in armies but also among local pop­u­la­tions deemed hos­tile to the attack­ing force. One such exam­ple of specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ing civil­ian areas with incen­di­ary weapons is the fire­bomb­ing of Ger­man cities by Britain and the US dur­ing World War II.

    Yet, despite the wide­ly acknowl­edged abil­i­ty of incen­di­ary weapons to kill, ter­ror­ize, seri­ous­ly injure, cause psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma, and dev­as­tate infra­struc­ture, they remain among the most poor­ly reg­u­lat­ed cat­e­go­ry of arms under inter­na­tion­al laws of war.

    Pro­to­col III of the Con­ven­tion on Cer­tain Con­ven­tion­al Weapons (CCCW), which 108 states includ­ing both Rus­sia and Ukraine are par­ty to, is the main legal frame­work gov­ern­ing the use of incen­di­ary war­fare. It pro­scribes tar­get­ing civil­ians with weapons that have a pri­ma­ry func­tion of start­ing fires. How­ev­er, while the leg­is­la­tion also pro­hibits the use of air-to-sur­face incen­di­ary muni­tions against mil­i­tary tar­gets if they are in close prox­im­i­ty to con­cen­tra­tions of non-com­bat­ants, it does allow the use of sur­face-to-sur­face incen­di­ary muni­tions, such as the 9M22S/9N510, in such cir­cum­stances.

    Speak­ing by tele­phone from Gene­va where he is lob­by­ing on behalf of HRW to increase the scope of inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tion of incen­di­ary weapons, Hiz­nay, who has vis­it­ed the site in Ilovi­ask, told VICE News that not only in Ilovi­ask but in count­less con­flict zones across the world, from being caught in the cross­fire.

    “The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty needs to take action because exist­ing laws are not ade­quate... The facts on the ground belie the­o­ret­i­cal claims of (the Ukrain­ian) gov­ern­ment. There was no clear mil­i­tary objec­tive (to the attack in Ilovi­ask), we saw civil­ian hous­es burned. Any mil­i­tary advan­tage per­ceived as being gained by using these weapons is out­weighed by the human­i­tar­i­an con­se­quences,” he added.

    Jen­zen-Jones of ARES said there is also a need to pay greater atten­tion to the out­dat­ed deliv­ery sys­tems being used to launch weapons such as 9M22S. While many sur­face-to-sur­face muni­tions are more accu­rate than air-to-sur­face muni­tions, there are excep­tions to the rule and the 9M22S/9N510 — an unguid­ed rock­et deliv­ered by an out­dat­ed 9K51 MLRS sys­tem — is a case in point, he explained.

    “Like many old­er MLRS sys­tems, the 9K51 is not an espe­cial­ly accu­rate weapon,” he said. “It is designed to bring max­i­mum force to bear on area tar­gets, sat­u­rat­ing an area with a rock­et bar­rage. It is not designed for accu­rate­ly engag­ing point tar­gets in the same way that many mod­ern sys­tems are. The 9M22S is a free flight (unguid­ed) rock­et, and con­sid­er­ably less accu­rate than the pre­ci­sion guid­ed muni­tions we would expect many mod­ern mil­i­taries to employ when engag­ing mil­i­tary tar­gets in built-up, civil­ian areas.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 15, 2014, 5:55 pm
  2. Here’s an arti­cle that points towards a rather jar­ring aspect of a rival­ry between Pres­i­dent Poroshenko and Prime Min­is­ter Yat­se­niuk: There appears to be a con­flict over which one of them gets to choose who heads the inte­ri­or min­istry. Why? Because that’s where the Nation­al Guard and “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” are con­trolled. So there appears to be a pow­er strug­gle over con­trol of the “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions”. That’s, um, more than a lit­tle omi­nous:

    Ukraine leader, under pres­sure from West, pledges new gov­ern­ment soon

    By Richard Balm­forth

    KIEV Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:16pm EST

    (Reuters) — Ukraine will take the first steps this week towards form­ing a new gov­ern­ment, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said on Mon­day, seek­ing to assuage con­cern among his West­ern allies that the delay is hold­ing up reform and imper­il­ing West­ern assis­tance.

    The U.S. and oth­er West­ern gov­ern­ments are crit­i­ciz­ing Kiev’s tar­di­ness in putting togeth­er a gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing Octo­ber elec­tions — with sus­pi­cions that the delay is due to rival­ry between Poroshenko and Prime Min­is­ter Arse­ny Yat­se­niuk over con­trol of key port­fo­lios.

    “We hope that the process (of form­ing a gov­ern­ment) will begin this week,” Poroshenko said at a news con­fer­ence with vis­it­ing Lithuan­ian Pres­i­dent Dalia Gry­bauskaite, appar­ent­ly refer­ring to the first ses­sion of the new par­lia­ment on Thurs­day.

    Sep­a­rate­ly, Poroshenko also announced that Lithua­nia would pro­vide Ukraine with some mil­i­tary aid to help Kiev in its fight against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try.

    “We have agreed on sup­plies of con­crete ele­ments of con­crete arma­ments for the Ukrain­ian armed forces. This is real help,” Poroshenko said stand­ing along­side Gry­bauskaite.

    It was not clear, how­ev­er, if Lithua­nia was fol­low­ing fel­low NATO mem­ber the Unit­ed States in pro­vid­ing non-lethal mil­i­tary equip­ment or whether it was sup­ply­ing weapon­ry — some­thing NATO coun­tries have so far been reluc­tant to do in case arm­ing a non-mem­ber prompts a con­flict with Rus­sia.

    ...

    Asked whether Ukraine would seek to join NATO, Poroshenko held out the prospect of a ref­er­en­dum in sev­er­al years’ time, but said attempts to join now would cause “more harm than good”.

    Before the con­fronta­tion with Rus­sia, Ukraini­ans showed lit­tle inter­est in join­ing NATO, and the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion spec­i­fies a “non-bloc”, unaligned sta­tus.

    But since Rus­si­a’s annex­a­tion of Crimea in March and Moscow’s open back­ing for the pro-Russ­ian rebel­lions, pop­u­lar sup­port for join­ing the Alliance has shot up.

    Last week, U.S. Vice-Pres­i­dent Joe Biden became the lat­est West­ern politi­cian to express con­cern at Kiev’s slow­ness in form­ing a new gov­ern­ment team, with­out which new Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund cred­its and oth­er West­ern assis­tance can­not be released.

    “Form a new gov­ern­ment as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. It should be done in days not weeks,” Biden said in Kiev. He said a new gov­ern­ment was vital­ly need­ed to form stronger demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions, enhance inte­gra­tion with Europe and fight “the can­cer of cor­rup­tion”.

    Poroshenko, elect­ed in May after “Euro­maid­an” street protests over­threw Moscow-backed Vik­tor Yanukovich, did not vol­un­teer any expla­na­tion for the delay in form­ing a gov­ern­ment which may now emerge ear­ly next week.

    But com­men­ta­tors say Poroshenko wants his can­di­date in the sen­si­tive post of inte­ri­or min­is­ter — though fill­ing this post falls with­in the pre­rog­a­tive of the Prime Min­is­ter rather than that of the Pres­i­dent.

    With the coun­try at war, this would give Poroshenko, rather than Yat­se­niuk, con­trol over a post which directs the Nation­al Guard and vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions fight­ing along­side gov­ern­ment forces against the sep­a­ratists.

    Yat­se­niuk, how­ev­er, is said to be insist­ing that he keep the right to appoint the post, and keep his man Arsen Avakov in situ.

    Yat­se­niuk has steadi­ly tak­en on the role of a hawk in Poroshenko’s admin­is­tra­tion with strong­ly-word­ed attacks on Rus­sia and Rus­si­a’s Vladimir Putin.

    This con­trasts with the smoother, more prag­mat­ic style of Poroshenko who is insist­ing that there can be no mil­i­tary solu­tion to the con­flict and stress­es the valid­i­ty of the Sept. 5 peace deal even though both sides accuse the oth­er of vio­lat­ing it.

    Poroshenko, a con­fec­tionery tycoon who was elect­ed by a land­slide last May, was on the receiv­ing end of pub­lic anger for the first time last Fri­day when he was heck­led by a crowd of aggriev­ed rel­a­tives as he paid his respects to the 100 or so peo­ple killed in the “Euro­maid­an” upheaval.

    They com­plained he had not ful­filled a pledge to make their dead kins­men nation­al heroes — some­thing which brings finan­cial ben­e­fits to the fam­i­lies. Poroshenko stepped away and lat­er returned to announce that he would ful­fill his promise after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 24, 2014, 1:07 pm
  3. “The effects of the war in east Ukraine were vis­i­ble in the make­up of the Rada. Instead of police, fight­ers from sev­er­al vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions in shab­by uni­forms guard­ed the perime­ter, while inside more than a dozen men in fatigues walked the cor­ri­dors as new­ly elect­ed MPs.Wel­come to Ukrain’s new par­lia­ment:

    The Guardian
    Ukraine’s new par­lia­ment sits for first time
    War in east of coun­try vis­i­ble in make­up of Rada, with dozens of men in fatigues walk­ing the cor­ri­dors as new­ly elect­ed MPs

    Oksana Gryt­senko in Kiev and Shaun Walk­er

    Thurs­day 27 Novem­ber 2014 13.41 EST

    Para­mil­i­tary com­man­ders in fatigues, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and a fight­er pilot absent because she is in a Russ­ian jail are among the mem­bers of Ukraine’s new par­lia­ment, which sat for the first time on Thurs­day, reflect­ing how much the coun­try has changed this year and the for­mi­da­ble chal­lenges it still faces.

    The par­lia­ment is the result of the first par­lia­men­tary elec­tions since the oust­ing of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych by the Euro­maid­an protest move­ment in Feb­ru­ary. But 27 of its seats remain emp­ty, a sign of the ter­ri­to­ry lost since the rev­o­lu­tion – Crimea annexed by Rus­sia, and parts of the east under the con­trol of Moscow-backed sep­a­ratists.

    As well as activists from Euro­maid­an and com­man­ders who have led the fight against sep­a­ratists in the east, the par­lia­ment also con­tains a num­ber of far-right fig­ures, includ­ing Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sec­tor move­ment, and Andriy Bilet­sky, who leads the Azov bat­tal­ion, a vol­un­teer group­ing known for its Nazi sym­bols and far-right ide­ol­o­gy.

    Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said that by elect­ing a new par­lia­ment Ukraine would have com­plet­ed a “total reboot of pow­er”. More than half of the MPs are new to pol­i­tics, only two of six par­ties elect­ed exist­ed a year ago and there is no Com­mu­nist par­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the first time.

    Poroshenko told the Rada, Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, the coun­try would always have to sleep “with a revolver under the pil­low” giv­en the threat from the east. He spoke by phone with Vladimir Putin on Wednes­day, offi­cials in Moscow and Kiev said. Poroshenko’s press ser­vice described the call as “con­struc­tive”. Kiev accus­es Moscow of giv­ing logis­ti­cal and mil­i­tary sup­port to the rebels it is fight­ing in the east.

    Poroshenko put on a show of uni­ty with the prime min­is­ter, Arseniy Yat­senyuk, at the open­ing of par­lia­ment on Thurs­day. Rival­ry between the two men has alarmed west­ern politi­cians who are keen to see a strong gov­ern­ment in Kiev that is able to tack­le the myr­i­ad of eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal reforms required.

    The effects of the war in east Ukraine were vis­i­ble in the make­up of the Rada. Instead of police, fight­ers from sev­er­al vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions in shab­by uni­forms guard­ed the perime­ter, while inside more than a dozen men in fatigues walked the cor­ri­dors as new­ly elect­ed MPs. Fight­er pilot Nadiya Savchenko, elect­ed as part of a par­ty list, was absent. She is in jail in Rus­sia accused of the death of a Russ­ian jour­nal­ist. Kiev says she was ille­gal­ly seized by Russ­ian forces inside Ukraine and dragged across the bor­der.

    In a par­lia­ment that has long been known for alter­ca­tions and fist­fights, there were fears that the new set of MPs could prove more unruly than ever, espe­cial­ly after the com­man­ders of two vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions active in the east had promised to solve their per­son­al dif­fer­ences “like men” inside par­lia­ment.

    But Semen Semenchenko, com­man­der of the Don­bas bat­tal­ion, said it was “not the right time or place” to set­tle his con­flict with the com­man­der of the Aidar bat­tal­ion. Semenchenko told the Guardian his two main pri­or­i­ties were the fight against Russ­ian forces in the east and the fight against cor­rup­tion.

    “Pre­vi­ous par­lia­ments could not achieve this, but I am deter­mined that this old sys­tem will not defeat us,” he said.

    ...

    As we can see, these vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions have appar­ent­ly replaced the police as the new par­lia­men­tary secu­ri­ty ser­vice while at the same time the com­man­ders of the Don­bas bat­tal­ion and the Aidar bat­tal­ion (now both MPs) are clear­ly at odds with each oth­er. It’s a reminder of the per­ilous risks asso­ci­at­ed with ele­vat­ing obvi­ous­ly met­al­ly dis­turbed indi­vid­u­als into posi­tions of author­i­ty. It’s also a reminder of just how much pow­er these “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” have acquired since a rev­o­lu­tion that’s not even a year old.

    And here’s a reminder that the pow­er­ful busi­ness inter­ests that cre­at­ed and financed these bat­tal­ions are like­ly to apply pres­sures on squab­bling “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion” MPs in order to cre­ate a uni­fied front. After all, those “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” aren’t free, and the busi­ness­men that pay for them aren’t doing this with­out ambi­tions of their own: “Alexan­der and his col­leagues are look­ing to bat­tal­ion com­man­ders who have been elect­ed to the new par­lia­ment to start form­ing a vot­ing bloc to force through change. They are talk­ing about set­ting up a par­al­lel defense min­istry in the form of an NGO to pro­vide greater com­mand-and-con­trol struc­ture to the mili­tias”:

    The Dai­ly Beast
    Ukraine Mili­tias Warn of Anti-Kiev Coup
    The men behind Ukraine’s nation­al­ist mili­tias are look­ing to replace the fum­bling gov­ern­ment in Kiev one way or anoth­er.

    Jamie Det­mer

    11.28.14

    KIEV, Ukraine—The burly man with the close-cropped sil­ver hair and his two com­pan­ions ask not to be iden­ti­fied too close­ly when they talk to me in some dowdy offices near an ancient monastery over­look­ing the Dnieper Riv­er. They want to be described as “patri­ot­ic busi­ness­men,” they say, and one of them, whom we’ll call Alexan­der, is a very, very rich patri­ot­ic busi­ness­man.

    They have been fund­ing Ukrain­ian self-defense mili­tias formed in response to what they see as the inef­fec­tive­ness of the Ukraine Armed Forces in the face of pro-Moscow sep­a­ratists and Russ­ian troops in the country’s south­east. And they sug­gest some­thing worse than incom­pe­tence is at work there. The word “betray­al” often plays on their lips. They pre­dict the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko may not last anoth­er three months. “That’s opti­mistic,” says Alexan­der.

    Alexan­der and his friends point to con­tin­ued mil­i­tary hard­ware exports—sometimes trans­ferred via Moscow-ally Belarus—sent from some of Ukraine’s 134 state-owned defense enter­pris­es to Rus­sia, which has long been the Ukraine arms industry’s biggest cus­tomer.

    The trade flouts a March 2014 pro­hi­bi­tion on all exports of weapon­ry and mil­i­tary equip­ment to Moscow. Poroshenko rein­forced that ban in June with a pres­i­den­tial decree, but Alexan­der and oth­er busi­ness­men con­tact­ed by The Dai­ly Beast say enter­pris­es are still dis­obey­ing the order. Some are doing so because there’s mon­ey to be made and reces­sion is hit­ting this key sec­tor; oth­ers because exec­u­tives and work­ers in the defense plants, most­ly locat­ed in the east and the south of Ukraine, are sym­pa­thet­ic to Rus­sia.

    Ear­li­er this month, nation­al­ist busi­ness­men alert­ed Ukraine’s Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk to the immi­nent ship­ment of key com­po­nents for mil­i­tary radar sys­tems mount­ed on Russ­ian Shil­ka self-pro­pelled anti-air­craft guns. Yat­senyuk blocked the ship­ment from Kiev’s Arse­nal arms fac­to­ry.

    ...

    Win­ter cloth­ing for the 15,000 or so vol­un­teers in 37 pro-uni­ty mili­tias is upper­most on the minds of their patrons—the tem­per­a­tures here are turn­ing sub-zero now and the first snow of win­ter flecked Ukraine’s cap­i­tal this week. Down in the south­east, mili­ti­a­men and many Ukrain­ian reg­u­lars are still in light­weight camouflage—the best off are the sep­a­ratists and the Russ­ian “vol­un­teers” back­ing them up who sport new insu­lat­ed win­ter out­fits.

    Ukraine’s nation­al secu­ri­ty spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, lat­er told me when I brought up the issue of the patchy win­ter cloth­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion, “as far as I know the Min­istry of Defense has dis­patched warm cloth­ing, although not every­one has received theirs yet.” On the mili­ti­a­men, he says there are no plans to help them with equip­ment. “They pro­vide their own assis­tance and we are grate­ful to them for this.”

    Grat­i­tude isn’t what vol­un­teers in the so-called ter­ri­to­r­i­al defense bat­tal­ions want from Kiev. They want more deter­mi­na­tion from author­i­ties, a greater sense of direc­tion, and they need more equip­ment.

    And their sus­pi­cions make them see betray­al at every turn, even when incom­pe­tence may be the cause of a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem. They are sus­pi­cious, for instance, that Amer­i­can non-lethal aid is being sold to the sep­a­ratists, after spot­ting sep­a­ratist fight­ers with U.S.-supplied Meal Ready-to-Eat rations, although these could eas­i­ly have been loot­ed.

    Alexan­der and his col­leagues are look­ing to bat­tal­ion com­man­ders who have been elect­ed to the new par­lia­ment to start form­ing a vot­ing bloc to force through change. They are talk­ing about set­ting up a par­al­lel defense min­istry in the form of an NGO to pro­vide greater com­mand-and-con­trol struc­ture to the mili­tias. But in the end there is no sub­sti­tute for gov­ern­ment when it comes to war fight­ing.

    “Poroshenko said in the sum­mer that he need­ed a new par­lia­ment and gov­ern­ment to get things mov­ing,” says Alexan­der. “Well we have a new par­lia­ment and there are no excus­es left,” he says dark­ly.

    What hap­pens come the win­ter, if Kiev has been unable to over­come the insur­gency, is anyone’s guess. A Kiev-based senior West­ern diplo­mat here dis­counts the like­li­hood of some kind of upris­ing by frus­trat­ed vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions, say­ing that is some­thing Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­dists like to fore­cast. “That would fit into the Krem­lin nar­ra­tive,” says the diplo­mat. “Rus­sia nev­er got it that the Maid­an upris­ing was a tru­ly pop­u­lar rebel­lion by ordi­nary peo­ple who just had had enough of Yanukovich and felt angry and humil­i­at­ed.”

    “I can’t see hun­dreds of thou­sands of ordi­nary peo­ple com­ing out on the streets of Kiev like they did for the Maid­an upris­ing, if the bat­tal­ions descend­ed on the cap­i­tal,” he says. “Is it pos­si­ble there could be trou­ble from the vol­un­teers? I don’t know. I hate to make pre­dic­tions here: No one saw Maid­an hap­pen­ing.”

    “A par­al­lel defense min­istry in the form of an NGO”. Oh great.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2014, 4:30 pm
  4. Fol­low­ing the anti-Russ­ian “lus­tra­tion” laws, check out Petro Poroshenko’s lat­est scheme: change the cit­i­zen­ship laws to allow select for­eign­ers to get fast-tracked cit­i­zen­ship in order to allow them to hold cab­i­net posi­tions. It sounds like he’s also con­sid­er­ing just allow­ing for­eign­ers to fill those posts with­out the cit­i­zen­ship require­ment. Giv­en the pen­chant for the “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” to hint at coups in Kiev, you have to won­der how Ukraine’s far right is going to react to this idea. Espe­cial­ly since Poroshenko’s admin­is­tra­tion has already hired a recruit­ment firm:

    Kyiv Post
    Poroshenko wants to see for­eign­ers head­ing ‘Ukraine’s FBI,’ fill Cab­i­net posi­tions

    Nov. 27, 2014, 3:44 p.m. |
    by Katya Gorchin­skaya,

    Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko asked the new par­lia­ment to amend leg­is­la­tion to allow for­eign­ers to take top jobs in the nation, includ­ing head of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau.

    “I have a con­crete sug­ges­tion to all who is involved, accord­ing to pro­ce­dure spelled out in law, to the appoint­ment of this extreme­ly impor­tant insti­tu­tion. I sug­gest invit­ing to this job a per­son from out­side of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told the new par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, the day of its open­ing.

    “Thus we will have an advan­tage – an absence of con­nec­tions in the Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal elite,” Poroshenko explained.

    The Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau is yet to be cre­at­ed, and is sup­posed to fight top-lev­el cor­rup­tion. It has already been dubbed “Ukraine’s FBI,” and the process of its cre­ation is close­ly watched by Ukraine’s for­eign cred­i­tors and local busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty.

    ...

    More­over, Poroshenko said he want­ed to amend the law to allow for­eign­ers to take oth­er top jobs, or sim­pli­fy the pro­ce­dure for grant­i­ng Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship to for­eign­ers.

    “My idea is, by chang­ing the law, to allow for­eign­ers into state ser­vice, includ­ing gov­ern­ment seats, or extend the list of per­sons the pres­i­dent can grant Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship, through fast track­ing,” Poroshenko said.

    Poroshenko’s admin­is­tra­tion hired an inter­na­tion­al recruit­ing com­pa­ny, Korn Fer­ry, and its local branch WE Part­ners, to iden­ti­fy can­di­dates for the next gov­ern­ment. They approached for­eign­ers in Ukraine and abroad. They are Amer­i­can, Lithuan­ian and Geor­gian nation­als, accord­ing to Insider.ua, a Ukrain­ian site that spe­cial­izes in polit­i­cal news.

    Cur­rent­ly, the law has a lim­it­ed list of rea­sons to gain Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship. It can hap­pen through birth, adop­tion or in cas­es when at least of the par­ents has such cit­i­zen­ship. For­eign­ers wish­ing to gain Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship have to give up their orig­i­nal pass­ports.

    Poroshenko implied in his speech that there may be peo­ple who are pre­pared to con­sid­er such an option. “The deci­sive steps of such for­eign­ers, which will be pre­pared to turn down their own cit­i­zen­ship and accept a Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship, will be a con­fir­ma­tion of their deci­sive­ness of the inten­tions of our poten­tial part­ners and can­di­dates,” he said.

    Poroshenko’s sug­ges­tion to appoint for­eign­ers was met with some skep­ti­cism in the ses­sion hall, which the pres­i­dent also not­ed: “I can see that not every­one in this hall likes this idea.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 29, 2014, 12:18 pm
  5. The Kiev Oblast’s new chief of police Vadym Troy­an, for­mer­ly a deputy com­man­der of the Azov bat­tal­ion, wish­es peo­ple would­n’t see him as a Nazi and instead focus on his pos­i­tive, anti-cor­rup­tion agen­da. He also denies any con­nec­tions to right-wing extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions, says that the Azov bat­tal­ion was tol­er­ant, and gen­er­al­ly sees extrem­ist right-wing groups as mar­gin­al­ized and a fear pri­mar­i­ly stirred up by Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da meant to turn inter­na­tion­al sen­ti­ment against Ukraine. That’s uplifting...the new chief of police for the Kiev region declares crack­ing down on cor­rup­tion as his top pri­or­i­ty while clear­ly demon­strat­ing his belief that every­one around him is blind, deaf, and dumb:

    Kyiv Post
    For­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion leader works to clean up Kyiv region­al police, his
    Dec. 3, 2014, 2:40 p.m.
    by Ian Bate­son

    In one week at the end of Octo­ber Vadym Troy­an went from being the deputy com­man­der of a right-wing vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion fight­ing in Ukraine’s east to chief of police for the Kyiv Oblast.

    For­eign media por­trayed the man as a neo-Nazi tak­ing a major job in the police, but he has remained large­ly unaware his poor image abroad because since the begin­ning of Novem­ber he has been trav­el­ing around his new juris­dic­tion and speak­ing to police offi­cers.

    In one of the first inter­views with the media, he told the Kyiv Post that his mes­sage to police offi­cers on the ground has been this: “If you humil­i­ate peo­ple or steal from them I will per­son­al­ly arrest you.”

    Troy­an says he has made the fight against cor­rup­tion in the police a per­son­al pri­or­i­ty. Com­ing back from the front, he aims to bring the inge­nu­ity and ded­i­ca­tion that has defined Ukraine’s non-gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives since the start of the Euro­Maid­an a year ago.

    He admits though that until salaries are raised for police offi­cers it will be dif­fi­cult to stamp out cor­rup­tion com­plete­ly. A police offi­cer in the war zone who spoke to the Kyiv Post recent­ly said he made Hr 2,000 ($125) per month. He is employed by a spe­cial orga­nized crime fight­ing unit.

    Those trav­el­ing with Troy­an say that his youth, he is 35, and can­dor about the prob­lems police offi­cers face, along with his ath­let­ic stature make a strong impres­sion the offi­cers. One of Troy­an’s aides said young police offi­cers in the field are used to peo­ple who are old and out of touch.

    Most of the media cov­er­age of Troy­an since he was appoint­ed chief of police, how­ev­er, has not focused on what he wants to change in the police but his links to right-wing orga­ni­za­tions.

    “A right-wing extrem­ist made police chief in Kyiv” read the head­line of an arti­cle in the Ger­man paper Die Welt from Nov. 12. Russ­ian state media, which reg­u­lar­ly paints Ukraine as a coun­try run by right-wing extrem­ists, also seized on Troyan’s appoint­ment as evi­dence of Ukraine’s sup­posed extrem­ism.

    From May until Octo­ber Troy­an was the deputy com­man­der of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, which is par­tic­u­lar­ly active in the defense of the city of Mar­i­upol in the south­ern part of the Donet­sk Oblast. The bat­tal­ion uses a sym­bol sim­i­lar to the Wolf­san­gel, which has its roots in Ger­man coats of arms and has been used by Nazi mil­i­tary units and neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions. Mem­bers of the orga­ni­za­tion, how­ev­er, state that their sym­bol has a dif­fer­ent his­to­ry and rep­re­sents the Ukrain­ian words for “unit­ed nation.”

    The tim­ing of Troy­an’s appoint­ment placed his links to right-wing orga­ni­za­tions in focus. On Oct. 29 Kyiv’s his­toric Zhovten cin­e­ma was dev­as­tat­ed by fire while a film being shown as part of an LGBT film fes­ti­val was being shown. On Oct. 31 a group of men in cam­ou­flage attempt­ed to force their way into a screen­ing of anoth­er LGBT film being shown as part of the fes­ti­val but were stopped by police. The orga­niz­ers said the men were wear­ing insignia of the far-right group Pravy Sek­tor, though the group denied any involve­ment. It is still unclear whether the acts were attacks on the fes­ti­val or an attempt to clear the cin­e­ma for a real-estate projects.

    On Oct. 31 the day of the sec­ond attack Ukrain­ian Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs Arsen Avakov announced that Troy­an would become the new chief of police of Kyiv Oblast. Troy­an says the appoint­ment hap­pened after he trav­elled to Kyiv to lob­by to be made chief of police of Donet­sk Oblast and they offered him Kyiv Oblast instead. Crit­ics, how­ev­er, saw the move as one of sup­port for right-wing groups and feared selec­tive jus­tice.

    As head of Kyiv region police Troy­an has no juris­dic­tion over the city of Kyiv, but when asked by the Kyiv Post if he would have any issues pro­tect­ing peo­ple at a sim­i­lar LGBT film fes­ti­val he said he would not. “I would ensure order,” he added.

    Troy­an denies con­nec­tion to right-wing extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions and says that the Azov bat­tal­ion was tol­er­ant and there “it didn’t mat­ter what reli­gion you were or what lan­guage you spoke.”

    He gen­er­al­ly sees extrem­ist right-wing groups as mar­gin­al­ized and a fear pri­mar­i­ly stirred up by Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da meant to turn inter­na­tion­al sen­ti­ment against Ukraine.

    “We don’t have skin­heads,” he said ask­ing whether any­one had seen any in Ukraine over the past five years.

    Not every­one agrees with his eval­u­a­tion. Holya Coy­nash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group calls appoint­ing Troy­an police chief an “awful” move. She says Troy­an has been linked to neo-Nazi groups such as the Patri­ots of Ukraine in the past. She does not think the move is indica­tive of board­er right-wing sym­pa­thies in the gov­ern­ment but says it is a care­ful bal­anc­ing act in Ukraine cur­rent­ly to crit­i­cize right-wing groups because Rus­sia uses any such cri­tiques for its pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es.

    Troy­an denies his deci­sion to join the Azov bat­tal­ion had any­thing to do with a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy. He says he was active in the Euro­Maid­an protests in Kyiv until the founder of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, Andriy Bilet­sky, who he knew from his time at the Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs acad­e­my in Kharkiv, asked him to join. Bilet­sky was a leader of the Patri­ot of Ukraine and Social Nation­al­ist Assem­bly.

    For now, Troyan’s pri­or­i­ties as new police chief fit well with those of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. After Poroshenko pro­posed allow­ing for­eign cit­i­zens to serve in the Ukrain­ian cab­i­net for­mer Geor­gian Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Eka Zgu­ladze has become a can­di­date for the posi­tion of deputy min­is­ter of the inte­ri­or. One of Geor­gia still most pos­i­tive­ly seen reforms was a reform of the police that began with a mass fir­ing. One year since the Maid­an protests began Ukraine still lacks sig­na­ture reforms to define its new gov­ern­ment.

    Troy­an says he is ded­i­cat­ed to chang­ing the image and con­tent of the police. “No one has the right to insult any­one else.”

    ...

    “One of Geor­gia still most pos­i­tive­ly seen reforms was a reform of the police that began with a mass fir­ing. One year since the Maid­an protests began Ukraine still lacks sig­na­ture reforms to define its new gov­ern­ment.” So it sounds like a mass police fir­ing is prob­a­bly in the works. Say hel­lo to Ukraine’s future police force.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 4, 2014, 3:18 pm
  6. Democ­ra­cy con­tin­ues to blos­som in the new Ukraine:

    The Asso­ciate Press
    Ukraine’s Jus­tice Min­istry Bars Com­mu­nists From Elec­tions

    JULY 24, 2015, 8:10 A.M. E.D.T.

    KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s jus­tice min­istry has barred three Com­mu­nist par­ties from run­ning in the upcom­ing local elec­tions, cit­ing recent leg­is­la­tion.

    Ukrain­ian news agen­cies on Fri­day quot­ed Jus­tice Min­is­ter Pavlo Petrenko as say­ing that the three par­ties will be barred from the Octo­ber elec­tions. The min­is­ter also pledged to file a law­suit to ban the three orga­ni­za­tions.

    The Com­mu­nist par­ty has been an impor­tant force in Ukraine, polling 13 per­cent in the 2012 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, but its pop­u­lar­i­ty plum­met­ed over its sup­port for ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yunukovych. In last year’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Ukraine gar­nered less than 4 per­cent of the vote.

    Ukraine passed sev­er­al laws in April ban­ning the use of sym­bols from the Sovi­et years and denounc­ing Com­mu­nist ide­ol­o­gy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2015, 5:04 pm
  7. Over 100 police were injure and one killed in Kiev dur­ing a protest led by armed Svo­bo­da and Right Sec­tor mem­bers that turned vio­lent. Right after the par­lia­ment passed a pre­lim­i­nary vote to over­haul the con­sti­tu­tion to allow for greater decen­tral­iza­tion, includ­ing poten­tial­ly grant­i­ng the rebel regions greater auton­o­my as part of the peace-process, some­one threw a grenade at the cops guard­ing the par­lia­ment:

    The Dai­ly Beast
    Kiev Grenade Kills Riot Police as Divid­ed Ukraine OKs Min­sk Cease­fire
    Out­side, a bomb thrown from a right-wing mob leaves a riot cop dead and dozens severe­ly injured. Inside, a bit­ter par­lia­ment cries treach­ery, but votes to approve the Min­sk cease­fire.

    Anna Nemtso­va

    08.31.1511:43 AM ET

    Vio­lence, blood, riots, and the rhetoric of betray­al returned to the heart of Ukraine on Mon­day.

    Ear­ly in the day, activists from the right-wing oppo­si­tion, ran­dom cit­i­zens, far-right Svo­bo­da par­ty mem­bers, and Right Sec­tor mil­i­tants blocked the streets of Kiev and the square around the nation’s par­lia­ment to protest con­sti­tu­tion­al changes being dis­cussed inside. While law­mak­ers vot­ed on a decen­tral­iza­tion bill, in accor­dance with February’s Min­sk cease­fire agree­ment, ten­sions boiled over both inside the par­lia­ment and out on the capital’s streets. Clash­es, includ­ing a grenade attack on par­lia­ment itself, result­ed in at least one death, dozens of severe­ly injured police, and hun­dreds of casu­al­ties. A gov­ern­ment offi­cial lat­er said a detained sus­pect was a Svo­bo­da mem­ber, and iden­ti­fied the dead police­man as a 25-year-old nation­al guards­man.

    Protest lead­ers echoed the heart of the con­flict inside par­lia­ment, between Ukrain­ian politi­cians sup­port­ing the cease­fire deal with Moscow and those who opposed giv­ing any author­i­ty to rebel gov­ern­ments. At the head of the lines, the Right Sec­tor, a mil­i­tant move­ment that called for a third rev­o­lu­tion at a big gath­er­ing last month on Kiev’s main Maid­an Square that includ­ed armed pro­test­ers among the 1,000 or so demon­stra­tors.

    On Mon­day, even more armed peo­ple were on the streets. As their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in par­lia­ment warned decen­tral­iz­ing the state would allow pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist groups to gain pow­er, aggres­sive men in black masks in the front rows of protests out­side Verk­hov­na Rada—Ukraine’s state par­lia­ment, known as the Rada—pushed police and tossed smoke grenades.

    Inside, ten­sions peaked at 11 a.m., when 50 law­mak­ers blocked the speaker’s tri­bune from delay­ing the time for the vote. Both sides accused each oth­er of being pro-Russ­ian and liv­ing with a Sovi­et men­tal­i­ty. Rad­i­cal Par­ty deputies drummed with plas­tic bot­tles, thump­ing their sham­ing of the country’s lead­er­ship. Par­ty mem­bers screamed that Europe betrayed Ukraine, “as they did dur­ing Hitler’s times” and even brought up Vladimir Lenin’s quotes to cas­ti­gate the pro-pres­i­den­tial par­ties. Ex-Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko said the bill was “nei­ther a road to peace, nor to decen­tral­iza­tion.” Tymoshenko opposed the mea­sure, which was sub­mit­ted by Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko ear­ly this sum­mer. “Our job is to bring the peace nego­ti­a­tion back on the right track by our ‘No’ vote—that would give us peace and not an illu­sion of peace.”

    Even one of the most lib­er­al par­ties, Samopovich, did not sup­port the vote. Leader Oleg Berezyuk called the bill “a rape of the con­sti­tu­tion” and a “betray­al of nation­al inter­ests.” No deputy from Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchy­na par­ty vot­ed in sup­port of decen­tral­iza­tion. But the bill was approved by major­i­ty of the par­lia­ment: Of 368 law­mak­ers, 265 sup­port­ed the bill at Monday’s ses­sion.

    Moments lat­er, a loud blast was heard out­side, and black smoke crawled up the par­lia­ment wall. Some­one had thrown a grenade at the thick throng of riot police. Bleed­ing and limp­ing, dozens of cops res­cued each oth­er from the bloody scene. On Face­book, Anton Gerashchenko, advis­er to the inte­ri­or min­is­ter, wrote that it was a com­bat grenade and that as many as 30 ser­vice­men were severe­ly wound­ed. Heavy lines of police strug­gled to push pro­test­ers back, away from Rada, as the square sank into smoke and tear gas.

    By 4 p.m., the num­ber of injured increased to 100 police, Kiev May­or Vitali Klitschko told local TV reporters. “Accord­ing to my infor­ma­tion, some peo­ple died in clash­es out­side Rada,” the may­or said. By ear­ly evening, gov­ern­ment offi­cials count­ed 122 among the wound.

    ...

    Karen Madoian, of the EU project Sup­port to Jus­tice Sec­tor Reforms in Ukraine, told The Dai­ly Beast that Poroshenko’s bill was far from ide­al, but Ukraine had no oth­er option, as it was oblig­ed to amend its con­sti­tu­tion as part of the Min­sk cease­fire. “Oth­er­wise, we would not be backed by the West,” Madoian said. “I think Poroshenko has demon­strat­ed to the West­ern part­ners that the major­i­ty in the par­lia­ment is under con­trol. But I real­ly doubt he will be able to get the major­i­ty vote of 300 MPs next time. Today, it was just a pre­lim­i­nary vot­ing.”

    That gives us an idea of the lev­els of resis­tance to any sort of decen­tral­iza­tion as part of the peace process. But as the arti­cle below points out, recent polls have also shown the major­i­ty of Ukraini­ans do actu­al­ly sup­port the decen­tral­iza­tion process. At the same time, anx­i­ety over grant­i­ng the rebel regions “spe­cial” sta­tus remain, with many ques­tion­ing whether or not doing so in effect sig­nals the west has already lost the civ­il war.

    So, putting aside neo-Nazi groups lik Svo­bo­da and Right Sec­tor who appear to oppose any­thing oth­er than com­plete mil­i­tary liq­ui­da­tion of the rebels, it’s look­ing like most peo­ple in Ukraine do indeed want decen­tral­iza­tion, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly extra-decen­tral­iza­tion for the east:

    The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor
    Amid vio­lence in Kiev, Ukraine tries to find a ‘decen­tral­ized’ peace

    Ukraine’s par­lia­ment took a first step toward grant­i­ng pow­ers to rebel regions. But dead­ly clash­es in the cap­i­tal show the depth of resis­tance to such changes.
    By Fred Weir, Cor­re­spon­dent August 31, 2015

    Moscow — In what was the worst vio­lence to hit Kiev since last year’s Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion, fight­ing between right-wing pro­test­ers and police left at least one offi­cer dead and around 100 injured, four crit­i­cal­ly, out­side Ukraine’s par­lia­ment Mon­day.

    But the more last­ing con­fronta­tion may prove to be inside the par­lia­ment.

    Even as pro­test­ers, some armed with grenades and firearms, attempt­ed to break in to the build­ing, leg­is­la­tors passed a set of con­sti­tu­tion­al reforms that would grant “spe­cial sta­tus” to rebel republics in east­ern Ukraine. The bil­l’s pas­sage marked a first step in Kiev’s com­pli­ance with the Min­sk-II agree­ment, spon­sored by both the Euro­pean Union and Moscow.

    But pro­test­ers, led by the right-wing Svo­bo­da and Rad­i­cal par­ties, say the pack­age of “decen­tral­iza­tion” reforms, which still require anoth­er vote at the end of the year for final pas­sage, are a sur­ren­der to the Rus­sia-backed rebels in Ukraine’s east. The reforms’ sup­port­ers counter that they are nec­es­sary to move ahead on Min­sk’s ten­u­ous road map for peace and rein­te­gra­tion.

    The basic reform, in the works for more than a year, aims to address many of the caus­es of last year’s rev­o­lu­tion by stream­lin­ing Ukraine’s over-cen­tral­ized gov­ern­ment to del­e­gate appro­pri­ate pow­ers to regions and local com­mu­ni­ties. Polls show this plan, based on Poland’s mod­el of gov­er­nance, enjoys wide­spread sup­port around the coun­try.

    But oppo­nents of the bill, which passed its first read­ing Mon­day with sup­port from 265 law­mak­ers, are incensed by pro­vi­sions that would grant tem­po­rary auton­o­my to the rebel republics of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk. Many fear that step will even­tu­al­ly hard­en into per­ma­nent inde­pen­dence. The bill will need a con­sti­tu­tion­al major­i­ty of 300 votes to pass in its sec­ond and final read­ing slat­ed for Decem­ber.

    “The storm in soci­ety is most­ly over the issue of spe­cial sta­tus for [the rebel zones]. This bill is like a can­dy that’s fine – except for a cou­ple of nox­ious chem­i­cals that it’s laced with,” says Sergei Gai­day, an inde­pen­dent polit­i­cal expert in Kiev, and oppo­nent of the bill.

    “The pres­i­dent claims there’s not real­ly any spe­cial sta­tus, but in fact there is. If they’re going to change the Con­sti­tu­tion to do this, why not grant spe­cial sta­tus to all Ukrain­ian regions? Why is Don­bass so spe­cial? The ques­tion many peo­ple are ask­ing is: Does this mean we have lost the war?”

    Decen­tral­iza­tion vs. fed­er­al­iza­tion

    Under the Min­sk agree­ment, Ukraine is required to pass a set of con­sti­tu­tion­al changes that grant greater auton­o­my to its regions, allow the rebel republics to hold sep­a­rate elec­tions on the ter­ri­to­ry they con­trol, end the year-old eco­nom­ic block­ade of the rebel ter­ri­to­ries, and begin talks aimed at rein­te­gra­tion. The rebels, while retain­ing spe­cial pow­ers that include the right to form their own mili­tia and appoint admin­is­tra­tors, would return to Ukrain­ian rule and hand back the Russ­ian-Ukrain­ian bor­der to Kiev’s con­trol.

    But there is a fun­da­men­tal dis­agree­ment over the nature of a “decen­tral­ized” Ukraine. In Kiev, the reform is viewed as hand­ing down only those pow­ers that con­cern local gov­ern­ment, while retain­ing mil­i­tary, for­eign pol­i­cy, and over­all eco­nom­ic con­trol.

    Moscow has argued that Ukraine needs a “fed­er­al­ized” sys­tem that allows regions to go their own way on issues like lan­guage and cross-bor­der eco­nom­ic asso­ci­a­tions – which would effec­tive­ly give them a veto over major ini­tia­tives like join­ing NATO or the EU. Rebel lead­ers in Donet­sk and Luhan­sk have offered  their own ver­sion of con­sti­tu­tion­al change that dif­fers sharply from Kiev’s.

    Olexan­der Cher­nenko, a Rada deputy with Pres­i­dent Poroshenko’s bloc, says he vot­ed for the decen­tral­iza­tion bill Mon­day because he regards it as Ukraine’s most basic reform, and stalling could be dis­as­trous.

    “If we did­n’t pass it today, it would be post­poned” beyond the year-end dead­line for meet­ing the Min­sk require­ments, he says. “Some polit­i­cal forces are using this for their own pur­pos­es in advance of [Octo­ber region­al] elec­tions.”

    Ukraine, divid­ed

    But oth­ers warn that, while decen­tral­iza­tion may be need­ed, the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try is too unsta­ble to car­ry it out effec­tive­ly.

    “It’s a very risky path,” says Vladimir Panchenko, an expert with the Inter­na­tion­al Cen­ter of Polit­i­cal Stud­ies in Kiev. “Peo­ple fear that sep­a­ratists in the east will be legit­imized, and that they might get elect­ed into local leg­is­la­tures and coun­cils. There’s a lot of scope for provo­ca­tions and esca­la­tion of ten­sions.”

    The most com­pre­hen­sive poll on Ukrain­ian pub­lic opin­ion, con­duct­ed by the Inter­na­tion­al Repub­li­can Insti­tute in July, found major­i­ty sup­port in all regions of the coun­try for the idea of trans­fer­ring more rights from cen­tral to local author­i­ties. On the oth­er hand, it also found that sol­id majori­ties sup­port the idea of Ukraine remain­ing a “uni­tary” state, which would seem to rule out the Rus­sia-spon­sored idea of “fed­er­al­iza­tion.”

    ...

    “The storm in soci­ety is most­ly over the issue of spe­cial sta­tus for [the rebel zones]. This bill is like a can­dy that’s fine – except for a cou­ple of nox­ious chem­i­cals that it’s laced with”.
    That appears to be a com­mon sen­ti­ment, which rais­es a num­ber of ques­tions about how the peace process moves for­ward because if the “nox­ious chem­i­cals” include things like:

    “Peo­ple fear that sep­a­ratists in the east will be legit­imized, and that they might get elect­ed into local leg­is­la­tures and coun­cils. There’s a lot of scope for provo­ca­tions and esca­la­tion of ten­sions.”

    it’s not real­ly clear what’s going to get the rebel lead­ers to agree to a set­tle­ment. Isn’t legit­imiz­ing the sep­a­ratists as fel­low Ukraini­ans sort of a basic start­ing point? Or is that no longer an option?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 31, 2015, 2:20 pm
  8. With the death toll from the grenade attack against the police in Kiev dur­ing the Svo­bo­da-led protests now ris­ing to three dead, it’s worth not­ing that Svo­bo­da leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok was front and cen­ter at the protests. It’s also worth not­ing that both Svo­bo­da and Right Sec­tor are blam­ing the gov­ern­ment for the attack:

    Radio Free Europe Radio Lib­er­ty
    Kyiv Vio­lence Steps Up Pres­sure To Reject Ultra­na­tion­al­ists

    By Robert Coal­son

    Sep­tem­ber 01, 2015

    The blood­shed dur­ing vio­lent clash­es between secu­ri­ty forces and rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists on August 31 has cast a stark light on a long-stand­ing prob­lem con­fronting the gov­ern­ment in Kyiv.

    No longer can the post-Maid­an gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko deny it has a prob­lem with a small but dan­ger­ous ultra­na­tion­al­ist con­tin­gent that has served as a use­ful ally in the past, but that also has repeat­ed­ly shown a will­ing­ness to use vio­lence to push its own agen­da.

    Three Nation­al Guards­men were killed and more than 90 injured by a grenade that was thrown dur­ing a vio­lent protest by ultra­na­tion­al­ists led by the Svo­bo­da par­ty out­side the coun­try’s par­lia­ment. Svo­bo­da was protest­ing leg­is­la­tion that would grant more auton­o­my for sep­a­ratist-held ter­ri­to­ry in the east in accord with the Min­sk agree­ments on reg­u­lat­ing the con­flict with the Rus­sia-backed rebels.

    Even as the wound­ed were being tak­en away, an unre­pen­tant spokesman for the rad­i­cal Right Sec­tor par­ty was quick to blame Poroshenko for the tragedy.

    “I say that today we saw that Poroshenko has shed this blood,” Right Sec­tor spokesman Artem Sko­ropad­skiy told 112 Ukraine TV on August 31. “This is exact­ly the same thing that hap­pened dur­ing the regime of [for­mer Pres­i­dent Vik­tor] Yanukovych — the use of force, the vio­lent dis­per­sal of peace­ful protests, beat­ing the oppo­si­tion, and so on.”

    The Svo­bo­da par­ty also issued a state­ment say­ing, “the respon­si­bil­i­ty for the attack near the parliament…lies with the cur­rent gov­ern­ment.” Svo­bo­da said the explo­sion at the protest was “a pre­planned provo­ca­tion against Ukrain­ian patri­ots.”

    ‘Stab In The Back’

    For the gov­ern­ment, the vio­lence at the gates of the par­lia­ment is a sym­bol­ic chal­lenge by polit­i­cal forces that came to the fore as a result of their mus­cu­lar defense of the Euro­Maid­an protests that drove Yanukovych from pow­er in Feb­ru­ary 2014 and their aggres­sive fight­ing against the sep­a­ratists in east­ern Ukraine. In addi­tion, the gov­ern­ment has wel­comed the uni­fy­ing back­ing of nation­al­ists in the face of the threat from neigh­bor­ing Rus­sia and Krem­lin rhetoric aimed at under­min­ing Ukrain­ian state­hood.

    Nonethe­less, vot­ers sound­ly reject­ed the ultra­na­tion­al­ists dur­ing the May 2014 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the Novem­ber 2014 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

    Poroshenko said the vio­lence was “a stab in the back” for the entire coun­try. Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk was even more explic­it.

    “The cyn­i­cism of this crime lies in the fact that while the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion and its ban­dits are try­ing and fail­ing to destroy the Ukrain­ian state on the east­ern front, the so-called pro-Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal forces are try­ing to open anoth­er front in the heart of the coun­try,” Yat­senyuk said.

    Both pledged to pros­e­cute the per­pe­tra­tors to the full extent of the law, and 18 peo­ple, includ­ing the alleged grenade throw­er, have been arrest­ed. But that, crit­ics say, will not be enough to respond to the ultra­na­tion­al­ist threat.

    Fork In The Road

    It’s a sys­temic chal­lenge, says par­lia­ment deputy Ser­hiy Leshchenko of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the pres­i­den­t’s par­ty. “The rad­i­cal­iza­tion of soci­ety is inevitable in a cli­mate of cor­rupt gov­ern­ment and a lack of deci­sive reforms,” he said on Sep­tem­ber 1. “Our rad­i­cal­iza­tion is inten­si­fied by our total mil­i­ta­riza­tion.”

    Leshchenko recalled a litany of inci­dents tied to ultra­na­tion­al­ists that have gone unpun­ished, from a grenade attack on a gay-pride event in June to a grenade-launch­er attack in July in the west­ern Tran­scarpathia Province to the beat­ing last year of the head of the UT‑1 state tele­vi­sion chan­nel by Svo­bo­da par­ty law­mak­ers.

    In the wake of the August 31 vio­lence, Leshchenko urged Right Sec­tor to dis­tance itself from Svo­bo­da and com­mit itself to the coun­try’s peace­ful polit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion.

    “With Svo­bo­da dri­ving itself to self-anni­hi­la­tion, [Right Sec­tor] could get a chance to turn them­selves toward the path of civ­i­lized devel­op­ment fol­lowed by their polit­i­cal wing,” Leshchenko said.

    Pop­u­lar blog­ger Olek­siy Bra­tushchak empha­sized that the far right’s Maid­an record did not give them a free pass to use such vio­lence.

    “This was a ter­ror­ist act,” he wrote on the Ukrayin­s­ka Prav­da web­site. “Those who threw this grenade and injured peo­ple are ter­ror­ists. No mat­ter what they did yes­ter­day, today they are ter­ror­ists. And togeth­er with his com­rades-in-arms, he belongs to a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion.”

    Bra­tushchak not­ed that the lead­ers of the Svo­bo­da, Right Sec­tor, and Rad­i­cal par­ties called on the pub­lic to come to the par­lia­ment and then “inflamed the sit­u­a­tion.” He com­pared the lead­ers to the “snow at the very top of the moun­tain” that pro­duced a dev­as­tat­ing avalanche.

    Video from the August 31 demon­stra­tion clear­ly shows Svo­bo­da par­ty leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok push­ing against police offi­cers while shout­ing pro­fan­i­ty at them.

    Note how Svo­bo­da appears to be tak­ing the brunt of the blame for the attack, with Right Sec­tor even being giv­en some sort of “come into the light” offer by a mem­ber of the Poroshenko Bloc:

    ...
    It’s a sys­temic chal­lenge, says par­lia­ment deputy Ser­hiy Leshchenko of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the pres­i­den­t’s par­ty. “The rad­i­cal­iza­tion of soci­ety is inevitable in a cli­mate of cor­rupt gov­ern­ment and a lack of deci­sive reforms,” he said on Sep­tem­ber 1. “Our rad­i­cal­iza­tion is inten­si­fied by our total mil­i­ta­riza­tion.”

    Leshchenko recalled a litany of inci­dents tied to ultra­na­tion­al­ists that have gone unpun­ished, from a grenade attack on a gay-pride event in June to a grenade-launch­er attack in July in the west­ern Tran­scarpathia Province to the beat­ing last year of the head of the UT‑1 state tele­vi­sion chan­nel by Svo­bo­da par­ty law­mak­ers.

    In the wake of the August 31 vio­lence, Leshchenko urged Right Sec­tor to dis­tance itself from Svo­bo­da and com­mit itself to the coun­try’s peace­ful polit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion.

    “With Svo­bo­da dri­ving itself to self-anni­hi­la­tion, [Right Sec­tor] could get a chance to turn them­selves toward the path of civ­i­lized devel­op­ment fol­lowed by their polit­i­cal wing,” Leshchenko said.
    ...

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen...even lower...lower than seemed pos­si­ble: it looks like this grenade attack may have knocked Svo­bo­da below Right Sec­tor in terms of polit­i­cal respectabil­i­ty. If that’s not the polit­i­cal equiv­a­lent of hit­ting rock bot­tom, there is no rock bot­tom.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 1, 2015, 12:37 pm
  9. It will be a great day for Ukraine when sto­ries like this are once again sur­pris­ing:

    The Jerusalem Post

    Ukrain­ian leg­is­la­tor toasts Adolf Hitler

    By SAM SOKOL
    Sun, 27 Dec 2015, 05:51 AM

    A video of a Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion law­mak­er salut­ing Adolf Hitler made its way online this week­end, only days after his country’s Pres­i­dent apol­o­gized for Ukrain­ian col­lab­o­ra­tors’ role in the Holo­caust dur­ing a state vis­it to Israel.

    In the video, Arty­om Vitko, the for­mer com­man­der of the gov­ern­ment backed Luhansk‑1 Bat­tal­ion and now a mem­ber of the Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko, can be seen sit­ting in the back of a car wear­ing cam­ou­flage fatigues and singing along to a song by a Russ­ian neo-Nazi band extolling the virtues of the Nazi dic­ta­tor.

    “Adolf Hitler, togeth­er with us, Adolf Hitler, in each of us, and an eagle with iron wings will help us at the right time,” Vitko sang, salut­ing the cam­era with his water bot­tle as the car’s sound sys­tem blared “Heil Hitler.”

    Vitko’s pro-Nazi sen­ti­ments emerged imme­di­ate­ly on the heels of par­ty leader Oleh Lyashko denun­ci­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko for for his recent com­ments apol­o­giz­ing or Ukrain­ian com­plic­i­ty in the Holo­caust.

    Speak­ing before the Knes­set last week, Poroshenko said that “we must remem­ber the neg­a­tive events in his­to­ry, in which col­lab­o­ra­tors helped the Nazis with the Final Solu­tion.”

    “When Ukraine was estab­lished [in 1991], we asked for for­give­ness, and I am doing it now, in the Knes­set, before the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of the vic­tims of the Holo­caust... I am doing it before all cit­i­zens of Israel,” he added.

    “This kind of humil­i­a­tion of Ukraini­ans has not been record­ed in our his­to­ry yet. Dur­ing a vis­it to Israel, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko apol­o­gized for the ‘Ukrain­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Holo­caust,’” Lyashko post­ed on Face­book on Thurs­day.

    “This is exact­ly sit­u­a­tion if we would accuse Geor­gians and Jews in the Holodomor, appeal­ing to the atroc­i­ties of Dzhugashvili, Beria, Kaganovich, etc,” he said, refer­ring to a mas­sive famine that result­ed from the forced col­lec­tiviza­tion of farms in the Sovi­et Union dur­ing the 1930s.

    The Holodomor, as it is known in Ukraine, killed mil­lions and is seen by many in that coun­try as a geno­cide on par with the Holo­caust.

    “The Knes­set has not rec­og­nized the Holodomor as the geno­cide of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple. That is a goal for Ukrain­ian author­i­ties vis­it­ing the Holy Land rather than belit­tling Ukraini­ans [and] pro­claim­ing infe­ri­or­i­ty of his peo­ple on the inter­na­tion­al lev­el,” Lyashko added.

    ...

    “I would say that this is the rea­son Poroshenko is Pres­i­dent and not Lyashko. Lyashko is a pop­ulist only say­ing what he thinks peo­ple want to hear,” said Ukrain­ian Chief Rab­bi Yaakov Dov Ble­ich.

    The Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, Ble­ich said, dis­agrees with the pop­ulist politician’s def­i­n­i­tion of humil­i­a­tion, see­ing dis­grace as when “one can­not face up to his­to­ry.”

    “Pride is to look back, and learn from mis­takes. No one accused the Ukrain­ian peo­ple of caus­ing or cre­at­ing the Holo­caust. How­ev­er, the fact is that there were Ukraini­ans who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the mur­der and per­se­cu­tion of Jews. They are wor­thy of con­dem­na­tion.”

    “The sight of a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian Par­lia­ment singing a song prais­ing Hitler, under­scores the extreme­ly deep prob­lem in today’s Ukrain­ian democ­ra­cy regard­ing the ongo­ing efforts in that coun­try (and else­where through­out post-Com­mu­nist East­ern Europe, espe­cial­ly in Lithua­nia, Latvia, Esto­nia and Hun­gary) to rewrite the nar­ra­tive of World War II and the Holo­caust,” said Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter.

    “The fact that the Ukrain­ian author­i­ties hon­or groups which active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the mur­der of Jews dur­ing the Holo­caust and glo­ri­fy their lead­ers sends a mes­sage that dele­git­imizes the accu­rate his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive, and paves the way for dis­gust­ing scenes like this one. The Ukrain­ian lead­er­ship should not feign sur­prise or aston­ish­ment, they’re the ones at least par­tial­ly respon­si­ble.”

    Ear­li­er this year Ukraine’s par­lia­ment has extend­ed offi­cial recog­ni­tion to a nation­al­ist mili­tia that col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Ger­mans dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

    How­ev­er, many Ukrain­ian Jews have appeared rather san­guine, explain­ing that they believe that such moves are more like­ly the result of a need to build up a nation­al ethos and raise up heroes dur­ing a time of con­flict rather than a cel­e­bra­tion of such fig­ures’ anti-Semit­ic atti­tudes. Despite that, such moves have been wide­ly panned by Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions wor­ried about the long term effects of the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of anti-Semi­tes.

    Asked about the deci­sion to hon­or such groups, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko told the Post that the gov­ern­ment was pay­ing trib­ute to those who fought for nation­al inde­pen­dence.

    “Let’s not try to find the black cat in the black room, espe­cial­ly if there is noth­ing there,” he said

    “This kind of humil­i­a­tion of Ukraini­ans has not been record­ed in our his­to­ry yet. Dur­ing a vis­it to Israel, Pres­i­dent Poroshenko apol­o­gized for the ‘Ukrain­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Holo­caust,’”
    So accord­ing to Rad­i­cal Par­ty leader Oleg Lyashko, when Poroshenko did that stan­dard thing that lead­ers do and issued an apol­o­gy for a past hor­ror, it was the great­est humil­i­a­tion in Ukraine’s his­to­ry. It’s almost as if Lyashko takes it per­son­al­ly. Of course, since this is the same guy who fea­tured a cam­paign poster depict­ing a car­i­ca­tured Jew­ish oli­garch get­ting impaled on a tri­dent and whose fel­low par­ty mem­ber sings trib­utes to Hitler, he pre­sum­ably does take it rather per­son­al­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 27, 2015, 3:50 pm
  10. Ukraine’s bizarre exper­i­ment in import­ing for­eign­ers to run its gov­ern­ment (under the the­o­ry that non-Ukraini­ans would be bet­ter at root­ing out cor­rup­tion) took anoth­er blow recent­ly. Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as gov­er­nor of Odessa, cit­ing cen­tral-gov­ern­ment obstruc­tion of his anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign:

    The New York Times

    Mikheil Saakashvili Resigns Post in Ukraine, Cit­ing Cor­rup­tion

    By IVAN NECHEPURENKO
    NOV. 7, 2016

    MOSCOW — Mikheil Saakashvili, a for­mer pres­i­dent of Geor­gia who was brought into the Ukraine gov­ern­ment to set an exam­ple of trans­paren­cy and clean gov­ern­ment, resigned on Mon­day and accused Ukraine’s pres­i­dent of sup­port­ing cor­rup­tion.

    Mr. Saakashvili, who was appoint­ed gov­er­nor of the Black Sea region of Odessa by Pres­i­dent Petro O. Poroshenko in May 2015, said he was leav­ing because of the cen­tral government’s unre­lent­ing obstruc­tion of his efforts to root out graft.

    “The pres­i­dent per­son­al­ly sup­ports two clans,” Mr. Saakashvili told a group of jour­nal­ists. “Odessa can only devel­op once Kiev will be freed from these bribe tak­ers, who direct­ly patron­ize orga­nized crime and law­less­ness.”

    In a terse state­ment, Mr. Poroshenko’s office said it would accept Mr. Saakashvili’s res­ig­na­tion once it had been sub­mit­ted by the cab­i­net.

    In Odessa, Mr. Saakashvili and a team of young reformists tried to tack­le the accep­tance of bribes in the cor­rup­tion-plagued cus­toms ser­vice and to make gov­ern­ment ser­vices more respon­sive and trans­par­ent.

    Yet, gov­ern­ment offi­cials in Kiev thwart­ed those efforts, Mr. Saakashvili said, because they inter­fered with the var­i­ous enrich­ment schemes that allowed many of them to amass for­tunes.

    Mr. Saakashvili said his plan to open a new cus­toms ser­vice cen­ter in Odessa was undone when the mon­ey allo­cat­ed for its refur­bish­ment was stolen.

    ...

    Mr. Saakashvili, a bit­ter oppo­nent of Rus­sia and its pres­i­dent, Vladimir V. Putin, was one of sev­er­al for­eign politi­cians and spe­cial­ists who were brought to Ukraine after the 2014 pro-West­ern rev­o­lu­tion to start a broad mod­ern­iza­tion of the coun­try.

    But there was always deep skep­ti­cism about whether Ukraine was capa­ble of such a trans­for­ma­tion, and many of those fig­ures have since become dis­il­lu­sioned and resigned. In Feb­ru­ary, the econ­o­my min­is­ter, Aivaras Abro­mavi­cius stepped down, say­ing that he did not want to act as a “smoke screen” for cor­rup­tion. The Amer­i­can-born finance min­is­ter, Natal­ie A. Jaresko, left the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in April.

    Tam­ing cor­rup­tion was wide­ly seen as cru­cial for prov­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of Ukraine’s pro-West­ern lead­er­ship, espe­cial­ly in con­trast with Mr. Putin’s Rus­sia.

    In Octo­ber, Mr. Saakashvili’s polit­i­cal par­ty in Geor­gia suf­fered a painful defeat in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, end­ing the prospect of his return to that coun­try, where he faces mul­ti­ple charges that he says are polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.

    Stand­ing in front of Odessa’s sea­port, Mr. Saakashvili sig­naled that he would con­tin­ue to be involved in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. One of his allies, Ukraine’s for­mer deputy pros­e­cu­tor David Sak­vare­lidze, recent­ly start­ed a new polit­i­cal par­ty that cites Mr. Saakashvili as its “ide­ol­o­gist.”

    “Stand­ing in front of Odessa’s sea­port, Mr. Saakashvili sig­naled that he would con­tin­ue to be involved in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. One of his allies, Ukraine’s for­mer deputy pros­e­cu­tor David Sak­vare­lidze, recent­ly start­ed a new polit­i­cal par­ty that cites Mr. Saakashvili as its “ide­ol­o­gist.””

    So he’s step­ping down, but not leav­ing Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. We’ll see what the future holds for Mikheil’s career as an anti-cor­rup­tion reformer, but since he can’t return to Geor­gia with­out fac­ing pros­e­cu­tion over cor­rup­tion, res­i­dents of Williams­burg, Brook­lyn should­n’t super sur­prised if a hip­ster you looks just like Saakashvili returns to their streets in com­ing years.

    But that was­n’t the only recent instance of Ukraine’s import­ed anti-cor­rup­tion fig­ures resign­ing in appar­ent dis­gust. Two oth­er Geor­gians just resigned, includ­ing Ukraine’s nation­al chief of police:

    New Europe Online

    Two reform­ers quit Ukraine

    By NEOn­line | TB
    Pub­lished 10:04 Novem­ber 15, 2016
    Updat­ed 10:04 Novem­ber 15, 2016

    The res­ig­na­tion of Ukraine’s police chief and a cus­toms offi­cer on Novem­ber 13 is that lat­est twist in the country’s exo­dus of reformist offi­cials.

    As report­ed by the Reuters news agency, Police chief Ktha­tia Dekanoidze, a Geor­gian who was appoint­ed on the strength of her reforms as a min­is­ter in Tbil­isi, said polit­i­cal med­dling in appoint­ments had thwart­ed her efforts to bring mean­ing­ful change.

    Yulia Maru­shevs­ka, a 27-year-old who was appoint­ed in 2015 to end ram­pant bribe-tak­ing at the Odessa port cus­toms, also resigned, accus­ing the gov­ern­ment and her boss of block­ing her reforms.

    ...

    The two res­ig­na­tions on Novem­ber 13 come just days after for­mer Geor­gian pres­i­dent Mikheil Saakashvili quit as gov­er­nor of the Odessa region, accus­ing Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko of block­ing his efforts to fight graft.

    Mean­while, the Inter­fax Ukraine news agency report­ed that Ukraine’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov thanked Dekanoidze for her work and said Vadim Troy­an would ful­fill the duties of the head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police. Troy­an is first deputy head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police.

    “Mean­while, the Inter­fax Ukraine news agency report­ed that Ukraine’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov thanked Dekanoidze for her work and said Vadim Troy­an would ful­fill the duties of the head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police. Troy­an is first deputy head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police.”

    Yes, it’s out with Dekanoidze and in with Troy­an as the head of the nation­al police. And yes, that’s Vadim Troy­an, the for­mer deputy com­man­der of the neo-Nazi Azov Batal­lion, who is now the act­ing chief of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police. So the indi­vid­ual Ukraine brought in to clean up cor­rup­tion in the nation­al police force got replaced with a neo-Nazi. It’s a reminder that Ukraine’s anti-cor­rup­tion reform, which is basi­cal­ly anti-fas­cist reform since we’re talk­ing about an entrenched oli­garchy, could prob­a­bly ben­e­fit from a hefty dose of anti-neo-Nazi reforms too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 16, 2016, 7:22 pm

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