Thursday, 20 February 2014

The West is supporting neo-nazis in Ukraine

The paramilitary funeral of neo-nazi activist Mykhail Zhiznevsky
THE TEMPORARY truce called for by the main opposition parties in Ukraine has been ignored by thousands of protesters who continue to attack police lines in Kiev with bricks, petrol bombs, home-made grenades and small arms fire. Many western news channels continue to repeat their claims that those protesting at Independence Square simply want 'democracy' and closer ties with the European Union, but the sustained violence shows that far-right and neo-nazi groups are firmly in control on the ground.

While many genuine protesters simply want closer integration with the EU and oppose alleged Government corruption, the far-right's growing influence in the protests cannot be ignored.

Recent footage from behind the barricades shows men in balaclavas and bullet-proof vests unloading rifles and pistols in the direction of police lines. Ten of the twenty-six people killed in the most recent clashes have been police officers, most executed with gunshots to the head. Rioters have also opened fire on Russian TV crews, while police have returned fire with live ammunition.

Slick propaganda campaigns on social media and vocal support from European and US leaders has glossed-over the motivations behind much of the violence. The fascist groups now firmly in control of the protests did not appear out of thin air. They have been active on the ground in Kiev for the duration of the 'EuroMaidan' protests, but the media and more moderate activists have chosen to ignore them – in a similar fashion to how the media and moderate opposition in Syria chose to ignore jihadists until it was too late.

The three main opposition parties in the Ukrainian Parliament have played a central role in the protests. The right-wing Batkivshchyna party, Vitali Klitschko's pro-EU Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and the racist Svoboda party have actively encouraged people to protest and come out onto the streets. Alongside them stand a smattering of far-right parties including a number of hardcore neo-nazi militant gangs such as Right Sector and White Hammer. The main parties do not seem interested in placing clear water between themselves and these fascists.

The leader of Right Sector, Aleksandr Muzychko, recently appeared on stage in Kiev brandishing an AK47. The radical nationalist previously served time in prison for gangsterism and fought alongside Chechen separatist forces in 1994, recently he has also pledged  to fight "Communists, Jews and Russians".
John McCain has shared a platform with right-wing leader Oleh Tyahnybok (pictured)
The protests have been given the seal of approval by US Senator John McCain who is sharing platforms with people like Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok. According to McCain these "brave men and women should know that they are not alone. Their friends across the world stand in solidarity with them."

McCain wasn't keen to emphasize that his stage-mate is well-known for giving anti-Russian and anti-Jewish speeches. He has previously claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" is running Ukraine and spoke of how "the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum" wanted to take away the Ukrainian state.

McCain, whose wife Cindy is a well-known LGBT rights spokesperson, also kept quiet about the fact that Svoboda politicians recently called for the banning of an LGBT march, saying "homosexuality provokes sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS".
Members of the 'Patriots of Ukraine' paramilitary group display the neo-nazi Wolfsangel Rune logo on their armbands
The surge of support for EuroMaidan from US politicians' has little to do with democracy. They want regime change and to see a pro-Western government in Russia's backyard, fully integrated into NATO. Hence US President Barack Obama's and NATO's threat to the Ukrainian military not to launch a counter-terrorism operation to recover 1,500 stolen firearms, now believed to be in the hands of far-right extremists.

Both Russia and the EU are using Ukraine as a play-thing in their Geo-political games. Both sides offered Ukraine an all or nothing deal - forcing the state to throw its lot in behind one side or the other. The deals are not to the benefit of the Ukrainian people.

Russia's has pleaded for:

 "Western countries to give up their accusatory attitude towards Ukraine’s incumbent leadership and stressed the importance of strongly condemning the opposition forces liable for organizing unlawful extremist and terrorist activities." 

It has fallen on deaf ears.
A protester points a revolver towards police lines in Kiev
Perhaps the epitome of the mainstream media's desire to ignore the reality of the involvement of the far right in EuroMaidan came when the coffin of 25-year-old Mykhail Zhiznevsky - shot dead by an unknown gunman during violent clashes in late January – was paraded through the streets of Kiev by men in military fatigues, their faces covered with balaclavas while some mourners waved flags bearing the symbol of a notorious neo-nazi group.

RTÉ and other broadcasters did not feel it was necessary to explain the context of the funeral. According to them Mykhail was simply a protester who had been killed. His membership of an extremely violent neo-nazi organisation known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukranian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) whose members have popped-up across eastern Europe fighting on behalf of death-squads and insurgent forces for the past twenty-five years was not deemed relevant.

And so the media – with a few notable exceptions - continues to peddle the half-truth as it unquestioningly pushes the agenda of the EU and US.

Tash Shifrin sums the entire situation up well:

"The real divide reflected in Euromaidan is that between two factions of the oligarchy that controls Ukraine: those whose interests lie with the EU and those who profit from alignment with Russia. Euromaidan is in effect a mass mobilisation behind the pro-EU faction of the ruling class."

A protester carries a pump-action shotgun on a Kiev barricade

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