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January 31, 2014
January 31, 2014

Ukraine: What the West should know about the Euromaidan’s far right element

Source: Anton Shekhovtsov's blog  Category: Protest
This article is also available in: deel
Ukraine: What the West should know about the Euromaidan’s far right element

Many in the West, are asking questions about the involvement of the Ukrainian ultranationalists in the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv. Some allegedly left-wing web-sites, such as the World Socialist Web Site, publish blatant lies about the Euromaidan protests and the role that the far right is playing in them. These web-sites are trying to appease Russian imperialists who are doing everything they can to deprive Ukraine of its already weakened independence.

At the moment, there are two things that the West should understand about the Ukrainian ultranationalists in the context of Euromaidan.

1. As I wrote before, in the article “The Ukrainian revolution is European and national“, Euromaidan is, among other things, a national revolution against the Kremlin’s imperialism and a nationalist uprising against Russia’s destructive influence on Ukraine. The major share of support for the Ukrainian far right comes from those citizens who do not share far right views but urge for Ukraine’s true independence. This means that it will only be possible to neutralise the far right after Ukraine gains national independence. The far right is being fuelled by the constant threat to the Ukrainian statehood rather than the alleged growth of extreme right views in the Ukrainian society. As Roger Griffin wrote in his Modernism and Fascism, the rise of fascism may occur, in particular, due to  “occupation, colonization, or acts of aggression inflicted on [a society] by other societies” (p. 104). Thus, a fight against fascism in Ukraine should always be synonymous with the fight against the attempts to colonise the country. Those who separate these two issues or crack down on the Ukrainian far right without recognising the urgent need for national independence will never be successful in their attempts to neutralise the far right. Moreover, they can make the situation worse.

Ultranationalist and anarchist symbols side by side on the battlefield

2. While the Ukrainian far right has indeed endorsed and used violence against Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt authoritarian regime and the brutal police who abuse and torture protesters, they are not the only violent force of Euromaidan. They are joined by many Ukrainian left-wingers and democrats who have become radicalised as a result of the lack of progress of non-violent resistance to the country’s slipping into an outright dicatorship. The majority of the protesters who take to Kyiv’s dead cold streets are tired of Yanukovych’s cynical disregard of their demands and outraged about the police brutality. Their radicalisation is a sad response to the regime’s policies and actions which gave an impetus to a non-aggression pact between the Ukrainian far left and far right who are now on the same side of the barricades. Those commentators who associate violence at Euromaidan exclusively with the far right are downplaying the causes of the radicalisation of the Euromaidan protests and – willingly or unwillingly – exonerating Yanukovych’s authoritarian regime.

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  1. Catherine 2014/02/11 at 20:34

    However we see how here how the liberals from NGO’s try to save from criticism neonazi-led protests in Ukraine. We have a tug of war between US and Russia forcing Ukraine to neoliberalglobalisation with the help of far-right paramilitaries on both sides. Some anarchists who tried to join the protests in Maidan were brutally expelled by far-righters. Some trade-unionists were beaten. At the same time the so called ‘experts’ try to save the image of neonazis.
    Even Bloomeberg recognizes the leading role of far-righters) “”At the heart of the violence is Pravyi Sektor, an umbrella group uniting nationalist organizations. They include Tryzub, which aims to foster an independent Ukraine free of foreign influence. Bely Molot, or White Hammer, opposes mass immigration and bases its ideology on Stepan Bandera, who fought alongside Nazi Germany… Buoyed by its protest role, Pravyi Sektor may also enter politics, according to Yarosh. That would fit into trends across Europe as recessions have stoked support for anti-immigrant and far-right parties. A backlash over austerity propelled Greece’s Golden Dawn from obscurity to third place in polls. In some ways, Ukraine’s situation is comparable”

  2. Sofia 2014/02/14 at 17:03

    I would recommend you to have a look also in the article of Vyacheslav Likhachev on Antisemitism and the Ukrainian Political Crisis.

  3. Analisis 2014/02/23 at 15:52

    You say that is a revolution against the Kremlin imperialism. Ok, what about the UE neoliberalism? Is that diferent?
    I think that you can’t separate your ideology and your acts, so you can’t defend a revolution that is plagued by lots of fascist acts like rusian and left-wing persecusion, the militarization of milicias, burning books, etc…
    I recomend you Sofia to read about the Spanish revolution in 1936, when anarkists believe in doing the social revolution at the same time of fighting the war, and how comunist and their authoritarism kills the anarkist revolution and their milicias.

    Well, I think maybe Ukrania goes in the same way, but diferent actors…

    PD: My english is weak sorry if I can’t explain clearely.

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