The ultra-right and the war Since the beginning of the year, the main topic of Ukrainian politics has been the escalation of relations with Russia due to the concentration of troops near the Ukrainian border and the possibility of a full-scale invasion, fully covered by the Western press. The aggravation began back in 2021, but …
The change of power resulting from the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation, as well as the outbreak of war in the east of Ukraine led to profound social, political and economic changes. The militarized society is facing an economic crisis and the rise of radicalism, in particular, of far-right forces.
In December 2021, a series of anti-Semitic incidents of vandalism happened in Ukraine, specifically, the overthrow of Jewish Hanukkah candleholders displayed in public places during Hanukkah celebrations. The first case of vandalism took place in Kyiv and was not connected to the activities of the ultra-right. A man tried to destroy a Hanukkiah that was set up for the holiday in the center of the city. The incident received a lot of publicity, so his actions began to be imitated both in Kyiv and other cities very soon. It can be argued that we are talking about planned vandalism involving the ultra-right in the majority of incidents. In some cases, vandals left anti-Semitic inscriptions or stickers. A total of seven such cases occurred.
At the moment, a broad coalition against incumbent President Volodymyr Zelensky is being formed in mainstream politics. The main role in its formation is attributed to the richest man in Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov, and the National Corp party, which supported Zelensky’s accession to power, but later moved into opposition to him. The former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who recently returned to Ukraine and sharply criticized the President’s office, can also be considered one of the leaders of the anti-government coalition. Avakov has always been considered to be a patron of the National Corps, so we can state that his bond with the party has been restored. The leader of the National Corp, Andriy Biletsky, as well as other prominent politicians who have now gone into opposition to Zelensky, have also appeared on one of the country’s main talk shows on Ukraine 24, a channel owned by the oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov.
On October 14, the traditional Ukrainian Insurgent Army (abbreviated UPA from Ukrainian “УПА” or “Українська повстанська армія”) March took place in Kyiv, the main event of the year for Ukrainian nationalists. Since 2015, this day has been a state holiday, “Day of the defenders of Ukraine”, previously celebrated according to the Soviet tradition on February 23. This year, about 5,000 participants representing both nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations took part in the march. The march was attended by All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” (Svoboda party), the National Corps, Centuria (a paramilitary formation within the Azov Movement), the Right Sector, Dmytro Korchynsky’s Bratstvo (“Brotherhood”) party, and others. Representatives of the National Resistance, one of the most active far-right organizations in the street, walked in a separate column with a banner “White lives matter”. Their second banner called for the death of “all enemies”, such as Putin, Soros, the left, LGBT, the European Union, etc.