“The People’s Front” – The Merging of Fascists and Liberal Democrats in Ukraine
September 13, 2014

On September 10th the founding congress of the “People’s Front” political party in the Ukraine was held. The new party is led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and speaker of the Rada, Oleksandr Turchynov. It also includes two current government ministers, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko. Other well known members are former National Security and Defense Council Secretary, Andriy Parubiy, and the former head of the National Anti-Corruption committee, Tetiana Chornovol. Both resigned from the current government in recent months. We will return to them later.

The new party has been viewed as a splinter of the Batkyvschyna party of former prime minister and oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko.

The first noteworthy thing about the new party is that media sources have suggested it is being funded by the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. Business News Europe for example states:

Oleh Lyashko’s success with his Radical Party is widely attributed to his backing by former head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkin and the TV channel Inter that Lyovochkin co-owns with gas oligarch Dmitry Firtash. Pundits say that Yatsenyuk has struck out on his own with People’s Front after being promised support by Firtash’ bitter rival, oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, owner of Ukraine’s largest bank Privat and one of Ukraine’s largest TV channels 1+1, and currently also governor of the wealthy Dnipropetrovsk*region. *Kolomoisky has funded volunteer battalions fighting in the east, commanders of which were present at the founding of People’s Front on September 10.

As the article notes, Kolomoisky is closely associated with the fascist paramilitary battalions.

Kolomoisky’s Dnipro Battalion “securing” a public building

His name has also cropped up with regards to the tragic events in the Trade Union Building in Odessa.

Interesting photos from the founding congress of the Peoples Front can be viewed here.

These photographs illustrate a second noteworthy thing about the party, namely the number of prominent paramilitary leaders who attended the launch. These have apparently been formed into a “military council”. Why a political party would require a military council is not readily understood.

The most significant of these leaders is Andriy Biletsky, the head of the “Azov” battalion, the most openly fascist of the paramilitary battalions. Biletsky is also the leader of the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine and it’s paramilitary wing Patriot of Ukraine. According to wiki:

The Patriot of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Патріо́т Украї́ни) is a Ukrainian nationalist organization with racist and neo-Nazi political beliefs. It constitutes a paramilitary wing of the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine (S.N.A.), an assemblage of neo-Nazi organizations and groups founded in 2008 that share the social-national ideology and agree upon building a social-national state in Ukraine. Both the “Patriot of Ukraine” and the S.N.A. engage in political violence against minorities and their political opponents. The leader of the “Patriot of Ukraine” and of the Social-National Assembly is Andriy Biletsky.

The political ideology of the SNA has been summed up by the analyst Anton Shekhovtsov as follows:

The SNA is a neo-Nazi movement, which has always been too extreme for the Right Sector. According to its official documents, its ‘nationalism is racial, social, great-power imperialist, anti-systemic (anti-democratic and anti-capitalist), self-sufficient, militant and uncompromising’. Its ideology ‘builds on maximalist attitudes, national and racial egoism,’ while glorifying the Ukrainian nation as part of the ‘White Race.’

At the time of the February coup Biletsky was languishing in jail along with other prominent Patriot of Ukraine members, Ihor Mykhailenko and Vitaliy Kniazhesky, for a gun attack on a prominent anti-fascist journalist Serhiy Kolesnyk. Within days the three (along with other imprisoned Nazis) were freed on foot of a special Rada bill.

Azov Battalion volunteers swearing in

The open incorporation of a Nazi like Biletsky into the party of Yatsenyuk and Turchynov shows that it is no longer possible to separate “liberal democrats” from fascists in the Ukraine. Any lines of distinction have now been blurred. Platforms are shared, political parties are shared, etc.

Launch of the People’s Front: Chornovyl and Yaatsenyuk, below party symbol

This can also be seen in the Radical Party of Lyashko’s which is tipped to gain anything up to 20% of the vote in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Lyashko has lured many SNA activists from the Right Sector in recent months and in the May 2014 Kyiv city council elections the following SNA members ran for the Radical Party: Oleh Odnorozhenko (SNA’s main ideologue), Ihor Mosychuk (second in command of the Azov), Ihor Kryvoruchko, and Volodymyr Shpara.

Establishment Politics in the Ukraine has moved sharply to the right. Extreme nationalism is now espoused by all the bourgeois parties. The Banderaite slogans “Hail Ukraine” and “Glory to the Heroes” are now main stream. Within this, however, there are various groupings representing different oligarchs, with differing connections to “western” imperialism and prepared to embrace far right extremism to differing degrees. Lyashko represents the oligarch Firtash, in the People’s Front we have linked Yatsenyuk (Washingto’ns man), the oligarch Kolomoisky and various paramilitary forces. Many of the Nazis in the Ukraine have recognised the collapse of barriers between themselves and “liberals” and availing of open doors have abandoned party building and moved into “mainstream” parties.

Aside from Andriy Biletsky and the other paramilitary leaders there are two other prominent individuals associated with the People’s Front which, to my mind, mark it as a clear and present danger to the Ukrainian working class. These are Andriy Parubiy and Tetiana Chornovol. Parubiy I described early this year during the Maidan protests as possibly the most dangerous individual in the Ukraine. He was the founder of the Social-National Party of the Ukraine (the forerunner of Svoboda) and is also a former leader of the Nazi paramilitary Patriot of Ukraine group. He left these organisations in 2004 to infiltrate the establishment parties. He was one of the main leaders of the “Orange Revolution” in 2004 and was a commander and in charge of “security” during the Maidan protests. His name has often appeared in discussions of the sniping attacks on the Maidan. After the coup he was appointed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council which oversaw the “ATO” against Eastern Ukraine. Chornovol, who is often described as an anti-corruption activist is also of the far right and cut her political teeth in the Nazi UNA-UNSO organisation which was notorious for sending fighters to the Transnistrian, Abkhaz and Cechen conflicts. Her husband, Nikolai Beryozovoi, was killed last month in the fighting in east Ukraine. Not surprisingly, he was a member of the openly fascist, Azov Battalion.

Both Parubiy and Chornovol resigned from the government recently. He refused to give a reason while she stated that no inroads were being made in tackling corruption. It is interesting, therefore, that both have seen fit to set up a new party with prominent members of the government. It is possibly because this party will be placed significantly to the right of the Poroshenko Bloc, as shown by Yatsenyuk’s recent attacks on cease fire initiatives, and who knows what plans US imperialism has for it and it’s “military council” if the situation the Ukraine continues to deteriorate.

Sam Lord 13 September 2014

More discussion on Ukraine at Politicalworld.org, our discussion forum

 

Yatsenyuk, Ukraine P.M., with Obama in the Oval Office, March 2014

Advertisements

Ukraine Has No Legitimate Claim to Crimea
March 13, 2014

What is the basis of the “west” insisting that Crimea is an integral part of the Ukraine? The peninsula has no historical association with any country known as The Ukraine (which only came into existence in 1991) and ethnic Ukrainians have never compromised anything like a majority of it’s population. (About 24% today which is probably the highest it has ever been). On the other hand the Crimean connection with Russia dates back over two hundred years to the time of Catherine the Great and it has a majority ethnic Russian population.

The basis of Ukraine’s claim to Crimea seems to be that the Crimean Oblast was transferred from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Khruschev in 1954. There are, however, a number of problematic things regarding this “gift”:

1. The people living in Crimea were not consulted in any way, shape or form.
2. The people of Russia were not consulted.
3. The transfer was subsequently tested in the Soviet Supreme Court and found to be unconstitutional.
4. It was not a transfer from one state to another but between two Republics of the Soviet Union.
Was this a reasonable basis for it being made part of a new independent Ukraine?
5. Sevastopol was not part of the Crimean Oblast but was administered directly from Moscow. Accordingly, it was never transferred.

Unfortunately, for the people of Crimea the early 90’s saw the Soviet Union presided over by the drunken lackey of the west Boris Yeltsin who was primarily concerned with breaking up the Union and distributing it’s assets to private individuals. Crimea should not have been permitted to go to the Ukraine but Yeltsin was more interested in appeasing the “west” than looking after the interests of Russia or Russians. The people of Crimea were left hanging out to dry.

The entire history of the peninsula from the breakup of the Soviet Union to the present time has been one of its residents demonstrating time and time again that they are not a natural part of the Ukraine and do not feel at home there. And while they have managed to secure some level of autonomy through struggle this has always been under threat from the Ukrainian government if not simply revoked. In 1995, for example, the Ukrainian parliament passed The Law of Ukraine on the Status of Crimea which simply abolished the Constitution of 1992 adopted by the Crimean Parliament (and which had been operational for three years) and the Crimean Presidency. Accept this or face our guns were the options given the Crimeans.

This Sunday the people of Crimea are being given an opportunity to state their view on what they wish their future to be. One option is to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Another is for greater autonomy within the Ukraine by reinstating the 1992 Constitution. The Ukrainian government and it’s western backers have stated that they will not accept the result of this referendum. Why is this? Should Crimea rejoin Russia will the Ukraine be losing some integral part of it’s territory that it has enjoyed for hundreds of years? No. Crimea only became part of the Ukrainian State in living memory, with the breakup of the Soviet Union (against the stated wishes of it’s people) in 1992. There is no historic legitimate basis of a Ukrainian claim to Crimea. Should the people of Crimea choose greater autonomy under the 1992 Crimea Constitution which was torn from them why should they not have this?

The conflict in Crimea is not an outcome of Russian irredentism as some would have us believe. It is because the people of the peninsula have been forced into a country the majority do not feel part of. Neither the ruling circles in the Ukraine nor it’s western backers have been willing to recognise their legitimate aspirations. The hypocrisy in this is outstanding. We are constantly told that it would be wrong to force a million protestants into a united Ireland but the British government has never had a problem with a million ethnic Russians being forced into the Ukraine against their will. Unfortunately, what determines the position of imperialist powers is their geo-political interests not the rights or wrongs of any particular situation. The “west” wants strategically important Crimea in the Ukraine and the Ukraine in NATO in pursuit of its global hegemony. How the people of Crimea may feel is not important to it.

Sam Lord     11 March 2014

Discussion on this and other related issues at Politicalworld.org’s Ukraine forum

 

 

Ukraine and Russia – Past and Future
March 7, 2014

If you want to understand Ukraine properly, an understanding of the Kievan Rus is necessary. Russia as an entity stems from the Kieven Rus which was an empire which stretched from the Black Sea and further to the Arctic. Kiev was a civilized city when Moscow was a backwater and St. Petersburg was a bog. Kiev is the birthplace of the modern Russian state. It is also the birthplace of the Orthodox Church and the three languages Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian. If you read only the history of the Lavra Percherska itself, you get an idea of why there is a strange relationship between Russians and Ukrainians. Russians have, believe it or not, an inferiority complex vis a vis Ukraine because of the whole “culture” thing stemming from the Kievan Rus.

Last Saturday, a friend was at home with her parents in Kharkov and she was shocked when 30 coachloads of Russian agitators were bussed into Kharkov from Belgorod in the neighbouring Russian Krasnodar province. They surrounded the Lenin statue in Kharkov’s Ploshody Svoboda (Freedom Square) and were drinking beer and vodka all day. Eventually they became very aggressive and hurled abuse and then bottles and bricks and so on at passing Ukrainians, men, women and children.

All Ukrainians in Kharkov speak Russian. ALL of them. And all of them are Ukrainian who do NOT want Russian in their country wearing uniforms. The Kremlin lie that these Russian speakers are in fear of their lives is bullshit. As my friend said to me, “you speak English but you certainly don’t feel English, do you?” And that is the point. Russian is spoken in a great many ex-Soviet republics by non-Russians. Sure, there are Russians in Ukraine, particularly in the east, but they are certainly not under threat from anyone. Even the Ukrainian nationalists in the west of Ukraine realize that many of their fellow Ukrainians are married to Russians in the east. The vast and overwhelming majority in mainland Ukraine (ex-Crimea) want to maintain Ukraine as a unitary state. This is true even in Donetsk. Even Rinat Atmekhov wants the Russians out and he used to “own” Yanukovich.

So it is against such a backdrop that Ukraine should be assessed in my opinion. The first thing the new government elected on May 25th should do is to veer away from any language legislation which downgrades Russian in any way. In fact, it should go the great lengths to stress all Ukrainians have equal rights and enshrine this inclusiveness in the constitution. The new foreign minister could help by visiting Russia first after his appointment and mending fences with Putin, Mededev, Lavrov etc. and assuring them that at this point in time, Ukraine will not join EU but will not be forced into any other “customs union” either. He/she must stress that unique nature of the bond with Russia and a willingness to strengthen that bond informally.

Ukraine must also sign an association agreement with the EU which gives it the same status as Switzerland and Norway, if it can. The foreign policy balancing act must be brought into a determination to pursue independence in its decision-making as a sovereign state.

Reforms are badly needed and reform of the police, the legal system and corruption laws are needed immediately. If it can hit the ground running in the summer, Ukraine could have a bright future. We are a long way away form the summer right now, though.

Slim Buddha   7th March 2014

More discussions on Ukraine politics and economy at Politicalworld.org

 

 

 

 

Welcome the new boss …. same as the old boss (with some fascist backbone added).
February 28, 2014

The interim government of the Ukraine has been passed and after the “revolution” we seem to have gone back in time to the days of Tymoshenko. Her party (Homeland) is very well represented and has the Prime Minister and one of the First Deputy Prime Ministers as well as several other positions. It should be remembered that in addition to this Turchynov of the same party is still interim president.

The position of the far right has been significantly strengthened. Svoboda has one of the two First Deputy Prime Minister positions as well as two other cabinet positions. It should be remembered that the interim Attorney General is also one of theirs. As well a significant position has been found for
Andriy Parubi. (Secretary of National Security and Defence Council).

This is the government:

Arseniy Yatseniuk – Prime Minister. Fatherland Party (Tymoshenko)
Washingtons choice. (Yats as Victoria Nuland calls him)
Was Minister of Economy from 2005 to 2006, Foreign Minister in 2007 and Chairman of the Parliament from 2007 to 2008.
(Irish readers will be interested to know that he is apparently a rank homophobe as he has stated his opposition to same sex marriages.. )

Other Fatherland Ministers:
Vitaliy Yarema – First Deputy Prime Minister
Former General and Chief of the Kiev police.
Pavlo Petrenko – Justice
Ostap Semerak – Minister of Cabinet of Ministers.
Arsen Avakov – Minister of the Interior
Armenian. Avoided corruption charges a few years back by going to Italy. Was placed on Interpols wanted list.
Maksim Burbak – Infrastructure Minister
Lyudmyla Denisova – Social Policy
Served as a Minister under Tymoshenko. Has faced corruption charges in past.

Fatherland connected (?):
Yury Prodan – Minister of Energy
Not sure of Party but he was Energy minister under Tymoshenko. Very controversial.
Reputed to be close to the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky.

Fascists:
Oleksandr Sych – Deputy Prime Minister. Svoboda.
Andriy Mokhnyk – Ecology Minister. Svoboda – Deputy Chair.
Ihor Shvaika – Agriculture. Svoboda
Serhiy Kvit – Minister for Education
Academic. Rector of University
Putting him here as I read that he has been a member of several far right organisations in the past.

Unsure of politics (other than being pro-west or against Russia):
Andriy Deshchytsia – Minister of Foreign Affairs .
Career Diplomat
Pavlo Sheremeta – Minister of Economy
Professional Economist. Previous connection with the Open Society Foundation established by George Soros.
Volodymyr Hroisman – Deputy Prime Minister on Regional Development.
Mysteryman. Nothing really in English about him on the internet other than being Mayor of the city of Vinnytsia in Central Ukraine. I think he may have been associated with Conscience of Ukraine, a defunct political party. I did come across a photo of him with the head of USAID, for what that is worth. Why he is a Minister I can’t say but apparently close to the oligarch Petro Poroshenko.
Yevhen Nishchuk – Minister of Culture
An actor. His qualification for the position seems to be that he MC of the stage in the square for the occupation.
Oleh Musiy -Minister of Health
A doctor. His qualification for the position seems to be that he was in charge of treating protesters
Dmytro Bulatov – Minister of Sports and Youth
Absolutely nothing on the internet about his background or qualifications. He was an organiser of car protests against the government and seems to have an NGO connection. Claimed to have been kidnapped during the protests by government forces (with Russians I think he said) and was tortured by being crucified … i.e. nailed to a door (though there were no wounds on his hands that would support that). There was a bit of one ear missing, however, which allowed him to appear at the press conference with his face covered in blood.
Ihor Tenyukh – Defence
Former Admiral.
Oleksandr Shlapak – Minister of Finance
In previous cabinets under Kuchma and Yushchenko. Was a witness for the prosecution against Tymoshenko. Has been described as another representative of the oligarch Kolomoisky.

I have also seen these announcements but I’m not sure if they are Cabinet positions:
Andriy Parubi – Secretary of National Security and Defence Council
Elected as a Fatherland deputy but one to watch carefully. Far Right. He founded the Svoboda party with Oleh Tyahnybok. Very dangerous man.

Tetyana Chornovol – Anti- Corruption Bureau
Campaigning journalist but has ultra-right background. She joined the UNA-UNSO (very Nazi) organization at the age of 17, and later began her media work there as a press secretary.

(Apologies for any inaccuracies in this. There have been a number of different lists and what with different spellings for names etc. it has been a bit of a chore pinning it all down.)

Sam Lord  27 February 2014

Discussion on developments in the Ukraine can be joined at Political World discussion forum

%d bloggers like this: