Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #779 OUN/B Redux: The Underground Reich and the Ukrainian Crisis

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

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

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

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

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

In Lvov (Lviv), a street has been renamed for the Ein­satz­gruppe “Nachti­gall” (“Nightin­gale”)!

The pres­ence of the younger Shukhevych in the oppo­si­tion and the renam­ing of a street after the Ein­satz­gruppe Nacti­gall is emblem­at­ic of the cen­tral role of the OUN/B ide­o­log­i­cal descen­dants in the polit­i­cal coali­tion that has come to pow­er in the Ukraine. Cen­tered on the Swo­bo­da par­ty, as well as the Pravy Sek­tor, the mil­i­tary and judi­cial process­es in the Ukraine are firm­ly under the con­trol of the OUN/B heirs.

Note that some Euro­pean politi­cians are aware of the nature of the OUN/B her­itage of oppo­si­tion forces in the Ukraine. It appears that Swo­bo­da and OUN/B‑inspired Pravy Sek­tor are only two of some 23 extrem­ist groups in the Ukraine, effec­tive­ly con­trol­ling rough­ly 44% of the pop­u­la­tion.

The Swo­bo­da par­ty has net­worked with the Hun­gar­i­an Job­bik par­ty, the heir to the Arrow-Cross fas­cists allied with Ger­many dur­ing World War II. Like the OUN/B, Arrow-Cross  was well rep­re­sent­ed both in the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach pro­gram and the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. It is impor­tant not to over­look the the fact that Yanukovich was fun­da­men­tal­ly cor­rupt and incompetent–a qual­i­ty he shares with the vast bulk of the lead­ers of the for­mer Sovi­et Republics and much of the rest of the world’s politi­cl elite.

Two recent posts from the Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times illus­trate and define what might be termed “the ideological/political bou­quet” of the oppo­si­tion forces that oust­ed Yanukovych (who, like most of the lead­ers who have come to pow­er in the for­mer Sovi­et republics and a pletho­ra of lead­ers else­whate, was man­i­festly incom­pe­tent and cor­rupt.)

Writer Palosh Ghosh notes that Swoboda–the largest of these groups–has gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able grav­i­tas from young, edu­cated Ukraini­ans who are dis­gusted with the mori­bund econ­omy. His­tor­i­cally, eco­nomic depri­va­tion has lent pop­u­lar sup­port to the ranks of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions.

Swo­boda par­lia­men­tar­ian Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn has quot­ed Third Reich lumi­nar­ies such as Joseph Goebbels, Gre­gor Strass­er and Ernst Rohm in his polit­i­cal speech­es, and the deputy chief of Swo­boda, Ihor Mirosh­ny­chenko, has termed Ukrain­ian-born actress Mila Kunis “a dirty Jew­ess.“

The new gov­ern­ment in the Ukraine has major par­tic­i­pa­tion by Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor, the heirs to the polit­i­cal lega­cy of OUN/B, includ­ing effec­tive con­trol of the mil­i­tary and judi­cial process.

Of para­mount impor­tance is the asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment that was at the heart of the dis­pute that ulti­mate­ly brought the Yanukovich regime down. This agreement–again, at the heart of the Ukrain­ian crisis–concerned bring­ing the Ukraine into the EU orbit. In addi­tion to the extreme aus­ter­i­ty that would have been imposed on the Ukraine, this agree­ment is sig­nif­i­cant because the Unit­ed States has NO dog in this fight! 

The covert oper­a­tion that is evi­dent with the $5 bil­lion effort allud­ed to by Deputy Secrec­tary of State Nuland and the diplo­mat­ic offen­sive that has been under­tak­en in the wake of the Russ­ian move into the Crimea have been exe­cut­ed on behalf of Ger­many and the EU. We will ana­lyze this more in suc­ceed­ing pro­grams on the sub­ject.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The poten­tial agree­ment with the EU would have been eco­nom­i­cal­ly destruc­tive for both the Ukraine and Rus­sia, as well as putting NATO mil­i­tary forces at Rus­si­a’s bor­der; the role of Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s finan­cial angel Pierre Omid­yar in financ­ing the Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion; the influx of Swedish and oth­er Euro­pean neo-Nazis into the Ukraine to fight along­side of Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor; the fact that some 350 jihadists fight­ing for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-affil­i­at­ed ele­ments in Syr­ia joined the street fight­ing on behalf of the Swoboda/Pravy Sek­tor com­bat­ants; the chants used by the oppo­si­tion are those used by the OUN/B pri­or to, and dur­ing, World War II; John McCain’s net­work­ing with Swo­bo­da.

1. For some time, the pro-EU/Ger­man bloc of Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal par­ties cur­rently gar­ner­ing head­lines with protests in Kiev and oth­er cities has man­i­fested the fas­cist roots and alliances of the OUN/B. Both Yulia Timoshenko’s “Father­land” par­ty and the UDAR par­ty net­work with the Svo­boda par­ty of Oleg Tyag­ni­bok (“Oleh Tiah­ny­bok”), which has evolved direct­ly from the fas­cist OUN/B of Stephan Ban­dera.

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

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

Note that, in addi­tion to indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with Swo­bo­da, for­mer heavy­weight box­er Vitali Klitschko has resided in Ger­many for long peri­ods of time.

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

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

“Gen­eral Strike and Rev­o­lu­tion”

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

“Nation­al Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment”

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

Col­lab­o­ra­tionist Tra­di­tions

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

Heroes of the Ukraine

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

Social­ly Accept­able

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

Par­ty Cell Munich

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

2a. Note the pri­ma­ry role of Swo­bo­da in the Ukrain­ian demon­stra­tions and their role in pre­cip­i­tat­ing the Russ­ian crack­down.

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

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

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

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

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

2b.  A hacked phone call sug­gests the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the snipers that fired on the demon­stra­tors were agent-prova­ca­teurs work­ing for the Swoboda/Pravy Sek­tor coali­tion.

“Eston­ian For­eign Min­istry Con­firms Authen­tic­i­ty of Leaked Phone Call Dis­cussing How Kiev Snipers Who Shot Pro­test­ers Were Pos­si­bly Hired by Ukraine’s New Lead­ers” by John Hall; Dai­ly Mail [UK]; 3/5/2014.

Esto­nia has con­firmed the authen­tic­i­ty of a leaked tele­phone call between its for­eign min­is­ter and an EU chief which sug­gest­ed the sniper killings in Ukraine last month were ordered by the new coali­tion.

The 11-minute call between the EU’s for­eign affairs chief Cather­ine Ash­ton and her Eston­ian coun­ter­part Urmas Paet was made on Feb­ru­ary 25 in the after­math of the mas­sacre.

Dur­ing the call, Paet claims a doc­tor told him both pro­test­ers and police were shot by snipers dur­ing clash­es in Kiev alleged­ly on the orders of the oppo­si­tion.

But while the Baltic state acknowl­edged the audio was gen­uine, it denied that it had blamed oppo­nents of Ukraine’s deposed pres­i­dent for sniper killings dur­ing last mon­th’s unrest. . . .

. . . . .A spokes­woman for Ash­ton declined to com­ment on the leaked con­ver­sa­tion.

The Russ­ian For­eign Min­istry has not react­ed offi­cial­ly, but Itar-Tass news agency quot­ed a source at the min­istry on Wednes­day as say­ing that Moscow was ‘sur­prised’ that the EU was not com­ment­ing on the inter­cept­ed phone chat.

3a. Swo­bo­da orga­nized a march in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the OUN/B on Ban­der­a’s birth­day, rec­og­niz­ing their direct polit­i­cal lin­eage with his orga­niz­tion.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

3b. We note that a street in Lviv, for­mer­ly named “Peace Street,” has been renamed after the Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall, the OUN/B‑Nazi for­ma­tion that exter­mi­nat­ed the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of that city.

“Is the US Back­ing neo-Nazis in the Ukraine?” by Max Blu­men­thal [Alter­net]; Salon.com; 2/25/2014.

As the Euro­maid­an protests in the Ukrain­ian capi­tol of Kiev cul­mi­nat­ed this week, dis­plays of open fas­cism and neo-Nazi extrem­ism became too glar­ing to ignore. Since demon­stra­tors filled the down­town square to bat­tle Ukrain­ian riot police and demand the ouster of the cor­rup­tion-stained, pro-Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right street­fight­ing men pledg­ing to defend their country’s eth­nic puri­ty.

White suprema­cist ban­ners and Con­fed­er­ate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occu­pied City Hall, and demon­stra­tors have hoist­ed Nazi SS and white pow­er sym­bols over a top­pled memo­r­i­al to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his pala­tial estate by heli­copter, Euro­Maid­an pro­test­ers destroyed a memo­r­i­al to Ukraini­ans who died bat­tling Ger­man occu­pa­tion dur­ing World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolf­san­gel sym­bol have become an increas­ing­ly com­mon site in Maid­an Square, and neo-Nazi forces have estab­lished “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anar­chist group called AntiFas­cist Union Ukraine attempt­ed to join the Euro­maid­an demon­stra­tions but found it dif­fi­cult to avoid threats of vio­lence and impre­ca­tions from the gangs of neo-Nazis rov­ing the square. “They called the Anar­chists things like Jews, blacks, Com­mu­nists,” one of its mem­bers said. “There weren’t even any Com­mu­nists, that was just an insult.” . . .

. . . One of the “Big Three” polit­i­cal par­ties behind the protests is the ultra-nation­al­ist Svo­bo­da, whose leader, Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, has called for the lib­er­a­tion of his coun­try from the “Mus­covite-Jew­ish mafia.” After the 2010 con­vic­tion of the Nazi death camp guard John Dem­jan­juk for his sup­port­ing role in the death of near­ly 30,000 peo­ple at the Sobi­bor camp, Tyah­ny­bok rushed to Ger­many to declare him a hero who was “fight­ing for truth.” In the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment, where Svo­bo­da holds an unprece­dent­ed 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quot­ing Joseph Goebbels – he has even found­ed a think tank orig­i­nal­ly called “the Joseph Goebbels Polit­i­cal Research Cen­ter.” Accord­ing to Per Anders Rudling, a lead­ing aca­d­e­m­ic expert on Euro­pean neo-fas­cism, the self-described “social­ist nation­al­ist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s offi­cial wing and neo-Nazi mili­tias like Right Sec­tor.

Right Sec­tor is a shad­owy syn­di­cate of self-described “autonomous nation­al­ists” iden­ti­fied by their skin­head style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fas­ci­na­tion with street vio­lence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euro­maid­an bat­tles this month, fill­ing the air with their sig­na­ture chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sec­tor pro­pa­gan­da video [embed­ded at the bot­tom of this arti­cle], the group promised to fight “against degen­er­a­tion and total­i­tar­i­an lib­er­al­ism, for tra­di­tion­al nation­al moral­i­ty and fam­i­ly val­ues.” With Svo­bo­da linked to a con­stel­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al neo-fas­cist par­ties through the Alliance of Euro­pean Nation­al Move­ments, Right Sec­tor is promis­ing to lead its army of aim­less, dis­il­lu­sioned young men on “a great Euro­pean Recon­quest.”

Svoboda’s open­ly pro-Nazi pol­i­tics have not deterred Sen­a­tor John McCain from address­ing a Euro­Maid­an ral­ly along­side Tyah­ny­bok, nor did it pre­vent Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nuland from enjoy­ing a friend­ly meet­ing with the Svo­bo­da leader this Feb­ru­ary. Eager to fend off accu­sa­tions of anti-Semi­tism, the Svo­bo­da leader recent­ly host­ed the Israeli Ambas­sador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patri­ot­ic feel­ings,” Tyah­ny­bok has remarked. “Prob­a­bly each par­ty in the [Israeli] Knes­set is nation­al­ist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone con­ver­sa­tion with Geof­frey Pyatt, the US ambas­sador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyah­ny­bok to remain “on the out­side,” but to con­sult with the US’s replace­ment for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yat­senyuk, “four times a week.” At a Decem­ber 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foun­da­tion Con­fer­ence, Nuland boast­ed that the US had invest­ed $5 bil­lion to “build demo­c­ra­t­ic skills and insti­tu­tions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maid­an move­ment has come to embody the prin­ci­ples and val­ues that are the cor­ner­stones for all free democ­ra­cies,” Nuland pro­claimed.

Two weeks lat­er, 15,000 Svo­bo­da mem­bers held a torch­light cer­e­mo­ny in the city of Lviv in hon­or of Stepan Ban­dera, a World War II-era Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor who led the pro-fas­cist Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN‑B). Lviv has become the epi­cen­ter of neo-fas­cist activ­i­ty in Ukraine, with elect­ed Svo­bo­da offi­cials wag­ing a cam­paign to rename its air­port after Ban­dera and suc­cess­ful­ly chang­ing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion, an OUN‑B wing that par­tic­i­pat­ed direct­ly in the Holo­caust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Sovi­et stereo­types,” a Svo­bo­da deputy explained.

Revered by Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists as a leg­endary free­dom fight­er, Bandera’s real record was igno­min­ious at best. After par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cam­paign to assas­si­nate Ukraini­ans who sup­port­ed accom­mo­da­tion with the Pol­ish dur­ing the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set them­selves to eth­ni­cal­ly cleanse west­ern Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and act­ing “Prime Min­is­ter,” Yaroslav Stet­sko, were deter­mined to exter­mi­nate. Ban­dera held fast to fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy in the years after the war, advo­cat­ing a total­i­tar­i­an, eth­ni­cal­ly pure Europe while his affil­i­at­ed Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA) car­ried out a doomed armed strug­gle against the Sovi­et Union. The blood­bath he inspired end­ed when KGB agents assas­si­nat­ed him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Con­nec­tions

Many sur­viv­ing OUN‑B mem­bers fled to West­ern Europe and the Unit­ed States – occa­sion­al­ly with CIA help – where they qui­et­ly forged polit­i­cal alliances with right-wing ele­ments. “You have to under­stand, we are an under­ground orga­ni­za­tion. We have spent years qui­et­ly pen­e­trat­ing posi­tions of influ­ence,” one mem­ber told jour­nal­ist Russ Bel­lant, who doc­u­ment­ed the group’s resur­gence in the Unit­ed States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Repub­li­can Par­ty.”

In Wash­ing­ton, the OUN‑B recon­sti­tut­ed under the ban­ner of the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­i­ca (UCCA), an umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion com­prised of “com­plete OUN‑B fronts,” accord­ing to Bel­lant. By the mid-1980’s, the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was hon­ey­combed with UCCA mem­bers, with the group’s chair­man Lev Dobri­an­sky, serv­ing as ambas­sador to the Bahamas, and his daugh­ter, Paula, sit­ting on the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. Rea­gan per­son­al­ly wel­comed Stet­sko, the Ban­derist leader who over­saw the mas­sacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your strug­gle is our strug­gle,” Rea­gan told the for­mer Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Jus­tice Depart­ment launched a cru­sade to cap­ture and pros­e­cute Nazi war crim­i­nals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lob­by­ing Con­gress to halt the ini­tia­tive. “The UCCA has also played a lead­ing role in oppos­ing fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tions of sus­pect­ed Nazi war crim­i­nals since those queries got under­way in the late 1970’s,” Bel­lant wrote. “Some UCCA mem­bers have many rea­sons to wor­ry – rea­sons which began in the 1930’s.”

Still an active and influ­en­tial lob­by­ing force in Wash­ing­ton, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its rev­er­ence for Ban­derist nation­al­ism. In 2009, on the 50th anniver­sary of Bandera’s death, the group pro­claimed him “a sym­bol of strength and right­eous­ness for his fol­low­ers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukraini­ans today.” A year lat­er, the group hon­ored the 60th anniver­sary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN‑B com­man­der of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion that slaugh­tered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, call­ing him a “hero” who “fought for hon­or, right­eous­ness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko award­ed Ban­dera the title of “Nation­al Hero of Ukraine,” mark­ing the cul­mi­na­tion of his efforts to man­u­fac­ture an anti-Russ­ian nation­al nar­ra­tive that san­i­tized the OUN‑B’s fas­cism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Kather­ine Chu­machenko, was a for­mer Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial and ex-staffer at the right-wing Her­itage Foun­da­tion). When the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment con­demned Yushchenko’s procla­ma­tion as an affront to “Euro­pean val­ues,” the UCCA-affil­i­at­ed Ukrain­ian World Con­gress react­ed with out­rage, accus­ing the EU of “anoth­er attempt to rewrite Ukrain­ian his­to­ry dur­ing WWII.” On its web­site, the UCCA dis­missed his­tor­i­cal accounts of Bandera’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis as “Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da.”

Fol­low­ing the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped orga­nize ral­lies in cities across the US in sup­port of the Euro­Maid­an protests. When sev­er­al hun­dred demon­stra­tors marchedthrough down­town Chica­go, some waved Ukrain­ian flags while oth­ers proud­ly flew the red and black ban­ners of the UPA and OUN‑B. “USA sup­ports Ukraine!” they chant­ed.

4. Pravy Sek­tor (“Right Sec­tor”) is anoth­er of the pri­ma­ry ele­ments of Euro­maid­an. It, too, open­ly pro­fess­es its polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal lin­eage as deriv­ing from the OUN/B forces.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5a. The lat­est post from german-foreign-policy.com notes the Vitali Klitschko has endorsed the pos­si­ble use of force, rely­ing on the OUN/B‑evolved mil­i­tants as, in effect, enforcers.

With a shrill amen cho­rus dis­cussing the “anti-Demo­c­ra­t­ic,” and/or “extreme” nature of the Yanukovich government’s response to mur­der­ous behav­ior on the part of polit­i­cal oppo­nents, we are being treat­ed to a fun­da­men­tal per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal cog­ni­tion.

FACT: armed ele­ments of the oppo­si­tion coali­tion opened fire on gov­ern­ment secu­rity forces, killing a num­ber of them. FACT: Nowhere on earth are secu­rity forces going to react benign­ly to the use of dead­ly force on mem­bers of their ranks.

QUICK: What U.S. police or mil­i­tary forces would NOT shoot back, if fired upon?

Note again the close Ger­man coor­di­na­tion with Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion ele­ments.

“At All Costs;” german-foreign-policy.com; 2/19/2014.

Yes­ter­day, the day after the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor held delib­er­a­tions with two lead­ers of the Ukrain­ian oppo­si­tion, protests in Kiev esca­lated into bloody con­fronta­tions. Demon­stra­tors, uncon­di­tion­ally spon­sored by Ger­many and oth­er west­ern coun­tries for months, began, over the past few days, to arm them­selves with firearms and ammu­ni­tion. Two police offi­cers were shot to death dur­ing yesterday’s upris­ing. This esca­la­tion into a bloody con­fronta­tion fol­lowed on the heels of gov­ern­ment com­pli­ance with a fun­da­men­tal demand of the demon­stra­tors, just as it seemed that a de-esca­la­tion was about to begin — to the tac­ti­cal dis­ad­van­tage of the “Ger­mans’ man” in Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, who has been call­ing for the pres­i­dent to resign. Klitschko, who flew to Berlin Mon­day, to dis­cuss the next steps, threat­ened an even more bloody esca­la­tion and declared, that he does not “rule out the use of force in the evac­u­a­tion of the Maid­an.” One of the orga­ni­za­tions he is rely­ing on is explic­itly named after Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, who had car­ried out mass-mur­der of Sovi­et Jews. Esca­la­tion strate­gies, such as those cur­rently imple­mented in Kiev, are not alien to Ger­man for­eign pol­i­cy.

Firearms and Ammu­ni­tion

In the course of yesterday’s bloody esca­la­tion of the protests, sev­eral police offi­cers and demon­stra­tors were killed in Kiev. As was con­firmed by news reports, there have been clear indi­ca­tions since some time that some of the demon­stra­tors in Kiev had begun arm­ing them­selves. It was report­ed that for days, a group call­ing itself the “First Hun­dred Group in Kiev of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists” were pub­licly ask­ing for “ammu­ni­tion or mon­ey to buy it.“[1] Just pre­vi­ously, the Berlin-sup­port­ed leader of the oppo­si­tion, Vitali Klitschko, called for form­ing mili­tias. Yes­ter­day, the fas­cist-inter­spersed, vio­lence-prone, “Right Block” called on all oppo­nents of the gov­ern­ment in the pos­ses­sion of firearms to come to the Maid­an. In their attempt to storm the Ukrain­ian Par­lia­ment, gov­ern­ment oppo­nents broke through police bar­ri­cades and set police cars on fire. Heavy clash­es erupt­ed between the armed demon­stra­tors and police. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans seek­ing to flee the build­ing were clubbed in their cars; the office of the gov­ern­ing par­ty was set on fire. Where­as demon­stra­tors claim that ambu­lances were imped­ed by the police in action, the wound­ed appar­ently were not treat­ed because of the bar­ri­cades set up by the demonstrators.[2] Dur­ing the night, the sit­u­a­tion esca­lated fur­ther.

Col­lab­o­ra­tors in Nazi Mur­der

This esca­la­tion into a bloody con­fronta­tion occurred the day after oppo­si­tion lead­ers Arseniy Yat­senyuk and Vitaly Klitschko had had an audi­ence in Berlin’s Chan­cellery, where they dis­cussed with Angela Merkel the next steps the gov­ern­ment oppo­nents should take. The plea by the “First Hun­dred Group in Kiev of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists” for ammu­ni­tion could not have not been known to them at the time of their meet­ing. The plea had not been made clan­des­tinely, but was pub­licly dis­played on a poster. Appar­ently, nei­ther the Chan­cel­lor nor the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs had insist­ed that fur­ther offen­sive protest demon­stra­tions be held back, to avoid the worst, until the arms buildup of the oppo­si­tion could be reversed. On the con­trary, as usu­al, the Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter crit­i­cized “the vio­lence” in Kiev, gen­er­ally and specif­i­cally that ema­nat­ing from state forces. The fact that the demon­stra­tors, under the lead­er­ship Berlin’s Klitschko, is large­ly com­prised of fas­cists, is not even men­tioned in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment dec­la­ra­tion. The “First Hun­dred Group in Kiev of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists,” for exam­ple, is a his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence to the “Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists,” who, at the side of Nazi Germany’s Wehrma­cht, helped invade the Sovi­et Union and, among oth­er crimes, active­ly par­tic­i­pated in Nazi mass mur­ders of Jews. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) . . .

. . . . The esca­la­tion in Kiev came at pre­cisely the point, where the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment accept­ed a cen­tral demand of the pro­tes­tors, declar­ing an amnesty for the arrest­ed demon­stra­tors. “Signs of a slight relax­ation of ten­sions” were “not to be over­looked,” accord­ing to reports in the Ger­man media,[6] which then indi­cated that spe­cial units of the police were being pulled back and law enforce­ment offi­cers had begun dis­man­tling bar­ri­cades and tow­ing away burned out police cars. How­ever, this also removed the means of lever­age for all those who, like “the German’s man” in Kiev, Klitschko — sought to force Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych to resign. Out of the esca­la­tion into vio­lent con­fronta­tion, the Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter now con­cludes that “Europe’s restraint, exer­cised in its deci­sion to impose per­son­nel sanc­tions” — on politi­cians in Kiev — “will cer­tainly now be reconsidered.“[7] Wash­ing­ton recent­ly crit­i­cized Berlin and the EU for not hav­ing put enough pres­sure on the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. . . . .

5b. Ger­many Watch–which feeds along the right-hand side of the front page of this web site–notes that the poten­tial agree­ment with the EU would have been eco­nom­i­cal­ly destruc­tive for both the Ukraine and Rus­sia, as well as putting NATO mil­i­tary forces at Rus­si­a’s bor­der. The post excerpt­ed below also notes that some 350 jihadists fight­ing for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-affil­i­at­ed ele­ments in Syr­ia joined the street fight­ing on behalf of the Swoboda/Pravy Sek­tor com­bat­ants.

We note in pass­ing that Ger­many Watch is a con­ser­v­a­tive pub­li­ca­tion, not “left­ist” at all.

“Ukraine Nazis–Another Coun­try Falls to the Axis”; Ger­many Watch; 2/26/2014.

. . . . In his for­mal remarks at Munich and a week ear­li­er at the World Eco­nom­ic Forum at Davos, Switzer­land, Russ­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov assailed West­ern gov­ern­ments for sup­port­ing neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in their zeal to place Ukraine under Euro­pean Union and Troi­ka con­trol to tight­en the NATO noose around Rus­sia.

If any­thing, Lavrov under­stat­ed the case.

Ever since Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych announced that Ukraine was with­draw­ing its plans to sign the Euro­pean Union’s Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment on Nov. 21, 2013, West­ern-backed orga­ni­za­tions made up of rem­nants of the wartime and imme­di­ate post­war Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN‑B) and their suc­ces­sors have launched a cam­paign of provo­ca­tions aimed at not only at bring­ing down the gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Myko­la Azarov, but at over­throw­ing the demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent Yanukovych.

The EU East­ern Part­ner­ship was ini­ti­at­ed in Decem­ber 2008 by Carl Bildt and Radek Siko­rs­ki, the for­eign min­is­ters of Swe­den and Poland, in the wake of Geor­gia’s mil­i­tary show­down with Rus­sia in South Osse­tia. The East­ern Part­ner­ship tar­get­ed six coun­tries that were for­mer­ly republics with­in the Sovi­et Union: three in the Cau­ca­sus region (Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Geor­gia) and three in East Cen­tral Europe (Belarus, Moldo­va, Ukraine). They were not to be invit­ed to full EU mem­ber­ship, but drawn into an EU vise through so-called Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ments, each one cen­tered on a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Agree­ment (DCFTA). The prime tar­get of the effort was Ukraine.

Under the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment nego­ti­at­ed with Ukraine, but not signed, the indus­tri­al econ­o­my of Ukraine would have been dis­man­tled, trade with Rus­sia would have been sav­aged (with Rus­sia end­ing its free-trade regime with Ukraine, to pre­vent its own mar­kets from being flood­ed via Ukraine), and the Euro­pean mar­kets’ play­ers would have grabbed for Ukraine’s agri­cul­tur­al and raw mate­ri­als exports. The same dead­ly aus­ter­i­ty regime as has been imposed on the Mediter­ranean states of Europe under the Troi­ka bailout swin­dle would have been imposed on Ukraine.

Fur­ther­more, the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment man­dat­ed “con­ver­gence” on secu­ri­ty issues, with inte­gra­tion into Euro­pean defense sys­tems. Under such an upgrad­ed arrange­ment, the long-term treaty agree­ments on the Russ­ian Navy’s use of the cru­cial Crimean Black Sea ports would have been ter­mi­nat­ed, ulti­mate­ly giv­ing NATO for­ward bas­ing on Rus­si­a’s imme­di­ate bor­der.

While West­ern news accounts pro­mot­ed the demon­stra­tions in Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square (Maid­an Neza­lezhnesti, or Euro­maid­an as it is now called), as ini­tial­ly peace­ful, the fact is that, from the out­set, the protests includ­ed hard­core avowed neo-Nazis, right-wing “soc­cer hooli­gans” and “Afghan­sy” com­bat vet­er­ans of the wars in Afghanistan, Chech­nya, and Geor­gia. Accord­ing to Ukrain­ian par­lia­men­tar­i­an Oleh Tsary­ov, 350 Ukraini­ans returned to the coun­try from Syr­ia in Jan­u­ary 2014, after fight­ing with the Syr­i­an rebels, includ­ing al-Qae­da-linked groups such as the al-Nus­ra Front and the Islam­ic State of Iraq and Syr­ia (ISIS). . . .

6. Note that some Euro­pean politi­cians are aware of the nature of the OUN/B her­itage of oppo­si­tion forces in the Ukraine. It appears that Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor are only two of some 23 extrem­ist groups in the Ukraine, effec­tive­ly con­trol­ling rough­ly 44% of the pop­u­la­tion.

The Swo­bo­da par­ty has net­worked with the Hun­gar­i­an Job­bik par­ty, the heir to the Arrow-Cross fas­cists allied with Ger­many dur­ing World War II. Like the OUN/B, Arrow-Cross  was well rep­re­sent­ed both in the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach pro­gram and the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion.

 The sto­ry below also notes the fact that Yanukovich was fun­da­men­tal­ly cor­rupt and incompetent–a qual­i­ty he shares with the vast bulk of the lead­ers of the for­mer Sovi­et Republics and much of the rest of the world’s politi­cl elite.

“Tea With Neo-Nazis: The Vio­lent Nation­al­ism in Ukraine” by Dr. Inna Rogatchi; Israel Nation­al News; 2/21/2014.

Dur­ing these [May 2014] elec­tions, pan-Euro­pean ultra-right rad­i­cals will try to hijack Europe once again; and the sit­u­a­tion has not been this seri­ous in Europe since pre-WWII.

The most wor­ri­some and large­ly over­seen fac­tor of the ongo­ing Ukrain­ian tragedy, to me, is the mighty pres­ence among the oppo­si­tion hard-core mil­i­tants from ultra-right nation­al­is­tic par­ties and move­ments there. The threat which is posed by those forces shall be not under-esti­mat­ed, espe­cially in the con­text of rapid­ly ris­ing ultra-nation­al forces all over Europe, a new ugly ‘fash­ion’ of nowa­days. . . .

. . . .

But today, 75 years after the Holo­caust began, there is no way of play­ing igno­rance as a lead card, one that is actu­ally cov­er­ing indif­fer­ence, often sim­ple cow­ardice, and a strange­ly aloof atti­tude towards the recent­ly risen clear and pal­pa­ble threat of deter­mined race hatred sweep­ing over all of Europe, – about which nei­ther the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, or the Coun­cil of Europe, nor any oth­er sup­pos­edly pow­er­ful inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion is doing any­thing real to stop and erad­i­cate as they should.

–“I have been six times in Ukraine dur­ing the last two months, what a tragedy is going on there”, — a senior Euro­pean politi­cian told me recent­ly.

–I asked him : “Have you noticed the activ­i­ties of ultra-right rad­i­cals there? Have you heard what they are pro­claim­ing and under which slo­gans they are ‘fight­ing for democ­racy’, so to say?”.

–“Yes, that Svo­boda ( Free­dom) par­ty, I know, it is a night­mare, by the way”.

–“Well, it is not what I would attest to as ‘by the way’”, I replied, and asked my friend fur­ther on: “That night­mare is just one of the par­ties of that direc­tion in Ukraine; do you know how many vio­lent racist move­ments in Ukraine are oper­at­ing today? Six­teen more in addi­tional to the Free­dom par­ty plus sev­en more of an extreme-rad­i­cal char­ac­ter, mak­ing it twen­ty three in total. Do you know that togeth­er with 44% of the seats in the cur­rent Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment occu­pied by Free­dom par­ty, those 23 more par­ties would cov­er at least 20% of the pop­u­la­tion of that huge coun­try of 45.5 mil­lion?”

– “Yes, it is very seri­ous” – my friend sud­denly sound­ed alarmed, “it should be tak­en into seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion, of course”.

– I con­tin­ued: “Do you know that these big Ukrain­ian rad­i­cal move­ments are work­ing in close co-oper­a­tion with and have very close ties to the infa­mous Hun­gar­ian Fas­cist Job­bik par­ty?”

– “ Real­ly?.. No, I did not know that. Oh, that’s very impor­tant. That’s real­ly bad”, and now he was thor­oughly alarmed.

My friend flew to Ukraine the next morn­ing for the sev­enth time in two months. He joined the urgent sum­mit of the for­eign min­is­ters of Ger­many, France and Poland there as the high­est lev­el of the Euro­pean diplo­macy was urgent­ly try­ing to save the sit­u­a­tion that has gone out of con­trol and beyond of the point of no return. We already know that the sum­mit was anoth­er dia­logue between the deaf and the blind.

But I do hope that as a hon­est man and an effi­cient inter­na­tional politi­cian, my friend will con­tinue to pur­sue the case that he and I were dis­cussing with mutu­ally shared seri­ous wor­ry not only for Ukraine, but regard­ing the entire face and des­tiny of Europe in the near future, after the com­ing Euro­pean elec­tions in May 2014. Dur­ing these elec­tions, pan-Euro­pean ultra-right rad­i­cals will try to hijack Europe once again; and the sit­u­a­tion has not been this seri­ous in Europe since the pre-WWII time, for a fact. . . .

. . . . In Ukraine, the Janukovich-led regime has been mas­sively cor­rupt, the pres­i­dent him­self hap­pens to be a con­victed crim­i­nal, and his clique ful­ly cor­re­sponds to those mar­vel­lous qual­i­ties. Still, it is the same Ukrain­ian peo­ple who did vote for him; the same way peo­ple in Venezuela kept vot­ing for their Orwellian pres­i­dents, one after anoth­er. Any expert on Ukraine would tell you that all the pre­vi­ous Ukrain­ian regimes were, quite sim­i­larly, utter­ly cor­rupted, as has always been the case for this coun­try. Only names and influ­en­tial groups have changed dur­ing the 22 years of the country’s inde­pen­dence, but not their slo­gans, ways and meth­ods. . . .

7a. A recent post from the Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times illus­trates and defines what might be termed “the ideological/political bou­quet” of the oppo­si­tion forces that oust­ed Yanukovych (who, like most of the lead­ers who have come to pow­er in the for­mer Sovi­et republics and a pletho­ra of lead­ers else­whate, was man­i­festly incom­pe­tent and cor­rupt.)

Writer Palosh Ghosh notes that Swoboda–the largest of these groups–has gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able grav­i­tas from young, edu­cated Ukraini­ans who are dis­gusted with the mori­bund econ­omy. His­tor­i­cally, eco­nomic depri­va­tion has lent pop­u­lar sup­port to the ranks of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions.

Swo­boda par­lia­men­tar­ian Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn has quot­ed Third Reich lumi­nar­ies such as Joseph Goebbels, Gre­gor Strass­er and Ernst Rohm in his polit­i­cal speech­es, and the deputy chief of Swo­boda, Ihor Mirosh­ny­chenko, has termed Ukrain­ian-born actress Mila Kunis “a dirty Jew­ess.“

“Euro­maidan: The Dark Shad­ows of the Far-Right  in Ukraine Protests” by Palosh Ghosh; Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times; 2/25/2014.

. . . .How­ever, despite its extrem­ist rhetoric, Svo­boda can­not be called a “fringe” par­ty – indeed, it cur­rently occu­pies 36 seats in the 450-mem­ber Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment, grant­ing it sta­tus as the fourth-largest par­ty in the coun­try. Fur­ther, Svo­boda is linked to oth­er far-right groups across Europe through its mem­ber­ship in the Alliance of Euro­pean Nation­al Move­ments, which includes the British Nation­al Par­ty (BNP) of the Unit­ed King­dom and Job­bik, the neo-fas­cist, anti-Semit­ic and anti-Roma par­ty of Hun­gary. The leader of Svo­boda, Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, who has appeared at the Kiev protests, has a long his­tory of mak­ing inflam­ma­tory anti-Semit­ic state­ments, includ­ing the accu­sa­tion dur­ing a 2004 speech before par­lia­ment that Ukraine is con­trolled by a “Mus­covite-Jew­ish mafia.” [Swo­boda Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Ihor] Mirosh­ny­chenko also called the Ukrain­ian-born Amer­i­can film actress Mila Kunis a “dirty Jew­ess.”

Tyah­ny­bok has also claimed that “orga­nized Jew­ry” dom­i­nate Ukrain­ian media and gov­ern­ment, have enriched them­selves through crim­i­nal activ­i­ties and plan to engi­neer a “geno­cide” upon the Chris­t­ian Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tion. Anoth­er top Svo­boda mem­ber, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in par­lia­ment, often quotes Nazi Pro­pa­ganda Min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels, as well as oth­er Third Reich lumi­nar­ies like Ernst Rohm and Gre­gor Strass­er. . . .

. . . . Found­ed in 1991 as the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine, Svo­boda has appar­ently appealed to hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ukraini­ans tired of eco­nomic woes and ram­pant cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment. Reports also sug­gest that the par­ty has derived sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from the well edu­cated and the young, who suf­fer from high unem­ploy­ment. . . . .

7b. Anoth­er Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness Times also high­lights the vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tism of Swo­bo­da and their atti­tude toward Mila Kunis.

“Svo­boda: The Ris­ing Spec­tre of Neo-Nazism in the Ukraine” by Palosh Ghosh; The Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times; 12/27/2013.

. . . . Ihor Mirosh­ny­chenko, the deputy chief of Svo­boda, wrote on his Face­book account: “[Kunis] is not Ukrain­ian, she is a Yid. She is proud of it, so [the] Star of David be with her.” . . . .

8. Many key min­is­te­r­i­al posts in the new Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment have been filled by Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor, the polit­i­cal heirs to the OUN/B. The super­vi­sion of the mil­i­tary and the judi­cial process is under the sway of those par­ties.

“How the Far-Right Took Top Posts in Ukraine’s Pow­er Vac­uum”; Chan­nel 4 News [UK]; 3/5/2014.

The man fac­ing down Putin’s aggres­sion as sec­re­tary of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Secu­rity and Defence Coun­cil is Andriy Paru­biy. He over­sees nation­al secu­rity for the nation hav­ing pre­vi­ously served as secu­rity com­man­dant dur­ing the anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Kiev.

Paru­biy was the founder of the Social Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine, a fas­cist par­ty styled on Hitler’s Nazis, with mem­ber­ship restrict­ed to eth­nic Ukraini­ans.

The Social Nation­al Par­ty would go on to become Svo­boda, the far-right nation­al­ist par­ty whose leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok was one of the three most high pro­file lead­ers of the Euro­maidan protests — nego­ti­at­ing direct­ly with the Yanukovych regime.

Over­see­ing the armed forces along­side Paru­biy as the Deputy Sec­re­tary of Nation­al Secu­rity is Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sec­tor — a group of hard­line nation­al­ist street­fight­ers, who pre­vi­ously boast­ed they were ready for armed strug­gle to free Ukraine. . . .

. . . .The new Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Olek­sandr Sych is a mem­ber of the far-right Svo­boda par­ty, which the World Jew­ish Con­gress called on the EU to con­sider ban­ning last year along with Greece’s Gold­en Dawn.

The par­ty, which has long called for a “nation­al rev­o­lu­tion” in Ukraine, has endured a long march from rel­a­tive obscu­rity in the ear­ly 90s. Their dec­la­ra­tion that Ukraine is con­trolled by a “Mus­covite-Jew­ish mafia” has raised fears for the safe­ty of the country’s Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion.

Svo­boda now con­trols the ecol­ogy and agri­cul­tural min­istry with Andriy Mokhnyk, the deputy head of Svo­boda, run­ning ecol­ogy and Ihor Shvai­ka as agri­cul­ture min­is­ter.

Asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at Lund Uni­ver­sity Pers Anders Rudling, an expert on Ukrain­ian extrem­ists, told Chan­nel 4 News that there are oth­er min­is­ters who are also close­ly in the orbit of Svo­bo­da.

“Two weeks ago I could nev­er have pre­dicted this. A neo-fas­cist par­ty like Svo­boda get­ting the deputy prime min­is­ter posi­tion is news in its own right.

There are sev­en min­is­ters with links to the extreme right now. It began with Svo­boda get­ting 10 per cent of the vote in the last elec­tion, it is cer­tainly a con­cern in the long run.” . . . .

. . . . Svo­boda mem­ber Oleh Makhnit­sky is now act­ing pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral.

The ini­tial actions of the inter­im gov­ern­ment have includ­ed forc­ing mak­ing Ukrain­ian the only offi­cial lan­guage of the nation and mak­ing moves to remove a law which for­bids “excus­ing the crimes of fas­cism”. . . .

9. We note that the chants used by the oppo­si­tion, includ­ing the “mod­er­ate” Vitali Klitschko, are those of the OUN/B.

“The Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ism at the Heart of ‘Euro­maidan’” by Alec Luhn; The Nation; 1/21/2014.

. . . . Svo­boda is the most vis­i­ble par­ty on the square, it has essen­tially tak­en over Kiev City Hall as its base of oper­a­tions, and it has a large influ­ence in the pro­tes­tors’ secu­rity forces.

It also has revived three slo­gans orig­i­nat­ing in the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist move­ment of the 1930s [i.e. the OUN/B–D.E.] that have become the most pop­u­lar chants at Euro­maidan. Almost all speak­ers on Inde­pen­dence Square—even box­er-turned-oppo­si­tion-leader Vitaly Klitschko, who has lived most­ly in Ger­many and has a US res­i­dence permit—start and end with the slo­gan, “Glo­ry to Ukraine!,” to which the crowd responds “To heroes glo­ry!” Two oth­er nation­al­ist call-and-response slo­gans often heard on the square are “Glo­ry to the nation! Death to ene­mies!” and “Ukraine above all!” . . .

10. Con­tin­u­ing the GOP’s tra­di­tion of net­work­ing with OUN/B ele­ments, John McCain was net­work­ing with Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, leade of Swo­bo­da.

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

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

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

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

10. Pierre Omid­yar–Glenn Greenwald’s finan­cial angel–helped finance the Ukrain­ian coup, along with AID. The lat­ter is a fre­quent cov­er for U.S. intel­li­gence activ­i­ties.

We note that Oleh Rybachuk, the recip­i­ent of Omidyar’s funds, was the right-hand man for Vik­tor Yuschenko in the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion.

“Pierre Omid­yar Co-fund­ed Ukraine Rev­o­lu­tion Groups with US gov­ern­ment, Doc­u­ments Show” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 2/28/2014.

On Feb­ru­ary 28, 2014 Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at nation­al secu­rity blog “The Inter­cept,” was already dig­ging for the truth. Mar­cy Wheel­er, who is the new site’s “senior pol­icy ana­lyst,” spec­u­lated that the Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion was like­ly a “coup” engi­neered by “deep forces” on behalf of “Pax Amer­i­cana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evi­dence of coup-ness. Q is how many lev­els deep inter­fer­ence from both sides is.”

These are seri­ous claims. So seri­ous that I decid­ed to inves­ti­gate them. And what I found was shock­ing. Wheel­er is part­ly cor­rect. Pan­do has con­firmed that the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment – in the form of the US Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID) – played a major role in fund­ing oppo­si­tion groups pri­or to the rev­o­lu­tion. More­over, a large per­cent­age of the rest of the fund­ing to those same groups came from a US bil­lion­aire who has pre­vi­ously worked close­ly with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies to fur­ther his own busi­ness inter­ests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evi­dence shows that US invest­ment was a force mul­ti­plier for many of the groups involved in over­throw­ing Yanukovych. But that’s not the shock­ing part. What’s shock­ing is the name of the bil­lion­aire who co-invest­ed with the US gov­ern­ment (or as Wheel­er put it: the “dark force” act­ing on behalf of “Pax Amer­i­cana”). Step out of the shad­ows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omid­yar. Yes, in the annals of inde­pen­dent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: Accord­ing to finan­cial dis­clo­sures and reports seen by Pan­do, the founder and pub­lisher of Glenn Greenwald’s gov­ern­ment-bash­ing blog,“The Inter­cept,” co-invest­ed with the US gov­ern­ment to help fund regime change in Ukraine. * * * * When the rev­o­lu­tion came to Ukraine, neo-fas­cists played a front-cen­ter role in over­throw­ing the country’s pres­i­dent. But the real polit­i­cal pow­er rests with Ukraine’s pro-west­ern neolib­er­als. Polit­i­cal fig­ures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Depart­ment, DC neo­consEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. Last Decem­ber, the Finan­cial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Cit­i­zen” NGO cam­paign “played a big role in get­ting the protest up and run­ning.” New Cit­i­zen, along with the rest of Rybachuk’s inter­lock­ing net­work of west­ern-backed NGOs and cam­paigns— “Cen­ter UA” (also spelled “Cen­tre UA”), “Ches­no,” and “Stop Cen­sor­ship” to name a few — grew their pow­er by tar­get­ing pro-Yanukovych politi­cians with a well-coor­di­nat­ed anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before mass­ing in Kiev last autumn. The efforts of the NGOs were so suc­cess­ful that the Ukraine gov­ern­ment was accused of employ­ing dirty tricks to shut them down. In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, the groups were the sub­ject of a mas­sive mon­ey laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tion by the eco­nom­ics divi­sion of Ukraine’s Inte­rior Min­istry in what many denounced as a polit­i­cally moti­vated move. For­tu­nately the groups had the strength – which is to say, mon­ey – to sur­vive those attacks and con­tinue push­ing for regime change in Ukraine. The source of that mon­ey? Accord­ing to the Kyiv Post, Pier­rie Omidyar’s Omid­yar Net­work (part of the Omid­yar Group which owns First Look Media and the Inter­cept) pro­vided 36% of “Cen­ter UA”’s $500,000 bud­get in 2012— near­ly $200,000. USAID pro­vided 54% of “Cen­ter UA”’s bud­get for 2012. Oth­er fun­ders includ­ed the US gov­ern­ment-backed Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy. In 2011, Omid­yar Net­work gave $335,000 to “New Cit­i­zen,” one of the anti-Yanukovych “projects” man­aged through the Rybachuk-chaired NGO “Cen­ter UA.” At the time, Omid­yar Net­work boast­ed that its invest­ment in “New Cit­i­zen” would help “shape pub­lic pol­icy” in Ukraine:

“Using tech­nol­ogy and media, New Cit­i­zen coor­di­nates the efforts of con­cerned mem­bers of soci­ety, rein­forc­ing their abil­ity to shape pub­lic pol­icy. “… With sup­port from Omid­yar Net­work, New Cit­i­zen will strength­en its advo­cacy efforts in order to dri­ve greater trans­parency and engage cit­i­zens on issues of impor­tance to them.”

In March 2012, Rybachuk — the oper­a­tor behind the 2004 Orange Rev­o­lu­tion scenes, the Ana­toly Chubais of Ukraine — boast­ed that he was prepar­ing a new Orange Rev­o­lu­tion:

“Peo­ple are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Par­lia­ment cam­paign’ to elect and find bet­ter parliamentarians….The Orange Rev­o­lu­tion was a mir­a­cle, a mas­sive peace­ful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.

Detailed finan­cial records reviewed by Pan­do (and embed­ded below) also show Omid­yar Net­work cov­ered costs for the expan­sion of Rybachuk’s anti-Yanukovych cam­paign, “Ches­no” (“Hon­estly”), into region­al cities includ­ing Polta­va, Vin­nyt­sia, Zhy­to­myr, Ternopil, Sumy, and else­where, most­ly in the Ukrain­ian-speak­ing west and cen­ter. * * * * To under­stand what it means for Omid­yar to fund Oleh Rybachuk, some brief his­tory is nec­es­sary. Rybachuk’s back­ground fol­lows a famil­iar pat­tern in post-Sovi­et oppor­tunism: From well-con­nect­ed KGB intel­li­gence ties, to post-Sovi­et neolib­eral net­worker. In the Sovi­et era, Rybachuk stud­ied in a mil­i­tary lan­guages pro­gram half of whose grad­u­ates went on to work for the KGB. Rybachuk’s murky over­seas post­ing in India in the late Sovi­et era fur­ther strength­ens many sus­pi­cions about his Sovi­et intel­li­gence ties; what­ever the case, by Rybachuk’s own account, his close ties to top intel­li­gence fig­ures in the Ukrain­ian SBU served him well dur­ing the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion of 2004, when the SBU passed along secret infor­ma­tion about vote fraud and assas­si­na­tion plots.

In 1992, after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, Rybachuk moved to the new­ly-formed Ukraine Cen­tral Bank, head­ing the for­eign rela­tions depart­ment under Cen­tral Bank chief and future Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. In his cen­tral bank post, Rybachuk estab­lished close friend­ly ties with west­ern gov­ern­ment and finan­cial aid insti­tu­tions, as well as pro­to-Omid­yar fig­ures like George Soros, who fund­ed many of the NGOs involved in “col­or rev­o­lu­tions” includ­ing small dona­tions to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omid­yar backed. (Like Omid­yar Net­work does today, Soros’ char­ity arms—Open Soci­ety and Renais­sance Foundation—publicly preached trans­parency and good gov­ern­ment in places like Rus­sia dur­ing the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ finan­cial arm spec­u­lated on Russ­ian debt and par­tic­i­pated in scan­dal-plagued auc­tions of state assets.) In ear­ly 2005, Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, and he appoint­ed Rybachuk deputy prime min­is­ter in charge of inte­grat­ing Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and oth­er west­ern insti­tu­tions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-pri­va­ti­za­tion of Ukraine’s remain­ing state hold­ings. Over the next sev­eral years, Rybachuk was shift­ed around Pres­i­dent Yushchenko’s embat­tled admin­is­tra­tion, torn by inter­nal divi­sions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the pres­i­dency to recent­ly-over­thrown Vik­tor Yanukovych, and a year lat­er, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s pay­roll, prepar­ing for the next Orange Rev­o­lu­tion. As Rybachuk told the Finan­cial Times two years ago:

“We want to do [the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion] again and we think we will.”

Some of Omidyar’s funds were specif­i­cally ear­marked for cov­er­ing the costs of set­ting up Rybachuk’s “clean up par­lia­ment” NGOs in Ukraine’s region­al cen­ters. Short­ly after the Euro­maidan demon­stra­tions erupt­ed last Novem­ber, Ukraine’s Inte­rior Min­istry opened up a mon­ey laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into Rybachuk’s NGOs, drag­ging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes polit­i­cal strug­gle. Accord­ing to a Kyiv Post arti­cle on Feb­ru­ary 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democ­ra­cy-pro­mot­ing non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion faces ‘ridicu­lous’ inves­ti­ga­tion”:

“Police are inves­ti­gat­ing Cen­ter UA, a pub­lic-sec­tor watch­dog fund­ed by West­ern donors, on sus­pi­cion of mon­ey laun­der­ing, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that author­i­ties, with the probe, are try­ing to warn oth­er non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions that seek to pro­mote democ­racy, trans­parency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine. “Accord­ing to Cen­ter UA, the Kyiv eco­nomic crimes unit of the Inte­rior Min­istry start­ed the inves­ti­ga­tion on Dec. 11. Recent­ly, how­ever, inves­ti­ga­tors stepped up their efforts, ques­tion­ing some 200 wit­nesses. “… Cen­ter UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, accord­ing to its annu­al report for that year, 54 per­cent of which came from Pact Inc., a project fund­ed by the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment. Near­ly 36 per­cent came from Omid­yar Net­work, a foun­da­tion estab­lished by eBay founder Pierre Omid­yar and his wife. Oth­er donors include the Inter­na­tional Renais­sance Foun­da­tion, whose key fun­der is bil­lion­aire George Soros, and Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy, fund­ed large­ly by the U.S. Con­gress.”

* * * * What all this adds up to is a jour­nal­is­tic con­flict-of-inter­est of the worst kind: Omid­yar work­ing hand-in-glove with US for­eign pol­icy agen­cies to inter­fere in for­eign gov­ern­ments, co-financ­ing regime change with well-known arms of the Amer­i­can empire — while at the same time hir­ing a grow­ing team of soi-dis­ant ”inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists” which vows to inves­ti­gate the behav­ior of the US gov­ern­ment at home and over­seas, and boasts of its unique­ly “adver­sar­ial” rela­tion­ship towards these  gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions. As First Look staffer Jere­my Scahill told the Dai­ly Beast

We had a long dis­cus­sion about this inter­nally; about what our posi­tion would be if the White House asked us to not pub­lish some­thing…. With us, because we want to be adver­sar­ial, they won’t know what bat phone to call. They know who to call at The Times, they know who to call at The Post. With us, who are they going to call? Pierre? Glenn?

Of the many prob­lems that pos­es, none is more seri­ous than the fact that Omid­yar now has the only two peo­ple with exclu­sive access to the com­plete Snow­den NSA cache, Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras. Some­how, the same bil­lion­aire who co-financed the “coup” in Ukraine with USAID, also has exclu­sive access to the NSA secrets—and very few in the inde­pen­dent media dare voice a skep­ti­cal word about it. In the larg­er sense, this is a prob­lem of 21st cen­tury Amer­i­can inequal­ity, of life in a bil­lion­aire-dom­i­nat­ed era. It is a prob­lem we all have to con­tend with—PandoDaily’s 18-plus investors include a gag­gle of Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aires like Marc Andreessen (who serves on the board of eBay, chaired by Pierre Omid­yar) and Peter Thiel (whose pol­i­tics I’ve inves­ti­gated, and described as repug­nant.) But what is more imme­di­ately alarm­ing is what makes Omid­yar dif­fer­ent. Unlike oth­er bil­lion­aires, Omid­yar has gar­nered noth­ing but uncrit­i­cal, fawn­ing press cov­er­age, par­tic­u­larly from those he has hired. By acquir­ing a “dream team” of what remains of inde­pen­dent media — Green­wald, Jere­my Scahill, Wheel­er, my for­mer part­ner Matt Taib­bi — not to men­tion press “crit­ics” like Jay Rosen — he buys both silence and fawn­ing press. Both are incred­i­bly use­ful: Silence, an absence of jour­nal­is­tic curios­ity about Omidyar’s activ­i­ties over­seas and at home, has been pur­chased for the price of what­ever his cur­rent all-star indie cast cur­rently costs him. As an added bonus, that same invest­ment buys silence from expo­nen­tially larg­er num­bers of des­per­ately under­paid inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists hop­ing to some­day be on his pay­roll, and the under­funded media watch­dogs that sur­vive on Omid­yar Net­work grants. And it also buys laugh­able fluff from the likes of Scahill who also boast­ed to the Dai­ly Beast of his boss’ close involve­ment in the day to day run­ning of First Look.

“[Omid­yar] strikes me as always sort of polit­i­cal, but I think that the NSA sto­ry and the expand­ing wars put pol­i­tics for him into a much more promi­nent place in his exis­tence. This is not a side project that he is doing. Pierre writes more on our inter­nal mes­sag­ing than any­one else. And he is not micro­manag­ing. This guy has a vision. And his vision is to con­front what he sees as an assault on the pri­vacy of Amer­i­cans.”

Now Wheel­er has her answer — that, yes, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary groups were part-fund­ed by Uncle Sam, but also by her boss — one assumes awk­ward fol­low up ques­tions will be asked on that First Look inter­nal mes­sag­ing sys­tem. Whether Wheel­er, Scahill and their col­leagues go on to share their con­cerns pub­licly will speak vol­umes about First Look’s much-trum­pet­ed inde­pen­dence, both from Omidyar’s oth­er busi­ness inter­ests and from Omidyar’s co-investors in Ukraine: the US gov­ern­ment.

12. Swedish and oth­er neo-Nazis from oth­er parts of Europe are stream­ing into the Ukraine to join with the Swo­boda and Pravy Sek­tor fas­cists. The Swedish fas­cists are part of the same milieu as Carl Lund­strom, the finan­cial angel of the PRQ serv­er on which Wik­iLeaks was host­ed.

“Neo-Nazis Pour Into Kiev” by Michael Moyni­han; Dai­ly Beast; 2/28/2014.

In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, Fredrik Hag­berg stood at the ros­trum in Kiev’s City Hall, offer­ing fra­ter­nal and com­radely greet­ings from Swe­den to the sweaty, bruised, and exhaust­ed Ukrain­ian insur­rec­tion­ists scat­tered through­out. The place was fes­tooned with flags—some celtic cross­es, a stray Con­fed­er­ate ban­ner, a stan­dard for the polit­i­cal par­ty Svo­boda, whose mem­bers essen­tially con­trolled the building—reflecting the dubi­ous pol­i­tics of its occu­piers.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary tourists, thrill seek­ers, and para­chute jour­nal­ists suf­fused Kiev. Sen. John McCain, actress Hay­den Panet­tiere, and French intel­lec­tual Bernard Hen­ri-Levy roused mas­sive crowds with paeans to free­dom and nation­al sov­er­eignty, while offer­ing moral sup­port to the oppo­si­tion forces led by for­mer box­ing cham­pion Vitaly Klitschko.

But Hag­berg, a square-jawed and baby-faced mem­ber of the Swedish armed forces, had a dark­er mes­sage.

“I stand before your forces of rev­o­lu­tion to tell you about what your future might be if you fail your glo­ri­ous endeav­our,” he said in flu­id-but-clipped Eng­lish. “I stand here as a Swede. How­ever where I come from is no longer Swe­den.” Hag­berg warned Ukraini­ans that a suc­cess­ful rev­o­lu­tion must chart a path that care­fully avoid­ed the evils of abor­tion and eth­nic mon­gre­liza­tion, one that harsh­ly pun­ished wel­fare abuse and reject­ed the nor­mal­iza­tion of homo­sex­u­al­ity. “Offi­cials in Swe­den like to calls us the most mod­ern coun­try in the world. I say to you, broth­ers, this is what awaits you if you choose to fol­low our exam­ple. You now have the oppor­tu­nity to choose and cre­ate your own future. Do not accept the trap of choos­ing either the West or Rus­sia.”

It’s unclear who, if any­one, invit­ed him, but Hag­berg was speak­ing as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Nordisk Ung­dom (Nordic Youth), a Swedish neo-Nazi group that cel­e­brates “a tra­di­tional ide­al of a bet­ter man, striv­ing for some­thing greater and more noble than his own per­sonal ben­e­fit; an ide­al­is­tic man who fights for Europe’s free­dom.” Vis­i­tors to the group’s Eng­lish-lan­guage web­site are met with with a Bar­bara Kruger-like adver­tise­ment beseech­ing vis­i­tors to “help us to help the rev­o­lu­tion! Sup­port a free Ukraine! Donate Now...” Because Hag­berg is try­ing to pro­voke his fel­low neo-Nazis into trav­el­ling to Kiev to help shape a new, fas­cist-friend­ly Ukraine.

Amongst the fas­cists, ultra-nation­al­ists, and racists in Europe, there has been much grip­ing that the revolt in Ukraine has been over­taken, if not con­trolled from the out­set, by “CIA/ZOG [Zion­ist Occu­pied Government]/Soros-sponsored” forces. The Euroscep­ti­cism of the continent’s far-right move­ments has pro­duced a skep­ti­cism of the uprising’s much-dis­cussed Europhile main­stream.

But Pro-Yanukovych forces and the for­mer president’s Krem­lin allies have heav­ily pro­moted an alter­na­tive narrative—one that Hag­berg and his allies hap­pily embrace—suggesting that the protest move­ment is in fact hon­ey­combed with dan­ger­ous neo-Nazis affil­i­ated with the extrem­ist Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal par­ties Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor. There­fore, West­ern sup­port­ers of the protests, like John Mccain, are agi­tat­ing on behalf of vio­lent Ukrain­ian fas­cism.

It’s a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the Kremlin’s argu­ment against West­ern sup­port for Syr­ian rebel groups, which it says has amount­ed to mate­r­ial sup­port for al-Qae­da-spon­sered ter­ror­ism. And like with Syria—and the Span­ish Civ­il War before it—sympathetic Euro­pean extrem­ists are trav­el­ling to pro­vide sup­port to their ide­o­log­i­cal brethren.

“We just got boots on the ground and are dis­cussing with Svo­boda rep­re­sen­ta­tives and oth­er nation­al­ists what we can assist with,” Mag­nus Söder­man, the neo-Nazi orga­nizer of the Swedish Ukraine Vol­un­teers (Sven­ska Ukrainafriv­il­liga), told me. “Our mes­sage to them is that we will assist with what­ever; clear­ing the streets, secu­rity, mak­ing food.”

On the group’s web­site, stuffed with hack­neyed neo-Nazi pro­pa­ganda, poten­tial vol­un­teers are told that “we do not orga­nize any para­mil­i­tary force because our involve­ment is of a civ­il nature, as aid work­ers. Of course, should vio­lence break out we will make use of our right of self-defense.” (The site advis­es recruits to “improve your phys­i­cal fit­ness” before trav­el­ling to Kiev.) Ukraine, the group says, is fac­ing an exis­ten­tial threat and “we must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and the future of our white chil­dren!”

Accord­ing to the group’s new­ly con­sti­tuted Face­book page, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Swedish Ukraine Vol­un­teers recent­ly “vis­ited the par­lia­ment and estab­lished ??impor­tant con­tacts” amongst local politi­cians, pre­sum­ably those affil­i­ated with ultra-nation­al­ist par­ties Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor. The idea of for­eign vol­un­teers is “a good ini­tia­tive,” said one mem­ber of a fas­cist mes­sage board in Swe­den, “and I give my full sup­port to Mikael Skillt and oth­er par­ty com­rades who are trav­el­ling down to help our broth­ers in the east.”

Mikael Skillt is well-known in Swedish neo-Nazi cir­cles. A spokesman for the vig­i­lante group Stop the Pedophiles and a vet­eran of var­i­ous now-defunct fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions, Skillt is cur­rently affil­i­ated with the Par­ty of the Swedes (SvP), a neo-Nazi group found­ed by mem­bers of the less cam­era-friend­ly Nation­al Social­ist Front. Accord­ing to its web­site, SvP “has good con­tact with [Svo­boda] who were guests at our con­fer­ence Vision Europe just under a year ago.”

When I con­tacted Skillt he was in Moscow, on his way to agi­tat­ing in Kiev. So why does Ukraine need a fas­cist inter­na­tional brigade? “We are scan­ning the needs of the Ukraini­ans, but we will be offer­ing [them] our help in what­ever they need,” he told me. “We have mem­bers with expe­ri­ence in most fields, rang­ing from mil­i­tary to truck dri­vers to jour­nal­ists.”

When I asked if he had can­vassed the opin­ions of Russ­ian neo-Nazi groups while in Moscow, Skillt told me, with pre­dictable oblique­ness, that he had “heard some [Russ­ian] nation­al­ists who have spo­ken of a rev­o­lu­tion inspired by Ukraine.”

So how large is the inter­na­tional brigade of ultra-nation­al­ists? A Euro­pean jour­nal­ist who fol­lows the move­ment of Euro­pean jihadists to Syria—and now fas­cists migrat­ing towards Kiev—told me that there was indeed scat­tered evi­dence that neo-Nazi groups out­side Swe­den were mak­ing pil­grim­ages to Ukraine. When I asked Mag­nus Söder­man if there was a net­work of oth­er Nazis on the ground, he told me that “com­rades from oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries are also prepar­ing to assist if it is need­ed.”



4 comments for “FTR #779 OUN/B Redux: The Underground Reich and the Ukrainian Crisis”

  1. “Every­one had this sen­ti­ment that for good or bad the Unit­ed States would be the world police”. This sounds bad:

    Ukraine may have to go nuclear, says Kiev law­mak­er
    Oren Dorell, USA TODAY 8:46 p.m. EDT March 10, 2014

    KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the Unit­ed States and oth­er world pow­ers refuse to enforce a secu­ri­ty pact that oblig­ates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a mem­ber of the Ukraine par­lia­ment told USA TODAY.

    The Unit­ed States, Great Britain and Rus­sia agreed in a pact “to assure Ukraine’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty” in return for Ukraine giv­ing up a nuclear arse­nal it inher­it­ed from the Sovi­et Union after declar­ing inde­pen­dence in 1991, said Pavlo Riza­nenko, a mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment.

    “We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agree­ment,” said Riza­nenko, a mem­ber of the Udar Par­ty head­ed by Vitali Klitschko, a can­di­date for pres­i­dent. “Now there’s a strong sen­ti­ment in Ukraine that we made a big mis­take.”

    His state­ments come as Rus­sia raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty it may send its troops beyond the Crimean penin­su­la on the Black Sea into the east­ern half of Ukraine.

    The Russ­ian For­eign Min­istry said law­less­ness “now rules in east­ern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fight­ers of the so-called ‘right sec­tor’ with the full con­nivance” of Ukraine’s author­i­ties.

    Riza­nenko and oth­ers in Ukraine say the pact it made with the Unit­ed States under Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton was sup­posed to pre­vent such Russ­ian inva­sions.

    The pact was made after the Sovi­et Union dis­solved in 1991 and became Rus­sia, leav­ing the new­ly inde­pen­dent nation of Ukraine as the world’s third largest nuclear weapons pow­er.

    The com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ship that was the Sovi­et Union had based nuclear mis­siles in republics it held cap­tive along its bor­der with Europe, and Ukraine had thou­sands. World pow­ers urged Ukraine to give up the arse­nal but its lead­ers balked, express­ing fear they need­ed the weapons to deter Rus­sia from try­ing to reverse Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence.

    To reas­sure the Ukraini­ans, the Unit­ed States and lead­ers of the Unit­ed King­dom and Rus­sia signed in 1994 the “Budapest Mem­o­ran­dum on Secu­ri­ty Assur­ances” in which the sig­na­to­ries promised that none of them would threat­en or use force to alter the ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty or polit­i­cal inde­pen­dence of Ukraine.

    They specif­i­cal­ly pledged not to mil­i­tar­i­ly occu­py Ukraine. Although the pact was made bind­ing accord­ing to inter­na­tion­al law, it said noth­ing that requires a nation to act against anoth­er that invades Ukraine.

    The mem­o­ran­dum requires only that the sig­na­to­ries would “con­sult in the event a sit­u­a­tion aris­es which rais­es a ques­tion con­cern­ing these com­mit­ments.” Ukraine gave up thou­sands of nuclear war­heads in return for the promise.

    There is lit­tle doubt that Rus­sia has in fact placed its mil­i­tary forces in Ukraine’s province of Crimea. Rus­si­a’s for­eign min­is­ter has said its troops are there to pro­tect Russ­ian lives and inter­ests.

    And Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said that the com­mit­ments in the agree­ment are not rel­e­vant to Crimea because a “coup” in Kiev has cre­at­ed “a new state with which we have signed no bind­ing agree­ments.”

    The U.S. and U.K. have said that the agree­ment remains bind­ing and that they expect it to be treat­ed “with utmost seri­ous­ness, and expect Rus­sia to, as well.”

    Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has talked to Putin over the phone and said there is no dan­ger to Rus­sians in Ukraine and that they should agree to let inter­na­tion­al forces enter Crimea so dif­fer­ences can be resolved peace­ful­ly, accord­ing to the White House.

    But Putin insist­ed to Oba­ma that eth­nic Rus­sians in Crimea need­ed pro­tec­tion and reit­er­at­ed that the gov­ern­ment in Kiev is ille­gal because the par­lia­ment oust­ed pro-Moscow Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

    “Every­one had this sen­ti­ment that for good or bad the Unit­ed States would be the world police” and make sure that inter­na­tion­al order is main­tained, Riza­nenko said of the Budapest pact.

    “Now that func­tion is being aban­doned by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and because of that Rus­sia invad­ed Crimea,” he said.

    “In the future, no mat­ter how the sit­u­a­tion is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine,” he said. “If you have nuclear weapons peo­ple don’t invade you.”

    The White House and U.S. State Depart­ment did not respond to e‑mails request­ing com­ment.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 10, 2014, 7:31 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    The engi­neers of the OUN/B Redux may find they’ve cre­at­ed a Franken­stein’s mon­ster, if this isn’t emp­ty rhetoric dis­pensed for pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es.

    Pravy Sektor/Swoboda with nukes! Swell.



    Posted by Dave Emory | March 10, 2014, 7:55 pm
  3. Greet­ings,
    The fol­low­ing is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion by a Ger­man read­er to the author a pro-Russ­ian blog (in the con­text of the Ukraine cri­sis), out­lin­ing the Ger­man gov­ern­men­t’s active role in the events since the end of last year. The com­ments make for an inter­est­ing read as well.

    Posted by goelette | July 12, 2014, 2:40 pm
  4. The fog of war does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly dis­perse when the con­flict ends:

    Spe­cial Report: Flaws found in Ukraine’s probe of Maid­an mas­sacre

    By Steve Steck­low and Olek­san­dr Aky­menko

    KIEV Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:12am EDT

    (Reuters) — For mil­lions of Ukraini­ans, it was a crime against human­i­ty. In Feb­ru­ary, more than 100 pro­test­ers were gunned down in the Maid­an upris­ing that top­pled the pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovich. The vic­tims are now known as “the Heav­en­ly Hun­dred.”

    In April, pros­e­cu­tors arrest­ed three sus­pects, mem­bers of an elite unit with­in the “Berkut” riot police. Senior among them was Dmytro Sadovnyk, 38, a dec­o­rat­ed com­man­der, who was accused of order­ing his men to fire on the crowds on the morn­ing of Feb. 20. The three stand accused of mas­sacring 39 unarmed pro­test­ers.

    On Sept. 19, the case took a turn when a judge released Sadovnyk into house arrest – and, two weeks lat­er, he went miss­ing.

    Maid­an activists were out­raged, con­vinced that a cor­rupt sys­tem had let a killer escape. The judge was placed under inves­ti­ga­tion. The pros­e­cu­tor said in a state­ment: “D. Sadovnyk, sus­pect­ed of com­mit­ting an extreme­ly griev­ous crime, aim­ing to avoid pun­ish­ment, dis­ap­peared from his place of per­ma­nent res­i­dence.”

    But in a coun­try where jus­tice often isn’t blind, there’s anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty: Sadovnyk was being framed, and saw flight as his best option. In court last month, he called the case against him “a polit­i­cal lynch­ing.” In the days before he van­ished, his wife and his lawyer say, Sadovnyk and his fam­i­ly received death threats.

    A Reuters exam­i­na­tion of Ukraine’s probes into the Maid­an shoot­ings — based on inter­views with pros­e­cu­tors, defence attor­neys, pro­test­ers, police offi­cers and legal experts – has uncov­ered seri­ous flaws in the case against Sadovnyk and the oth­er two Berkut offi­cers.

    Among the evi­dence pre­sent­ed against Sadovnyk was a pho­to­graph. Pros­e­cu­tors say it shows him near Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square on Feb. 20, wear­ing a mask and hold­ing a rifle with two hands, his fin­gers clear­ly vis­i­ble.

    The prob­lem: Sadovnyk doesn’t have two hands. His right hand, his wife told Reuters, was blown off by a grenade in a train­ing acci­dent six years ago. As pros­e­cu­tors intro­duced the image at a hear­ing in April, said Yuliya Sadovnyk, her hus­band removed a glove and dis­played his stump to the court­room.

    “He can’t real­ly shoot,” said Ser­hiy Vilkov, Sadovnyk’s lawyer. “To blame him for the crime is a polit­i­cal game.”

    The probes into the killings have been hin­dered by miss­ing evi­dence. Many guns alleged­ly used to shoot pro­test­ers have van­ished; many of the bul­lets fired were tak­en home as sou­venirs. Bar­ri­cades, bul­let-pierced trees and oth­er items of foren­sic evi­dence were removed, lawyers say.

    A for­mer Berkut com­man­der told Reuters that Berkut offi­cers destroyed doc­u­men­tary evi­dence that poten­tial­ly could iden­ti­fy fel­low offi­cers. They did so, he said, because they feared the Berkut’s head­quar­ters would be attacked by a mob of revenge-seek­ing pro­test­ers after Yanukovich fled to Rus­sia.

    The for­mer pres­i­dent isn’t the only key fig­ure miss­ing. In an inter­view before Sadovnyk van­ished, Ukraine’s gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, Vitaly Yare­ma, said inves­ti­ga­tors had iden­ti­fied 17 Berkut offi­cers as alleged par­tic­i­pants in the pro­test­er shoot­ings, based on sur­veil­lance cam­era videos and mobile-phone loca­tion data. Of the 17, he said, 14 had fled to Rus­sia or Crimea, includ­ing the Berkut’s top com­man­der in Kiev. Sadovnyk and his two co-defen­dants were the only iden­ti­fied sus­pects who had remained behind.


    Inde­pen­dence Square was the ral­ly­ing point in Kiev where the anti-Yanukovich rev­o­lu­tion large­ly unfold­ed between Novem­ber and Feb­ru­ary. (The word Maid­an means “square” in Ukrain­ian.) The killings there quick­ly were recog­nised as a mile­stone in mod­ern Ukrain­ian his­to­ry, part of a chain of events that set off a sep­a­ratist con­flict and Russ­ian incur­sions that have shak­en the coun­try to its core.

    Videos and pho­tographs appear to show how Berkut offi­cers shot at pro­test­ers and beat them with sticks. In one video, the Berkut are seen mak­ing a man stand naked in the snow.

    The pub­lic is demand­ing answers and jus­tice. But the inves­ti­ga­tions are test­ing Ukraine’s abil­i­ty to rise above the kinds of fail­ings that have hob­bled the coun­try ever since its inde­pen­dence from the Sovi­et Union in 1991.

    In con­trast to, say, Poland, Ukraine has nev­er gelled into a robust state. Kiev has had two rev­o­lu­tions since inde­pen­dence. A host of endem­ic prob­lems — polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing, a divide between speak­ers of Ukrain­ian and Russ­ian — have left it fee­ble and frac­tious. Anoth­er of the state’s chief fail­ings, out­side observers say, is a bro­ken jus­tice sys­tem.

    Under Yanukovich and his rivals before him, courts and cops were polit­i­cal instru­ments. Yulia Tymoshenko, run­ner-up to Yanukovich in the 2010 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, lat­er was jailed in a case wide­ly crit­i­cised as polit­i­cal.

    In its 2013 report on human rights, the U.S. State Depart­ment cit­ed the Tymoshenko con­vic­tion in observ­ing that Ukraine’s courts “remained vul­ner­a­ble to polit­i­cal pres­sure and cor­rup­tion, were inef­fi­cient, and lacked pub­lic con­fi­dence. In cer­tain cas­es the out­come of tri­als appeared to be pre­de­ter­mined.”

    The post-Yanukovich gov­ern­ment acknowl­edged as much this July, in a report it pre­pared with the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund. “The tax admin­is­tra­tion, the police, the Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office, the State Enforce­ment Ser­vice, and the judi­cia­ry were not­ed as hav­ing tra­di­tion­al­ly been viewed as among the most cor­rupt pub­lic insti­tu­tions,” the report found.

    The past shows signs of repeat­ing itself.

    The two pros­e­cu­tors and a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter who have led the Maid­an shoot­ing probes all played roles in sup­port­ing the upris­ing. One of these offi­cials told Reuters that the inves­ti­ga­tors gath­er­ing the evi­dence are com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent.

    Anoth­er gap in the pros­e­cu­tion: To date, no one has been appre­hend­ed in the shoot­ing of police­men. Accord­ing to Ukraine’s Min­istry of Inte­ri­or Affairs, between Feb. 18 and 20, 189 police offi­cers suf­fered gun­shot wounds. Thir­teen died.

    In addi­tion, the for­mer act­ing gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who over­saw the arrests of the three Berkut offi­cers declared on tele­vi­sion that they “have already been shown to be guilty.” That state­ment, said legal experts, could prej­u­dice the cas­es. Ukraine is a par­ty to the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights, which states that crim­i­nal defen­dants are pre­sumed inno­cent until proven guilty.

    “A pub­lic state­ment by a pros­e­cu­tor that direct­ly chal­lenges that pre­sump­tion is a denial of due process,” said Richard Har­vey, a British bar­ris­ter who spe­cialis­es in inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal law.

    Even some of the bereaved fam­i­lies ques­tion the fair­ness of the pro­ceed­ings. Ser­hiy Bon­darchuk, a physics teacher, died of a gun­shot wound to the back on the morn­ing of Feb. 20. His son, Volodymyr Bon­darchuk, said the killing is one of the 39 in which Sadovnyk and his two col­leagues are sus­pect­ed. Volodymyr said that based on his own inquiries, he doubts the three were respon­si­ble for his father’s death.

    “They are try­ing to close the case because their boss­es and the com­mu­ni­ty just want to have some­one to pun­ish,” he said. “The inves­ti­ga­tion does not have enough evi­dence to prove the guilt of these three peo­ple.”

    Volodymyr Bon­darchuk recent­ly helped organ­ise an asso­ci­a­tion of about 70 fam­i­lies of dead pro­test­ers. “The main aim for us,” he said, “is an objec­tive and accu­rate inves­ti­ga­tion.”


    Feb­ru­ary 20 was the blood­i­est day of the Maid­an upris­ing. Scores of pro­test­ers and police offi­cers were shot and killed. A day lat­er, oppo­si­tion lead­ers signed a Euro­pean Union-medi­at­ed peace pact.

    Pub­lic pres­sure mount­ed to pros­e­cute the per­pe­tra­tors. With­in a week, Yanukovich, by then a fugi­tive, was indict­ed for the mass mur­der of pro­test­ers. An inter­im gov­ern­ment dis­band­ed the Berkut, a force of sev­er­al thou­sand whose name means “gold­en eagle.”

    On April 3, Ukrain­ian author­i­ties announced the arrests of sev­er­al mem­bers of an elite spe­cial unit with­in the Berkut. One was Sadovnyk, the unit’s com­man­der. A father of three, he first joined the Berkut in 1996 after serv­ing in the Ukrain­ian army. He lat­er won numer­ous com­men­da­tions for his police ser­vice.

    Also detained were two younger offi­cers: Ser­hiy Zinchenko, 23, and Pavel Abroskin, 24.

    An inter­nal pros­e­cu­tion doc­u­ment, reviewed by Reuters, sketch­es out inves­ti­ga­tors’ ver­sion of events. It is a “Notice of Sus­pi­cion” for Zinchenko, dat­ed April 3.

    The doc­u­ment alleges that on Feb. 18, the Berkut’s top com­man­der, Ser­hiy Kusiuk, gave an oral order to Sadovnyk to deliv­er auto­mat­ic rifles to his unit. Kusiuk is among the Berkut offi­cers who fled to Rus­sia, pros­e­cu­tors say. He couldn’t be reached for com­ment.

    On the morn­ing of Feb. 20, sev­er­al mem­bers of Sadovnyk’s unit were shot. At around 9 a.m., the doc­u­ment alleges, Sadovnyk ordered his men to fire in the direc­tion of unarmed pro­test­ers walk­ing up Insty­tut­ska Street in down­town Kiev. The shoot­ing last­ed near­ly two hours, and more than nine pro­test­ers were killed, the doc­u­ment states.

    Sadovnyk’s order to shoot was an abuse of pow­er, “giv­en that there was no imme­di­ate threat to the lives of the police offi­cers,” the doc­u­ment alleges.

    Vilkov, Sadovnyk’s lawyer, dis­putes that account. Although the doc­u­ment indi­cates Sadovnyk was at the scene, Vilkov said his client was not on Insty­tut­ska Street when the pro­test­ers were killed the morn­ing of Feb. 20. Vilkov declined to dis­cuss Sadovnyk’s where­abouts.

    In a tele­phone inter­view on Sept. 30, Sadovnyk told Reuters he was at a meet­ing on the morn­ing of Feb. 20 at Kiev police head­quar­ters. It began some­time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., he said. The pur­pose, he said, was to deal with reports that many armed pro­test­ers would be arriv­ing in Kiev after a call by protest lead­ers to mobilise.

    Sadovnyk said about sev­en police offi­cials and offi­cers were present, and he named three of them. Reuters was unable to locate the three for com­ment.

    At the meet­ing, Sadovnyk said, the atten­dees heard gun­shots and screams over police radios. The radios car­ried reports of the death of a Berkut offi­cer and of oth­er police wound­ed on Insty­tut­ska Street.

    Sadovnyk said at that point, he left and drove to the scene, tak­ing about 15 min­utes to get there. He said he does not remem­ber what time he arrived, but that inves­ti­ga­tors could fig­ure it out by track­ing his mobile phone. He said he brought a gun and pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

    When he arrived, he said, he found a near­ly emp­ty scene, with police offi­cers run­ning and the sound of ric­o­chet­ing bul­lets. He said he nei­ther received nor gave any order for his unit’s mem­bers to shoot at pro­test­ers, nor did he fire at any­one him­self.

    “I deny killing,” he said.

    Vadim Ostanin, an attor­ney for the Berkut’s Kiev branch, gave a sim­i­lar account to Reuters. He said there is a video show­ing that Sadovnyk attend­ed the meet­ing at police head­quar­ters. Ostanin said that when Sadovnyk arrived at the scene of the shoot­ing, his unit’s men already were retreat­ing.


    The gen­er­al prosecutor’s office declined to dis­cuss the defence’s account. In a state­ment, the office said it has plen­ty of evi­dence against Sadovnyk. This includes videos of a pro­test­er being shot by a gun­man. The office believes the gun­man is Sadovnyk, based on the “spe­cial way” the shoot­er is hold­ing the weapon. In a pre­vi­ous state­ment, the office said: “The ques­tion of guilt or, con­verse­ly, inno­cence of men­tioned per­sons will be resolved by the court.”

    Oleh Makhnit­sky was Ukraine’s act­ing gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor until June. In an inter­view, Reuters asked him about the pur­port­ed pho­to­graph of a two-hand­ed Sadovnyk, which was cit­ed at a hear­ing in April.

    The pur­pose of that hear­ing, Makhnit­sky said, was not to judge the reli­a­bil­i­ty of the evi­dence but to deter­mine whether Sadovnyk was a flight risk. He said the evi­dence against Sadovnyk would be pre­sent­ed at a future tri­al.

    Makhnit­sky, now an advis­er to Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, said he was a leader of a lawyers’ group that pro­vid­ed legal assis­tance to anti-Yanukovich pro­test­ers dur­ing the Maid­an demon­stra­tions. He said pol­i­tics played no role in the pros­e­cu­tion of the three Berkut offi­cers.

    “The inves­ti­ga­tors are in a sep­a­rate unit that can’t even be influ­enced by the pros­e­cu­tor,” he said.

    On May 30, Makhnit­sky gave an inter­view on local tele­vi­sion about the arrests of the three offi­cers. The sus­pects, he said, “have already been shown to be guilty.”

    Asked about those com­ments by Reuters, Makhnit­sky said he meant that “enough evi­dence was gath­ered to prove they are guilty.” A court ulti­mate­ly will decide, he said.

    The extent of the prosecution’s evi­dence against the three offi­cers remains unclear. Court fil­ings in the cas­es are not pub­lic.


    As Mark Ames points out, one of the details miss­ing from this arti­cle is the fact that Oleg Makhnit­sky, the act­ing Attor­ney Gen­er­al until he resigned in June, was­n’t just a Maid­en leader. He’s a mem­ber of Svo­bo­da.

    And then there was the leaked phone call...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 10, 2014, 2:39 pm

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