The Right and the Political Mainstream
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.
At the same time, a flash-mob for people posting pictures of the inscription “Zelensky is a dickhead” (“Зеленський хуйло”) spray-painted on the walls has been going on in far-right Telegram channels for two months now. The inscription refers to the insults that are usually applied to Vladimir Putin.
Struggle on the street
The main street activity for the far-right in November was the campaign against entertainment venues in Podil, the youth district in Kyiv where such venues are concentrated. On November 6, right-wing radicals from the Basics of Future (“Основи майбутнього”, formerly C14), the National Resistance (“Національний спротив”), the Ukrainian Flag (“Національний стяг”, a breakaway from the Tradition and Order), and other right-wing groups conducted a so-called “crusade against drug addicts”. They tried to get into the HVLV bar, known for its support of the LGBT+ movement, as well as for the fact that Antifa once worked there as security. They failed to get into the bar as the guards had closed the gate to the courtyard. Then the right-wingers went to popular nightclubs, such as Closer and K41, famous for their rave parties, and continued the “crusade” at their doors. The police did not interfere with the action of the ultra-right.
This was not the end of the campaign. On November 15, the ultra-right stormed the SHOOM club, confusing it with Closer, and spray-painted some Nazi graffiti, including the inscription “Death to the Left”. They also beat up a well-known Kyiv artist.
On November 26, the ultra-rightists carried out a second attack at the HVLV bar. This time they managed to neutralize the guards with gas canisters and telescopic batons and got into the courtyard of the venue, where they broke all the bar windows and sprayed gas into the room. After the attack, 12 far-right activists were detained by police. Many HVLV supporters came to the police station in order to force the opening of criminal cases against the attackers. The leader of the ultra-right organization The Basics of Future (ex-C14) Yevhen Karas also arrived at the police station to facilitate the release of his comrades. Well-known neo-nazi from Russia, which currently lives in Kyiv, Denis “White Rex” Kapustin also took part in these events.
On 28 November, about 80 ultra-right activists blocked the entrance to the K41 club, disrupting an event there.
On November 29, a protest was held by about 300 members of the Podil community and people sympathetic to the HVLV bar (all representing different political views) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, demanding an investigation into the attacks and holding the district police department leadership accountable for inactivity of the police. As many protesters are convinced, the police are in cahoots with the ultra-right. About 60 far-right activists came to the rally and tried to silence the speakers.
Cyber-bullying remains among the main activities of the far-right. Authors of the Katarsis telegram channel, which has over 25,000 subscribers, regularly publishes the identities of LGBT+ people, feminists, or simply those who are not patriotic enough from their point of view. Such publications are followed by a campaign of harassment of these people, resulting in the deletion of social media accounts, dismissal from jobs, termination of contracts, and other consequences for the victims.
On November 1, the members of the German far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) came to Ukraine to meet Victor Medvedchuk, the head of the pro-Russian opposition party Opposition Platform for Life (OPFL). German part was represented by three members of AfD: Petr Bystron – the member of the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs; Maximilian Krah – deputy of the EU parliament; Ulrich Singer – deputy of the Bavaria federal parliament.
Since in Ukrainian politics OPFL represents itself as a main antifascist party, which fights against Ukrainian nationalists, this meeting is quite controversial. The members of OPFL’s paramilitary wing, organization Patriots for life, were repeatedly attacked by the Ukrainian far-right. At the same time, both parties share a conservative agenda and sympathy for the Russian government.
The National Corps or rather the Intermarium Support Group, headed by Olena Semeniaka, remains the most active in building international relations. The most intense cooperation at the moment takes place with the rightists from Poland. On November 22, there was an online conference “Migration Crisis is a Hybrid Kremlin Armory,” dedicated to the situation on the Poland-Belarus border. It was attended by experts from Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland, as well as by leaders of the National Corps. Even before that, the National Corps had sent an official letter to the Polish Foreign Ministry with an offer to come to Poland and help in the fight against the refugees.
A large neo-Nazi concert Heretic Fest is scheduled in Kyiv for December 18. It is organized by a neo-Nazi from Russia Alexey Levkin, the leader of M8L8TH band and the Wotanjugend gang. NSBM (National-socialist black metal) bands from Russia, Ukraine and Poland will take part in the festival.