“Volatile” does not even come close to describing the current political landscape in the Ukraine. As of the day this post is published, President Viktor Yanukovych has taken a “sick leave” and talks have stalled; prime minister Mykola Azarov resigned on the 27th of January and the parliament voted to repeal the anti-protest laws— though the laws won’t officially be repealed until the president signs off on them.
Now again, we feature work from our comrades in the Ukraine, this time in an interview with nihilist.li: “This interview with a comrade from the Autonomous Workers’ Union in Kiev was done on January 28, 2014. It sheds some light on the events around the Maidan: the array of reasons behind the protests, their focus on the hated president, the differences to the “orange revolution”, the role of the right, the weakness of social struggles and possible scenarios.”
Here, they discuss the involvement of ultra-nationalist and neo-nazi groups in the protests:
Q: Right-wing parties and fascist groups play a role in the protests. How important are they actually? Do they get much support? How do other protesters relate to them?
A: Far right party Svoboda is the most organized of the three large political forces trying to control the protest. They are the only party which has real active cells in various regions, actual activist base. So, as the most organized and the most ideological of the three, they are gaining the most. Apart from Svoboda, there is an umbrella coalition of neo-nazi militant groups. It is called Right Sector. They were formed in the beginning of the protests, and by now they’ve succeeded to gain enormous prominence and conquer sympathies from apolitical and liberal people. They are mostly famous by their demonstrative militancy and aggression, and the public doesn’t see anything wrong with these cute young patriots. Lately, the same pattern repeats in other regions, where neo-nazi football hooligans turned out to be the main assault force fighting the police and pro-government thugs.
The fascist hegemony was indisputable until January 19th, when the protests were joined by lots of other people – random apolitical citizens, liberals and even the left. That happened because the agenda of the protests shifted to repealing the “dictatorship laws” passed on January 16. Since then they had to step back a bit but nevertheless it’s obvious that in the long run these protests will enormously benefit the far right, whoever wins. In the case of the victory of the opposition, they will surely get themselves the police forces, special services etc. If Yanukovych wins, this means that half of the country will become firm supporters of the far-right as supposedly the only patriotic radical force able to confront the dictator.
Meanwhile, most left activists also joined the protests after January 19 because those laws will severely damage them as well. They found their niche in infrastructural activities, such as vigils in emergency hospitals: they stay there in order to prevent police and thugs kidnap the wounded. Other area of left activity is the above mentioned attempt at igniting the political strike.