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Nazi and Fascist Roots of the Ukrainian Pro-EU Protest Movement

Heinrich Himmler inspecting troops of the 14th Waffen SS Division (Galicia)

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COMMENT: For decades, we have covered the OUN/B, a Ukrainian fascist organization allied with the German general staff in World War II. Having staffed the 14th Waffen SS (Galician) Division and the Einsatzgruppen (mobile execution squads) in the Ukraine, the OUN/B was a pivotal element in the postwar Gehlen spy outfit in its CIA and BND incarnations, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the GOP ethnic outreach organization.

For some time, the pro-EU/German bloc of Ukrainian political parties currently garnering headlines with protests in Kiev and other cities has manifested the fascist roots and alliances of the OUN/B.

Both Yulia Timoshenko’s “Fatherland” party and the UDAR party network with the Svoboda party of Oleg Tyagnibok (“Oleh Tiahnybok”), which has evolved directly from the fascist OUN/B of Stephan Bandera.

 

Galician Division Re-enactment

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

In the past we have noted that Ykaterina Chumachenko, head of the OUN/B’s leading front organization in the U.S. and Ronald Reagan’s Deputy Director of Public Liaison, went on to marry Viktor Yuschenko and become First Lady of the Ukraine after the “Orange Revolution.”

John McCain has continued the GOP tradition of networking with fascists, meeting with Oleg Tiyagnibok.

With the Yuschenko regime in power, OUN/B founder Stephan Bandera was named a hero of the Ukraine. As we see below, Roman Shukhevych  was also granted that honor. Shukhevych lead the OUN/B-staffed Einsatzgruppe “Nightingale” in its liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto! (Lvov has also been known as Lemberg at various times in its recent history.)

Now, this political milieu is coalescing in the Ukrainian pro-EU cadre, pushing to incorporate the Ukraine into the German-dominated EU.

“Pterrafractyl” informs us of further evidence of the OUN/B roots of the Ukrainian protest movement.

“Ukraine’s Forces Move Against Protesters, Dimming Hopes for Talks” by David M. Herszenhorn; The New York Times; 12/9/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . On Monday evening, Ukrainian security forces raided the headquarters of an opposition party, Fatherland, and seized computer servers.

The party’s parliamentary leader, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, is one of the main organizers of the protest movement, which ballooned in recent days to dominate the streets of Kiev and pressure Mr. Yanukovich after he refused to sign a political and trade pact with the European Union. Fatherland is best known, however, as the opposition coalition formed by the jailed former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, whose release has long been demanded by Western leaders. . . . .

. . . . Despite the action against Mr. Yatsenyuk’s party, Fatherland, the authorities seemed to be holding back from similar investigations of the other two parliamentary leaders at the forefront of the protests, the champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, of the UDAR party, and Oleg Tyagnibok, of the nationalist Svoboda party.

Mr. Tyagnibok’s supporters in particular are among the most fearsome demonstrators and have led some of the more provocative efforts to occupy buildings and block government offices. . . .

“A Broad-Based Anti-Russian Alliance”; german-foreign-policy.com; 12/3/2013.

ENTIRE TEXT: The German government is encouraging the protest demonstrations being staged in the Ukraine by the “pro-European” alliance of conservative and ultra-rightwing parties. The “pro-Europe rallies” in Kiev and other cities of the country are transmitting “a very clear message”, according to a government spokesperson in Berlin: “Hopefully” the Ukrainian president “will heed this message,” meaning sign the EU’s Association Agreement, which Kiev had refused to do last week, in spite of massive German pressure. To gain influence in the country, Germany has for years been supporting the “pro-European” alliance in the Ukraine. The alliance includes not only conservative parties, but also forces from the extreme right – because of their strength, particularly in western Ukraine, where a cult around former Nazi collaborators is manifesting itself. The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” party is particularly embedded in the national-chauvinist milieu, under the influence of this cult. Over the past few days, the party’s leader has called for a “revolution” in Kiev.

“General Strike and Revolution”

Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of the ultra-rightwing Svoboda (Freedom) party is quoted saying “a revolution is beginning in the Ukraine.” Tiahnybok made this proclamation in Kiev during the current protest demonstrations. On the weekend, approx. 100,000 people took to the streets protesting against the current government’s foreign policy course, and calling for the country to become associated with the EU. During their continuing – and increasingly violent – demonstrations, protesters are calling on the government to stop refusing to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. According to media reports, numerous activists from ultra-rightwing organizations are participating in the demonstrations, particularly activists from Svoboda. The party’s leader Tiahnybok is basking in the attention he is receiving from the international press. He is planning a general strike to accomplish the “revolution” he announced last weekend.[1] He can rely on ultra-rightwing forces, whose influence has grown over the past few years.

“National Liberation Movement”

The resurgence of the cult around the former Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, since the mid-1980s, has helped ultra-rightwing forces to enlarge their influence in western Ukraine and in Kiev. This cult focuses particularly on Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The OUN joined forces with the Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. “Along with German units, our militias are making numerous arrests of Jews,” wrote the OUN’s propaganda unit following the invasion of Lviv: “Before their liquidation, the Jews had used every method to defend themselves.”[2] While Lviv’s Jewish population was falling prey to pogroms and massacres in the city, Bandera was proclaiming the establishment of a Ukrainian nation.[3] One specialist explained in reference to Bandera’s attempt to proclaim a nation, that today, Bandera and the OUN play a “very important” role in the “ethnic self-identity” of West Ukrainians. The OUN is seen “less as a fascist party” than “as the climax of a national liberation movement, or a fraternity of courageous heroes in Ukrainian national history.”[4] Since the beginning of the 1990s, numerous monuments to Bandera have been erected throughout the country. One such monument crowns the “Boulevard Stapan Bandera” in Lviv’s center.[5] According to analyses, a, “for the most part, informally functioning nationalist civil society” has been created around the Bandera cult, particularly in West Ukraine.[6]

Collaborationist Traditions

As far back as the 1990s, this milieu has produced various ultra-rightwing organizations. In 1990, the UNA Party (“Ukrainian National Assembly”) was founded, forming a paramilitary wing (the “Ukrainian National Self-Defense” – UNSO) in 1991. Yuri Shukhevych, the son of Roman Shukhevych, a Nazi collaborator, was one of its first leaders. Soon the “Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists” (CUN) followed, which elected the former OUN activist Slava Stetsko to the Ukrainian Parliament in 1997. As President by Seniority, Stetsko had the honor of delivering the opening address at the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) after the 1998 elections. After 1945, Stetsko had continued to pursue her Ukrainian activities from her exile in Munich. It was also in Munich that, since 1948, the “Ukrainian National Council” had held its meetings – in the physical and political proximity of German and US intelligence services. The National Council considered itself to be the “core of the Ukrainian state in exile.”[7] Already in 1998, the CUN received – in electoral alliances with other parties – 9.7 percent of the votes in Lviv, 20.9 percent in Ternopil and 23.8 percent in Ivano-Frankivsk. At the time, the “Social National Party of the Ukraine” (SNPU), which was co-founded in Lviv in 1991 by Oleh Tiahnybok and had violent neo-Nazi members, was not yet successful in elections. In 1998 Tiahnybok was voted into the Ukrainian parliament with a direct mandate. Only after the SNPU changed its name to the “All-Ukrainian Union ‘Svoboda’ (‘Freedom’) in 2004, did it become more successful in elections and the leader of Ukraine’s ultra-rightwing forces.

Heroes of the Ukraine

At the time, politicians, who had been closely cooperating with Berlin, particularly Viktor Yushchenko (Ukrainian President 2005-2010), had been engaged in activities aimed at forming a broad anti-Russian alliance to integrate the Ukraine into the German hegemonic sphere – thereby strengthening the ultra-rightwing forces. For the elections in 2002 and 2006, Yushchenko’s electoral platform “Our Ukraine” cooperated with CUN and enabled that organization to win three seats in the national parliament in both elections. Oleh Tiahnybok (Svoboda) had temporarily been a member of the “Our Ukraine” parliamentary group. He was excluded in the summer of 2004, following his speech at the grave of a Nazi collaborator, in which he ranted against the “Jewish mafia in Moscow.” That same year, Yushchenko announced that, if elected, he would officially declare Bandera “Hero of the Ukraine.” This did not impede Berlin’s support. With the “Orange Revolution,” Berlin also helped him to ultimately be elected President. Yushchenko declared Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych on October 12, 2007, and Bandera on January 22, 2010 “Heroes of the Ukraine” – as a favor to the broad anti-Russian Alliance. At that time, Svoboda had just received its first major electoral success: In the March 15 regional parliamentary elections in Ternopil, with 34.7 percent and 50 out of 120 parliamentarians, including the president of parliament, it emerged the strongest party.

Socially Acceptable

To secure the broadest possible base for their anti-Russian policy, the so-called pro-European Ukrainian parties are still cooperating with ultra rightwing forces. “Batkivschyna” (Fatherland), the party of imprisoned opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko has entered an electoral alliance with Svoboda in the run-up to the last elections. Thanks to this alliance, Svoboda was able to obtain 10.4 percent of the votes and twelve direct mandates and is now represented in the Verkhovna Rada with 37 parliamentarians. A firm opposition coalition was formed, which included Svoboda, Batkivschyna and Vitaly Klitschko’s “UDAR” party. This coalition is not only closely cooperating in the Ukrainian parliament but also in the current protest demonstrations on the streets. Batkivschyna has “significantly aided Svoboda to become socially acceptable,” according to an expert, but it cannot be ruled out that it thereby also “dug its own grave.” Already at the 2012 elections, Tymoshenko’s party lost some of its “voters to the radical nationalists” because of its cooperation with Svoboda.[8] The dynamic of radicalization of the current protests could invigorate this development – aided by Berlin’s active encouragement.

Party Cell Munich

With its growing strength, Svoboda is also gaining influence on a European level. Since the 1990s, the party has systematically developed contacts to various ultra-rightwing parties in other European countries. For quite a while, it had been cooperating closely with the French Front National until the FN began to cultivate a “more moderate” image. Up to the beginning of this year, Svoboda had participated in a network that also included the “British National Party” and Hungary’s “Jobbik.” It has been seeking closer ties to the neo-fascist “Forza Nuova” in Italy and the German NPD.[9] But, it is also establishing its own party structures in other European countries. Last August, it founded a party cell in Munich chaired by a Svoboda city council member from Ivano-Frankivsk, who is currently studying in the Bavarian capital. Following its foundation ceremony, the new party cell visited the Munich Waldfriedhof, indicating a traditional link between Munich and the Ukraine: the two OUN leaders Jaroslav Stetsko and Stepan Bandera are buried in this cemetery. In a press release, the party’s new cell announced that the visit had been made “in honor of those, who had died for the independence of the Ukraine.”[10] Subsequent to their unsuccessful Nazi-collaboration, both had continued their struggle for Ukraine’s secession from the Soviet Union and integration into the German Federal Republic’s hegemonic sphere of influence.

“15,000 Ukraine Nation­al­ists March for Divi­sive Bandera” [AP]; USA Today; 1/1/2014.

EXCERPT: About 15,000 peo­ple marched through Kiev on Wednes­day night to honor Stepan Ban­dera, glo­ri­fied by some as a leader of Ukraine’s lib­er­a­tion move­ment and dis­missed by oth­ers as a Nazi collaborator.

The march was held in Ukraine’s cap­i­tal on what would have been Bandera’s 105th birth­day, and many of the cel­e­brants car­ried torches.

Some wore the uni­form of a Ukrain­ian divi­sion of the Ger­man army dur­ing World War II. Oth­ers chanted “Ukraine above all!” and “Ban­dera, come and bring order!”

How­ever, many of Bandera’s fol­low­ers sought to play down his col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ger­mans in the fight for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence as the leader of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists, Ukraine’s fore­most nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion in the first half of the 20th century.

Ban­dera, who died 55 year ago, remains a deeply divi­sive fig­ure in Ukraine, glo­ri­fied by many in west­ern Ukraine as a free­dom fighter but dis­missed by mil­lions in east­ern and south­east­ern Ukraine as a trai­tor to the Soviet Union’s strug­gle against the occu­py­ing Ger­man army.

His group also was involved in the eth­nic cleans­ing that killed tens of thou­sands of Poles in 1942–44. The Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists por­trayed Rus­sians, Poles, Hun­gar­i­ans and Jews — most of the minori­ties in west­ern Ukraine — as aliens and encour­aged locals to “destroy” Poles and Jews.

Ban­dera was assas­si­nated in 1959 by the KGB in West Germany. [Actually, it was probably BND that killed Bandera, and his assassination at the hands of “the KGB” was involved in part of the cover-up of the JFK assassination. See AFA #’s 15, 37, as well as FTR #158–DE.]

In Jan­u­ary 2010, less than a month before his term in office was to end, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko posthu­mously dec­o­rated Ban­dera with the Hero of Ukraine award. That led to harsh crit­i­cism by Jew­ish and Russ­ian groups. The award was annulled by a court in Jan­u­ary 2011 under Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

Kiev has been the scene of mas­sive pro-European protests for more than a month, trig­gered by Yanukovych’s deci­sion to ditch a key deal with the Euro­pean Union in favor of build­ing stronger ties with Russia.

The nation­al­ist party Svo­boda, which orga­nized Wednesday’s rally, was one of the key forces behind the protests, but other oppo­si­tion fac­tions have said the Ban­dera rally is unre­lated to the ongo­ing protest encamp­ment in cen­tral Kiev.

“Far-right group at heart of Ukraine Protests Meet US Sen­a­tor” ; News 4 [UK]; 12/16/2013.

EXCERPT: Ukraine’s pro-EU protests show no sign of stop­ping – US Sen­a­tor John McCain dined with oppo­si­tion lead­ers this week­end, includ­ing the extreme far-right Svo­boda party.

Dur­ing his trip the for­mer US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date met with gov­ern­ment and oppo­si­tion fig­ures, but gave his endorse­ment to the pro-Europe protesters.

Sen­a­tor McCain later waved to pro­test­ers from the stage in Inde­pen­dence Square dur­ing a mass rally in Kiev, stand­ing with Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, leader of the anti-Semitic Svo­boda party. . . . .

“Far-right Para­mil­i­tary Vows Protest Defi­ance in Ukraine” [Agence France-Presse]; Global Post; 2/5/2014.

EXCERPT: Even as Ukraine’s main oppo­si­tion lead­ers meet with the author­i­ties to try to resolve their long-running stand­off, one influ­en­tial and unre­pen­tant voice stands out — that of far-right para­mil­i­tary leader Dmytro Yarosh.

“The rev­o­lu­tion will win in Ukraine!” the shaven-headed 42-year-old told AFP in a rare inter­view at his field head­quar­ters — an entire floor in an occu­pied trade union build­ing on Inde­pen­dence Square in cen­tral Kiev.

Yarosh’s masked and hel­meted fol­low­ers — some armed with guns, oth­ers wield­ing base­ball bats — patrol the bar­ri­cades around the protest tent camp and were in the front­lines of clashes with riot police, throw­ing Molo­tov cocktails.

“We got things mov­ing, we breathed life into the rev­o­lu­tion,” said Yarosh, him­self a for­mer Red Army sol­dier who claims he is no fas­cist but a nation­al­ist defend­ing Ukraine against for­eign dom­i­na­tion — whether from the EU or Russia.

He said that his group does not have its own arse­nal but that he had autho­rised a “secret” num­ber of indi­vid­ual mem­bers with weapons per­mits to cre­ate “an armed pro­tec­tion unit”.

Yarosh said his fol­low­ers — who seized the agri­cul­ture, energy and jus­tice min­istries but then gave them up after pres­sure from other oppo­si­tion lead­ers — could also resume their “block­ades” of offi­cial gov­ern­ment buildings.

These kinds of warn­ings show up dif­fer­ences within oppo­si­tion ranks and cast doubt on whether the most rad­i­cal mil­i­tants will be will­ing to end their protest even if oppo­si­tion lead­ers man­age to strike a deal with Yanukovych.

Asked if he is con­cerned about being put in prison, Yarosh strikes a defi­ant tone.

“In a rev­o­lu­tion, it’s funny even to think about some­thing like that. Once it’s all over, we’ll see who puts who in prison,” he snarled.

For all the fight­ing talk, Yarosh is also keen to see a polit­i­cal future for his para­mil­i­taries — who have won sup­port and respect in Ukraine for their role in the protests even from peo­ple who do not share their far-right views.

“If the rev­o­lu­tion achieves its aim, we can talk about the cre­ation of a new polit­i­cal move­ment with its own niche,” he said.

It is not hard to see what that niche would be.

Unlike many pro­test­ers, who see greater inte­gra­tion with Europe as an ideal, Yarosh said Brus­sels was a “mon­ster” respon­si­ble for a “gay dic­ta­tor­ship and lib­eral total­i­tar­i­an­ism” that imposes “anti-Christian and anti-national rules”.

Yarosh said he has been an activist in the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist cause for more than 20 years and is the leader of a hard­line nation­al­ist group Trizub (Tri­dent), many of whose mem­bers are now activists in Pravy Sektor.

He says his group is the “suc­ces­sor” of the con­tro­ver­sial Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA) who bat­tled Poles, Soviet and Nazi forces in west­ern Ukraine dur­ing and after World War II.

The UPA is hated in Poland for its cam­paign of slaugh­ter against Pol­ish civil­ians in the Vol­hy­nia region in 1943 and then in Gali­cia in 1944, now con­demned as eth­nic cleansing.

The rebels on occa­sion col­lab­o­rated with occu­py­ing Nazi forces as well as fight­ing them and — most con­tro­ver­sially — some of its mem­bers served in the Gali­cia branch of the SS.

Asked how he felt about Jews, Yarosh said that he was not an anti-Semite but con­sid­ered as “ene­mies” any “eth­nic minor­ity that pre­vents us from being mas­ters in our own land”.

Even though the UPA slo­gan “Glory to the Heroes!” rings out fre­quently on Inde­pen­dence Square, Yarosh’s views are com­pletely dif­fer­ent from those of main­stream oppo­si­tion leaders.

While Yarosh does not overtly con­demn them, it seems that their on-and-off nego­ti­a­tions with Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych are grating.

“I don’t want to crit­i­cise them or they’ll get offended and start cry­ing,” he said.

Discussion

15 comments for “Nazi and Fascist Roots of the Ukrainian Pro-EU Protest Movement”

  1. http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/Reporters-Notebook-Kievs-Jews-fear-oppositions-anger-might-turn-against-them-334759

    Kiev’s Jews fear opposition’s anger might turn against them
    By SAM SOKOL
    12/12/2013 07:33

    KIEV – I’m standing in Kiev’s Town Hall on Wednesday, down the street from the city’s Maidan (“Independence”) Square, the site of massive protests by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians dissatisfied with their country’s leadership and economic ties with Russia.

    The square, and nearby state buildings, occupied by citizens incensed by President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to spurn an EU trade deal and move Ukraine further into Russia’s orbit, are a teeming campground of tents, banners, lean-tos and makeshift soup kitchens exhibiting, at first blush, an almost festival atmosphere.

    It is only after one notices the small army of protesters breaking up ice and piling up snow, to add to growing barricades, that one realizes that Maidan has been a battlefield.

    On Tuesday night, riot police flooded roads to the square and moved slowly into the main camp, bulldozing tents and barricades with tractors mounted with shovels.

    The police tried to storm city hall, but protester pushed them back, wielding high pressure fire hoses from the structure’s upper floors.

    Wandering through the building several hours after the fight, having come straight from the airport, I notice helmeted men, some wearing camouflage pants tucked into military style boots, putting away the hoses as protesters stream into the building.

    In the main hall, representatives of the various opposition factions have hung banners from the gallery. Volunteers hand out flags and solicit donations for their parties.

    An old woman sitting at a desk surrounds herself with items bearing the logo of Svoboda, an ultra-nationalist faction that the local Jewish community and the World Jewish Congress consider neo-Nazi.

    Protesters sleeping on floor mats fill much of the hall, many with gas masks and helmets by their side. Off to the side, several makeshift clinics distribute medicine and stand ready to administer first aid to the wounded.

    One young man, a linguist by trade, tells me that despite the fears of many in Ukraine’s Jewish community, there is no real danger of an outbreak of anti-Semitism, even with the active participation of Svoboda in the protests.

    “I’ve been teased and called a Jew by friends for standing up against anti-Semitism, and I support Svoboda here,” he tells The Jerusalem Post. Svoboda and the other opposition groups, he says, must be supported as an alternative to a leadership that many Ukrainians see as inept and corrupt.

    Still, it is chilling to be so close to so many members of the party.

    At the end of the day, however, the protests are a force of their own, one that the opposition leaders can only try to harness.

    Speaking with the Post, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, says that while he does not know of any attacks against Jews, there is a general feeling of anxiety on the part of the community.

    Protesters affiliated with Svoboda, he says, have led chants, originally used by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, calling for the death of “enemies” of Ukraine.

    However, Igor, a Ukrainian expat who returned home from Germany to join the protests, disagrees with Dolinsky.

    Holding aloft a banner urging Yanukovich to resign in favor of an interim government pending early elections, Igor tells me that many people chant the slogans without understanding what they mean.

    This, Dolinsky argues, is disingenuous.

    While there are no indications that anti-Semitism has become a part of the protesters’ discourse, local websites have begun tallying which Jewish figures are on their side and which support Yanukovich, a Jewish shopkeeper tells the Post.

    Fear that the anger of the crowds could turn against the Jews is ever present among members of the tribe in Kiev, prompting the Ukrainian Jewish Committee to turn to its American counterparts for help.

    “We have turned to the American Jewish Committee and the [American Jewish] Joint [Distribution Committee] to formulate emergency plans,” Dolinsky says. “We don’t have any in place.”

    As for me, I plan on spending much of the night in the square.

    Reuters contributed to this report.

    Posted by Vanfield | December 11, 2013, 10:31 pm
  2. As you know Russian Ukrainians are widely opposed to EU integration. My wife hails from a southern maritime town where the population considers itself Russian and the ukrainian language is hardly ever heard at all. In a recent wide-audience political programme on Russian TV, an analyst was saying the protest movement was fascist in nature. This kind of viewpoint, or the Russian view of things – which they are entitled to, after all Kiev is an important Russian historical city – goes largely unmentioned in Western European media; similarly during the “orange revolution”, Yushenko and Timoshenko were painted as the “good guys” if not as saintly angels and Yanoukovich as the “bad guy”. Nobody ever heard of the former two’s possible and probable links with fascist, pro-German elements. There’s plenty reason not to blindly side with the Russian view either, but the manipulation is evident.

    Posted by goelette | December 12, 2013, 1:22 am
  3. Here’s more on the far-right ideology and extreme nationalism getting pushed by the Svoboda party. Interestingly, one of the theories about Svoboda’s rise is that it was fostered by Yanukovich to serve as a far-right alternative that could drag support away from Yulia Tymoshenko. But Svoboda grew into an out of control neo-Nazi monster and is now leading the protests. At least that’s the theory. Fostering the rise of your local neo-Nazi group is, generally speaking, always really stupid thing to do so if Yanukovich really did push for the rise of Svoboda his government is earning a well-deserved Darwin award:

    The New York Times
    Unease as an Opposition Party Stands Out in Ukraine’s Protests

    By ANDREW E. KRAMER
    Published: December 16, 2013

    KIEV, Ukraine — As he strode onto the stage at Independence Square to the cheers of tens of thousands of protesters, Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda, punched a fist into the air and shouted “Glory to Ukraine!” and a roar came back: “Glory to its heroes!”

    The people stomped and chanted. When it was over, Mr. Tyagnibok, who is stout of build and ruggedly handsome, waded into the crowd to greet cheering and adoring supporters.

    The uprising shaking Ukraine started when President Viktor F. Yanukovich declined to sign a far-reaching trade and economic deal with the European Union late last month, leaving open the highly unpopular prospect of the country’s entering a Russian-sponsored customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

    Officials in Moscow and Kiev said that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was likely to offer some form of desperately needed financial assistance to Ukraine when he met on Tuesday in Moscow with Mr. Yanukovich. But the officials took pains to add that the customs union — essentially a free-trade zone across a large section of the former Soviet Union, allowing goods to travel across borders without clearing customs — would not be discussed at the meeting. Their statements seemed aimed at avoiding further provocations of the thousands of protesters here who bitterly oppose the deal.

    These are heady days for the three opposition political parties here, who were largely marginalized before the demonstrations erupted. But none of them are benefiting quite so much as Svoboda, a name that means freedom.

    And that is far from a universally welcomed development. The party traces its roots to the Ukrainian partisan army of World War II, which was loosely allied with Nazi Germany, and its debut in Parliament last year elicited objections from Israel and groups that monitor hate speech.

    In the protests, its activists make up much of the street muscle on the square, standing on ladders on the barricades, wearing bicycle helmets and ski masks, and toting clubs of table legs or pipe, on the lookout for the riot police. As the protests have unfolded, the party’s role has grown.

    For Mr. Tyagnibok, a urological surgeon by training who joined the party at its inception in the early 1990s, the aim is to translate that higher profile into an even larger role in the country’s future politics, based on an unyielding nationalism.

    “Our understanding of nationalism is love,” he said in a recent interview in one of the buildings in downtown Kiev that are occupied by protesters, a site known as the Headquarters of the Resistance. “Nationalism is love of the land, love of the people who live on the land, and it is love of a mother. Love of a mother cannot be bad.”

    Members of Ukraine’s Parliament saw things differently a decade ago. In 2004, they voted to expel Mr. Tyagnibok over a speech in which he described World War II-era partisans bravely fighting Germans, Russians, Jews and “other scum.” He went on to slur what he called the “Jewish-Russian mafia” running Ukraine.

    Until 2004, Svoboda had been called the Social-Nationalist Party, which critics said was just a word flip away from its true ambitions and a deliberate reference to the National Socialism of the Nazis. Unabashed neo-Nazis still populate its ranks, organizations that study hate groups in Europe say.

    Svoboda never won more than a fraction of a percent of the national vote, in spite of having strongholds in city councils and regional legislatures in its base in western Ukraine. Its fortunes changed with the election of Mr. Yanukovich. Serhiy Rudyk, a party official, said the new president’s pro-Russia policies angered Ukrainians, helping Svoboda in the ballot box.

    Critics of the party’s role in Ukrainian politics have another explanation. The party, they say, drew strength from an orchestrated policy of Mr. Yanukovich to foster a right-wing competitor to his main political rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, who had previously enjoyed strong support in the country’s west.

    In 2011, for example, Mr. Yanukovich’s supporters unfurled the flag of the Soviet Union during marches in Lviv on Victory Day, a holiday that commemorates the end of World War II, despite a municipal law banning the display of Communist flags in the city limits. It was a wedge issue that gave Svoboda a lift in the polls. Svoboda denies this assessment, and it is a stated ally of Ms. Tymoshenko.

    The next year, however, the party won 8.5 percent of the seats in Parliament, provoking warnings from Israel about rising anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Ukraine, a country with a rich history of both. On their first day in Parliament, Svoboda lawmakers started a fistfight with members of Mr. Yanukovich’s party.

    The party, critics say, became something of a Frankenstein’s monster for Mr. Yanukovich, and it has grown beyond all expectations with its activists now playing an integral role in the barricading of Independence Square.

    Party activists have been busing into Kiev for weeks now, setting up in the occupied lower two floors of Kiev’s City Hall. They lounge on yoga mats under crystal chandeliers, wearing armor made of in-line skating, motorcycling and skiing gear, with military gas masks looped about their belts. Many sport mohawks, a traditional Ukrainian haircut called an oseledets.

    Western diplomats say they respect Mr. Tyagnibok for keeping control of the unruly nationalist wing on the streets. During the police action outside City Hall, bystanders found a bag of gasoline bombs made from half-liter beer bottles, but Svoboda officials maintain that the police planted them there, to frame the party.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 20, 2013, 11:22 am
  4. Note that Svoboda was the group that organized this particular birthday bash:

    15,000 Ukraine nationalists march for divisive Bandera

    AP 4:36 p.m. EST January 1, 2014

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — About 15,000 people marched through Kiev on Wednesday night to honor Stepan Bandera, glorified by some as a leader of Ukraine’s liberation movement and dismissed by others as a Nazi collaborator.

    The march was held in Ukraine’s capital on what would have been Bandera’s 105th birthday, and many of the celebrants carried torches.

    Some wore the uniform of a Ukrainian division of the German army during World War II. Others chanted “Ukraine above all!” and “Bandera, come and bring order!”

    However, many of Bandera’s followers sought to play down his collaboration with the Germans in the fight for Ukraine’s independence as the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Ukraine’s foremost nationalist organization in the first half of the 20th century.

    Bandera, who died 55 year ago, remains a deeply divisive figure in Ukraine, glorified by many in western Ukraine as a freedom fighter but dismissed by millions in eastern and southeastern Ukraine as a traitor to the Soviet Union’s struggle against the occupying German army.

    His group also was involved in the ethnic cleansing that killed tens of thousands of Poles in 1942-44. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists portrayed Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Jews — most of the minorities in western Ukraine — as aliens and encouraged locals to “destroy” Poles and Jews.

    Bandera was assassinated in 1959 by the KGB in West Germany.

    In January 2010, less than a month before his term in office was to end, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko posthumously decorated Bandera with the Hero of Ukraine award. That led to harsh criticism by Jewish and Russian groups. The award was annulled by a court in January 2011 under President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Kiev has been the scene of massive pro-European protests for more than a month, triggered by Yanukovych’s decision to ditch a key deal with the European Union in favor of building stronger ties with Russia.

    The nationalist party Svoboda, which organized Wednesday’s rally, was one of the key forces behind the protests, but other opposition factions have said the Bandera rally is unrelated to the ongoing protest encampment in central Kiev.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 1, 2014, 2:01 pm
  5. @Pterrafractyl–

    Note that McCain met with these creatures recently. http://www.channel4.com/news/ukraine-mccain-far-right-svoboda-anti-semitic-protests

    Business as usual for GOP “moderates.”

    Keep up the great work,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 1, 2014, 3:55 pm
  6. The continued influence of neo-nazism in the Ukraine ( or parts of it?) is well documented here. It confirms my questioning about the current protest. However two puzzles exist. If this account is true why would the EU want Ukraine to join. The right wing beliefs are an afront to The European Charter of Human rights etc. But then the European Parliament already has members from the extreme right. Also, perhaps puzzling, in the Guardian 4 January 2014 a number of world leading academics have signed a letter calling for ‘ a Marshall-like plan to support Ukrainian society in establishing democracy and civil society. What if a neo-fascist extreme right wing government is then elected carrying an anti-democratic banner and ensueing actions against the populace or sections of it

    Posted by Gordon Churchill | January 4, 2014, 4:31 pm
  7. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ukraine’s harsh new anti-protest laws appear to have catalyzed massive and violent protests:

    Ukraine protests turn into fiery street battles
    By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press | January 19, 2014 | Updated: January 19, 2014 4:24pm

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Anti-government protests in Ukraine’s capital escalated into fiery street battles with police Sunday as thousands of demonstrators hurled rocks and firebombs to set police vehicles ablaze. Dozens of officers and protesters were injured.

    Police responded with stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons, but were outnumbered by the protesters. Many of the riot police held their shields over their heads to protect themselves from the projectiles thrown by demonstrators on the other side of a cordon of buses.

    The violence was a sharp escalation of Ukraine’s two-month political crisis, which has brought round-the-clock protest gatherings, but had been largely peaceful.

    Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko tried to persuade demonstrators to stop their unrest, but failed and was sprayed by a fire extinguisher in the process. Klitschko later traveled to President Viktor Yanukovych’s suburban residence and said the president has agreed to negotiate.

    “There are only two ways for events to develop. The first one is not to negotiate,” Klitschko was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “A scenario of force can be unpredictable and I don’t rule out the possibility of a civil war. … And here we are using all possibilities in order to prevent bloodshed.”

    Yanukovych said later on his Web site that he has tasked a working group, headed by national security council head Andriy Klyuev, to meet with opposition representatives to work out a solution to the crisis. However, it was unclear if either side was prepared for real compromise; throughout the crisis, the opposition has insisted on the government’s resignation and calling early presidential elections.

    The U.S. Embassy called for an end to the violence. “We urge calm and call on all sides to cease any acts provoking or resulting in violence,” it said in a statement.

    The crisis erupted in November after Yanukovych’s decision to freeze ties with the European Union and seek a huge bailout from Russia. The decision sparked protests, which increased in size and determination after police twice violently dispersed demonstrators.

    But anger rose substantially after Yanukovych last week signed an array of laws severely limiting protests and banning the wearing of helmets and gas masks.

    Many of Sunday’s demonstrators wore hardhats and masks in defiance of the new laws. They set several police buses on fire and some chased and beat officers.

    Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Water cannons were also fired at the protesters in temperatures of -8 C (18 F), but the clashes continued.

    The harsh new laws brought a crowd of tens of thousands to the protest at Kiev’s central square on Sunday.

    While most remained on the square, a group of radicals marched toward a police cordon several hundred meters away blocking an area housing government offices and began attacking riot police with sticks to push their way toward Ukraine’s parliament building. The crowd then swelled to thousands.

    The blasts of stun grenades echoed and plumes of smoke rose above the crowd. Activists chanted “Shame!” and “Revolution.” The Interior Ministry said more than 70 police were injured, four of them seriously; there were no immediate figures for protester injuries.

    Scores of opposition leaders and journalists have been attacked, harassed and prosecuted, since the anti-government protests started Nov. 21.

    Yanukovych’s government has ignored previous demands made by the opposition.

    Opposition leaders denounced Yanukovych’s legislation as unconstitutional and called for the formation of parallel governing structures in the country.

    “The power in Ukraine belongs to the people,” Yatsenyuk said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 19, 2014, 4:45 pm
  8. These so called opposition leaders are ridiculous. If they think that the promotion of fascism, OUN/UPA/SS Galicia organizations doesn’t mean spitting into the faces of Ukrainians, Russians and other people who were born in USSR then they are wrong. Fascists should be stopped and I hope they will be stopped.
    Yuschenko and his wife are a big question too…

    Posted by ivan | January 21, 2014, 10:36 am
  9. @Ivan–

    Revulsion at, and opposition to, the OUN/B fascists and their ilk is by no means limited to former residents of the USSR.

    OUN/B elements have been involved in all kinds of mischief, including the assassination of President Kennedy.

    http://spitfirelist.com/anti-fascist-archives/rfa-15-the-world-anti-communist-league-pt-2/

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 22, 2014, 7:13 pm
  10. I’m still trying to figure out the website “Strategic Culture”. It’s very Russo-centric and it seems it may be State-driven, but I’m not sure.
    They spare no opportunity to criticize Germany as excerpts from the article below suggest:

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/02/03/munich-imposing-their-own-will-on-eastern-europe.html

    Munich: Imposing Their Own Will on Eastern Europe
    Natalia MEDEN | 03.02.2014 | 00

    (excerpts)
    The Munich security conference is a unique podium to address the problems of world politics. Once a year politicians, heads of international organizations, diplomats and security experts get together.
    ***
    The Western media does its best to get around analogies and comparisons. The address is also different now – the hotel the Hotel Bayerischer Hof (Bavarian courtyard) in Munich. Sometimes it pops up that Führerbau, the Hitler’s residence built by fascists, is located on Königsplatz (King’s Square), less than a kilometer away. That’s where the leaders of Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed a treaty called the Munich pact or Munich Agreement. It is called the Munich collusion in Russia and the Munich Dictate in Czechoslovakia.
    ***
    The event organizers invited Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara and maidan leaders Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, as well as oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who seems to be one of Washington’s favorites. Their meeting with Kerry had been announced in advance. Nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok was not invited, otherwise he would like to walk the streets of Munich and visit Führerbau and the well-known Hofbräuhaus public brewery as well as other places of sightseeing in the city known to be the fascism cradle. Don’t think he is kept out of Germany, he knows his way around there, Tyahnybok has been invited by the cells of German right wing radicals and ruling conservatives associated with the Konrad Adenauer foundation. Germans know how to work with foreign right wing nationalists. They do it for bright future, of course. For instance, in the seventies the BND (the Bundesnachrichtendienst – German overseas intelligence service) effectively cooperated with the Croatian National Committee – the organization proud to take its root in the Ustasa movement. Americans are not very choosy too. John Kerry unambiguously called on Ukrainian opposition leaders to join together in their fight against the government. In Munich many switched to the view that the “chocolate boy” Petro Poroshenko has been selected by the United States to lead Ukraine in future. The cooperation with Ukrainian opposition, started by John Kerry, will be continued by his experienced deputy Victoria Nuland. She is dry behind the ears in the matters related to the post-Soviet space. Nuland is to come to Kiev on February 6 after visiting Greece, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. This time the Deputy Secretary is not expected to give cookies away on maidan, she is in for tackling burning issues. Perhaps Tyahnybok will not refuse to meet her, even though the guest is not Aryan.

    Once more an attempt to take control of Eastern Europe is undertaken in Munich. It does not look like Europeans are interested in another Drang nach Osten as much as their American partners are. Not all are happy about the fact that everything in the Western world, unlike in the pre-war Munich, is decided by one center of power instead of finding an agreement between different groups of interests. It’s well known what the 1938 Munich adventure resulted in, but history cannot be repeated, that’s what the Munich event confirmed. Some politicians start to routinely talk about interference into other states affairs, including the use of force, and it makes one wonder. This kind of attitude is becoming unacceptable…
    ———————

    Anybody know more about this site?

    The “Chocolate Boy” reference to Poroshenko is about his business – a candy empire.

    Posted by Swamp | February 4, 2014, 1:00 pm
  11. @SWAMP–

    I’ve never heard of the site before, but from the syntax, which seems translated or formed by someone for whom English is not the primary language, I suspect Russian-oriented and/or generated.

    Let’s see what other readers/listeners can come up with.

    NB: I’m working to get a whole bunch of shows “in the can” so I can wind up the “Eddie the Friendly Spook” series.

    770 and 771 are “up and running.”

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 4, 2014, 5:57 pm
  12. One of the main Ukrainian far-right groups, Pravy Sektor, is letting the world get to know it a little better in a new round of interviews. One of the things we’ve learned: Pravy Sektor claims to have a lot of guns and is ready to use them:

    TIME
    Exclusive: Leader of Far-Right Ukrainian Militant Group Talks Revolution With TIME

    In his first interview with foreign media, Dmitro Yarosh, leader of the far-right militant group Pravy Sektor, says he and his antigovernment cohorts in Kiev are ready for armed struggle
    By Simon Shuster / Kiev @shustryFeb. 04, 2014

    Take the smell of an army barracks, add a bit of char and gasoline, and you’d have a rough idea of the air on the fifth floor of the House of Trade Unions, the headquarters of the revolution in Ukraine. When protesters first occupied the building in December, their leaders divvied up its floors among the political parties and activists involved in the revolt. Since then, the only floor off-limits to journalists has been the fifth, which houses the militant arm of the revolution, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), the coalition of right-wing radicals that grew out of the uprising. They had good reason to avoid publicity. After their violent clashes with police last month, their members could face years in prison if the ruling government survives the revolt.

    But on Sunday night, their leader Dmitro Yarosh agreed to give his first interview to a foreign media outlet. It was not so much an act of vanity as a political coming-out. He has clearly grown tired of being the movement’s anonymous enforcer. In recent days, as a negotiated end to the crisis has started coming into view, the need for a military wing of the revolution has diminished. And so has the trust in its upper ranks. The mainstream opposition leaders, like the former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, have faced growing pressure to distance themselves from Pravy Sektor, which the U.S. State Department has condemned for “inflaming conditions on the streets.” Increasingly marginalized, the group has grown much more assertive and, in some ways, has started going rogue.

    In his interview with TIME, Yarosh, whose militant brand of nationalism rejects all foreign influence over Ukrainian affairs, revealed for the first time that Pravy Sektor has amassed a lethal arsenal of weapons. He declined to say exactly how many guns they have. “It is enough,” he says, “to defend all of Ukraine from the internal occupiers” — by which he means the ruling government — and to carry on the revolution if negotiations with that government break down.

    But so far, those negotiations have been making significant strides toward resolving the crisis. On Tuesday, the parliament began debating a sweeping reform of the constitution, while allies of President Viktor Yanukovych suggested for the first time that he is ready to consider early elections. Both moves would mark a major breakthrough. But Yarosh, watching from the sidelines, has begun to doubt whether the negotiators have the interests of his men at heart. “This whole peaceful song and dance, the standing around, the negotiations, none of it has brought real change.” Dozens of his men, he says, remain behind bars after their street battles against police two weeks ago.

    With that in mind, Yarosh and another militant faction began a parallel set of negotiations over the weekend. On Monday, they claimed to be in direct talks with Ukraine’s police forces to secure the release of jailed protesters, including members of Pravy Sektor. Mainstream opposition leaders said they had not authorized any such talks. At the same time, Yarosh has demanded a seat at the negotiating table with the President. Once again, he was flatly denied. His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room.

    But neither can Klitschko and his fellow politicians easily sever their ties with Pravy Sektor. The group serves some of the uprising’s most essential functions. Its fighters control the barricades around the protest camp in the center of Ukraine’s capital, and when riot police have tried to tear it down, they have been on the front lines beating them back with clubs, rocks, Molotov cocktails and even a few catapults, in the mold of siege engines of the Middle Ages. Around the country, its fighters have helped seize government headquarters in more than a dozen cities. “Pravy Sektor has proved its loyalty to the ideals of freedom,” Yarosh says. “Now we needed to present this movement as a source of leadership.”

    In any kind of fair election, that would be nearly impossible. Pravy Sektor’s ideology borders on fascism, and it enjoys support only from Ukraine’s most hard-line nationalists, a group too small to secure them a place in parliament. But taking part in the democratic process is not part of Yarosh’s strategy. “We are not politicians,” he says in his office, a pack of Lucky Strikes and a walkie-talkie on the table in front of him, while a sentry in a black ski mask and bulletproof vest stands by the door. “We are soldiers of the national revolution.” His entire adult life has been spent waiting for such a revolution to “steer the country in a new direction, one that would make it truly strong, not dependent on either the West or the East.”

    Through all his years in the nationalist movement, Yarosh, a 42-year-old father of three, says he has never had any form of occupation apart from his activism. The son of two factory workers, he was born and raised in a provincial town in eastern Ukraine, and became involved in the nationalist underground in the late 1980s, just as the Soviet Union was disintegrating. Nearly all of the satellite states of the USSR, from the Baltics to Central Asia, were then pushing to break away from Moscow’s control, and in 1988, Yarosh joined one of the more radical groups fighting for an independent Ukraine.

    The following autumn, months after the Soviet Union pulled its troops out of Afghanistan, Yarosh was drafted into the Red Army, a common form of punishment for political activists at the time. He was stationed briefly in Belarus before being transferred to Siberia, where he served as a guard at strategic missile sites. The Soviet doctrines of unity between Russia and Ukraine did little to soften his views. “If anything, the army made me more convinced that my path is correct,” he says. When Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Yarosh went on hunger strike to demand a transfer to the newly established Ukrainian army. His commanding officers ignored him.

    In 1994, a few years after he was discharged and returned to Ukraine, he joined a right-wing organization called Trizub (Trident), and slowly climbed its ranks before assuming leadership in 2005. Along with several other far-right groups, Trizub formed the core of Pravy Sektor when the current uprising broke out in Ukraine two months ago. Its main adversary has always been Russia, although it also has little patience for Western influence on Ukraine. “For all the years of Ukraine’s independence, Russia has pursued a systematic, targeted policy of subjugation toward Ukraine,” Yarosh says. “So of course we will prepare for a conflict with them,” he adds, especially after Russia’s recent invasion of another one of its former satellites, Georgia. “If they stick their faces here like they did in Georgia in 2008, they’ll get it in the teeth.”

    For the past two decades, he has been waiting and preparing for the start of the “national revolution,” and now that he finds himself at the head of its armed division, he does not seem ready to let it pass peacefully away, at least not on anyone else’s terms. “People have gotten in touch with us from around the country, saying, ‘Guys, don’t let us down. Take us to victory, to independence, if the other leaders are incapable of that,’” Yarosh says. “So if the time has come for an active struggle, I am ready to carry it to the end. I am not afraid of that responsibility. I see no reason to hide my face.”

    Here’s more on the roots of Pravy Sektor:

    Agence France-Presse
    Far-right paramilitary vows protest defiance in Ukraine
    February 5, 2014 11:33pm

    Even as Ukraine’s main opposition leaders meet with the authorities to try to resolve their long-running standoff, one influential and unrepentant voice stands out — that of far-right paramilitary leader Dmytro Yarosh.

    “The revolution will win in Ukraine!” the shaven-headed 42-year-old told AFP in a rare interview at his field headquarters — an entire floor in an occupied trade union building on Independence Square in central Kiev.

    Yarosh’s masked and helmeted followers — some armed with guns, others wielding baseball bats — patrol the barricades around the protest tent camp and were in the frontlines of clashes with riot police, throwing Molotov cocktails.

    “We got things moving, we breathed life into the revolution,” said Yarosh, himself a former Red Army soldier who claims he is no fascist but a nationalist defending Ukraine against foreign domination — whether from the EU or Russia.

    He said that his group does not have its own arsenal but that he had authorised a “secret” number of individual members with weapons permits to create “an armed protection unit”.

    Yarosh said his followers — who seized the agriculture, energy and justice ministries but then gave them up after pressure from other opposition leaders — could also resume their “blockades” of official government buildings.

    These kinds of warnings show up differences within opposition ranks and cast doubt on whether the most radical militants will be willing to end their protest even if opposition leaders manage to strike a deal with Yanukovych.

    Asked if he is concerned about being put in prison, Yarosh strikes a defiant tone.

    “In a revolution, it’s funny even to think about something like that. Once it’s all over, we’ll see who puts who in prison,” he snarled.

    For all the fighting talk, Yarosh is also keen to see a political future for his paramilitaries — who have won support and respect in Ukraine for their role in the protests even from people who do not share their far-right views.

    “If the revolution achieves its aim, we can talk about the creation of a new political movement with its own niche,” he said.

    It is not hard to see what that niche would be.

    Unlike many protesters, who see greater integration with Europe as an ideal, Yarosh said Brussels was a “monster” responsible for a “gay dictatorship and liberal totalitarianism” that imposes “anti-Christian and anti-national rules”.

    Yarosh said he has been an activist in the Ukrainian nationalist cause for more than 20 years and is the leader of a hardline nationalist group Trizub (Trident), many of whose members are now activists in Pravy Sektor.

    He says his group is the “successor” of the controversial Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) who battled Poles, Soviet and Nazi forces in western Ukraine during and after World War II.

    The UPA is hated in Poland for its campaign of slaughter against Polish civilians in the Volhynia region in 1943 and then in Galicia in 1944, now condemned as ethnic cleansing.

    The rebels on occasion collaborated with occupying Nazi forces as well as fighting them and — most controversially — some of its members served in the Galicia branch of the SS.

    Asked how he felt about Jews, Yarosh said that he was not an anti-Semite but considered as “enemies” any “ethnic minority that prevents us from being masters in our own land”.

    Even though the UPA slogan “Glory to the Heroes!” rings out frequently on Independence Square, Yarosh’s views are completely different from those of mainstream opposition leaders.

    While Yarosh does not overtly condemn them, it seems that their on-and-off negotiations with President Viktor Yanukovych are grating.

    “I don’t want to criticise them or they’ll get offended and start crying,” he said.

    Note that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was the military wing of the OUN-B.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 6, 2014, 2:45 pm
  13. Not good: It looks like the far-right elements of the Ukrainian protestors are planning on goose stepping to the beat of a different war-drummer whether or not there’s a ceasefire:

    NBC News
    Can a Divided Opposition Control the Violence in Ukraine?
    By Tracy Connor
    First published February 20th 2014, 1:51 pm

    The bloody collapse of a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and the opposition has raised questions about who’s in control of the protests in Kiev’s Independence Square and who can stop the situation from descending into even more deadly chaos.

    As NBC News’ Richard Engel reported, it was front-line demonstrators who shattered a fragile truce just hours after it was announced late Wednesday into early Thursday by the leaders of three political parties who have been leading the anti-government movement since the fall.

    “The three leaders who apparently accepted the ceasefire were not in control of that situation,” Eugene Rumer of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said of armed protesters’ surge forward, which sparked automatic gunfire from riot police.

    While the crowds that have been flocking to the square include ordinary Ukrainians who say they don’t identify with any party, there are concerns that right-wing militants are trying to hijack a grassroots campaign against the ruling Party of Regions and President Viktor Yanukovych.

    “The young people who have turned up in the last month, the ones with the Molotov cocktails and the firearms, they are not controlled by the political parties. They are radicalized elements,” said Dominique Arel, chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa.

    “The parties are not controlling the front-line activists. No one is controlling them.”

    The official opposition is divided into three camps:

    The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR, which translates to “Punch”), headed by former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko. The 6-foot-7 pugilist, who has a Ph.D but little government experience, may be the most popular man in the country right now.

    The Fatherland party, led by former economic and foreign minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. It was founded by Yulia Tymoshenko, the hero of 2004’s so-called Orange Revolution, who became prime minister but was jailed after Yanukovych took power.

    The Svoboda, or Freedom Party, helmed by nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok leans to the right and draws support from the western, Euopean-allied regions of the country. Although it has sought a more mainstream profile, some say it’s linked to a paramilitary group that uses a Nazi-style symbol.

    The strange-bedfellows makeup of the opposition certainly raises questions about how it would govern if it succeeds in driving the Party of Regions and Yanukovych from power.

    Troubling to some, however, is the apparent ascendance of stone-throwing protesters aligned with the radical Right Sector, a group that thinks the Freedom Party is too liberal. There may be militant left-wingers and even anarchists in the mix, too.

    “That’s the uncontrollable element of the square right now,” Arel said. “It’s not like Yatsenyuk and Klischko are giving them orders.”

    “They would rather not have violence,” he added, as the death toll from the fighting soared. “Because it has a way of getting out of hand.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 20, 2014, 12:19 pm
  14. @Pterrafractyl–

    NBC “Snooze” really highlights the fundamental flaws in our political science and attendant rhetoric.

    Words like “democratic” and “moderate” have little or no meaning here.

    Note that the “Orange Revolution” with its “Hero”–Ms. Timoshenko–is seen as the flowering of democracy in Ukraine.

    Mr. Yuschenko’s wife was Ykaterina [Chumachenko] Yuschenko, former deputy director of Presidential Liason under Reagan.

    The former Ms. Chumachenko headed the top OUN/B front group in the United States before marrying Yuschenko.

    Yuschenko–that flower of democracy–named Stephan Bandera and Roman Shukhuyevich (sp?) as “Heroes of the Ukraine.”

    When SS, their collaborators and Einsatzgruppen fuehrers–war criminals of the first order–can be called heroes and the forces that so label them are “democratic” and/or “moderate,” we are truly in a Nazified cognitive and rhetorical funhouse.

    Sheesh!

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 20, 2014, 6:10 pm
  15. It looks like Yulia Timoshenko is about to be released and a ceasefire deal has been agreed upon but that doesn’t mean there’s going to be a ceasefire:

    Ukraine crowds want Yanukovich out despite political deal

    KIEV Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:08pm EST

    (Reuters) – Emotional crowds on Kiev’s Independence Square rounded on opposition leaders on Friday after they signed an agreement with President Viktor Yanukovich to end a protracted crisis, and said they would not wait any longer for him to go.

    Passions ran high as the coffin of a victim from Thursday’s violence, when dozens were killed during anti-government protests, was borne through the crowd to the stage on the square, apparently catching opposition leaders off guard.

    Despite the deal signed by Yanukovich and the opposition, many on the square were in no mood to call off the protests which erupted in November after the president abandoned a trade pact with the European Union and turned instead towards Moscow.

    After another open coffin was held aloft by the crowd, a protester wearing battle-fatigues leapt up to the microphone and triggered roars of approval as he declared: “By tomorrow we want him (Yanukovich) out!”

    Referring to the three opposition leaders, including boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, who were standing behind him, the man said: “My comrade was shot and our leaders shake the hand of a murderer. It’s a disgrace.”

    “We have given you politicians a chance to become ministers in the future, even the president, but you don’t want to fulfil our one demand – that this criminal leave office.”

    “We, simple people, are telling the politicians behind our back, that there is no way Yanukovich will be president for the whole year. He has to be gone by 10 a.m. tomorrow.”

    “If it is not announced by 10 tomorrow that Yanukovich is gone, we’re going to attack with weapons,” he said.

    Earlier Klitschko drew cat-calls and derisive whistling from the crowd when he had praised as “very important” their political achievements during the day.

    Klitschko and his fellow opposition leaders, Arseny Yatsenyuk and nationalist Oleh Tyanibok, earlier signed an EU-brokered deal with Yanukovich in which Yanukovich made important concessions after two and a half months of confrontation on the streets of Kiev.

    These included early elections, formation of an interim government and a return to an earlier constitution which will mean him giving up key powers, including control over the make-up of the government.

    Klitschko later apologised for shaking Yanukovich’s hand, taking the microphone and telling the crowd: “If I offended anyone, I ask their forgiveness.”

    But many among the protesters were firm in their rejection of the accord.

    Not good.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 21, 2014, 2:05 pm

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