Ukraine: Truths and counter-truths

THE FRONT OF INFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION

Saturday 26 July 2014, by Murray Smith 

In every war, one of the fronts is that of information and misinformation. In the crisis that Ukraine is going through at present there is a discourse of the Russian state, expressed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, relayed by the political world, broadcast by media that are increasingly under the orders of the state and by the pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine. Its purpose is to delegitimize the Ukrainian government and state and to legitimize Russian interference in the affairs of the country. This discourse has an impact on important sectors of the population is Eastern Ukraine, which are suspicious of Kiev and influenced by the Russian media. Sometimes it even finds an echo in the Western media and, what is much worse, in a part of the left in Europe. It seems important to challenge the Russian version of events in Ukraine.

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Ukraine

Let us summarize this view of events. Victor Yanukovych was/is the legitimate president of Ukraine. The mass movement that toppled him is reduced to groups manipulated and funded (the figure of $5 billion is cited) by the West. Moreover, these groups were and still are fascists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites. The overthrow of Yanukovych was in fact a coup d’état. The present Ukrainian government, characterized as a fascist/Nazi junta, is unelected, illegitimate and the product of this coup d’état.

The Ukrainian armed forces are conducting in the east of the country a war against their own people. Russia is today, as it was 70 years ago, a bulwark against fascism. The goal of Russia is to fight fascism and promote a solution through negotiation, protecting the Russian-speaking populations who are supposed to be discriminated against.

This discourse is globally false. It serves only to destabilize and weaken the Ukrainian government in order to maximize Russia’s influence on the country. As a weapon of the state, the discourse is of course flexible: it can be hardened or softened depending on the circumstances. It is necessary to dissect it in order to combat it.

What does Moscow want?

Moscow proposes a dialogue of equals between the government and the insurgents in the East, with the prior cessation of the operations of the Ukrainian army. For its part, the Ukrainian government is ready to stop the operations provided that the rebels disarm and leave the buildings they are occupying. The difference between the two approaches is considerable. Because every negotiation is conducted on the basis of a balance of forces, and the balance of forces will not be the same in both cases.

Moscow wants a federal Ukraine. But words like federal, federalism, federalization can mean different things. Proponents of increased centralization of the European Union call themselves federalists. And countries that are called federal cover quite different realities – the United States, Germany, Russia, Yugoslavia, the USSR … In the Ukrainian case, what the Russian government means is a very extensive form of federalization/confederalization, with the right of regions to conduct their own economic policy and to conclude international agreements. It wants in fact to dismember the country so as to be able to carve out a sphere of influence in the East, and at the same time weaken the central government.

We will consider:
- The Russian version of events;
- The reality of the insurgents in the East;
- Russia’s claim to be a bulwark against fascism;
- Moscow’s links with the far right in Europe.

Neither putsch nor coup d’état

The present government of Kiev is described as “non-elected” and illegitimate. So let us see how it was chosen. Who elects a government? Not the citizens directly, but the Parliament, which is elected by the citizens. After the flight of Yanukovych, the Ukrainian Parliament appointed an interim president and a government. This parliament was elected in 2012, so it is as “legitimate” as the ousted president, who was elected in 2010. Pending new elections, Parliament is the only legitimate authority, as it was elected by universal suffrage at the national level.

The Parliament elected in 2012 had 450 members, 33 of whom were absent on the day of the appointment of the government, on February 27; a number of them were probably on the run with Yanukovych. The proposal to appoint Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister received 371 votes, the composition of the government 331 and the destitution of Yanukovych 328. Neither putsch nor coup d’état, therefore, and the vote did not take place under the threat of armed men, contrary to what happened the following day in Crimea. However, the composition of the government had been submitted the day before to approval by the general assembly on the Maidan. The same assembly that had rejected on the evening of February 21 the miserable “compromise” negotiated and imposed by the Western Foreign Ministers, which would have left Yanukovych in power until December; it was this rejection which precipitated the flight of the president the following night.

To take note of these facts obviously does not imply any endorsement of the present government or its policies. As an activist of the Ukrainian left, Zakhar Popovytch, wrote, “We have never supported this government. We can put up with it temporarily, but not support it” [1]. It is simply a question of not falling into the trap of those who want to delegitimize the government at any cost, without moreover proposing any alternative, for the sole purpose of destabilizing the country. Nor does it imply trivializing the presence of ministers of the far right, just putting it into perspective.

Next there is apparently in Kiev a “fascist (or sometimes Nazi) government/junta. Leave aside the word “junta”, which is simply used to make it sound more sinister and to correspond better to the concept of “coup d’état.” The party that largely dominates this government is Batkivshchina, the party of Yulia Tymoshenko. A party which can be characterized as right-wing, nationalist, liberal, but neither fascist nor Nazi. That leaves Svoboda. It can certainly be characterized as a fascist party, pending a more detailed analysis. What is the role of Svoboda in the government? It has one of three deputy prime ministers and heads two ministries, those of Ecology and Agriculture. In addition, the acting Procurator-General is a member of Svoboda. [2]

The weight of the far right is lighter than in Austria in 2000, where the FPÖ had the ministries of Justice, Finance and Defence. The presence of Svoboda in government is a reality that we must take into account, but without exaggeration [3]. The influence of the far right is dangerous and must be fought, but it is up to the Ukrainian people to do that. Without receiving lessons from a Western left whose vision of Ukrainian reality is sometimes superficial and a caricature. And especially not with the “help” of Russia.

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A Russophile far right

The reality is that this government is neoliberal, largely made up of seasoned veterans of the political class, and strongly linked to oligarchs. And it is ready to apply everything that the IMF and the European Union ask as regards austerity measures and structural reforms. It is by starting from this reality that it must be fought, not by tilting against the windmills of a so-called fascist junta. And there is no shortage of distrust of the government among those who made the movement that is now called Maidan. When a journalist of the “Financial Times” recently asked why Maidan activists were still there, he received the answer: “To ensure that the new government does not steal the money that comes from the IMF.” Which the journalist found “quite reasonable.” It is a feeling that could be shared by those in the East who were mostly – but not unanimously – external to the movement.

Because they too are against corruption and the regime of oligarchs. The problem is, for the supporters of a united Ukraine, it is difficult to mobilize against the only government that exists when the country is facing the danger of a Russian intervention and the reality of the actions of the paramilitary militias in the East. And for the people of the East, it is also difficult to mobilize, caught between the militias and the “anti-terrorist” campaign of the government. That is one reason why the conflict must be demilitarized, leaving the field open to political, trade union, associative action. A second reason is that such a civil conflict, over and above the immediate victims, always leaves traces for a long time afterwards.

A reign of terror in Kiev?

We also hear that the country in general and Kiev in particular is living under an anti-Semitic, fascist, Nazi reign of terror. Yet the first to refute this caricature are Jewish organizations. Their statements are so numerous that it becomes tedious to enumerate them; the most recent one dates from May 16. The reaction of the Jewish oligarch and governor of Dnipropetrovsk, Ihor Kolomoisky, was quite succinct: “It’s bullshit”. And then there is plenty of evidence from those who have been to Kiev. Including, in particular, Nadia Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot [4].

Obviously there is anti-Semitism in Ukraine. There is everywhere in Europe. Obviously there are anti-Semitic acts in Ukraine. But no more than there are racist and anti-Semitic acts in Russia, and with far fewer deaths [5].

The role of choice in this supposed wave of anti-Semitism is attributed to Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), which is also held responsible by the Russian media for any misdeeds in Ukraine, to such an extent that if it did not exist [6] it would be necessary to invent it. As the Russian writer Dmitry Glukovsky, asked, “Who made the ’Right Sector,” a band of misfits from the street, which did not even have a real name before, into the central force of Ukrainian nationalism?” It was especially the Russian government and media. As Zakhar Popovytch put it, “Pravy Sektor is a very small party which exists mainly on Russian TV channels.” To give some figures, for the month of April, the Right Sector was quoted in the Russian media 18,895 times, almost as often as United Russia, Putin’s party (19,050 times) and almost four times more than Batkivshchina, the party that runs the government in Kiev. Svoboda, with less than 2,700 mentions, did not even get into in the top seven. Strange for the really fascist component of a government that is supposed to be fascist.

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Pravy Sektor, a manufactured product?

Beyond its size, what is the nature of the Right Sector? Almost unknown until then, it moved up to the front line from mid-January, when the regime made the choice of repression and the issue of self-defense of Maidan became central. Yet it seems that there are many grey areas concerning its relationship with the Yanukovych regime, including in the last days before its fall. It is not impossible that the regime tried to use its members as agent provocateurs, but that they became autonomous. Today, they are supposed to be everywhere, without it always being possible to tell the difference between what they actually do and their usefulness as a bogeyman.

The Right Sector is usually described as neo-Nazi. Originally, it was a federation of which the backbone was the All-Ukrainian Organization Tryzub, whose leader is Dmytro Yaroch. Among those who became part of it, there were indeed some neo-Nazi group lets. Now that the Right Sector has become a party, the situation is not clear. But it seems that Yaroch and Tryzub are primarily nationalists of the most hardline kind, quite willing to use violence in pursuit of their national revolution. But not necessarily neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic.

We heard Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, explain that it is not normal to hold elections with fighting taking place in the east. Certainly, one can doubt the effectiveness of the deployment of the army against the pro-Russian militias, a deployment that may further alienate people in the combat zones. It is nevertheless a response to armed actions that have been supported and encouraged by the government to which Lavrov belongs. Calling on Ukraine to withdraw its armed forces from the east, Russia places great emphasis on the concept of “war against its own people.” So we would get the impression that the Ukrainian forces are firing on civilians.

“War against its own people”

There have indeed been some civilian deaths. But we cannot describe as civilians armed men in military fatigues with Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers and heavy weapons. One of the problems for the Ukrainian forces is precisely that they try their utmost to avoid civilian casualties. If they did not have this constraint, they would have already taken Sloviansk, but with heavy losses among the population. In the same way as the Russians when they took Grozny.

What is happening in the East? According to the government, actions by terrorists and separatists. The Russian government characterizes them as federalists and says that the occupations of buildings are the actions of ordinary citizens who reject the authority of a government in Kiev that they consider as illegitimate.

Among the insurgents, there is a hard core, which it is not wrong to characterize as terrorist; Russian nationalists – whether of Russian or Ukrainian nationality – who are supporters of the annexation of these regions to Russia. They are the ones who are running the show. Among them there are people who have come from Russia. One can speculate on their exact status; there are certainly agents of the Russian services, but also freelance former soldiers and mercenaries. What is certain is that there is assistance from Russia. Financial undoubtedly, but also military. You do not find heavy weapons in the basements of occupied police stations. And those who bring down helicopters with missiles are professionals. Besides, there is no need for a large number of Russian agents: a certain number to organize, saboteurs, provocateurs.

Heavily armed

Beyond the hard core, most of the militias are men of the region, often with some military experience. And then there is the part of the population that supports or at least has sympathy for them. To classify them as terrorists and describe the intervention of the army as an “anti-terrorist operation” is to say the least somewhat clumsy.

The way the paramilitaries act seems very well planned. They begin, at least in major towns, with what must really be called commando actions, taking over town halls, regional headquarters, police stations, all of this conducted in a very professional manner. Once installed, they ascribe themselves positions as ’popular’ mayors and governors. Secondly, where there are television transmitters, they seek to take them over. If they succeed, they immediately cut off Ukrainian channels and change over to Russian ones, as was already the case in the Crimea. Then they conduct a campaign of intimidation, kidnapping, torture and murder whose targets are supporters of a unified Ukraine, but also journalists, from Ukraine or elsewhere, who do not agree to censor their reporting.

One of their latest exploits was to arrest a headmistress in front of her students and take her away handcuffed, because she had refused to allow her school premises to be used for their referendum on May 11. They attacked the officials responsible for organizing the presidential election on May 25, using violence and threats of violence and seizing electoral lists and ballots. The methods used are the same everywhere – for the moment, after Crimea, in the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts. They would like to expand their activities to other regions of the South and East, but they encounter more resistance there.

Mini-coups d’état

Russian propaganda talks about a coup d’état in Kiev. But what we have just described is a series of mini-coups, town by town. Listen again to Zakhar Popovytch: “The junta is not in Kiev but in Slovjansk. In Kiev you can easily demonstrate with red flags and distribute all kinds of leaflets. This was clearly demonstrated during the demonstrations on May 1. All liberal freedoms exist in Kiev, but not in the People’s Republic of Donetsk.” In Donetsk, on April 28, about a thousand protesters for the unity of Ukraine demonstrated, peacefully, without a stewarding force (which was, moreover, rash). They were attacked and beaten to the ground by 300 armed militia with clubs and iron bars.

These methods are similar to those of the militias, especially Serbian, which were formed in the early 1990s in Yugoslavia. Or to those of the Protestant militias in Northern Ireland. Including the type of people who emerge as leaders: a mixture of adventurers, marginal elements, criminals, former soldiers, right-wing activists and state officials. The character of Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, “popular mayor” of Slovjansk, is particularly interesting. When you read an interview with him published by gazeta.ru [7], he comes across as a real psychopath. Even the journalist is clearly taken aback. As for his colleague Strelkov/Girkin a former (or not …) Russian officer and commander of the Donetsk militias, he is, according to Popovytch, a monarchist and a great admirer of the White General Denikin [8].

Difficult to judge popular support

It is difficult to judge the degree of popular support for unification with Russia or for the “independent republics”. As for the referendums on May 11, we cannot take seriously the figures for turnout in both oblasts (regions) – 81 per cent and 75 per cent. The Ukrainian government and independent Russian observers put the figures much lower. But these are estimates, without empirical basis. However, all the opinion polls that have been conducted over the last three months, by Ukrainian or foreign institutions, give a clear majority for Ukrainian unity, including in the oblasts of Donetsk and Lugansk (around 70 per cent).

What is striking is the threadbare character of the demonstrations of “popular” support for the militias. We are talking about demonstrations of one or two thousand people in a city like Donetsk with a population of one million. On May 1, about a thousand people marched through the city shouting “Russia, Russia”, “The Donbass with Russia”, in a faint echo of the tens of thousands who marched in Moscow under chauvinist slogans. How shameful for International Workers’ Day. In Donetsk, the trade unions of the city boycotted the event. Furthermore, the organized workers’ movement of the Donbass (including miners and steelworkers) has intervened very little as such. There are examples of opposition among workers to the separatists and defence of Ukrainian unity, and others which point in the opposite direction. But things are not yet clear. Probably, like the rest of the population, the workers are, in any event, quite hostile to the government in Kiev.

The nature of the pro- Russian movement

As for the ideology and the composition of the pro-Russian movement, it is a mixture of everything that is reactionary. “Admirers of Stalin and fans of the Tsar-father, Russian Nazis and Ruritanian Cossacks, fanatics of the Orthodox religion and old ladies nostalgic for the time of Brezhnev – plus those who are against justice for minors, gay marriage and vaccination against influenza”; that is how Sergei, a left activist who has written one of the best accounts [9] of the events of May 2 in Odessa, describes them.

In the world described by the partisans of Russia, government supporters are anti-Semitic and sow terror in Kiev. In the real world, the Holocaust memorial in Novomoskovsk was desecrated for the second time in six weeks, with an inscription “Death to Jews-Banderites” [10] and vulgarities proffered at the Jewish governor Kolomoisky. The terror is in Donetsk and Luhansk, and especially Slovjansk. We should think about these words of Winston Churchill: “The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists.”

Beyond Ukraine, there is Russia. Putin and his acolytes and the media at their service denounce at will the “fascist junta” and the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, while using in Ukraine mercenaries who often come from the far right [11]. And in Russia itself, the far right is doing well. Leave aside the Eurasian ideology of Alexander Dugin [12]. And even the past of some members of the government. In Russia, neo-Nazi groups operate in broad daylight and apparently unmolested, as shown in these photos of May 1, 2014 in Moscow [13]. Such events were also held in St. Petersburg and about twenty other cities.

Support of the European far right

And it is not only in Russia and Ukraine that the far right serves the interests of Greater Russia. For here is an interesting thing. Since Ukraine is supposed to have a fascist government and/or is terrorized by fascist or Nazi gangs, one would expect that the Ukrainian far right would receive support from its peers elsewhere in Europe. Not at all. Already at the time of the referendum in Crimea, the results were verified by observers who came essentially from the far right. They included representatives of the National Front (France), BZ and the FPÖ (Austria), Jobbik (Hungary), the Vlaams Belang (Flanders), the Northern League and Fiamma Tricolore (Italy) and Ataka (Bulgaria): all coordinated by the Belgian neo-Nazi Luc Michel. It goes without saying that their verification did not verify anything. In fact, there are a number of analyses of the reality of this referendum which challenge the incredible figures for the turnout (83.1 per cent) and for the “yes” vote (96.77 per cent).

The figures that are probably the most impressive come from the very official Council for Human Rights in Russia, which believes that although in the city of Sevastopol the overwhelming majority of voters were in favour of joining Russia (with a turnout of between 50 and 80 per cent), in Crimea proper the turnout was between 30 and 50 per cent, and only 50 to 60 per cent voted “for”. These figures were quickly removed from the Council website.

But the links between the Russian government and the European far right go well beyond such passing services. They are regular and structured links. Marine Le Pen, who has just evoked her satisfaction at the “shared values” espoused by Putin, is herself a regular visitor to Moscow. She was there in August 2013 and April 2014, and was received by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (formerly of the far-right party Rodina) and by the President of the Duma, Sergei Naryshkin. A key role in the relationship between the FN and the Russian regime is played by Aymeric Chauprade, advisor to Marine Le Pen on geopolitical issues and head of the FN list in Île-de-France in the European elections, in which he was elected to the European Parliament.

Jobbik leader Gabor Vona held a seminar at the State University of Moscow, at the invitation of Alexander Dugin. The leader of the Bulgarian far-right party Ataka, Volen Sidorov, launched the European campaign of his party in Moscow. Many more details on the relationship between the European extreme right and Moscow are provided by Anton Shekhovtsov [14]. In this article there is a list of far-right parties in Europe. Of these, thirteen are considered “committed” to Moscow (including, apart from those already mentioned, Golden Dawn in Greece, the British BNP and the German NDP), four as “open” (including Wilders’ PVV in the Netherlands), two as “neutral” and three as “hostile”. These are the Finnish, Latvian and Romanian parties.

“Ethnically Russian”

The support of the far right in Europe to Putin is in fact in no way surprising. First, on the ideological level, what there is not to like? There is the cult of the nation, and not just any nation: it is clearly an ethnic nationalism, based on blood ties. In Russian, there are two words for “Russian”: “Rossiyane”, which means Russian citizen or subject, “Russkiye” which means “ethnically Russian.” One can for example be a citizen of the Russian Federation, but not “Russkiye” and get slaughtered in Chechnya or lynched by a racist mob in Moscow. One can be resident of Ukraine, Latvia or Kazakhstan, and even a citizen of those countries, and be considered “Russkiye”, therefore qualify to be “protected” by Putin, or rather instrumentalised for his geopolitical projects. The Hungarian neo-Nazi party Jobbik particularly appreciates this vision of the nation.

Because in Hungary too, the Orban government willingly hands out passports to Hungarians from neighbouring countries, who are now able to vote in Hungary. Behind this generosity looms the shadow of the Greater Hungary that existed before 1920. Moreover, Jobbik says clearly that Crimea is Russian and Carpatho-Ukraine is Hungarian, as it was before 1920 and from 1939 to 1945.

Jobbik openly defends the idea of Greater Hungary, and what Jobbik says out loud, Orban thinks quietly. In fact, not so quietly as that. He now demands that Ukraine allows dual citizenship and grants “community rights” and the “right to self-government” to the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. Predictably, this “Putin doctrine” is already beginning to be emulated. It is a real can of worms that Putin has opened.

“The family, the nation, the divine”

To the ethnic conception of the nation can be added the erection of the authority of the state into a supreme value, the notion of an imposed national ideology, the repression of any dissent, control of the media, homophobic laws, the cult of the authoritarian leader, the right of strong countries to dominate weaker ones and a generally reactionary ideology which extols Christian values and the central role of the Orthodox Church,. This is reminiscent of the “Work, Family, Fatherland” of the Vichy regime. Or as Aymeric Chauprade puts it, “the family, the nation, the divine”. The Russian regime and its friends on the far right in Europe share many of these ideas. They could even share their indignation after Conchita Wurst’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.

In addition to ideology, there is a geopolitical aspect. In general, the European far right is anti-American and anti-EU. They need an alternative other than national autarky. The notion of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis is not exclusive to the far right, but it is very present there. Marine Le Pen in particular calls for it.

We obviously cannot exclude that there is financial support from Russia, without there being evidence of it so far. But the Hungarian authorities have begun an investigation into the financing of Jobbik. They have also requested the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of Jobbik MEP Béla Kovács, suspected of spying for Russia.

On the Russian side, the benefits are obvious. Contrary to his affirmed antifascism, Putin has absolutely no problem working with far-right parties from the moment that they are ready to defend his policy. This is what they do, very actively for some of them, on the Ukrainian question and, more widely, in defence of his Eurasian Union project. And as we know, the far right now has a bigger bloc in the European Parliament. This is good news for Putin.

Postscript

This article was written at the end of May and was first published in French on the site of the electronic journal Goosch(www.goosch.lu ), which is associated with the Luxembourg anti-capitalist party déi Lénk. I have made only a few stylistic changes to the English version. Much has happened in the last two months. In particular, the scale of Russian aid to the militias in terms of arms and fighters is clearly much greater than was obvious at the time. The number of civilian deaths has also unfortunately increased as the conflict has dragged on. None of that seems to me to change the basic premises of the article. MS

Footnotes

[1] Z. Popovych, “What happened in Odessa? Maidan, the government, the movement in the East,” http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spi…

[2] After the election of Petro Poroshenko to the presidency he was replaced, MS.

[3] Svoboda’s candidate in the presidential election of 25 May 2014, Oleh Tiahnybok, got 1.2% of votes cast. In the Kiev municipal elections the party got between 7 and 8 per cent

[4] http://euromaidanpr.com/2014/04/13/…

[5] According to the Russian NGO, SOVA, in Russia between 2004 and 2012, 509 people died as a result of racist attacks.

[6] The candidate of Pravy Sektor in the presidential election of 25 May 2014, Dmytro Yarosh, got 0.7% of the votes cast.

[7] The original in Russian: http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2014/… . English translation: http://euromaidanpr.com/2014/04/24/…

[8] Let us add that the current “Prime Minister” of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, Aleksander Borodai, was imported from Russia. He was (still is?) an agent of the FSB, as he explains in his interviews. Borodai is part of the Russian far right and is a cofounder of the “patriotic” “Djen-TV” channel. He was an “adviser” to the self-proclaimed government of Crimea, preparing the “official” annexation, then, after the “referendum” on May 11, he became” Prime Minister” in Donetsk.

[9] The original in Russian on the website of the Ukrainian Left Opposition: http://gaslo.info/?p=5211 . The English translation:http://peopleandnature.wordpress.co…

[10] “Banderite” comes from the name of Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – revolutionary fraction (OUN-R). In 1942, the OUN-R established the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which would conduct a guerrilla war against the German occupiers and against the Polish and Soviet partisans, then against the Soviet forces until 1953-1954. The UPA and the Polish partisans also engaged in mutual ethnic cleansing of Polish and Ukrainian populations in Western Ukraine, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. Initially allied with the Germans and organizer of two Ukrainian battalions of the Wehrmacht, Bandera supported the proclamation on June 30, 1941 in Lviv of a new Ukrainian state, unrecognized by Hitler. He was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp until September 1944, then released, the Germans trying – unsuccessfully – to integrate him into an “alliance” against the USSR. He was assassinated in 1959 in Munich by a KGB agent. In Russia and Poland the term “Banderite” is used by chauvinists as an insult against Ukrainians. In Western Ukraine – where the UPA had its strongest implantation – this term is on the contrary assumed by those who consider themselves nationalists. It is now often used by the militias in the East to designate all supporters of the present Ukrainian government

[11] See http://euromaidanpr.com/2014/05/17/…

[12] Alexander Dugin (born in 1962 in Moscow), began as a traditionalist and mystic dissident in the late 1970s. In 1993 he participated in the formation of the National Bolshevik Party, of which he became the ideologist and leader of its “conservative revolution” fraction. In 1997 he published Osnovy Geopolitiky (“The Foundations of Geopolitics”), a sort of treatise of Eurasian (or neo-Eurasian), ideology which had great success in Russian political and military circles. This ideology opposes the civilization that is “thalassocratic, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, capitalist in spirit” to “continental, Russian-Eurasian, Orthodox and Muslim” civilization. The West, where the sun sets, is supposed to represent decline and Eurasia is supposed to represent rebirth, the land of the gods, where the sun rises! Dugin became in 1998 an advisor to the President of the Duma and in 1999 Director of the Centre for Geopolitical Expertise (consultative body of the Duma); he writes and speaks regularly on websites of the Russian government and presents television programmes. In parallel, he created the Pan-Russian Social and Political Movement Eurasia, which became a political party in 2002, and the International Eurasian Movement. He influences Putin’s entourage and Putin himself has taken up “Eurasian” theses.

[13] These photos and others can be found on the blog of Anton Shekhovtsov, an academic who analyzes far right and racist movements in Central and Eastern Europe: http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.f… / Nazis-and-stalinists-thrive-on-may-1-in.html

[14] Anton Shekhovtsov “The Kremlin’s marriage of convenience with the European far right”: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-rus…

Originally published in: http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3479

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