19 May 2013

On Taras Kuzio, an academic fraudster

Commenting on the workshop "Russian and Ukrainian Nationalism: Entangled Histories" that took place at Columbia University's Harriman Institute on 22-23 April 2013, Taras Kuzio, one of the participants, published an article in The Ukrainian Weekly (No. 20, 19 May 2013). In this article, he, in particular, writes:
"Another workshop presenter, Anton Shekhovtsov (Vienna Institute for Human Sciences) — who although from Sevastopol, which has the greatest number of xenophobes and extremists in Ukraine — focused his entire talk instead on Western Ukraine and "Svoboda."  He refuses to accept the existence of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism anywhere in Ukraine, except that which may be found in Western Ukraine.  Because he had not read my paper prior to the workshop, I had to repeat what was there, namely:  the US State Department, Council of Europe, US diplomatic cables (Wikileaks) and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) have reported the highest levels of xenophobia in Ukraine are to be found in Crimea, and that the greatest number of skinheads is found in Eastern Ukraine (usually with ties to Russia)."
This is essentially a lie. Or really bad research, which is worse.

First of all, my talk was titled "The All-Ukrainian Union 'Svoboda [Freedom]' at the 2012 Parliamentary Elections: A Longing for a Nationalising State", and I do not see why it had to focus on anything rather than the Svoboda party.

Then Kuzio writes: "He refuses to accept the existence of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism anywhere in Ukraine, except that which may be found in Western Ukraine."

A massive lie.

1. In a series of articles on the state of the far right in Ukraine, which I published in the British antifascist magazine Searchlight, I have briefly covered several organisations and movements, which are to be found in Southern Ukraine, including the Crimea. Check the link.

2. In my chapter "From Para-Militarism to Radical Right-Wing Populism", published in Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse, I write:

"Contemporary far-right organizations and movements in Ukraine can be divided into two groups: Ukrainian and pro-Russian/Slavic ultra-nationalists. Each of these groups, in turn, can be divided into two subgroups: registered political parties and social movements. Basic information on registered radical right-wing parties that are more or less active in the current political and social life of Ukraine is given in Table 17.1, in accordance with the aforementioned ideological criteria.

It should be noted that Ukrainian ultra-nationalists are principally based in Western and Central Ukraine, while the bulwark of pro-Russian/Slavic ultra-nationalists is in the Crimea, as well as Eastern and Southern Ukraine."
Do I really "refuse to accept the existence of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism anywhere in Ukraine, except that which may be found in Western Ukraine"??? Well, judge for yourself.

And then note that - in his own paper - Kuzio refers to this very chapter of mine, but still insists that I "refuse" to accept the existence of the far right in Southern and Eastern Ukraine.

Then, Kuzio writes that Sevastopol "has the greatest number of xenophobes and extremists in Ukraine". He mentions his paper, and now I will cite the lines that he "devoted" to Sevastopol.

1. Kuzio: The newspaper Zvon Sevastopolya (Звон Севастополя) is published by "neo-Soviet national Bolsheviks".
The newspaper is called "Dzvin Sevastopolya" (Дзвін Севастополя) (Kuzio uses the Russian word "zvon" instead of the correct Ukrainian word "dzvin"). And it is published by the Taras Shevchenko "Prosvita" Association (Севастопольське товариство “Просвіта” ім. Т. Шевченка). Sevastopol "Prosvita" is a Ukrainian cultural and educational association, and is something completely different from "neo-Soviet national Bolshevism"!

2. Kuzio: "The US State Departments 2011 report on human rights practices in Ukraine recorded anti-Semitic violence and vandalism in Central, Eastern and Southern Ukraine (Kyiv, Pavlohrad, Sumy, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy, Melitopol, and Mykolayiv) and the Crimea (Sudak and Sevastopol)." And gives a link.
The US Department's 2010 Human Rights Report on Ukraine reads: "In April a Jewish cemetery in Ternopil was desecrated. Other vandalism included the August 12 desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Pavlohrad, paint thrown on a Jewish community building in Sumy on October 12, the November 17 and November 19 desecrations of Holocaust monuments in Kirovograd and in Sevastopol, and paint thrown on the walls of a synagogue on December 9 in Sumy."

In fact, the disgusting desecration of the Holocaust memorial in Sevastopol took place on 16 November 2010, according to the 2010 Euro-Asian Jewish Congress report. One hateful act of anti-Semitic vandalism in Sevastopol, this is correct. (Note that Kuzio writes only about "Central, Eastern and Southern Ukraine", but ignores the desecration of a Jewish cemetary in West Ukrainian Ternopil.)

3. Kuzio: In addition, ‘The Sevastopol Movement against Illegal Immigrants has a following among neo-Nazi skinheads.’ And gives a link.

OK, let's follow the link. There is no single mention of Sevastopol. However, we can read this: "Groups such as the UNA-UNSO and Patriot of Ukraine are ultra nationalists while the Ukrainian National-Labor Party and the Ukrainian Movement Against Illegal Immigration have a neo-Nazi following." So Kuzio simply replaced the word "Ukrainian" with the word "Sevastopol". Shall I, at this point, use the word "fraudster"? (UPDATE: See my comment here.)

4. Kuzio writes: "In Sevastopol, skinheads have organised underground cells and with assistance from skinheads in Yalta, Kharkiv and St. Petersburg have undertaken violent attacks, sometimes using explosives and weapons, against non-Slavic peoples."

This is a lie and Kuzio provides no link or reference at all to prove his argument. (UPDATE: See my comment here.)

So, does one still believe Kuzio's lies about Sevastopol having "the greatest number of xenophobes and extremists in Ukraine"? After his talk at the conference, I asked him what proof he had, and he referred to his paper which allegedly had useful references. OK, I have checked his paper and still do not see any proof.

Thus, my judgement is that Taras Kuzio is a liar and fraudster who, instead of doing research, is manipulating the facts and distorting the truth. I wonder if he has got paid for this. After all, he is no stranger to taking money for telling lies. More here and here.


  1. I am journalist living in Sevastopol. And I wrote a plenty of articles devoted to political radicalism and radical organizations in our region. I agree that Kuzio’s paper is not scientific but fraudulent. Almost all the information about Sevastopol in either incorrect or distorted.

    It seems to me that Kuzio’s statements are related more with conspiracy theory and not with political science. He uses more than dubious sources, not only without verifying them but adds to them some personal fantasy

    For ex;

    ***In Sevastopol, skinheads have organised underground cells and with assistance from skinheads in Yalta, Kharkiv and St. Petersburg have undertaken violent attacks, sometimes using explosives and weapons, against non-Slavic peoples***

    The source of this passage is a fake fabricated by Sevastopol police in 2001. Some senior offices wanted to get higher officers’ ranks in relation with Putin’s visit to Sevastopol and tried to fabricate criminal case against more than 70 persons as though they wanted to disrupt Putin’s visit . There was the information from press-service of Sevastopol police published in local and national papers and Kuzio quotes this information without trying to verify it.

    In fact it was a fabricated case. 70 people were detained by local police but the majority of them were random persons. Only against 1 person the criminal case was brought. He was charged in keeping small amount of gunpowder and hedging-bill (“explosives and weapons” in press-service information), but the real charge was only in keeping weapons (hedging-bill) at home. During the trial there were no charges in using explosives and weapons against non-Slavic peoples and violent attacks.

    Some human-rights organizations negatively commented the actions of Sevastopol police in this fictitious ‘Skin head’ case. More information about this case in Russian here;

  2. Thank you for the clarification, Skifos.

    I presume that Kuzio has never been to the Crimea or Sevastopol and knows nothing about the region. It does indeed look like he either uses dubious sources (but only in case they can "justify" his prejudice) or, in the absence of any sources, simply fabricates the information.

  3. "The EIR Research Team" is an arm of Lyndon LaRouche's fascist movement and cannot be trusted/seriously taken.


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