14 March 2015

The Uneasy Reality of Antifascism in Ukraine


The Uneasy Reality of Antifascism in Ukraine
First published in German language in Beton International: Zeitung für Literatur und Gesellschaft (10 March 2015). The German version can be found below.

Ukrainian antifascists hold a banner that reds: "Against political terror". Kyiv, 19 January 2015

For almost twenty years of Ukraine’s independence, the term “antifascism” used to have very limited currency in the established political discourse in Ukraine. Until 2010, “antifascism” was primarily used as a form of self-identification by an element of Ukraine’s left-wing movement, as well as being employed by the far right groupuscules to refer to their left-wing opponents. Hence, until 2010-2011, “antifascism” remained a notion that largely belonged to the subcultural sphere of the physical and symbolical strife between left-wing and far right activists.

10 March 2015

The far right "International Russian Conservative Forum" to take place in Russia

The Russian fascist Rodina (Motherland) party that was founded by Russia's current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is organising a large conference titled "International Russian Conservative Forum" (IRCF) to be held in St. Petersburg on 22 March 2015.

19 February 2015

German Die Linke delegation visits right-wing terrorists in Eastern Ukraine

Just two weeks after the leader of the pro-Russian right-wing terrorist organisation "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) Aleksandr Zakharchenko declared that Ukraine was run by "miserable Jews", a delegation of the German party Die Linke visited the author of this anti-Semitic jibe and delivered what they called "humanitarian help".

Pro-Russian right-wing terrorist Aleksandr Zakharchenko (2nd from the left) and the delegation of Die Linke: Wolfgang Gehrcke (3rd) and Andrej Hunko (4th), Donetsk, 16 February 2015

30 January 2015

Whither the Ukrainian Far Right?

Introduction

The early presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine that took place in May and October 2014 correspondingly proved to be disastrous for the Ukrainian party-political far right.

Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” (Svoboda), obtained 1.16% of the vote in the presidential election, while his party secured only 4.71% of the vote in the parliamentary election and, eventually, failed to pass the 5% electoral threshold and enter the parliament. In comparison, Svoboda managed to obtain 10.44% of the votes in 2012 and form the first ever far right parliamentary group in the history of Ukraine.

Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, obtained 0.70% in the presidential election, and 1.80% of the voters supported his party in the parliamentary election. The Right Sector, at the same time, can only provisionally be considered a far right party, and “national conservative” would perhaps be a more relevant and cautious term. In contrast to Svoboda, the Right Sector interprets the Ukrainian nation in civic, rather than ethnic, terms, while Yarosh’s election programme even insisted that the values of human dignity and human rights should become a fundamental ideology of a new constitution of Ukraine.

29 January 2015

On the statement of the University of Piraeus regarding Kotzias and Dugin

Following the publications in this blog and elsewhere about the contacts between current Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin, Professor Angel Kotios, speaking on behalf of the University of Piraeus, has issued a statement in which he has tried to distance from Dugin. In particular, the statement says:

With relation to the negative reports referred to a lecture by Professor Aleksandr Dugin at the University of Piraeus and in particular the Department of International and European Studies, as Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Business and International Studies, I would like to clarify the following:

The lecture by Professor Dugin held on 12 April 2013 as part of the course "The Foreign Policy of Russia" with tutor Professor N. Kotzias, and it took place after a proposal of Mr. Dugin himself, via his collaborators, and, therefore, in no case was he invited by Professor Kotzias.
Anyone who is more or less familiar with the academic practice, knows that a lecturer cannot simply "invite himself" to give a paper in a course of another lecturer. Even if this were the case, then Kotzias had to check the background of the intrusive lecturer and eventually reject to have Dugin at the University of Piraeus. He did not reject. However, this was not the case at all, and the transcript of the lecture confirms that Dugin was invited.

28 January 2015

Aleksandr Dugin and the SYRIZA connection

Following the previous article on the far left/right coalition government in Greece, I was asked to provide more comments on the connections between SYRIZA and Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin.

First of all, a few words about Dugin himself (interested readers will find my longer piece on Dugin here, and a thesis on him by my colleague Andreas Umland here).

Who is Dugin?

Dugin's ideology is called Eurasianism, but experts prefer to use the term "Neo-Eurasianism", because Dugin's ideology has a limited relation to Eurasianism, the interwar Russian émigré movement that could be placed in the Slavophile tradition. Rather, Neo-Eurasianism is a mixture of the ideas of French esoteric René Guénon, Italian fascist Julius Evola, National Bolshevism, the European New Right and classical geopolitics.

26 January 2015

Greek left-wing SYRIZA forms a coalition with the pro-Kremlin far right

After a landslide victory in the early parliamentary elections held on 25 January 2015, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that secured 149 seats in the new parliament has surprised the left-wing voters and sympathisers by agreeing to form, already on 26 January, a coalition government with the far right Independent Greeks party (ANEL) that now has 13 seats. Popular support for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn led by currently imprisoned Nikolaos Michaloliakos has slightly decreased: the neo-Nazis have secured 17 seats (one seat less than in 2012), but the Golden Dawn is still the third largest party in Greece.

Both SYRIZA and ANEL are so-called "anti-austerity parties" implying that they oppose reducing budget deficits as a response to the Greek financial crisis, as well as rejecting the austerity package put forth by the EU and the IMF. The "anti-austerity" platform may seem the only agenda that has drawn the two parties they share, but they also share a similar approach to foreign policy issues - an approach that may undermine the EU unity over the Russian threat.