31 May 2014

The Ukrainian far right Svoboda party: From the margins to the mainstream and back again?

The Ukrainian far right Svoboda party: From the margins to the mainstream and back again?
Anton Shekhovtsov

The far right All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” (Svoboda) has been making headlines since 2012 when it became the first Ukrainian far right party to enter the parliament and through 2013-2014 when it took active part in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine and later secured a few ministerial posts in the interim government. Despite the increased media attention even internationally, Svoboda is a giant with feet of clay, ready to fall.

Writing in 2011, a year ahead of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, I stated in one academic paper that the entrance of the far right Svoboda party to the Ukrainian parliament in 2012 would “spark negative feelings on the part of the Russian minority and contribute to the activization of pro-Russian nationalist movements that could garner support from Russia and advance separatist activities in the largely Russian-speaking regions, such as the Crimea”. Although my prediction seems to have turned out to be right, I missed an important point which lies outside conventional political science: it was not Svoboda’s electoral success in 2012 per se that later energized the pro-Russian nationalists, but rather the portrayal and representation of the Ukrainian far right in general and Svoboda in particular in the Russian media engaged in the extensive information war against Ukraine.
Svoboda's flags at a Euromaidan protest in Kyiv, January 2013

29 May 2014

Ukraine's presidential election and the far right

The results of the presidential election that took place on 25 May 2014 partly confirmed the political trend that had emerged already during the Ukrainian revolution of 2013-2014: despite the active participation of the far right in the revolution, its political role became comparatively marginal. In the presidential election, which led to the landslide victory of democratic candidate Petro Poroshenko already in the first round (54.70%), Svoboda’s Oleh Tyahnybok obtained 1.16% of the vote, while the Right Sector’s Dmytro Yarosh won 0.70%.

True, the results of the presidential election have debunked Putin's narrative about "the fascist coup in Ukraine" - a narrative in which only the Western unreformed left believed anyway. Yet what do we make of the far right's apparent failure in the election? And, eventually, whither the Ukrainian far right?



Oleh Tyahnybok (Svoboda)
Dmytro Yarosh (Right Sector)

15 May 2014

Extremism in South-Eastern Ukraine

Extremism in South-Eastern Ukraine

Extremists have hijacked the Anti-Maidan protests in South-Eastern Ukraine. and their extremism and ultranationalism is fomenting violence and hatred.

14 May 2014

Праворадикальная угроза в Украине

Праворадикальная угроза в Украине состоит не в том, что крайне правые могут прийти к власти в Украине, а совсем в другом. Попробую объяснить это максимально просто, "на пальцах".

1. ЕС невыгодны санкции против России, потому что они ударят также и по самим европейским странам. Единственным "спасением" от санкций как для России, так и для ЕС является возможность показать, что Украина не является демократической страной. Или, по крайней мере, значимый элемент украинской власти не является демократическим. Эту возможность могут представить украинские крайне правые.

3 May 2014

Short film: "Christian Orthodox Fascism in Russia"

Here's a short film on the curious trend within contemporary Russian fascism, namely the (Christian) Orthodox fascism. Unfortunately, the video is only available in Russian language.


2 May 2014

Nazis and Stalinists thrive on May 1 in Moscow

I share the deep concern expressed by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the Nazi/Stalinist orgy in Russian cities on the 1st of May:
"The glorification of Hitler along with the glorification of Stalin, slogans of revanchism, xenophobia, intolerance, anti-Semitism and great-power chauvinism - all these dangerous phenomena, which are developing in the Russian Federation against the background of persecution and repression of all manifestations of democracy in the Russian society, are a challenge to civilised humanity."
This is how some Russians celebrated the International Workers' Day on the 1st of May in Moscow:

1 May 2014

The Kremlin’s marriage of convenience with the European far right (in English and Russian)

The Kremlin’s marriage of convenience with the European far right

Putin’s strong-arm tactics in Eastern Ukraine and ‘moral, family-based’ policies have won him ardent support from far-right European groups. But they should not be under any illusions...

Брак по расчёту: Кремль и европейские ультраправые

Тактика применения силы в Восточной Украине и политика, ориентированная на «мораль и семейные ценности» обеспечили Путину ревностную поддержку европейских крайних правых. Но им не стоит обольщаться...

Marine Le Pen, Front National's leader, and Aleksey Pushkov, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Parliament, Moscow, 2013. Pushkov is now under sanctions by the US and Canada