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The Far Right in Ukraine During the “Euromaidan” and the War in Donbas

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of far right in the Ukrainian politics during the “Euromaidan” and the war in Donbas. The issue of the involvement of Ukrainian far right organizations in the “Euromaidan” and the war in Donbas have been politicized and polarized. Russian and separatist politicians and the media often presented the “Euromaidan” as a “fascist coup” and the Maidan government as a “fascist junta.” In contrast, the governments and the mainstream media in Western countries tended to present the role of the far right in the “Euromaidan” and in post-Maidan Ukraine, specifically in the conflict in Donbas, as marginal. Previous academic studies generally reached similar conclusions. They focused on numerical strength and electoral support for the far right parties and ignored other aspects of influence of the radical nationalist and neo-Nazi parties, specifically their role in the political violence, such as the Maidan and Odesa massacres and the war in Donbas. However, the number of academic studies of the contemporary far right in Ukraine is generally limited. The research question is as follows: What is the role of the far right in the Ukrainian politics during and after the “Euromaidan”? This study analyzes the involvement of specific Ukrainian radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations in the “Euromaidan,” the Odesa massacre, and the war in Donbas, their performance in the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014 and the 2015 local elections in Ukraine. The analysis focuses on major Ukrainian far right organizations, such as Svoboda (Freedom), the Right Sector, the Social-National Assembly, the White Hammer, the UNA-UNSO, Bratstvo, and C14, and paramilitary formations or special police and National Guard units organized and controlled to various extent by them, such as the Azov regiment, Dnipro, Donbas, Aidar, Sich, and St. Mary’s battalions, and the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps. It uses various sources of data, such as online recordings of live broadcasts and videos of the Maidan and Odesa massacres and the war in Donbas, official database of court decisions in Ukraine concerning investigations of the involvement of the far right in major cases of political violence, video recordings of the Maidan massacre trial, information posted on websites and social media groups of far right organizations, and media reports in Ukrainian, Russian, and English languages. The study shows that the far right organizations had significant but minority representation among the Maidan leadership and protesters, the post-Maidan governments, and in the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. However, the analysis also shows that the far right organizations and football ultras played a key role during violent attacks, such as attempts to storm the presidential administration on December 1, 2013 and the parliament of Ukraine in January and on February 18, 2014. There is also various evidence of the Right Sector involvement in a violent attack of the Berkut police during its highly publicized dispersal of protesters on November 30, 2013. The Right Sector and Svoboda and smaller organizations had a crucial role in the violent overthrow of the Viktor Yanukovych government, in particular, in the Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police on February 18-20, 2014. The study demonstrates that the Right Sector, the Social-National Assembly/ Patriot of Ukraine, and groups of football ultras were involved in the Odesa massacre on May 2, 2014. This paper also shows that the far right organizations and their volunteer battalions and paramilitary units had a significant role in the civil war in Donbas but a comparably minor role in fighting with several regular Russian military units during direct military interventions by Russia in August 2014 and February 2015. Major implications of this study for the Ukrainian politics and the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine are discussed in the conclusion. This paper implies that the far right has significant but not dominant role in the Ukrainian politics during and after the “Euromaidan.” But far right organizations and their armed units had a key role in major cases of political violence during and after the “Euromaidan,” and they attained ability to overthrow by force the government of the one of the largest European countries.
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The Far Right in Ukraine During the “Euromaidan” and the War in Donbas
1
Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D.
School of Political Studies
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada
Tel. 613-407-1295
ikatchan@uottawa.ca
Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science
Association in Philadelphia, September 1-4, 2016.
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Abstract
This paper analyzes the role of far right in the Ukrainian politics during the “Euromaidan”
and the war in Donbas. The issue of the involvement of Ukrainian far right organizations in the
“Euromaidan” and the war in Donbas have been politicized and polarized. Russian and separatist
politicians and the media often presented the “Euromaidan” as a “fascist coup” and the Maidan
government as a “fascist junta.” In contrast, the governments and the mainstream media in
Western countries tended to present the role of the far right in the “Euromaidan” and in post-
Maidan Ukraine, specifically in the conflict in Donbas, as marginal. Previous academic studies
generally reached similar conclusions. They focused on numerical strength and electoral support
for the far right parties and ignored other aspects of influence of the radical nationalist and neo-
Nazi parties, specifically their role in the political violence, such as the Maidan and Odesa
massacres and the war in Donbas. However, the number of academic studies of the contemporary
far right in Ukraine is generally limited.
The research question is as follows: What is the role of the far right in the Ukrainian
politics during and after the “Euromaidan”? This study analyzes the involvement of specific
Ukrainian radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations in the “Euromaidan,” the Odesa
massacre, and the war in Donbas, their performance in the presidential and parliamentary
elections in 2014 and the 2015 local elections in Ukraine. The analysis focuses on major
Ukrainian far right organizations, such as Svoboda (Freedom), the Right Sector, the Social-
National Assembly, the White Hammer, the UNA-UNSO, Bratstvo, and C14, and paramilitary
formations or special police and National Guard units organized and controlled to various extent
by them, such as the Azov regiment, Dnipro, Donbas, Aidar, Sich, and St. Mary’s battalions, and
the Volunteer Ukrainian Corps. It uses various sources of data, such as online recordings of live
broadcasts and videos of the Maidan and Odesa massacres and the war in Donbas, official
database of court decisions in Ukraine concerning investigations of the involvement of the far
right in major cases of political violence, video recordings of the Maidan massacre trial,
information posted on websites and social media groups of far right organizations, and media
reports in Ukrainian, Russian, and English languages.
The study shows that the far right organizations had significant but minority
representation among the Maidan leadership and protesters, the post-Maidan governments, and
in the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. However, the analysis also shows that the
far right organizations and football ultras played a key role during violent attacks, such as
attempts to storm the presidential administration on December 1, 2013 and the parliament of
Ukraine in January and on February 18, 2014. There is also various evidence of the Right Sector
involvement in a violent attack of the Berkut police during its highly publicized dispersal of
protesters on November 30, 2013. The Right Sector and Svoboda and smaller organizations had
a crucial role in the violent overthrow of the Viktor Yanukovych government, in particular, in
the Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police on February 18-20, 2014. The study
demonstrates that the Right Sector, the Social-National Assembly/ Patriot of Ukraine, and groups
of football ultras were involved in the Odesa massacre on May 2, 2014. This paper also shows
that the far right organizations and their volunteer battalions and paramilitary units had a
significant role in the civil war in Donbas but a comparably minor role in fighting with several
regular Russian military units during direct military interventions by Russia in August 2014 and
February 2015. Major implications of this study for the Ukrainian politics and the conflict
between the West and Russia over Ukraine are discussed in the conclusion. This paper implies
that the far right has significant but not dominant role in the Ukrainian politics during and after
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the “Euromaidan.” But far right organizations and their armed units had a key role in major cases
of political violence during and after the “Euromaidan,” and they attained ability to overthrow by
force the government of the one of the largest European countries.
Research Question and Divergent Narratives Concerning the Contemporary Far Right in
Ukraine
This paper examines the role of far right in Ukraine during the “Euromaidan” and the
war in Donbas. These were the most significant and the most contested events in politics in
Ukraine since its independence in 1991. They also had an impact on the politics of other
countries, such as Russia and the United States and international politics because of the conflict
between Russia and the West over Ukraine. (See Black and Johns, 2016; Katchanovski, 2016a;
Kudelia, 2016; Pikulicka-Wilczewska and Sakwa, 2015; Sakwa, 2015; Wilson, 2014).
There were direct but covert Russian military interventions in support of separatism in
Crimea after the Euromaidan with subsequent annexation of this region and in Donbas in a
form of direct involvement in combat with regular Ukrainian forces and far right-led battalions
and far right paramilitary formations in this region in August 2014 and February 2015. The
United States and other Western governments supported politically the Euromaidan and then
both politically and by means of military training and military and financial aid backed the
Maidan-led government during the war in Donbas. The issue of far right in Ukraine during the
“Euromaidan” and the war in Donbas has also policy significance in terms of domestic policy in
Ukraine and foreign policies of such countries as Russia and the US towards Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian-Russian conflict after the Euromaidan, and the US
policy towards Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea became important and divisive
issues during the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States. They included issues related
to the Ukrainian far right but the far right links not acknowledged by the media. For instance,
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Paul Manafort, the chairman of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, resigned following
publications of Party of Regions lists, which included large payments made purportedly to him in
2012 when he served at a consultant to the Viktor Yanukovych party. However, the issues of the
far right involvement in the storming and burning of the Party of Regions headquarters, where
these documents were seized, and in the Maidan massacre in general were dismissed or ignored
by the US politicians and the media.
2
The research question in this study is as follows: What is the role of the far right in the
Ukrainian politics during and after the “Euromaidan?” This paper specifically analyzes the
involvement of radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations in the “Euromaidan,” the Odesa
massacre, and the war in Donbas, their performance in the presidential and parliamentary
elections in 2014 and the 2015 local elections in Ukraine, and their role in the Ukrainian
government and its policies since the “Euromaidan.” This study first examines the divergent
narratives and previous studies concerning the far right role during the “Euromaidan” and the
war in Donbas and then presents analysis of the far right in each of the major political junctures.
The question of the far right role is also important because of sharply divergent narratives
offered by the media and the governments of Ukraine and the West on the one hand and Russia
on the other hand. This issue has a direct bearing on understanding the conflict in Ukraine and
international conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine from an academic perspective.
The far right politics in contemporary Ukraine is not well researched and the number of
academic studies concerning this issue even after the “Euromaidan” is very limited.
The issue of the involvement of Ukrainian far right organizations in the “Euromaidan”
and the war in Donbas have been politicized and parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict and
the conflict over Ukraine generally offered opposite narratives concerning the role of the far
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right. The governments and the mainstream media in Western countries and the media, the
Maidan opposition, and then the Maidan government in Ukraine generally either presented the
role of the far right in the “Euromaidan” and in post-Maidan Ukraine, specifically in the conflict
in Donbas, as marginal or ignored this issue. “Euromaidan” has been typically depicted as a
democratic, peaceful mass-protest movement which was led by pro-Western parties and which
overthrew the authoritarian and pro-Russian government in a revolution, which was often
referred to as the “Revolution of Dignity.” Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of the far right Svoboda
party, stated that this term was invented by a deputy of his party.
3
The governments and the mainstream media in Ukraine and the West, with few
exceptions, attributed major cases of violence during the “Euromaidan to the Viktor
Yanukovych government, the government forces, government-hired “titushki,” or agents
provocateurs working for the Yanukovych government of the Russian government.
Specifically, the violent dispersal of Euromaidan protesters on November 30, 2013 and killings
of Maidan protesters in January and February 2014 were almost universally attributed to the
Yanukovych government and its snipers or special police forces, while the role of the far right in
these major cases of violence, which greatly escalated the conflict, was ignored or denied. They
often attributed other major cases of violence, such as attacks of the presidential administration
on December 1, 2013, the parliament in January 2014, the parliament and the Party of Regions
headquarters on February 18, 2014 to agents provocateurs or far right organizations acting as
agents provocateurs for the Yanukovych or the Russian government. Some researchers of the far
right, such as Anton Shekhovtsov, repeated such claims about agents provocateurs in their
popular publications. However, they offered no substantial evidence in support, and no such
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evidence was uncovered and made public after the “Euromaidan” by the media or the Maidan
government.
In contrast, Russian and separatist politicians and the media, former president
Yanukovych and members of his government after the “Euromaidan” often presented the
“Euromaidan” as a “fascist coup” and the Maidan government as a “fascist junta” which were
organized by the US government. Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, claimed that the
Russian government had evidence that the Right Sector coordinated “sniper” shootings” during
the Maidan massacre, that the US government maintained contacts with the Right Sector during
the “Euromaidan” and that US representatives visited the Right Sector location from which this
organization coordinated the shootings. However, no evidence to verify these claims has been
made public by the Russian government.
4
In contrast, hacked Soros Foundation documents say
that the US ambassador at least partly agreed during with a statement by George Soros that the
Right Sector was a Russian FSB plot aimed at destabilizing Ukraine. But no evidence was
provided in support.
5
A certain exception was a leaked recording of a telephone call between the EU foreign
affairs chief and the Estonian foreign affairs minister discussing evidence that the Maidan
massacre was staged by some elements of the Maidan opposition.
6
But these elements were not
identified during this conversation, and therefore it was not clear if they included far right. The
Russian media often inflated or misrepresented the role of the far right in these events. For
instance, RT and Komsomolskaya Pravda, incorrectly described advancing Maidan protesters on
February 20, 2014 as the Right Sector, while NTV wrongly claimed that the special Berkut
company members were in fact disguised Right Sector provocateurs because they used yellow
armbands.
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Similarly, the Ukrainian government and the media blamed massacre of pro-Russian
separatists in Odesa on the separatists setting fire and burning themselves or on the Russian
agents and provocateurs. The Western governments and the mainstream media often attributed
the mass killings to a fire, implying an accident, or to clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-
Russian protesters. The role of the far right in the massacre was generally either denied or
ignored by the governments and the media in Ukraine and the West.
The governments and the media in Ukraine and the West mostly presented the war in
Donbas as a war between Russia and Ukrain, and they characterized as marginal or ignored the
role of the far right in the start and the conduct of this war. For instance, involvement of the
Right Sector in the attack on a Sloviansk checkpoint on April 20, 2014 was immediately denied
by the Right Sector, the Ukrainian government, including the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU),
the National Security and Defense Council, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the
Ukrainian media. They claimed without any proof that the attack was staged by the Russian
military intelligence and that the business card of Dmytro Yarosh, the Right Sector leader, and
other such evidence of the Right Sector involvement were fabrications.
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The Western
governments and the media ignored or dismissed evidence of the Right Sector involvement in the
Sloviansk attack and stated instead that the responsibility for the attack was unclear and referred
to a possibility of a false-flag attack by the Russian Military Intelligence (GRU).
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The far right organized and led battalions and paramilitary formations during the war in
Donbas were generally ignored by the Western governments and to a lesser extent the media.
The US Congress under pressure from the Pentagon removed a ban on US government funding
and training of the Azov regiment, which was organized and commanded by the neo-Nazi Patriot
of Ukraine, a paramilitary wing of the Social National Assembly, and was formally a National
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Guard unit. This defense appropriations bill amendment, which banned such US funding and
training, was previously unanimously adopted by the US House of Representatives in 2015. A
similar amendment, which proposed to ban US military assistance to radical nationalist and neo-
Nazi organizations and voluntary police and paramilitary formations under their command was
blocked in the US Congress in 2014.
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With the exception of this annulled amendment, the US Congress and the Obama
administration did not issue any public statements or policy decisions concerning the rise of the
far right in Ukraine since the “Euromaidan,” inclusion of far right activists in the Ukrainian
government and the police and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) leadership, and the far
right involvement in the Maidan and Odesa massacres and in the start and conduct of the war in
Donbas. The US and other Western governments showed little interest in an international
investigations of these mass killing and did not release their intelligence assessments and other
information that they likely have concerning these massacres. Such puzzling policies contrast
with various officials statements and Ukrainian and Western media reports concerning the
involvement of the US government in restructuring, training, and funding of the National Police,
the National Guard, and the Prosecutor General Office (GPU) in Ukraine and in appointments
and dismissals of the Ukrainian prime-ministers and the GPU head, and inclusion of foreign
citizens in the Ukrainian government, police and GPU leadership after the “Euromaidan.”
Governments of other major Western democracies, such as the UK, Germany, France, and
Canada, adopted similar policies concerning these issues.
The US government, governments of other Western countries, and Western-led
international organizations, such as the European Union adopted similar stances towards laws
and policies in Ukraine after the “Euromaidan” commemorating the Organization of Ukrainian
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Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), as national heroes. Both the OUN
and the UPA were far right organizations. They collaborated with Nazi Germany in the
beginning and in the end of World War II and were involved in the mass murder of Jews, Poles,
Ukrainians and Russians. (See Katchanovski, 2013, 2014a, 2015a; Kudelia, 2013; Rudling,
2011). In the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s, the OUN and its two factions after a split
combined element of fascism with radical nationalism (Katchanovski, 2015a). Declassified CIA
documents and other sources show that the OUN and the UPA after the war were used by the US
and British intelligence services against the Soviet Union. (Rudling, 2011).
Western media in its reporting about far right-led and organized police and paramilitary
formations often ignored or minimized their far right origins and their neo-Nazi and OUN-UPA
symbols. This contrasts with Western media reports about the neo-Nazi symbols used by far
right organizations, such as Patriot of Ukraine, and football (soccer) ultras, their racism, and
reliance on violence before the 2012 Euro Cup in Ukraine. Such media coverage also contrasts
with stereotypical and biased depiction of Ukrainians during World War II as primarily Nazi
collaborators. The Ukrainian media, which gave much more significant coverage to these far-
right formations, generally ignored or denied the presence of neo-Nazis in these volunteer
formations and presented the far right formations as heroes and patriots defending Ukraine in its
war with Russia or in a “hybrid war” with joint separatist and Russian forces.
However, different parties of conflicts often engaged in propaganda and disinformation,
and this was the case in the conflict in Ukraine and the conflict between Russia and the West
over Ukraine. (See Black and Johns, 2016; Boyd-Barrett, 2016; Pikulicka-Wilczewska and
Sakwa, 2015). The Russia government had vested interest in inflating the role of the far right in
Ukraine and in the violent overthrow of the relatively pro-Russian Yanukovych government to
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justify its military intervention and annexation of Crimea in response to this Western-backed
overthrow (See Katchanovski, 2015b). Most of the media in Russia, with some notable
exceptions, is either under various forms of government control or typically follows the Putin
government line.
Similarly, it was in self-interest of the Maidan parties and Maidan leaders in Ukraine to
minimize or deny the role of far right and their involvement in the Euromaidan, the Maidan
and Odesa massacres, and the war in Donbas. The Ukrainian media is largely owned by
oligarchs; and most of oligarchs overtly or covertly supported the Euromaidan and the Maidan
governments for various reasons. All major TV channels and newspapers after the “Euromaidan”
generally propagated the Ukrainian government line concerning the “Euromaidan,” the Odesa
massacre, and the war in Donbas. A special ministry was created in Ukraine to promote its
government propaganda and counter Russian government propaganda.
Various studies show that Western media often followed their respective governments or
political elites in covering foreign conflicts, for instance in the case of the US TV coverage of the
Russian-Georgian war. (See Katchanovski and Morley, 2012). A study of the Western media
coverage of the “Euromaidan,” and the conflicts in Crimea and Donbas highlighted the role of
propaganda in shaping the narrative about them. (Boyd-Barrett, 2016). The US and some other
Western governments in the case of other recent conflicts misrepresented the causes of the start
of the war in Iraq and the Georgia-Russia war, and minimized or ignored the role of radical
Islamists in Syria and Libya. Western media coverage of post-communist countries, including
Ukraine, was often favorably biased towards countries allied with the West and negatively biased
towards non-allied countries, in particular adversaries.
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Previous studies of the Ukrainian far right during the Euromaidan and the war in Donbas
mostly reached similar conclusions as the Western governments and the media did. Most of them
regarded the role of the far right organizations as insignificant or marginal. They focused on
numerical strength and electoral support for the far right parties and ignored other aspects of
influence of the radical nationalist and neo-Nazi parties, specifically their role in the political
violence, such as the Maidan and Odesa massacres and the war in Donbas. (See Risch, 2015;
Shekhovtsov and Umland, 2014).
Many scholars also attributed violent attacks of the presidential administration and the
parliament during the “Euromaidan” to responses to the government violence and political
repressions or to provocations by the Yanukovych government or Russia. Previous studies
mostly attributed the Maidan massacre to various government units, such as the Berkut police,
SBU Alfa snipers, and the Omega unit of the Interior Troops or considered that they were likely
involved, while ignoring or dismissing as unlikely the involvement of the far right in this
massacre. (See, for example, Marples and Mills, 2014; Onuch and Sasse, 2016; Wilson, 2014.)
However, such conclusions were based on uncritical acceptance of statements of Maidan
politicians and media reports without systematic analysis of evidence.
Some scholars cited presence of a few Jews in the Right Sector as evidence of its relative
tolerance, but they were unrepresentative of its membership and leadership (Onuch and Sasse,
2016, p. 578). Similar conclusions were derived from presence of a significant number of
Russian-speakers in the Azov regiment, but this unit was formed and led by neo-Nazi
organizations, which promoted a racist ideology. A number of studies argued that red and black
flag and Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes!” slogan, which were adopted by Maidan leaders
and protesters, originated, respectively, in Cossack times and in the Ukrainian Peoples Republic
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before they were used by the OUN and the UPA. (Onuch and Sasse, 2016, p. 576; Risch, 2015,
p. 143). However, the flag and the greeting in the forms adopted during the Euromaidan both
by far right organizations, such as the Right Sector, were derived from the flags and the greeting
of the Bandera faction of the OUN. (See Katchanovski, 2014b, 2015a).
Some other studies of the far right reached different conclusions. A quantitative research of
mass protest actions found that Svoboda party was the most active organization in pro-Maidan
protests, while the Right Sector was the most active organization in violent events in Ukraine
during the “Euromaidan” (Ishchenko, 2016). Other studies concluded that the far right played a
key role in the attacks of the parliament in January and on February 18, 2014 and in seizures of
regional administrations in Western and Central Ukraine during the “Euromaidan”
(Katchanovski, 2015c, Kudelia, 2016). A comprehensive study found that the far right
organizations, such as the Right Sector and Svoboda, were involved in the Maidan massacre of
the protesters and the police and that this was a successful false flag operation conducted
covertly by along with oligarchic elements of the Maidan opposition in order to overthrow the
Yanukovych government and seize power in an asymmetric armed conflict (Katchanovski,
2015c, 2016b). Katchanovski (2016a) concluded that the far right played a key role in the start of
the civil war in Donbas. The findings of these studies were replicated by Hahn (2016a, 2016b).
However, these studies did not took into account newly available evidence, which, for example,
was made public during the Maidan massacre trial.
There is not a single previous academic study devoted to analysis of the Odesa massacre, in
particular the role of the far right in this crucial case of violence, whose death toll was close to
the death toll of the Maidan massacre on February 20, 2014. The Odesa massacre also was a
contributing factor to the separatist conflict in Donbas (Katchanovski, 2016a).
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The issue of the far right in Ukraine became heavily politicized during the “Euromaidan”
and the war in Donbas, and this politicization affected research on the far right. Most of a
relatively small number of Ukrainian and some Western academic and especially non-academic
researches of the far right sided for various reasons with the Maidan protests and the Maidan-led
governments. For instance, a letter, signed by many of these researchers, asked journalists and
other commentators to abstain from commenting on the far right in Ukraine during the
“Euromaidan. This petition was accompanied by a statement claiming that Dmytro Korchynsky,
who was the leader of a far right Bratstvo organization in Ukraine, was in fact a Russia-linked
provocateur in “supposedly far right attack” of the presidential administration on December 1,
2013.
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Two Ukrainian researchers of far right, one of whom previously was a leader of a pro-
Russian far right organization in Crimea, even expressed in social media their approval of the
Odesa massacre of separatists. Such political partisanship might have affected impartiality of the
research on the far right role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Data and Methodology
This paper employs a case study to analyze the far right in Ukraine during and since the
“Euromaidan.” It includes the analysis of the role of major far right organizations in the
“Euromaidan protests and major cases of violence, in particular, the Maidan and Odesa
massacres, and the war in Donbas, and in the government and the elections since the
“Euromaidan.The analysis relies on political science theories and definitions of the far right
organizations. For instance, neo-Nazi organizations are defined as contemporary far right
organizations that use elements of national-socialist ideology and Nazi symbols in the original or
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modified forms. The neo-Nazi organizations are part of neo-fascist or fascist political spectrum
(see, for example, Griffin and Feldman, 2003).
The study uses analysis of numerous sources of original and secondary data. These sources
include large numbers of videos, live and recorded online streams and recordings of live
broadcasts of the Maidan protests, the Maidan and Odesa massacres, and the war in Donbas. The
analysis also employs the official online Ukrainian database of court decisions concerning
investigations of these cases of political violence, official video recordings of the Maidan
massacre trial on YouTube, websites and social media groups of far right organizations, and
media reports in Ukrainian, Russian, and English languages.
The “Euromaidan”
The analysis shows that all major far right organizations in Ukraine, participated in the
“Euromaidan.” Their common goal was more or less a national revolution which would
overthrow the pro-Russian Yanukovych government and forge the Ukrainian nation. Svoboda
party was the most significant and popular such organization. Svoboda was founded as the Social
National Party (SNP) around the time when Ukraine became independent in 1991. It combined
radical nationalism and some neo-Nazi features, which were exemplified by its name and its use
of a modified Wolfsangel as a party symbol. But the party changed its name in 2004 to Svoboda,
which means Freedom in Ukrainian. It tried since to moderate publicly its ideology in order to
increase its popularity beyond far right supporters and beyond its base in Galicia. (Katchanovski,
2012; Polyakova, 2014; Rudling, 2013). Svoboda reported that between 2 to 5 thousand out of
some 15 thousand party members around that time were permanently present on the Maidan.
12
While this number of permanent Svoboda protesters is likely inflated, videos and livestreams of
15
protests often showed large numbers of Svoboda flags, which represented a significant
proportion of flags in many protest actions.
The Right Sector was formed by smaller far-right political organizations and groups of
football (soccer) ultras in the beginning of the Maidan protests. It was an alliance of radical
nationalist Organizations, such as Tryzub (Trident) named after Bandera and the UNA-UNSO,
neo-Nazi organizations, such as the Social National Assembly (SNA), Patriot of Ukraine (the
paramilitary wing of the SNA), and the White Hammer, and groups of ultras who mostly had
similar ultranationalist and neo-Nazi orientation. Therefore, the Right Sector can be classified
based on political science definitions as a partially fascist or semi-fascist organization. The Right
Sector reached several hundred members by the end of the “Euromaidan.”
Members of Svoboda and the Right Sector combined with members of other relatively
small far right organizations, such as the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Organization of
Ukrainian Nationalists, and Bratstvo, and ultras constituted a minority of the Maidan protesters
during the “Euromaidan in Kyiv City. In comparison, the peak number of protesters during the
biggest Maidan demonstration on December 1st 2013 was approximately 80,000-120,000 people.
This estimate is calculated from an aerial video of the protest, a Google Earth Professional map
based estimate of protester-occupied area on Kyiv’s Maidan (Independence Square) and
surrounding streets of some 40,000 square meters, and the average density of two to three people
per square meter.
However, the analysis shows that the role of the far right in violent attacks and other cases
of political violence during the “Euromaidan” was much more significant than their numerical
presence among protesters. The “Euromaidan” protests started in the end of November 2013
following a decision by the Yanukovych government to postpone a signing of the association and
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free trade agreement with the European Union. These protests in downtown Kyiv were initially
largely peaceful but some of them also included far right protesters. For instance, a group of
protesters with Svoboda flags and other far right symbols was filmed attacking the police in front
of the Cabinet of Ministers building.
13
The turning point came with a highly publicized violent dispersal of a few hundred
protesters by the anti-riot Berkut police on the Maidan on November 30, 2013. Videos, photos,
and later admissions by Right Sector leaders and other Maidan protesters show that the Right
Sector activists occupied at the time of the dispersal a part of the Maidan square near a
monument to mythical Kyiv founders. Their analysis also shows that during the initial police
dispersal of other protesters by force nearby Right Sector area-based protesters threw burning
wood chunks and various other things at the Berkut police, which then beat other protesters on
the Maidan square and surrounding streets.
14
Ihor Mazur, a UNA-UNSO leader, admitted that
Right Sector members were present on the Maidan during this dispersal on November 30th and
that they then retreated after a confrontation with the police.
15
There is various evidence that the opposition leaders, including the far right ones, had
advance information about this dispersal but did not inform the protesters in order to use this
violent dispersal to greatly galvanize the mass protests, which were coming to the end on that
night. Anatolii Hrytsenko, one of the Maidan politicians, stated that the Maidan leaders knew in
advance about this dispersal, because the opposition was able to intercept radio communications
of Berkut concerning their deployment for this operation.
16
The unusual presence of Inter TV crews along with a number of other TV crews, such as
from 1+1 TV channel owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, during the night of the dispersal, the
Inter broadcast of this dispersal around 4:00am local time, and their representations of this
17
dispersal as an unprovoked and unexpected police beating of students while ignoring or
downplaying the presence of the Right Sector activists and their violence against the police also
indicate advance knowledge of the police dispersal and its planned and selective coverage. The
Inter television channel was owned by Dmytro Firtash and Serhii Liovochkin. Firtash was
oligarch who supported Yanukovych during the 2010 presidential campaign but then switched to
covert backing of Viktor Klychko, who headed UDAR party and became one of the
“Euromaidan” leaders. Liovochkin then headed the Yanukovych presidential administration, but
he belonged to the Firtash-led clan. Several members of the Yanukovych government, and the
Kyiv police chief after they fled to Russia stated that Liovochkin gave the order to disperse the
protesters, but they did not provide any specific direct evidence. Kolomoisky in his leaked
telephone conversation said that Liovochkin was aware of the dispersal order because he was
patron of Oleksander Popov, the head of the Kyiv City administration, who was involved in
implementing the dispersal order.
17
The official investigation named and charged Popov and
other members of the Yanukovych government for issuing this order and supervising the
dispersal. Liovochkin was the most senior Yanukovych official, who did not flee Ukraine and
who was not prosecuted, in contrast to many other Yanukovych associates.
An eyewitness stated in a TV interview that shortly before November 30 she accidentally
overhead a discussion among senior Maidan leaders about the planned police dispersal of the
Maidan protesters and that it would be violent. While the reliability of this account cannot be
taken for granted, she named Andrii Ilienko, Andrii Parubiy, and Serhii Pashynsky as the Maidan
leaders involved in this discussion.
18
They were not household name at the time, but would be
linked to other cases of violence later during the “Euromaidan.” Ilienko was a member of the
parliament from Svoboda party. Parubiy was a former leader of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine,
18
a paramilitary wing of the Social National Party, before this party was rebranded as Svoboda in
2004 and before the Patriot of Ukraine became a paramilitary wing of the SNA, which was
formed by the Kharkiv organization of the SNP. Parubiy and Pashynsky at the time of the
Maidan protests were members of the Ukrainian parliament from the oligarchic Fatherland party.
In his 1999 article in a Social National Party publication, Parubiy referred to both the US
and Russia as barbarians fighting against the white race spirit” and approvingly quoted a French
National Front representative statement that France and Ukraine were stopping the “Asian
hordes,” respectively, in Western Europe and the East.
19
He projected a more moderate image
after leaving the Patriot of Ukraine and the SNP in 2004, but he never publicly renounced his
neo-Nazi background. Parubiy publicly stated in a Ukrainian newspaper interview in 2008 that
his political orientation and ideological foundations did not change since he left the Social
National Party.
20
He became the commander of the Maidan Self-Defense, a paramilitary
organization which was organized later during the “Euromaidan” and included various
companies, including the Right Sector company.
Videos and live streams and admissions by the Right Sector leaders and activists show a
key role of the far right in the violent attack on presidential administration on December 1, 2013
during a massive protest rally against the violent police dispersal of the demonstrators on
November 30. These videos and recordings show some of the attackers with neo-Nazi symbols
of the Patriot of Ukraine.
21
They also show other groups of attackers shouting “Ukraine above
all” slogans used by far right organizations and obscene chants used by Ukrainian ultras. Andrii
Dzyndzia was filmed hijacking a bulldozer, which then tried to ram into the Interior Troops line
protecting the presidential administration.
22
He joined the Azov battalion at the time of its
formation by the Patriot of Ukraine and the SNA. Similarly, Korchynsky, the leader of the far
19
right Bratsvo organization and a former leader of the UNA-UNSO, was filmed on this bulldozer
during the attack. He fled Ukraine soon afterwards to avoid prosecution, but returned after the
overthrow of Yanukovych and organized and led the St. Mary’s battalion on the basis of his
Bratsvo organization under formal command of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A leader of the
Kyiv branch of the SNA and UNA-UNSO leaders admitted the involvement of the Right Sector,
which included both these organizations, in the December 1 attack.
23
Similar video evidence, neo-Nazi symbols of certain groups of the attackers, and later
admissions of their involvement by the Right Sector leaders and activists, including Yarosh,
show a key role of the far right organizations in the attack attempt on the parliament in January
2014.
24
While Svoboda publicly distanced itself from violent attacks of the presidential
administration and the parliament, there is also evidence, such as presence of some Svoboda
flags and activists, live streams, and social media posts, indicating that at least some Svoboda
and C14 members and activists linked to them were involved in these violent attacks. There is
similar evidence concerning Svoboda participation in seizures of regional administrations,
primarily, in Western Ukraine and in storming and in occupying Kyiv City administration on
December 1, 2013. Svoboda and its C14 affiliate also formed some paramilitary self-defense
companies during the “Euromaidan. C14, a Neo-Nazi youth organization affiliated with
Svoboda, led a paramilitary Self-Defense unit, which helped Svoboda to occupy by force the
Kyiv city administration during the mass protests against the Yanukovych government and the
police violence. Yevhen Karas, the C14 leader, was photographed giving a fascist salute, and the
group uses neo-Nazi symbols.
25
20
There is also certain evidence of the far right involvement in killings of the first three
Maidan protesters on January 22, 2014. These killings greatly escalated the conflict by turning it
into conflict with fatalities. Their killing was attributed by the Maidan leaders and the most of
the Ukrainian media to the Berkut police. However, unreported Pechersk court decisions suggest
that the Prosecutor General Office investigated members and leaders of UNA-UNSO, one of the
founding organizations in the Right Sector, for shooting these protesters.
26
The official
investigation concluded that they were killed in the Maidan-controlled areas from distances of a
few meters, while the police lines were several dozen meters away from the Maidan positions.
Another evidence that these were false flag killings is absence of the moments and exact
locations of their killings in livestreams, videos, photos, and confirmed eyewitnesses of these
killings in the heavily covered area of a violent confrontation between the protesters and the
police. At least one of the protesters was shot by pellets used in hunting. This first victim was
Armenian, while the second killed protester was a Belarusian member of the UNA-UNSO. The
ethnicities of these killed protesters also suggest that they were not random victims. A Ukrainian
reporter wrote on her Facebook page that a leader of the neo-Nazi White Hammer told her off
the record that these two protesters were killed by their own and that this one of the reasons for
the subsequent split of the White Hammer from the Right Sector.
27
Displays by a part of Maidan protesters of neo-Nazi symbols, such as swastika, SS signs,
the Celtic cross, and 14/88 sign, whose numbers refer to a White supremacist statement and
“Heil Hitler,” in different Maidan-controlled areas also indicate presence and toleration of
members of neo-Nazi organizations, groups, or their sympathizers among the protesters.
However, the far right organizations on the Maidan much more widely used symbols
adopted from the OUN and the UPA, their historical predecessors, such as a red and black flag,
21
and greetings and chants “Glory to Ukraine - Glory to Heroes,” “Glory to the Nation,” and
“Ukraine above all.” The Right Sector adopted this flag and this and other far right
organizations, such as Svoboda, adopted such greetings from the Bandera faction of the OUN
(OUN-B). They regarded themselves as ideological heirs of the OUN to various extent. The
Bandera faction of the OUN adopted this flag and greetings at the time of its collaboration with
Nazi Germany in the beginning of 1941. They were modeled after symbols and greetings of
other fascist or semi-fascist parties, including the Nazi party. Red and black colors of the OUN-B
flag symbolized Blood and Soil that resembled Blut und Boden concepts in Nazi ideology and
symbols. “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes!” greeting was in a 1941 OUN-B congress
decision accompanied by a fascist-style hand salute, and in this form it resembled greetings and
the hand salutes used by the Nazi Party in Germany, the National Fascist Party in Italy, and
Ustasha in Croatia (see Katchanovski, 2014b, p. 214). “Ukraine above all” resembled “Germany
above all,a German anthem reference emphasized during the Nazi rule. The non-far right
Maidan leaders, parties, and protesters also started to use the “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the
heroes” greeting during the “Euromaidan” by borrowing it from the far right parties, but they
ignored or denied the fascist origins of this greeting.
The Maidan Massacre
The violent clashes of protesters with the police and “titushki” and the mass killings
started when the protesters tried to break police lines and attack the parliament on February 18,
2014. This happened during a “peaceful march,” which was organized by the Maidan opposition
leaders, specifically Oleksander Turchynov, a leader of the Fatherland party, Andrii Parubiy, the
commander of the Maidan Self-Defense, and Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector.
28
22
The protesters included the Maidan Self-Defense companies, in particular the Right Sector
company.
Live streams of the rally showed that the protesters led by Svoboda deputies tried to break
through and attacked police cordons near the parliament. Videos show that another group of the
Maidan protesters attacked and burned the Party of Regions headquarters nearby.
29
The head of
the Kyiv branch of the SNA later stated that they burned this building.
30
Videos from the scene
also show Tetiana Chornovol, a former activist of the UNA-UNSO, among the attackers. A Party
of Regions computer specialist was killed during this attack and burning of the Party of Regions
headquarters, and he became the first casualty of the Maidan massacre. The Maidan government
investigation blamed without any evidence the Yanukovych government agents provocateurs for
the attack and burning of the Yanukovych party headquarters and included the computer
specialist among the killed Maidan protesters.
There is also evidence of the involvement of the Right Sector in killings of the police and
Internal Troops during these clashes and subsequent attempts by the Berkut to disperse the
protesters from the Maidan on February 18-20, 2014. A Kyiv court ruling specifically referred to
Right Sector activists as suspects in an investigation by the Prosecutor General Office in killings
and wounding the police on the Maidan. In addition to two wounded attackers of a separatist
checkpoint in Sloviansk during the Right Sector attack on April 20, 2014, the court decision
listed at least 12 cell phone numbers of Right Sector activists, who were also investigated
concerning their involvement in the killing and wounding the police on the Maidan. The court
ruling stated that these two wounded attackers used the same weapons in the Sloviansk
checkpoint attack as were used to kill two Internal Troops servicemen and wound three other
policemen on the Maidan on February 18.
31
Other court rulings revealed that GPU investigated
23
use of weapons, which were seized by the Right Sector during an attack of SBU regional
headquarters in Ivano-Frankivsk, in shooting the police on the Maidan.
A member of the “Vikings” neo-Nazi unit of the Right Sector during the “Euromaidan”
publicly stated that he killed two policemen on February 18 and that his associate, a deputy
commander of the “Vikings,” also killed two policemen on the same day. They both served in
the Ukrainian Voluntary Corps of the Right Sector during the war in Donbas.
32
Another Maidan
activist said that the Right Sector had its own armed group among several covert Maidan groups
of shooters, who were armed primarily with hunting rifles, and that on February 18-20, 2014,
two such covert armed groups shot, in particular, from the Trade Union building and from the
Music Conservatory, 20 Berkut and Internal Troops servicemen.
33
Various evidence cited in a comprehensive study of the Maidan massacre and
admissions by some of far-right-linked Maidan snipers and activists” also demonstrate the
involvement of the far right in breaking a truce agreement between the Maidan opposition and
the Yanukovych government and in the killings and wounding of policemen on February 20,
2014 (see Katchanovski, 2016c). This evidence includes a Dmytro Yarosh statement shortly after
the midnight on February 20 announcing that the Right Sector did not accept the truce agreement
and would undertake decisive actions against the government forces.
34
The analysis of numerous videos, recordings of live streams, intercepts of radio
communications of the Internal Troops and SBU Alfa unit commanders, and testimonies of the
Maidan protesters and the policemen show that four Berkut members were killed and nearly 40 e
Berkut and Internal Troops wounded when they were besieging the Maidan by concealed
shooters, specifically from the Music Conservatory building in the early morning of February 20
(see Katchanovski, 2016c). Berkut officers said that they noticed protesters with the Right Sector
24
insignia in this building on February 19 and that armed protesters took positions there.
35
The
presence of such an armed unit at the Maidan square building could not have been possible
without the knowledge of the Maidan Self-Defense commanders and the Maidan leadership.
Volodymyr Parasiuk stated that he organized his special Maidan company, which
included armed protesters with experience fighting in armed conflicts, following negotiations
with the Right Sector and that this company was based in the conservatory building at the time of
the massacre.
36
Parasiuk admitted that he was a member of the Congress of Ukrainian
Nationalists in the past and trained in its camps to shoot. He also de facto admitted in his various
interviews that his unit shot at the police.
37
Parasiuk announced from the Maidan stage on February 21, 2014 an ultimatum for
Yanukovych to resign by next morning and threatened use of force if he would not resign.
Parubiy said that this announced ultimatum was a decision made by “institutional bodies of the
Maidan” and that it was adopted by a military council set up by the Maidan Self-Defense and the
Right Sector on February 21.
38
After playing a key role in the violent overthrow of the
Yanukovych government, Parasiuk served as a company commander in the Dnipro battalion,
which was organized with the direct involvement of the Right Sector. Dmytro Yarosh issued
from the Maidan stage a similar ultimatum and a threat of use arms by the Right Sector.
Ivan Bubenchyk also admitted in his Lviv TV interview in 2014 and then in other
Ukrainian media interviews in 2016 that he shot from the Music Conservatory building, and he
said that he killed two policemen from his AK assault rifle
39
(Katchanovski, 2015c, p. 14, 20).
His shooting from this building and his joint photos and interviews with Parasiuk in the
Conservatory building suggest that Bubenchyk was a member of the-Parasiuk led special
company based there. Another link of this company to the far right is Bubenchyk’s statement that
25
the Right Sector promised him more ammunition during the Maidan massacre of the protesters
after he spent his ammunition shooting into the police from the Conservatory building. He also
said that Yanukovych was supposed to be killed on February 20.
40
This Maidan “sniper” also joined the Dnipro battalion and became the commander of
Zakhid-2 battalion, which was formed by a part of Right Sector activists and Voluntary
Ukrainian Corps (DUK) commanders during a split in these far right organization and its
paramilitary wing in fall 2016. Bubenchyk became one of the leaders of Radical Right Forces
the UPA, which was formed in February 2016 by a part of the Right Sector activists and DUK
commanders and attempted to launch new Maidan protest.
41
Another Maidan protester said first in his Vesti newspaper interview and then in his BBC
interview that he also shot at the police from the Conservatory. He noted that their guns came
from the main post office building. This building was then used as the Right Sector headquarters.
His reported service in summer of 2014 in a volunteer battalion in a town near a sea most likely
refers to the SNA/Patriot of Ukraine-led Azov special police battalion, which was then based in
Mariupol.
A SBU Alfa officer, who led one of the SBU groups during storming of the Trade Union
Building on the Maidan on February 18, stated that their task was to seize the 5th floor, which
contained a lot of weapons.
42
The Right Sector then occupied this entire floor which served as
both its headquarters and a base of the Right Sector company of the Maidan Self-Defense before
the burning of this building by the Maidan protesters later on February 18 to stop its seizure by
SBU Alfa. Various videos and photos also show that the Maidan protesters controlled the
Kozatsky Hotel area on February 20 when protesters pointed out that there were snipers there
26
(See Katchanovski, 2015c). An undated police report noted that this hotel was used by the Right
Sector, specifically by the White Hammer and the Patriot of Ukraine, as one of its bases.
43
There is various evidence that far right organizations, specifically Svoboda and the
Right Sector, were also involved in the massacre of the Maidan protesters on February 18-20,
2014. The comprehensive analysis of the massacre, some 100 testimonies, primarily by Maidan
protesters, forensic ballistic and medical examinations made public during the Maidan massacre
trial, and synchronized videos of the massacre show that at least the absolute majority of the
protesters were killed on February 20, 2014 from the Maidan-controlled buildings and areas, in
particular, the Hotel Ukraina.
In its official statement, Svoboda stated that its activists took the Hotel Ukraina under
their control and guard on January 25, 2014.
44
Similar statement was made by the Svoboda
leader from the Maidan stage. Numerous videos show that the inside hotel remained under
control of protesters when the government forces seized the territory around it in the late
afternoon on February 18 and that the outside perimeter of the hotel was unblocked by protesters
around the time when the Maidan massacre started on February 20. This is consistent with videos
from the hotel and statements by the commander of the Self-Defense unit and hotel staff who
said that police never entered the hotel and that this unit guarded the hotel entrance all this time
since the end of January, specifically during the Maidan massacre.
45
Videos also show that a
Svoboda deputy and the Maidan protesters guarded the Hotel Ukraina before, during, and after
groups of concealed shooters killed protesters from this hotel. (See Katchanovski, 2015c).
Moreover, there is evidence that the Maidan “snipers” were shooting, specifically at the
protesters and a BBC crew or taking cover in at least three or four Hotel Ukraina rooms, which
27
were occupied by the deputies of the national parliament from Svoboda or their aids on the 11th
floor.
The evidence also indicates that snipers positioned on this floor were killing the
protesters, taking cover from the Maidan protesters searching for snipers, or shooting in the
direction of the protesters from these and two or three other hotel rooms in which or near which
Svoboda deputies lived. Most of more than 30 deputies of the parliament from Svoboda lived on
this floor at the time of the Maidan massacre. Videos show many of them in the Hotel Ukraina
soon after the start of the massacre of the protesters.
46
For instance, a testimony of brother of Andrii Saienko during the Maidan massacre trial,
the moment of the killing in a video, and the location and steep angle of the wound show that this
protester was shot from a top part of the Hotel Ukraina.
47
The forensic ballistic expert reports
found that at least 10 protesters, including Saienko, were killed from the same exact 7.62mm
caliber Kalashnikov weapon or Kalashnikov-based hunting carbine. Since bullets and pellets
were extracted from bodies of less than half of 49 protesters killed on February 20, this suggests
that about half of the protesters were shot from a single weapon from this Maidan-controlled
hotel. The victims shot from this weapon included Mykola Shymko, who was killed along with
another protester (Bohdan Solchanyk) one minute before Saienko. Videos and Google map street
view indicate that the area and directions of the Shymko and Saienko killings could be matched
with an announcement on the Maidan stage about two to three snipers on the pendulum floor of
the Hotel Ukraina a few minutes after the killing of these three protesters. Such evidence
suggests that the pendulum floor refers to the 11th floor in the 12 story hotel wing, i.e., either in
or near Svoboda-occupied hotel rooms since it was physically impossible to shoot Shymko from
the 13th floor in the 14th story central part of the hotel.
48
28
The Prosecutor General Office investigation disclosed that at least two deputies of
Svoboda lived on this floor in this hotel wing and that one of them occupied the same hotel room
from which the BBC and ICTV filmed “snipers” firing at the BBC television crew and at the
protesters.
49
The BBC correspondent in his news report and in his tweet identified the shooter in
this room window as having a green helmet worn by the Maidan protesters.
50
A protester stated
that he saw a few other protesters shot by a sniper” from the same hotel window.
51
The official
investigation only reported that they found no signs of anyone breaking into that room or
tampering with a lock. However, in a time-stamped recording of live Spilne TV broadcast from
the 11th floor of the Hotel Ukraine, a chat between Ukrainian reporters and an unidentified
person refers to man from two groups of Maidan “snipers, who were recorded as looking for
suitable shooting positions in the same broadcast and in a CNN video a few minutes before that
sniper was filmed by the BBC and ICTV, went to that side of the hotel and that there was a
sniper position on that side of the floor.
52
A Ukrainian publication based on its own investigation and a reported BBC correspondent
statement suggests that there was a sniper in a different Hotel Ukraina suite, in which another
Svoboda deputy lived at that time. The BBC corresponded reportedly said that after his crew was
shot from the 11th floor of this hotel he went to this floor and saw a note with a warning not to
enter the suite number 1109 because of a request from the Security Service of Ukraine. This was
the same suite which was searched by Maidan activists. One of Svoboda leaders admitted that a
member of the Ukrainian parliament from this far right party lived at the time of the Maidan
massacre in this suite.
53
An English-speaking foreign reporter said in the same Spilne TV broadcast at 10:35am
(15m) that he saw a shooter hiding in a Hotel Ukraina and firing shots from an open and moving
29
window. The open and moving window visible in that video matches a room on the 7th floor
which was used to record a widely publicized video of the Maidan massacre. This video was
recorded by a former press-secretary of the Lviv Regional Council, which was then headed by a
Svoboda deputy who occupied one of the rooms on the 11th floor at the time of the massacre. A
break in this video (53m), which was used as evidence of the massacre of the protesters by the
Berkut, matches the time when the sniper was spotted there.
54
A leader of the Patriot of Ukraine branch in Kyiv stated that he personally witnessed
that “a sniper” was located in one of the hotel rooms booked by Svoboda deputies and that this
room was on a top floor of the hotel (Katchanovski, 2015c, p. 57). Recordings of Spilne TV
livestream referred to two other rooms on the same 11th floor from which snipers were shooting
during the massacre of the protesters.
Time-stamped recordings of radio communications of SBU Alfa commanders, an
investigation by a journalist from the Fatherland party, and statements by the former SBU head
all refer to snipers from the Music Conservatory moving to the Hotel Ukraina before or in the
beginning of the massacre of the protesters on February 20. The analysis and synchronization of
videos filmed by French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian television journalists show an armed
group of the Maidan protesters under command of Parasiuk arriving to the hotel, shooting from a
14th floor room, and then moving to other floors during the massacre of the protesters. Videos
also show Svoboda deputies, in particular the deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament armed
with handgun, accompanying armed members of this special Maidan company in the Hotel
Ukraina or guarding entrances to the hotel elevators. Svoboda deputies also went to negotiate
with snipers, whom the Maidan protesters spotted shooting at them from the roof of this hotel.
Bubenchyk stated that he was in Hotel Ukraina and Zhovtnevyi Palace during the massacre but
30
denied that there were any snipers there in spite of testimonies of Maidan protesters, public
announcements from the Maidan stage, videos and photos pointing to snipers in both these
locations at the time when they were under the Maidan control.
55
(See Katchanovski, 2015c). For
example, a photo identifies one of “sniper” positions used to shoot from Zhovtnevyi Palace at the
Maidan protesters, and another such position was identified by Maidan protesters on the roof of
this building.
56
A synchronization of other photos of the same position and videos of the
massacre show that the photos were made at the same time and shortly afterwards as “snipers”
were reported to be there, for example, in the Maidan stage announcements.
57
These photos were
made in Zhovtnevyi Palace by a pro-Maidan journalist, who also made a large number of photos
from the Music Conservatory building at the time when the special Maidan Self-Defense
company “snipers” were shooting at the police there from the same floor and the same Maidan-
facing part of the building, but these photos omitted these shooters. A video by a Polish
journalist showed that the Maidan protesters were in both these areas of Zhovtnevyi around the
same time.
58
The presence of armed Maidan shooters and their shooting from the Hotel Ukraina
cannot be explained by shooting the police, since both the official investigation and the study of
the massacre found that not a single Berkut or any other policeman was killed or wounded from
the Hotel Ukraina after the killings of the protesters started on February 20, in contrast to
numerous police casualties of the Maidan shooters when they were based in the Music
conservatory earlier in the day.
Svoboda deputies ignored warnings about snipers in this hotel killing and wounding the
protesters, including members of the Svoboda Maidan Self-Defense company. Such seemingly
irrational behavior become rational from a rational choice or an instrumental rationality
31
perspectives, if Svoboda deputies were at least aware that these snipers in the Hotel Ukraina
were from the Maidan side. (Katchanovski, 2015c). For example, a French TV video shows a
Maidan protester shouting to the head of Svoboda in Khmelnytsky Oblast and journalists near
the main entrance to the Hotel Ukraina about snipers at the top of the hotel soon after the
massacre of the protesters, including protesters from Svoboda company from Khmelnytsky
Region, started near the hotel. But this Svoboda deputy then was filmed guarding the hotel
entrance and carrying wounded Maidan protesters to and from a makeshift hospital organized by
Svoboda in this hotel.
59
The forensic ballistic examinations which were conducted before December 2015 found
that at least two out of 48 protesters were killed on February 20 by expanding hunting bullets
whose caliber did not match calibers of weapons used by the special police company, whose
members were charged with killings all these protesters. At least four protesters were shot with
pellets used for hunting, and another protester killed from Vepr hunting carbine. A forensic
ballistic examination conducted on the prosecution request with help of an automatic computer
based system in January 2015 concluded that bullets extracted from killed protesters did not
match bullet samples from any Kalashnikov assault rifles with which members of the Berkut
special company were then armed.
60
Forensic medical reports made public during the trial indicated that in cases of 15 killed
protesters and in the case of one wounded medic with such information all but one were shot at
significant vertical angles, while the Berkut police were located at nearly even level with the
protesters. This suggests snipers in Maidan-controlled buildings because the investigation and
the Maidan massacre study did not find evidence that any protester was killed by government
snipers from the government-controlled buildings. A forensic report about entry and exit wounds
32
locations at nearly horizontal level in the case of Ihor Kostenko killing and his position in a
video seconds before his killing also suggest that he was shot from a Maidan location.
61
Overall, in at least 13 cases of the killed protesters, forensic medical reports about
locations of wounds combined with videos of positions of these protesters at the moments of
their shooting or shortly before and after also indicate that they were killed from directions of the
Hotel Ukraina and other Maidan-controlled areas. In some cases, the forensic medical reports
presented during the trial are not sufficient to make conclusions about directions from which
protesters were killed because exact wounds locations are not specified or because positions of
the protesters in the moments of their killings, shortly before or after were not captured in videos
or photos. Because forensic medical reports are not yet made public in the cases of other killed
and wounded protesters, the killing and wounding of some of the protesters by the special Berkut
company cannot be excluded. But such information based on media and social media reports
indicates that at least the absolute majority of the protesters were killed from the Maidan-
controlled buildings and not by the Berkut (See Katchanovski, 2015c).
The GPU admitted that testimonies of 77 of the wounded protesters about their positions
and directions of gunshots, along with videos, photos, forensic reports, and conclusions of expert
reports, showed that they were shot from other sectors than the Berkut sector. The prosecution
charges omitted the wounding of these protesters, or almost half of the 157 protesters wounded
on February 20, 2014. These undisclosed sectors imply Maidan-controlled locations, such as the
Hotel Ukraina, since the GPU investigation did not find evidence that SBU Alfa snipers or
snipers from other government units killed protesters. Similarly, the GPU head reported that its
investigation did not find evidence of Russian government snipers or other evidence of Russian
government involvement in the Maidan massacre.
33
It is noteworthy that the prosecution charges omitted wounding of a female medic (Olesia
Zhukovska). Her shooting was attributed by politicians and the media in Ukraine and the West to
the government forces. However, eyewitnesses among protesters, and her own depiction of her
position at the moment of the shooting and a location of an entry wound in her NTV interview
combined with her location pointed to shooting from the Main Post-Office, which was then used
as the Right Sector headquarters.
62
(See Katchanovski, 2015c, p. 56).
At least 10 protesters, including a Maidan medic, out of 80 protesters with whose
wounding the Berkut company was charged, publicly stated in investigation documents made
public during the Maidan massacre trial, in their Ukrainian media interviews, or on social media
that they and/or their groups were shot by “snipers” from such Maidan-controlled locations as
the Hotel Ukraina, the Bank Arkada, Horodetskoho Street buildings, and Zhovtnevyi Palace.
63
They included at least four protesters whose wounding was filmed in the most publicized
massacre video filmed by the Belgian VRT TV (Roman Tityk, Serhii Trapezun, Yurii Kravchuk,
Volodymyr Venchak). They were mostly from the Khmelnytsky Svoboda company. This video
filmed from the Hotel Ukraina was broadcast by many TV channels in Ukraine and numerous
Western countries as evidence of the massacre of the protesters by the government forces.
64
(See
Katchanovski, 2015c). However, a more complete version of this video also showed a bullet
hitting a tree and narrowly missing a group of the Maidan protesters. The video, testimony of the
Belgian journalist who filmed it, photos of this bullet hole, its laser projected trajectory, and the
government investigation finding made public during the trial all indicate that this bullet was
shot from the back, e.g. from the Hotel Ukraina.
65
Similarly, a French photographer’s photos show that a wooden shield of one of the
protesters (Volodymyr Zherebnyi), who was filmed in the Belgian video, contains bullet holes
34
with wooden chips in its front side, e.g. facing the Berkut police positions. They indicate exit
holes on the front side of the shield and are consistent with various other evidence of protesters
in this group massacred from the back, in particular, from the Hotel Ukraina,
66
There were also other groups of snipers filmed in the Svoboda-controlled Hotel Ukraina.
A former Berkut officer said that a sniper that accompanied the Berkut special company had a
task to look for a Right Sector sniper in the Hotel Ukraina.
67
Some snipers were caught by
protesters in this hotel. A Maidan protester recorded a brief radio communication of another
group of shooters when they were shooting from the Maidan-controlled areas. (See
Katchanovski, 2015c).
A Hotel Ukraina employee in 1+1 TV program said that he witnessed that a group of
snipers in Maidan style uniforms and with weapons carried in cases entered this hotel shortly
before the mass killings started on February 18.
68
A Fatherland deputy stated that he witnessed
protesters killed near him by shooters from the Hotel Ukraina and Kozatsky Hotel on the same
day.
69
Videos showed the Right Sector members evacuating the nearby Hotel Dnipro several
weeks after the massacre with weapons in such cases, and Yarosh later admitted this.
70
Their
evacuation was supervised by Parubiy, and their weapons not examined by the police to check if
they were used during the massacre of the protesters and the police. A Berkut officer reported
during the Maidan trial that a Mosin rifle was found by his group in the Hotel Dnipro around that
time and that the investigation did not display interest in checking if this rifle was used during
the massacre even though forensic ballistic examinations determined that at least two protesters
were shot by a 1908 year model of 7.62x51 caliber bullet designed for this rifle. Government
units were not equipped with the Mosin rifles. In contrast, Spilne TV recording, which is now
removed from web, referred to protesters, who were in the Hotel Ukraina at the time of the
35
massacre and were armed not only with hunting rifles and AKMS but also with Mosin rifles.
(Katchanovski, 2015c, p. 51).
Various evidence indicates a cover-up of the far-right-linked Maidan “snipers” and
falsification of the official investigation of the Maidan massacre. For example, the government
investigation concluded that unknown shooters of unknown affiliation shot the police during the
Maidan massacre. A report of the International Advisory Panel, set up by the Council of Europe,
revealed that contrary to the public statements, the official investigation had evidence of
“shooters" killing at least three protesters from the Hotel Ukraina or the Music Conservatory and
that at least other 10 protesters were killed by unidentified “snipers” from rooftops.
71
The
prosecution in 2015 charged the Berkut policemen with killing 39 protesters and omitted the
killings of the other 10 protesters, but in 2016 it charged the Berkut with killings of 48 out of 49
protesters.
The GPU denied or ignored various evidence of far-right-linked “snipers” in the Hotel
Ukraina and other Maidan-controlled locations, with a partial exception of the delayed and failed
investigation of the ones filmed by BBC and ICTV in the Svoboda deputy hotel room. This
investigation failure and an amnesty law releasing Maidan participants from responsibility for
killing of the police suggest unwillingness of the Maidan-led government to investigate and
prosecute the far right organizations for their role in the mass killings of the police during the
Maidan massacre. Such unwillingness along with various other evidence suggests involvement
of elements of other Maidan organizations in the Maidan massacre. Specifically this concerns
elements of the oligarchic Fatherland Party, which formed the Peoples Front party and which
became a part of the ruling coalition after the “Euromaidan.”
36
Other evidence of the cover-up includes a failure by the investigation to determine specific
circumstances of killings of the absolute majority of protesters and the police on February 18-19,
2014. The Prosecutor General Office investigation found that 26 protesters were killed on
February 18 and 19, and attributed their killings to the Berkut police, the SBU Alfa during its
storming of the Trade Union building, and titushki. But specific circumstances and other
evidence of most of these killings are still not made public by the Ukrainian government and the
media, like in cases of some killed protesters and almost 70 wounded protesters, who were shot
on February 20. The only one solved case by the GPU investigation with a court verdict
confirming the responsibility but granting an amnesty and a long withheld video revealed that a
Svoboda company commander was driven over by a protestor after thisprotester seized a track
and driven it into the police.
An unreported court decision revealed that another protester was killed by slushing his
throat with a knife on February 18 soon after he took a knife from an UNA-UNSO tent on the
Maidan. The decision cited witnesses who provided evidence that the knife owner was involved
in this killing, and that he used a pseudo, like UNA-UNSO members, and that the body of this
killed protester was found in the same tent soon afterwards.
72
The description of the killed
protester as a former policeman and the mode and the date of his killing match Viktor
Prokhorchuk. But his killing was attributed by the Ukrainian media to the police, and President
Poroshenko posthumously awarded him Hero of Ukraine title along with other killed Ukrainian
protesters included in the “Heavenly Hundred.”
The investigation ignored similarities of killings of protesters with killings of 13
policemen on the Maidan on February 18-20, in particular, by pellets and other hunting
ammunition and same caliber 7.62x39 bullets. The government investigation did not even
37
consider a version of the killing of both police and protesters by Maidan shooters, specifically
far-right-linked shooters. For instance, no forensic ballistic comparisons of bullets, which killed
both police and protesters, were made, in spite of similarity of the types and calibers of
ammunition and similarities of the police and the protesters wounds reported by Maidan medics.
There is also “dog that did not bark” evidence indicating either involvement of the Right
Sector and C14 in this mass killing of the Maidan protesters or their prior knowledge about this
massacre. In contrast to its leading role in previous violent attacks during the “Euromaidan,” the
Right Sector was not visible during the massacre on February 20, and none of members of this
far right organization was reported among killed or wounded protesters on that day. A Maidan
protester said that he learned that the Right Sector members were absent during the massacre,
because they received advance warning from their leadership.
73
The former leader of the Right
Sector in the Sviatoshyn District in Kyiv also suggested that there was such a Right Sector order.
The leader of Svoboda-affiliated C14 admitted that his C14-based company of the Maidan Self-
Defense took refuge in the Canadian embassy in Kyiv on February 18 and stayed there during
the Maidan massacre.
74
Similarly to the Right Sector, not a single member of C14 and its
company was reported as killed or wounded by “snipersduring the massacre on February 20th.
The former leader of the Right Sector in Sviatoshyn District in Kyiv publicly stated that
Yarosh along with Petro Poroshenko evacuated captured snipers following the Maidan
massacre.
75
He said that his Zahrava unit of the Right Sector was given an order to protect the
evacuated snipers from the protesters.
76
The head of the Kyiv branch of Patriot of Ukraine stated
that snipers captured by protesters, in particular the one captured with his involvement in a
Svoboda-booked room in the Hotel Ukraina, were evacuated by Poroshenko along with captured
Internal Troops (see Katchanovski, 2015c, p. 57). A Maidan Self-Defense activists stated
38
separately that he along with other protesters tried to stop this evacuation of snipers who were
captured in the Hotel Ukraina and other locations.
77
Videos show a confrontation between the
protesters and the Maidan leaders, such as Yarosh, Parubiy, Svoboda deputies, Poroshenko,
Pashynsky, who protected and tried to evacuate around 2:00 am on February 21, 2014 a few
dozen of men. All of them, including captured Internal Troops soldiers and officers, were
dressed in civilian clothes, and some of them had haircuts that were different from military-style
short haircuts of captured Internal Troops soldiers and officers.
78
While specific Maidan leaders
might have been unaware that there were purported snipers in this group, the lack of any
investigations of these claims independently made by three Maidan activists fits the pattern of
the cover-up and falsification of the Maidan massacre investigation from the top of the Ukrainian
government.
The Maidan massacre played a key role in the violent overthrow of the Yanukovych
government. Because it was immediately attributed to the government snipers and the police by
the Maidan opposition, the Western leaders, and the media in Ukraine in the West, it undermined
his and his government legitimacy. In particular, the massacre prompted a part of the Party of
Regions deputies to leave their faction and support the Maidan opposition and the parliament
vote on February 20 to withdraw the government forces from downtown Kyiv and subsequent
votes to dismiss then President Yanukovych and his government. The use of force and threat of
force by the far-right leaders in alliance with elements of the oligarchic Maidan parties, and their
refusal to accept the Western-mediated deal also forced Yanukovych and most senior members
of his government to flee Kyiv and then Ukraine on February 21, 2014 or soon afterwards. The
far right force factor also prompted a part of members of the Party of Regions faction in the
39
parliament to support his dismissal and approval of the new Maidan-led government, which
included far right Svoboda members.
The Odesa Massacre
A special parliamentary commission report suggests that the Ukrainian and regional
government officials planned to use far right activists to suppress the separatist movement in the
Odesa Region and to disperse a separatist camp near the Trade Union building before the May 9
day in 2014. A march, led by the Right Sector and football ultras on May 2, 2014, was used to
implement this plan, but it is not certain if the mass killing was planned in advance. The analysis
of various videos and recordings of live broadcasts, May 2 group reports, media and social media
reports, and interviews by participants and eyewitnesses from both sides and by the police
commanders shows that Odeska druzhyna, a small separatist organization led by an ex-
policeman, tried to counter and attack this march. They used red tape labels, and were not Right
Sector agent provocateurs, as the Russian media or separatists often claimed. Use of the same red
tape by some of policemen in a police cordon took place later during the clashes, and it was not
an organized collusion with the separatists, as the Ukrainian government and the media claimed.
The groups of numerically superior activists of the Right Sector from Odesa and Kharkiv,
where this far right organization was led by the neo-Nazi Social National Assembly/Patriot of
Ukraine, far right football ultras, and Maidan Self-Defense units from Odessa and other regions
attacked Odeska druzhyna activists. The pro-separatist activists took cover behind the police
cordon, and some of them started to shoot at the direction of attackers.
A small mobile group of separatists arrived at that time in the area of the clashes to
provide reinforcement. One of its members was filmed shooting at the direction of the far-right
40
led protesters with an AK-74 type assault rifle or its hunting version. The first victim was a Right
Sector activist killed about the same time and place in his chest. The official investigation
reported that he was killed by a 5.45mm caliber bullet. This evidence suggests a strong
possibility that he was killed by this separatist mobile group member.
But other possibilities cannot be excluded, because of other evidence. Leaked forensic
medical expert reports referred to 5.65mm caliber bullet extracted from the body of this Right
Sector activist. This bullet reportedly disappeared during the investigation. The second victim
who was on the Maidan side was killed shortly afterwards in the same area during the clashes by
a bullet from a pneumatic weapon.
79
The investigation and videos have not revealed exact times,
places, and directions of gunshots of these killings, and no results of ballistic expertise have been
made public.
In the clashes that followed nearby, four separatist protesters were killed and many other
separatist protesters and policemen and at least one local journalist were wounded, primarily
with hunting ammunition. A pro-Maidan protester, who was filmed shooting with a hunting rifle
at their direction around the same time, was later identified by May 2 Group as a Right Sector
activist. The investigation charged him with killing of at least one of the separatists, but he was
released from the arrest and his trial delayed because of threats by Right Sector and other far
right activists against judges during his trial.
After the Odesa regional administration official in charge of law enforcement agencies
communicated such a directive to a Maidan Self-Defense commander and after public calls from
local Maidan leaders, Right Sector activists, football ultras, and the Maidan Self-Defense units
moved to the Trade Union area.
80
They attacked and burned a tent camp of various separatist
41
organizations, whose activists and supporters then escaped to the Trade Union building and tried
to barricade the main entrance doors.
Videos, internet streams, and testimonies of eyewitnesses show that some groups of the
attackers threw Molotov cocktails and burning tires into the main entrance and set the entrance
doors and the make-shift barricade there on fire, while other groups blocked other exists. Videos,
recorded calls to the firefighters, and eyewitness reports show that the fire and thick smoke
started and rapidly spread after Molotov cocktails and car tires were thrown by attackers at the
main entrance doors.
81
After previous denials, the official investigation and May 2 Group created
by the Odesa governor admitted that the deadly fire started at the main entrance but still claimed
that it was impossible to determine who started the fire because both sides were throwing
Molotov cocktails. However, no evidence of the Molotov cocktails been thrown there by
separatists at the time of the start of the fire has been made public, in contrast to such evidence
concerning the far-right dominated protesters.
The analysis of various sources show that 42 people perished as a result of fire, smoke
and trying to jump from the upper floors. Trade Union victims were unarmed and included
mainly pro-separatist supporters and several employees who were at the building at the time. Six
women and one minor were killed during the massacre.
There is various evidence that the police and firefighters were ordered by their superiors
to stand by and not interfere during this fire attack and earlier deadly clashes. For instance, a
special plan to deal with mass disturbances launched by the Odesa regional police was not
authorized, most likely because of decisions at the Ministry of Internal Affairs level. Similarly,
top regional officials of the police and other law enforcement agencies were ordered to attend a
meeting with their national counterpart before and during the start of the clashes.
42
Statements posted by the Right Sector, the SNA, and Misanthropic Division, another
neo-Nazi organization, on their websites and social media sites admitted in various forms
involvement of their organizations or the far right-led attackers generally in the massacre of the
separatists.
82
However, with the exception of the arrested but released Right Sector shooter, only
separatists were among those arrested and tried for the Odesa massacre. An adviser to the head
of the police in the Odesa Region stated that the investigation of the Trade Union fire did not
make any progress for two years after the massacre.
83
The Council of Europe and the UN special
commission reports also noted the failures of the investigation and destruction of evidence.
84
This suggests that the official investigation of the massacre of the separatists in the Trade
Union building in Odesa has been falsified and stonewalled. Such falsification and stonewalling
would be consistent with other evidence indicating a certain kind of involvement in this violence
of not only the far right organizations and ultras but also the Maidan Self-Defense and the
government officials.
The War in Donbas
Like in the case of mass protests during the “Euromaidan,” paramilitary formations,
special police and National Guard units, organized and led by far-right organizations, such as the
Right Sector, the SNA and Svoboda, constituted a minority of the Ukrainian forces during the
armed conflict in Donbas. The Right Sector played a key role along with Ihor Kolomoisky, an
oligarch who became the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration after the
“Euromaidan,” in the formation of Dnipro battalion in spring of 2014. The Azov battalion was
organized and led by the SNA and the Patriot of Ukraine with involvement of the Radical Party.
Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, also was involved in the Azov battalion
43
formation and its later expansion to a regiment. Azov initially used neo-Nazi symbols as its
insignia. Andrii Biletsky, a Patriot of Ukraine leader, who was called the “White Leader, was
the first commander of Azov.
Svoboda and C14, a neo-Nazi group affiliated with Svoboda, organized and led the
battalion Sich. The St. Mary’s battalion was organized and led by the far right Bratsvo party
headed by Dmytro Korchynsky. The UNA-UNSO formed a special intelligence company. There
were far right members or sympathizers in other special police units and other such formations
created during the conflict in Donbas. For instance, the Aidar battalion, nominally subordinated
to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, was formed by the Maidan Self-Defense. But one of its
platoons was led by the White Hammer, which belonged to the Right Sector during the
“Euromaidan.” Ilia Kiva, a Right Sector member, was a commander of another volunteer police
battalion. A previously convicted criminal with a swastika tattoo became the commander of the
Tornado company, a special police unit.
All these units were under formal jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the
National Guard, or the Ministry of Defense. But from the start of their formation they remained
under de facto command of radical nationalist or neo-Nazi organizations. All these armed
formations were organized after the start of the conflict in Donbas and stationed there in an
attempt to suppress pro-Russian separatism in this region by force.
The Right Sector and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists organized militia or
paramilitary units but without such formal subordination to the central government of Ukraine.
The Volunteer Ukrainian Corps, the largest paramilitary formation, was formed and led by the
Right Sector specifically for the war in Donbas, but it also included battalions in other regions of
Ukraine, in particular, in Western Ukraine.
44
The far-right led armed formations were composed from volunteers, and large proportions
of their commanders and members were members and sympathizers of radical nationalist and, to
a much lesser extent, neo-Nazi organizations and ultras groups. Small numbers of citizens of
Belarus, Canada, France, Italy, Russia, Sweden and the US, primarily far right members or
sympathizers, in particular neo-Nazis, served in different far-right led units, such as Azov.
The analysis shows that these far-right formations played a key role in the start of the war
in Donbas after the “Euromaidan.” The violent overthrow of the Yanukovych government by
means of the Maidan massacre with the involvement of the far right was a trigger for the
resurgence of separatism in Donbas and for a significant rise of support for various forms of
separatism in this region. These far right-led armed units were disproportionally involved in the
violence, specifically violence against civilians and prisoners of war. The radical nationalist and
neo-Nazi led armed formations were much more ideologically motivated and willing to fight and
to use force, compared to the regular Ukrainian forces, which suffered from low morale and
significant desertion rates, especially in the beginning of the conflict.
Various evidence shows that the far right organizations and the far right-linked battalions
had a crucial role in the escalation of the conflict into a war. In particular, it shows that the Right
Sector carried out a deadly attack on a separatist checkpoint in Sloviansk on 20 April 2014. (See
Katchanovski, 2016a). Such evidence as the Yarosh business card found after the attack was
corroborated by Ukrainian court decisions, which authorized investigations of unidentified Right
Sector members and leaders because the same weapons were found to be used by the checkpoint
attackers and the snipers who killed and wounded the police during the Maidan massacre. Two
years after this attack of the separatist checkpoint, Dmytro Yarosh admitted the Right Sector and
his personal involvement in this attack. Turchynov, then acting president of Ukraine, and a
45
Kolomoisky’s deputy in the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration, authorized this Right Sector
operation, which was aimed at seizing and destroying a TV transmitter near Sloviansk several
days after this area was seized by the Strelkov-led Russian nationalist armed group and local
separatists.
85
This attack by the Right Sector constituted a major escalation of the conflict in
Donbas because it broke the Geneva agreement, signed on 17 April 2014 by Ukraine, Russia, the
EU, and the US concerning a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and the Orthodox Easter truce
between the Ukrainian government and separatists in Donbas.
Similarly, the far right-led armed formations were involved in two other violent attacks
which escalated the conflict and helped to turn it into a civil war. Videos, media reports, and
their commanders and members admissions indicate that the Azov and Dnipro battalions along
with other units took part in storming of the district police headquarters in Mariupol on May 9,
2014. About 10 persons, including at least one protester, were killed and many wounded when
local pro-separatist protesters tried to prevent these units deployment and during their storming
of the police building.
86
The Dnipro battalion along with other units seized control of
Krasnoarmiisk in the Donetsk Region to prevent the separatist referendum there on May 11,
2014. Videos show them shooting unarmed pro-separatist protesters with Kalashnikovs, and two
local people were killed during this confrontation. The Dnipro battalion presence there was
denied by the Ukrainian government, but it was confirmed by other sources including admissions
by battalion members in videos and Parasiuk’s statement on social media.
87
The various far-right armed units also participated in numerous combat operations
against separatists during the war, for instance, during the Donetsk airport battle. The Ukrainian
government justified their creation and use during the conflict in Donbas by claiming that
Ukraine has been fighting from the start of this conflict a defensive war against Russia and that
46
there was no civil war. However, the government did not officially declare a war with Russia but
justified the use of force by declaring the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO).
However, various evidence shows that the far-right organized and led armed formations
were fighting primarily with local separatists and Russian volunteers in an intrastate conflict that
became a civil war and later involved a direct Russian military intervention. The list of
separatists sanctioned by the Ukrainian government in September 2015 shows that the absolute
majority of them were citizens of Ukraine. Out of 188 separatist leaders, commanders, officials,
and fighters on this list, which also includes some separatists from Crimea, 64% were identified
as Ukrainian citizens, 8% as Russian citizens, 4% as citizens of other countries (Spain, Serbia,
and Azerbaijan), and 24% had no citizenship information.
88
A list of 1,572 people, who joined
armed formations of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic (DNR) in summer of 2014,
shows that 78% of them were Ukrainian citizens, primarily from Donbas, 19% Russian citizens,
2% citizens of other countries, primarily, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Israel, and 1%
had unknown citizenship.
89
Various evidence also suggests that some nationalist and communist organizations and
networks and the Russian government started after the Yanukovych overthrow to back directly
or indirectly separatists in Crimea, Donbas and other Southern and Eastern regions, called by
separatists, Putin, and Russian nationalists as “Novorossiya” and that there was a real possibility
of a direct Russian military intervention in spring 2014 in Donbas and these regions besides
Crimea (see Katchanovski, 2016a). For example, intercepted telephone calls segments made
public by the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine in 2016 indicate that Sergey Glaziev told
some leaders of pro-Russian separatist organizations and activists to seize regional councils in
such regions beyond Donbas and Crimea as Kharkiv, Odesa, and Zaporizhzhia and to request
47
Russian military intervention.
90
Glaziev was an adviser to Russia’s President Putin concerning
the Customs Union since 2012. But he was also linked via the Katehon Think Tank to
Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch who backed separatism in Crimea and Donbas after the
“Euromaidan.” Igor Girkin (Strelkov), who led an armed Russian nationalist group to seize
Sloviansk in Donbas, worked in the Malofeev’s security.
The far right-formations were also involved in fighting with regular Russian military
forces in Donbas in August 2014 and February 2016 during direct Russian military interventions
in support of separatists. However, the far-right led formations along with regular Ukrainian
forces suffered encirclements and defeats from regular Russian units in the Illovaisk area in
August of 2014 and in the Debaltsevo area in February 2015.
There was also involvement of the far right on the separatist side of the conflict, but their
numbers and the role were much less significant. Pavlo Gubarev, who became the “People’s
Governor” of the Donetsk Region soon after the start of the conflict, admitted that he was a
member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity organization in Russia 12 years earlier and
obtained a military training from them.
91
Some relatively small units of separatist armed
formations were comprised from radical nationalist and neo-Nazi volunteers from Russia. For
instance, they included neo-Nazi Rusichi armed group, but this unit was forced to leave Donbas
in summer 2015 because of the decision by the new separatist leadership. This decision was
made during a campaign by the separatist leadership and their Russian military, security and
political “curatorsto integrate and purge separatist formations under the central command.
Elections and Government
48
Far right organizations activists did not have significant positions in the national
governments and the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine prior to the “Euromaidan.” Several of
them became integrated into various senior positions the government as a result of the
“Euromaidan.” However, they did not have a majority of positions or the top government
positions. This is another indirect evidence of the involvement of the far right organizations but
in alliance with elements of oligarchic parties in the violent overthrow of the Yanukovych
government. Svoboda had four ministers from in the first post-Yanukovych government and its
member became the Head of the Prosecutor General Office that investigated the Maidan
massacre. These ministers included the Minister of Defense, who was not the party member and
resigned because of criticism of his and the Ukrainian military performance during the Russian
annexation of Crimea. The other ministers lost their positions after the October 2014
parliamentary elections, and the GPU head was replaced by Poroshenko with his own candidate
after he was elected as president in May 2014.
Parubiy offered Yarosh and Parasiuk positions of, respectively, the first deputy head and
the deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council immediately after the
“Euromaidan.”
92
Yarosh later was appointed an advisor to the chief of General Staff of Ukraine.
Vadym Troian, who was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine and one of the
commanders of the Azov battalion, became the first deputy head of the National Police. Yuri
Mykhalchyshyn, a Svoboda deputy who expressed neo-Nazi views, stated that he got a senior
position in a SBU department in charge of information. As noted, far-right organized and led
battalions and other units were formally integrated into the police and the National Guard. In
addition, Right Sector members were included in the special Alfa unit of SBU.
49
Parubiy, a former neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine/SNA leader, became the head of the
National Security and Defense Council after the “Euromaidan.” He was elected the speaker of
the parliament of Ukraine in 2016. Members of the far right parties also got some senior
positions in the parliamentary committees after the parliamentary elections in October 2014.
The far right parties received significant but a minority support in the elections held since
the “Euromaidan.” Svoboda and Right Sector leaders got each 1 percent of the vote in the
presidential elections in May 2014. But the leader of the Radical Party, which combined far right
populist elements and was involved in the formation of the Azov battalion along with neo-Nazi
SNA, obtained 8% of the vote. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, Svoboda narrowly failed to
clear the 5% threshold and failed to enter the parliament on the party list. Svoboda vote dropped
to 4.7%, compared to 10.5% in 2012. The exclusion of the annexed Crimea and separatist
Donbas, which were traditionally two most pro-Russian and pro-Communist regions with minor
support for far right parties, from the elections in 2014 means that the decline of Svoboda
electoral support was more significant. The Right Sector received 2% of the vote in 2014. The
Radical Party, whose list included a number of far right candidates, such as a son of an UPA
supreme commander, got 7%.
93
In addition, six Svoboda members, the Right Sector leader, its
former spokesman, the Azov commander and Patriot of Ukraine leader, and Parasiuk were
elected to the Ukrainian parliament in majoritarian districts. Svoboda and the Radical Party
received each 7% of the vote in the 2015 local elections, which the Right Sector did not
participate in. But large proportions of voters voted for the far right organizations not because of
their ideology but for other reasons, such as populist economic promises (see Bustikova, 2015).
However, the role of the far right parties and activists in the decisions of the parliament
and the government policies has been much more significant than their representation in the
50
parliament, the government, and the law enforcement agencies would suggest. For instance,
Parasiuk stated that members of his special Maidan company, organized with the Right Sector
involvement, forced certain members of the parliament to participate in the votes to dismiss
Yanukovych and his government from power and to elect the former Maidan leaders in their
place.
94
Svoboda proposal immediately after the “Euromaidan” to abolish a law giving Russian
language a regional language status was approved by the parliament. Even though it did not
become a law because then acting president Turchynov did not sign it, this parliament decision
helped to spur resurgence of separatism in Crimea and Donbas after the “Euromaidan.
Similarly, the parliament, which was dominated by the oligarchic parties, approved in
2015 a law proposed by a far right deputy from the Radical Party and son of Roman
Shukhevych, the UPA supreme commander who served in 1941-1943 as an officer in an Abwehr
and OUN-B organized battalion transformed into an auxiliary police battalion. This law
recognized the far right OUN and the UPA as fighters for independence and made it illegal to
publicly disrespect them. President Poroshenko officially approved in 2016 a new military
uniform which was partly based on the nominal uniform of the UPA.
95
Poroshenko, Parubiy, and
Ukrainian deputies applauded a neo-Nazi ex-soldier during his speech at a special meeting of the
parliament in honor of the Ukrainian Constitution Day in 2016.
96
The use of violence and threat of violence also give the far right organizations
disproportional influence on the different branches of the government and the Ukrainian politics
in general. For instance, the Right Sector, NSA/Patriot of Ukraine, and Svoboda were involved
in several attacks of the parliament after the “Euromaidan.” For example, Svoboda with
participation of other far right organizations led in August 2015 a violent protest directed against
an adoption of a constitutional amendment giving a separatist-controlled part of Donbas a limited
51
special status. A grenade thrown during this protest by a neo Nazi member of Svoboda and its
Sich battalion in front of the Ukrainian parliament killed four National Guard members and
wounded some 100 policemen and National Guard troops.
97
The far right organizations
threatened new violence if the proposed constitutional amendment was approved for the second
time and became a law. Similar attacks by the far right organizations and threats of violence by
them were directed at the Constitutional Court and various other courts. For example, as result of
such attacks or threats, courts released C14 activists, who were charged with assassination of
Oles Buzina, an opposition journalist and writer, and a Right Sector activist, who was charged
with gunning down separatists during the Odesa massacre.
Conclusion
This study shows that the far right organizations had significant but minority
representation among the Maidan leadership, protesters, in the post-Maidan governments, and in
the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. However, the analysis also shows that the far
right organizations and football ultras played a key role during violent attacks, such as attempts
to storm the presidential administration on December 1, 2013 and the parliament of Ukraine in
January and on February 18, 2014 and were involved in a violent attack of the Berkut police
during its dispersal of protesters on November 30, 2013. The Right Sector and Svoboda had a
crucial role in the violent overthrow of the Viktor Yanukovych government, in particular, in the
Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police on February 18-20, 2014. Such mass killings
aimed at an overthrow the government are consistent with their illiberal ideology of a national
revolution.
52
The study demonstrates that the Right Sector, the Social-National Assembly, Patriot of
Ukraine, and groups of football ultras were involved in the Odesa massacre on May 2, 2014.
This paper also shows that the far right organizations and volunteer battalions and paramilitary
units organized and led by them had a significant role in the civil war in Donbas, in particular in
the escalation of the conflict into a civil war. But they were defeated by regular Russian military
units during direct military interventions by Russia in support of separatists in Donbas in August
2014 and February 2015. Additional research is needed to analyze policies of the Western, in
particular, US government, concerning the far right in Ukraine and the far right involvement in
the Maidan and the Odesa massacres, and the war in Donbas.
This paper implies that the far right achieved significant but not dominant role in the
Ukrainian politics during and since the “Euromaidan.” However, far right organizations and their
armed units had a key role in major cases of political violence during and after the
“Euromaidan,” and they attained an ability to overthrow by force the government of the one of
the largest European countries. These findings indicate that as a result of the far right
involvement in the violent overthrow of the Yanukovych government by means of the Maidan
massacre the far right organizations achieved their strongest influence in Ukraine since its
independence in 1991. Because of their involvement in the government overthrow, the war in
Donbas, integration in the government and the law enforcement, and ability to overthrow the
government, the influence of the far right organizations in Ukraine became greater compared to
other countries in Europe and at least large countries in the world since 2014. This also applies to
European countries in which the far right parties had higher electoral support than their
counterparts in Ukraine, but remained in the opposition.
53
This study also suggests that the narratives of the “Euromaidan” and the war in Donbas
by the governments and the media in Ukraine, the West, and Russia have been inaccurate to a
various extent. The governments and the media in Ukraine and the West and even many
researchers of the Ukrainian far right either ignored or denied the rise of the far right in Ukraine
as a result of far right involvement in the violent overthrow of the government by means of the
Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police and the involvement of the far right in the
Odesa massacre and in other significant cases of violence during and after the “Euromaidan.”
In contrast to the narrative by Russian and separatist politicians and the media and the
Yanukovych government, the “Euromaidan” was not a “fascist coup” and the Maidan
government was not a “fascist junta” because the neo-Nazi organizations did not have dominant
roles among the Ukrainian far right, in the Yanukovych government overthrow, and in the
Maidan governments. The findings of these study have major implications for understanding the
“Euromaidan,” the war in Donbas, and the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine
and for policies concerning these conflicts and their resolution.
54
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Notes
1
Earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian
Association of Slavists in Ottawa, May 30-June 1, 2015.
2
Andrew E. Kramer, Mike McIntire, Barry Meier, “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for
Donald Trump's Campaign Chief,” New York Times, August 15, 2016,
www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/politics/paul-manafort-ukraine-donald-trump.html.
3
Олег Тягнибок, “Вбивці Небесної Сотні на волі. Автор терміну ''Революція гідності'' – за
ґратами,” Ukrainska pravda, September 11, 2015,
http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/tiahnybok/55f32401d1093/.
4
“Интервью Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова программе «Воскресное
время», Москва, 30 марта 2014 года,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, March 30, 2014,
http://archive.mid.ru//brp_4.nsf/ 0/04E1EF8C06E4409044257CAB0031A789.
5
“GS Ukraine Visit March 2014,” March 2014, http://soros.dcleaks.com/.
6
“Breaking: Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Catherine Ashton discuss Ukraine over
the phone,” March 5 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEgJ0oo3OA8.
7
“Провокаторы в форме захваченных спецназовцев стреляют в Киеве по своим,” NTV,
February 20, 2014, http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/844777/?fb#ixzz3kYwfosVo.
8
“СБУ: Сепаратисты с российскими диверсантами инсценировали нападение на блокпост
Славянска,“ Gordon, April 20, 2014, http://gordonua.com/news/separatism/sbu-separatisty-s-
rossiyskimi-diversantami-inscenirovali-vneshnee-napadenie-na-blokpost-slavyanska-
19184.html; “Правый сектор отрицает свою причастность к перестрелке в Славянске,”
Korrespondent.net, April 20, 2014, http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/ politics/3352145-pravyi-
sektor-otrytsaet-svoui-prychastnost-k-perestrelke-v-slavianske;
9
Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Geneva accord,” Reuters, April 20, 2014,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSBREA3A1B520140420.
10
Findings of earlier version of this study and other academic studies concerning the far right in
Ukraine were used in drafting both these amendments by the office of John Conyers, a senior
member of the US Congress who proposed these amendments. “H.Amdt. 492 - 114th Congress
(2015-2016),” 2015, https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/house-
amendment/492?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22azov%22%5D%7D&resultIndex=1.
11
“Kyiv’s Euromaidan is a Liberationist and not extremist mass action of civic disobedience,”
February 4, 2014, https://www.change.org/p/to-journalists-commentators-and-analysts-writing-
on-the-ukrainian-protest-movement-euromaidan-kyiv-s-euromaidan-is-a-liberationist-and-not-
extremist-mass-action-of-civic-disobedience.
12
“Історія ВО “Свобода,”” Svoboda, 2016, http://international.svoboda.org.ua/party/history.
13
“Штурм Кабінету Міністрів України #Євромайдан (Sturm Cabinet of Ministers of
Ukraine),” November 24, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp2PAVQm2iI.
14
See for example, “Выпуск Тсн.19:30 за 30 ноября 2013 года,” TSN, November 30, 2013,
http://ru.tsn.ua/vypusky/tsn/vypusk-tsn-19-30-za-30-noyabrya-2013-goda-336686.html;
“Интервью командира Беркута о зачистке Евромайдана,” Bigmir, December 12, 2013,
http://news.bigmir.net/ukraine/780708-Interv-ju-komandira-Berkuta-o-zachistke-Evromajdana;
“Зверское Избиение Студентов на Майдане: Глазами Очевидцев,” 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYMr1qaN9OM.
15
Ігор Мазур: "На Майдані були люди, які стріляли по “Беркуту”. Я – не зміг." LB, April 4,
2014, http://lb.ua/news/2014/04/04/261907_igor_mazur_bilogo_ odnoznachno.html.
59
16
“Гриценко: люди Яценюка контролировали переговоры "Беркута" в ночь разгона
студентов,Ukrainska pravda, January 14, 2014,
http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2014/01/14/7009570.
17
“Коломойский - Найему: “Левочкин знал заранее о разгоне Майдана,” Олигарх,
December 14, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3jKGo3nT_8.
18
“Підслухала опозицію - потрапила на детектор.” Гром TV, February 8, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPmFbJdaB6A.
19
Parubiy, Andrii, “Європа вільних націй,” Orientyry (2), 1999, 20-22.
20
“Чат з Андрієм Парубієм,” Vgolos, 2008, http://vgolos.com.ua/chat/35.
21
See “Массовые беспорядки на Банковой 01.12.13,” 2013,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bsm36TDPhk.
22
“Дзындзя и бульдозер ;) # Євромайдан, December 6, 2013,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdQO-3C0XAI.
23
“Ігор Мазур….” LB, http://lb.ua/news/2014/04/04/261907_igor_mazur_bilogo_
odnoznachno.html; Маргарита Чимирис, Анастасия Браткова,“Кто шагает с правой,” Vesti-
Reporter, no 12, 2014, http://reporter.vesti-ukr.com/art/y2014/n12/8845-kto-shagaet-s-
pravoj.html.
24
See, for example, “Кто шагает с правой,” http://reporter.vesti-ukr.com/art/y2014/n12/8845-
kto-shagaet-s-pravoj.html; Мустафа Найем, Оксана Коваленко, “Лідер Правого сектору
Дмитро Ярош: Коли 80% країни не підтримує владу, громадянської війни бути не може,”
Ukrainska pravda, February 4,2014, http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2014/02/4/7012683/.
25
Ukraine: Far-right armed with bats patrol Kiev,” BBC News, March 1, 2014,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26394980
26
“Ухвала. Справа № 757/37002/15-к,” Печерський районний суд міста Києва, October 7,
2015, http://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/52580748.
27
Lubov Melnikova, November 18, 2015, https://www.facebook.com/mlnkv?fref=ts.
28
Personal observation of live streams of the march and the clashes on February 18, 2014.
29
See, for example, “Штурм офиса партии регионов в Киеве Евромайдан 18 02 14,” 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkRftMqFhvg.
30
“Кто шагает с правой,” http://reporter.vesti-ukr.com/art/y2014/n12/8845-kto-shagaet-s-
pravoj.html.
31
“Ухвала. Справа Справа № 757/5885/16-к,” Печерський районний суд міста Києва,
February 12, 2016, http://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/55966993.
32
Olexiy Olexiyovich, 2015, https://vk.com/wall123991463_5484.
33
Виктория Герасимчук “Останній смертний бій,” LB, March 8, 2014,
http://society.lb.ua/life/2014/03/08/258619_ostanniy_smertniy_biy.html.
34
“”Правий сектор” відповів СБУ: оголосив “акцію примусу до миру,” Ukrainska pravda,
February 20, 2014, http://www.pravda.com.ua/ukr/news/2014/02/20/7014989.
35
Maidan Massacre,” February 14, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ary_l4vn5ZA
(9:00-11:00).
36
Оксана Коваленко, “Сотник, який переломив хід історії: Треба було дотискати,”
Ukrainska pravda, February 24, 2014, http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2014/02/24/7016048.
37
Konrad Schuller, “Wie kam es zum Blutbad auf dem Majdan?” Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung, February 8, 2015, http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/europa/ukraine-die-
hundertschaften-und-die-dritte-kraft-13414018.html.
60
38
“Валерий Калныш, “Андрей Парубий: На Майдане и по нам, и по “Беркуту” “работал”
российский спецназ.” RBK-Ukraina, February 2, 2015,
http://www.rbc.ua/rus/interview/andrey-parubiy-na-maydane-i-po-nam-i-po-berkutu-rabotal--
17022015132900.
39
Ivan Siiak, “Maidan Activist Ivan Bubenchyk: It’s True I Shot Them in the Back of the Head,
Bird in Flight, February 19, 2016, https://birdinflight.com/world/maidan-activist-ivan-
bubenchyk-it-s-true-i-shot-them-in-the-back-of-the-head.html.
40
“Бранці Веб Серіал, четверта частина / Captives Web Series Part Four,” May 14, 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b6BiN7Eo3s.
41
“14.02.16. Конференція ПС - ДУК ПС-РПС по відродженню УПА. Провідником обраний
комбат Чесний,” February 14, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjl5xpv-R0M.
42
“Окрема думка,TVI, February 25, 2014,
http://tvi.ua/program/2014/02/25/pavlo_osychanskyy_i_andriy_suprun_u_okremiy_dumci.
43
Мустафа Найем, “За кулисами Правого сектора,” Ukrainska Pravda, April 1, 2014,
http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/articles/2014/04/1/7020952.
44
“ВО "Свобода" узяла під контроль "Україну,"January 25, 2014, Svoboda,
http://www.old.svoboda.org.ua/diyalnist/novyny/046864.
45
“Das Gruselmärchen vom Ukraina-Hotel - Frontmann Mikola R. (dt. Untertitel unten rechts
einblendbar),” Billy Six, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHv-IpBRb8k; “Das
Gruselmärchen vom Ukraina-Hotel - Elena K., stellv. Vertriebschefin,” Billy Six, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU6pRq5U3sI.
46
“Когда убивали людей свободовцы прятались в номерах готеля Украина,” Перша
незалежна жіноча сотня, February 21, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSoGsR304rk.
47
“Засідання від 17.06.2015 у справі про «Вбивства 39 людей 20.02.2014 під час
Євромайдану», Судова влада України, July 17, 2015,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFzDj-tBQLs (20:34); “20 лютого 2014 р. Богдан
Сольчаник,” November 2, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IQkB0jZ39k.
48
Carnage on Institutskaya Street on February 20, 2014 Maidan, Kiev, Ukraine,” 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdFHNE8WxOA.
49
“Under sniper fire - the unseen footage from Kiev,” BBC Newsnight, February 28, 2014,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg3R_BSz0Cc
(06:19); Черный вторник и кровавый четверг - Факти тижня 23.02.2014,” ICTV, February
23, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjR3FlvRdsk (06:00).
50
Ukraine Protests: 'Sniper' fires from Ukraine media hotel,” BBC News, February 21, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQhuD4F1yJ0 (2:41).
51
“02,” UKRLIFE.TV, 2014, https://youtu.be/m4yo8rlMA5k?t=1m51s.
52
“February 20, 2014 at 3:20am,” http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/44026041.
53
“История одного окна. О чем молчит следствие в деле таинственных снайперов в
гостинице "Украина."” Strana.ua, February 19, 2016, http://strana.ua/articles/analysis/1967-
istoriya-odnogo-okna.html.
54
“Інститутська 20 лютого. Вбивство майданівців,” 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsE7lYVa5kk.
55
“Бранці Веб Серіал,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b6BiN7Eo3s;
56
“Украинских протестующих убивают снайперы (18+),” EJ, February 20, 2014,
http://ej.by/news/politics/2014/02/20/ukrainskih_protestuyuschih_ubivayut_snaypera_18.html.
61
57
“Висота “Жовтневий”. Остання висота - Altitude “October Palace.” Last altitude,” Evelyn
Nefertari, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYjEp1C4hzI.
58
“14 new photos,” February 20, 2014,
https://www.facebook.com/mihail.baginsky/posts/445774505553166; “2014 02 20 Ukraina
Maślankiewicz relacja 2,” Telewizja Republika, February 20, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnleuYDK87E.
59
“Le 13 heures du 20 février 2014,” TF1, February 20, 2014, http://lci.tf1.fr/jt-
13h/videos/2014/le-13-heures-du-20-fevrier-2014-8365914.html (1:50).
60
“Засідання від 21.06.2016 у справі про «Вбивства 39 людей 20.02.2014 під час
Євромайдану»,” Судова влада України, June 21, 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfHQLOp5PlE (2:39:23).
61
“Засідання від 21.07.2016 у справі про «Вбивства 39 людей 20.02.2014 під час
Євромайдану»,” Судова влада України, July 21, 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n28i-GXsd9g.
62
“Расстрелы на Майдане: следы палачей привели к националистам «Свободы»,” NTV,
October 17, 2015, http://www.ntv.ru/video/1216544/.
63
Два года после расстрелов на Майдане: как все было. Факты недели, 21.02
Факти ICTV,” ICTV, February 21, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YG4kDwPtgo.
64
“Images violentes : une vidéo montre les victimes de tirs nourris devant l'hôtel Ukraina à
Kiev,” Euronews, February 20, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p0zDfhdd78.
65
"Mensen worden neergeschoten voor het hotel" schokkende beelden,” Deredaktie.be, 2014,
http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/videozone/nieuws/buitenland/1.1884163; “orlog Oekraïne:
Keerpunt in de geschiedenis - Jan Balliauw,” Deredaktie.be, December 22, 2014,
http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/opinieblog/analyse/1.2190175.
66
Eric Bouvet, “La mort des martyrs de la revolution,” Paris Match, February 27, 2014,
http://cdn-parismatch.ladmedia.fr/var/news/storage/images/paris-match/actu/international/en-
images/kiev-le-bain-de-sang-qui-a-fait-basculer-le-pays-550547/10h06-la-mort-partout/5080306-
1-fre-FR/10h06.-La-mort-partout.jpg.
67
Владислав Сергиенко, “«Основная работа у нас впереди»,” Vesti-Reporter, April 11, 2014,
http://reporter.vesti-ukr.com/art/y2014/n13/8864-osnovnaja-rabota-u-nas-vperedi.html.
68
“Секретні матеріали: реконструкція вбивств на майдані, які змінили країну,” TSN, April
8, 2014, http://tsn.ua/video/video-novini/sekretni-materiali-rekonstrukciya-vbivstv-na-maydani-
yaki-zminili-krayinu.html (9:00).
69
“Шустер LIVE 20.02.2015,” SavikShusterStudio, February 20, 2015,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDn7Zq6J9B4 (21:34).
70
“Так кто же убивал. Правый сектор выносит винтовки с гостиницы (от 04.04.3014),”
2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgCkNEma6Xg.
71
“Report of the International Advisory Panel on its review of the Maidan Investigations,” March
31, 2015, International Advisory Panel,
https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?
documentId=09000016802f038b.
72
“Ухвала. Справа № 757/36892/14-к,” Печерський районний суд міста Києва, December
12, 2014, http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/54850889.
73
Анна Новик, “Історія лучника, який рятував людей на Інститутській,” Galinfo, April 17,
2014, http://galinfo.com.ua/news/160224.html.
62
74
“Все тільки починається,” Sich Ukraine, March 10, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WHzVEYpxs.
75
“14.02.16,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjl5xpv-R0M (1:04:13).
76
“Ярош, Алло! это Кий,” November 13, 2015,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lxz9_Mh4V8 (8:45).
77
“Порошенко продолжает отстреливать активистов Майдана. Живой свидетель 1,”
October 9, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hx5ytpefvp8.
78
“Активісти і депутати взяли силовиків у полон - #Євромайдан,” 5 kanal, February 21,
2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YddO4rayik.
79
“Черный день Одессы: следователи «оправдали» массовое убийство в Доме
профсоюзов,” MK,
April 28, 2016, http://www.mk.ru/politics/2016/04/28/chernyy-den-odessy-sledovateli-
opravdali-massovoe-ubiystvo-v-dome-profsoyuzov.html.
80
“Игорь Болянский звонит Дмитрию Гуменюку и дает приказ "зачистить" Куликово
поле,” Сергей Рулев, December 2, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tern1-ro9YU.
81
“Одесса марш за единство 02.05.2014,” 2014, http://bambuser.com/v/4585430.
82
“Бійці “Правого сектора” та активісти Одеси відбили напад проросійських найманців,”
Pravyi sector, Pravyi sektor, May 2, 2014, http://old.pravyysektor.info/news/bijtsi-pravoho-
sektora-ta-aktyvisty-odesy-vidbyly-napad-prorosijskyh-najmantsiv/.
83
“Расследование событий в Одессе 2 мая 2014 почти не продвинулось — эксперт,”
Hromadske telebachennia, May 4, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wffXQ4eBQkg.
84
See Report of the International Advisory Panel on its Review of the Investigations into the
Events in Odesa on 2 May 2014, November 4, 2015, Council of Europe,
https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=0
90000168048610f.
85
“Дмитро Ярош: "Перший наступальний бій війни відбувся 20 квітня 2014-го -
Добровольці атакували блокпост під Слов'янськом," Censor.net, April 22, 2016,
http://censor.net.ua/resonance/385673/dmitro_yarosh_pershiyi_nastupalniyi_byi_vyini_vdbuvsy
a_20_kvtnya_2014go_dobrovolts_atakuvali_blokpost.
86
“Батальйн АЗОВ затримав терориста Тюленя,” Андрій Дзиндзя, May 12, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=681hBNGeVUM.
87
See, for example, “Красноармейск.Расстрел мирных жителей 11.05.2014,”
Красноармейская правда, May 11, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4joK6D_-Wc.
88
Calculated by author from “Додаток 1 до рішення Ради національної безпеки і оборони
України від 2 вересня 2015 року ―Про застосування персональних спеціальних
економічних та інших обмежувальних заходів (санкцій),
http://www.president.gov.ua/storage/j-files-
storage/00/10/80/2d4767fb72f7b288e15059d6867f9a3c_1442423766.pdf.
89
Calculated by author from “Список боевиков и наемников по Донецкой обл. (лето-осень
2014 года),” Mirotvorets, May 2, 2016, https://psb4ukr.in/568418-568418.
90
“Докази причетності влади РФ до посягання на територіальну цілісність України
Генеральна прокуратура України,” Генеральна прокуратура України, August 22, 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6K1_vHrJPU.
91
“Губарев ответил по поводу РНЕ: Называю себя русским националистом, однако, с
оговоркой...,” June 9, 2014, http://www.nakanune.ru/news/2014/6/9/22356023/.
63
92
“Мне говорили: "Езжай во Львов, купайся в лучах славы, ты – суперсотник,"” 112
Ukraina, July 25, 2016, http://112.ua/interview/mne-govorili-ezzhay-vo-lvov-kupaysya-v-
luchah-slavy-ty--supersotnik-327266.html.
93
See Central Electoral Commission, http://www.cvk.gov.ua.
94
“Сотник, який переломив хід історії,”
http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2014/02/24/7016048.
95
“В армії декомунізували погони і уніформу,” Gazeta.ua, July 5, 2016,
http://gazeta.ua/articles/regions/_v-armiyi-dekomunizuvali-pogoni-i-uniformu/708787.
96
“Зиги с трибуны Верховной Рады + English Subtitles,” Анатолий Шарий, June 28, 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXmmO_QD3LA.
97
“В сети нашли страницу организатора взрыва под Верховной Радой,” TSN, August 31,
2015, http://ru.tsn.ua/politika/v-seti-nashli-stranicu-granatometchika-iz-pod-verhovnoy-rady-
478596.html.
... Glory to the Heroes" greeting, which was originally invented and used by the far right OUN along with a fascist hand salute, was used by the far right during the Maidan and adopted by the entire Maidan opposition. (See Katchanovski, 2016cKatchanovski, , 2019Katchanovski, , 2020, But the far-right organizations and activists had crucial role in violent attacks and clashes with the police and attempts to seize the presidential administration and the parliament. (Ishchenko, 2016, Katchanovski, 2020. ...
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This study examines the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022 and the origins of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the political transition during the Maidan in Ukraine in February 2014. This transition of power contributed to a start of the civil war in Donbas, Russian military interventions in Crimea and Donbas, the Russian annexation of Crimea and an international conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the West and Russia. This conflict escalated when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The research question is as follow: What is the nature of the Russia-Ukraine war and the political transition in Ukraine during the Maidan? This issue produced divergent narratives of this war and the Maidan in scholarly studies, the media, and governments in different countries. This paper uses political science theories of wars, mass protests, coups, revolutions, and regime changes and empirical analysis to examine the nature of the Russia-Ukraine war and the political transition in Ukraine during the Maidan. It analyzes videos and interviews and statements of key political actors involved in this war and the power transition, witness testimonies of various participants of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Maidan at the Yanukovych state treason trial and the Maidan massacre trial in Ukraine, and media publications in Ukrainian, Russian, and English. The study concludes with the analysis of the implications of its findings for understanding the conflicts in Ukraine and over Ukraine and their resolution.
... Bez obzira na to što se njihova politička aktivnost rijetko prenosi društveno prihvatljivim kanalima, poput popularnih medija ili službenih institucija društva i države, ona nije nevidljiva. Ona postoji u izvješenim porukama na navijačkim tribinama (Nuredinović i Vukušić, 2021; Kossakowski, Szlendak i Antonowiz, 2017), u peticijama i bojkotima (Šantek, 2017), a očituje se ne samo na stadionima, već i na drugim javnim mjestima, najčešće u obliku grafita i tekstualnih poruka (Nuredinović i Vukušić, 2021; Nuredinović, 2019), ali i u navijačkim "akcijama" u vidu organizacije raznih oblika prosvjeda i demonstracija (Castells, 2012; Lalić, 2011) pa čak i organiziranog uključivanja u oružane sukobe (Katchanovski, 2016;Vrcan i Lalić, 1999, Žanić, 1995. Te performativne karakteristike navijačkih grupa (Kossakowski, 2020;Guschwan, 2007) u fokusu su ovog rada. ...
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Analizirajući problematiku malih i srednjih poduzeća u Europskoj uniji može se uočiti bitna razlika u dinamici razvoja i stupnju razvijenosti ekonomija Unije. Unutar te analize uočljive su dvije gospodarske grupe među kojima je velika razlika u razvi- jenosti i dinamici razvoja malih i srednjih poduzeća. Prvu grupu nalazimo u razvije- nim ekonomijama Unije, a drugu grupu u ekonomijama koje je u posljednjih tridese- tak godina obilježio period tranzicije od većeg utjecaja države na poslovanje malih i srednjih poduzeća prema sve manjem utjecaju. Pritom se postavlja pitanje što je razlog bitnih razlika u razvijenosti i dinamici razvoja malih i srednjih poduzeća među razvijenim ekonomijama Europske unije, kao što je primjerice Njemačka, i ekono- mija u tranziciji, kao što su primjerice Hrvatska, Poljska, Portugal i drugi. Sagledava- jući problem tih razlika kroz ranija istraživanja došlo se do zaključka da je dobar pre- diktor razvoja sustava malih i srednjih poduzeća meta okvir poduzetničkog razvoja koji dugoročno postavlja država, a koji se u ekonomski razvijenijima zemljama Unije razvija izvan političkih struktura. S druge strane sustav razvoja okvira za razvoj malog i srednjeg poduzetništva je u drugom dijelu zemalja Unije u većoj mjeri pod utjecajem političkih procesa. Iz perspektive te distinkcije istraživanje je usmjereno k prepozna- vanju strukture sustava i modela koji se odnose na poduzetništvo u segmentu malih i srednjih poduzeća. Kako bi se postigla svrha ovog istraživanja, istražit će se modeli II Identitet, migracije, gospodarstvo 235 Hrvatske i Portugala kao dvaju usporedivih modela razvoja malih i srednjih poduzeća postavljenih na načelu tranzicije, čemu će se sučeliti razvijeni sustav na primjeru Nje- mačke. Kao okvir za navedene usporedbe koristimo studije slučaja okvira za poslova- nje marina u sklopu ponude nautičkom turizma. Ključne riječi: upravljanje malim i srednjim poduzećima, sustav razvoja malih i srednjih poduzeća, komparativna analiza sustava razvoja malih i srednjih poduzeća, poslovanje marina, nautički turizam
... The far right successors of the OUN and the UPA and related radical nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations and their armed formations attained a significant role in the Ukrainian politics and ability to overthrow the Ukrainian government because of their use of violence and threat of violence. 4 (See Katchanovski, 2016Katchanovski, , 2020 Katchanovski, 2014aKatchanovski, , 2015. ...
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This paper analyzes the mass murder of Poles in Volhynia in Western Ukraine during World War II. The mass murder of Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during the Nazi occupation of Volhynia in 1943 became an important political issue in Poland and Ukraine. Previous studies by Polish, Ukrainian, and Western researchers and Ukrainian and Polish governments policies offered different and often divergent theories and narratives of this case of political violence. A research question is whether this was a Ukrainian-Polish war, ethnic cleansing or genocide. This study analyzes a variety of archival documents, historical studies, and eyewitness accounts. It concludes that the mass murder of the Polish minority in Volhynia by the OUN-B, the UPA, and their security service (SB) represented not a Ukrainian-Polish war or genocide of Poles but that it was a part of ethnic cleansing.
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This comparative study is threefold: to examine the audience's perception of fake news and mis/disinformation, the motivations for the conscious consumption of fake news, and the motivations for sharing fake news in countries with limited media freedom and the United States. Using data from Zambia, Tanzania, and the U.S., the results indicate that people in countries with limited press freedom were mostly pro-fake news and argued that it brought a different perspective to propagandist media. On the other hand, participants from the U.S. were anti-fake news and suggested that there be punitive measures to stop the spread of fake news. These findings contribute to the roles that fake news plays in various contexts and environments, and the motivations for consuming and sharing.
Chapter
The period of Russian foreign policy after 2008 stands as a period of Russia’s increased assertivenessAssertiveness on the international arena. For the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia was engaged in a warWar with another post-Soviet state—Georgia in 2008Georgia-Russia War (August 2008). Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and ongoing support for separatism in East Ukraine were informed by the same strategic calculus that was driving Russia’s actions in Georgia—strategic culture that puts emphasis on maintaining spheres of influence in the post-Soviet space. Moscow’s military support for Assad regime in Syria in 2015 marked Russia’s assertiveness beyond the post-Soviet space. The chapter looks at the larger international environment to determine the sources of Russia’s assertiveness. Russia’s willingness to carry the cost of damaging its relations with the West, and the burden of economic sanctions that followed its operations in Ukraine and Syria, demonstrates a new level of resolve to protect its strategic interests and stand up to the West.
Chapter
The problem of naming wars is not new to scholars. The experience of the Correlates of War project (COW)—the most comprehensive scholarly database of the wars of the past two centuries—indicates that it is often difficult to distinguish between intrastate and interstate wars. To overcome potential ambiguities, the COW focuses on war participants, putting a clear emphasis on the primary combatant leading “the bulk of the fighting,” i.e., the side causing the greatest number of battle deaths to the enemy. This contribution tries to identify the primary combatant in the Donbas war, using two separate verifiable sources created by Ukrainian volunteers: the InformNapalm data collection on Russian military personnel identified in Ukraine and the “Book of Memory of the Fallen for Ukraine,” which registers Ukrainian combatants who died during the war. A positive correlation between the losses of the Ukrainian side and the activeness of Russian military units demonstrates that the bulk of the fighting was led by the Russian armed forces. The Donbas war, despite the Kremlin’s efforts to stage local “separatists,” is therefore an interstate war between Russia and Ukraine.
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2014年にウクライナ東部で勃発したドンバス戦争は, 6年目に突入した。この間, ウクライナだけで死者1万3千人, 負傷者3万人を超え, 150万人が国内避難民となっている。この戦争は, 戦闘規模, 期間, 被害者, そして国際政治・経済へ与える影響の観点から, 1945年の第二次大戦以後の欧州, さらに1991年のソ連崩壊後のポスト・ソ連空間における最大規模の戦争となったといっても過言でない。ウクライナ政府は, この戦争をロシアによる「武力侵略(armed aggression)」と呼ぶ。 一方, ロシア政府は, ドンバス戦争をロシア人・ロシア語話者を中心とした「ドネツク人民共和国」(DPR) と「ルガンスク人民共和国」(LPR) の分離主義者の蜂起による「内戦(civil war)」であると主張し, 戦争への関与自体を否定している。また, ロシアのナラティブに影響され, 少なからぬ数のニュースや出版物も, 「内戦」の用語を採用する(例えば, 2018年, 日本で出版された「エリア・スタディーズ」シリーズの『ウクライナを知るための65章』)。 学会の評価も, この戦争に対するナラティブの多様性を反映している。ロシアがウクライナに対し開戦した国家間戦争という見方がある一方で, ウクライナのいわゆる「東西分裂」ステレオタイプや民族・言語的要因に注目し, 「内戦」と捉える傾向も観察される。また, 最近では, Driscoll (2019) 等の議論に表れるように, この戦争が「内戦」であるかどうかの評価は, 学術的議論の枠を越えて, 政策当事者に対して紛争解決のシナリオを直接示唆する政治的ニュアンスを帯びる。 ウクライナ政府は, 自治権拡大あるいは独立を目指すドンバスの「人民共和国」と戦っているのだろうか。それとも, ロシアと戦っているのだろうか。前述のとおり, ロシアは戦争への参加自体を否定し, ウクライナ政府が「ドンバス人民」と戦っていると主張している。この問いに客観的な答えを与えるため,本稿では, 計量研究を目的として19世紀以降の戦争のデータを収集・分類する「戦争相互比較プロジェクト(the Correlates of War project。以下「COW」)」(Sarkees 2010a & 2010b) の類型の考え方を参照しつつ, ウクライナで起こる 戦争の性格を再検討する。
Chapter
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Ukraine previously experienced significant regional political divisions, including separatism in Crimea and Donbas. However, in contrast to post-communist countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia, prior to 2014 Ukraine was able to avoid a war and a break-up. This study examines the role of separatists, the Yanukovych government, the Maidan opposition and the Maidan government, far right organizations, Russia, the US, and the EU in this conflict. It uses a specially commissioned survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in 2014 to analyse public support for separatism in Donbas, compared to other regions of Ukraine, and the major factors which affect such support. It concludes that all these actors contributed in various ways to the conflict in Donbas, which involved both a civil war and a direct Russian military intervention since August 2014. The study links this conflict to the "Euromaidan," specifically, the government overthrow by means of the Maidan massacre, and the secession and Russia's annexation of Crimea. The KIIS survey shows that support for separatism is much stronger in Donbas compared to other regions, with the exception of Crimea, and that the break-up of Ukraine is unlikely to extend to its other parts.
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The Maidan protests provide us with insights into Ukrainian society and the dynamics of mobilisation more generally. Based on the EuroMaidan Protest Participant Survey, on-site rapid interviews with protesters, interviews with politicians, activists and journalists, and focus groups with ordinary citizens and activists, this essay maps the actors, claims and frames of each phase in the protest cycle. It highlights the diversity of actors and the inability of activists and party leaders to coordinate as the central features of the protests. Our analysis reveals the fluid and contingent nature of cleavages commonly portrayed as fixed and politically salient.
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Ukraine previously experienced significant regional political divisions, including separatism in Crimea and Donbas. However, in contrast to post-communist countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia, prior to 2014 Ukraine was able to avoid a war and a break-up. This study examines the role of separatists, the Yanukovych government, the Maidan opposition and the Maidan government, far-right organizations, Russia, the US, and the EU in the conflict in Donbas. It uses a specially commissioned survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in 2014 to analyse public support for separatism in Donbas, compared to other regions of Ukraine, and the major factors which affect such support. It concludes that all these actors contributed in various ways to the conflict in Donbas, which involved both a civil war and a direct Russian military intervention since August 2014. The study links this conflict to the 'Euromaidan', specifically, the government overthrow by means of the Maidan massacre, and the secession and Russia's annexation of Crimea. The KIIS survey shows that support for separatism is much stronger in Donbas compared to other regions, with the exception of Crimea, and that the break-up of Ukraine is unlikely to extend to its other parts.
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This is an attempt of a systematic estimation of the far right participation in Maidan protests based on a unique dataset of protest events in Ukraine during President Viktor Yanukovych's rule. The data presented contradict the thesis supported by most of the experts on Ukrainian far right that the far right did not play any crucial or even significant role in Maidan protests. The data indicate that the far right Svoboda party was the most active collective agent in Maidan protest events, while the Right Sector was the most active group in Maidan confrontation and violence. Protests with the participation of the far right were not isolated events on the margins of larger ‘peaceful and democratic’ protest. The data indicate the timing and location of the most intense far right activity, which has previously not received much attention. In general, it highlights the importance of the underestimated, but highly intense and large-scale, Maidan protests in Ukrainian regions beyond the events in Kiev city centre. Finally, it points to how far right participation in Maidan grew from the moderate opposition parties’ increasing cooperation with Svoboda.
Book
This book explores contemporary propaganda and mainstream Western news media, with reference to the Ukraine crisis. It examines Western media narratives of the immediate causes of the crisis, the respective roles of those who participated in or otherwise supported the demonstrations of 2013-2014 - including US-backed NGOs and rightist militia - and the legitimacy, or otherwise, of the destabilization of the democratically elected Yanukovych government. It considers how the crisis was contextualized with reference to broader themes of competition for power over Eurasia and the Washington Consensus. It assesses accounts of the role of Russia and of ethnic Russian Ukrainians in Crimea, Odessa and the Donbass and traces how Western mainstream media went out of their way to demonize Vladimir Putin. The book deconstructs prevailing Western narratives as to the reasons for the shooting down of Malaysian Airways flight MH17 in July 2014, and counters Western media concentration on the issue of culpability for the attack with an alternative narrative of egregious failure to close down civilian air space over war zones. From analysis of these discourses, the book identifies principles of post-2001 Western conflict propaganda as these appeared to play out in Ukraine. This book will be of much interest to students of propaganda, media and communication studies, Russian and Eastern European politics, security studies and IR.
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The “Russian Spring,” which was taken up in Donetsk and Luhansk as the struggle for the Donbas, led to the loss of the territory for both Ukraine and Russia. Although many blame Moscow for starting the war in the region, the key role was played by processes that took place within Ukraine. Violent revolution led to the government's loss of its monopoly on the use of force, polarized public opinion and produced counter-mobilization among its opponents. Oligarchs in Donbas hedged their bets trying to deal both with the new authorities and their local challengers. Members of security forces from the Donbas considered the new government illegal and supported separatism. Miscalculations by the government allowed the separatist movement room to consolidate, while the indiscriminate use of force by government troops increased support for the movement among the population. Russia exploited these developments, but did not play a determining role in them.
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Do warring sides in asymmetric conflicts always know what type of violence they use against civilians? This article relies on the case study of an anti-Soviet insurgency in Western Ukraine between 1944 and 1953 in order to demonstrate how selective violence used by insurgents can become indiscriminate under the influence of a counterinsurgency strategy rather than their conscious choice. It challenges two major theories of coercive violence that refer to exogenous factors to explain shifts in the character of violence and shows how insurgents may recognize such a shift only once they see its counterproductive effects. Using recently declassified documents, this article demonstrates how the insurgents' decision to engage in a violent campaign against Soviet-led collectivization gradually turned the rural base of insurgency against them. Apart from shedding a new light on the Soviet-Ukrainian conflict in the late 1940s, the article has broader implications for the studies of insurgency campaigns and the reasons for civilian defection to the incumbent side.