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FTR #1004 Update on Ukrainian Fascism and a Possible Third World War

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

Intro­duc­tion: Sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous cov­er­age of the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, this broad­cast fur­ther explores the role of Nazi for­ma­tions and indi­vid­u­als in the secu­ri­ty ser­vices of that benight­ed coun­try. In addi­tion, the broad­cast high­lights devel­op­ments in Ukraine’s mil­i­tary indus­try and bur­geon­ing inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty alliances.

[6]

Ukrain­ian Nazis hon­or David Lane’s pass­ing. Lane was a mem­ber of The Order and mint­ed the 14 words, from which  C14 takes its name.

The Kiev city gov­ern­ment recent­ly gave C14 –Svo­bo­da’s para­mil­i­tary cadre lit­er­al­ly named after the white suprema­cist ’14 words’ [7] 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  [8]an agree­ment [9] 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. . . .”

The C14 police for­ma­tions crack­ing down on polit­i­cal activists, includ­ing LGBT and anti-war pro­po­nents.

It is not sur­pris­ing that C14 mili­tia mem­bers have used their office to attack and harass Roma, one of the “out” groups that have been the focus of social oppression/genocide from the Third Reich’s above-ground man­i­fes­ta­tion through the present resur­gence of fas­cism in Europe.

C14 and the munic­i­pal patrol duties they have been grant­ed in Kiev have pro­vid­ed a plat­form to attack the Roma, with the full sup­port of local author­i­ties ( includ­ing the police and the media.) [10]   ” . . . . 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 [11]Chan­nel 5 [12]) 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. . . .”

In addi­tion, the C14 cadre are:

  1. Appar­ent­ly func­tion­ing as some­thing of a “freiko­rps,” serv­ing as puni­tive mus­cle for impor­tant donors from the pri­vate sec­tor. ” . . . . 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.’ . . .”
  2. Work­ing in con­junc­tion with Nazis from the large Nazi milieux in Rus­sia and Belarus. ” . . . . On 19 Jan­u­ary 2018, C14 activists pre­vent­ed  [13]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. . . .”
  3. Receiv­ing tac­ti­cal, logis­ti­cal assis­tance from uni­formed police author­i­ties. ” . . . . 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  [14]that the thugs could have only dis­cov­ered which sta­tion the activists were being held in from the police them­selves. . . .
[15]

Com­bat hel­mets of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

The Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion is also spawn­ing civ­il police for­ma­tions [16] as well.

Ukrain­ian fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions have pow­er­ful polit­i­cal pro­tec­tion, because of the close rela­tion­ship between Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov (an impor­tant backer of the Azov Bat­tal­ion) 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.

” . . . . 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 vet­er­an [17] who is now a high-rank­ing police offi­cial. But Poroshenko would risk major reper­cus­sions if he did so; Avakov is his chief polit­i­cal rival [18], and the min­istry he runs con­trols the police, the Nation­al Guard and sev­er­al for­mer mili­tias. . . .”

” . . . . 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 [19], this is a sce­nario he will like­ly try to avoid. . . .”

[20]

Stephan Ban­dera, head of the OUN/B

For­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der Vadim Troy­an was a point ele­ment [21] in the assump­tion of police duties by Azov Bat­tal­ion and C14. He became act­ing head of the Nation­al Police after the res­ig­na­tion of Kha­tia Dekonoidze. ” . . . . Vadim Troy­an, who takes over as Act­ing Head, is not polit­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent and there­fore unsuit­ed to the post.  Doubts about the for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion commander’s suit­abil­i­ty for high police posts were first expressed after his appoint­ment as head of the Kyiv region­al police and they remain of con­cern. . . .”

Troy­an is now Arsen Avakov’s Deputy Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter [22]” . . . . The Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters of Ukraine has appoint­ed the first Deputy Head of the Nation­al Police Vadym Troy­an as Deputy Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs of Ukraine. . . . ”

The milieu of  the Azov Bat­tal­ion has influ­en­tial pro­po­nents in the U.S.

The same smear machine that tar­get­ed for­mer Rep. John Conyer’s over his oppo­si­tion to arm­ing the neo-Nazi Azov bat­tal­ion is turn­ing its focus on Rep. Ro Khan­na (Demo­c­rat from Cal­i­for­nia) after Khan­na ensured that the ban on funds going to arm­ing or train­ing the Azov Bat­tal­ion remained in place in the con­gres­sion­al spend­ing bill that passed a cou­ple weeks ago. In a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­gust­ing op-ed in The Hill [23], Kristofer Har­ri­son – a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to Sen. Ted Cruz’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and who also hap­pens to a co-founder of a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in Russ­ian “infor­ma­tion war­fare,” with offices in Wash­ing­ton and Kyiv – declared that Khanna’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the Azov Bat­tal­ion as neo-Nazi in nature is ridicu­lous and part of a big lie pushed by Putin.

[24]

OUN/B World War II Ukrain­ian prime min­is­ter Jaroslav Stet­zko and then Vice-Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush

[25]

Roman Zvarych, Jaroslav Stet­zko’s sec­re­tary and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Vik­tor Yuschenko

We note again that Harrison–whom we have not­ed attacked John Cony­ers as “Putin’s Man in Con­gress” [26]–relies on Roman Zvarych for his exon­er­a­tion of the Azov Bat­tal­ion. In addi­tion to being the spokesman for Azov, Zvarych was:

  1. Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Vik­tor Yuschenko [27].
  2. Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under both Tymoshenko gov­ern­ments.
  3. An advis­er to Petro Poroshenko [28].
  4. In the 1980’s, the per­son­al sec­re­tary to Jaroslav Stet­zko [27], the wartime head of the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment in Ukraine. Stet­zko imple­ment­ed Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing in Ukraine dur­ing World War II.

Next, we revis­it the issue of the sniper attacks dur­ing the Maid­an demon­stra­tions, cov­ered at length in FTR #‘s 982 [29]and 993 [30]. In what appears to be a fac­tion fight in the Ukrain­ian fas­cist milieu, for­mer Ukrain­ian far-right folk hero Nadia Savchenk [31]o has echoed the charge that Svo­bo­da Par­ty’s par­lia­ment speak­er Andriy Paru­biy was involved with the sniper attacks dur­ing the Maid­an coup. Pushed on her charge, she equiv­o­cat­ed that it was a dif­fer­ent mem­ber of the Rada (Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment.)

In a devel­op­ment that could light a match to the Ukrainian/Russian tin­der­box, Ukraine is angling toward NATO mem­ber­ship [31].This is to be eval­u­at­ed against the back­ground that Ukraine has now test­ed a new cruise mis­sile [32] and is employ­ing Tony Teth­er [33], the for­mer head of DARPA to aug­ment its weapons devel­op­ment pro­grams. DARPA is also direct­ly aid­ing Ukraine.

Among the nations most hos­pitable to the post-World War II OUN/B dias­po­ra is Cana­da, a NATO mem­ber.

In FTR #948 [34], we not­ed that Canada’s For­eign Min­is­ter Chris­tia Free­land’s grand­fa­ther, Michael Cho­mi­ak was a Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor. (“For­eign Min­is­ter” is the Cana­di­an equiv­a­lent of Sec­re­tary of State. Free­land describes her grand­fa­ther as a major influ­ence on her.) Now, four Russ­ian diplo­mats [35] have been expelled from Cana­da for telling the truth about Cho­mi­ak and Free­land.)

In con­clu­sion, we note that the “Pro­pOrNot” [36] group attacked Robert Par­ry after his death. (Mr. Emory inter­viewed Robert Par­ry a num­ber of times. Par­ry was one of the few jour­nal­ists in the U.S. will­ing to tell the truth about the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions and their pro­found pres­ence in Ukraine.) In FTR #943 [37], we not­ed the pres­ence of Pro­pOrNot in the OUN/B milieu.

1a. The Kiev city gov­ern­ment recent­ly gave C14 –Svo­bo­da’s para­mil­i­tary cadre lit­er­al­ly named after the white suprema­cist ’14 words’ [7]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  [8]an agree­ment [9] 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 below also notes, Ukrain­ian fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions 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.

” . . . . 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 vet­er­an [17] who is now a high-rank­ing police offi­cial. But Poroshenko would risk major reper­cus­sions if he did so; Avakov is his chief polit­i­cal rival [18], and the min­istry he runs con­trols the police, the Nation­al Guard and sev­er­al for­mer mili­tias. . . .”

” . . . . 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 [19], this is a sce­nario he will like­ly try to avoid. . . .”

“Com­men­tary: Ukraine’s neo-Nazi prob­lem” by Josh Cohen; Reuters; 03/19/2018 [38]

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 uses [39]Nazi-era sym­bol­ism and recruits [40]neo-Nazis into [41]its ranks, a recent arti­cle in For­eign Affairs [42] 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 [43] con­di­tion of Ukraine’s armed forces, right-wing mili­tias such as Azov and Right Sec­tor stepped into the breach, fend­ing [44]off 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 [45], 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 [46] its own children’s train­ing camp, and the careers [47] 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 [48].

In recent months, Ukraine has expe­ri­enced a wave of unchecked vig­i­lan­tism. Insti­tute Respub­li­ca, a local pro-democ­ra­cy NGO, report­ed [49] 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 [50] demon­stra­tions, city coun­cil  [51]meet­ings, media out­lets [52]art exhi­bi­tions [53]for­eign stu­dents and Roma [54]. 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 gath­er­ing [55]for 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 [56], and Ukraini­ans react­ed [57]with 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  [8]an agree­ment [9] 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.

[15]

Com­bat hel­mets of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

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 vet­er­an [17] who is now a high-rank­ing police offi­cial. But Poroshenko would risk major reper­cus­sions if he did so; Avakov is his chief polit­i­cal rival [18], and the min­istry he runs con­trols the police, the Nation­al Guard and sev­er­al for­mer mili­tias.

As one Ukrain­ian ana­lyst not­ed [58] in 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 [19], 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 [59] for Ukrain­ian lawyers and human rights defend­ers, and improv­ing equi­table access [60] to the judi­cial sys­tem for mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. . . .

1b. C14 and the munic­i­pal patrol duties they have been grant­ed in Kiev have pro­vid­ed a plat­form to attack Roma, with the full sup­port of local author­i­ties ( includ­ing the police and the media.) [10]   ” . . . . 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 [11]Chan­nel 5 [12]) 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. . . .”

In addi­tion, the C14 cadre are:

  1. Appar­ent­ly func­tion­ing as some­thing of a “freiko­rps,” serv­ing as puni­tive mus­cle for impor­tant donors from the pri­vate sec­tor. ” . . . . 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.’ . . .”
  2. Work­ing in con­junc­tion with Nazis from the large Nazi milieux in Rus­sia and Belarus. ” . . . . On 19 Jan­u­ary 2018, C14 activists pre­vent­ed  [13]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. . . .”
  3. Receiv­ing tac­ti­cal, logis­ti­cal assis­tance from uni­formed police author­i­ties. ” . . . . 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  [14]that the thugs could have only dis­cov­ered which sta­tion the activists were being held in from the police them­selves. . . .

“Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi C14 vig­i­lantes dri­ve out Roma fam­i­lies, burn their camp” by Halya Coy­nash; Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group; 04/23/2018 [10]

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 [11]Chan­nel 5 [12]) 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 [9], 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 [61] 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 [62] 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 [63]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 [64] 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. He points out [65] 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  [13]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  [14]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 [66] 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 [67] 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 [68] 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 [69], 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.

1c. In addi­tion to C14, the Azov Bat­tal­ion’s Nation­al Mili­tia have assumed police duties in Ukraine.

[70]

Azov Civ­il Corps

“In Ukraine, Ultra-Nation­al­ist Mili­tia Strikes Fear in Some Quar­ters” by Christo­pher Miller; Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty; 1/30/2018. [16]

. . . . But Ukraine observers and rights groups are sound­ing the alarm, because this was not a typ­i­cal com­mence­ment, and the men are not police offi­cers. They are far-right ultra­na­tion­al­ists from the Azov move­ment, a con­tro­ver­sial group with a mil­i­tary wing that has open­ly accept­ed self-avowed neo-Nazis, and a civ­il and polit­i­cal fac­tion that has demon­strat­ed intol­er­ance toward minor­i­ty groups.

“We will not hes­i­tate to use force to estab­lish order that will bring pros­per­i­ty to every Ukrain­ian fam­i­ly!” reads a mes­sage along­side the video, pub­lished on the Face­book page of the new­ly formed group, called the Nation­al Mili­tia. In the clip, they vow also to pro­tect the nation “when gov­ern­ment organs can’t or won’t help Ukrain­ian soci­ety.”

That approach could con­cern West­ern back­ers in Kyiv’s cam­paign against armed Rus­sia-backed sep­a­ratists in the east­ern part of the coun­try, where a con­flict that has last­ed near­ly four years has killed at least 10,300 peo­ple.

[15]

Com­bat hel­mets of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

“Ukraine would be vio­lat­ing its inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions under human rights law if author­i­ties either tol­er­ate abu­sive mili­tia who under­mine [the] pop­u­la­tion’s lib­er­ty, secu­ri­ty, free­doms or pro­vide an abu­sive mili­tia with the col­or of law but [do] not impose on them exact­ing stan­dards on use of force,” Tanya Coop­er, Human Rights Watch (HRW)‘s Ukraine researcher in Kyiv, told RFE/RL in e‑mailed com­ments as media buzzed over the appear­ance of the Nation­al Mili­tia.

Matthew Schaff, Ukraine direc­tor of the U.S.-based NGO Free­dom House, told RFE/RL by phone that sim­ply their cre­ation “does dam­age to democ­ra­cy in Ukraine.”

Nation­al­is­tic Agen­da

Found­ed in 2014 as a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion to help an over­matched Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary fight off the threat in its east, the Azov move­ment uses fas­cist sym­bols and has been accused by inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an orga­ni­za­tions of human rights abus­es in the con­flict zone.

The Nation­al Mili­tia is an inde­pen­dent group that is mere­ly the lat­est com­po­nent of Azov’s civil­ian and polit­i­cal wing, known as the Nation­al Cor­pus. It is led by law­mak­er and for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der Andriy Bilet­sky, once the head of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Social-Nation­al Par­ty, who attend­ed the cer­e­mo­ny.

Azov offi­cial­ly found­ed the Nation­al Cor­pus in Octo­ber 2016, incor­po­rat­ing two oth­er nation­al­ist groups, includ­ing Patri­ot Of Ukraine, which accord­ing to Halya Coy­nash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group [9] “espoused xeno­pho­bic and neo-Nazi ideas and was engaged in vio­lent attacks against migrants, for­eign stu­dents in Kharkiv, and those oppos­ing its views.”

That inau­gur­al cer­e­mo­ny arguably had pomp more rem­i­nis­cent of 1930s Ger­many [71] than of post­war democ­ra­cy. It includ­ed nation­al­ist chants, raised fists, and a torch­light march through cen­tral Kyiv.

[72]

Emblem of the Ukrain­ian Azov Bat­tal­ion

Nation­al Cor­pus’s polit­i­cal aims at the time of its cre­ation includ­ed the restora­tion of Ukraine’s nuclear-pow­er sta­tus, which was aban­doned in a major boost to non­pro­lif­er­a­tion soon after the breakup of the Sovi­et Union; the nation­al­iza­tion of com­pa­nies that were owned by the gov­ern­ment when Ukraine gained inde­pen­dence in 1991; and the legal­iza­tion of firearms for per­son­al pro­tec­tion.

Its for­eign pol­i­cy sought to cut cul­tur­al, diplo­mat­ic, and trade ties with Rus­sia, and urged a pub­lic dis­cus­sion about restor­ing the death penal­ty in Ukraine for crimes such as trea­son and embez­zle­ment of gov­ern­ment funds.

While the Nation­al Cor­pus appears to draw lim­it­ed sup­port from Ukraine’s elec­torate — polls show it under the 5 per­cent thresh­old to enter par­lia­ment — its pub­lic pres­ence has grown, wor­ry­ing inter­na­tion­al observers and mak­ing it a favorite tar­get for Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. Russ­ian state news agen­cies and politi­cians sug­gest the gov­ern­ment in Kyiv’s per­ceived tol­er­ance for the far-right move­ment makes it fas­cist. The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s fail­ure to aggres­sive­ly chal­lenge the group has done lit­tle to calm its crit­ics.

Police, Or Not Police

So it came as some­thing of a sur­prise on Jan­u­ary 30 when Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov, who has enjoyed a close rela­tion­ship with the Azov move­ment in the past, appeared to dis­tance him­self from the group, say­ing in a state­ment post­ed to the min­istry’s web­site [73] that “in Ukraine, there is only one monop­oly on the use of force — the state: the Nation­al Guard, the Nation­al Police, and the Armed Forces.”

He added, “All oth­er para­mil­i­tary enti­ties that try to posi­tion them­selves on the streets of cities are not legal.”

Ivan Varchenko, an Avakov advis­er, told Hro­madske Radio [74] that Ukrain­ian law pro­vides for reg­is­tra­tion of civic orga­ni­za­tions that assist law enforce­ment agen­cies.

Roman Chernyshov of the Nation­al Corps also tried to calm con­cerns, telling Hro­madske Radio that its mem­bers do not bear arms.

Armed or not, as news of the Nation­al Mili­tia spread across Ukrain­ian media, crit­ics raised seri­ous con­cerns about the type of order the unit may enforce on the streets of Kyiv.

“It’s the police respon­si­bil­i­ty to enforce the law on the street and hold peo­ple account­able for crimes they’ve com­mit­ted,” Free­dom House­’s Schaaf said. “When there are groups that are roam­ing the streets in units like this, with slo­gans like this, it def­i­nite­ly rais­es con­cerns about what are their inten­tions, how they will they be imple­ment­ing their visions, what rules they are try­ing to enforce.”

HRW’s Coop­er said one of her pri­ma­ry con­cerns was who would be tar­get­ed by the group. “Mem­bers of this polit­i­cal par­ty espouse intol­er­ance towards eth­nic minori­ties and LGBT peo­ple, so it seems com­plete­ly absurd that these peo­ple would be able [and will­ing] to pro­tect every­one,” she said of the Azovs.

She added, “The bot­tom line is that if these units are going to be car­ry­ing out any kind of polic­ing duty, they have to be held to the exact same human rights stan­dards as reg­u­lar police: on use of force, pow­ers of deten­tion, nondis­crim­i­na­tion, etc., and they have to be trained and held account­able just like reg­u­lar police are.”

Per­haps in an attempt to alle­vi­ate pub­lic con­cerns, Avakov insist­ed, “I, as a min­is­ter, will not allow for par­al­lel struc­tures that try to behave as alter­na­tive mil­i­tary for­ma­tions on the streets.”

2a. For­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion com­man­der Vadim Troy­an was a point ele­ment in the assump­tion of police duties by Azov Bat­tal­ion and C14. He became act­ing head of the Nation­al Police after the res­ig­na­tion of Kha­tia Dekonoidze. ” . . . . Vadim Troy­an, who takes over as Act­ing Head, is not polit­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent and there­fore unsuit­ed to the post.  Doubts about the for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion commander’s suit­abil­i­ty for high police posts were first expressed after his appoint­ment as head of the Kyiv region­al police and they remain of con­cern. . . .”

“Accu­sa­tions Fly­ing as Police Head Resigns, Leav­ing Con­tentious Deputy in Charge” by Halya Coy­nash; Human Rights in Ukraine; 11/15/2016. [21]

Kha­tia Dekonoidze has resigned from her post as Head of Nation­al Police just one year after her appoint­ment, seem­ing­ly in frus­tra­tion at the lim­it­ed pow­ers she had to car­ry out real reform and polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence.  She also said that Vadim Troy­an, who takes over as Act­ing Head, is not polit­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent and there­fore unsuit­ed to the post.  Doubts about the for­mer Azov Bat­tal­ion commander’s suit­abil­i­ty for high police posts were first expressed after his appoint­ment as head of the Kyiv region­al police and they remain of con­cern. . . .

2b. For­mer Azov com­man­der Troy­an is now Avakov’s Deputy Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter. ” . . . . The Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters of Ukraine has appoint­ed the first Deputy Head of the Nation­al Police Vadym Troy­an as Deputy Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs of Ukraine. . . . ”

[75]

Vadim Troy­an, who took over as act­ing head of the Nation­al Police (right)

“Cab­i­net Appoints Troy­an as Deputy Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter” [Inter­fax Ukraine]; Kyiv Post; 2/8/2017. [22]

The Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters of Ukraine has appoint­ed the first Deputy Head of the Nation­al Police Vadym Troy­an as Deputy Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs of Ukraine.

“We have appoint­ed Troy­an as the Deputy Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs,” Min­is­ter of the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters of Ukraine Olek­san­dr Sayenko told reporters after a cab­i­net meet­ing on Feb. 8. . . .

2c. The same smear machine that tar­get­ed for­mer Rep. John Conyer’s over his oppo­si­tion to arm­ing the neo-Nazi Azov bat­tal­ion is turn­ing its focus on Rep. Ro Khan­na (Demo­c­rat from Cal­i­for­nia) after Khan­na ensured that the ban on funds going to arm­ing or train­ing the Azov Bat­tal­ion remained in place in the con­gres­sion­al spend­ing bill that passed a cou­ple weeks ago. In a par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­gust­ing op-ed in The Hill [23], Kristofer Har­ri­son – a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to Sen. Ted Cruz’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and who also hap­pens to a co-founder of a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in Russ­ian “infor­ma­tion war­fare,” with offices in Wash­ing­ton and Kyiv – declared that Khanna’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the Azov Bat­tal­ion as neo-Nazi in nature is ridicu­lous and part of a big lie pushed by Putin.

We note again that Harrison–whom we have not­ed attacked John Cony­ers as “Putin’s Man in Congress”–relies on Roman Zvarych for his exon­er­a­tion of the Azov Bat­tal­ion. In addi­tion to being the spokesman for Azov, Zvarych was:

  1. Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Vik­tor Yuschenko.
  2. Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under both Tymoshenko gov­ern­ments.
  3. An advis­er to Petro Poroshenko.
  4. In the 1980’s, the per­son­al sec­re­tary to Jaroslav Stet­zko, the wartime head of the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment in Ukraine. Stet­zko imple­ment­ed Nazi eth­nic cleans­ing in Ukraine dur­ing World War II.

“Did California’s Ro Khan­na get duped by Russia’s pro­pa­gan­da?” by Kristofer Har­ri­son; The Hill; 04/02/2018 [23]

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Rep. Ro Khan­na (D‑Calif.), it appears you were just duped by Rus­sia (and bragged [76] about it). As a result, you pro­mot­ed [76] Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da about Ukraine’s Azov Bat­tal­ion being Nazis with text in the behe­moth $1.3 tril­lion spend­ing bill. The ques­tion is, who put you up to it?

Ukraine is not your jam. Your focus is on vis­it­ing coal mine towns [77], antitrust [78] issues and, as one of Sil­i­con Valley’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, tech­nol­o­gy [79] — all legit­i­mate issues. Yet, even though experts on Ukraine are typ­i­cal­ly unfa­mil­iar with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, you weighed in on the issue. Of course, it is always pos­si­ble that you have a secret obses­sion with Ukraine, but it’s more like­ly that some K Street swamp crea­ture asked for a favor.

Just know, the favor was for Vladimir Putin.

It is ridicu­lous non­sense [80] that Ukraine is beset with a bunch of Nazis. The Rus­sians have been push­ing this fool­ish­ness for a while. In Rus­sia, if you want to dis­cred­it some­one, call them a Nazi. Putin is using it to jus­ti­fy his war to his sub­jects. Rus­sians are not par­tic­u­lar­ly keen on attack­ing Ukraine. But if it is to free them from the yoke of Nazis, well, that’s dif­fer­ent.

The rea­son why the Krem­lin is using infor­ma­tion war against the Azov Bat­tal­ion, specif­i­cal­ly, is par­tial­ly because they some­times make them­selves easy PR tar­gets. These are guys with guns fight­ing a Russ­ian inva­sion, not a PR agency with media train­ing. But the big­ger rea­son is that the Azov Bat­tal­ion is one of the most effec­tive defen­sive units.

Rus­sia can’t beat them on the bat­tle­field, so they use K Street lob­by­ist sell­outs to help crip­ple them. Who wants to pro­vide guns to fas­cists? Nobody. That is the ruse you fell for.

You are fill­ing illus­tri­ous shoes. In 2015, an uniden­ti­fied lob­by­ist snook­ered Rep. John Cony­ers (D‑Mich.) to do exact­ly what you have done. Cony­ers sin­gled out the Azov Bat­tal­ion to pre­vent it from get­ting assis­tance in the defense appro­pri­a­tions bill. The Defense Depart­ment object­ed, and the process of cor­rect­ing the mis­take in Con­fer­ence cre­at­ed yet anoth­er open­ing for Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. Only, this time, the bill has been signed into law. So what­ev­er fix you choose has to make it to the president’s desk.

The tech­nique Rus­sia used was a clas­sic KGB tac­tic — that’s the sure tell that what duped you was a Krem­lin oper­a­tion. In the 1980s [81], the KGB used this tech­nique to spread the false­hood that the CIA cre­at­ed AIDS. Some­how, they con­vinced an Indi­an med­ical jour­nal to print an arti­cle “prov­ing” the case. They then ref­er­enced that arti­cle in pub­li­ca­tions all over the world.

In this instance, the Russ­ian active mea­sure began [82] with an arti­cle in a pub­li­ca­tion that should know bet­ter: For­eign Pol­i­cy. John Cony­ers read the piece on the Con­gres­sion­al Record. It then spread like wild­fire among lazy [83] jour­nal­ists [84] and Russia’s net­work of fools [85], knaves [86] and pro­pa­gan­dists [87].

Nat­u­ral­ly, cor­rect­ing the mis­take should be your first order of busi­ness. And Khan­na, should for­swear writ­ing laws, about which you have no exper­tise, at the insti­ga­tion of lob­by­ists. That is just good gov­er­nance. There is also a les­son here about how mas­sive, 2,000-plus page spend­ing bills lend them­selves to cor­rup­tion.

But this need not be a black mark on your record as the process of cor­rect­ing it presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty for you to help your coun­try. Help the coun­try smoke out the K Street sell­out. Iden­ti­fy who played you for a fool and left you hold­ing Putin’s dirty laun­dry.

Rus­sia is attack­ing the U.S., and quis­ling K Street lob­by­ists are help­ing them. Help us iden­ti­fy them.

Kristofer Har­ri­son worked for Defense Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld and Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleez­za Rice and was a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to Sen. Ted Cruz’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He is a co-founder and prin­ci­pal of ITJ Strate­gies [88], a grass­roots PR con­sul­tan­cy, and of AMS, a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in Russ­ian infor­ma­tion war­fare, with offices in Wash­ing­ton and Kyiv. The com­pa­ny does not do any work on behalf of the Azov Bat­tal­ion or relat­ed inter­ests.

3. In what appears to be a fac­tion fight in the Ukrain­ian fas­cist milieu, for­mer Ukrain­ian far-right folk hero Nadia Savchenko has echoed the charge that Svo­bo­da Par­ty’s par­lia­ment speak­er Andriy Paru­biy was involved with the sniper attacks dur­ing the Maid­an coup. Pushed on her charge, she equiv­o­cat­ed that it was a dif­fer­ent mem­ber of the Rada (Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment.)

” ‘War Hero’ Savchenko Accused of Ter­ror Plot, Lev­els Own Accu­sa­tions in Ukraine” [Reuters]; Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty; 3/15/2018. [31] 

Law­mak­er and for­mer Russ­ian cap­tive Nadia Savchenko has trad­ed incen­di­ary accu­sa­tions with senior Ukrain­ian author­i­ties and faces pos­si­ble arrest over what Pros­e­cu­tor-Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko alleged was a detailed plan for a dev­as­tat­ing “ter­ror­ist” attack on par­lia­ment.

Savchenko, a for­mer mil­i­tary avi­a­tor who spent 22 months in Russ­ian pris­ons after being detained by sep­a­ratists in the con­flict zone in east­ern Ukraine, claimed on March 15 that law­mak­er Ser­hiy Pashin­skyy played a promi­nent role in a dead­ly crack­down on pro-Euro­pean demon­stra­tors dur­ing antigov­ern­ment Maid­an protests that top­pled Rus­sia-friend­ly Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists in front of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice (SBU) head­quar­ters in Kyiv, before she was ques­tioned as a wit­ness in a case against a man arrest­ed last week on sus­pi­cion of plot­ting to kill Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and oth­er offi­cials in a series of armed attacks, Savchenko also assert­ed that Lut­senko cov­ered up what she alleged was cur­rent par­lia­ment speak­er Andriy Paru­biy’s involve­ment in sniper shoot­ings that author­i­ties say killed dozens of peo­ple dur­ing the crack­down on the Maid­an protests.

How­ev­er, Savchenko said lat­er that she meant to accuse not Paru­biy but Pashin­skyy, and pub­licly apol­o­gized to the par­lia­ment speak­er for “a slip of the tongue.”

Law­mak­ers in the Verk­hov­na Rada swift­ly respond­ed by kick­ing Savchenko out of the sin­gle-cham­ber par­lia­men­t’s nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense com­mit­tee. Lut­senko, mean­while, told par­lia­ment that Savchenko had planned an attack using grenades, mor­tars and auto­mat­ic weapons.

Inves­ti­ga­tors have “irrefutable proof that Nadia Savchenko...personally planned, per­son­al­ly recruit­ed, and per­son­al­ly gave instruc­tions about how to com­mit a ter­ror­ist act here, in this cham­ber,” Lut­senko said. He asked the Rada to strip her of her par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty so that she could be arrest­ed.

Lut­senko claimed that Savchenko’s plan includ­ed destroy­ing the Rada’s roof cupo­la and killing sur­viv­ing law­mak­ers with assault-rifle fire. . . .

. . . . More than 100 pro­test­ers were killed in the 2013–14 demon­stra­tions, cen­tered on Kyiv’s Maid­an Neza­lezh­nost (Inde­pen­dence Square) that pre­ced­ed Yanukovy­ch’s flight to Rus­sia. Forty-eight of them were alleged­ly gunned down in Feb­ru­ary 2014 by snipers who Ukrain­ian author­i­ties claim received direct orders from the Moscow-friend­ly Yanukovych.

In her remarks on March 15, Savchenko said that she saw Paru­biy, who was on the antigov­ern­ment side at the time, “lead­ing snipers into the Hotel Ukraine,” which looms over the Maid­an. “I saw a blue minibus and armed peo­ple com­ing out of it, I have said ear­li­er [to inves­ti­ga­tors] who those peo­ple were. Those peo­ple are now law­mak­ers.”

She said the deaths on the Maid­an will nev­er be thor­ough­ly inves­ti­gat­ed, assert­ing that the gov­ern­ment that came to pow­er after Yanukovy­ch’s down­fall does not want it to hap­pen. . . . 

4. Ukraine has test­ed a new cruise mis­sile.

“Ukraine Tests New Cruise Mis­sile (VIDEO)” by Illia Pono­marenko; The Kyiv Post; 1/30/2018. [32]

A new Ukrain­ian ground-based cruise mis­sile under­went a suc­cess­ful test launch on Jan. 30, Ukrain­ian Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil Sec­re­tary Olek­san­dr Turchynov announced.

Accord­ing to the Turchynov, the mis­sile, a sole­ly Ukrain­ian project designed by the Kyiv-based Luch defense devel­op­ment bureau, can deliv­er pre­cise strikes on ground and seaborne tar­gets.

“Dur­ing the suc­cess­ful tests, the missile’s flight effi­cien­cy and sys­tems oper­a­tions were checked,” Turchynov said. . . .

5. Ukraine has employed Tony Teth­er, the for­mer head of DARPA to upgrade its mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties. He may very well be the archi­tect of Ukraine’s new cruise mis­sile.

“What is DARPA Doing in Ukraine?” by Aaron Mehta;  [33]Defense News; 3/1/2018. [33]

DARPA, the Pentagon’s high-tech office [89], is work­ing with the gov­ern­ment of Ukraine to devel­op capa­bil­i­ties [90] to help Kiev in its hybrid war­fare chal­lenge.

DARPA direc­tor Steven Walk­er, who recent­ly took over that job after five years as the agency’s deputy, told reporters that he had per­son­al­ly vis­it­ed the coun­try in 2016 for talks with Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary, intel and indus­try lead­ers [91].

“We did have a good vis­it to the Ukraine,” Walk­er said Thurs­day at a break­fast host­ed by the Defense Writer’s Group. “Yes, we have fol­lowed up with them, and through the U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand, we have start­ed sev­er­al projects with the Ukraine, most­ly in the infor­ma­tion space.”

“Not pro­vid­ing them weapons or any­thing like that, but look­ing at how to help them with infor­ma­tion,” Walk­er added, before declin­ing to go into fur­ther detail.

Ukraine has become a test­ing ground for hybrid war­fare tech­niques from Rus­sia and Russ­ian-backed mil­i­tant groups ever Russia’s inva­sion of Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry in 2014, includ­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns. While that has allowed Moscow to test out new capa­bil­i­ties and tech­niques, it also pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op counter tech­niques — which may ben­e­fit the U.S. and its allies in the long term.

“I think we’ve got to get bet­ter, as a coun­try, in infor­ma­tion war­fare and how we approach info war­fare,” Walk­er said. “I think there are capa­bil­i­ties there that we need to improve upon, and DAPRA is work­ing in some of those areas.”

This is not the first tie between DARPA and Kiev. The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has hired Tony Teth­er, who led DARPA for the entire­ty of the George. W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion, to help lead a reor­ga­ni­za­tion of their sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy efforts, some­thing Teth­er in a LinkedIn post [92] said was nec­es­sary in part because so much of Ukraine’s S&T facil­i­ties were in the ter­ri­to­ry seized by Rus­sia.

The for­mer DARPA head has also con­sult­ed for the Ukroboron­prom group [93], Ukraine’s largest defense con­trac­tor, and just a few weeks ago was added to the group’s super­vi­so­ry board in a move that Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko called [94] a “sym­bol of effec­tive coop­er­a­tion between Ukrain­ian and Amer­i­can part­ners.” . . . .

7. In a devel­op­ment that could light a match to the Ukrainian/Russian tin­der­box, Ukraine is angling toward NATO mem­ber­ship.

“Ukraine’s NATO Bid Risks Even Worse U.S.-Russia Ties’ ” by Will Porter; Con­sor­tium News; 4/18/2018. [95]

. . . . But a more recent devel­op­ment has impli­ca­tions that are rarely explored in Amer­i­can media, despite what it could mean for broad­er U.S. inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. Ukraine is vying to take its place as NATO’s newest mem­ber state, a move that could seri­ous­ly esca­late ten­sions between Wash­ing­ton and Moscow beyond their cur­rent high point.

“It’s safe to say that Rus­sia would be, and has been, opposed to NATO mem­ber­ship for Ukraine,” James Car­den, for­mer advi­sor to the State Department’s U.S.-Russia Bilat­er­al Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion, said in an email exchange.

Neigh­bor­ing states such as Ukraine and Geor­gia, Car­den added, “are red lines for Rus­sia and we should take them at their word.”

In a March Face­book post, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine’s “next ambi­tion” on its path to mem­ber­ship was to seek a Mem­ber­ship Action Plan (MAP). Coun­tries seek­ing to join NATO must go through a mul­ti-step process that ensures the prospec­tive mem­ber meets the alliance’s var­i­ous oblig­a­tions in areas rang­ing from mil­i­tary spend­ing to law.

“This is what my let­ter to [NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al] Jens Stoltenberg in Feb­ru­ary 2018 was about, where, with ref­er­ence to Arti­cle 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, I offi­cial­ly [put for­ward] Ukraine’s aspi­ra­tions to become a mem­ber of the Alliance,” Poroshenko wrote on Face­book.

The renewed effort to join the alliance, if suc­cess­ful, could fur­ther ratch­et up ten­sions between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States, who–in case any­one could forget–preside over the world’s two largest hydro­gen bomb arse­nals. . . .

. . . . Found­ed in 1949 as a bul­wark against alleged Sovi­et expan­sion­ism in post-war Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion func­tions as a mutu­al defense pact between its 29 mem­ber states. Until the ear­ly 1990s, NATO exist­ed osten­si­bly to counter the Sovi­et Union’s anal­o­gous alliance, the War­saw Pact.
In Decem­ber of last year, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Archive at George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty pub­lished a series of declas­si­fied doc­u­ments which reveal that strong assur­ances were giv­en to the crum­bling USSR that NATO, in the words of then-Sec­re­tary of State James Bak­er, would not advance “one inch east­ward” in the post-Sovi­et era.

Yet between the time those promis­es were made, begin­ning in ear­ly 1990, and the present, NATO has expand­ed to encom­pass thir­teen addi­tion­al states, all of them in East­ern Europe. In 1999, the Czech Repub­lic, Poland and Hun­gary joined; in 2004 the alliance expand­ed to include Bul­gar­ia, Esto­nia, Latvia, Lithua­nia, Roma­nia, Slo­va­kia and Slove­nia, while Alba­nia and Croa­t­ia fol­lowed in 2009. . . . .

8. Among the nations most hos­pitable to the post-World War II OUN/B dias­po­ra is Cana­da, a NATO mem­ber. In FTR #948 [34], we not­ed that Canada’s For­eign Min­is­ter Chris­tia Free­land’s grand­fa­ther, Michael Cho­mi­ak was a Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor. (“For­eign Min­is­ter” is the Cana­di­an equiv­a­lent of Sec­re­tary of State. Free­land describes her grand­fa­ther as a major influ­ence on her.) Now, four Russ­ian diplo­mats have been expelled from Cana­da for telling the truth about Cho­mi­ak and Free­land.)

“Why did Cana­da expel four Russ­ian diplo­mats? Because they told the truth” by Thomas Walkom; The Star; 04/05/2018 [35]

We now know how the Rus­sians have been sub­vert­ing Cana­di­an democ­ra­cy. They have been prop­a­gat­ing truth­ful news.

That infor­ma­tion comes cour­tesy of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau who on Wednes­day final­ly explained the motive behind his government’s deci­sion last week to expel four Russ­ian diplo­mats and refuse entry to three more.

At the time, Ottawa said it was mak­ing the move in sup­port of Britain, which blames Rus­sia for using a dead­ly nerve agent to poi­son a dou­ble agent liv­ing in Eng­land.

But in a writ­ten state­ment, For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land also said the Rus­sians had been using their diplo­mat­ic sta­tus “to inter­fere in our democ­ra­cy.”

How exact­ly the Rus­sians had been inter­fer­ing was not explained. Efforts to get more infor­ma­tion from Freeland’s office were unsuc­cess­ful. In an inter­view on CBC, Defence Min­is­ter Har­jit Saj­jan said that he had to stay mum for rea­sons of nation­al secu­ri­ty. Nobody else would talk.

Then, on Wednesday,Trudeau spilled the beans. The Rus­sians are being pun­ished for say­ing that Freeland’s grand­fa­ther was a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Trudeau called this an effort “by Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­dists” to smear Free­land, which per­haps it was.

The only trou­ble with all of this is that the Rus­sians were telling the truth. Freeland’s mater­nal grand­fa­ther, Michael Cho­mi­ak, was a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

A Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist, he fled Stalin’s advanc­ing armies in 1939 and sought refuge in what was then Ger­man-occu­pied Poland.

There, under the aegis of the Nazis he edit­ed a Ukrain­ian-lan­guage, anti-Semit­ic news­pa­per.

I first learned of this from a front-page sto­ry in that well-known vehi­cle of Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da, the Globe and Mail.

The Globe got its infor­ma­tion by inter­view­ing Freeland’s uncle, a his­to­ri­an who in 1996 wrote – with some assis­tance from his niece – a schol­ar­ly arti­cle detail­ing Chomiak’s wartime activ­i­ties.

Was the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hap­py to see this being made pub­lic? I expect it was. Free­land is a vocal crit­ic of Moscow’s heavy-hand­ed approach to Ukraine and is cur­rent­ly per­sona non gra­ta in Rus­sia.

The Russ­ian gov­ern­ment also finds it con­ve­nient to paint all of its crit­ics in Ukraine as unre­con­struct­ed fas­cists. And while Free­land is cer­tain­ly no fas­cist, she has pub­licly praised her grand­par­ents for their influ­ence on her and for their com­mit­ment to Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence.

Giv­en all of that, the Cho­mi­ak sto­ry was a gift to the Rus­sians. Soon after Freeland’s appoint­ment as for­eign affairs min­is­ter last year, pro-Moscow web­sites began to pick it up.

To use Trudeau’s words, Moscow was prob­a­bly try­ing to push a “pro-Rus­sia nar­ra­tive.”

But is it ille­git­i­mate for coun­tries to use ver­i­fi­able facts to make a case?

Cer­tain­ly, the West doesn’t think so when it comes to the nerve agent sto­ry. Its deci­sion to blame Moscow for the attack is based on one fact – that the poi­son used was first devel­oped in the old Sovi­et Union.

The pos­si­bil­i­ty that some oth­er enti­ty might have copied it is nev­er enter­tained.

Instead, the world is pre­sent­ed with a com­pli­cat­ed expla­na­tion that goes some­thing like this: After years of ignor­ing retired dou­ble agent Sergei Skri­pal, Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin final­ly decides to kill him.

In order to show who is respon­si­ble, Putin has his min­ions use a sig­na­ture Russ­ian nerve agent. But in order to hide who is respon­si­ble, he has anoth­er set of min­ions vig­or­ous­ly deny Russ­ian cul­pa­bil­i­ty.

The attack isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly suc­cess­ful, since Skri­pal is still alive.

All of this is done for no appar­ent rea­son oth­er than pure evil. . . .

9. In FTR #943 [37], we high­light­ed the Ukrain­ian fas­cist “Pro­pOrNot” group as a con­trib­u­tor to the “Rus­sia-Gate” hys­te­ria. Now, the group has launched a posthu­mous attack [36] on Robert Par­ry.