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 centre 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.
*Street violence *
November 2021 in Ukraine was marked by a large-scale right-wing campaign against music and entertainment venues in Kyiv’s Podil that openly proclaim their progressive stance. The HVLV bar, where right-wing radicals beat up the windows and pepper-sprayed two security guards, was under the most pressure. In December, the campaign continued in Lviv. On December 11, about 20 right-wing radicals tried to overthrow the LGBT+friendly Neutral party held at a club in Lviv. They blocked the entrances and attacked the visitors who had to flee. Most of the victims decided not to apply to the police, fearing that the case might turn against them. According to those who did file a report, they found condemnation rather than moral support from the police.
On December 20, right-wing radicals from the Ukrainian Flag group used shovels to apply a pile of manure in front of the entrance to Collider club in Kyiv’s Podil, calling it “club substances”.
Another action of the Ukrainian Flag was a rally at the Kyiv City Administration, in which they used live sheep. The rally was condemned by animal rights organizations. This is not the first case of the use of live animals by the ultra-right during their actions, despite the zoo-protection agenda that they declare.
Funding of the ultra-right from the budget
In December, it was reported that two festivals organized by the nationalists received generous financing from the budget. Dontsov-fest, dedicated to the ideologist of the Ukrainian integral nationalism, who professed Nazi and anti-Semitic views, took place in Zaporizhia and Melitopol on December 4-5, 2021. The Ministry of Youth and Sports allocated 380,000 UAH (13,000 EUR) for the event. Earlier, the same organization had received 410,000 UAH (14,000 EUR) to hold the Halchev Fest in November 2021. Both festivals went basically without an audience as they were attended solely by the organizers. There is an obvious conflict of interest between the organizer, Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Research organization, and the grantor side.
The struggle for “family values”
The National Corps party held a conference to present its own bill on combating “LGBT propaganda”. A similar draft law had already been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the ruling Servants of the People party, so the National Corps declared the party was ready to cooperate with its authors. This initiative is indicative, because before, despite its blatantly ultra-right-wing ideology, the National Corps had not been very active in the struggle for “family values”. This field was occupied by other, marginal far-right organizations and movements, while the National Corps focused on mainstream political struggles. Nevertheless, members of the National Corps were involved in disrupting events organized by the LGBT+ community, as well as made homophobic and anti-feminist statements. So these ideas have always been part of the ideology of the party.
On December 18, HERETIC FEST II, organized by the leader of the Wotanjugend movement, Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Levkin, was held in Kyiv. NSBM (National-socialist black metal) bands from Ukraine and Poland took part in the festival, and the headliner was Levkin’s band M8L8TX. In a short video from the festival, you can see people using the Nazi salute.