The radical organization "Right Sector" is the hidden force behind the armed overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych. Even the openly neo-nazi political party "Svoboda" led by the urologist-turned-aspiring fuhrer Oleh Tyahnybok seems almost respectable, compared to the militant thugs of "Right Sector". That has not prevented such diverse media outlets as New York Times and Steve Sailer from fawning over the young radicals.
"Right Sector" is led by forty-two year-old Dmitry (Dmytro) Yarosh. Surprisingly for such a rabid Ukrainian nationalist, the Orthodox Christian Yarosh was born and raised not in Galicia or Volhynia, but in the eastern city of Dneprodzerzhinsk where Leonid Brezhnev hailed from. After completing his mandatory Soviet Army service, Yarosh became a professional rabblerouser. Here is a sample of his foreign policy views: "Ichkeria [the Islamists' name for Chechnya], Georgia, Ukraine are all links in the same chain . . . I'm sure that we can defeat satanic Moscow by destroying its Empire".
The "Right Sector"'s leader in western Ukraine is the even more odious Oleksandr Muzychko who goes by the nomme de guerre "Sashka Bily" ("Alex the White") and is known to walk around with a loaded Kalashnikov. Muzychko's hatred of the "Muscovites" took him into the warm embrace of Chechen rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev - the first president of "independent Ichkeria". The Ukrainian neo-nazi so impressed the Chechen terrorists, that he was made Dudayev's personal bodyguard. Ever after his sojourn in Chechnya, Muzychko brags about destroying Russian tanks and murdering Russian soldiers.
In recent days however, Yarosh is seen trying to reinvent his organization as a respectable nationalist party. The openly anti-semitic radical met with Israel's ambassador to Ukraine and "assured him that ["Right Sector"] follows a policy of tolerance in national questions". Yarosh told Reuven Dinel that "anti-semitism was not only never supported by "Right Sector", but will be suppressed by all lawful means in the future". Yarosh and Dinel have also agreed to establish a hotline to "prevent provocations and hold consultations". At the same time, Yarosh's representative in Crimea told the Russian majority that their rights will be respected and waxed eloquent about "Right Sector"'s ethnic tolerance.
The point of Yarosh's efforts at reinvention are to make his group acceptable to the EU/State Department hydra, on which the anti-Russian forces depend for funding and political support. There are three steps to this legitimization campaign. First, mainstream media outlets like NYT publish sympathetic, if not fawning pieces on "Right Sector". Second, "Right Sector" starts to proclaim their tolerance and respectability and gets a stamp of approval from the Israeli ambassador (What's next: a visit to the ADL/Wiesenthal Center by Yarosh where he will kiss Foxman's and Hier's rings?). Third, the EU/State Department recognizes "Right Sector" as a legitimate nationalist party that "transcended its past and is a legitimate representative of the political aspirations of the Ukrainian people". Lest we forget, the same kind of legitimization campaign was applied in the early 1990s to the rabid Croatian militants that ended up coming to power. And that wretched campaign was a resounding success.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.