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Nazi Militias Assume Municipal Security Duties in Ukraine

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Ukrain­ian Nazis hon­or David Lane’s pass­ing. Lane was a mem­ber of The Order and mint­ed the 14 words.

COMMENT: The Kiev city gov­ern­ment recent­ly signed an agree­ment giv­ing C14 – the mili­tia lit­er­al­ly named after the white suprema­cist ’14 words’ slo­gan – the right to estab­lish a “munic­i­pal guard” to patrol the streets there. ” . . . . But con­nec­tions between law enforce­ment agen­cies and extrem­ists give Ukraine’s West­ern allies ample rea­son for con­cern. C14 and Kiev’s city gov­ern­ment recent­ly signed an agree­ment allow­ing C14 to estab­lish a “munic­i­pal guard” to patrol the streets; three such mili­tia-run guard forces are already reg­is­tered in Kiev, and at least 21 oper­ate in oth­er cities. . . .”

They’re also crack­ing down on polit­i­cal activists, includ­ing LGBT and anti-war pro­po­nents.

As the arti­cle also notes, while the far-right may not be win­ning at the bal­lot box, they have pow­er­ful polit­i­cal pro­tec­tion, because of the close rela­tion­ship between Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov and fig­ures like Azov leader Andriy Bilet­sky and Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov vet­er­an who is now a high-rank­ing police offi­cial.

Avakov’s Peo­ples’ Par­ty is the main part­ner in the par­lia­men­tary coali­tion led by Poroshenko’s Bloc. Should Petro Poroshenko decid­ed to chal­lenge Avakov and, as a result, the grow­ing role of these neo-Nazi mili­tias, his gov­ern­ing coali­tion might col­lapse. And that’s all part of why Ukraine’s neo-Nazi prob­lem isn’t just a prob­lem of pop­u­lar sup­port for the neo-Nazi mili­tias. 

“Com­men­tary: Ukraine’s neo-Nazi prob­lem” by Josh Cohen; Reuters; 03/19/2018

As Ukraine’s strug­gle against Rus­sia and its prox­ies con­tin­ues, Kiev must also con­tend with a grow­ing prob­lem behind the front lines: far-right vig­i­lantes who are will­ing to use intim­i­da­tion and even vio­lence to advance their agen­das, and who often do so with the tac­it approval of law enforce­ment agen­cies.

A Jan­u­ary 28 demon­stra­tion, in Kiev, by 600 mem­bers of the so-called “Nation­al Mili­tia,” a new­ly-formed ultra­na­tion­al­ist group that vows “to use force to estab­lish order,” illus­trates this threat. While the group’s Kiev launch was peace­ful, Nation­al Mili­tia mem­bers in bal­a­clavas stormed a city coun­cil meet­ing in the cen­tral Ukrain­ian town of Cherkasy the fol­low­ing day, skir­mish­ing with deputies and forc­ing them to pass a new bud­get.

Many of the Nation­al Militia’s mem­bers come from the Azov move­ment, one of the 30-odd pri­vate­ly-fund­ed “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” that, in the ear­ly days of the war, helped the reg­u­lar army to defend Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry against Russia’s sep­a­ratist prox­ies. Although Azov usesNazi-era sym­bol­ism and recruitsneo-Nazis intoits ranks, a recent arti­cle in For­eign Affairs down­played any risks the group might pose, point­ing out that, like oth­er vol­un­teer mili­tias, Azov has been “reined in” through its inte­gra­tion into Ukraine’s armed forces. While it’s true that pri­vate mili­tias no longer rule the bat­tle­front, it’s the home front that Kiev needs to wor­ry about now.

When Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea four years ago first exposed the decrepit con­di­tion of Ukraine’s armed forces, right-wing mili­tias such as Azov and Right Sec­tor stepped into the breach, fend­ingoff the Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists while Ukraine’s reg­u­lar mil­i­tary regrouped. Though, as a result, many Ukraini­ans con­tin­ue to regard the mili­tias with grat­i­tude and admi­ra­tion, the more extreme among these groups pro­mote an intol­er­ant and illib­er­al ide­ol­o­gy that will endan­ger Ukraine in the long term. Since the Crimean cri­sis, the mili­tias have been for­mal­ly inte­grat­ed into Ukraine’s armed forces, but some have resist­ed full inte­gra­tion: Azov, for exam­ple, runs its own children’s train­ing camp, and the careers sec­tion instructs recruits who wish to trans­fer to Azov from a reg­u­lar mil­i­tary unit.

Accord­ing to Free­dom House’s Ukraine project direc­tor Matthew Schaaf, “numer­ous orga­nized rad­i­cal right-wing groups exist in Ukraine, and while the vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions may have been offi­cial­ly inte­grat­ed into state struc­tures, some of them have since spun off polit­i­cal and non-prof­it struc­tures to imple­ment their vision.”Schaaf not­ed that “an increase in patri­ot­ic dis­course sup­port­ing Ukraine in its con­flict with Rus­sia has coin­cid­ed with an appar­ent increase in both pub­lic hate speech, some­times by pub­lic offi­cials and mag­ni­fied by the media, as well as vio­lence towards vul­ner­a­ble groups such as the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty,” an obser­va­tion that is sup­port­ed by a recent Coun­cil of Europe study.

In recent months, Ukraine has expe­ri­enced a wave of unchecked vig­i­lan­tism. Insti­tute Respub­li­ca, a local pro-democ­ra­cy NGO, report­ed that activists are fre­quent­ly harassed by vig­i­lantes when hold­ing legal meet­ings or ral­lies relat­ed to polit­i­cal­ly-con­tro­ver­sial posi­tions, such as the pro­mo­tion of LGBT rights or oppo­si­tion to the war. Azov and oth­er mili­tias have attacked anti-fas­cist demon­stra­tions, city coun­cil meet­ings, media out­letsart exhi­bi­tionsfor­eign stu­dents and Roma. Pro­gres­sive activists describe a new cli­mate of fear that they say has been inten­si­fy­ing ever since last year’s near-fatal stab­bing of anti-war activist Stas Ser­hiyenko, which is believed to have been per­pe­trat­ed by an extrem­ist group named C14 (the name refers to a 14-word slo­gan pop­u­lar among white suprema­cists). Bru­tal attacks this month on Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day march­es in sev­er­al Ukrain­ian cities prompt­ed an unusu­al­ly force­ful state­ment from Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al, which warned that “the Ukrain­ian state is rapid­ly los­ing its monop­oly on vio­lence.”

Ukraine is not the only coun­try that must con­tend with a resur­gent far right. But Kiev’s recent efforts to incor­po­rate inde­pen­dent armed groups into its reg­u­lar armed forces, as well as a con­tin­u­ing nation­al sense of indebt­ed­ness to the mili­tias for their defense of the home­land, make address­ing the ultra­na­tion­al­ist threat con­sid­er­ably more com­pli­cat­ed than it is else­where. Accord­ing to Schaaf and the Insti­tute Respub­li­ca, Ukrain­ian extrem­ists are rarely pun­ished for acts of vio­lence. In some cas­es — such as C14’s Jan­u­ary attack on a remem­brance gath­er­ingfor two mur­dered jour­nal­ists — police actu­al­ly detain peace­ful demon­stra­tors instead.

To be clear, the Kremlin’s claims that Ukraine is a hor­nets’ nest of fas­cists are false: far-right par­ties per­formed poor­ly in Ukraine’s last par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and Ukraini­ans react­edwith alarm to the Nation­al Militia’s demon­stra­tion in Kiev. But con­nec­tions between law enforce­ment agen­cies and extrem­ists give Ukraine’s West­ern allies ample rea­son for con­cern. C14 and Kiev’s city gov­ern­ment recent­ly signed an agree­ment allow­ing C14 to estab­lish a “munic­i­pal guard” to patrol the streets; three such mili­tia-run guard forces are already reg­is­tered in Kiev, and at least 21 oper­ate in oth­er cities.

In an ide­al world, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko would purge the police and the inte­ri­or min­istry of far-right sym­pa­thiz­ers, includ­ing Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Bilet­sky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov vet­er­anwho is now a high-rank­ing police offi­cial. But Poroshenko would risk major reper­cus­sions if he did so; Avakov is his chief polit­i­cal rival, and the min­istry he runs con­trols the police, the Nation­al Guard and sev­er­al for­mer mili­tias.

As one Ukrain­ian ana­lyst not­edin Decem­ber, con­trol of these forces make Avakov extreme­ly pow­er­ful and Poroshenko’s pres­i­den­cy might not be strong enough to with­stand the kind of direct con­fronta­tion with Avakov that an attempt to oust him or to strike at his pow­er base could well pro­duce. Poroshenko has endured fre­quent ver­bal threats, includ­ing calls for rev­o­lu­tion, from ultra­na­tion­al­ist groups, so he may believe that he needs Avakov to keep them in check.

Avakov’s Peo­ples’ Par­ty sta­tus as the main part­ner in Ukraine’s par­lia­men­tary coali­tion increas­es Avakov’s lever­age over Poroshenko’s Bloc. An attempt to fire Avakov could imper­il Poroshenko’s slim leg­isla­tive major­i­ty, and lead to ear­ly par­lia­men­tary elec­tions. Giv­en Poroshenko’s cur­rent unpop­u­lar­i­ty, this is a sce­nario he will like­ly try to avoid.

Despite his weak posi­tion, Poroshenko still has some options for reduc­ing the threat from the far right. Though Avakov con­trols the Ukraine’s police and Nation­al Guard, Poroshenko still com­mands Ukraine’s secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence ser­vices, the SBU, and could instruct the agency to cut its ties with C14 and oth­er extrem­ist groups. Poroshenko should also express pub­lic sup­port for mar­gin­al­ized groups like the Roma and LGBT com­mu­ni­ties, and affirm his com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing their rights.

West­ern diplo­mats and human rights orga­ni­za­tions must urge Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment to uphold the rule of law and to stop allow­ing the far right to act with impuni­ty. Inter­na­tion­al donors can help by fund­ing more ini­tia­tives like the Unit­ed States Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development’s projects sup­port­ing train­ing for Ukrain­ian lawyers and human rights defend­ers, and improv­ing equi­table access to the judi­cial sys­tem for mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. . . .

 

Discussion

One comment for “Nazi Militias Assume Municipal Security Duties in Ukraine”

  1. Here’s an update on C14 and the munic­i­pal patrol duties it’s been grant­ed in Kiev. It’s exact­ly the kind of update we should expect: they’re ter­ror­iz­ing the Roma with the full sup­port of local author­i­ties and the media:

    Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group

    Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi C14 vig­i­lantes dri­ve out Roma fam­i­lies, burn their camp

    23.04.2018 | Halya Coy­nash

    A promi­nent activist from the far-right C14 orga­ni­za­tion has boast­ed on his Face­book page about an oper­a­tion which result­ed in Roma fam­i­lies flee­ing their camp on Lysa Hora in Kyiv. Despite the fair­ly unveiled hints in Ser­hiy Mazur’s two Face­book posts, as well as clear signs that the Roma fled with­out tak­ing children’s cloth­ing, etc., the police appear to see no need to take action and mere­ly state that they have received no com­plaints. It is also alarm­ing how many Ukrain­ian media (such as TSN, Chan­nel 5) have sim­ply report­ed this ‘raid’ effec­tive­ly in Mazur’s words, with­out con­sid­er­ing what threats must have been used to ‘per­suade’ around 15 fam­i­lies to leave their makeshift homes in such haste.

    If Mazur is telling the truth, then the mea­sures to remove the Roma fam­i­lies who had report­ed­ly come to Kyiv from Tran­scarpathia in search of work were the result of col­lab­o­ra­tion between C14 mem­bers of the so-called ‘Munic­i­pal Guard’ [«???????????? ?????»] and the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion. As report­ed, this ‘Munic­i­pal Guard’, which is head­ed by Ser­hiy Bon­dar from C14, signed a mem­o­ran­dum of coop­er­a­tion with both the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion and the Holosiyiv Nation­al Police back in Decem­ber 2017.

    In his report on 19 April and else­where, Mazur omits two let­ters in order to use a term now gen­er­al­ly felt to be offen­sive when refer­ring to Roma.

    He says that the Roma have “occu­pied Lysa Hora” and that there are more of them this time “and of their rub­bish”.

    Togeth­er with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Holosiyiv admin­is­tra­tion, he says, they “pre­sent­ed an ulti­ma­tum to leave the pro­hib­it­ed ter­ri­to­ry of the park by TOMORROW.

    If they don’t car­ry out this demand, they will be asked in a dif­fer­ent way to go. With­in the frame­work of the law”.

    Men­tion of the law here seems on a par with semi-avoid­ance of offen­sive labels, and lacks any cred­i­bil­i­ty. If the local admin­is­tra­tion is enti­tled to issue an ulti­ma­tum, it should then approach law enforce­ment offi­cials if the ulti­ma­tum is ignored.

    Any ‘oth­er’ meth­ods hint­ed at in Mazur’s post are either not the busi­ness of C14 activists or are a code term for means of duress which are assured­ly not law­ful.

    The rest of the post is sim­ply offen­sive. If, which can be dis­put­ed, it falls with­in the bound­aries of free speech, such effec­tive incite­ment to enmi­ty and prej­u­dice against any eth­nic or oth­er group is cer­tain­ly unac­cept­able from top rep­re­sen­ta­tives of an orga­ni­za­tion which is work­ing with a pub­lic author­i­ty.

    On 21 April, Mazur stat­ed in a post that there were no longer any Roma (not the term he uses) on Lysa Hora.

    “Yes­ter­day they did not car­ry out the demand, and only some left the camp in the park. How­ev­er after con­vinc­ing law­ful argu­ments, the oth­ers also decid­ed to leave the pro­hib­it­ed ter­ri­to­ry. “ The C14 activists then “cleaned up almost all the rub­bish” and burned the tents.

    If the so-called “con­vinc­ing argu­ments” had been law­ful, it seems unlike­ly that the Roma fam­i­lies would have left children’s clothes and food items behind.

    Jour­nal­ist Yevhen Savateyev told Hro­madske Radio that “it looks as through the peo­ple who were liv­ing in this camp were forced to flee and didn’t even take most-need­ed items”.

    He says that there were around 15 makeshift shacks, each ‘hous­ing’ one fam­i­ly.

    Accord­ing to Zola Kon­dur from the Chirik­li Roma Foun­da­tion, there has been an issue over this camp for the last four years. She says that the peo­ple liv­ing there want­ed to inte­grate and to coop­er­ate with the author­i­ties, how­ev­er oth­er res­i­dents of the dis­trict demand­ed that the Roma not be allowed onto minibus pub­lic trans­port and in shops. The pre­text giv­ing was that the res­i­dents feared being infect­ed with tuber­cu­lo­sis, although Kon­dur points out that a med­ical exam­i­na­tion did not find any tuber­cu­lo­sis or AIDs among the inhab­i­tants of the camp.

    She accus­es the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion of not being will­ing to involve the social ser­vices and does not accept that the camp, posi­tioned deep inside the nature reserve at Lysa Hora and hard to find, was dis­turb­ing any­body.

    This was not C14’s first such ‘raid’. Mazur report­ed on 18 April that the pre­vi­ous day “good peo­ple car­ried out a raid of the Rail­way Sta­tion which had been almost total­ly occu­pied by Gy..ies”. There are the usu­al offen­sive claims about “the neg­a­tive demon­stra­tions of behav­iour from the Roma” that their “walk” had sup­pos­ed­ly cur­tailed. Mazur also reports that they “checked for doc­u­ments and tick­ets. A day or two and there won’t be any of them here”, and asks why such ‘patrols’ are not car­ried out by the police.

    ...

    Mazur ends his post by claim­ing again that they are not fight­ing “Gy..ies”, only “the neg­a­tive demon­stra­tions of behav­iour of their rep­re­sen­ta­tives”, and invites oth­ers to join them. He has promised oth­er such ‘raids’ as those against the Roma on Lysa Gora.

    There are com­pelling grounds for demand­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion by the law enforce­ment bod­ies into all of these ‘raids’ by C14 vig­i­lantes. If the meth­ods used to dis­perse the camp on Lysa Hora was indeed car­ried out togeth­er with the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion, an inves­ti­ga­tion would seem appro­pri­ate, as well as some seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion as to whether such ‘coop­er­a­tion’ can be legit­i­mate­ly con­tin­ued.

    Ques­tion­able ‘part­ner­ship’

    C14 calls itself a ‘nation­al­ist’ orga­ni­za­tion and denies that it is neo-Nazi. Vyach­eslav Likhachev, who has been mon­i­tor­ing far-right move­ments in Ukraine for well over a decade, is uncon­vinced. Hepoints out that the C14 activists who occu­pied the Kyiv City Admin­is­tra­tion build­ing dur­ing Euro­maid­an cov­ered it with neo-Nazi ban­ners and graf­fi­ti.

    C14 activists try to present them­selves as fight­ing ‘sep­a­ratists’, ‘titush­ki’ or paid thugs (who worked close­ly with the police under the regime of Vik­tor Yanukovych), as well as cor­rupt courts, etc.

    Their ratio­nale for deter­min­ing who are ‘sep­a­ratists’, or more gen­er­al­ly who to fight, gives con­sid­er­able grounds for con­cern.

    On 19 Jan­u­ary 2018, C14 activists pre­vent­ed the tra­di­tion­al remem­brance gath­er­ing for Sev­astopol jour­nal­ist Anas­ta­sia Baburo­va and Russ­ian lawyer Stanislav Markelov, mur­dered in Moscow in 2009 by neo-Nazi Russ­ian nation­al­ists. The claim that those hon­our­ing the two slain anti-fas­cists were ‘sep­a­ratists’ was pre­pos­ter­ous, and Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the orga­niz­ers of the remem­brance event, asserts that they were con­front­ed not only by C14 thugs, but by Russ­ian and Belaru­sian neo-Nazis.

    One of the most dis­turb­ing aspects of the events that day was the total fail­ure of the Kyiv police to react ade­quate­ly to the aggres­sive behav­iour of those oppos­ing the remem­brance gath­er­ing.

    They instead detained eight peo­ple who had come to hon­our Baburo­va and Markelov. The police involved lat­er tried to claim that there had been no deten­tion, and that the activists had been ‘invit­ed’ to the police sta­tion. There was no sug­ges­tion that the ‘invi­ta­tion’ could have been turned down.

    The detained activists report­ed lat­er that they had been ‘hunt­ed down’ by the far-right thugs after leav­ing the police sta­tion. A mem­ber of the Human Rights Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre who spoke with them believes that the thugs could have only dis­cov­ered which sta­tion the activists were being held in from the police them­selves.

    C14 has been involved in attacks on activists tak­ing part in the annu­al Equal­i­ty March (Kyiv Pride), rights activists, on an art exhi­bi­tion and even pro­test­ers with strict­ly socio-eco­nom­ic demands. Their mem­bers may have been among the 50 young far-right louts who on 26 March 2018, descend­ed on events linked to the Kyiv Docu­d­ays Film Fes­ti­val, demol­ish­ing posters pro­mot­ing tol­er­ance and diver­si­ty abd try­ing to stop a pan­el dis­cus­sion on far-right move­ments.

    There are oth­er rea­sons for con­cern over any coop­er­a­tion by oth­er local author­i­ties or the police with C14. Back in Decem­ber 2012 under the Vik­tor Yanukovych regime, Yevhen Karas and his C14 mates orga­nized an attack on rights activists and oth­ers protest­ing against a repres­sive leg­isla­tive bill which pro­posed the same ban on so-called ‘pro­pa­gan­da of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty’ as was passed in neigh­bour­ing Rus­sia. It was main­ly the pro­test­ers who were detained by police.

    C14 has been involved in var­i­ous acts of vio­lence, and there are indeed reports that they attacked mem­bers of anoth­er local group on 13 Decem­ber 2017, with two peo­ple from that group end­ing up hos­pi­tal­ized with gun wounds. It seems like­ly that the con­flict was about estab­lish­ing their pow­er over a par­tic­u­lar area.

    On 26 Feb­ru­ary 2018, C14 post­ed an adver­tise­ment on their Face­book page which quite open­ly offered their ser­vices as thugs to reg­u­lar donors. This said that “C14 works for you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For reg­u­lar donors, we are open­ing a box for wish­es. Which of your ene­mies would you like to make life dif­fi­cult for? We’ll try to do that.” The orga­ni­za­tion has pre­sum­ably under­stood that such open­ness rather under­mines their attempts to pitch them­selves as prin­ci­pled defend­ers of Ukraine, and the post is now unavail­able. It can, how­ev­er, be seen here, and was on the sight for sev­er­al weeks. The invi­ta­tion to join in C14’s ‘raids’ on Roma peo­ple at the sta­tion or in places where they are liv­ing says noth­ing about motives required for tak­ing part in raids of high­ly-ques­tion­able legal­i­ty coat­ed in claims that incite hatred and xeno­pho­bia.

    ———-

    “Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi C14 vig­i­lantes dri­ve out Roma fam­i­lies, burn their camp” by Halya Coy­nash; Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group; 04/23/2018

    “A promi­nent activist from the far-right C14 orga­ni­za­tion has boast­ed on his Face­book page about an oper­a­tion which result­ed in Roma fam­i­lies flee­ing their camp on Lysa Hora in Kyiv. Despite the fair­ly unveiled hints in Ser­hiy Mazur’s two Face­book posts, as well as clear signs that the Roma fled with­out tak­ing children’s cloth­ing, etc., the police appear to see no need to take action and mere­ly state that they have received no com­plaints. It is also alarm­ing how many Ukrain­ian media (such as TSN, Chan­nel 5) have sim­ply report­ed this ‘raid’ effec­tive­ly in Mazur’s words, with­out con­sid­er­ing what threats must have been used to ‘per­suade’ around 15 fam­i­lies to leave their makeshift homes in such haste.

    Open boast­ing on Face­book about how they drove a camp of Roma out an area in Kiev, the police see no need to take action and the media report as if it’s just a nor­mal polic­ing oper­a­tion. That’s how far the process of nor­mal­iz­ing neo-Nazis has come in Ukraine.

    And C14 real­ly is oper­at­ing is a qua­si-offi­cial capac­i­ty thanks to the “mem­o­ran­dum of coop­er­a­tion” C14 signed with the local author­i­ties back in Decem­ber:

    ...
    If Mazur is telling the truth, then the mea­sures to remove the Roma fam­i­lies who had report­ed­ly come to Kyiv from Tran­scarpathia in search of work were the result of col­lab­o­ra­tion between C14 mem­bers of the so-called ‘Munic­i­pal Guard’ [«???????????? ?????»] and the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion. As report­ed, this ‘Munic­i­pal Guard’, which is head­ed by Ser­hiy Bon­dar from C14, signed a mem­o­ran­dum of coop­er­a­tion with both the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion and the Holosiyiv Nation­al Police back in Decem­ber 2017.
    ...

    And note how the descrip­tion of this “raid” on Ser­hiy Mazur’s Face­book page refers to “rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Holosiyiv admin­is­tra­tion” who joint­ly issued the ‘leave or else’ ulti­ma­tum to the Roma with C14:

    ...
    In his report on 19 April and else­where, Mazur omits two let­ters in order to use a term now gen­er­al­ly felt to be offen­sive when refer­ring to Roma.

    He says that the Roma have “occu­pied Lysa Hora” and that there are more of them this time “and of their rub­bish”.

    Togeth­er with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Holosiyiv admin­is­tra­tion, he says, they “pre­sent­ed an ulti­ma­tum to leave the pro­hib­it­ed ter­ri­to­ry of the park by TOMORROW.

    If they don’t car­ry out this demand, they will be asked in a dif­fer­ent way to go. With­in the frame­work of the law”.

    Men­tion of the law here seems on a par with semi-avoid­ance of offen­sive labels, and lacks any cred­i­bil­i­ty. If the local admin­is­tra­tion is enti­tled to issue an ulti­ma­tum, it should then approach law enforce­ment offi­cials if the ulti­ma­tum is ignored.

    Any ‘oth­er’ meth­ods hint­ed at in Mazur’s post are either not the busi­ness of C14 activists or are a code term for means of duress which are assured­ly not law­ful.
    ...

    And in a sub­se­quent Face­book post, after the Roma left, Mazur recounts how some peo­ple did­n’t leave right away but decid­ed to “after con­vinc­ing law­ful argu­ments”. And based on the fact that pro­ceed to burn the tents and many of the fam­i­lies left chil­dren’s clothes and food behind it sounds like those “con­vinc­ing law­ful argu­ments” were the kinds of argu­ments that left these peo­ple flee­ing for their lives:

    ...
    On 21 April, Mazur stat­ed in a post that there were no longer any Roma (not the term he uses) on Lysa Hora.

    “Yes­ter­day they did not car­ry out the demand, and only some left the camp in the park. How­ev­er after con­vinc­ing law­ful argu­ments, the oth­ers also decid­ed to leave the pro­hib­it­ed ter­ri­to­ry. “ The C14 activists then “cleaned up almost all the rub­bish” and burned the tents.

    If the so-called “con­vinc­ing argu­ments” had been law­ful, it seems unlike­ly that the Roma fam­i­lies would have left children’s clothes and food items behind.

    Jour­nal­ist Yevhen Savateyev told Hro­madske Radio that “it looks as through the peo­ple who were liv­ing in this camp were forced to flee and didn’t even take most-need­ed items”.

    He says that there were around 15 makeshift shacks, each ‘hous­ing’ one fam­i­ly.
    ...

    And as we should expect, deep and wide­ly held anti-Roma bias is play­ing a role in all this, which is a reminder that C14 is choos­ing to tar­get groups that many in Ukrain­ian soci­ety already hate, mak­ing the nor­mal­iza­tion of C14’s neo-Nazi tac­tics far more like­ly to suc­ceed:

    ...
    Accord­ing to Zola Kon­dur from the Chirik­li Roma Foun­da­tion, there has been an issue over this camp for the last four years. She says that the peo­ple liv­ing there want­ed to inte­grate and to coop­er­ate with the author­i­ties, how­ev­er oth­er res­i­dents of the dis­trict demand­ed that the Roma not be allowed onto minibus pub­lic trans­port and in shops. The pre­text giv­ing was that the res­i­dents feared being infect­ed with tuber­cu­lo­sis, although Kon­dur points out that a med­ical exam­i­na­tion did not find any tuber­cu­lo­sis or AIDs among the inhab­i­tants of the camp.

    She accus­es the Holosiyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tion of not being will­ing to involve the social ser­vices and does not accept that the camp, posi­tioned deep inside the nature reserve at Lysa Hora and hard to find, was dis­turb­ing any­body.
    ...

    And this was just one of mul­ti­ple anti-Roma ‘raids’ being car­ried out in the area. Anoth­er such ‘raid’ took place a few days ear­li­er:

    ...
    This was not C14’s first such ‘raid’. Mazur report­ed on 18 April that the pre­vi­ous day “good peo­ple car­ried out a raid of the Rail­way Sta­tion which had been almost total­ly occu­pied by Gy..ies”. There are the usu­al offen­sive claims about “the neg­a­tive demon­stra­tions of behav­iour from the Roma” that their “walk” had sup­pos­ed­ly cur­tailed. Mazur also reports that they “checked for doc­u­ments and tick­ets. A day or two and there won’t be any of them here”, and asks why such ‘patrols’ are not car­ried out by the police.
    ...

    But C14 isn’t lim­it­ed its focus to the Roma. They’ve also been harass­ing var­i­ous activists, includ­ing anti-fas­cist activists:

    ...
    On 19 Jan­u­ary 2018, C14 activists pre­vent­ed the tra­di­tion­al remem­brance gath­er­ing for Sev­astopol jour­nal­ist Anas­ta­sia Baburo­va and Russ­ian lawyer Stanislav Markelov, mur­dered in Moscow in 2009 by neo-Nazi Russ­ian nation­al­ists. The claim that those hon­our­ing the two slain anti-fas­cists were ‘sep­a­ratists’ was pre­pos­ter­ous, and Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the orga­niz­ers of the remem­brance event, asserts that they were con­front­ed not only by C14 thugs, but by Russ­ian and Belaru­sian neo-Nazis.

    One of the most dis­turb­ing aspects of the events that day was the total fail­ure of the Kyiv police to react ade­quate­ly to the aggres­sive behav­iour of those oppos­ing the remem­brance gath­er­ing.

    They instead detained eight peo­ple who had come to hon­our Baburo­va and Markelov. The police involved lat­er tried to claim that there had been no deten­tion, and that the activists had been ‘invit­ed’ to the police sta­tion. There was no sug­ges­tion that the ‘invi­ta­tion’ could have been turned down.

    The detained activists report­ed lat­er that they had been ‘hunt­ed down’ by the far-right thugs after leav­ing the police sta­tion. A mem­ber of the Human Rights Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre who spoke with them believes that the thugs could have only dis­cov­ered which sta­tion the activists were being held in from the police them­selves.

    C14 has been involved in attacks on activists tak­ing part in the annu­al Equal­i­ty March (Kyiv Pride), rights activists, on an art exhi­bi­tion and even pro­test­ers with strict­ly socio-eco­nom­ic demands. Their mem­bers may have been among the 50 young far-right louts who on 26 March 2018, descend­ed on events linked to the Kyiv Docu­d­ays Film Fes­ti­val, demol­ish­ing posters pro­mot­ing tol­er­ance and diver­si­ty abd try­ing to stop a pan­el dis­cus­sion on far-right move­ments.

    There are oth­er rea­sons for con­cern over any coop­er­a­tion by oth­er local author­i­ties or the police with C14. Back in Decem­ber 2012 under the Vik­tor Yanukovych regime, Yevhen Karas and his C14 mates orga­nized an attack on rights activists and oth­ers protest­ing against a repres­sive leg­isla­tive bill which pro­posed the same ban on so-called ‘pro­pa­gan­da of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty’ as was passed in neigh­bour­ing Rus­sia. It was main­ly the pro­test­ers who were detained by police.

    C14 has been involved in var­i­ous acts of vio­lence, and there are indeed reports that they attacked mem­bers of anoth­er local group on 13 Decem­ber 2017, with two peo­ple from that group end­ing up hos­pi­tal­ized with gun wounds. It seems like­ly that the con­flict was about estab­lish­ing their pow­er over a par­tic­u­lar area.
    ...

    On top of that, C14 actu­al­ly post­ed harass­ment-for-dona­tions adver­tise­ment back in Feb­ru­ary. In exchange for a dona­tion, C14 will try to make like dif­fi­cult for your ene­mies:

    ...
    On 26 Feb­ru­ary 2018, C14 post­ed an adver­tise­ment on their Face­book page which quite open­ly offered their ser­vices as thugs to reg­u­lar donors. This said that “C14 works for you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For reg­u­lar donors, we are open­ing a box for wish­es. Which of your ene­mies would you like to make life dif­fi­cult for? We’ll try to do that.” The orga­ni­za­tion has pre­sum­ably under­stood that such open­ness rather under­mines their attempts to pitch them­selves as prin­ci­pled defend­ers of Ukraine, and the post is now unavail­able. It can, how­ev­er, be seen here, and was on the sight for sev­er­al weeks. The invi­ta­tion to join in C14’s ‘raids’ on Roma peo­ple at the sta­tion or in places where they are liv­ing says noth­ing about motives required for tak­ing part in raids of high­ly-ques­tion­able legal­i­ty coat­ed in claims that incite hatred and xeno­pho­bia.
    ...

    And as we should expect, C14 denies being a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion:

    ...
    Ques­tion­able ‘part­ner­ship’

    C14 calls itself a ‘nation­al­ist’ orga­ni­za­tion and denies that it is neo-Nazi. Vyach­eslav Likhachev, who has been mon­i­tor­ing far-right move­ments in Ukraine for well over a decade, is uncon­vinced. Hepoints out that the C14 activists who occu­pied the Kyiv City Admin­is­tra­tion build­ing dur­ing Euro­maid­an cov­ered it with neo-Nazi ban­ners and graf­fi­ti.
    ...

    Yes, a group that lit­er­al­ly named itself after the “14 Words” white suprema­cy slo­gan denies being neo-Nazi. Of course. Because as we’ve so often seen, the far right does­n’t just rely on phys­i­cal­ly assault­ing peo­ple. There’s an assault on your sen­si­bil­ties too. It’s a full-spec­trum assault, and as we can see, that full-spec­trum assault is rapid­ly becom­ing Ukraine’s New Nor­mal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2018, 2:02 pm

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