Περί Ουκρανίας


Mod Almighty
Staff member
Ευτυχώς, εδώ ενημερωνόμαστε και από τα έγκυρα τηλεοπτικά κανάλια μας, που μας έδειξαν το βίντεο ξανά και ξανά.
Προσωπικά, θα εξαιρούσα το Μέγκα. Το ακούς και είναι λες και ακούς ράδιο Μόσχα.
Puppet Prosecutor threatens to dissolve Crimean Tatar Mejlis
05.05.14 | Halya Coynash (Human Rigths in Ukraine - Harkiv Human Rights Protection)

On May 3 around 50 Russian OMON riot police were deployed to prevent renowned Crimean Tatar leader, Mustafa Jemiliev [ΣΣ: Wikipedia] from entering the Crimea. Later that day the so-called Crimean prosecutor announced that she was seeking to have criminal proceedings initiated against Crimean Tatars involved in the ensuing peaceful protest. She called the protest “public actions of an extremist nature” and threatened to dissolve the Crimean Tatars’ representative body, the Mejlis. Peaceful protesters have also received court summonses on administrative charges.

It remains unclear whether Russia and its puppet government in the Crimea are deliberately provoking conflict with the Crimean Tatars, or whether the authorities under former KGB boss Vladimir Putin simply cannot function in any other way. What is unquestionable, however, is that silence from the EU, USA, OSCE and other international players is unacceptable.

As reported, Jemiliev first learned of the five-year ban on April 22. The very next day the Kremlin’s propaganda channel Russia Today quoted both Crimean and Russian officials as denying any such ban. The lie became clear on May 2 when Jemeliev was prevented from flying to the Crimea from Moscow and forced to return to Kyiv.

The ban is an appalling affront to Jemiliev and the Crimean Tatars. By Friday evening the Mejlis had decided to cancel all events marking a Crimean Tatar festival on Saturday. It invited Crimean Tatars to come and greet Mustafa Jemiliev at Armyansk, on the border between the Crimea and the Kherson oblast.

Around five thousand people arrived in approximately one thousand cars. They formed a live corridor for the 70-year-old veteran Crimean Tatar rights defender who is also a long-standing Ukrainian MP. The acting Crimean interior minister Sergei Abizov also turned up and stated that Jemiliev would not be allowed in. This was then demonstrated through the deployment of OMON and Crimean “self-defence” vigilantes.

Every reason and none

Mustafa Jemiliev is a former Soviet political prisoner. His commitment to non-violent defence of the right of the Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland and to human rights in general allied him with Andrei Sakharov, Petro Grigorenko and others. It made him an enemy of the Soviet regime, and it is galling that 35 years on, and just months after Russia annexed the Crimea, the Russian Federation should be treating him in similar vein.

Despite assurances that the rights of the Crimean Tatars would be protected and attempts to woo them with various promises, the authorities installed under Russian occupation are now resorting to direct repression.

Natalya Poklonskaya, the prosecutor installed following Russian intervention, has issued a formal warning to the head of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov about supposed “extremist activities”. She refused to read the warning in the Crimean Tatar or Ukrainian language and did not provide a copy of it, even though it can supposedly be appealed through the courts. A recording can be heard here.

Poklonskaya states that “if the Mejlis does not stop its extremist activities. … it will be dissolved and prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation.” On May 3 she announced that she was sending the Russian Investigative Committee and FSB [Security Service] documents initiating criminal proceedings over what she termed “unlawful public protests of an extremist nature”.

These actions, as well as several summonses on administrative charges relate to the peaceful protests on the road from Armyansk to Simferopol and in various cities. The roads were briefly blocked in protest at the ban on Mustafa Jemiliev, however the decision was then taken that Jemiliev would return to Kyiv mainly in order to avoid any risk of physical confrontation.

Manufacturing extremism

Former president Viktor Yanukovych had many attempts made to diminish the Mejlis’ influence, but even he stopped short of threatening to dissolve it. The newly ensconced authorities in the Crimea have clearly understood that in Putin’s Russia “extremism” can be understood very loosely.

It is being used, the Russian Human Rights Council warns to turn Islam “from a religion into a protest ideology”. The movement Hizb-ut-Takhrir which is banned as extremist in Russia has never been prohibited in Ukraine, yet a community linked with it is now coming under serious pressure.

Ihor Semyvolos, Director of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Middle East Studies has warned of mass conflict if Jemiliev is not allowed into the Crimea on May 18, the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People. This can only lead to an increase in radicalism among Crimean Tatars, which will in turn annoy Russian nationalists and could cause clashes.

Since Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğanr has promised to ask Putin to get the ban on Jemiliev’s entry lifted, Semyvolos suggests that Russia might agree, but see this as a defeat and expect loyalty from the Mejlis in return. They might demand that the ceremonies on May 18 went according to a Russian scenario. Semyvolos does not believe the Mejlis would agree to this. A third option would be a kind of compromise with Jemiliev being allowed in and the Crimean Tatars avoiding “radical slogans and Ukrainian flags”.

Following the aggressive moves made against the Mejlis and peaceful protesters, compromise is already difficult. It is likely that the final trigger prompting the imposition of the ban on Jemiliev was the reinstatement of the Ukrainian flag over the Mejlis following his arrival in Simferopol on April 19. The demand for any such compromise is surely unacceptable. The Crimean Tatars did not ask for their homeland to be annexed and they have every right to retain their allegiance to Ukraine.

Over recent years, international bodies, including the OSCE, have actively called for dialogue and measures aimed at resolving the problems faced by the Crimean Tatar People. If it was difficult to find any excuse for the west’s weak response to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, it is simply impossible to understand silence in the face now of overtly repressive measures against the Crimean Tatars.


Ένα ενδιαφέρον κείμενο για την Ουκρανία, σε ευρύτερη γεωπολιτική προοπτική, από το τελευταίο τεύχος του περιοδικού Sarajevo (το οποίο παρακολουθεί εδώ και μήνες τις εξελίξεις με κείμενα και σχόλια: βλ. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, με αντίστροφη σειρά, από το πιο πρόσφατο στο παλιότερο). Αντιγράφω το πρώτο του μισό από εδώ:

λίγα νεώτερα απ’ το ουκρανικό μέτωπο

Θα αρχίσουμε ανάποδα, διακινδυνεύοντας μια εκτίμηση: η Ουάσιγκτον, που προσπαθεί να εφαρμόσει και στην ουκρανία την άλλου πετυχημένη (για τα συμφέροντά της) τακτική της καμμένης γης, κινδυνεύει να εγκλωβιστεί σε ένα ορισμένο αδιέξοδο. Τα μέσα της είναι εκ των πραγμάτων περιορισμένα: παραστρατιωτικά και οικονομικά. Απέναντι, όμως, στις κινήσεις της Μόσχας η Ουάσιγκτον έχει το μειονέκτημα ότι δεν είναι καθόλου εύκολο να αναδιπλωθεί, χωρίς να μεταφραστεί η αναδίπλωση σε ήττα. Το καθεστώς Πούτιν δείχνει να έχει μεγαλύτερη ποικιλία στόχων, άμεσων, μεσοπρόθεσμων, μακροπρόθεσμων· και μ’ αυτή την έννοια μεγαλύτερη γκάμα ελιγμών.

Ας δούμε ορισμένα δεδομένα.

big in japan

Τις ίδιες ημέρες που ο αμερικάνος αντιπρόεδρος Μπάιντεν πετούσε στο Κίεβο, για να ενθαρρύνει τους αδύναμους πραξικοπηματίες, ο αμερικανός πρόεδρος Ομπάμα ετοίμαζε τις βαλίστες του για μια μίνι περιοδεία στην ανατολική ασία. Η δηλωμένη προτεραιότητα του αμερικανικού ιμπεριαλισμού στον ειρηνικό δεν είναι αδικαιολόγητη. Στις φιλιππίνες (και στην αυστραλία, και αλλού) το αμερικανικό πεντάγωνο μεγαλώνει και εμπλουτίζει τις βάσεις του, προσπαθώντας να παίξει ένα πολιτικό / διπλωματικό “παιχνίδι” αποτροπής της δηλωμένης πρόθεσης του Πεκίνου να απλώσει την επιρροή του στη θάλασσα, και μέσω θαλάσσης.

Η μικρή (μεν αλλά με μεγάλες συνέπειες) κλιμάκωση των αμερικανικών προσπαθειών να κρατήσουν το Πεκίνο μακριά απ’ τους συμμάχους τους, ήρθε στις 24 Απρίλη, όταν ο Ομπάμα δήλωσε ότι η υπεράσπιση της ιαπωνικής δικαιοδοσίας πάνω στις νησίδες Sudoku (Diaoyu για το Πεκίνο) εμπίπτει στις αρμοδιότητες της αμερικανικής στρατιωτικής συμμαχίας με το Τόκιο. Θυμίζουμε ότι οι συγκεκριμένες βραχονησίδες αποτελούν αντικείμενο (κατά καιρούς) θερμών αντιπαραθέσεων μεταξύ του κινεζικού και του ιαπωνικού ιμπεριαλισμού, με τον πρώτο να έχει τα περισσότερα ιστορικά επιχειρήματα ιδιοκτησίας.
Η δήλωση του Ομπάμα έγινε στη διάρκεια κοινής συνέντευξης τύπου με τον ιάπωνα πρωθυπουργό Σίνζο Άμπε· πρόκειται για τον επικεφαλής της πιο “δεξιάς” και μιλιταριστικής ιαπωνικής κυβέρνησης μετά τον β παγκόσμιο πόλεμο. Το γεγονός ότι, στην ίδια δήλωση, ο Ομπάμα πρόσθεσε ότι οι ηπα δεν παίρνουν θέση πάνω στην κυριότητα των νησίδων ήταν, απλά, η ηχώ μιας πολύ φτηνής προσπάθειας να κατευναστούν οι άμεσες αντιδράσεις του κινεζικού καθεστώτος [1]: όλοι ξέρουν τι βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη στην ανατολική ασία· επιπλέον το Πεκίνο δεν περιλαμβανόταν στο προεδρικό tour, που “περιορίστηκε” στην ιαπωνία, τη νότια κορέα, τη μαλαισία και τις φιλιππίνες.

Φυσικά, δηλώνοντας ότι ο αμερικανικός στρατός “εγγυάται” τις ιαπωνικές αξιώσεις επί των συγκεκριμένων βραχονησίδων, ο Ομπάμα απευθυνόταν σε πολλούς περισσότερους: αμφισβητήσεις και διεκδικήσεις βραχονησίδων στην ευρύτερη περιοχή είναι πολλές, και σε αρκετές το Πεκίνο είναι η μία πλευρά. Επιπλέον, διάφορες “φιλοαμερικανικές” κυβερνήσεις στην περιοχή διαμαρτύρονται ότι οι ηπα “δεν κάνουν αρκετά” για να τις υποστηρίξουν... Και η αλήθεια είναι ότι ενώ η Ουάσιγκτον έχει κάθε συμφέρον να αντιμετωπίζει όσους δηλώνουν αντι-κινέζοι σαν ενιαίο μπλοκ, υπάρχουν εσωτερικές αντιθέσεις στην ανατολική ασία, όταν τα ζητήματα δεν αφορούν το Πεκίνο. Για παράδειγμα η οικονομική / εμπορική “trans-pasific partnership” (ζώνη ελεύθερου εμπορίου) που προωθεί η Ουάσιγκτον σκοντάφτει (και) στον ιαπωνικό καπιταλισμό και στα συμφέροντά του. Το Τόκιο δεν θέλει να “απελευθερώσει” την εσωτερική του αγορά, καταργώντας διάφορους δασμούς στις εισαγωγές.

Η απάντηση του Πεκίνου, στις επίσημες και ανεπίσημες εκδοχές της, ήταν το πνεύματος: να μην ανακατεύεται η Ουάσιγκτον στις διακρατικές διαφωνίες της περιοχής· και, επιπλέον, να μαζέψει τον αντι-σινισμό της. Φυσικά αυτά είναι λόγια. Και η ένταση παραμένει ως τώρα χαμηλή. Αλλά η μεθόδευση (και τα όποια προβλήματα) της αμερικανικής ηγεμονίας στο μέτωπο που θεωρεί το κυριότερο είναι εκεί.

Υπ’ αυτό το πρίσμα μπορεί να (ξανα)δει κανείς την επέμβαση της Ουάσιγκτον στην ουκρανία, στην προοριζόμενη “γέφυρα” μεταξύ Μόσχας και ευρώπης· Βερολίνου και συμμάχων. Την στρατηγική συμμαχία Μόσχας - Πεκίνου η Ουάσιγκτον δεν μπορεί να την σπάσει. Τι θα συνέβαινε όμως εάν αυτός ο άξονας συμπληρωνόταν με ευρωπαϊκή συμμετοχή;

Συνεπώς, ενόσω ο αμερικανικός ιμπεριαλισμός προσπαθεί να περιορίσει τον κινεζικό στον ειρηνικό, έχει ανοίξει ένα δεύτερο μέτωπο στον αρμό του ρωσικού και του ευρωπαϊκού. Σε πρώτη φάση το σχέδιο δούλεψε: χρηματοδοτώντας και εκπαιδεύοντας μερικές εκατοντάδες φασίστες, η Ουάσιγκτον έκανε κουρελόχαρτο την συμφωνία της 21 Φλεβάρη, ταπείνωσε την γερμανική “ουκρανική” πολιτική, έριξε τον προαλειφόμενο για πρόεδρο αγαπημένο του Βερολίνου πυγμάχο στα αζήτητα [2], και ανάγκασε την “εξωτερική πολιτική της ε.ε.” προς την Μόσχα να γίνει, θέλοντας και μη (μερικά κράτη θέλοντας αλλά τα σημαντικότερα με το ζόρι), ουρά της αμερικανικής.

Όμως αναλαμβάνοντας επίσημα την “τύχη” των ουκρανών πραξικοπηματιών, η Ουάσιγκτον είναι πια υποχρεωμένη να χάσει την πρωτοβουλία των κινήσεων, και να παρακολουθεί (“αντιδρώντας”) τους ελιγμούς της Μόσχας. Πρώτο, και πιο ανώδυνο επεισόδιο η Κριμαία: υποστηρίξαμε (και εξακολουθούμε...) ότι η προσάρτηση της Κριμαίας ήταν αναμενόμενη, οπότε χρησιμοποιήθηκε απ’ την Ουάσιγκτον σαν μια ευκαιρία εύκολης “επίδειξης πυγμής” μέσω του πρώτου κύματος “κυρώσεων” κατά της Μόσχας.

Ύστερα ήρθε η σειρά της ανατολικής, και κατ’ αρχήν της νοτιοανατολικής ουκρανικής επικράτειας. Αντιγράφοντας σχεδόν βήμα προς βήμα την τακτική των φασιστών απ’ τα τέλη του 2013 ως τον Φλεβάρη του 2014, οι “αντι-coup” πολίτες διάφορων μικρότερων ή μεγαλύτερων πόλεων άρχισαν να καταλαμβάνουν κυβερνητικά κτίρια και αστυνομικά τμήματα, να οχυρώνονται, να εμφανίζουν σιγά σιγά όπλα... έως και αντιαρματικές ρουκέτες. Ο ρωσικός στρατός δεν έχει μπλεχτεί ως τώρα φανερά στην υπόθεση, αλλά δεν χρειάζεται πολύ σοφία: δεν μετατρέπονται οι νοικοκυραίοι σε αντάρτες πόλης έτσι, σε μια νύχτα. Η εκπαίδευση, η οργάνωση, η επιμελητεία, ακόμα και η “διακριτική” συμμετοχή αξιωματικών των ρωσικών μυστικών υπηρεσιών και του στρατού μας φαίνεται κάτι παραπάνω από δεδομένη.

not so big in ukraine

Απέναντι σ’ αυτές τις εξελίξεις, τι θα μπορούσε να κάνει η Ουάσιγκτον; Το έχουμε υποστηρίξει ήδη: το χάος στην ουκρανία βολεύει. Αλλά αυτό το χάος έχει πλέον πατρώνα που δεν μπορεί να κρυφτεί. Μία ο επικεφαλής της cia, που νόμιζε [;] ότι θα περάσει απαρατήρητος απ’ την fsb, και ύστερα φανερά ο Μπάιντεν, έχουν προσπαθήσει να σπρώξουν το καθεστώς στο Κίεβο σε μια αιματηρή “αποκατάσταση της νομιμότητας” στις ανατολικές περιφέρειες· σ’ έναν εμφύλιο χωρίς τέλος. Αλλά με την εξαίρεση των “ντυμένων στα χακί” ουκρανών φασιστών, κάποιων μισθοφόρων και κάποιων τμημάτων των μυστικών υπηρεσιών, η υπόλοιπη στρατοαστυνομική δύναμη που έχει σταλεί για να καθαρίσει, δεν δείχνει ιδιαίτερο ζήλο. Υπάρχουν μάλιστα εκατοντάδες αυτομολήσεις, προς την μεριά των “αντι-coup” φιλορωσων. Ώσπου στις 30 Απρίλη ο διορισμένος “πρόεδρος” Olexander Turchynov το παραδέχτηκε δημόσια:

... Θέλω να πω με ειλικρίνεια ότι οι σημερινές δομές ασφαλείας είναι ανίκανες επιχειρησιακά να πάρουν τον έλεγχο της κατάστασης στις περιφέρειες του Donetsk και του Luhansk.... Σήμερα οι αρχές δεν έχουν τον έλεγχο της κατάστασης στο Slaviansk, ούτε επίσης στην υπόλοιπη περιοχή του Donetsk...

Αυτά μετά από αρκετές βδομάδες απειλών περί “πάταξης των τρομοκρατών”, στρατιωτικές συγκεντρώσεις και κινήσεις, αμερικανικούς επαίνους· και μια διεθνή συμφωνία, στις 17 Απρίλη, που έγινε επίσης κουρέλι. [3]

Κάθε απειλή περί “εκκαθάρισης” καταλήγει ως τώρα στην κατάληψη περισσότερων κτιρίων (διοικητικών, μήντια) σε διάφορες πόλεις. Κι όταν, μετά το Πάσχα και την επίσκεψη Μπάιντεν, ο Turchynov κήρυξε ένα είδος “γενικής επίθεσης στους στασιαστές / τρομοκράτες”, η Μόσχα ξεκίνησε καινούργιες στρατιωτικές ασκήσεις φέρνοντας τα τεθωρακισμένα της δύο χιλιόμετρα μακριά απ’ τα ρωσο-ουκρανικά σύνορα. Προφανώς δεν υπήρχε καθόλου σπουδαίο ηθικό σ’ αυτούς που πήραν τις εντολές της “γενικής επίθεσης” με μόνο την ιδέα ότι ρίσκαραν να βρεθούν μπροστά στο ρωσικό στρατό... [...]

...η συνέχεια στο έντυπο τεύχος του Sarajevo.


1 - Η κυβερνητική εφημερίδα του Πεκίνου “china daily” σήκωσε το γάντι, απαντώντας στους αμερικανικούς ισχυρισμούς. Κατηγόρησε τον Ομπάμα ότι “δηλώνοντας ότι οι βραχονησίδες ανήκουν στην ιαπωνική επικράτεια ηθελημένα αγνόησε στην “δήλωση του Καΐρου”, την “συμφωνία του Πότσδαμ” και τους όρους της παράδοσης της ιαπωνίας στο τέλος του β παγκόσμιου”. Για να καταλήξει ότι ο Ομπάμα “εσκεμμένα έδεσε τις ηπα στους πολεμικούς σχεδιασμούς του Άμπε”.

2 - Για την ακρίβεια, πίσω στα ρίνγκ. Ο πολύς Klitschko, αφού παραιτήθηκε απ’ την προεδρική υποψηφιότητά του υπέρ του “βασιλιά της σοκολάτας”, ετοιμάζεται να γυρίσει στην παλιά του δουλειά. Το Βερολίνο θα πρέπει να βγει και να φωνάξει: “επενδύσαμε τόσα λεφτά!!!” Για να γίνει ένας μποξέρ πάλι μποξέρ...

3 - Στις 17 Απρίλη, στη Γενεύη, εκπρόσωποι των ηπα, της ε.ε., της ρωσίας και του ουκρανικού καθεστώτος, κατέληξαν σε μια συμφωνία που ήταν σχεδόν επανάληψη εκείνης της 21 Φλεβάρη, χωρίς Γιανούκοβιτς αυτή τη φορά. Η συμφωνία προέβλεπε τον (εθελοντικό) αφοπλισμό όλων των “ερασιτεχνών” και εθελοντών (δηλαδή τόσο των φασιστών όσο και των “αντι-coup”), και την συγκρότηση “εθνικής επιτροπής” για την αλλαγή του συντάγματος. Ταυτόχρονα με αυτή τη γενική συμφωνία, αποφασίστηκε και μια εκεχειρία, παρότι (υποτίθεται ότι) είχε ξεκινήσει η “αντιτρομοκρατικη εκστρατεία” του Κιέβου.
Θα σχολίαζε κανείς (κι αυτό το έκαναν διάφορα αμερικανικά καθεστωτικά μήντια...) ότι η συμφωνία της 17ης Απρίλη ήταν κομμένη και ραμένη στις θέσεις της Μόσχας· πράγμα περίεργο εάν επρόκειτο να εφαρμοστεί. Αλλά δεν επρόκειτο. Η “ειρήνη” κράτησε 4 ημέρες. Την Δευτέρα (του Πάσχα) 21 Απρίλη, μια δεκάδα φασίστες του “δεξιού τομέα” επιτέθηκαν σ’ ένα οδόφραγμα στο Luhansk, με αποτέλεσμα να σκοτωθεί ένας φασίστας και τρεις “αντι-coup”. H Μόσχα κατηγόρησε αμέσως το Κίεβο και τον προστάτη του (την Ουάσιγκτον) για παραβίαση των συμφωνημένων, κι αυτό ήταν όλο κι όλο το βάρος της συμφωνίας της 17ης Απρίλη.


Staff member
Άσχετο: Γιατί τα ονόματα χωρίων δεν τα γράφει με κεφαλαίο, ενώ τα ονόματα πόλεων τα έχει κανονικά κύρια;
Russia Revisits Its History to Nail Down Its Future

MOSCOW — As many Russians spent a holiday weekend reveling in the annual display of military might that marks their victory over Nazi Germany, the tension in Ukraine has fueled a passionate debate over how to exalt the country’s history without distorting it.

The issue took on greater urgency with a new law, signed last week by President Vladimir V. Putin, that mandates up to five years in jail and heavy fines for anyone who tries to rehabilitate Nazism or denigrate Russia’s World War II record.

The Kremlin has long enshrined the history of the war against Hitler as a heroic, collective victory. But skeptics argue that the victory itself is too often used to promote what they consider an excessive obsession with fascism abroad — vividly played out over the past two months in lurid coverage on Russian state television of the Ukraine crisis.

Some argue that the fixation distorts history, playing down the darker aspects of the Soviet Union’s role in World War II and obliterating honest discussion of foreign policy issues.

Those critics — an array of historians, analysts and commentators — trace the obsession with defeating fascism to Mr. Putin’s determination to burnish the Soviet past and restore Russia’s role as a global power. For the May 9 Victory Day celebrations, Moscow was festooned with giant red stars, the symbol of the army and the entire World War II victory, just as it was in Soviet times.

The current debate about fascism erupted with the publication of an article comparing Russia’s incorporation of Crimea to the Anschluss, Hitler’s annexation of a receptive Austria and other German lands in 1938. That prompted a defender of Mr. Putin to respond with an article suggesting that Hitler before 1939 might be considered “the good Hitler.”

Then came the new law. Historians assailed it as dangerously vague and an attempt more to make a cult of the past than to protect it.

“The victory has replaced the memory of the war,” said a historian, Nikita Sokolov. “The real experience of the war and the history of the people’s war has been squeezed out of the collective memory.”

The Communist Party may no longer rule, but on the 69th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat, the myth the party formulated — that once upon a time the Russian people and its leadership saved the world from fascism through virtually superhuman sacrifice and struggle — lives on, he said.

“It was the great victory achieved through the great effort of the people of the country, under the guidance of the Communist Party,” Mr. Sokolov said. “With certain modifications this ideology is being used by the modern leadership of Russia. It is not an accident.”

There is historical consensus that the Soviet defeat of Hitler was indeed a turning point in the war. Germany’s downfall was also the apex of the Soviet Union’s showdown with Western power, even if Moscow fought the same enemy as the United States and Britain.

So as Mr. Putin seeks to rebuild his and Russia’s reputation, historians said, every foreign policy issue is reshaped to resemble the fall of the Third Reich. No matter what the conflict, Mr. Putin’s government links itself to that 1945 victory by proclaiming that the defeat of fascism is Russia’s raison d’être.

Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister, made that very point at a memorial service on Wednesday.

“The day which is celebrated all over the world as Victory Day is sacred for us,” he said during the ceremony to lay a wreath at the Foreign Ministry’s monument to its World War II fallen, and used the occasion to take a swipe at Ukraine. “What is happening at the moment is not simply marches praising Nazi criminals, this is the manifestation of fascism alive.”

In recent months, the debate over Nazism has generated more scrutiny than it has in years.

Andrei Zubov, a philosophy professor who wrote the opinion piece comparing Russia’s annexation of Crimea to the Anschluss, also warned that like many Russians right now, Nazi-era Germans were thrilled that the world suddenly feared and respected them anew.

For his efforts, he was first admonished, then fired from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, a university tied to the Foreign Ministry. In an interview, Mr. Zubov said he was expelled for “immoral deeds,” which usually involves matters like sexual harassment. He has since been reinstated, although on sabbatical, and Mr. Zubov said he expected that his contract would not be renewed when it expires on June 30.

His comparison prompted objections, naturally, but the most contentious response appeared on the pages of the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia. It was written by Andranik Migranyan, who runs the Manhattan office of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, a nongovernmental organization inspired by Mr. Putin’s wish to promote Russia in the West.

The article attacked Mr. Zubov as “hell-spawn” and suggested that if Hitler had only stopped in 1939, he would be considered a “good Hitler.”

“One should distinguish the difference between Hitler before 1939 and Hitler after 1939 and separate chaff from grain,” Mr. Migranyan wrote. If Hitler had stopped after the “bloodless” reunification of German lands, including Austria and the Sudetenland, with the mother country, “he would have gone down in the history of his country as a politician of the highest order.”

Flabbergasted intellectuals pointed out that by 1939 Hitler had already established Dachau, organized Kristallnacht and promulgated the Nuremberg laws that enshrined the superiority of the Aryan race.

“Just when you think Vladimir Putin’s propaganda cannot sink any lower, it invariably does,” wrote Vladimir Kara-Murza in a blog posting for the World Affairs Journal.

Into the fray stepped Irina Yarovaya, a United Russia lawmaker who often generates the ideological laws that buttress Mr. Putin’s positions. In a speech to Parliament, she criticized attempts to “slander a country that in fact defended its sovereignty, like, for example, the U.S.S.R., which even hypothetically could not be part of the Hitler coalition and played a decisive role in the anti-Hitler coalition to protect the world and humanity from fascism and, as you remember, suffered big losses in that war.”

Historians objected to the fact that the law she introduced penalizes anyone who distorts the Soviet role in defeating Nazism, contains vague terminology, and criminalizes things like “the desecration of symbols of Russia’s military glory,” without defining what the terms mean. It makes no mention of how distortions would be determined.

“The law is not about Nazism, it is about establishing an historical canon, a historical narrative written by the state,” said Ivan I. Kurilla, a historian at Volgograd State University. “It would criminalize historical research.”

Historians acknowledge that after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, when the archives were first opened, the outpouring of negative records alienated many Russians. But now they feel the pendulum has swung too far back.

“There were Afghan fascists, Georgian fascists and now there are Ukrainian fascists,” said Mr. Sokolov, the historian. “Everyone we ever fight with are fascists.”

Nicolay Khalip and Alexandra Odynova contributed reporting.

Οι δε Έλληνες σταλινικοί γιορτάζουν στις 9 Μαΐου τη νίκη εναντίον του ναζισμού, όχι στις 8. Με τον Στάλιν, όχι με τη Δύση. Να τη βράσω τέτοια νίκη, που αντικατέστησε τον φαιό φασισμό με τον κόκκινο.
Οι δε Έλληνες σταλινικοί γιορτάζουν στις 9 Μαΐου τη νίκη εναντίον του ναζισμού, όχι στις 8. Με τον Στάλιν, όχι με τη Δύση. Να τη βράσω τέτοια νίκη, που αντικατέστησε τον φαιό φασισμό με τον κόκκινο.

Σε ώρα Ελλάδας η πράξη σίγουρα υπογράφτηκε στις 9, όχι στις 8 Μαΐου (σύμφωνα με αυτό το κείμενο και σε ώρα Γερμανίας -σε άλλα κείμενα βλέπω να λένε ότι υπογράφτηκε λίγο πριν τα μεσάνυχτα). Και πάντως και το Ισραήλ στις 9 γιορτάζει το γεγονός, προφανώς και πάλι λόγω ώρας. Όμως το θέμα δεν είναι αν η μέρα θα γιορταστεί στις 8 ή στις 9, αλλά αν θα γιορταστεί γενικώς. Εγώ δεν είδα και πολλούς εορτασμούς στην αγαπημένη σου Δύση, αντίθετα βλέπω στήριξη των φασιστών στην Ουκρανία και άνοδο ακροδεξιών ρατσιστικών κομμάτων σε πολλές ευρωπαϊκές χώρες. Βλέπω επίσης θέσπιση της 9η Μαΐου ως μέρας της Ευρώπης λόγω της Διακήρυξης του Σουμάν, που δεν τη λες και το πιο σημαντικό γεγονός στην πορεία της ΕΕ, και παραγκωνισμό της 8ης/9ης Μαΐου ως υπενθύμισης της αντιφασιστικής νίκης. Α, και το «με τον Στάλιν» είναι βέβαια μέρος του γνωστού παραληρήματος, γιατί στην ουσία το ίδιο ακριβώς γεγονός γιορτάζεται και σε Δύση και σε Ανατολή, απλώς λόγω διαφοράς ώρας γιορτάζεται σε διαφορετικές ημερομηνίες.

Για το άρθρο: μπερδεύει -επίτηδες φυσικά- την προπαγάνδα του Πούτιν ή των υποστηρικτών του με την πραγματικότητα στην Ουκρανία. Ο αρχηγός του Σβόμποντα που χαιρετάει φασιστικά είναι φαντασίωση του Πούτιν; Ο Δεξιός Τομέας που σκοτώνει αντιφασίστες στην Ανατολική και Νότια Ουκρανία είναι γέννημα της προπαγάνδας του Πούτιν; Τους αγκυλωτούς σταυρούς στους «αγανακτισμένους» του Μαϊντάν τους φαντάστηκαν φιλο-πουτινικοί δημοσιογράφοι και ρεπόρτερ; Το κάψιμο ανθρώπων από δηλωμένους φασίστες του Δ.Τ. στην Οδησσό είναι προπαγάνδα; Το ότι ο Πούτιν θα εκμεταλλευτεί όλα αυτά τα γεγονότα για δικούς του λόγους, αυτό είναι άλλο εντελώς ζήτημα. Κι εδώ ο Σαμαράς χτίζει αντιφά προφίλ επειδή έβαλε, λέει, τη Χ.Α. στη φυλακή. Ο Σαμαράς των στρατοπέδων συγκέντρωσης, αυτός που έλεγε πως οι μετανάστες είναι οι τύραννοι της κοινωνίας.

Αυτό που μου άρεσε ήταν οι ideological laws του Πούτιν. Ναι, εδώ εις την Δύσιν οι νόμοι είναι non-ideological, περνάνε από ειδικό αντι-ιδεολογικό καθαρτήριο λίγο πριν φτάσουν στη θέωση.
Όσον αφορά την "ώρα Γερμανίας", another ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Αλλά αυτό είναι δευτερεύον· η ουσία είναι αλλού:

Τίποτα δεν είναι αθώο, όπως μπορεί ο οποιοσδήποτε να διαπιστώσει διαβάζοντας τα δύο λήμματα της Wikipedia, Victory in Europe Day και Victory Day (9 May). Δεν γιορτάζεται λοιπόν το ίδιο πράμα. Άλλωστε το ίδιο το κείμενο του Ζούκοφ, που υπάρχει στο λινκ σου, anef, κάνει ολοφάνερο ότι ο καθένας γιορτάζει τελείως αλλιώς τη λήξη του πολέμου, πράγμα πασίγνωστο και απορώ που ισχυρίζεσαι το αντίθετο. Παραδείγματα:

After their separation from the Soviet Union, the Baltic countries now commemorate the end of World War II on 8 May, the Victory in Europe Day.[4] After Euromaidan and 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Ukraine joined Baltic states in commemorating the end of World War II and the Victory in Europe Day on May 8 & 9.[5]

Με ώρα Μόσχας, λοιπόν, ή με ώρα Ευρώπης; αυτό είναι το δίλημμα για ορισμένες χώρες που δεν ταυτίζονται με τον σοβιετικό ιμπεριαλισμό και ολοκληρωτισμό, και για τις οποίες η 9η Μαΐου ήταν μάλλον όχι μέρα πραγματικής απελευθέρωσης αλλά μέρα εναλλαγής από τον έναν ολοκληρωτισμό στον άλλον και περάσματος από τη Σκύλλα του ναζισμού στη Χάρυβδη του σταλινισμού, του σοβιετικού ολοκληρωτισμού και του 45χρονου κόκκινου γύψου που ακολούθησε, ως τη μέρα της πραγματικής τους εθνικής απελευθέρωσης το 1989. Προφανώς βάζουμε διαφορετικό πρόσημο στις δύο ημερομηνίες, 9 Μαΐου 1945 και 1989, και προφανώς κάποιοι στην Ελλάδα προτιμούν την ώρα Μόσχας. Δικαίωμά τους (το έχει αυτό το κουσούρι η "αγαπημένη μου", όπως λες, ιμπεριαλιστική, αποικιοκρατική, καπιταλιστική πλην τουλάχιστον φιλελεύθερη Δύση), αλλά όχι πως είναι απλώς θέμα ώρας. Και αυτό, παρότι δεν μπορώ να ξέρω γιατί μια χώρα όπως το Ισραήλ, π.χ., ή η αντιρωσική Πολωνία, έχει την 9η Μαΐου. Τώρα, ότι δεν γιορτάζεται στη Δύση, δεν στέκει, αφού σε πολλές χώρες είναι αργία, π.χ. στη Γαλλία. Άλλο αν ο Πούτιν θέλει να αναβαθμίσει την ημερομηνία στα πλαίσια της φιλοδοξούμενης ανασύστασης της ρωσικής αυτοκρατορίας:

In Russia during the 1990s the 9 May was not celebrated massively, because Soviet-style mass demonstrations did not fit in with the way in which liberals who were in power in Moscow communicated with the country’s residents. The situation changed when Vladimir Putin came to power. He started to promote the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations all became a source for national self-esteem. Since then the Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role. The celebration of the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in Russia in 2005 became the largest national and popular holiday since the collapse of the Soviet Union.[7]

Τους καταλαβαίνω τους Ρώσους, και όσους ταυτίζονται μαζί τους, με το έθνος τους και/ή με τον σοβιετικό ιμπεριαλισμό, όπως καταλαβαίνω και την παρούσα κυβέρνησή μας που αποφάσισε να επαναφέρει τα τανκς στις παρελάσεις μας· αφού ο Πούτιν, γιατί όχι ο Σαμαράς; Όσοι πιστοί, λοιπόν, προσέλθετε στους μεγαλειώδεις εορτασμούς και παρελάσεις της αντιφασιστικής νίκης του μεγάλου πατριωτικού πολέμου, 69 χρόνια αργότερα...

Δύο κείμενα για τα "δημοψηφίσματα" στην Ανατολική Ουκρανία:
Ukraine Vote on Separation Held in Chaos By ANDREW E. KRAMER MAY 11, 2014 (ΝΥΤ)
Farce and Tragedy in Donetsk, by Halya Coynash, May 11, 2014 (TOL)
Αλ. Τσίπρας: Η Ουκρανία να γίνει γέφυρα συνεργασίας
(Νίκος Παπαδημητρίου, Αυγή, 14/5/1024)

Τις βάσεις μιας νέας, πιο ουσιαστικής σχέσης ανάμεσα σε Ελλάδα και Ρωσία έθεσαν στη Μόσχα ο Αλέξης Τσίπρας και το κλιμάκιο του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ αφενός, αξιωματούχοι του ρωσικού υπουργείου Εξωτερικών και του Κοινοβουλίου αφετέρου. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό ότι όλες οι συναντήσεις ήταν ουσιαστικές και το αποτέλεσμα ήταν η σύσταση ομάδας εργασίας από στελέχη των δύο πλευρών, μετά από αίτημα του ελληνικού κόμματος. Από τις επαφές, που ολοκληρώθηκαν χθες, ήταν σαφές ότι η Μόσχα έβλεπε στο πρόσωπο του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ την επόμενη κυβέρνηση της χώρας μας.

Στις δηλώσεις του ο Αλ. Τσίπρας προτίμησε να εστιάσει στη σοβούσα κρίση της περιοχής, το Ουκρανικό: "Υπογραμμίσαμε τις ανησυχίες μας, τις συμπτώσεις και τις διαφωνίες μας με τη ρωσική πλευρά, κυρίως όμως υπογραμμίσαμε την ανάγκη να υπάρξει ειρηνική επίλυση σε αυτή την κρίση, (αλλά) και την ανάγκη από την πλευρά της Ε.Ε. να αναδειχθούν ο διάλογος, οι διαπραγματεύσεις, η διπλωματική οδός και όχι οι κυρώσεις και η κλιμάκωση της έντασης". Εν τέλει, "είχαμε την ευκαιρία να καταθέσουμε την άποψη ότι η Ουκρανία πρέπει να γίνει γέφυρα συνεργασίας και όχι πεδίο διχασμού στην καρδιά της Ευρώπης και ότι ο μόνος αρμόδιος να αποφασίσει το μέλλον του είναι ο ουκρανικός λαός, μέσα από τις προβλεπόμενες συνταγματικά, δημοκρατικές διαδικασίες. Είτε αυτές είναι οι εκλογές είτε τα δημοψηφίσματα".

Άλλο Μέρκελ, άλλο ευρωπαϊκή Αριστερά

Για το Ουκρανικό επίσης ο Γιάννης Δραγασάκης, που μετείχε στην αποστολή -μαζί και με τους Νάντια Βαλαβάνη, Κώστα Ήσυχο, Νίκο Παππά και Νίκο Κοτζιά-, σημείωσε (μιλώντας στον Ρ/Σ "Στο Κόκκινο") ότι στις συναντήσεις η αντιπροσωπεία του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ διατύπωσε τις εκτιμήσεις της ευρωπαϊκής Αριστεράς, οι οποίες "είναι στον αντίποδα των εκτιμήσεων της κ. Μέρκελ και της επίσημης ευρωπαϊκής πολιτικής", με την προσθήκη ότι μπορούν, τελικώς, να αποτραπούν "εκδοχές επικίνδυνες για την Ευρώπη. Ακριβώς γι' αυτό θα βοηθήσει μια αλλαγή των κοινοβουλευτικών συσχετισμών με την ενίσχυση της ευρωπαϊκής Αριστεράς στις επικείμενες εκλογές" ήταν η κρίσιμη παρατήρηση του Δ' αντιπροέδρου της ελληνικής Βουλής.

Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι η ελληνική αντιπροσωπεία παρακολούθησε στη Δούμα, όπως είπε στην "Αυγή" η βουλευτής Νάντια Βαλαβάνη, ειδική συνεδρίαση του σώματος για τα μέτρα εκείνα που θα αφορούν τους πρόσφυγες από την Ουκρανία: μέχρι στιγμής υπολογίζονται σε 100 οικογένειες που εισρέουν ημερησίως στη Ρωσία, όλοι όμως φοβούνται ότι, αν συνεχιστεί η ίδια πολεμική, τότε δεν θα αργήσει η μέρα που καραβάνια προσφύγων θα περνούν τα ρωσο-ουκρανικά σύνορα. Μια συζήτηση που κατέληξε στη σύνταξη έκκλησης προς τα Κοινοβούλια του κόσμου, του ελληνικού συμπεριλαμβανομένου.

Στα Νέα, πάλι, υπάρχει η εξής είδηση, που το άρθρο της Αυγής δεν την αναφέρει:

Τσίπρας από Μόσχα: «Η ευρωπαϊκή ηγεσία θέλει υποτελείς κυβερνήσεις σε Ουκρανία και Ελλάδα»
Για έλλειμμα δημοκρατίας στην Ευρώπη έκανε λόγω ο πρόεδρος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Αλέξης Τσίπρας, από τη Μόσχα, επισημαίνοντας ότι «η ευρωπαϊκή ηγεσία δυστυχώς θέλει υποτελείς κυβερνήσεις και στην Ουκρανία και στην Ελλάδα».

Αν ισχύει, από μεριάς μου προτιμώ να μη σχολιάσω...


Staff member
Στα Νέα, πάλι, υπάρχει η εξής είδηση, που το άρθρο της Αυγής δεν την αναφέρει:

Τσίπρας από Μόσχα: «Η ευρωπαϊκή ηγεσία θέλει υποτελείς κυβερνήσεις σε Ουκρανία και Ελλάδα»
Για έλλειμμα δημοκρατίας στην Ευρώπη έκανε λόγω ο πρόεδρος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Αλέξης Τσίπρας, από τη Μόσχα, επισημαίνοντας ότι «η ευρωπαϊκή ηγεσία δυστυχώς θέλει υποτελείς κυβερνήσεις και στην Ουκρανία και στην Ελλάδα».
Το περίεργο είναι ότι υπάρχει σε κάποιο σχόλιο της Αυγής, και μάλιστα με σωστά ορθογραφημένο «έκανε λόγο».
Ναι, αλλά δεν βλέπω να λέει πως ανέφερε την Ουκρανία. Γιατί εκεί είναι το τρελό. Να πηγαίνεις στη Ρωσία και να κάνεις τέτοια δήλωση.
The Battle for Ukraine means everything
Fascism returns to the continent it once destroyed
By Thimothy Snyder (The New Republic, May 11, 2014)

We easily forget how fascism works: as a bright and shining alternative to the mundane duties of everyday life, as a celebration of the obviously and totally irrational against good sense and experience. Fascism features armed forces that do not look like armed forces, indifference to the laws of war in their application to people deemed inferior, the celebration of “empire” after counterproductive land grabs. Fascism means the celebration of the nude male form, the obsession with homosexuality, simultaneously criminalized and imitated. Fascism rejects liberalism and democracy as sham forms of individualism, insists on the collective will over the individual choice, and fetishizes the glorious deed. Because the deed is everything and the word is nothing, words are only there to make deeds possible, and then to make myths of them. Truth cannot exist, and so history is nothing more than a political resource. Hitler could speak of St. Paul as his enemy,Mussolini could summon the Roman emperors. Seventy years after the end of World War II, we forgot how appealing all this once was to Europeans, and indeed that only defeat in war discredited it. Today these ideas are on the rise in Russia, a country that organizes its historical politics around the Soviet victory in that war, and the Russian siren song has a strange appeal in Germany, the defeated country that was supposed to have learned from it.

The pluralist revolution in Ukraine came as a shocking defeat to Moscow, and Moscow has delivered in return an assault on European history. Even as Europeans follow with alarm or fascination the spread of Russian special forces from Crimea through Donetsk and Luhansk, Vladimir Putin’s propagandists seek to draw Europeans into an alternative reality, an account of history rather different from what most Ukrainians think, or indeed what the evidence can bear. Ukraine has never existed in history, goes the claim, or if it has, only as part of a Russian empire. Ukrainians do not exist as a people; at most they are Little Russians. But if Ukraine and Ukrainians do not exist, then neither does Europe or Europeans. If Ukraine disappears from history, then so does the site of the greatest crimes of both the Nazi and Stalinist regimes. If Ukraine has no past, then Hitler never tried to make an empire, and Stalin never exercised terror by hunger.

Ukraine does of course have a history. The territory of today’s Ukraine can very easily be placed within every major epoch of the European past. Kiev’s history of east Slavic statehood begins in Kiev a millennium ago. Its encounter with Moscow came after centuries of rule from places like Vilnius and Warsaw, and the incorporation of Ukrainian lands into the Soviet Union came only after military and political struggles convinced the Bolsheviks themselves that Ukraine had to be treated as a distinct political unit. After Kiev was occupied a dozen times, the Red Army was victorious, and a Soviet Ukraine was established as part of the new Soviet Union in 1922.

Precisely because the Ukrainians were difficult to suppress, and precisely because Soviet Ukraine was a western borderland of the USSR, the question of its European identity was central from the beginning of Soviet history. Within Soviet policy was an ambiguity about Europe: Soviet modernization was to repeat European capitalist modernity, but only in order to surpass it. Europe might be either progressive or regressive in this scheme, depending on the moment, the perspective, and the mood of the leader. In the 1920s, Soviet policy favored the development of a Ukrainian intellectual and political class, on the assumption that enlightened Ukrainians would align themselves with the Soviet future. In the 1930s, Soviet policy sought to modernize the Soviet countryside by collectivizing the land and transforming the peasants into employees of the state. This brought declining yields as well as massive resistance from a Ukrainian peasantry who believed in private property.

Joseph Stalin transformed these failures into a political victory by blaming them on Ukrainian nationalists and their foreign supporters. He continued requisitions of grain in Ukraine, in the full knowledge that he was starving millions of human beings, and crushed the new Ukrainian intelligentsia. More than three million people were starved in Soviet Ukraine. The consequence was a new Soviet order of intimidation, where Europe was presented only as a threat. Stalin claimed, absurdly but effectively, that Ukrainians were deliberately starving themselves on orders from Warsaw. Later, Soviet propaganda maintained that anyone who mentioned the famine must be an agent of Nazi Germany.

Thus began the politics of fascism and anti-fascism, where Moscow was the defender of all that was good, and its critics were fascists. This very effective pose, of course, did not preclude an actual Soviet alliance with the actual Nazis in 1939. Given today’s return of Russian propaganda to anti-fascism, this is an important point to remember: The whole grand moral Manichaeism was meant to serve the state, and as such did not limit it in any way. The embrace of anti-fascism as a rhetorical strategy is quite different from opposing actual fascists.

Ukraine was at the center of the policy that Stalin called “internal colonization,” the exploitation of peasants within the Soviet Union rather than distant colonial peoples; it was also at the center of Hitler’s plans for an external colonization. The Nazi Lebensraum was, above all, Ukraine. Its fertile soil was to be cleared of Soviet power and exploited for Germany. The plan was to continue the use of Stalin’s collective farms, but to divert the food from east to west. Along the way German planners expected that some 30 million inhabitants of the Soviet Union would starve to death. In this style of thinking, Ukrainians were of course subhumans, incapable of normal political life. No European country was subject to such intense colonization as Ukraine, and no European country suffered more: It was the deadliest place on Earth between 1933 and 1945.

Although Hitler’s main war aim was the destruction of the Soviet Union, he found himself needing an alliance with the Soviet Union to begin armed conflict. In 1939, after it became clear that Poland would fight, Hitler recruited Stalin for a double invasion. Stalin had been hoping for years for such an invitation. Soviet policy had been aiming at the destruction of Poland for a long time already. Moreover, Stalin thought that an alliance with Hitler, in other words cooperation with the European far right, was the key to destroying Europe. A German-Soviet alliance would turn Germany, he expected, against its western neighbors and lead to the weakening or even the destruction of European capitalism. This is not so different from a certain calculation made by Putin today.

The result of the cooperative German-Soviet invasion was the defeat of Poland and the destruction of the Polish state, but also an important development in Ukrainian nationalism. In the 1930s, there had been no Ukrainian national movement in the Soviet Union, only an underground terrorist movement in Poland known as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). It was little more than an irritant in normal times, but with war, its importance grew. The OUN opposed both Polish and Soviet rule of what it saw as Ukrainian territories and thus regarded a German invasion of the east as the only way that a Ukrainian state-building process could begin. Thus the OUN supported Germany in its invasion of Poland in 1939 and would do so again in 1941, when Hitler betrayed Stalin and invaded the USSR. Meanwhile, Ukrainian left-wing revolutionaries, who had been quite numerous before the war, often shifted to the radical right after experience with Soviet rule. The Soviets assassinated the leader of the OUN, which brought a struggle for power between factions led by Stepan Bandera and Andrii Melnyk.

Ukrainian nationalists tried political collaboration with Germany in 1941 and failed. Hundreds of Ukrainian nationalists joined in the German invasion of the USSR as scouts and translators, and some of them helped the Germans organize pogroms of Jews. Ukrainian nationalist politicians tried to collect their debt by declaring an independent Ukraine in June 1941. Hitler was completely uninterested in such a prospect. Much of the Ukrainian nationalist leadership was killed or incarcerated. Bandera himself spent most of the rest of the war in the prison camp at Sachsenhausen.

As the war continued, many Ukrainian nationalists prepared themselves for a moment of revolt when Soviet power replaced German. They saw the USSR as the main enemy, partly for ideological reasons, but mainly because it was winning the war. In the province of Volhynia, nationalists established a Ukrainian Insurgent Army whose task was to somehow defeat the Soviets after the Soviets had defeated the Germans. Along the way it undertook a massive and murderous ethnic-cleansing of Poles in 1943, killing at the same time a number of Jews who had been hiding with Poles. This was not in any sense collaboration with the Germans, but rather the murderous part of what its leaders saw as a national revolution. The Ukrainian nationalists went on to fight the Soviets in a horrifying partisan war, in which the most brutal tactics were used by both sides.

The political collaboration and the uprising of Ukrainian nationalists were, all in all, a minor element in the history of the German occupation. As a result of the war, something like six million people were killed on the territory of today’s Ukraine, including about 1.5 million Jews. Throughout occupied Soviet Ukraine, local people collaborated with the Germans, as they did throughout the occupied Soviet Union and indeed throughout occupied Europe. Thousands of Russians collaborated with the German occupation, and showed no more and no less inclination to do so than Ukrainians.

The real contrast is not between Ukrainians and other Soviet peoples, but between Soviet peoples and Western Europeans. In general, Soviet peoples were killed in far higher numbers in and out of uniform by the Germans than were Western Europeans. Far, far more people in Ukraine were killed by the Germans than collaborated with them, something which is not true of any occupied country in continental Western Europe. For that matter, far, far more people from Ukraine fought against the Germans than on the side of the Germans, which is again something that is not true of any continental Western European country. The vast majority of Ukrainians who fought in the war did so in the uniform of the Red Army. More Ukrainians were killed fighting the Wehrmacht than American, British, and French soldiers—combined.

Russian propaganda today falsely insists that the Red Army was a Russian army. And if the Red Army is seen as a Russian army, then Ukrainians must have been the enemy. This line of thinking was invented by Stalin himself at the end of the war. After Ukrainians were praised during the war for their suffering and resistance, they were slandered and purged after the war for their disloyalty. As late Stalinism merged with a certain kind of Russian nationalism, Stalin’s idea of the Great Patriotic War had two purposes: It started the action in 1941 rather than 1939 so that the Nazi-Soviet alliance was forgotten, and it placed Russia at the center of events even though Ukraine was much more at the center of the war, and Jews were its chief victims.

But it is the propaganda of the 1970s much more than the experience of the war that counts in the memory politics of today. The present generation of Russian politicians are children of the 1970s and thus of Leonid Brezhnev’s cult of the war. Under Brezhnev, the war became more simply Russian, without Ukrainians and Jews. The Jews suffered more than any other Soviet people, but the Holocaust was beyond the mainstream Soviet history. Instead it was emphasized in Soviet propaganda directed to the West, in which the suffering of Jews was blamed on Ukrainian and other nationalists—people who lived on the territories Stalin had conquered during the war as Hitler’s ally in 1939 and people who had resisted Soviet power when it returned in 1945. This is a tradition to which Russian propagandists have returned in today’s Ukrainian crisis: total indifference to the Holocaust except as apolitical resource useful in manipulating people in the West.

The greatest threat to a distinct Ukrainian identity came perhaps from the Brezhnev period. Rather than subordinating Ukraine by hunger or blaming Ukrainians for war, the Brezhnev policy was to absorb the Ukrainian educated classes into the Soviet humanist and technical intelligentsias. As a result, the Ukrainian language was driven from schools, and especially from higher education. Ukrainians who insisted on human rights were still punished in prison or in the hideous psychiatric hospitals. In this atmosphere, Ukrainian patriots, and even Ukrainian nationalists, embraced a civic understanding of Ukrainian identity, downplaying older arguments about ancestry and history in favor of a more pragmatic approach to common political interests.

In December 1991, more than 90 percent of the inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine voted for independence (including a majority in all regions of Ukraine). Russia and Ukraine then went their separate ways. Privatization and lawlessness led to oligarchy in both countries. In Russia, the oligarchs were subdued by a centralized state, whereas in Ukraine, they generated their own strange sort of pluralism. Until very recently, all presidents in Ukraine oscillated between east and west in their foreign policy and among oligarchic clans in their domestic loyalties.

What was unusual about Viktor Yanukovych, elected in 2010, is that he tried to end all pluralism. In domestic policy, he generated a fake democracy, in which his favored opponent was the far-right party Svoboda. In so doing, he created a situation in which he could win elections and in which he could tell foreign observers that he was at least better than the nationalist alternative. In foreign policy, he found himself pushed toward the Russia of Putin, not so much because he desired this, but because his kleptocratic corruption was so extreme that serious economic cooperation with the European Union would have meant a legal challenge to his economic power. Yanukovych seems to have stolen so much from state coffers that the state itself was on the point of bankruptcy in 2013, which also made him vulnerable to Russia. Moscow was willing to overlook Yanukovych’s own practices and lend the money needed to make urgent payments—at a political price.

By 2013, oscillating between Russia and the West was no longer possible. By then, Moscow had ceased to represent simply a Russian state with more or less calculable interests, but rather a much grander vision of Eurasian integration. The Eurasian project had two parts: the creation of a free trade bloc of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and the destruction of the European Union through the support of the European far right. Putin’s goal was and remains eminently simple. His regime depends upon the sale of hydrocarbons that are piped to Europe. A united Europe could generate an actual policy of energy independence, under the pressures of Russian unpredictability or global warming—or both. But a disintegrated Europe would remain dependent on Russian hydrocarbons.

Just as soon as these vaulting ambitions were formulated, the proud Eurasian posture crashed upon the reality of Ukrainian society. In late 2013 and early 2014, the attempt to bring Ukraine within the Eurasian orbit produced exactly the opposite result. First, Russia publicly dissuaded Yanukovych from signing a trade agreement with the European Union. This brought protests in Ukraine. Then Russia offered a large loan and favorable gas prices in exchange for crushing the protests. Harsh Russian-style laws introduced in January transformed the protests into a mass movement. Millions of people who had joined in peaceful protests were suddenly transformed into criminals and some of them began to defend themselves against the police. Finally, Russia made clear that Yanukovych had to rid Kiev of protesters in order to receive its money. Then followed the sniper massacre of February, which gave the revolutionaries a clear moral and political victory, and forced Yanukovych to flee to Russia. The attempt to create a pro-Russian dictatorship in Ukraine led to the opposite outcome: the return of parliamentary rule, the announcement of presidential elections, and a foreign policy oriented toward Europe.

This made the revolution in Ukraine not only a disaster for Russian foreign policy, but a challenge to Putin’s regime at home. The weakness of Putin’s policy is that it cannot account for the actions of free human beings who choose to organize themselves in response to unpredictable historical events. Russian propaganda presented the Ukrainian revolution as a Nazi coup and blamed Europeans for supporting these supposed Nazis. This version, although ridiculous, was much more comfortable in Putin’s mental world, since it removed from view the debacle of his own foreign policy in Ukraine and replaced spontaneous action by Ukrainians with foreign conspiracies.

The creeping Russian invasions of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk are a frontal challenge to the European security order as well as to the Ukrainian state. They have nothing to do with popular will or the protection of rights: Even Crimean opinion polls never registered a majority preference for joining Russia, and speakers of Russian in Ukraine are far freer than speakers of Russian in Russia. The Russian annexation was carried out, tellingly, with the help of Putin’s extremist allies throughout Europe. No reputable organization would observe the electoral farce by which 97 percent of Crimeans supposedly voted to be annexed. But a ragtag delegation of right-wing populists, neo-Nazis, and members of the German party Die Linke (the Left Party) were happy to come and endorse the results. The Germans who traveled to Crimea included four members of Die Linke and one member of Neue Rechte (New Right). This is a telling combination.
[ΣΣ: εννοείται ότι πήγε και εκπρόσωπος του ΚΚΕ]

Die Linke operates within the virtual reality created by Russian propaganda, in which the task of the European left (or rather “left”) is to criticize the Ukrainian right—but not the European right, and certainly not the Russian right. This is also an American phenomenon, visible for example in the otherwise surprising accord on the nature of the Ukrainian revolution and the reasonableness of the Russian counterrevolution expressed in Lyndon Larouche’s Executive Intelligence Review, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, and The Nation.

Of course, there is some basis for concern about the far right in Ukraine. Svoboda, which was Yanukovych’s house opposition, now holds three of 20 ministerial portfolios in the current government. This overstates its electoral support, which is down to about 2 percent. Some of the people who fought the police during the revolution, although by no means a majority, were from a new group called Right Sector, some of whose members are radical nationalists. Its presidential candidate is polling at below 1 percent, and the group itself has something like 300 members. There is support for the far right in Ukraine, although less than in most members of the European Union.

A revolutionary situation always favors extremists, and watchfulness is certainly in order. It is quite striking, however, that Kiev returned to order immediately after the revolution and that the new government has taken an almost unbelievably calm stance in the face of Russian invasion. There are very real political differences of opinion in Ukraine today, but violence occurs in areas that are under the control of pro-Russian separatists. The only scenario in which Ukrainian extremists actually come to the fore is one in which Russia actually tries to invade the rest of the country. If presidential elections proceed as planned in May, then the unpopularity and weakness of the Ukrainian far right will be revealed. This is one of the reasons that Moscow opposes those elections.

People who criticize only the Ukrainian right often fail to notice two very important things. The first is that the revolution in Ukraine came from the left. It was a mass movement of the kind Europeans and Americans now know only from the history books. Its enemy was an authoritarian kleptocrat, and its central program was social justice and the rule of law. It was initiated by a journalist of Afghan background, its first two mortal casualties were an Armenian and a Belarusian, and it was supported by the Muslim Crimean Tatar community as well as many Ukrainian Jews. A Jewish Red Army veteran was among those killed in the sniper massacre. Multiple Israel Defense Forces veterans fought for freedom in Ukraine.

The Maidan functioned in two languages simultaneously, Ukrainian and Russian, because Kiev is a bilingual city, Ukraine is a bilingual country, and Ukrainians are bilingual people. Indeed, the motor of the revolution was the Russian-speaking middle class of Kiev. The current government, whatever its shortcomings, is un-self-consciously multiethnic and multilingual. In fact, Ukraine is now the site of the largest and most important free media in the Russian language, since important media in Ukraine appears in Russian and since freedom of speech prevails. Putin’s idea of defending Russian speakers in Ukraine is absurd on many levels, but one of them is this: People can say what they like in Russian in Ukraine, but they cannot do so in Russia itself. Separatists in the Ukrainian east, who, according to a series of opinion polls, represent a minority of the population, are protesting for the right to join a country where protest is illegal. They are working to stop elections in which the legitimate interests of Ukrainians in the east can be voiced. If these regions join Russia, their inhabitants can forget about casting meaningful votes in the future.

This is the second thing that goes unnoticed: The authoritarian right in Russia is infinitely more dangerous than the authoritarian right in Ukraine. It is in power, for one thing. It has no meaningful rivals, for another. It does not have to accommodate itself to domestic elections or international expectations, for a third. And it is now pursuing a foreign policy that is based openly upon the ethnicization of the world. It does not matter who an individual is according to law or his own preferences: The fact that he speaks Russian makes him a Volksgenosse requiring Russian protection, which is to say invasion. The Russian parliament granted Putin the authority to invade the entirety of Ukraine and to transform its social and political structure, which is an extraordinarily radical goal. The Russian parliament also sent a missive to the Polish foreign ministry proposing a partition of Ukraine. On popular Russian television, Jews are blamed for the Holocaust; in the major newspaper Izvestiia, Hitler is rehabilitated as a reasonable statesman responding to unfair Western pressure; on May Day, Russian neo-Nazis march.

All of this is consistent with the fundamental ideological premise of Eurasia. Whereas European integration begins from the premise that National Socialism and Stalinism were negative examples, Eurasian integration begins from the more jaded and postmodern premise that history is a grab bag of useful ideas. Whereas European integration presumes liberal democracy, Eurasian ideology explicitly rejects it. The main Eurasian ideologist, Alexander Dugin, who once called for a fascism “as red as our blood,” receives more attention now than ever before. His three basic political ideas—the need to colonize Ukraine, the decadence of the European Union, and the desirability of an alternative Eurasian project from Lisbon to Vladivostok—are now all officially enunciated, in less wild forms than his to be sure, as Russian foreign policy. Dugin now provides radical advice to separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine.

Putin now presents himself as the leader of the far right in Europe, and the leaders of Europe’s right-wing parties pledge their allegiance. There is an obvious contradiction here: Russian propaganda insists to Westerners that the problem with Ukraine is that its government is too far to the right, even as Russia builds a coalition with the European far right. Extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce as a model for Europe. As Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of the European far right, has pointed out, the leader of the Bulgarian extreme right launched his party’s campaign for the European parliament in Moscow. The Italian Fronte Nazionale praises Putin for his “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.” The neo-Nazis of the Greek Golden Dawn see Russia as Ukraine’s defender against “the ravens of international usury.” Heinz-Christian Strache of the Austrian FPÖ chimes in, surreally, that Putin is a “pure democrat.” Even Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, recently shared Putin’s propaganda on Ukraine with millions of British viewers in a televised debate, claiming absurdly that the European Union has “blood on its hands” in Ukraine.

Presidential elections in Ukraine are to be held on May 25, which by no coincidence is also the last day of elections to the European parliament. A vote for Strache in Austria or Le Pen in France or even Farage in Britain is now a vote for Putin, and a defeat for Europe is a victory for Eurasia. This is the simple objective reality: A united Europe can and most likely will respond adequately to an aggressive Russian petro-state with a common energy policy, whereas a collection of quarrelling nation-states will not. Of course, the return to the nation-state is a populist fantasy, so integration will continue in one form or another; all that can be decided is the form. Politicians and intellectuals used to say that there was no alternative to the European project, but now there is—Eurasia.

Ukraine has no history without Europe, but Europe also has no history without Ukraine. Ukraine has no future without Europe, but Europe also has no future without Ukraine. Throughout the centuries, the history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. This seems still to be true today. Of course, which way things will turn still depends, at least for a little while, on the Europeans.

Timothy Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale University and the author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. With Leon Wieseltier, he has planned a congress of international and Ukrainian intellectuals to meet May 16 to 19 in Kiev under the heading Ukraine: Thinking Together. This essay is a revision of an earlier article that appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Και μια κριτική του Snyder (China Hand, May 15, 2014):

As for Ukraine, some critics of US Ukraine government and the government in Kyiv have been rather dismayed and befuddled by the appearance of a leading scholar of Soviet and Eastern European studies, Yale’s Timothy Snyder, in the ranks of the regime’s defenders. Snyder is a vociferous supporter of the new, West-backed government and is the author of numerous seemingly ludicrous attempts to minimize the ultra-nationalist & fascist component of the Kyiv regime while striving to paint the Hitler moustache on Putin.

Critique of the regime is much more comfortable if the ranks of the opposition is limited to over-the-top cold warriors, ultra-nationalists, and neo-liberal EU loving fantasists, and not authoritative Ivy League profs.

It is presumptuous of me to try to put myself into Dr. Snyder’s head, however I wish to point out a perspective which to some extent may explain and justify his position to his detractors.

Poland and Ukraine are two proto-nations whose aspirations and existence were denied and destroyed by Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR during the twentieth century.

Germany has atoned. Post-USSR Russia did…kinda. Now, under Putin, Russia is pitching its moral and political debts to eastern Europe in the wastebasket. Instead of acknowledging and atoning for the abuses to which it subjected its neighbors—including hideous crimes like the Katyn massacre, the slaughter of over 20,000 Polish military officers as part of Stalin’s effort to extinguish Poland as a meaningful force and national identity; Stalin’s brutal collectivization campaign that killed hundreds of thousands in Ukraine; and, even more recently, the Chernobyl disaster—Putin is headed in the opposite direction.

Putin is concentrating on Russia’s own sense of grievance, its own nationalism, and its own regional aspirations, aspirations that center on the fate of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the eastern European states and inevitably conflict with aspirations in Ukraine--as Putin seeks to neuter Ukraine, and turn it into a federalized, helpless buffer against intrusion from the West.

In the callous realist view—which, I might add, seems to be the view from most of Europe, including Berlin--agreeing with Putin to Finlandize Ukraine is a smart, split-the-baby solution.

The baby i.e. Ukraine, at least the Ukraine of anti-Russian Ukraine nationalists, understandably doesn’t feel this way.

And I think that might be where Professor Snyder stands.

He sees the current situation as a recapitulation of the destruction of Poland at the hands of Stalin and Hitler. He perhaps yearns for an alternative future, in which the West redeems itself for its abandonment of Poland by supporting Ukraine in its efforts to achieve genuine political, military, and psychological independence of Russia.

In other words, for Snyder perhaps he sees the struggle in Ukraine is an attempt to regain moral agency both for Ukraine and for its Western backers, just as Putin is trying to strip it away.

For most of the world, perhaps, the current crisis in Ukraine is primarily a dust-up between an inept and hopelessly compromised pro-Western government in Kyiv versus suspicious and aggrieved ethnic Russians in the east.

Professor Snyder views Ukraine as a colossal moral struggle—The Battle in Ukraine Means Everything, in the title of his most recent piece for The New Republic. His hyperbolic critique also takes the rather creepy, borderline racist clash of civilizations view of Ukraine as a Goetterdaemmerung between Europe and the bastard son of Genghis Khan and Fu Manchu, uhm, excuse me, “Eurasia”, an Orientalizing construct whose rather obvious problems will perhaps come back to haunt his recollection after he’s cooled off a bit:

All of this is consistent with the fundamental ideological premise of Eurasia. Whereas European integration begins from the premise that National Socialism and Stalinism were negative examples, Eurasian integration begins from the more jaded and postmodern premise that history is a grab bag of useful ideas. Whereas European integration presumes liberal democracy, Eurasian ideology explicitly rejects it. ..

Ukraine has no history without Europe, but Europe also has no history without Ukraine. Ukraine has no future without Europe, but Europe also has no future without Ukraine. Throughout the centuries, the history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. This seems still to be true today. Of course, which way things will turn still depends, at least for a little while, on the Europeans.

My personal feeling, in any event, is that politics is a poor vehicle for moral redemption and Professor Snyder has taken on an insurmountable task in attempting to regenerate Ukraine as a national and moral force with the sorry situational and human capital burdening the regime in Kyiv.

However, I guess I can’t fault him too much for trying.
Μια υπόθεση κάνω: το Ισραήλ γιορτάζει τη νίκη εναντίον του ναζισμού στις 9 Μαΐου μάλλον επειδή υπήρχαν τόσοι Εβραίοι στον Κόκκινο Στρατό ("πάνω από 500.000") και επειδή ο μεγαλύτερος αριθμός Εβραίων δολοφονήθηκε στην Σοβιετική Ουκρανία. Δείτε την ενότητα Victory Day in Israel του Ρωσικού Εβραϊκού Κογκρέσου.

Το ίδιο Κογκρέσο (The New Republic), issued a report [ΣΣ: στα ρώσικα] saying that there has been a marked increase in anti-Semitism in Russia in the first four months of 2014. Though there were no physical attacks on Jews, there were some minor incidents—everything from cemetery attacks to Russian nationalist thugs chanting anti-Semitic slogans. But most of this rise, the Congress reports, "was manifested first and foremost in public anti-Semitic statements, the number of which has increased dramatically."

The report notes public statements from politicians, like the member of Putin's United Russia party in Kaliningrad who accused his opponents of being "Jews, hiding among the opposition" and destroying the country. Dmitry Kiselev, who has threatened to turn the U.S. "into radioactive ash," was called out for pointedly pointing out the Jewish names of some opposition writers and saying that they should be wary of comparing the Sochi and 1936 Berlin Olympics because, in Germany, they wouldn't have been allowed to write, let alone live. The columnist of one state-friendly Russian newsletter listed Jewish members of the Russian opposition, saying that "they have no homeland because of their political beliefs."

In February, the news anchor of Rossiya24, one of Russia's largest state-controlled television channels, agreed with the ardently nationalistic (and often anti-Semitic) author Alexander Prokhanov, who said that Jewish organizations "were ushering in a second Holocaust with their own hands ... just as they ushered in the first one."

And last month, the Jewish daily newspaper the Forward noted that Russian state television's hatchet-job "documentaries" about Ukrainian politicians Yulia Tymoshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed, in ominous terms, their allegedly nefarious Jewish roots.

It all started with a Russian television "documentary" on former Ukrainian President Yulia Tymoshenko, aired on March 30. The film was a propaganda piece in the Soviet style—unrelenting character assassination with ominous, grating background music. Tymoshenko's whole career, the narrator intoned, was one of embezzlement, criminality, back-stabbing of associates, and secretly ordering assaults and killings. Then, toward the end, the culminating "disclosure": Tymoshenko was Jewish. "She completely hides her origin. But for many, it is no secret that the father of this woman with a hair-braid—Viktor Abramovich Kapitelman—has Jewish roots."...

A few days earlier, the same documentary news program did a similar hatchet-job on Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatseniuk, and indulged in the rhetoric of the 1970s: Yatseniuk was not just a Jew, but a Zionist. "One must take into consideration his Jewish origin. He is a Jew on his mother's side, and is one of the fifty most famous Zionists in Ukraine."...

For the conventional (non-anti-Semitic) Russian viewer, these disclosures of Jewishness were insignificant—after all, they lasted only 20 seconds in a half-hour program. Or they could be brushed aside as editorial lapses into bad taste. But for the Russian ultra-right, these words were gold. They legitimized their wedding of anti-Ukrainianism to anti-Semitism.

Putin's critics have long conceded that while he is many things, he is not an anti-Semite. His closest childhood friends (now, coincidentally, billionaires on the U.S. Treasury sanctions list) are Jews. So was his judo coach and replacement father, Anatoly Rachlin. After Rachlin's funeral, Putin took a dramatic and solitary walk through his hometown. He has been good to the Russian Jewish community.

But the Russian nationalism he has unleashed to buttress both his hold on power at home and his imperialist policy abroad is not free. Russian nationalism has always been mixed up with often violent anti-Semitism. It's why the U.S. has such a large Jewish population: Millions of Jews fled the Russian empire at the end of the 19th century because of this poisonous combination. Millions more fled at the end of the 20th because it was resurrected again under the guise of Soviet patriotism. This time, there are no longer millions of Jews to flee the place, but there are just enough left in politics and culture to point out as aliens incapable of loving the Motherland.
Καλά είναι εδώ

Far-Right Fever for a Europe Tied to Russia


LE CHESNAY, France — At a rally last week near the Palace of Versailles, France’s largest far-right party, the National Front, deployed all the familiar theatrics and populist themes of nationalist movements across Europe.

A standing-room-only crowd waved the national flag, joined in a boisterous singing of the national anthem and applauded as speakers denounced freeloading foreigners and, with particular venom, the European Union.

But the event, part of an energetic push for votes by France’s surging far right ahead of elections this week for the European Parliament, also promoted an agenda distant from the customary concerns of conservative voters: why Europe needs to break its “submission” to the United States and look to Russia as a force for peace and a bulwark against moral decay.
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While the European Union has joined Washington in denouncing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the chaos stirred by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe’s right-wing populists have been gripped by a contrarian fever of enthusiasm for Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin.

“Russian influence in the affairs of the far right is a phenomenon seen all over Europe,” said a study by the Political Capital Institute, a Hungarian research group. It predicted that far-right parties, “spearheaded by the French National Front,” could form a pro-Russian bloc in the European Parliament or, at the very least, amplify previously marginal pro-Russian voices.

Pro-Russian sentiment remains largely confined to the fringes of European politics, though Mr. Putin also has more mainstream admirers and allies on both the right and the left, including Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, and Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor. Mr. Putin’s authoritarian leanings and pugnacious nationalism have generated widespread and diverse opposition to him across Europe; at a gay pride event in Brussels on Saturday, marchers wore masks featuring Mr. Putin’s face, colored pink and daubed with blue eye shadow and red lipstick.

Even among far-right groups, the sympathy for Russia and suspicion of Washington are in part tactical: Focused on clawing back power from the European Union’s bureaucracy, they seize any cause that puts them at odds with policy makers in Brussels and the conventional wisdom of European elites.

But they also reflect a general crumbling of public trust in the beliefs and institutions that have dominated Europe since the end of World War II, including the Continent’s relationship with the United States.

“Europe is a big sick body,” said Alain de Benoist, a French philosopher and a leading figure in a French school of political thought known as the “new right.” Mr. de Benoist said Russia “is now obviously the principal alternative to American hegemony.” Mr. Putin, he added, is perhaps “not the savior of humanity,” but “there are many good reasons to be pro-Russian.”

Some of Russia’s European fans, particularly those with a religious bent, are attracted by Mr. Putin’s image as a muscular foe of homosexuality and decadent Western ways. Others, like Aymeric Chauprade, a foreign policy adviser to the National Front’s leader, Marine Le Pen, are motivated more by geopolitical calculations that emphasize Russia’s role as a counterweight to American power.

Russia has added to its allure through the financing, mostly with corporate money, of media, research groups and other European organizations that promote Moscow’s take on the world. The United States also supports foreign groups that agree with it, but Russia’s boosters in Europe, unlike its leftist fans during the Cold War, now mostly veer to the far right and sometimes even fascism, the cause Moscow claims to be fighting in Ukraine.

Hungary’s Jobbik, one of Europe’s most extreme nationalist parties and a noisy cheerleader for Moscow, is now under investigation by the Hungarian authorities amid allegations that it has received funding from Russia and, in a case involving one of its leading candidates for the European Parliament, that it has worked for Russian intelligence.

No longer dismissed, as they were for decades, as fringe cranks steeped in anti-Semitism and other noxious beliefs from Europe’s fascist past, the National Front and like-minded counterparts elsewhere on the Continent are expected to post strong gains in this week’s election, which begins on Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands and then rolls across Europe through Sunday.

But they are unlikely to form a cohesive bloc: Nationalists from different countries tend to squabble, not cooperate.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, a group zealously opposed to the European Union and a critic of American foreign policy, is already engaged in a bitter feud with Ms. Le Pen.

But Mr. Farage and Ms. Le Pen have at least found some common ground on Russia. The British politician recently named Mr. Putin as the world leader he most admired “as an operator but not as a human being,” he told a British magazine.

Ms. Le Pen has also expressed admiration for Mr. Putin and called for a strategic alliance with the Kremlin, proposing a “pan-European union” that would include Russia.
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So, different kinds of imperialism are at odds again. The right against the right. It almost sounds like Nostradamus was right what with...
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The article only mentions in passing that the Ukrainian crisis is also rekindling strong pro-Russian and/or pro-Putin support among the far...
Jim inNJ
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One of the biggest issues for much of the far right in Europe these days is a disposition against Islam and Muslims. There is a worry about...

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In general, said Doru Frantescu, policy director of VoteWatch Europe, a Brussels research group, the affections of far-right Europeans for Mr. Putin are simply opportunistic rather than ideological, “a convergence of interests toward weakening the E.U.”

This convergence has pushed the far right into a curious alignment with the far left. In European Parliament votes this year on the lifting of tariffs and other steps to help Ukraine’s fragile new government, which Russia denounces as fascist but the European Union supports, legislators at both ends of the political spectrum banded together to oppose assisting Ukraine.

“Russia has become the hope of the world against new totalitarianism,” Mr. Chauprade, the National Front’s top European Parliament candidate for the Paris region, said in a speech to Russia’s Parliament in Moscow last year.

When Crimea held a referendum in March on whether the peninsula should secede from Ukraine and join Russia, Mr. Chauprade joined a team of election monitors organized by a pro-Russian outfit in Belgium, the Eurasian Observatory for Elections and Democracy. The team, which pronounced the referendum free and fair, also included members of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party; a Flemish nationalist group in Belgium; and the Jobbik politician in Hungary accused of spying for Russia.

Luc Michel, the Belgian head of the Eurasian Observatory, which receives some financial support from Russian companies but promotes itself as independent and apolitical, champions the establishment of a new “Eurasian” alliance, stretching from Vladivostok in Russia to Lisbon in Portugal and purged of American influence. The National Front, preoccupied with recovering sovereign powers surrendered to Brussels, has shown little enthusiasm for a new Eurasian bloc. But it, too, bristles at Europe’s failure to project itself as a global player independent from America, and looks to Russia for help.

The European Union, said Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a member of the French Parliament and a niece of Marine Le Pen, is “the poodle of the United States.”

Russia offers the prospect of a new European order free of what Mr. Chauprade, in his own speech, described as its servitude to a “technocratic elite serving the American and European financial oligarchy” and its “enslavement by consumerist urges and sexual impulses.”

The view that Europe has been cut adrift from its traditional moral moorings gained new traction this month when Conchita Wurst, a bearded Austrian drag queen, won the annual Eurovision Song Contest. Russian officials and the Russian Orthodox Church bemoaned the victory — over, among others, singing Russian twins — as evidence of Europe’s moral disarray.

At the National Front’s pre-election rally, Mr. Chauprade mocked the “bearded lady” and won loud applause with a passionate plaint that Europeans had become a rootless mass of “consumers disconnected from their natural attachments — the family, the nation and the divine.”
Conflict Fatigue Deepens in East Ukraine, Just Days Before Vote


KIEV, Ukraine — Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday faced an unaccustomed wave of anger from residents who expressed frustration over the violence and instability in the region, particularly recent mortar attacks around the embattled city of Slovyansk that have damaged several homes and terrorized residents.

The separatist movement has been showing signs of strain since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said this month that he intended to pull back his troops from the Ukraine border, encouraged a national dialogue and tentatively backed Ukraine’s coming presidential election. Steelworkers easily wrested control of the port city of Mariupol last week under the direction of Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, who owns the mills where they work, and Mr. Akhmetov has continued to pressure the separatists.

Thousands of Mr. Akhmetov’s employees took part on Tuesday in highly choreographed rallies throughout the region, collectively known as Donbass, to show support for Ukrainian unity and to denounce the continuing unrest. But the turnout fell far short of the hundreds of thousands that Mr. Akhmetov had hoped would attend.

In Slovyansk, a center of rebel activity, the separatist mayor, Vyachislav Ponomaryov, was accosted by some of the 200 residents in attendance at what resembled an impromptu, open-air town meeting. They demanded he put an end to the violence, which continued Tuesday with mortar shelling and sporadic gunfire on the outskirts of the city.

Video of the meeting showed a somewhat flustered Mr. Ponomaryov pleading with residents “not to panic” and promising that they would be compensated for damage to their houses because of fighting between rebels and government forces.

The events suggest a deepening conflict fatigue among residents of the east, potentially giving an enormous lift to the provisional government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, as the authorities seek to carry out a successful presidential election on Sunday.

In Moscow, senior Russian officials had already indicated tentative support for the election and for national round-table talks aimed at settling the crisis, with representatives of the Donbass region and the Kiev government, though leaders of the rebel groups were not allowed to attend. The talks are aimed, in part, at drafting an agreement on increasing the authority of local governments.

In a sign, however, that the rebel movement is by no means collapsing, there were reports that gunmen had stormed at least a dozen polling stations in Donetsk and Luhansk on Tuesday, confiscating ballots and other election materials and terrifying workers preparing for Sunday’s vote. Election officials in Kiev have said there will be contingency plans, including alternate polling stations, for voters in disputed regions, but the reports of ballots being stolen at gunpoint illustrated the challenges facing the provisional Ukrainian government as it tries to install a new government with a vote that the world will view as legitimate.

One important factor is the increasingly vocal role of Mr. Akhmetov, who owns factories throughout the east and holds enormous sway in the region. For weeks, Mr. Akhmetov refrained from criticizing the separatists, choosing instead to issue statements in support of a peaceful, united Ukraine.

But on Monday, after separatists seized control of a railway line, Mr. Akhmetov issued a scathing statement accusing them of attempting the “genocide of Donbass.”

“I will not let Donbass be destroyed,” he said.

On Tuesday, workers at a steel mill in Mariupol and at a metalwork facility in the city of Yenakiyeve, the rough-hewed hometown of the ousted president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, left work at noon to listen to speeches in support of Ukrainian unity.

In Donetsk, the regional capital, as many as 1,000 of Mr. Akhmetov’s employees gathered at the Donbass Arena, the local soccer stadium that he owns, to watch Mr. Akhmetov’s statement broadcast on a jumbo video screen.

Some waved orange flags of the local Shakhtar soccer team. Many of those who attended said they had been brought to the arena by bus and did not know why they were there. The event ended after about 20 minutes.

The action, and Mr. Akhmetov’s statement, prompted an angry response from leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, including a threat by its chairman, Denis Pushilin, to nationalize Mr. Akhmetov’s businesses. It is not clear the group has the authority or the ability to take such a step.

In Kiev, officials stepped up preparations for the voting on Sunday, including a memorandum of peace and understanding adopted by Parliament that was intended to reassure the public that substantial government changes were being undertaken along with the election of a new president.

The resolution, which was approved with 252 votes in favor, included promises of constitutional overhauls and offered assurances about the status of the Russian language as well as the ability of local governments to grant official approval to other “minority” languages.

The Kremlin on Monday repeated a previous assertion that Mr. Putin had ordered a withdrawal of Russian troops from along the Ukrainian border, but Western officials said they still saw no indication of a pullback.

While Russia has seemed to back away from the possibility of military action in the east, officials continued to demand that Ukraine begin to pay an outstanding bill for Russian natural gas that the Kremlin says amounts to $3.5 billion.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television broadcast on Tuesday, the Russian prime minister, Dmitry A. Medvedev, said that Russia might be flexible on the timing of the payments but that the debt must be paid. He also noted that Ukraine had recently received billions of dollars in loan assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

Officials in Kiev dispute the price that Russia is demanding for the gas, and the acting Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, issued a statement on Tuesday suggesting that the matter would be brought to arbitration in a Stockholm court.

With the presidential election just days away, a compilation of three new polls released on Tuesday showed the billionaire confectioner Petro Poroshenko with a big lead over former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko. Among voters who said they had already made up their minds, 53.2 percent supported Mr. Poroshenko, the polls found, enough to avoid a runoff.

David M. Herszenhorn reported from Kiev, and Andrew Roth from Donetsk, Ukraine.

ΥΓ. Σε μια ομιλία του στη Στοά του Βιβλίου ο Πασχάλης Κιτρομηλίδης είπε ότι ο Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης, όταν έφυγε από την Ελλάδα, κατέληξε στη Ρωσία, όπου η Αικατερίνη η Μεγάλη, που τότε προσπαθούσε να εκρωσίσει τη γη των Τατάρων, τον έκανε αρχιεπίσκοπο Σλαβινίου και Χερσώνος, και πρόσθεσε ότι το Σλαβίνιο αυτό είναι το σημερινό Σλαβυάνσκ.


Mod Almighty
Staff member
Και μια καθυστερημένη αναφορά στις ουκρανικές προεδρικές εκλογές και στο φασιστικό-ακροδεξιό στοιχείο: Το Σβόμποντα πήρε 1,16% ενώ ο ακόμα ακροδεξιότερος Δεξιός Τομέας πήρε 0,7%. Και οι δύο μαζί αθροιζόμενοι, ούτε 2%. Ας μην μπω και στις συγκρίσεις με την Ελλάδα και στεναχωρηθώ...

Σχετικό: Ukraine: The Antidote to Europe’s Fascists?, του Timothy Snyder.

The leaders of the European far right, helped by the recent woolly-headedness of much of the European left, are moving their peoples not back toward the nation-state (which is impossible) but toward Russian domination of Europe. Despite various disagreements, this is one point on which the European populists, fascists, and neo-Nazis agree: Putin is an admirable leader whose ideas on Europe are sound. Parties like the National Front, Britain’s UKIP, Italy’s Northern League, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, and Hungary’s Jobbik pose as nationalists while supporting the policies of a foreigner who makes no secret of his goal of dominating their lands.
Ο αντι-Μαϊντανικός Peter Lee αυτοδιορθώνεται, όχι στο ίδιο το άρθρο τού Counterpunch (τόσος σεβασμός στους αναγνώστες;!) αλλά στο δικό του China Matters:

First, a correction. In the piece, I give credence to allegations that the Nachtigall Battalion (Ukrainian nationalists, largely Banderites, organized into a military unit under the direction of German military intelligence) participated in the first Lviv pogrom. These allegations are apparently false and the result of a Soviet forgery and disinformation campaign.

Και παρά τις κόντρες του με τον Timothy (που την πρώτη φορά τον λέει Thomas) Snyder, οι αναλύσεις τους για τον σημερινό ευρωπαϊκό φασισμό δεν διαφέρουν και τόσο. Επίσης, αποπειράται μια εξήγηση του χαμηλού ποσοστού της ακροδεξιάς στις προεδρικές εκλογές αναφέροντας το ποσοστό της στις βουλευτικές του 2012 (η Βουλή που προέκυψε τότε είναι η ίδια με τη σημερινή· δεν άλλαξε με την επανάσταση). Τέλος, εξηγεί τη γέννηση του ουκρανικού φασισμού μέσα από τη μέγγενη της σοβιετικής και της πολωνικής κυριαρχίας στον ουκρανικό εθνικισμό του Μεσοπολέμου.

Fascism: an “Ism” for the 21st Century
The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism
by PETER LEE / Counterpunch

Readers outside of Europe might not be aware of it, but spring is the fascist marching season in the Baltic republics.

In Estonia on February 16; February 16 & March 11 in Lithuania (anniversaries of 1918 and 1990 declarations of independence); and March 16 in Latvia (March 16, 1944 was first day the Latvian Legion fought alongside the Wehrmacht against the Red Army), local fascists parade to celebrate fascist principals and fascist heroes, most of whom collaborated in some ways with Nazi Germany during World War II while resisting the Soviet Union.

The big event for Ukrainian fascists is January 1, the anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), leader of the OUN-B (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists—Bandera) fascist faction.

This year, 15,000 people marched by torchlight in Kyiv on January 1 to commemorate Bandera.

Eastern European fascism is a durable and alarmingly vital ideology. It is not just a matter of atavistic affection for Hitler and Nazism by bigoted cranks.

And Ukrainian fascism is more durable and vital than most. It was forged in the most adverse conditions imaginable, in the furnace of Stalinism, under the reign of Hitler, and amid Poland’s effort to destroy Ukrainian nationality.

Ukrainian nationalism was under ferocious attack between the two world wars. The USSR occupied the eastern half of Ukraine, subjected it to collectivization under Stalin, and committed repression and enabled a famine that killed millions. At first, the Soviets sought to co-opt Ukrainian nationalism by supporting Ukrainian cultural expression while repressing Ukrainian political aspirations; USSR nationalities policies were “nationalist in expression and socialist in essence”. Then, in 1937 Stalin obliterated the native Ukrainian cultural and communist apparatus in a thoroughgoing purge and implemented Russified central control through his bespoke instrument, Nikita Krushchev.

Meanwhile, the eastern
[=western] part of the Ukraine was under the thumb of the Polish Republic, which was trying to entrench its rule before either the Germans or the Russians got around to destroying it again. This translated into a concerted Polish political, security, cultural, and demographic push into Ukrainian Galicia. The Polish government displaced Ukrainian intellectuals and farmers, attacked their culture and religion (including seizure of Orthodox churches and conversion into Roman Catholic edifices), marginalized the Ukrainians in their own homeland, and suppressed Ukrainian independence activists (like Bandera, who spent the years 1933 to 1939 in Poland’s Wronki Prison after trying to assassinate Poland’s Minister of the Interior).

Ukrainian nationalists, therefore, were unable to ride communism or bourgeois democracy into power. Communism was a tool of Soviet expansionism, not class empowerment, and Polish democracy offered no protection for Ukrainian minority rights or political expression, let alone a Ukrainian state.

Ukrainian nationalists turned largely toward fascism, specifically toward a concept of “integral nationalism” that, in the absence of an acceptable national government, manifested itself in a national will residing in the spirit of its adherents, not expressed by the state or restrained by its laws, but embodied by a charismatic leader and exercised through his organization, whose legitimacy supersedes that of the state and whose commitment to violence makes it a law unto itself.

That leader, at least for many Ukrainians of the fascist persuasion, was Stepan Bandera. The organization, his OUN-B faction.

This state of affairs persists in today’s successor to the OUN-B, Pravy Sektor, with its fascist trappings, leader cult, and paramilitary arm. The “mainstreaming” of the second major fascist grouping, Svoboda, looks more like a strategic repackaging in order to strive for greater electoral success by hiding its fascist antecedents.

So, unfortunately for apologists for the current Kyiv regime, the correct description of these two groups is not “nationalist” or “ultranationalist”; it is “fascist”.
[Σωστό αυτό, με τον απαραίτητο αστερίσκο για το Σβόμποντα]

Fatally, the Ukrainian government has turned to fascist nationalism and heroes in order to forge a post-Soviet, essentially Ukrainian, identity for the post-1991 state.

In a recapitulation of a trend in eastern Europe to resurrect World War II era nationalist fascists—some of whom actively collaborated with the Nazis—as rallying points for anti-Russian sentiment, Bandera has also been adopted as a Ukrainian national hero: in 2010 President Yuschenko posthumously (and, according to a court in pro-Russian Donetsk, illegally) awarded Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine.

The uncomfortable truth is that the government has invested enough effort into celebrating Bandera as a national hero that the epithet “Banderite” that pro-Russian elements apply to the Kyiv regime is not terribly far from the mark.

For obvious reasons, Russian propaganda has labored mightily to characterize Bandera as a Nazi, so that he can be condemned as a collaborator with Hitler in his war on the USSR and the world, and not an independence fighter against Russia and its brutal and extremely unpopular (for ethnic Ukrainians, at least) rule over eastern Ukraine.

Actually, Banderan fascism, with its focus on establishing a pure Ukrainian state, was only tangentially related to Hitler’s expansionist extravagances, which centered on an apocalyptic war against the “Judeo-Bolshevism” that, in Hitler’s view, stood between Germany and its rightful place as lord of a racially cleansed Europe and a global empire rivalling those of the United States and Great Britain.

Bandera was not an important Nazi collaborator, albeit because he was never given a real chance. Ukrainian independence activists of every stripe threw themselves at the Nazis in the Thirties, seeing Germany as the only force that could destroy both of their hated oppressors—Poland, for the western Ukrainians, and the USSR for the eastern Ukraine.

However, the Nazis were contemptuous of Slavs, who were assigned the role of hewers of wood and drawers of water in the new Aryan order. Ukrainian workers transported to Germany as laborers were subjected to miserable and degrading treatment as they sweated for the Reich.

The notorious ethnic Ukrainian “Galician SS” and “Nachtigall” and “Roland” military formations apparently were kept on a short leash by the Germans, did not accomplish a great deal during World War II, and only saw serious action when the Nazis got really desperate.

The Nazis were above all determined to keep a tight grip on Ukraine, which was a central region for their concept of a Slav-free Lebensraum for Germans and a key zone for their military operations against the USSR. They recognized that Bandera’s bedrock interest was in creating a Ukrainian state free of anyone’s control and were well aware of his tendency toward bloody mischief. The Nazis detained him for most of World War II and only released in a “too little too late” effort to slow up the Red Army as it drove Germany out of eastern Europe in 1945.

Post-war, a German officer made the telling observation that the war in the east was not lost at Stalingrad; it was lost “long before that—in Kiev, when we hosted the swastika instead of the Ukrainian flag!”

Stepan Bandera was an unapologetic fascist and terrorist whose OUN-B faction launched an unimaginably brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing campaign through slaughter during World War II. Yale historian Thomas
[=Timothy] Snyder, who is an enthusiastic cheerleader for almost all things EuroMaidan, draws the line at exalting Bandera.

The Nazis killed tens of millions of anonymous strangers in the East as part of a war of conquest meant to Germanize Europe to the Urals; the Ukrainians of the OUN-B murdered tens of thousands of their neighbors while trying to rip a national state out of the social and political fabric of eastern Europe.

Like Hitler, Bandera was keen to purify the “homeland” of impure elements. Unlike Hitler, Bandera only had the chance to turn his fury on his enemies—primarily the Poles of Galicia–for a few months.

5000 Ukrainian police defected with their weapons to join Bandera’s faction as Nazi rule crumbled in Ukraine, and provided the muscle for the most notorious Bandera action of the Second World War: the massacre of Poles in what is now western Ukraine.

Historians generally agree that Bandera’s forces committed systematic atrocities in order to institute a reign of terror that would drive out the Poles out.

Norman Davies:

Villages were torched. Roman Catholic priests were axed or crucified. Churches were burned with all their parishioners. Isolated farms were attacked by gangs carrying pitchforks and kitchen knives. Throats were cut. Pregnant women were bayoneted. Children were cut in two. Men were ambushed in the field and led away.

Timothy Snyder:

Ukrainian partisans burned homes, shot or forced back inside those who tried to flee, and used sickles and pitchforks to kill those they captured outside. In some cases, beheaded, crucified, dismembered, or disemboweled bodies were displayed, in order to encourage remaining Poles to flee.

Various estimates calculate that somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 Poles died in the Bandera terror.

Bandera’s champions point to the fact that he was still in German detention when the massacres took place and there is no evidence that he explicitly ordered the massacres. But given his ideology, his detestation of the Poles, and his role as the charismatic leader of his faction, it seems unlikely his subordinates undertook this massive enterprise on their own initiative.

One of Bandera’s lieutenants was Roman Shukhevych. In February 1945, Shukhevych issued an order stating, “In view of the success of the Soviet forces it is necessary to speed up the liquidation of the Poles, they must be totally wiped out, their villages burned … only the Polish population must be destroyed.”

As a matter of additional embarrassment, Shukhevych was also a commander in the Nachtigall (Nightingale) battalion organized by the Wehrmacht.

Today, a major preoccupation of Ukrainian nationalist historical scholarship is beating back rather convincing allegations by Russian, Polish, and Jewish historians that Nachtigall was an important and active participant in the massacre of Lviv Jews orchestrated by the German army upon its arrival in June 1941.
[Βλ. Correction στην αρχή της ανάρτησης]

It’s an uphill battle. Bandera had classified Jews as “second order enemies” thanks to their perceived role as collaborators and adjuncts to the Polish and Russian strategy of “divide and conquer” against Ukrainian nationalism. Anti-Semitism, indeed, is a staple of modern Ukrainian fascism and has undoubtedly contributed to the emigration of 60% of Ukraine’s Jews—340,000 people—since independence.

Shukhevych remains a hero to Ukrainian fascists today. Most importantly—since Bandera was assassinated in Munich by the USSR in 1959 and left no issue—he serves as the direct lineal ancestor of Ukraine’s key fascist formation, Pravy Sektor.

In February 2014, the New York Times’ Andrew Higgins penned a rather embarrassing passage that valorized the occupation of Lviv—the Galician city at the heart of Ukrainian fascism, the old stomping grounds of Roman Shukhevych and the Nachtigall battlaian, and also Simon Wiesnthal’s home town—by anti-Yanyukovich forces in January 2014:

Some of the president’s longtime opponents here have taken an increasingly radical line.

Offering inspiration and advice has been Yuriy Shukhevych, a blind veteran nationalist who spent 31 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps and whose father, Roman, led the Ukrainian Insurgent Army against Polish and then Soviet rule.

Mr. Shukhevych, 80, who lost his sight during his time in the Soviet gulag, helped guide the formation of Right Sector, an unruly organization whose fighters now man barricades around Independence Square, the epicenter of the protest movement in Kiev.


Yuriy Shukhevych’s role in modern Ukrainian fascism is not simply that of an inspirational figurehead and reminder of his father’s anti-Soviet heroics for proud Ukrainian nationalists. He is a core figure in the emergence of the key Ukrainian fascist formation, Pravy Sektor and its paramilitary.

And Pravy Sektor’s paramilitary, the UNA-UNSO, is not an “unruly” collection of weekend-warrior-wannabes, as Mr. Higgins might believe.

UNA-UNSO was formed during the turmoil of the early 1990s, largely by ethnic Ukrainian veterans of the Soviet Union’s bitter war in Afghanistan. From the first, the UNA-UNSO has shown a taste for foreign adventures, sending detachments to Moscow in 1990 to oppose the Communist coup against Yeltsin, and to Lithuania in 1991. With apparently very good reason, the Russians have also accused UNA-UNSO fighters of participating on the anti-Russian side in Georgia and Chechnya.

After formal Ukrainian independence, the militia elected Yuriy Shukhevych—the son of OUN-B commander Roman Shukhevych– as its leader and set up a political arm, which later became Pravy Sektor.

Also after independence in 1991, the unapologetically fascistic Social Nationalist Party—with, inevitably, its own paramilitary, Patriots of Ukraine—was set up under the leadership of Andriy Parubiy.

Parubiy left the Social Nationalist Party in 2004, when it became the vehicle for the political aspirations of Oleh Tyahnybok and became the Svoboda Party. Parubiy’s motivations are relatively opaque, but I would argue he left to become the fascist Trojan horse inside Yulya Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party. Indeed, while Timoshenko’s political clout dwindled during her imprisonment, Parubiy was a key organizer of “volunteers” at Maidan and emerged as the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, charged with handling the “anti-terrorist” operations in the east.

Rather Panglossian analyses of Ukranian fascism usually take as their point of departure the dismal showing of Pravy Sektor and Svoboda in the 2014 presidential election.

The two fascist parties polled less than 2% combined in the 2014 presidential poll. However, this is probably a misleading indicator of their strength. Pravy Sektor’s Yarosh had announced he wouldn’t run an active campaign, presumably as part of a deal at the behest of EuroMaidan’s Western backers to help Petro Poroshenko avoid a run-off with Yulya Tymoshenko. As for Tyahnybok, Svoboda got 10% of the vote in the parliamentary elections of 2012, and it seems implausible that his backing has completely collapsed after his high-profile role in the triumphant Maidan troika together with Klitschko and Yatsenyuk.

In any case, as noted above, fascists do not regard the state, its constitution, and the electoral process as the vehicle for Ukrainian national aspirations. That role is reserved for the leader, the party, and the paramilitaries. What matters to fascists is their influence in the affairs of the nation, and in Ukraine that influence is significant.

When eastern Ukraine rose up, the current Kyiv government, admittedly laboring under significant disabilities of illegitimacy, incompetence, and penury, has experienced immense difficulties in rallying a multi-ethnic Ukrainian nation. It was almost a foregone conclusion that fascist paramilitaries would be called upon to supplement or even replace the wavering regime forces in the field.

In an eerie—well, perhaps, predictable—recapitulation of the OUN-B’s opportunistic military collaboration with the Wehrmacht, Pravy Sektor leader Dmytro Yarosh organized the “Donbass Batallion” to assist the Ukrainian government’s operations in the east. Pravy Sektor leaders and rank and file have also apparently augmented if not formed the oligarch-funded Dniepr Battalion–currently one of the few military formations operating in the east that is reliably and brutally loyal to the Kyiv regime.

Even though it is plausibly alleged that Russia is inciting and abetting resistance, local resentment against Kyiv and its heavy-handed tactics is undeniably present and apparently increasing, and perhaps with it the need for fascist backbone and muscle to subjugate the unruly east.

The optimistic European scenario is for Ukraine’s barely acknowledged fascist problems to melt away as European integration and prosperity do their moderating work, and Ukraine emerges as another Poland: politically stable, united, democratic, and reliably anti-Russian.

However, it is an ugly truth that Poland had its issues of national identity resolved by Hitler, Stalin, and the Holocaust, which stripped away the complicating nationalities issues posed by its German, Ukrainian, and Jewish populations. Before World War II, one-third of Poland’s population was “minorities”. Today, Poland is 96% “Polish”.

Ukraine, on the other hand, carries a legacy of division thanks to the USSR’s administration of eastern Ukraine before World War II, and Russian domination of the Kiev elite during the Soviet period. About 18% of Ukrainians are ethnic Russian; but 30% of the population is native-Russian speaking. In the western oblasts currently battling Kyiv, the percentage of Russian speakers ranges from 72% (Dnipropetrovsk) to 93% (Donetsk). Crimea, now annexed to Russia, was 97%.

Unless the Kyiv regime unwittingly solves its problem by escalating the crisis to the point that Russia annexes the eastern oblasts and removes Russian Ukrainians from the nationalist equation, a plausible forecast for Ukraine is failure, polarization, poverty, violence—and fascist political success as Russian ethnic and linguistic identity become signifiers for looming threats to the Ukrainian state.

But in evaluating the outlook for fascism in Europe, it is a mistake to think fascists are just fighting the last war—finishing up the de-Bolshevization and de-Russification of eastern Europe that Hitler was only able to begin.

Communism isn’t the only light that’s failing.

Ukrainian fascists love the Russia-hammering NATO, but detest the Russia-accommodating and supra-nationalistic EU.

And they aren’t alone. Fascism—and anti-EU sentiment—pervade parts of Europe that never felt Stalin’s wrath. In the last elections for the European Parliament, “eurosceptics” and xenophobic ultra-nationalists scored significant gains, led by Marine Le Pen, whose National Front took 25% of the French seats.

A lot of it has to do with the equivocal track record of globalized neo-liberal capitalism in the last decade. We’re all Pikettyists now, and it seems that among the most important outcomes of neo-liberalism are income inequality and oligarchs.

It is anathema to liberal democrats, but it should be acknowledged that fascism is catching on, largely as a result of a growing perception that neo-liberalism and globalization are failing to deliver the economic and social goods to a lot of people.

Democracy is seen as the plaything of oligarchs who manipulate the current system to secure and expand their wealth and power; liberal constitutions with their guarantees of minority rights appear to be recipes for national impotence. Transnational free markets in capital and goods breed local austerity, unemployment, and poverty. Democratic governments seem to follow the free market playbook, get into problems they can’t handle, and surrender their sovereignty to committees of Euro-financiers.

Fascism, with its exaltation of the particular, the emotional, and the undemocratic provides an impregnable ideological and political bulwark against these outside forces.

Fascism has become an important element in the politics of resistance: a force that obstructs imposition of the norms of globalization, and an ideology that justifies the protection of local local interests against the demands of liberal democracy, transnational capital, and property and minority rights.

Maybe it’s neo-liberalism, not fascism, that is facing a crisis of legitimacy and acceptance.

So the idea that fascism can be treated as a delusional artifact of the 20th century and the challenge of fascism to the neo-liberal order can be ignored is, itself, wishful thinking.

Even if the European Union grows and flourishes, it will continue to have a hard time outrunning the perception that it delivers its benefits preferentially to a limited subset of nations, corporations, and individuals, at the expense of the many.

In eastern Europe, add to the incendiary mix the perception that the EU, that bastion of liberal democratic and free market ideals, has very little will or even interest in standing up to Russia.

This sentiment will not exclusively spawn benign “Green” and “Occupy” progressive movement, that combine their allegiance to democracy and human and individual rights with their well-earned reputations for internal division, political impotence, and unwillingness to confront.

For some, resentment will, inevitably, congeal around nationalism and the perception that fascist resistance, defiantly militant, uncompromising, and irrational, racial and undemocratic, exclusionary and brutal, is the best instrument to achieve local identity and agency—power– in an ever bigger, more dangerous, and less responsive continental order.

Fascism, I’m afraid, isn’t just part of Europe’s past; it’s part of Europe’s future.
Ο Ζίζεκ για την Ουκρανία (London Review of Books / Guardian):

Why both the left and right have got it wrong on Ukraine
There's a historical irony in watching Ukrainians tearing down Lenin’s statues as a sign of their will to break with Soviet domination

The entire European neo-fascist right (in Hungary, France, Italy, Serbia) firmly supports Russia in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, giving the lie to the official Russian presentation of the Crimean referendum as a choice between Russian democracy and Ukrainian fascism. The events in Ukraine – the massive protests that toppled Yanukovich and his gang – should be understood as a defence against the dark legacy resuscitated by Putin.

The protests were triggered by the Ukrainian government’s decision to prioritise relations with Russia over integration into the European Union. Predictably, many anti-imperialist leftists reacted to the news by patronising the Ukrainians: how deluded they are still to idealise Europe, not to be able to see that joining the EU would just make Ukraine an economic colony of western Europe, sooner or later to go the same way as Greece.

In fact, Ukrainians are far from blind about the reality of the EU. They are fully aware of its troubles and disparities: their message is simply that their own situation is much worse. Europe may have problems, but they are a rich man’s problems.

Europe can see in the Ukrainian protests its own best and worst sides, its emancipatory universalism as well as its dark xenophobia.

Let’s begin with the dark xenophobia. The Ukrainian nationalist right is one instance of what is going on today from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the US to Israel, from central Africa to India: ethnic and religious passions are exploding, and Enlightenment values receding.

Έχει επίσης ένα έξυπνο πολιτικό ανέκδοτο της ύστατης σοβιετικής περιόδου:

Rabinovitch, a Jew, wants to emigrate. The bureaucrat at the emigration office asks him why, and Rabinovitch answers: ‘Two reasons. The first is that I’m afraid the Communists will lose power in the Soviet Union, and the new power will put all the blame for the Communists’ crimes on us, the Jews.’ ‘But this is pure nonsense,’ the bureaucrat interrupts, ‘nothing can change in the Soviet Union, the power of the Communists will last for ever!’ ‘Well,’ Rabinovitch replies, ‘that’s my second reason.’