New Faces

The power of leaders of ultra right-wing organizations was legalized

The power of leaders of ultra right-wing organizations was legalized
Photo: Reuters

Ultra right-wing parties have become a new force in Ukrainian politics, but their role is so far underestimated. At the same time, the backroom support by the powers that be and big capital of representatives of radical movement are creating a solid foundation for criticism of the actions of official Kyiv on the part of Russia and the West.

Assistance from the outside

Last year was marked by the appearance of representatives of ultra right-wing organizations in public politics. Having earned broad and ambiguous renown as active participants in the acts of protest during the EuroMaidan, representatives of right-wing organizations failed to gain significant support, neither during the presidential elections in the spring, nor in the parliamentary elections in autumn. Moreover, the Svoboda party, which often boasts of being a nationalistic party, failed to win seats in the Verkhovna Rada.

Nevertheless, despite the failure in the elections a trend of the strengthening of the roles of right-wing parties in the country is being observed. Former people’s deputy of the Socialist Party Yevhen Filindash believes the reason for this is that the ruling power and major capital unofficially continue to support right-wing radical organizations in Ukraine. «With the help of extremist groups the oligarchs removed the struggle in society from the socialist plane and the struggle for their rights to the nationalistic and even racial plane. Some of these right-wing activists won seats in the parliament thanks to financial assistance and support of oligarchs,» Filindash told Capital.

Filindash is hinting that the team of the head of the Dnipropetrovsk OSA Ihor Kolomoyskiy should support the leader of the Right Sector (RS) Dmytro Yarosh, who won in the first-past-the-post constituency in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast. «We helped him conduct his pre-election campaign and did not cover up this fact,» admitted former Deputy Head of the Dnipropetrovsk OSA Borys Filatov, who was elected a people’s deputy in those elections.

By the way, Yarosh officially became the only representative of the RS in the parliament as the party failed to overcome the threshold with only 1.8% of the votes of the electorate. However, unofficially there are currently more members of the RS in the deputy corps. For example, coordinator of the Right Sector in the Dniproperovsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts Andriy Denysenko, who ran as a candidate of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, was elected to the VR with the support of Kolomoyskiy’s team. Filatov confirms this fact, naming Denysenko a person of the Yarosh team. Head of the Information Department of the RS Borys Bereza was elected to the parliament in the first-past-the-post constituency in Kyiv.

According to the results of the elections in the Kyiv constituency, Andriy Biletskiy, the leader of another right-wing radical organization Patriot of Ukraine, received a deputy seat. Biletskiy calls members of the organization a «combat backbone» of the Right Sector, whose representatives participated in the clashes on Bankova St. in Kyiv on December 1, 2013 and in the opposition to law enforcers that followed. Interestingly enough, Biletskiy today has the title of lieutenant colonel of the police, which he was conferred as a commander of the Azov volunteer battalion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Today the battalion is a regiment.

The People’s Front publicly supported Biletskiy in the elections, but the head of his election headquarters was Roman Zvarych, manager of the legal department of the headquarters of presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko. Zvarych refused to give comments to Capital over the phone on the reasons for his cooperation with Biletskiy, whom a number of human rights activists accuse of racial intolerance. Biletskiy denied his complicity in such incidents in the most recent interview and said the organization that he headed is practically non-existent. In an interview for the Internet publication Liviy Bereh (Left Bank) he said that now his main task is the Azov regiment.

Controversial Azov

Precisely this armed formation is not giving peace of mind to critics, who see in its activity the continuation of the ideology of Patriot of Ukraine. In particular, western and Russian mass media are turning the public’s attention to the fact that the main element in the Azov emblem is a «wolf’s hook» or in German «Wolfsangel», a symbol of the Nazis and neo-Nazis. The origin of the Azov emblem is attributed to Middle Age heraldic.

Nonetheless, the suspicion of Nazism continues to haunt the voluntary formation. In early December, President Petro Poroshenko conferred a Ukrainian passport to Commander of the Investigative Regiment Serhiy Korotkih. «After being awarded, he said he is a native of Russia and for many years was a citizen of Belarus,» the press service of the president informed. But immediately after the ceremony the mass media in Belarus informed that Korotkih with the nickname Maliuta is known as an active participant of the neo-Nazi movement in Belarus and Russia.

Biletskiy assures that the ideological nationalist core of Azov is being washed out through transfer to other battalions in the National Guard and the army. The fact that Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov appointed Vadym Troyan as Head of the Central Administration of the MIA of Ukraine in the Kyiv oblast is testimony to the high level of trust of the leadership of the country in members of Azov. Troyan, assistant of Biletskiy in Azov, is a former member of Patriot of Ukraine.

Human rights activist Yevhen Zakharov believes that the ruling authority legalized leaders of right-wing organizations after their successful activity within the framework of the ATO, where their ideology began playing second fiddle. «Biletskiy was in truth a die-hard Nazi and racist and his past will haunt him. However, this was not manifested in any way in his practice as commander of Azov. First and foremost, this is important for the West, where there are many politicians that painfully perceive the issues of mono-racism and radical nationalism,» Zakharov noted in his comments for Capital.

Dissident and human rights activist Levko Lukyanenko predicts that the popularity of right-wing ideology in Ukraine will continue to grow. This is directly associated with the military actions in the eastern part of the country. At the same time, he is convinced that radical ideology will not gain support of the masses.

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