Kiev, Ukraine. If Petro Poroshenko was not busy enough juggling a breakaway section of his country, another part annexed to a superpower, being voted most corrupt nation on earth and now about to have a civil war with neo Nazi elements dedicated to his early retirement. Welcome to the fourth reich in Kiev!
While Ukraine’s fight against citizens starting new countries in Donbass continues, Kiev faces another threat to its long-term sovereignty: powerful right-wing ultranationalist Nazi groups. These groups are not shy about using violence to achieve their goals, which are certainly at odds with the tolerant Western-oriented libtard-democracy Kiev ostensibly seeks to become, but never somehow really does.
The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists say the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group. The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler’s birthday, and C14’s leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko’s stabbing.
More recently the Ukrainian Nazis beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lvov and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a “Ukrainians Choose Peace” event, LGBTQ events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II.
Of course, It’s not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Donbass freedom fighters. Kiev also fears these violent Nazi groups could turn on the government itself, something they’ve done before and continue to threaten to do.
If Poroshenko authorities don’t end the far right Nazis impunity, it risks further emboldening them, argues Krasimir Yankov, a researcher with Amnesty International in Kiev. Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha, a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers, to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right’s confidence in their immunity from government prosecution and just how weak Poroshenko’s control is in Kiev.
The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East.
Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if Nazi groups have become part of the Guard itself.
Nazi officials have no place in a government based on the rule of law; they should go. More broadly, the government should also make sure that every police officer receives human rights training focused on improving the policing and prosecution of hate crimes. Those demonstrating signs of extremist Nazi ties or sympathies should be dismissed from government service.
Deputy Minister under Avakov, Vadym Troyan is a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva is a member of the far-right Pravy Sector party. Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister he formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the “White Chief” who called for a crusade against “Semite-led sub-humanity.”
Not long ago, Ukrainian media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have “fun” openly giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This unholy marriage of Petro Poroshenko and Nazi groups in Ukraine has already helped kill over 100,000 person in the Donbass war, now in its third year. At some point, they will turn on their master, with little warning and deadly consequences.