[Marxism] Extremism in South-Eastern Ukraine | openDemocracy

Louis Proyect 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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