The current civil and political unrest in the Ukraine appears to be heading towards a civil war. In what appeared at first to be peaceful demonstrations with some Ukrainians wanting closer ties with the European Union rather than Russia, these protests have quickly descended into violence, largely orchestrated by far-right political organisations.
The Ukraine, like most other westernised country's have not been immune to the financial meltdown caused by the banking sector in 2010. With an estimated debt of around 41.03% of GDP; the legitimate Ukrainian Government led by President Yanukovych refused a EU loan of 1 billion Euros, which would have come attached with austerity measures and the opening up of new markets for western transnational corporations. Instead, Yanukovych accepted a 15 billion Euro offer from Russia,with 3 billion of that being made immediately available in bonds, to the Ukraine. Pressure from Ukrainian business leaders may have contributed to the Government accepting the Russian deal through fear of losing profits to western business.
Violent Protests & Political Power
Peaceful demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square took place and grew, with increasing violence between Pro-EU supporters and Government troops, intensifying towards the end of February. The noticeable presence of the far-right also coincided with the rise of violence on the streets and occupying of Government buildings,which many commentators in the Ukraine have said was professionally organised. The far-right also succeeded in gaining control from the previously peaceful protests. Far-Right Party’s like Svoboda, Fatherland and Right Sector have played a major role in ousting the legitimate Government from power, despite Yanukovych signing a compromise deal with opposition leaders, which was never honoured. Yanukovych and his Government were ousted from power in February 2014,, with fascist leaders of Svoboda and Right Sector elevating themselves to Ministerial powers of position within the new, unelected ‘Government’.
Svoboda leader; Oleg Tyahnibok, a neo-Nazi and former terrorist fighting with Chechen Rebels against Russia is now Prosecuter General, Ihor Tenyukh was Minister of Defence, Andriy Parubiy is Commander of the National Defence and Security Council with second in command, Right Sector fascist leader; Dmyrto Yarish. Oleksandr Sych of Svoboda is one of three Vice-Prime Ministers. Russians, Jews and other ethnic minorities have been on the receiving end of verbal and sometimes physical abuse from fascist gangs. Tensions are that high, Jewish leaders suggested the 200,000 strong community should leave certain areas of Ukraine and if possible, leave the country altogether, due to the escalation of anti-Semitism.
The self-appointed Government is a mix of centre-right to far-right parties. Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk from Fatherland and others in Ministerial positions are represented. Former World Heavyweight Champion Boxer, Vladimer Klitschko’s Udar (Punch) Party, whilst not represented, do support the new regime. Kilitschko is expected to run as President in May.Some of the first policies to be initiated by the fascist regime was to rescind Crimean autonomy and terminate Russian and Greek as official minority languages.
Top: Svoboda Supporters Middle: Klitschko, Tyahnybok & Yatsenyuk. Bottom: Svoboda’s Alexandr Sych