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For The Record  

FTR #959 Update on the New Cold War and the Nazification of Ukraine

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

Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok salutes.

Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok salutes.

Stephan Bandera, head of the OUN/B

Stephan Bandera, head of the OUN/B

Introduction: In a long series of programs and posts over the last four years, we have chronicled the re-institution of the OUN/B World War II-era fascists as the foundational element of the Ukrainian government. Of particular significance in that regard is the Nazification of the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU.

Among the recent developments in the operations of the OUN/B-related elements in Ukraine is the posting of a call for the eradication of Ukraine’s Jews.

The call for a new Holocaust in Ukraine was made by Vasily Vovk – a senior officer in the SBU, former head of the SBU’s investigative unit and head of the SBU’s investigation into the MH17 probe. (Vovk’s pronouncement casts further doubt over the MH17 investigation.)

Pravy Sektor associate Valentyn Nalyvaichenko had been the head of the SBU (Ukrainian intelligence service) since the Maidan Coup, up until his ouster in June of 2015. Not surprisingly, he had operated the organization along the lines of the OUN/B. Previously, he had served in that same capacity under Viktor Yuschenko, seeing the outfit as a vehicle for rewriting Ukraine’s history in accordance with the historical revisionism favored by the OUN/B.

Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

The SBU is also implicated in the bombing assassination of journalist Pavel Sheremet.

Next, we cover the latest attempt by Volodomyr Viatrovych and Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory to purify Ukraine of any memories that might portray “nationalist” groups like the UPA (the military wing of the OUN/B) as a bunch of Nazi collaborators: Ukraine is investigating a 94-year-old Jewish WWII hero over the death of a UPA propagandist/Nazi collaborator back in 1952 while he was working for the NKVD at the recommendation of Viatrovych as part of a package of new decommunisation laws.

Viatrovych heads the institute for National Memory, the Ukrainian government agency that is implementing the total perversion of Ukraine’s World War II history. The excesses of his department are being created under the aegis of “decommunisation.”

“Decommunisation” isn’t just going to cover investigations of Soviety-era incidents. As the following interview grimly describes, everyone is a potential target in Ukraine. And “decommunisation”, or simply being associated with anything ‘Russian’ at all, is enough to bring violence or worse.

We then highlight an article about the anti-Roma pogrom that was just implemented by a small village and apparently approved of by the rest of the government. The article was written by a journalist who traveled to that region and queried the locals about their views of the Roma. Almost everyone he talked to hate the Roma with a passion. It also turns out most of them had little to no actual contact with their fellow Roma citizens, at least not knowingly since many Roma hide their ethnicity due to rampant job discrimination.

Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion

Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion

Most locals simply parroted the anti-Roma lessons they were taught as children. Anti-Roma Lessons that are even found in Ukrainian textbooks. It comes as no surprise that the Azov Battalion is joining in on creating a climate of fear and intimidation.

These developments, too, recapitulate Ukraine’s Nazi past. “. . . .Hitler’s genocidal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Roma in the 20th century still generates far less research and recognition than the Holocaust. Estimates of the dead range from to 220,000 to 1.5 million. . . .”

Next, we note that Ukraine is set to be the world’s third largest food exporter some time in the next decade due to its incredibly productive arable land. This is undoubtedly a major factor in the push to incorporate Ukraine into the Western sphere of influence.

“ . . . . Ukraine sold $7.6 billion of bulk farm commodities worldwide in 2015, quintupling its revenue from a decade earlier and topping Russia, its closest rival on world markets. By the mid-2020s, “Ukraine will be No.3, after the U.S. and Brazil,” in food production worldwide, says Martin Schuldt, the top representative in Ukraine for Cargill, the world’s largest grain trader. The company, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., saw its sunflower-seed processing plant in the Donetsk region overrun by separatists in 2014; it still can’t regain access to the facility. Nonetheless, the company is investing $100 million in a new grain terminal in Ukraine. Bunge, the world’s biggest soy processor, opened a port this year at a ceremony with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko—another vote of confidence in the country. . . . .”

We then turn to the subject of the high-profile hacks:

Those “Russian government hackers” really need a OPSEC refresher course. The hacked documents in the ‘Macron hack’ not only contained Cyrillic text in the metadata, but also contained the name of the last person to modify the documents. And that name, “Roshka Georgiy Petrovichan”, is an employee at Evrika, a large IT company that does work for the Russian government, including the FSB.

Also found in the metadata is the email of the person who uploaded the files to “archive.org”, and that email address, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is registered with a German free webmail provider used previously in 2016 phishing attacks against the CDU in Germany that have been attributed to APT28. It would appear that the ‘Russian hackers’ not only left clues suggesting it was Russian hackers behind the hack, but they decided name names this time. Their own names.

Not surprisingly, given the fascist nature of WikiLeaks, they concluded that Russia was behind the hacks. (For more on the fascist nature of WikiLeaks, see FTR #’s 724, 725, 732, 745, 755, 917.)

In related news, a group of cybersecurity researchers studying the Macron hack has concluded that the modified documents were doctored by someone associated with The Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website and Andrew “the weev” Auernheimer.

Auerenheimer was a guest at Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras’s party celebrating their receipt of the Polk award.

“ ‘We strongly believe that the fake offshore documents were created by someone with control of the Daily Stormer server,” said Tord Lundström, a computer forensics investigator at Virtualroad.org.’ . . .”

Who is in control of the Daily Stormer? Well, its public face and publisher is Andrew Anglin. But look who the site is registered to: Andrew Auernheimer, who apparently resided in Ukraine as of the start of this year:

The analysis from the web-security firm Virtualroad.org. indicates that someone associated with the Daily Stormer modified those faked documents. Like, perhaps a highly skilled neo-Nazi hacker like “the weev”.

Based on an analysis of how the document dump unfolded it’s looking like the inexplicably self-incriminating ‘Russian hackers’ may have been a bunch of American neo-Nazis. Imagine that.

Program Highlights Include:

  1. The Ukrainian Azov Battalion’s creation of a political party.
  2. The musings by that party’s spokesperson about the possible use of force to boost the party to power.
  3. Review of the so-called “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine as the precursor to the Maidan covert operation.
  4. Review of the history of the Nazification of the SBU.

1. In a long series of programs and posts over the last four years, we have chronicled the re-institution of the OUN/B World War II-era fascists as the foundational element of the Ukrainian government. Of particular significance in that regard is the Nazification of the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU.

Among the recent developments in the operations of the OUN/B-related elements in Ukraine is the posting of a call for the eradication of Ukraine’s Jews.

Pravy Sektor associate Valentyn Nalyvaichenko had been the head of the SBU (Ukrainian intelligence service) since the Maidan Coup, up until his ouster in June of 2015. Not surprisingly, he had operated the organization along the lines of the OUN/B. Previously, he had served in that same capacity under Viktor Yuschenko, seeing the outfit as a vehicle for rewriting Ukraine’s history in accordance with the historical revisionism favored by the OUN/B.

Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

“Ukrainian General Calls for Destruction of Jews” by Sam Sokol; The Jewish Chronicle; 5/11/2017.

“I’m telling you one more time – go to hell, kikes”, wrote senior officer affiliated to the intelligence services

In the latest of a series of highly public antisemitic statements by prominent figures in Ukraine, a retired Ukrainian general affiliated with the country’s intelligence services this week called for the destruction of his country’s Jewish community.

In a post since deleted from Facebook, Vasily Vovk – a general who holds a senior reserve rank with the Security Service of Ukraine, the local successor to the KGB – wrote that Jews “aren’t Ukrainians and I will destroy you along with [Ukrainian oligarch and Jewish lawmaker Vadim] Rabinovych. I’m telling you one more time – go to hell, zhidi [kikes], the Ukrainian people have had it to here with you.”

“Ukraine must be governed by Ukrainians,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian war hero-turned-lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko came under fire in March after saying during a television interview that Jews held disproportionate control over the levers of power in Ukraine.

More recently, opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko was forced to apologise after being filmed laughing at an antisemitic comedy act at a gathering of her Fatherland party, and Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the state-run Institution for National Memory accused Jewish activist Eduard Dolinsky of fabricating antisemitic incidents for money.

Viatrovych is also running a public awareness campaign whitewashing the participation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a Ukrainian nationalist militia, in the Holocaust.

In 2015 the Ukrainian parliament passed a law prohibiting the denigration of the UPA and other groups which fought for the country’s independence.

Earlier this month, Ukraine made waves internationally when it announced it was opening a murder investigation into the killing of a member of UPA by a ninety four year old Jewish ex-KGB agent in the early 1950s. Ukraine has not prosecuted any of its citizens for war crimes against Jews since the country gained its independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union. . . .

2. The call for a new Holocaust in Ukraine was made by Vasily Vovk – a senior officer in the SBU, former head of the SBU’s investigative unit and head of the SBU’s investigation into the MH17 probe. (Vovk’s pronouncement casts further doubt over the MH17 investigation.)

“MH17 Investigators Reveal an Exhaust of a Russian-built BUK Missile Was Found at the Crash Site” by Charles Miranda; news.au.com; 6/7/2016.

. . . . Ahead of its release Ukraine’s former top SBU security services official Vasyl Vovk, who until June last year was the country’s chief investigator on the multinational probe, said he knew who was responsible but conceded it was not conclusive.

“I am confident that this missile system was delivered from the territory of the Russian Federation with a high-skilled crew — most likely a crew of well-trained officers, of course from Russian territory,” he said. . . .

3. The SBU appears to have been involved with the killing of an investigative journalist who had reported on how militia commanders were evading punishment for their crimes shortly before his car was blown up.

Ukraine Spy Agency ‘May Have Seen Planting of Bomb that Killed Journalist’” by Alec Luhn; The Guardian; 5/10/2017.

New film suggests an intelligence services agent was present when device was hidden under Pavel Sheremet’s car last July

A new documentary film alleges that Ukraine’s spy agency may have witnessed the planting of a car bomb that killed a prominent journalist last July in Kiev.

Pavel Sheremet had just left his home in the Ukrainian capital and was driving to work when his car exploded. The murder was the most high-profile assassination of a reporter in the country since the beheading in 2000 of the investigative reporter Georgiy Gongadze.

Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, had said it was a “matter of honour” that Sheremet’s case be promptly solved. He called for a transparent investigation by police and the security services. However, 10 months later no one has been arrested.

The film, Killing Pavel, suggests that an agent working for Ukraine’s intelligence services was present when the explosive device was hidden under the journalist’s car. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Slidstvo.info released the documentary on Wednesday, when it was screened on Ukrainian TV.

Investigators have said Sheremet was killed by a remotely detonated explosive device, most likely in retribution for his investigative work in Ukraine and other places. The journalist supported the pro-western uprising in 2014 that saw Viktor Yanukovych flee to Russia, but had also been bitingly critical of Ukraine’s new authorities.

Surveillance camera footage published by the media and police revealed that an unknown man and a woman approached Sheremet’s Subaru car on the street the night before the blast. The woman is seen kneeling beside the parked car on the driver’s side.

The makers of “Killing Pavel” tracked down new surveillance footage not found by police. It gives fresh details of the apparent killers, who returned to the scene the next morning shortly before Sheremet got into his doomed vehicle.

The footage reveals several suspicious men who arrived in the street that night. They appeared to be carrying out surveillance. They were still there when the man and the woman went past and allegedly fixed the bomb. The Bellingcat citizen journalist group managed to identify their car – a grey Skoda – and its registration.

The investigative reporters subsequently tracked down one of the men and identified him as Igor Ustimenko. Ustimenko admitted being in the area that night and said he had been hired as a private investigator to keep watch on someone’s children. He denied seeing the bombers and said police had not contacted him.

The reporters then spoke to a government source. He confirmed that Ustimenko had been working since 2014 for Ukraine’s SBU secret intelligence service. Ustimenko declined to comment further. The film also presented evidence suggesting that Sheremet was under surveillance in the weeks before his murder.

Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, has denied the government carried this out. A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the film. The security service did not immediately respond.

“The government of Ukraine repeatedly promised to find Pavel’s killer but it’s clear they didn’t do too much,” said Drew Sullivan, editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. “Now we have to consider the possibility that someone in government played a role in the murder.”

A pioneering television journalist in his native Belarus, Sheremet was forced to move to Russia after he was arrested in 1997 while reporting on border smuggling. His cameraman on that story, Dmitry Zavadsky, was kidnapped and killed in Belarus in 2000. Sheremet later moved to Ukraine, where he was a well-known journalist with his own radio show.

In his last blogpost for the Ukrainian Pravda newspaper, Sheremet said some militia commanders and veterans of the conflict with pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine had escaped punishment for other crimes. Sheremet’s partner, Olena Prytula, co-founded the paper with Gongadze, whose brutal murder ignited national outrage. . . .

. . . . The killing caused a major scandal, and American FBI specialists were brought in to help identify the explosives. The United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore, said Sheremet’s murder would be a “test of the ability and willingness of Ukraine’s institutions to investigate assaults on media freedom”. . . .

4a. Pravy Sektor associate Valentyn Nalyvaichenko had been the head of the SBU (Ukrainian intelligence service) since the Maidan Coup, up until his ouster in June of 2015. Not surprisingly, he had operated the organization along the lines of the OUN/B.

Previously, he had served in that same capacity under Viktor Yuschenko, seeing the outfit as a vehicle for rewriting Ukraine’s history in accordance with the historical revisionism favored by the OUN/B.

Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

Bear in mind that the SBU has been the “cognitive window” through which the events in Ukraine have been processed.

 “The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right: The Case of VO Svoboda,” by Per Anders Rudling;  Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text edited by Ruth Wodak and John E. Richardson;  Routledge [London and New York] 2013; pp. 228-255, more.

. . . A reconstructed historical memory is created as ‘true memory’ and then contrasted with ‘false Soviet history’ ”(Jilge, 2007:104–105). Thus, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, SBU director under Yushchenko, described the task of his agency as being to disseminate “the historical truth of the past of the Ukrainian people,” to “liberate Ukrainian history from lies and falsifications and to work with truthful documents only” (Jilge, 2008:179). Ignoring the OUN’s antisemitism, denying its participation in anti- Jewish violence, and overlooking its fascist ideology, Nalyvaichenko and his agency presented the OUN as democrats, pluralists, even righteous rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust. . . .

4b. Nalyvaichenko’s SBU has manifested a fundamentally revisionist stance with regard to the OUN/B’s World War II genocidal attacks on ethnic Poles in Ukraine–a bloody campaign that claimed up to 100,000 lives.

Poland Stretches Out Its Hands to the Freedom Fighters” by Rob Slane; The Blogmire; 4/11/2015.

. . . . Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities show no signs whatsoever that they are about to abandon their admiration of those responsible for these horrific crimes. To the contrary, they seem to be intent on admiring them all the more, as the SBU head Valentyn Nalyvaichenko’s recent words indicate: “SBU does not need to invent anything extra — it is important to build on the traditions and approaches of the OUN-UPA security service. It [the OUN-UPA security service] worked against the aggressor during the temporary occupation of the territory, it had a patriotic upbringing, used a counterintelligence unit, and had relied on the peaceful Ukrainian population using its support.” . . . .

4c. Very close to Pravy Sektor head Dymitro Yarosh, Nalyvaichenko employed Yarosh while serving in the Ukrainian parliament.  Yarosh claims that the two collaborated on “anti-terrorist” operations conducted against ethnic Russians.

Bear in mind that the SBU has been the “cognitive window” through which the events in Ukraine have been processed.

“Yarosh Comments on Dismissal of His ‘Friend’ Nalyvaichenko;” EurAsia Daily; 6/25/2015. 

The leader of the Right Sector extremist group Dmytro Yarosh believes that the dismissal of Chief of the Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichenko was illogical and untimely. He writes in Facebook that Nalyvaichenko is his friend, who has raised the Security Service from zero and has neutralized lots of terrorist threats all over the country. “I know what I am talking about as my Right Sector was involved in many of his special operations against Russian terrorists,” Yarosh said. . . . . . In the past Yarosh was Nalyvaichenko’s advisor.

4d. Exemplary of the Nazification of Ukraine is the elevation of Pravy Sektor’s Yarosh to being an advisor to the chief of the Ukrainian general staff.

” . . . . Yarosh is now a member of parliament and an advisor to the chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army. In other words, Yarosh has been legitimized by the political establishment. . . .”

“Switching Spymasters Amid War Is Risky” by Brian Mefford; Atlantic Council; 6/18/2015.

Valentin Nalyvaichenko, head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), is in trouble again. On June 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was “unsatisfied” with Nalyvaichenko’s work. Three days later, Ukraine’s parliament dismissed him. . . . . . . . Poroshenko Bloc MP Serhiy Leshchenko released a document confirming old rumors that Right Sector’s Dmitro Yarosh worked for Nalyvaichenko when he was a member of parliament from 2012 to 2014. While the connection between the two raises some questions about the events of Euromaidan and the origins of Right Sector, this attack alone wasn’t enough to discredit Nalyvychenko. Yarosh is now a member of parliament and an advisor to the chief of general staff of the Ukrainian army. In other words, Yarosh has been legitimized by the political establishment. . . .

4e. Next, we cover the latest attempt by Volodomyr Viatrovych and Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory to purify Ukraine of any memories that might portray “nationalist” groups like the UPA (the military wing of the OUN/B) as a bunch of Nazi collaborators: Ukraine is investigating a 94-year-old Jewish WWII hero over the death of a UPA propagandist/Nazi collaborator back in 1952 while he was working for the NKVD at the recommendation of Viatrovych as part of a package of new decommunisation laws.

“Ukraine Investigates 94-year-old Jewish Veteran over Nationalist’s Death in 1952” by Alec Luhn; The Guardian; 5/3/2017.

Soviet army veteran Boris Steckler faces murder inquiry over his role in death of Ukrainian insurgent and could be jailed

Ukraine’s prosecutor general has opened a murder investigation against a 94-year-old Jewish Red Army veteran over the 1952 killing of a nationalist insurgent who has been accused of collaborating with Nazis.

The prosecutor general opened the investigation into the “intentional killing of two or more people on the territory of Rivne region in March 1952 by members of the administration of the state security ministry”, according to a copy of a letter posted on the website of the National Human Rights Centre, an organisation which has assisted nationalists facing prosecution.

The website said the case was that of Nil Khasevych, a member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) who, along with two other fighters, was killed by Soviet security forces in a standoff at that place and time. 

Khasevych has been accused of collaborating with the Nazis during the second world war. The National Human Rights Centre website called him an “independence fighter” and said the prosecution of his killer would give “appropriate legal appraisal to the crimes of the communist epoch”.

The operation that killed Khasevych was headed by Boris Steckler, now a 94-year-old Jewish veteran who was decorated numerous times for bravery in the war and later served in the KGB.

Steckler confirmed in a 2013 interview that he had directed the mission against Khasevych, but claimed the insurgent had shot himself before Soviet soldiers threw grenades into the bunker where he was hiding. They had given him a chance to surrender, Steckler said.

Last year, the head of the Ukrainian government’s National Memory Institute, Volodymyr Vyatrovych, asked the state security service to open its files on Steckler under a new package of decommunisation laws introduced to parliament.

In addition to opening the archives, the laws made it a criminal offence to question the actions of the UIA and another nationalist group, a move condemned by international scholars as an attack on free speech. Steckler appealed to a Rivne court to block access to the files.

A trained artist, Khasevych was known for creating patriotic images and printing anti-Soviet literature for the UIA, a group of nationalist fighters who on some occasions collaborated with the Nazis and took part in genocide of Jews and Poles.

According to a passage attributed to Steckler in the 1985 book Chekists Talk, Khasevych was appointed as a local judge by the invading German forces and sentenced Ukrainians who resisted the occupation to punishment or execution.

But Khasevych and other wartime insurgents have been increasingly celebrated as early freedom fighters after nationalists played a key role in the street demonstrations that brought a pro-western government to power in Kiev in 2014.

Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, called the murder investigation an “injustice” and said Khasevych’s actions, not Steckler’s, should be condemned. “He was an active fighter when they destroyed Jews and Poles,” Dolinsky said. “It’s the Ukrainian Insurgent Army that committed a war crime.”

Although cases more than 15 years old are not typically prosecuted, a court can make an exception if the crime is serious enough to bring a lifetime sentence, according to lawyer Markiyan Halabala. That means Steckler could be sent to prison, but Halabala said that outcome was unlikely in this case, which would be the first of its kind in Ukraine.

“Last year, the head of the Ukrainian government’s National Memory Institute, Volodymyr Vyatrovych, asked the state security service to open its files on Steckler under a new package of decommunisation laws introduced to parliament.”

And that’s a snapshot of the kind of madness unleashed in Ukraine these days: Anyone associated with the Soviet era has become so officially reviled, and Nazi collaborators have become so officially revered, that the state is opening up 65 year old cases of Soviet agents killing ‘nationalist’ like Khasevych and prosecuting a 94-year-old Jewish WWII hero because he was in the KGB. At the behest of the National Memory Institute:


The prosecutor general opened the investigation into the “intentional killing of two or more people on the territory of Rivne region in March 1952 by members of the administration of the state security ministry”, according to a copy of a letter posted on the website of the National Human Rights Centre, an organisation which has assisted nationalists facing prosecution.

The website said the case was that of Nil Khasevych, a member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) who, along with two other fighters, was killed by Soviet security forces in a standoff at that place and time.

Khasevych has been accused of collaborating with the Nazis during the second world war. The National Human Rights Centre website called him an “independence fighter” and said the prosecution of his killer would give “appropriate legal appraisal to the crimes of the communist epoch”.

5. “Decommunisation” isn’t just going to cover investigations of Soviety-era incidents. As the following interview grimly describes, everyone is a potential target in Ukraine. And “decommunisation”, or simply being associated with anything ‘Russian’ at all, is enough to bring violence or worse.

Nowadays, Everyone Is a Potential Target in Ukraine” by Veronika Pehe and Tom Rowley; Political Critique; 5/3/2017.

We spoke to journalist Aliona Liasheva about the recent attacks and the situation of left-wing activists in Ukraine.

On 20 April, activist Stas Serhijenko was brutally attacked and stabbed near his home in Kiev. He suffered serious wounds and was taken to hospital. This incident was only one of a series of violent attacks on left-wing activists and institutions. But as Aliona Liasheva explains, it is not only those associated with the left who have become the victims of attacks, anyone who is seen as challenging mainstream pro-Ukrainian and pro-war views can easily become subject to repressions of different sorts.

VP: On April 20, activist Stas Serhienko was stabbed near his home in Kyiv. Who was behind the attack?

AL: It is difficult to be completely sure. The police only started working on the case three days after the attack. But we can make some basic assumptions. For one, Stas was not robbed. The people who attacked him filmed the incident. Stas had received a lot of threats before. It makes sense to assume this was an attack from a far-right group. The leader of one such group called C14, which has been active since the 2010s, published a blog post in one of the mainstream Ukrainian media, in which he approved of the attack. It’s quite likely the attackers were associated with this or a similar group, but Stas didn’t recognize any of them.

TR: Has Stas suffered attacks before?

AL: Yes, he was beaten after the 1 May demonstration in 2016, and he identified the attackers as members of Azov. He was also threatened at another anti-fascist demonstration last year, so this attack was not unprecedented. But the latest incident was certainly one of the most horrible we’ve seen for a long time in Kyiv.

VP: Several other violent incidents have also occurred in the past weeks and months. Recently, an exhibition of artist Davyd Chychkan at the Visual Culture Research Centre was vandalized. In February, activist Taras Bohay was attacked in Lviv. Are these attacks connected in any way? Are the same people behind them?

It’s hard to say for sure whether these incidents are connected, but it’s clear that part of the far right are going wild right now. These are people who did not make it either into mainstream politics or other state structures, such as the police. They are not controlled by any institution and I can only hope the attacks are not systematically organized. The difficulty in assessing the situation is also a result of these attacks often being “covered” by the police.

VP: So what is the role of the police? Are they making any efforts to investigate?

The rather half-hearted investigations into these crimes could be explained by the fact that the police are completely disorganized, or that they do actually have an interest in covering up these incidents. There have been cases when they simply stopped the investigation. What’s important to highlight is that attacks on activists like Stas are a small part of a bigger process. For instance, media are being attacked. Take the case of Inter, a TV channel, which was accused of being pro-Russian in September 2016. It was not attacked by the state, but by a group of thugs who set the station building on fire.

TR: There are signs that far-right groups and other actors, such as oligarch groups or elements of law enforcement, link up at points where they can be of mutual benefit. How do you see these interests aligning?

AL: I completely agree that there are a whole host of different groups and interests involved. The situation certainly changed after Maidan. In the past three years, we have witnessed an increase in far-right violence, though of course it’s not something completely new. These far-right groups existed already before Maidan and were also financed by oligarchs in certain cases. They were also very much associated with the Dynamo Kyiv football team. During the Maidan, these groups were instrumentalized by the elites, part of them are now in the volunteer battalions of the army. Others, especially leading figures, received positions in the police and secret police institutions. The head of the police has far-right connections. Those who were beating LGBT people on the streets are now sitting in offices. And those who didn’t get a position in the army or security services are now out and about and ready to spark violence at any point.

VP: Who or what exactly are the targets of far-right attacks?

AL: Attacks on media and activists are just a small part of what’s going on, because in general there’s a broad nationalist consensus in the country. Its main criteria are being anti-Russian and pro-war. By anti-Russian, I don’t just mean being critical towards Putin’s politics, but rather a general Russophobic attitude, which hates everything connected to Russia, including its language, though one half of Ukrainians speak Russian as their mother tongue. This consensus also dictates that if you want to be part of the nation, you have to be militaristic, support the army and far-right battalions no matter what sort of war crimes they are committing. The moment you break this consensus in public, you pay for it.

VP: Does this mean that those who break this consensus are automatically defined as being on the left?

AL: No. Usually they are labelled as being pro-Russian or pro-Soviet. Of course, some of those who criticize this consensus do so from leftist positions, like researchers, journalists, or activists. But there are also some nationalist journalists doing the same. Take the case of Ruslan Kotsaba, whose views are far away from the left – for example, he is openly anti-Semitic. He published a video blog in which he said he didn’t want to be drafted into the army, because the Ukrainian army is defending the interests of oligarchs. He was arrested for that, sentenced to three years in prison and later released. It also affects people who have pro-Russian views. This was the case of Oles’ Buzina, the journalist who was shot dead in 2015. It is still not clear who did it, but there are reasons to believe that right-wing groups were involved. Or take the radio station Vesti. It published a range of different opinions, from pro-Ukrainian pieces to positions slightly sympathetic to the current direction of Russian politics. They lost their broadcast license in March this year.

TR: The different elements of the attacks against particular people or institutions connected to Russia are part of the “hybrid war” discourse, where everything is securitized and everyone is seen as a potential threat. It doesn’t matter if you say something against the consensus in public or are engaged in activism outside permitted frames, if you are a platform hosting someone with views outside the mainstream — potentially, this can be perceived as a threat to national unity and sovereignty, a source of defeat or treachery. Nowadays, it feels like everyone is an amateur detective.

Absolutely. If you want to find something to compromise someone, you will. And this also affects people who are not directly involved in politics. Take the example of the music band ONUKA. The leader of the band has mild patriotic political opinions. One of their tracks was sold to a Russian filmmaking company. Because of that, the band was accused of being separatist by another artist and this accusation was quickly spread around social networks. It’s an example of how these repressions have no logic.

VP: Which makes everyone into a target, because anyone can be labelled as disrupting the national(ist) consensus.

Exactly. For example, Stas is a very obvious target for the far right. He has left-wing views and doesn’t hide it, he supports LGBT and minority rights. He doesn’t fit into this consensus at all, yet there are also people very close to this consensus, like this musician, who has nothing to do with politics, but whom these repressive processes affect nevertheless. This doesn’t concern just explicit attacks of the right, but also the state policy of decommunization. The recent decommunization laws are very contradictory. Street names have been changed, but also books, activities and organizations have been banned. Basically, the definitions are so broad, that if you really want to, you will find a reason to put anyone in prison. As Tom said, everyone is a detective.

TR: A classic instance of this took place in May last year, when a group of hackers releasedthe personal information of roughly 7,000 people who work in the media and more or less accused them of state treason. Ukraine’s liberal commentariat was generally in favour.

AL: And indeed, the debate that was sparked on the internet after the attack on Stas shows that people really believe that being a communist is reason enough to be stabbed. For example, on the informal social network page of his university, people were literally saying with a lot of sarcasm that this is what he deserves as a “commie”. Disgusting, really. Many felt the need to discuss Stas’s political beliefs and evaluate if they are good or bad. And if they’re bad… Well, then the attack was basically justified in their view. But of course, many people also reacted from a human rights perspective and condemned this act of violence, even if they themselves do not support left-wing views.

VP: What is the mood among activists in Ukraine at the moment? What kind of impact are these attacks having?

AL: As I said, it’s hardly all that new. We have been aware of the ongoing violence and the danger it poses for a long time. In general, left-wing activists understand the fact that any article they publish in a journal might be a reason for being attacked. Many activists have internalized a code of security rules, like hiding their real names, the place they live, extra internet security, being very careful at demonstrations. At every rally, there’s a plan of how to get to where the event is taking place and how to leave. It’s become an everyday practice, you don’t really notice it anymore. But I won’t hide that I am scared.

“AL: Attacks on media and activists are just a small part of what’s going on, because in general there’s a broad nationalist consensus in the country. Its main criteria are being anti-Russian and pro-war. By anti-Russian, I don’t just mean being critical towards Putin’s politics, but rather a general Russophobic attitude, which hates everything connected to Russia, including its language, though one half of Ukrainians speak Russian as their mother tongue. This consensus also dictates that if you want to be part of the nation, you have to be militaristic, support the army and far-right battalions no matter what sort of war crimes they are committing. The moment you break this consensus in public, you pay for it.”

The language that half or Ukrainians speak as their mother tongue is considered anti-Ukrainian these days. But Nazis are awesome. That’s the kind of damage Ukraine’s civil war has done to the nation’s collective psyche. And things like the “decommunisation” laws have become the tools through which that psychic damage manifests:


Exactly. For example, Stas is a very obvious target for the far right. He has left-wing views and doesn’t hide it, he supports LGBT and minority rights. He doesn’t fit into this consensus at all, yet there are also people very close to this consensus, like this musician, who has nothing to do with politics, but whom these repressive processes affect nevertheless. This doesn’t concern just explicit attacks of the right, but also the state policy of decommunization. The recent decommunization laws are very contradictory. Street names have been changed, but also books, activities and organizations have been banned. Basically, the definitions are so broad, that if you really want to, you will find a reason to put anyone in prison. As Tom said, everyone is a detective.

“Basically, the definitions are so broad, that if you really want to, you will find a reason to put anyone in prison. As Tom said, everyone is a detective.”

The vigilante ‘justice’ dealt out by far-right ‘nationalist’ neo-Nazi groups like the Azov battalion is just one element of the vigilante ‘justice’ being dealt out in Ukraine today. There’s also the state-backed vigilante justice that comes from having vaguely defined law that basically outlaws all things Russian in a nation where almost everyone has some sort of tie to something Russian.

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work (the unit is receiving financing and training from the Pentagon.)

6. We then highlight an article about the anti-Roma pogrom that was just implemented by a small village and apparently approved of by the rest of the government. The article was written by a journalist who traveled to that region and queried the locals about their views of the Roma. Almost everyone he talked to hate the Roma with a passion. It also turns out most of them had little to no actual contact with their fellow Roma citizens, at least not knowingly since many Roma hide their ethnicity due to rampant job discrimination.

Most locals simply parroted the anti-Roma lessons they were taught as children. Anti-Roma Lessons that are even found in Ukrainian textbooks.

It comes as no surprise that the Azov Battalion is joining in on creating a climate of fear and intimidation.

These developments, too, recapitulate Ukraine’s Nazi past. “. . . .Hitler’s genocidal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Roma in the 20th century still generates far less research and recognition than the Holocaust. Estimates of the dead range from to 220,000 to 1.5 million. . . .”

“Old Hatreds Rekindled in Ukraine” by Maxim Tucker; open-democracy/russia and beyond; 9/18/2016.

The murder of a young girl in a Ukrainian village has led to the expulsion of local Roma families. In the aftermath, observers are asking whether Roma have a place in today’s Ukraine.

A barbie doll in a plastic case marks the patch of earth where her body was found. In the village square a hundred metres away, police loiter with Kalashnikovs, sheltering from the evening sun in a shady treeline. A cottage across from them stands abandoned, windows smashed, walls charred. The flames that consumed the house’s insides have reached out and licked black patterns on its white paint.

For two hundred years, Loshchynivka has been a quiet place to live. Flung out in the westernmost reaches of the Odessa region, southern Ukraine, the village is closer to Moldova and Romania than to the seat of its regional government. Farming dominates village life. Births, marriages and harvests mark its high points, funerals its low ones. Its 1,300 inhabitants – ethnic Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Russians and Roma – all share the same steady, predictable rural cycle. A cycle shattered by the murder of nine-year-old Angelina Moiseyenko on 27 August.

The savage nature of Angelina’s killing stunned the settlement’s close community. A local goat herder discovered her small body stripped, bruised and bloodied. She had been stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver.

“It was even worse than brutal – stab wounds and sticks penetrating everywhere they could,” said Viktor Paskalov, the village chief. “She was raped. The worst crime we’ve ever had.”

When her younger brother’s testimony led officers to her suspected killer, 21 year-old Mykhail Chebotar, a half-Roma, half-Bulgarian man who had grown up with the girl’s stepfather, the villagers could not contain their fury. Thirsting to avenge a senseless, loathsome crime, they committed one of their own.

Watch this video of the attack on Roma homes in Loshchynivka, 27 August.

Although Chebotar was immediately detained, a mob of around 300 men and teenage boys charged through the tiny village, seeking out the homes of five ethnic Roma families.

“They gathered at five and by eight they started smashing up our houses and shouting,” said Zinaida Damaskina, a 30 year-old Roma woman forced to flee with her two young sons. “What did we have to wait for? When they will kill us? So we didn’t take anything. We didn’t have a choice. We could only run.”

The assailants, predominantly ethnic Bulgarians, overlooked the suspect’s mixed heritage in their eagerness to blame the crime on bad blood. They even overlooked the suspect’s family home and his relatives. Instead, the mob chased out unrelated Roma families, many with small children of their own. They hurled rocks, kicked in doors and set homes ablaze. A handful of uniformed police officers watched on, failing to stop the pogrom.

After the Roma had been hounded out, the village council passed a resolution attempting to legitimise the violence by formally expelling them. It organised buses to ferry them out to Izmail, the nearest town.

Old hatreds, new sparks

A picturesque city of some 72,000 people, Izmail perches on the last Ukrainian curve of the Danube river, flanked by the wild woodlands of Romania. The city’s once important port terminal is now a rusting Soviet relic, but the town retains a large and lively market.

Many of the region’s Roma sell clothes and vegetables there, so I stopped by a stall and asked a middle-aged Ukrainian woman where I might find Roma from Loshchynivka. After giving me directions, she offered me her unsolicited opinion of her fellow market vendors: “They should all be castrated, the gypsy bastards.”

The woman’s vitriol highlighted how events at Loshchynivka are only the latest symptom of a deep-rooted national disease, now metastasising at an alarming rate. Roma rights groups fear the murder has unleashed a fresh wave of violence and prejudice across the country.

“A TV pollshowed that 65% of Ukrainians supported the pogroms against Roma in Loshchynivka,” said Zemfira Kondur, Vice-President of the Roma Women’s Fund Chirikli. “Far-right groups are using that and we’re afraid that we will have more cases of hate attacks against Roma in different areas.”

In the wake of the village’s expulsion of its Roma, the Azov battalion, an influential nationalist group which has units fighting in eastern Ukraine, issued an inflammatory statementsupporting the move. The statement branded Loschynivka’s Roma an “ethnic mafia” led by “Gypsy Barons”. It falsely claimed they ran drug laboratories in the village and were guilty of “robberies, physical violence, intimidation and drug trafficking.”

Days later, in Uzhgorod, a town 600km northwest of Loshchynivka, a group of gun-wielding young men assaulted a Roma family, firing shots and beating themSuspecting ultranationalist motives, one of their victims told his attackers that he had recently returned from the front. They left abruptly. The family said they had no idea who they were or what had provoked the violence.

“Tensions between Roma families and local Ukrainians were already high in many places, but after Loshchynivka, those tensions increased,” Kondur explained. “There were already several cases of conflict and it’s getting worse.”

Racism against Roma, or antiziganism, is one of Europe’s enduring and virulent ethnic hatreds. Successive emperors of the Holy Roman Empire ordered all “gypsies” to be put to death upon discovery during the 18th century.

Hitler’s genocidal slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Roma in the 20th century still generates far less research and recognition than the Holocaust. Estimates of the dead range from to 220,000 to 1.5 million. Even today, antiziganism goes largely unchallenged by the societies and governments of central and eastern Europe.

Across the continent’s eastern swathe, prejudice is ingrained from an early age. Parents routinely warn their children to beware of Roma, lest they take them away and force them to beg. That warning is reproduced in Ukrainian school textbooks.

Many eastern Europeans (inside and outside the EU) are unabashed in their negative opinions of Roma. Even those who are well-educated, progressive and well aware that racism is unacceptable.

“I am pretty racist when it comes to them. They are uneducated people, bad, only looking to cheat, to steal, to make easy money,” a 24 year-old Romanian IT consultant confided to me.

“They are filthy, impressively lazy, reproduce from a very young age just to drain the social system, very rarely get jobs,” a western-educated Bulgarian added.

Such unpalatable views were echoed by strangers during my journey south from Kiev and across the Odessa region, as well as Ukrainian friends and colleagues I had considered liberal.

“Criminal elements”

Ukraine’s last census, in 2001, counted some 40,000 Roma in Ukraine. Roma organisations say the count failed to include thousands of undocumented groups and the current figure is closer to 250,000.

Most of these groups are concentrated in western and southern Ukraine after thousands of Roma fled fighting and persecution in areas of eastern Ukraine occupied by rebel and Russian forces. Without documents, many are unable to access the assistance that displaced Ukrainians are entitled to (though don’t always receive) after leaving behind their homes and livelihoods.

Since Loshchynivka, perceptions of Roma criminality have been reinforced by Ukrainian media and politicians. Most coverage of the pogrom was sympathetic to the aggressors, focusing on the allegations of drugs trafficking and petty crime as justification for the violence.

Comments by Odessa’s regional governor, Mikheil Saakashvili, appeared to support that narrative. “I fully share the outrage of the residents of Loshchynivka,” Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, told reporters after Angelina’s funeral. “There was a real den of iniquity, there is massive drug-dealing in which the anti-social elements that live there are engaged. We should have fundamentally dealt with this problem earlier — and now it’s simply obligatory.”

However, when I met with Odessa region’s police chief Giorgi Lortkipanidze, he dismissed the idea of a criminal core in the village. “In the past year, there were 28 criminal cases in Loshchynivka and only one involved Roma. There were absolutely no drug crimes in the village,” Lortkipanidze told me.

“I stayed there for three days and no one said they had faced Roma criminality and had called the police about this. We went with those people who alleged there was a drugs factory, searched the area and no drugs were found.

“I’m a policeman, I always check facts before speaking,” he added. “Mr. Saakashvili is a politician, he hears the public mood and then makes statements.”

Subsequent police raids on drug factories in Izmail and villages around Loshchynivka have confused the issue, turning up automatic weapons and huge hauls of narcotics. The raids have been used to support Saakashvili’s statement, without making clear that none of the drugs or weapons were found in Loshchynivka or in houses occupied by Roma.

When I questioned Saakashvili about his earlier comments, he told me that by “criminal elements” he had not been referring to Roma and that his words had been misinterpreted. “I absolutely strongly condemn the attacks on Roma in Loshchynivka,” he said. “We will not allow any forceful relocation of people.”

Success stories

Sat at a leafy park café in Izmail, I was waiting to meet two members of the local Roma community when a young Roma boy, no more than ten years old, approached my table.

He asked me what I was doing in Izmail. I asked him if he knew what had happened in Loshchynivka and if he had relatives there. He had heard they were chased out for killing a girl, he said. Unfazed, the boy got straight to the point. “Give me money,” he smiled with an ear-to-ear grin. I asked where his parents were. “I do what I want,” he smiled wider still. “Give me that camera,” he demanded, eyeing it greedily. I laughed him off.

Similar scenes are played out in towns and cities across Ukraine every day. Dozens of Ukrainians have told me personal stories of being harassed or robbed by people they believed to be Roma. For many of them, it was the only time they had knowingly interacted with a community which they had been warned away from as children. Had they been sat in the café instead of me, they would have no idea that two Roma men were working hard across the street in a plumbing shop, their ethnicity kept secret in order to find employment.

“If they know that a person is Roma, they won’t give him a job,” said Vladimir Kundadar, president of Izmail’s Roma council. “There are many smart, well-educated Roma, but to achieve something they have to hide that they are Roma, don’t show people that they are in touch with other Roma.” 

In rural areas, where the vast majority of Roma live, the difficulty in finding a job can be overcome by growing their own produce and selling it at a local market. In fact, although the ethnicity of a Roma criminal may be more visible to a victim, there are no statistics to indicate they are more likely to commit crime than other ethnicities. A 2013 study published by the Kharkiv Institute of Social Research actually found that the rate of crime committed by Roma in rural areas of Ukraine was 2.5 times less than that of wider Ukrainian society.

In urban areas however, begging or crime may become the only alternative to starvation. Access to education and encouragement, Roma activists insist, is the key to preventing this.

“Two years ago I was robbed by poor Roma near a shop. They knew I was Roma too, but they didn’t care,” said Volodymr Kondur, head of the Odessa Roma human rights center. “After that I could have said they are a bad people and I will not help them anymore. But I didn’t.

“You need to understand that these people need attention to get out of economic and psychological difficulties. Show them that there are other opportunities.”

One of the key tasks for activists is to promote Roma success stories inside and outside Roma communities, breaking down stereotypes and preventing the most impoverished families from falling into them. They want to show that there are successful Roma writers, mechanics, merchants, students, scientists and sportsmen across the country.

It’s not easy. In the week after the murder, a social media campaign was launched featuring photos of well-groomed young Roma holding placards saying “I am not a criminal”It received almost no coverage in Ukrainian media.

Breaking the cycle

Despite a government action plan, there is no real state support for Roma efforts. “There are three staff members within the Ministry of Culture responsible for implementing the ‘Strategy on Protection and Integration of Roma Minority into Ukrainian Society by 2020’, but they have no budget,” explains Yana Salakhova, a specialist on counteracting racism and xenophobia at the International Organization for Migration.

Indeed, Ukraine’s insane level of bureaucracy and failure to make good on its constitutional promise of free state healthcare and education keeps many Roma locked in a cycle of poverty and vulnerability.

Enrolling children in a state kindergarten requires documentation and cash for bribes that Roma families, often on the move, are unlikely to have. Once at school, Roma children can be placed in segregated classes or entirely separate institutions with lower standards.

Doctors, paid a dire wage by the state and desperately short of medical supplies, may refuse to treat Roma under the assumption that they can’t pay the going rate for what should be a free procedure.

“I was in a small village near Kirovograd with a Roma woman, who told me she was pregnant, went to the hospital and the doctors refused to help her deliver, because they were concerned she wouldn’t have enough money to pay for her caesarean,” said Chirikli’s Zemfira Kondur. “By the time they agreed to do it, the baby was in a coma.”

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

7a. The Avoz Battalion has started a new polititcal party.

“Nationalist Azov Battalion Starts Political Party” by Bermet Talant; Kyiv Post; 10/15/2016.

The death penalty for corruption, the expansion of presidential power, and the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia – these are just a few of the policies proposed by the National Corps, a newly established right-wing political party created by the Azov Battalion.

The battalion, a Ukrainian National Guard unit often described as supporting neo-Nazi ideology and accused of human rights violations, presented its new political party and its rather radical statute on Oct. 14.

The political convention in Kyiv gathered around 292 delegates from all regions of Ukraine. Azov’s commander, Andriy Biletsky, was unanimously elected as the party leader for a four-year term.

“We will be different from other parties. Everyone will see it in 3-4 months. We won’t be a party for TV debates. We want to work on real projects and implement them ourselves, be it in the environment, or security, or extremely important issues of the moment,” said Biletsky in interview with Hromadske Radio.

The National Corps backs constitutional changes, including the expansion of presidential powers by granting the president the authorities both of commander-in-chief and head of the government. The party also wants to start a public debate on the restoration of the death penalty for treason, and for embezzlement by top-ranking public officials.

Moreover, the party wants Ukraine to rearm itself with nuclear weapons, and nationalize companies that were public property in 1991 when Ukraine gained independence.

In foreign policy, the National Corps supports the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia until its forces leave Crimea and the Donbas, and Moscow pays war reparation. In the meantime, Ukraine should focus on developing comprehensive cooperation with the Baltic and Black sea states.

Finally, the National Corps called for citizens to have the right to armed self-defense, which became a matter of debate in Ukraine in 2015.

Azov’s nationalist convention culminated with the Nation March in the evening, which it organized together with the Right Sector, another far-right organization.

An estimated 5,000 people walked with torches and flags from the Mother Homeland monument to St. Sofia Square chanting “Death to the enemies!” and “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes!”

“I joined the march because I believe in a free Ukraine,” said one young man wearing a face mask with the yellow and blue emblem of Azov Battalion, which resembles a Wolfsangel, a symbol associated with Nazism. “We have friends and relatives who fought or fight in the east. Our ancestors were Cossacks and also defended our homeland. We must never forget them.”

7b. Is electoral politics the path forward for Azov? Politics? Or do they have something more direct in mind?

” . . . . [Nazar] Kravchenko told the Hromadske news site he hopes forming a party will give Azov greater political influence. ‘There are several ways of coming to power, but we are trying something through elections, but we have all sorts of possibilities,’ he said. . . .”

“Right-Wing Azov Battalion Enters Ukraine’s Political Arena”; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; 10/14/2016.

Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion has officially created a political party.

Greeted by chants of “Death to enemies!” at an inaugural party congress in Kyiv on October 14, Azov’s new political head, Nazar Kravchenko, told some 300 attendees, many in military fatigues, that the party would work to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The gathering coincided with traditional nationalist events marking the creation of the controversial World War II-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and to celebrate Ukrainian Cossacks.

Credited with recapturing the strategic port city of Mariupol from Russia-backed separatists in 2014, Azov is a former volunteer militia now included in the National Guard.

Due to members’ far-right ideology and militancy, detractors believe the fighting force might also pose a threat to President Petro Poroshenko and the stability of the state.

Kravchenko told the Hromadske news site he hopes forming a party will give Azov greater political influence.

“There are several ways of coming to power, but we are trying something through elections, but we have all sorts of possibilities,” he said.

Azov’s symbol is similar to the Nazi Wolfsangel but the group claims it is comprised of the letters N and I, meaning “national idea.

Human rights organizations have accused the Azov Battalion of torture.

8. Next, we note that Ukraine is set to be the world’s third largest food exporter some time in the next decade due to its incredibly productive arable land. This is undoubtedly a major factor in the push to incorporate Ukraine into the Western sphere of influence.

“ . . . . Ukraine sold $7.6 billion of bulk farm commodities worldwide in 2015, quintupling its revenue from a decade earlier and topping Russia, its closest rival on world markets. By the mid-2020s, “Ukraine will be No.3, after the U.S. and Brazil,” in food production worldwide, says Martin Schuldt, the top representative in Ukraine for Cargill, the world’s largest grain trader. The company, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., saw its sunflower-seed processing plant in the Donetsk region overrun by separatists in 2014; it still can’t regain access to the facility. Nonetheless, the company is investing $100 million in a new grain terminal in Ukraine. Bunge, the world’s biggest soy processor, opened a port this year at a ceremony with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko—another vote of confidence in the country. . . . .”

“That Boom You Hear Is Ukraine’s Agriculture” by Alan Bjerga and Volodymyr Verbyany; Bloomberg Businessweek; 10/13/2016.

With the conflict frozen, money is flowing to modernize farms

Ihor Makarevych bumps along the pitted roads to his fields, talking about warfare and his crops. When conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014, helicopter-launched heat flares scorched his land. Later, 19 of his employees were conscripted into the army. “There were nine road checkpoints installed by Ukrainian soldiers near our farmlands,” says the 52-year-old, who was an officer in the Soviet Army in the 1980s.

Makarevych is chief executive officer of Agrofirma Podolivska, which manages farmland in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, to the north bordering Russia and to the east, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, partly controlled by separatists. Despite that proximity, when he arrives at his fields, the war seems far away. Semi-automated New Holland and John Deere combines are starting to harvest corn and sunflowers, following choreography developed by Kharkiv-based coders. Farmers check moisture levels on monitors inside their cabs, while deep-yellow grain is cut against a blue sky, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

The corn and sunflowers will make their way to the ports of Odessa and Mykolayiv for export, sold to Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and other multinationals as part of the stream of grain and oilseeds that makes Ukraine the world’s fifth-biggest seller of wheat and other grains. Companies are betting that global appetites will increasingly rely on Black Sea soil even as obstacles to growth remain. “Ukraine is a big answer to the question of how you feed the world,” says Steve Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador there who’s now with the Brookings Institution. “But it’s a complex place to do business.”

The country’s agricultural superpowers start with its soil, called chernozem, or “black earth.” High in humus and natural fertilizers, it’s celebrated by agrarians for its fertility. “In Iowa, good black soil may be a foot deep,” Pifer says. “In Ukraine, it’s three or four feet deep.” Proximity to the European Union, Middle East, Russia, and Africa provides natural markets. So does suspicion of genetically modified crops. Ukraine’s non-GMO corn varieties have made it China’s No.1 source, helping to turn the former Soviet breadbasket into a global player.

Ukraine sold $7.6 billion of bulk farm commodities worldwide in 2015, quintupling its revenue from a decade earlier and topping Russia, its closest rival on world markets. By the mid-2020s, “Ukraine will be No.3, after the U.S. and Brazil,” in food production worldwide, says Martin Schuldt, the top representative in Ukraine for Cargill, the world’s largest grain trader. The company, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., saw its sunflower-seed processing plant in the Donetsk region overrun by separatists in 2014; it still can’t regain access to the facility. Nonetheless, the company is investing $100 million in a new grain terminal in Ukraine. Bunge, the world’s biggest soy processor, opened a port this year at a ceremony with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko—another vote of confidence in the country.

Conflict in what’s broadly referred to as the Donbas pretty much hasn’t spilled over to the rest of the country, says John Shmorhun, CEO of AgroGeneration, a company in the portfolio of SigmaBleyzer Investment Group, a global private equity firm based in Houston. AgroGeneration owns Agrofirma Podolivska, which cultivates part of the 120,000 hectares (296,500 acres) of land it operates in Ukraine. It would like to have more land. “I know that if I take someone else’s land, I can double, triple the yield,” says Shmorhun, a Ukrainian American and ex-U.S. fighter pilot who led Ukraine operations for DuPont before moving to AgroGeneration.

About 1 in every 6 acres of agricultural land in Ukraine isn’t being farmed. Of land in production, Shmorhun says only about a quarter is reaching yields on the level of those in the developed world, because of lower-quality seeds, fertilizers, and equipment. “It’s a huge upside. It’s mind-boggling,” he says. Despite occasional saber rattling, the country is stable, he says. “The way I look at the war today, there is a conflict zone. You draw a line around it.”

Land reform in the years immediately after Ukrainian independence in 1991 left title to much of the farmland in the hands of former Soviet farmworkers and their descendants, along with the government. Legally, no one can sell it—companies such as AgroGeneration have grown by signing long-term leases with owners for parcels as small as 5 acres. But the uncertainty of land titles has deterred investors and kept farmers from expanding, says Pifer, the former U.S. diplomat.

“Lack of cheap funding is a big obstacle,” Shmorhun says. “If you want to get higher quality, you must invest in infrastructure, including roads, grain elevators, dryers, storage.” Average long-term borrowing costs exceed 20 percent for loans in hryvnia and 7 percent for loans in foreign currencies—at 26 to the dollar, the hryvnia is one of the world’s weakest currencies—making investments from any but the best-capitalized enterprises rare. “Without a mortgage market, farmers can’t finance better seeds or machinery,” Shmorhun says. That leaves the bulk of farmland to be tilled and harvested with 20th century, and in some cases 19th century, technology. Given the outmoded farm technology used by most, it’s remarkable Ukraine produces as much as it does.

Poroshenko supports creating a market for farmland, but the Parliament regularly extends the ban on selling agricultural property. Earlier in October, legislators backed a bill prolonging the moratorium through 2018, but the president has yet to sign it. The fear is that large Ukrainian companies and foreign investors will gobble up the land and displace small farmers.

9. Those “Russian government hackers” really need a OPSEC refresher course. The hacked documents in the ‘Macron hack’ not only contained Cyrillic text in the metadata, but also contained the name of the last person to modify the documents. And that name, “Roshka Georgiy Petrovichan”, is an employee at Evrika, a large IT company that does work for the Russian government, including the FSB.

Also found in the metadata is the email of the person who uploaded the files to “archive.org”, and that email address, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is registered with a German free webmail provider used previously in 2016 phishing attacks against the CDU in Germany that have been attributed to APT28. It would appear that the ‘Russian hackers’ not only left clues suggesting it was Russian hackers behind the hack, but they decided name names this time. Their own names.

Not surprisingly, given the fascist nature of WikiLeaks, they concluded that Russia was behind the hacks. (For more on the fascist nature of WikiLeaks, see FTR #’s 724, 725, 732, 745, 755, 917.)

“Evidence Suggests Russia Behind Hack of French President-Elect” by Sean Gallagher; Ars Technica; 5/8/2017.

Russian security firms’ metadata found in files, according to WikiLeaks and others.

Late on May 5 as the two final candidates for the French presidency were about to enter a press blackout in advance of the May 7 election, nine gigabytes of data allegedly from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron were posted on the Internet in torrents and archives. The files, which were initially distributed via links posted on 4Chan and then by WikiLeaks, had forensic metadata suggesting that Russians were behind the breach—and that a Russian government contract employee may have falsified some of the dumped documents.

Even WikiLeaks, which initially publicized the breach and defended its integrity on the organization’s Twitter account, has since acknowledged that some of the metadata pointed directly to a Russian company with ties to the government:

#MacronLeaks: name of employee for Russian govt security contractor Evrika appears 9 times in metadata for “xls_cendric.rar” leak archive pic.twitter.com/jyhlmldlbL— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 6, 2017

Evrika (“Eureka”) ZAO is a large information technology company in St. Petersburg that does some work for the Russian government, and the group includes the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) among its acknowledged customers (as noted in this job listing). The company is a systems integrator, and it builds its own computer equipment and provides “integrated information security systems.” The metadata in some Microsoft Office files shows the last person to have edited the files to be “Roshka Georgiy Petrovich,” a current or former Evrika ZAO employee.

According to a Trend Micro report on April 25, the Macron campaign was targeted by the Pawn Storm threat group (also known as “Fancy Bear” or APT28) in a March 15 “phishing” campaign using the domain onedrive-en-marche.fr. The domain was registered by a “Johny Pinch” using a Mail.com webmail address. The same threat group’s infrastructure and malware was found to be used in the breach of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, in the phishing attack targeting members of the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and in a number of other campaigns against political targets in the US and Germany over the past year.

The metadata attached to the upload of the Macron files also includes some identifying data with an e-mail address for the person uploading the content to archive.org:

Well this is fun pic.twitter.com/oXsH83snCS— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) May 6, 2017

The e-mail address of the uploader, frankmacher1@gmx.de, is registered with a German free webmail provider used previously in 2016 Pawn Storm / APT28 phishing attacks against the Christian Democratic Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party.

The involvement of APT28, the editing of some documents leaked by someone using a Russian version of Microsoft Office, and the attempt to spread the data through amplification in social media channels such as 4Chan, Twitter, and Facebook—where a number of new accounts posted links to the data—are all characteristics of the information operations seen during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

10. In related news, a group of cybersecurity researchers studying the Macron hack has concluded that the modified documents were doctored by someone associated with The Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website and Andrew “the weev” Auernheimer.

Auerenheimer was a guest at Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras’s party celebrating their receipt of the Polk award.

“ ‘We strongly believe that the fake offshore documents were created by someone with control of the Daily Stormer server,” said Tord Lundström, a computer forensics investigator at Virtualroad.org.’ . . .”

Who is in control of the Daily Stormer? Well, its public face and publisher is Andrew Anglin. But look who the site is registered to: Andrew Auernheimer, who apparently resided in Ukraine as of the start of this year:

The analysis from the web-security firm Virtualroad.org. indicates that someone associated with the Daily Stormer modified those faked documents. Like, perhaps a highly skilled neo-Nazi hacker like “the weev”.

Based on an analysis of how the document dump unfolded it’s looking like the inexplicably self-incriminating ‘Russian hackers’ may have been a bunch of American neo-Nazis. Imagine that.

“U.S. Hacker Linked to Fake Macron Documents, Says Cybersecurity Firm” by David Gauthier-Villars; The Wall Street Journal; 5/16/2017.

Ties between an American’s neo-Nazi website and an internet campaign to smear Macron before French election are found

A group of cybersecurity experts has unearthed ties between an American hacker who maintains a neo-Nazi website and an internet campaign to smear Emmanuel Macron days before he was elected president of France.

Shortly after an anonymous user of the 4chan.org discussion forum posted fake documents purporting to show Mr. Macron had set up an undisclosed shell company in the Caribbean, the user directed people to visit nouveaumartel.com for updates on the French election.

That website, according to research by web-security provider Virtualroad.org, is registered by “Weevlos,” a known online alias of Andrew Auernheimer, an American hacker who gained notoriety three years ago when a U.S. appeals court vacated his conviction for computer fraud. The site also is hosted by a server in Latvia that hosts the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that identifies its administrator as “Weev,” another online alias of Mr. Aeurnheimer, Virtualroad.org says.

“We strongly believe that the fake offshore documents were created by someone with control of the Daily Stormer server,” said Tord Lundström, a computer forensics investigator at Virtualroad.org.

Through Tor Ekeland, the lawyer who represented him in the computer-fraud case in the U.S., Mr. Auernheimer said he “doesn’t have anything to say.”

A French security official said a probe into the fake documents was looking into the role of far-right and neo-Nazi groups but declined to comment on the alleged role of Mr. Auernheimer.

In the run-up to the French election, cybersecurity agencies warned Mr. Macron’s aides that Russian hackers were targeting his presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter. On May 5, nine gigabytes of campaign documents and emails were dumped on the internet. The Macron campaign and French authorities have stopped short of pinning blame for the hack on the Kremlin.

Intelligence and cybersecurity investigators examining the flurry of social-media activity leading up to the hack followed a trail of computer code they say leads back to the American far-right.

Contacted by email over the weekend, the publisher of the Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, said he and Mr. Auernheimer had used their news site to write about the fake documents because “We follow 4chan closely and have a more modern editorial process than most sites.”

When asked if he or Mr. Auernheimer were behind the fake documents, Mr. Anglin stopped replying.

Mr. Auernheimer was sentenced to 41 months in prison by a U.S. court in late 2012 for obtaining the personal data of thousands of iPad users through an AT&T website. In April 2014, an appeals court vacated his conviction on the grounds that the venue of the trial, in New Jersey, was improper.

Asked if Mr. Auernheimer resided in Ukraine, as a January post on a personal blog indicates, his lawyer said: “I think this is about right.”

The day after the data dump, French security officials summoned their U.S. counterparts stationed in Paris to formally request a probe of the role American far-right websites might have played in disseminating the stolen data, according to a Western security official. A U.S. security official had no comment.

Mounir Mahjoubi, who was in charge of computer security for Mr. Macron’s campaign said far-right groups, or “an international collective of conservatives,” may have coordinated to disrupt the French election.

“We will take time to do analysis, to deconstruct who really runs these groups,” Mr. Mahjoubi told French radio last week. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

French prosecutors have launched formal probes into both the fake documents and the data dump.

The phony documents intended to smear Mr. Macron were posted to 4chan.org twice by an anonymous user, first on May 3 and again on May 5 using higher-resolution files.

Soon after the second post, several 4chan.org users in the same online conversation below the post appeared to congratulate Mr. Auernheimer.

“Weev… you’re doing the lord’s work,” wrote one of the anonymous users.


That website, according to research by web-security provider Virtualroad.org, is registered by “Weevlos,” a known online alias of Andrew Auernheimer, an American hacker who gained notoriety three years ago when a U.S. appeals court vacated his conviction for computer fraud. The site also is hosted by a server in Latvia that hosts the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site that identifies its administrator as “Weev,” another online alias of Mr. Aeurnheimer, Virtualroad.org says.

When asked if he or Mr. Auernheimer were behind the fake documents, Mr. Anglin stopped replying.

Asked if Mr. Auernheimer resided in Ukraine, as a January post on a personal blog indicates, his lawyer said: “I think this is about right.”

 

 

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #959 Update on the New Cold War and the Nazification of Ukraine”

  1. Joshua Cohen, a former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union has a piece in the Washington Post about the growing threat of the far-right and neo-Nazis in Ukraine (it’s a little ironic). It’s a decent overview as far is giving a summary of the growing threat the far-right poses to Ukraine’s government and society and makes the important point about dangers of these groups operating with impunity following one violent act after another.

    And yet the piece contains this curious paragraph:

    To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians.

    And that’s followed by a description of how the the Interior Ministry is run by a guy who sponsors the Azov Battalion and his deputy minister is a neo-Nazi. Better late than never:

    The Washington Post

    Ukraine’s ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown

    By Joshua Cohen
    June 15, 2017 at 6:00 AM

    Josh Cohen is a former U.S. Agency for International Development project officer involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union.

    As Ukraine’s fight against Russian-supported separatists continues, Kiev faces another threat to its long-term sovereignty: powerful right-wing ultranationalist groups. These groups are not shy about using violence to achieve their goals, which are certainly at odds with the tolerant Western-oriented democracy Kiev ostensibly seeks to become.

    The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists believe the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group C14 (whose name comes from a 14-word phrase used by white supremacists). The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler’s birthday, and C14’s leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko’s stabbing immediately afterward.

    The attack on Serhiyenko is just the tip of the iceberg. More recently C14 beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lviv and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a “Ukrainians Choose Peace” event, LGBT events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II.

    According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It’s not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself — something they’ve done before and continue to threaten to do.

    To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians.

    Even so, the threat cannot be dismissed out of hand. If authorities don’t end the far right’s impunity, it risks further emboldening them, argues Krasimir Yankov, a researcher with Amnesty International in Kiev. Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha – a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers — to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right’s confidence in their immunity from government prosecution.

    It’s not too late for the government to take steps to reassert control over the rule of law. First, authorities should enact a “zero-tolerance” policy on far-right violence. President Petro Poroshenko should order key law enforcement agencies — the Interior Ministry, the National Police of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Prosecutor Generals’ Office (PGO) — to make stopping far-right activity a top priority.

    The legal basis for prosecuting extremist vigilantism certainly exists. The Criminal Code of Ukraine specifically outlaws violence against peaceful assemblies. The police need to start enforcing this law.

    Most importantly, the government must also break any connections between law enforcement agencies and far-right organizations. The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East. Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if far-right groups have become part of the Guard itself.

    Avakov’s Deputy Minister Vadym Troyan was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva – a former member of the far-right Right Sector party whose Instagram feed is populated with images of former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini – has called for gays “to be put to death.” And Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the “White Chief” who called for a crusade against “Semite-led sub-humanity.”

    Such officials have no place in a government based on the rule of law; they should go. More broadly, the government should also make sure that every police officer receives human rights training focused on improving the policing and prosecution of hate crimes. Those demonstrating signs of extremist ties or sympathies should be excluded.

    In one notorious incident, media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs — who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have “fun” — giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it’s just as important for Ukrainian democracy to cleanse extremists from law enforcement as it is to remove corrupt officials from former president Viktor Yanukovych’s regime under Ukraine’s “lustration” policy.

    ———-

    “Ukraine’s ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown” by Joshua Cohen; The Washington Post; 06/15/2017

    “According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It’s not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself — something they’ve done before and continue to threaten to do.”

    Far-right violence enjoying impunity. Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good sign that Ukraine is “being overrun by Nazis or fascists.” Isn’t that almost the definition of being overrun by Nazis and fascists? It seems like it.

    But otherwise, it was a decent summary of the situation. Kind of like the piece Cohen wrote last year:

    Foreign Policy

    Report
    The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past

    Volodymyr Viatrovych is erasing the country’s racist and bloody history — stripping pogroms and ethnic cleansing from the official archives.

    By Josh Cohen
    May 2, 2016

    When it comes to politics and history, an accurate memory can be a dangerous thing.

    In Ukraine, as the country struggles with its identity, that’s doubly true. While Ukrainian political parties try to push the country toward Europe or Russia, a young, rising Ukrainian historian named Volodymyr Viatrovych has placed himself at the center of that fight. Advocating a nationalist, revisionist history that glorifies the country’s move to independence — and purges bloody and opportunistic chapters — Viatrovych has attempted to redraft the country’s modern history to whitewash Ukrainian nationalist groups’ involvement in the Holocaust and mass ethnic cleansing of Poles during World War II. And right now, he’s winning.

    In May 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law that mandated the transfer of the country’s complete set of archives, from the “Soviet organs of repression,” such as the KGB and its decedent, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), to a government organization called the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Run by the young scholar — and charged with “implementation of state policy in the field of restoration and preservation of national memory of the Ukrainian people” — the institute received millions of documents, including information on political dissidents, propaganda campaigns against religion, the activities of Ukrainian nationalist organizations, KGB espionage and counter-espionage activities, and criminal cases connected to the Stalinist purges. Under the archives law, one of four “memory laws” written by Viatrovych, the institute’s anodyne-sounding mandate is merely a cover to present a biased and one-sided view of modern Ukrainian history — and one that could shape the country’s path forward.

    The controversy centers on a telling of World War II history that amplifies Soviet crimes and glorifies Ukrainian nationalist fighters while dismissing the vital part they played in ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews from 1941 to 1945 after the Nazi invasion of the former Soviet Union. Viatrovych’s vision of history instead tells the story of partisan guerrillas who waged a brave battle for Ukrainian independence against overwhelming Soviet power. It also sends a message to those who do not identify with the country’s ethno-nationalist mythmakers — such as the many Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who still celebrate the heroism of the Red Army during World War II — that they’re on the outside. And more pointedly, scholars now fear that they risk reprisal for not toeing the official line — or calling Viatrovych on his historical distortions. Under Viatrovych’s reign, the country could be headed for a new, and frightening, era of censorship.

    Although events of 75 years ago may seem like settled history, they are very much a part of the information war raging between Russia and Ukraine.

    The revisionism focuses on two Ukrainian nationalist groups: the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought to establish an independent Ukraine. During the war, these groups killed tens of thousands of Jews and carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing that killed as many as 100,000 Poles. Created in 1929 to free Ukraine from Soviet control, the OUN embraced the notion of an ethnically pure Ukrainian nation. When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the OUN and its charismatic leader, Stepan Bandera, embraced the invasion as a step toward Ukrainian independence. Its members carried out a pogrom in Lviv that killed 5,000 Jews, and OUN militias played a major role in violence against the Jewish population in western Ukraine that claimed the lives of up to 35,000 Jews.

    Hitler was not interested in granting Ukraine independence, however. By 1943 the OUN violently seized control of the UPA and declared itself opposed to both the Germans, then in retreat, and the oncoming Soviets. Many UPA troops had already assisted the Nazis as Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in the extermination of hundreds and thousands of Jews in western Ukraine in 1941 and 1942, and they now became foot soldiers in another round of ethnic cleansing in western Ukraine in 1943 to 1944, this time directed primarily against Poles. When the Soviets were closing in 1944, the OUN resumed cooperation with the Germans and continued to fight the Soviets into the 1950s, before finally being crushed by the Red Army.

    This legacy of sacrifice against the Soviets continues to prompt many Ukrainian nationalists to view Bandera and the OUN-UPA as heroes whose valor kept the dream of Ukrainian statehood alive.

    Now, as Ukraine seeks to free itself from Russia’s grip, Ukrainian nationalists are providing the Kremlin’s propaganda machine fodder to support the claim that post-revolutionary Ukraine is overrun by fascists and neo-Nazis.. The new law, which promises that people who “publicly exhibit a disrespectful attitude” toward these groups or “deny the legitimacy” of Ukraine’s 20th century struggle for independence will be prosecuted (though no punishment is specified) also means that independent Ukraine is being partially built on a falsified narrative of the Holocaust.

    ———-

    “The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past” by Josh Cohen; Foreign Policy; 05/02/2016

    Now, as Ukraine seeks to free itself from Russia’s grip, Ukrainian nationalists are providing the Kremlin’s propaganda machine fodder to support the claim that post-revolutionary Ukraine is overrun by fascists and neo-Nazis.. The new law, which promises that people who “publicly exhibit a disrespectful attitude” toward these groups or “deny the legitimacy” of Ukraine’s 20th century struggle for independence will be prosecuted (though no punishment is specified) also means that independent Ukraine is being partially built on a falsified narrative of the Holocaust.”

    There’s go those pesky “Ukrainian nationalists” giving the Kremlin free propaganda points again…by officially rewriting history with a pro-fascist/Holocaust denying slant under a 2015 law that explicitly gave the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory the power to do such rewrites. How unhelpful of them to damage Ukraine’s image like that. Good thing they don’t have any real power or else people might get the wrong idea. *phew*!.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 15, 2017, 2:46 pm

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