[Marxism] Extremism in South-Eastern Ukraine | openDemocracy
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 16 06:56:07 MDT 2014
Before the Euromaidan protests, only researchers of the Ukrainian far
right knew about the anti-Semitic sentiments of the pro-Russian
extremists; by January 2014, they were attracting the attention of the
wider public too. At that time the Facebook fan page of the Berkut
special police force, the main security pillar of Yanukovych’s regime,
was revealed to be full of anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic content.
Specifically, subscribers to the Berkut fan page discussed, through
images and posts, ‘the Jewish roots and connections’ of opposition
leaders, as well as exploring the ‘collaboration’ of Jews with the Third
Reich. The scandal pushed Eleonora Groisman, chairperson of the
All-Ukrainian NGO ‘Ukrainian Independent Council of Jewish Women’, to
send an open letter to Yanukovych and Minister of Internal Affairs
Vitaliy Zakharchenko expressing her outrage at the extremist content.
Much of this content is still available, and concerned readers can still
see the seemingly non-conflicting mixture of racist, anti-Semitic, Nazi,
Russian, Soviet and Stalinist propaganda on the Facebook fan page of Berkut.
Russia has supported nationalist extremists in South-Eastern Ukraine
since the 1990s, but recently the support has become more active
This scandal was far from being an isolated anti-Semitic episode
involving the Ukrainian police under Yanukovych. In February 2014, the
website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs accused Maidan activists of
shooting at police and Berkut, featuring a video called ‘Kike [Zhid] MP
Stepan Pashinskiy taking a sniper rifle out from Maidan’.
In March, during the post-Yanukovych Anti-Maidan demonstrations in
Luhansk, anti-Semitism even played a mobilising role in inciting people
to turn against the interim government in Kyiv. On one particular
occasion, an activist speaking at an Anti-Maidan meeting declared: ‘Yes,
a nationalist coup has taken place in the state, but we need to
understand what nation is behind it. Let’s look at those who have come
to power. Tymoshenko-Kapitelman, Tyahnybok-Frontman, Yatsenyuk – a Jew.
This is a Zionist coup, all [go] to Kyiv!’ The crowd started to yell
‘Kikes!’ At the same time, this Anti-Maidan meeting was presented as
‘anti-fascist.’ This is hardly a paradox: the anti-Semitic narrative of
some elements of Anti-Maidan implies that Jews are ‘fascists’, so
anti-Semitism is interpreted as anti-fascism. Numerous demotivational
posters associating the Jews with Ukrainian ultranationalists are
flooding the web-sites of Anti-Maidan activists.
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