In another worrying turn the Kyiv based Neo-Nazi organisation C14 in open collusion with the Police, has disrupted the remembrance event for two murdered journalists and beat up an innocent British youth in the area. Published below are two reports one from a Ukrainian social activist and another by the highly respected Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. John Cryer Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party has already raised in an Early Day Motion the serious problem of C14 hate crimes and their being made legitimate by BBC mis-reporting. The situation is now growing much worse with this terror group freely acting with the blessing of the Police.
January 19, 2009, journalist Anastasia Baburova (born in Crimea) and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov were killed in Moscow. The murderers were members of Russian far right organization BORN. This case has become the most resonant episode of neo-Nazi terror, which embraced Russia in the second half of the 2000s. The commemoration meetings are traditionally held on January 19th, and every year, this even is a potent irritant for the far right. But what is interesting is the solidarity of the far right radicals (even in the context of the war in eastern Ukraine).
Two years ago, Ukrainian and Russian far right demonstrated unity: they come together under the auspices of the Civil Corps of Azov to disrupt the rally in memory of Markelov and Baburova in Kyiv.
Famous Russian neo-Nazi Roman Zheleznov (code name “Zukhel”) yelled at the Ukrainian left in the very heart of Kyiv: “What do you have against the Russian soldiers who killed the Chechen scum?!” (Markelov’s name mostly came up in connection with the case of former Russian Army colonel Yuriy Budanov, who in 2000, abducted, raped, and killed a Chechen girl, Elza Kungayeva. Markelov represented the Kungayev family’s interests.)
After seizure of Ukraine’s Communist Party office in 2014, C14 found there a portrait of Lenin and added the Celtic cross – neo-Nazi symbol, forbidden in Germany and Italy.
This year, far right “operation” was more delicate. The anti-fascist rally was opposed by the C14 organization and its head Yevhen Karas, who actually lead the “operation.” Among the participants, we managed to identify representatives of far right organizations Revenge, Tradition and Order, UNA-UNSO, Misanthropic Division, football hooligans of Dynamo Kyiv, as well as Russian and Byelorussian neo-Nazis from FirstLine.
Their rhetoric was as follows: in the annual commemorative rallies of January 19, held until 2014, representatives of left Borotba organization, part of whose members supported separatists in 2014, took part. Consequently, the present action, under the logic of ultra-right, was “separatist” one. The rally participants were surrounded by the police cordon on Mykhailivska square, the far right threw eggs and snowballs, and threatened the members of the action with physical harassment. Their patriotic rhetoric camouflaged the true reason for disrupting the commemorative meeting – the so-called “anti-antifa,” the slogan and the principle by which the far right fight against anti-fascist and left-wing activism. The neo-Nazi nature of those who disrupted the action could not be concealed: these “fighters with separatism” gave the Hitler salute, shouted “Sieg Heil! Rudolf Heß!” On the same day, in other parts of Kyiv, the far right flied a banner calling for political assassinations. After the action on Mykhailivska square, Yevhen Karas streamed an online video, in which he confessed that his organization was involved in the armed attack against student Stanislav Sergienko in 2016.
Inscription in Russian: “Place of antifa scum is under the sod” [soil]
January 20, some media reported that the 23-year old UK citizen, Liam Anthony Tong, has been attacked almost on the spot of our rally. “So, I was in the Centre of Kiev (Ukraine) at 2pm in the bright daytime, walking towards a park, by some traffic lights this gang of 3 Teenagers/Young-Adults, threw a snowball at me and then kicked my suitcase for no reason, I thought it was just some stupid people, so I carried on walking and ignored them. About 60/75 seconds later, as I was about to turn a curve in the road by the park, one of the group of people ran over towards me and pushed me with a large force to the ground instantly, then whilst I lay there confused (From the sudden attack) 2 or 3 of them continued beating me for maybe 10..12 seconds, before they finally stopped. I got up and noticed the floor was covered in thankfully not thick, but blood everywhere, the snow had turned quite red with my blood. I turned to the side and the gang just stood and laughed before running off…” he wrote on his Facebook. Of course, there is no evidence that his attackers were representatives of far right organizations, but around 2 pm the rally came to an end, and there were at least 50 far right activists on the square, where the attack happened. This British tourist was attacked because of his dyed hair, which, according to the Ukrainian Nazis, is a sign of homosexuality.
Unfortunately, the actions of the police, which guarded the rally on January 19, give rise to sad reflections. The police has unreasonably detained 8 organizers of the meeting before the very event, and far right helped the police during the detention.
Because of this, the participants of the action were left without a megaphone, and this gave the neo-Nazis an additional advantage. When the detained organizers of the meeting were released from the police station, a group of far right has waylaid them, already waiting outside. So someone had to tell them in precisely which police station the detained organizers were kept. Police officers, who were on Mykhailivska square on January 19, 2018, were headed by Vadym Humen, a corrupt officer who participated in the surveillance and kidnapping of protesters during Maidan. The whole situation resembles the events on October 14, 2017, when activists from the left Autonomous Resistance organization were arrested by the law enforcers, and the police acted on a preliminary agreement with the local far right.
UKRAINIAN POLICE DISTURBINGLY PASSIVE DURING FAR-RIGHT ATTACK ON KYIV GATHERING IN MEMORY OF MARKELOV & BABUROVA
Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
A planned remembrance gathering on January 19 in honour of slain Sevastopol journalist Anastasia Baburova and Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov was disrupted on January 19 by thugs from the far-right C14 group. Civic activists monitoring the police officers’ failure to protect people at a peaceful gathering believe that their behaviour indicates disturbing bias.
Markelov and Baburova were murdered in the centre of Moscow on January 19, 2009, with members of the neo-Nazi ‘Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists’, or BORN later convicted of the killings. The Ukrainian C14’s attempts to deny their neo-Nazi leanings are not made any more credible by their aggression against Ukrainians honouring two committed rights defenders and enemies of bigotry. The claims made by C14 leader Yevhen Karas and his cronies that those they attack are ‘separatists’ and Russian supporters are totally baseless.
This is not the first time that people attending the annual remembrance events have faced counter-demonstrations by members of the far-right, but this one was more extreme, and the numbers high.
The C14 young men, many with hoods on and masking their face, turned up on St Michael’s Square before the meeting was to take place, and started shouting abuse. They also hurled an egg at Volodymyr Chemerys, one of the organizers. Although there was no physical attack as such, the aggression prompted the organizers to decide that the gathering would not take place.
Chemerys asserts that, as well as the C14 thugs, there were also Russian and Belarusian neo-Nazis present and that they acted in coordination with the police.
It is certainly highly disturbing that the only people detained were eight people who had come to take part in the remembrance event.
Members of OZON, a civic initiative monitoring peaceful gatherings, report that the police officers took no real measures to ensure the safety of participants in the remembrance gathering. “Instead, even before the beginning of the action, they resorted to unlawful detentions of participants without any explanation. They later tried to mask these as so-called ‘invitations’ [to the police station]”. There was no reaction at all to the unacceptable hooliganism by C14 activists.
It should be stressed that there was nothing unexpected about the far-right activities. On January 18, Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovska had even publicly called on the Head of the National Police Serhiy Knyazev to ensure the safety of participants in the remembrance meeting. This, she stressed, needed to be during the gathering, and after it.
While there is no clear proof that the three louts who physically attacked and injured a young Briton Liam Anthony Tong on St. Sophia Square on Friday afternoon were from the far-right groups, it is hard to see it as coincidence. The young man notes himself that he had a hood on (concealing his brightly-coloured hair), but had facial piercings which would make him a fairly typical target for far-right thugs.
Lutkovska’s call was totally ignored, as was the request from the organizers of the remembrance gathering to ensure that a cordon was kept between participants in their meeting and in the counter-meeting of their opponents.
OZON notes that the failure to act was not explained by a lack of police officers. There were enough special purpose regiment police, as well as members of the National Guard present.
OZON members asked how many activists had been detained, and where they had been taken but were told by officers that they didn’t know. One of the people detained later wrote that he had been held in the Shevchenkivsky District Police Station where the officers had shown bias, claiming that they had previously taken part in ‘pro-Russian protests’. This is the line taken by C14, but appears to be part of their general tendency to treat all those whom they don’t like as ‘left-wing’, ‘separatist’ and ‘pro-Russian’.
In a statement issued on January 20, the Centre for Civil Liberties said that the police behaviour on 19 January suggests “not only a low professional level of the police corps, deployed to protect the safety of members of a peaceful gathering, but also their likely prejudiced attitude to participants of a remembrance gathering which, in view of the citizenship of the slain victims could be viewed as ‘pro-Russian’.
Any such discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable. The authors stress that failure by the police to carry out their positive duty to protect peaceful gatherings is in violation of Ukrainian legislation and international standards. They demand an internal enquiry to establish what went wrong.
Stanislav [Stas] Markelov was committed to defending those whose rights were being abused – in Chechnya, by the police, as well as by neo-Nazi nationalists and others. The 34-year-old who was married with two small children was shot while walking away from a press conference where he was representing the family of Ella Kungaeva, the 18-year-old Chechen girl raped and murdered by Russian colonel Yury Budanov.
25-year-old Nastya Barburova was originally from Sevastopol in Crimea but had been studying in Moscow and had just begun working for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. While sharing the same anti-fascist views as Markelov, she was with them because she had just taken an interview, where Markelov spoke of the problem of impunity from punishment for war comes, the actions of Russian military forces against civilians during the second war in Chechnya, and about Budanov’s crimes and the difficulty of getting him prosecuted.