Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Win Senior Government Posts, They Are the Anti-Russian
By Elizabeth Kendal/Assist News On March 7, 2014
A 1999 photo shows Svoboda's earlier political "Social-National Party" incarnation, replete with Nazi symbols
Svoboda -- formerly known as the Social National Party of Ukraine -- is an anti-Russian, anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi party. In the 2012 elections, it gained ten percent of the vote and secured 37 parliamentary seats. Svoboda rose to play a prominent, leading role in the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. The Svoboda flag uses the colours of the Ukrainian flag: blue with a yellow three-finger salute.
Established in 2013, the Right Sector is an umbrella organisation bringing together a number of ultra-nationalist paramilitary groups, including the Patriots of Ukraine, Trizub, SNA, UNA-UNSO and White Hammer. Many of these hardline nationalist street fighters have been training for armed revolution in Ukraine for years.
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The paramilitary known as Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) dress in uniforms modelled on Hitler's Waffen SS and have been fighting Russia for years, including in Chechnya.
Oleksandr Sych: appointed Deputy Prime Minister. Sych is a member of Svoboda Party.
Andriy Parubiy: appointed Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council. Parubiy founded the Social National Party of Ukraine [the symbol of which was the neo-Nazi wolfsangel] which went on to become Svoboda. Parubiy will oversee national security.
Dmytro Yarosh: appointed Deputy Secretary of National Security. Yarosh leads the Right Sector and served as "security commandant" during the Euromaidan protests.
Dmytro Bulatov: appointed Minster for Youth and Sports. Bulatov is reportedly connected to UNA-UNSO.
Tetyana Chernovol: appointed chair of the government's anti-corruption committee. An activist journalist, Chernovol is reportedly connected to UNA-UNSO.
Andriy Mokhnyk: appointed Minister for Ecology. Mokhnyk is the deputy head of Svoboda.
Ihor Shvaika: appointed Minister for Agriculture. Shvaika is a member of Svoboda.
Oleh Makhnitsky: appointed acting prosecutor general. Makhnitsky is a member of Svoboda.
First post-revolution legislative action
The new parliament's first post-revolution legislative action was to repeal the law "On State Language Policy" -- a law passed in 2012 that allowed the use of "regional languages", including Russian, Hungarian, Romanian and Tatar, in courts and certain government functions in areas of the country where such speakers constituted at least 10 percent of the population. Thirteen out of Ukraine's 27 regions, primarily in Eastern Ukraine, subsequently adopted Russian as a second official language, while two western regions introduced Romanian and Hungarian as official languages. The annulment, which left Ukrainian as the only official language of Ukraine, was a direct attack on the cultural and linguistic rights of the Russian-speaking minority. After the European Parliament protested, demanding the new Ukrainian regime respect the rights of minorities. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov (a Baptist) subsequently vetoed the repeal, but the episode sent alarm bells rings through the ethnic minorities.
Further to this, moves are afoot to overturn a law that forbids "denying or excusing the crimes of fascism".
As noted in the earlier post, some 1.7 million Jews were shot in Ukraine during WWII under supervision of the Nazis. In 2010, Ukraine's then US-backed President Viktor Yushchenko pronounced World War II-era nationalist leader Stepan Bandera a national hero. (Bandera was an ally of Nazi Germany whose followers participated in massacres of Ukrainian Jews.) And on 1 Jan 2014, some 1500 Euromaidan protesters marched in a Svoboda-run torchlight procession in honour of Bandera. Click HERE for a very disturbing photograph -- disturbing because the Bandera-honouring, Svoboda flag-bearing marchers are not scary skinheads; they are families and priests. (NB: The red and black flag represents an ultra-nationalist paramilitary.)
Meanwhile, as if totally blind and brain dead, the Russophobic Western media just brushes off talk of neo-Nazis and rising anti-Semitism as scaremongering and propaganda.
But as extremism expert Pers Anders Rudling notes, "It doesn't help Ukraine to be selective and ignore this problem."