Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

February 22, 2014

Right-Wing Extremists control the streets of Kiev: who will govern the whole nation?, by Andrew Taylor, Feb 22, 2014

The nature of the opposition in Ukraine in the evening of the day of the coup d’état:  Fascists from the Right Sector rule the streets around Maidan Square; they have been the hard edge training and battling police in the Square.  In the parliament EU and US favoured nationalists, oligarchs, rightists and opportunist defectors from the governing Party of Regions struggle for power and place, today issuing an anti-constitutional  motion removing the president from office.

Who will lead then? The president Viktor Yanukovich, solely blamed for violence and the deaths of the last week is reported to be in Kharkov the second-largest city of Ukraine located in his eastern power-base. He has issued a television appeal denouncing the betrayal of the Pact made yesterday with The Opposition whereby he would share power with them until early May elections. His appearance included a statement that he counted on the EU 'guests' in yesterday's Agreement to guarantee his constitutional position.

But he has now fled Kiev. The city's citizens are ushered into the grounds of the mansion by right-wing militant guards at the gates while the EU guarantors have betrayed their undertakings to him.

Extremists among the citizens of Ukraine may be few in number, but it was the extremist fascists who were permitted to lead the fighting with Molotov cocktails, baseball bats, bricks and seized service rifles. The anointed provocateur which was to instigate the Coup by its street violence was The Right Sector,  an extreme fringe which operated with the knowing connivance of the parliamentary political leadership, the EU and USA.

It was the xenophobic Right Sector that helped instigate the street battles with police on January 19 that claimed four lives.

It was the anti-Semitic Right Sector that again and again said its forces would remain at the barricades until their "Revolution" was accomplished.

The US & European Union leaders have all along used the hard right to execute the extra-parliamentary side of the coup, while simultaneously condemning the violence and brazenly laying the entire responsibility for the bloodshed at the feet of the embattled President. But it satisfied a belief among many ordinary anti-Yanukovich demonstrators on Kiev’s Maidan square, that after the alleged incidents of abductions of protesters, and the real deadly battles with armed riot police, violent confrontation was perhaps justified.

Anton Shekhovtsov a Ukrainian political writer disingenuously noted“[Far-right groups] are a minor element, but they’re very visible...The radical protesters somehow met the demand for more radical actions ... People were tired of just listening to speeches, and peaceful approaches.”

That ordinary Ukrainians “were tired of just listening to speeches and peaceful approaches” is a political obfuscation. Kiev newspapers, television with other western Ukrainian media were filled with one-sided op-eds, features and photos that artfully played into the nationalist fervour being whipped up with the assistance of Washington, Berlin and Brussels. From the start of the unrest, Russia couldn’t win for losing, and its offer to wipe out billions of Ukraine’s debt and offer of $15bn in credit actually prompted media rage that Ukraine was being sold out to its neighbour. The prior extraordinarily meagre “offer” by The European Union had to be rejected by Ukraine as it would have caused massive job-loss by a “shock-therapy” style rapid upgrade of Ukraine’s industrial & environmental standards to those obtaining in the EU.

But to return to the Right-Sector, having used these thugs to get their way, how are the ‘respectable’ Opposition and their western benefactors going to get the fascist thugs to stand down? I see three scenarios for the Right Sector now patrolling the streets of Kiev: (1) the ‘respectable’ coup leaders in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine will co-opt the fascists by letting them run candidates in areas and promising them seats at the table, $ and power if they tone down their racism, or (2) Jail and try them, because the far-Right wants Power for fascist Revolution.. Or (3) The Unthinkable, The fascists take power through refusing to lay down arms and a putsch.

Ukraine itself and Russian-Ukrainian relations are facing the most grave of crises since independence in 1991. It is now much more than disputes over trade links with the EU and/or Russia, the real probability of a NATO satellite on the western border of Russia is here. And a new level of unprecedented instability is upon us all.

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