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Robert Parry on Conscription of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Orwellian Coverage by U.S. Media

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COMMENT: We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR ‘s 77778779780781782, 783784.

Not­ing that the pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment there is direct­ly evolved from the OUN/B Ukrain­ian Nazi admin­is­tra­tion and mil­i­tary appa­ra­tus of World War II, we have observed that the utter per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­i­ty by our media is wor­thy of George Orwell’s 1984.

In a post on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, Robert Par­ry high­lights the Orwellian nature of our medi­a’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion there.

In addi­tion, Par­ry notes the inclu­sion of ele­ments like Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da (whom he joint­ly char­ac­ter­izes under the rubric neo-Nazis) into the nation­al mil­i­tas being sent to East­ern Ukraine as “anti-ter­ror­ist ” forces.

As Par­ry cor­rect­ly notes, “anti-ter­ror­ist” cadres have served as death squads in past U.S.-supported oop­er­a­tions. We have not­ed in pro­grams cit­ed above (par­tic­u­lar­ly 780 and 781) that Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da spe­cial­ize in street fight­ing and provo­ca­tion.

This is a very dan­ger­ous brew. Swo­bo­da (whose leader is pic­tured above, right) and Pravy Sek­tor dom­i­nate the min­istries in Kiev.

“Ukraine, Through the US Look­ing Glass” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 4/15/2014.

FULL TEXT: The act­ing pres­i­dent of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is order­ing an “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion against pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers in east­ern Ukraine, while his nation­al secu­ri­ty chief says he has dis­patched right-wing ultra­na­tion­al­ist fight­ers who spear­head­ed the Feb. 22 coup that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

On Tues­day, Andriy Paru­biy, head of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil [and mem­ber of OUN/B heir Swoboda–D.E.], went on Twit­ter to declare, “Reserve unit of Nation­al Guard formed #Maid­an Self-defense vol­un­teers was sent to the front line this morn­ing.” Paru­biy was refer­ring to the neo-Nazi mili­tias that pro­vid­ed the orga­nized mus­cle that over­threw Yanukovych, forc­ing him to flee for his life. Some of these mili­tias have since been incor­po­rat­ed into secu­ri­ty forces as “Nation­al Guard.”
Ukrain­ian Sec­re­tary for Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Andriy Paru­biy.

Paru­biy him­self is a well-known neo-Nazi, who found­ed the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine in 1991. The par­ty blend­ed rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy also formed a para­mil­i­tary spin­off, the Patri­ots of Ukraine, and defend­ed the award­ing of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose own para­mil­i­tary forces exter­mi­nat­ed thou­sands of Jews and Poles in pur­suit of a racial­ly pure Ukraine.

Dur­ing the months of protests aimed at over­throw­ing Yanukovych, Paru­biy became the com­man­dant of “Euro­maid­an,” the name for the Kiev upris­ing, and – after the Feb. 22 coup – Paru­biy was one of four far-right Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists giv­en con­trol of a min­istry, i.e. nation­al secu­ri­ty.

But the U.S. press has played down his role because his neo-Nazism con­flicts with Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive that the neo-Nazis played lit­tle or no role in the “rev­o­lu­tion.” Ref­er­ences to neo-Nazis in the “inter­im gov­ern­ment” are dis­missed as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.”

Yet there Paru­biy was on Tues­day brag­ging that some of his neo-Nazi storm troop­ers – renamed “Nation­al Guard” – were now being sicced on rebel­lious east­ern Ukraine as part of the Kiev government’s “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion.

The post-coup Pres­i­dent Olek­san­dr Turchynov also warned that Ukraine was con­fronting a “colos­sal dan­ger,” but he insist­ed that the sup­pres­sion of the pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers would be treat­ed as an “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion and not as a “civ­il war.” Every­one should under­stand by now that “anti-ter­ror” sug­gests extra­ju­di­cial killings, tor­ture and “counter-ter­ror.”

Yet, with much of the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary of dubi­ous loy­al­ty to the coup regime, the dis­patch of the neo-Nazi mili­tias from west­ern Ukraine’s Right Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da par­ties rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment. Not only do the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazis con­sid­er the eth­nic Rus­sians an alien pres­ence, but these right-wing mili­tias are orga­nized to wage street fight­ing as they did in the Feb­ru­ary upris­ing.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, right-wing para­mil­i­taries have played cru­cial roles in “counter-ter­ror” cam­paigns around the world. In Cen­tral Amer­i­ca in the 1980s, for instance, right-wing “death squads” did much of the dirty work for U.S.-backed mil­i­tary regimes as they crushed social protests and guer­ril­la move­ments.

The merg­ing of the con­cept of “anti-ter­ror­ism” with right-wing para­mil­i­taries rep­re­sents a poten­tial­ly fright­en­ing devel­op­ment for the peo­ple of east­ern Ukraine. And much of this infor­ma­tion – about Turchynov’s com­ments and Parubiy’s tweet – can be found in a New York Times’ dis­patch from Ukraine.

Whose Pro­pa­gan­da?

How­ev­er, on the Times’ front page on Wednes­day was a bizarre sto­ry by David M. Her­szen­horn accus­ing the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment of engag­ing in a pro­pa­gan­da war by mak­ing many of the same points that you could find – albeit with­out the use­ful con­text about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi back­ground – in the same news­pa­per.

In the arti­cle enti­tled “Rus­sia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Her­szen­horn mocked Russ­ian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitri Medvedev for mak­ing a Face­book post­ing that “was bleak and full of dread,” includ­ing not­ing that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civ­il war looms.”

The Times arti­cle con­tin­ued, “He [Medvedev] plead­ed with Ukraini­ans to decide their own future ‘with­out usurpers, nation­al­ists and ban­dits, with­out tanks or armored vehi­cles – and with­out secret vis­its by the C.I.A. direc­tor.’ And so began anoth­er day of blus­ter and hyper­bole, of the mis­in­for­ma­tion, exag­ger­a­tions, con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, over­heat­ed rhetoric and, occa­sion­al­ly, out­right lies about the polit­i­cal cri­sis in Ukraine that have emanat­ed from the high­est ech­e­lons of the Krem­lin and rever­ber­at­ed on state-con­trolled Russ­ian tele­vi­sion, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”

This argu­men­ta­tive “news” sto­ry spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Her­szen­horn nev­er man­aged to men­tion that there was noth­ing false in what Medvedev said. Indeed, it was the much-maligned Russ­ian press that first report­ed the secret vis­it of CIA Direc­tor John Bren­nan to Kiev.

Though the White House has since con­firmed that report, Her­szen­horn cites Medvedev’s ref­er­ence to it in the con­text of “mis­in­for­ma­tion” and “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.” Nowhere in the long arti­cle does the Times inform its read­ers that, yes, the CIA direc­tor did make a secret vis­it to Ukraine last week­end. Pre­sum­ably, that real­i­ty has now dis­ap­peared into the great mem­o­ry hole along with the on-ground report­ing from Feb. 22 about the key role of the neo-Nazi mili­tias.

The neo-Nazis them­selves have pret­ty much dis­ap­peared from Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive, which now usu­al­ly recounts the coup as sim­ply a case of months of protests fol­lowed by Yanukovych’s deci­sion to flee. Only occa­sion­al­ly, often buried deep in news arti­cles with the con­text removed, can you find admis­sions of how the neo-Nazis spear­head­ed the coup.

A Wound­ed Extrem­ist

For instance, on April 6, the New York Times pub­lished a human-inter­est pro­file of a Ukrain­ian named Yuri Marchuk who was wound­ed in clash­es around Kiev’s Maid­an square in Feb­ru­ary. You have to read far into the sto­ry to learn that Marchuk was a Svo­bo­da leader from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would dis­cov­er is a neo-Nazi strong­hold where Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists hold torch-light parades in hon­or of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera.

With­out pro­vid­ing that con­text, the Times does men­tion that Lviv mil­i­tants plun­dered a gov­ern­ment weapons depot and dis­patched 600 mil­i­tants a day to do bat­tle in Kiev. Marchuk also described how these well-orga­nized mil­i­tants, con­sist­ing of para­mil­i­tary brigades of 100 fight­ers each, launched the fate­ful attack against the police on Feb. 20, the bat­tle where Marchuk was wound­ed and where the death toll sud­den­ly spiked into scores of pro­test­ers and about a dozen police.

Marchuk lat­er said he vis­it­ed his com­rades at the occu­pied City Hall. What the Times doesn’t men­tion is that City Hall was fes­tooned with Nazi ban­ners and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag as a trib­ute to white suprema­cy.

The Times touched on the incon­ve­nient truth of the neo-Nazis again on April 12 in an arti­cle about the mys­te­ri­ous death of neo-Nazi leader Olek­san­dr Muzy­chko, who was killed dur­ing a shootout with police on March 24. The arti­cle quot­ed a local Right Sek­tor leader, Roman Koval, explain­ing the cru­cial role of his orga­ni­za­tion in car­ry­ing out the anti-Yanukovych coup.

“Ukraine’s Feb­ru­ary rev­o­lu­tion, said Mr. Koval, would nev­er have hap­pened with­out Right Sec­tor and oth­er mil­i­tant groups,” the Times wrote. Yet, that real­i­ty – though actu­al­ly report­ed in the New York Times – has now become “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da,” accord­ing to the New York Times.

This upside-down Amer­i­can nar­ra­tive also ignores the well-doc­u­ment­ed inter­fer­ence of promi­nent U.S. offi­cials in stir­ring up the pro­test­ers in Kiev, which is locat­ed in the west­ern part of Ukraine and is thus more anti-Russ­ian than east­ern Ukraine where many eth­nic Rus­sians live and where Yanukovych had his polit­i­cal base.

Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland was a cheer­leader for the upris­ing, remind­ing Ukrain­ian busi­ness lead­ers that the Unit­ed States had invest­ed $5 bil­lion in their “Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions,” dis­cussing who should replace Yanukovych (her choice, Arseniy Yat­senyuk became the new prime min­is­ter), and lit­er­al­ly pass­ing out cook­ies to the pro­test­ers in the Maid­an. (Nuland is mar­ried to neo­con­ser­v­a­tive super­star Robert Kagan, a founder of the Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry.)

Dur­ing the protests, neo­con Sen. John McCain, R‑Arizona, took the stage with lead­ers of Svo­bo­da – sur­round­ed by ban­ners hon­or­ing Stepan Ban­dera – and urged on the pro­test­ers. Even before the demon­stra­tions began, promi­nent neo­con Carl Ger­sh­man, pres­i­dent of the U.S.-funded Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, had dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize.” [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “What’s the Mat­ter with John Ker­ry?”]

Indeed, in my four-plus decades in jour­nal­ism, I have nev­er seen a more thor­ough­ly biased and mis­lead­ing per­for­mance by the major U.S. news media. Even dur­ing the days of Ronald Rea­gan – when much of the government’s mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da struc­ture was cre­at­ed – there was more inde­pen­dence in major news out­lets. There were media stam­pedes off the real­i­ty cliff dur­ing George H.W. Bush’s Per­sian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demon­stra­bly false claims that were read­i­ly swal­lowed by the big U.S. news out­lets.

But there is some­thing utter­ly Orwellian in the cur­rent cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis, includ­ing accus­ing oth­ers of “pro­pa­gan­da” when their accounts – though sure­ly not per­fect – are much more hon­est and more accu­rate than what the U.S. press corps has been pro­duc­ing.

There’s also the added risk that this lat­est fail­ure by the U.S. press corps is occur­ring on the bor­der of Rus­sia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the Unit­ed States – could exter­mi­nate all life on the plan­et. The biased U.S. news cov­er­age is now feed­ing into polit­i­cal demands to send U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine’s coup regime.

The casu­al­ness of this pro­pa­gan­da – as it spreads across the U.S. media spec­trum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Wash­ing­ton Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched jour­nal­ism but it is reck­less malfea­sance jeop­ar­diz­ing the lives of many Ukraini­ans and the future of the plan­et.



3 comments for “Robert Parry on Conscription of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Orwellian Coverage by U.S. Media”

  1. Bra­vo for Robert Par­ry and Spit­firelist for dar­ing to pub­lish the facts. We def­i­nite­ly live in a time of deceit where truth telling breaks the wall of secret lies, the abject rejec­tion of pro­fes­sion­al jour­nal­ism.

    Posted by M. Allen F. | April 30, 2014, 11:49 am
  2. I believe there is an uncred­it­ed quote by John Lof­tus buried in this one. Lots of embed­ded links in orig­i­nal:

    Amer­i­ca Backed Fas­cists In Ukraine 70 Years Ago
    Post­ed on May 5, 2014 by Wash­ing­tons­Blog


    Amer­i­can Gov­ern­ment Backed Ukrain­ian Nazis … Same Group Sup­port­ed By the Leader of the Protests which Top­pled the Ukrain­ian Gov­ern­ment In Feb­ru­ary
    Oliv­er Stone’s doc­u­men­tary Untold His­to­ry notes:

    Tru­man approved the cre­ation of a guer­ril­la army code-named “Nightin­gale” in Ukraine. Orig­i­nal­ly set­up by the Nazis in 1941, it was made up of ultra-nation­al­ists. They would, as Stone describes, wreak hav­oc on the “famine-wrecked region where Sovi­et con­trol was loose, car­ry­ing out the mur­der of thou­sands of Jews, Sovi­ets and Pols, who opposed a sep­a­rate Ukrain­ian state.” The CIA would para­chute “infil­tra­tors” into the coun­try as well to fur­ther “dis­lodge Sovi­et con­trol.”

    Sounds nuts, right?

    But Amer­i­can his­to­ri­an and for­mer Under Sec­re­tary of the Air Force Townsend Hoopes and Rice Uni­ver­si­ty his­to­ry pro­fes­sor Dou­glas Brinke­ly con­firm:

    One group that par­tic­u­lar­ly attract­ed CIA atten­tion and sup­port was the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN), a polit­i­cal-mil­i­tary under­ground move­ment that had long fought for Ukrain­ian independence—first against the Poles in the 1920s when Poland con­trolled the Ukraine and after 1939 against the Sovi­ets. ‘Though vio­lent­ly anti-Russ­ian, the OUN was itself total­i­tar­i­an and Fas­cist in char­ac­ter. as well as anti-Semit­ic. The Nazis poured mon­ey into the OUN after the Ger­man inva­sion of Rus­sia and pre­tend­ed to sup­port the goal of Ukrain­ian nation­al inde­pen­dence. In return, a large OUN mili­tia, code-named Nachti­gall, or Nightin­gale, pro­vid­ed local admin­is­tra­tors, inform­ers, and killers for the Ger­man invaders. Nazi-spon­sored OUN police and mili­tia for­ma­tions were involved in “thou­sands of instances of mass mur­ders of Jews and of fam­i­lies sus­pect­ed of aid­ing Red Army par­ti­sans.”


    When the Ger­mans were dri­ven out of the Ukraine, many OUN mem­bers who had served the Nazis’ police for­ma­tions and exe­cu­tion squads fled with them, but sev­er­al thou­sand retreat­ed into the Carpathi­an Moun­tains to fight anoth­er day against the hat­ed Sovi­et gov­ern­ment. It was this remain­ing Nightin­gale group that fas­ci­nat­ed the CIA and was recruit­ed essen­tial­ly en bloc. To bring its lead­ers to the Unit­ed States for train­ing and indoc­tri­na­tion required spe­cial bureau­crat­ic exer­tions, as well as an immi­gra­tion law per­mit­ting the admis­sion of one hun­dred such immi­grants per year, pro­vid­ed the Direc­tor of the CIA, the Attor­ney Gen­er­al, and the Com­mis­sion­er of the Immi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Ser­vice all per­son­al­ly stat­ed that the action was vital to nation­al secu­ri­ty.” As one army intel­li­gence offi­cer not­ed sar­don­ical­ly, one wing of the CIA was hunt­ing Ukrain­ian Nazis to bring them to tri­al at Nurem­berg, while anoth­er wing was recruit­ing them.


    After train­ing in the Unit­ed States, the Nightin­gale lead­ers were para­chut­ed into the Ukraine to link up with their com­pa­tri­ots and to car­ry out mea­sures of sub­ver­sion, agi­ta­tion, and sab­o­tage, includ­ing assas­si­na­tion.


    [Unit­ed States Sec­re­tary of the Navy and Sec­re­tary of Defense James For­re­stal] vig­or­ous­ly sup­port­ed the pro­gram and pre­sum­ably par­tic­i­pat­ed in the approval of the basic NSC char­ters as a mem­ber of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil.

    The leader of the Nightin­gale group was Stepan Ban­dera.

    The leader of the “protests” in Feb­ru­ary 2014 which oust­ed the pres­i­dent of Ukraine is a neo Nazi and fol­low­er of Stepan Ban­dera.

    In oth­er words, 70 years ago, the U.S. sup­port­ed the types of fas­cists who are now in con­trol of Ukraine.

    Post­script: Anoth­er lit­tle known his­tor­i­cal fact is that – in 1997 – a for­mer U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor and high-lev­el Oba­ma pol­i­cy advi­sor called for the U.S. to take Ukraine away from Rus­sia.

    And almost a month before the Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent was oust­ed in Feb­ru­ary, a high-lev­el State Depart­ment offi­cial – Assis­tant US Sec­re­tary of State for Europe and Eura­sia Vic­to­ria Nuland, wife of arch Neo­con Robert Kagan – announced plans to pro­mote a “new gov­ern­ment” in Ukraine.

    Posted by Swamp | May 5, 2014, 9:00 am
  3. This is def­i­nite­ly not the movie ref­er­ence you want to be com­par­ing your real­i­ty to:

    Con­sor­tium News
    Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Real­i­ty
    May 5, 2014

    Exclu­sive: The hor­ren­dous fire in Odessa, killing dozens of eth­nic Rus­sians protest­ing against the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev, has lurched the coun­try clos­er to full-scale civ­il war and dis­rupt­ed the Amer­i­can media’s efforts to deny the exis­tence of pro-regime neo-Nazis, Robert Par­ry reports.

    By Robert Par­ry

    As much as the coup regime in Ukraine and its sup­port­ers want to project an image of West­ern mod­er­a­tion, there is a “Dr. Strangelove” ele­ment that can’t stop the Nazism from pop­ping up from time to time, like when the Peter Sell­ers char­ac­ter in the clas­sic movie can’t keep his right arm from mak­ing a “Heil Hitler” salute.

    This bru­tal Nazism sur­faced again on Fri­day when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encamp­ment of eth­nic Russ­ian pro­test­ers dri­ving them into a trade union build­ing which was then set on fire with Molo­tov cock­tails. As the build­ing was engulfed in flames, some peo­ple who tried to flee were chased and beat­en, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists liken them to black-and-red-striped pota­to bee­tles called Col­orados, because those col­ors are used in pro-Russ­ian rib­bons.

    “Burn, Col­orado, burn” went the chant.

    As the fire wors­ened, those dying inside were ser­e­nad­ed with the taunt­ing singing of the Ukrain­ian nation­al anthem. The build­ing also was spray-paint­ed with Swasti­ka-like sym­bols and graf­fi­ti read­ing “Gali­cian SS,” a ref­er­ence to the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist army that fought along­side the Ger­man Nazi SS in World War II, killing Rus­sians on the east­ern front.

    Note that the gang respon­si­ble for shov­ing pro­tes­tors into the build­ing and then light­ing it on fire report­ed­ly includ­ed mem­bers of Pravy Sek­tor.


    The death by fire of dozens of peo­ple in Odessa recalled a World War II inci­dent in 1944 when ele­ments of a Gali­cian SS police reg­i­ment took part in the mas­sacre of the Pol­ish vil­lage of Huta Pieni­ac­ka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was pro­tect­ed by Russ­ian and Pol­ish par­ti­sans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrain­ian police and Ger­man sol­diers on Feb. 28, hun­dreds of towns­peo­ple were mas­sa­cred, includ­ing many locked in barns that were set ablaze.

    The lega­cy of World War II – espe­cial­ly the bit­ter fight between Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists from the west and eth­nic Rus­sians from the east sev­en decades ago – is nev­er far from the sur­face in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. One of the heroes cel­e­brat­ed dur­ing the Maid­an protests in Kiev was Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose name was hon­ored in many ban­ners includ­ing one on a podi­um where Sen. John McCain voiced sup­port for the upris­ing to oust elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, whose polit­i­cal base was in east­ern Ukraine.

    Dur­ing World War II, Ban­dera head­ed the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nationalists‑B, a rad­i­cal para­mil­i­tary move­ment that sought to trans­form Ukraine into a racial­ly pure state. OUN‑B took part in the expul­sion and exter­mi­na­tion of thou­sands of Jews and Poles.

    Though most of the Maid­an pro­test­ers in 2013–14 appeared moti­vat­ed by anger over polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and by a desire to join the Euro­pean Union, neo-Nazis made up a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber. These storm troop­ers from the Right Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da par­ty decked out some of the occu­pied gov­ern­ment build­ings with Nazi insignias and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, the uni­ver­sal sym­bol of white suprema­cy.

    Then, as the protests turned vio­lent from Feb. 20–22, the neo-Nazis surged to the fore­front. Their well-trained mili­tias, orga­nized in 100-man brigades called “the hun­dreds,” led the final assaults against police and forced Yanukovych and many of his offi­cials to flee for their lives.

    In the days after the coup, as the neo-Nazi mili­tias effec­tive­ly con­trolled the gov­ern­ment, Euro­pean and U.S. diplo­mats scram­bled to help the shak­en par­lia­ment put togeth­er the sem­blance of a respectable regime, although four min­istries, includ­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty, were award­ed to the right-wing extrem­ists in recog­ni­tion of their cru­cial role in oust­ing Yanukovych.

    See­ing No Nazis

    Since Feb­ru­ary, vir­tu­al­ly the entire U.S. news media has coop­er­at­ed in the effort to play down the neo-Nazi role, dis­miss­ing any men­tion of this incon­ve­nient truth as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” Sto­ries in the U.S. media del­i­cate­ly step around the neo-Nazi real­i­ty by keep­ing out rel­e­vant con­text, such as the back­ground of nation­al secu­ri­ty chief Andriy Paru­biy, who found­ed the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine in 1991, blend­ing rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy was com­man­dant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.”


    Reagan’s Nazis

    But the prob­lem with some west­ern Ukraini­ans express­ing their incon­ve­nient love for Nazis has not been lim­it­ed to the cur­rent cri­sis. It bedev­iled Ronald Reagan’s admin­is­tra­tion when it began heat­ing up the Cold War in the 1980s.

    As part of that strat­e­gy, Reagan’s Unit­ed States Infor­ma­tion Agency, under his close friend Charles Wick, hired a cast of right-wing Ukrain­ian exiles who began show­ing up on U.S.-funded Radio Lib­er­ty prais­ing the Gali­cian SS.

    These com­men­taries includ­ed pos­i­tive depic­tions of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solu­tion” against Euro­pean Jews. The pro­pa­gan­da broad­casts pro­voked out­rage from Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions, such as B’nai B’rith, and indi­vid­u­als includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tive aca­d­e­m­ic Richard Pipes.

    Accord­ing to an inter­nal memo dat­ed May 4, 1984, and writ­ten by James Critchlow, a research offi­cer at the Board of Inter­na­tion­al Broad­cast­ing, which man­aged Radio Lib­er­ty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broad­cast in par­tic­u­lar was viewed as “defend­ing Ukraini­ans who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

    Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrain­ian broad­cast of Feb. 12, 1984 con­tains ref­er­ences to the Nazi-ori­ent­ed Ukrain­ian-manned SS ‘Gali­cia’ Divi­sion of World War II which may have dam­aged RL’s rep­u­ta­tion with Sovi­et lis­ten­ers. The mem­oirs of a Ger­man diplo­mat are quot­ed in a way that seems to con­sti­tute endorse­ment by RL of praise for Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers in the SS divi­sion, which dur­ing its exis­tence fought side by side with the Ger­mans against the Red Army.”

    Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Pipes, who was an infor­mal advis­er to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, also inveighed against the Radio Lib­er­ty broad­casts, writ­ing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian ser­vices of RL have been trans­mit­ting this year bla­tant­ly anti-Semit­ic mate­r­i­al to the Sovi­et Union which may cause the whole enter­prise irrepara­ble harm.”

    Though the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion pub­licly defend­ed Radio Lib­er­ty against some of the pub­lic crit­i­cism, pri­vate­ly some senior offi­cials agreed with the crit­ics, accord­ing to doc­u­ments in the archives of the Rea­gan Pres­i­den­tial Library in Simi Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. For instance, in a Jan. 4, 1985, memo, Wal­ter Ray­mond Jr., a top offi­cial on the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, told his boss, Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er Robert McFar­lane, that “I would believe much of what Dick [Pipes] says is right.”

    What the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion appar­ent­ly didn’t under­stand three decades ago – and what the U.S. State Depart­ment still has not seemed to learn today – is that there is a dan­ger in stir­ring up the old ani­mosi­ties that divide Ukraine, east and west.

    Though clear­ly a minor­i­ty, Ukraine’s neo-Nazis remain a potent force that is well-orga­nized, well-moti­vat­ed and prone to extreme vio­lence, whether throw­ing fire­bombs at police in the Maid­an or at eth­nic Rus­sians trapped in a build­ing in Odessa.

    As vengeance now seeks vengeance across Ukraine, this Nazi imper­a­tive will be dif­fi­cult to hold down, much as Dr. Strangelove strug­gled to stop his arm from mak­ing a “Heil Hitler” salute.

    Part of what makes overt­ly mon­strous actions like this so ter­ri­fy­ing is that it’s hap­pen­ing with­in the con­text of the loom­ing May 25 elec­tions and it’s not exact­ly clear if mass mur­der­ing cit­i­zens is the type of move that will lead to a mass rejec­tion of the neo-Nazi par­ties or the type of esca­la­tion of the sit­u­a­tion that derails the elec­tions alto­geth­er. It also rais­es the ques­tion of why the west and Kiev has­n’t sim­ply offer to dump any Pravy Sekvor and Svo­bo­da politi­cians from the inter­im gov­ern­ment. After all, they could still win seats in the May 25 elec­tion, so why not show the eth­nic Rus­sians that Kiev has no inter­est in any gov­ern­ment with installed neo-Nazis? Would­n’t that neu­tral­ize the demands com­ing out of Moscow and poten­tial­ly calm the sit­u­a­tion? Or are there con­cerns that if the neo-Nazis got kicked out they would start act­ing like, well, neo-Nazis, and going around burn­ing down build­ings and try­ing to pro­voke a civ­il war?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 5, 2014, 2:33 pm

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