21 August 2014

(Pro-)Russian extremists in 2006 and 2014: the Dugin Connection

In August 2006, Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin and his Eurasian Youth Union (Евразийский союз молодежи, ESM) organised a summer camp where ultranationalist activists were further indoctrinated and trained to fight against democratic movements in neighbouring independent states. Looking at the pictures from that camp, I have identified at least five people who, in 2014, were engaged in the terrorist activities of (pro-)Russian extremists in Eastern Ukraine.

Andrey Purgin in the ESM camp, 2006
Andrey Purgin, 2014
Andrey Purgin, first "Prime Minister" of the "Donetsk People's Republic". In 2006, he was a leader of the organisation "Donetsk Republic".

16 August 2014

Putin’s useful idiots and little ribbentrops in Europe

The Ukrainian revolution that started from pro-European protests (Euromaidan) in November 2013 and eventually ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych in March 2014 turned Russian president Vladimir Putin’s blood cold. There were two major – political and geopolitical – reasons for Putin to be terrified.

First of all, with his antagonism towards mass protests, which his regime systematically crushes in Russia itself, Putin feared that Maidan – which, after the “Orange revolution” in 2004, has become a name for a successful popular protest – could be somehow transferred to Russia and cause problems to his rule.

14 August 2014

Neo-Nazi Russian National Unity in Eastern Ukraine

Here are some photos of the Russian neo-Nazi organisation Russian National Unity (Русское национальное единство, RNE) who are fighting against Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine.

RNE's logo, a swastika, on a St. George ribbon hailed by Putin's Russia as an allegedly anti-fascist symbol
June 2014, Eastern Ukraine

3 August 2014

What Can Be Expected from Ukrainian Right in the Midst of Political and Military Crisis?

My interview to Nikolas Kozloff, author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and founder of the Revolutionary Handbook project.

In addition to the military crisis in Eastern Ukraine and the rise of pro-Russian separatist rebels, Kiev now confronts a growing political crisis as the country gears up for new elections. What can we expect from the Ukrainian right, and how will nationalist forces seek to profit from escalating tensions with Russia? For answers, I caught up with Anton Shekhovtsov, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and an expert on Ukrainian politics.

NK: In the aftermath of the Malaysia flight 17 disaster, the media has tended to examine events in Ukraine in military and geopolitical terms. Yet we hear very little about what effect the crash will have upon domestic politics in Ukraine and nationalist as well as rightwing sentiment. What are your thoughts?

AS: I don't think the crash has exerted much impact on domestic Ukrainian politics. Bear in mind that Kiev has been militarily engaged with Russian separatists for some time now, and so the Malaysia airliner disaster won't do much to change the fundamental dynamic one way or the other. I also don't believe this incident has had much of an impact upon nationalist groups, again for similar reasons.

16 July 2014

Article: "Ukraine’s Radical Right" published in Journal of Democracy

Journal of Democracy has recently published a new issue that features a special section "The Maidan and Beyond". Andreas Umland and I co-authored an article for this section:

Ukraine’s Radical Right

Thanks largely to the Kremlin’s information war, Ukraine’s ultranationalists have become global media stars of a sort, depicted in Western and other reports as key players in Ukraine’s third major political upheaval in less than a quarter-century. How do we explain the paradox of ultranationalist parties becoming involved in a protest movement whose thrust is toward greater integration between Ukraine and the European Union? And are the fears that swirl around these parties justified? The most obvious explanation for the Ukrainian far right’s ardent participation in the EuroMaidan may be found in the primary goal shared by all Ukrainian nationalists, radical and moderate alike: to liberate Kyiv from the Kremlin’s hegemony.

14 July 2014

Российский нео-нацист Роман Железнов просит политического убежища в Украине

9 июля в Украину прибыл российский нео-нацист - Роман "Зухель" Железнов. В киевском аэропорту "Борисполь" его встречали представители украинской нео-нацистской группировки "Социал-национальная ассамблея" (СНА), лидеры которой составляют руководство спецбатальона МВД Украины "Азов".

"Одна вера, один вождь и один народ. У нас есть вера. Наша вера - это национал-социализм". Выступление Романа Железнова на "Русском марше" в Москве 4 ноября 2012 года.
Игорь Криворучко (СНА), Анна Сенник (глава информационной службы "Азова") и Роман Железнов. Киев, 9 июля

13 July 2014

The Kremlin Builds an Unholy Alliance With America’s Christian Right

My guest op-ed for War is Boring:

The Kremlin Builds an Unholy Alliance With America’s Christian Right

Since the re-election of Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia in 2012, the Kremlin has clamped down on independent media, established a draconian ban on “gay propaganda” and invaded the Ukrainian Republic of Crimea.

This new Russian government is aggressive, autocratic and moving further to the political right, argues Anton Shekhovtsov, a London-based expert on the Ukrainian and Russian far right—who originally hails from the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The Kremlin is also reaching out to American conservative evangelicals as a means to find potential allies sympathetic to Russia’s rightward shift. In the following op-ed, Shekhovtsov explains why that’s dangerous.