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In an LA Times op-ed ("Ukraine's threat from within"), University of South California professor of international relations Robert D. English describes the ugly essence of the Brown Revolution. His take on the neo-nazi dominated rebellion is much needed and sorely lacked in the American media. I already picture the pro-Maidan hacks at NYT, National Review, and New Republic hammering away at their keyboards to post screeds denouncing Professor English as a Russian agent.
English is not afraid to say it how it is. He describes the Ukrainian radicals who quickly became darlings of the West as "odious people with a repugnant ideology" and has this to say about Svoboda and Right Sector:
"These are groups whose thuggish young legions still sport a swastika-like symbol, whose leaders have publicly praised many aspects of Nazism and who venerate the World War II nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, whose troops occasionally collaborated with Hitler's and massacred thousands of Poles and Jews.
But scarier than these parties' whitewashing of the past are their plans for the future. They have openly advocated that no Russian language be taught in Ukrainian schools, that citizenship is only for those who pass Ukrainian language and culture exams, that only ethnic Ukrainians may adopt Ukrainian orphans and that new passports must identify their holders' ethnicity — be it Ukrainian, Pole, Russian, Jew or other."
The professor also points out that contrary to the pro-Maidan apologists, Svoboda is not a fringe, but a dominant force in the new Ukraine since its members have five positions in the putschist, illegitimate government: minister of defense, deputy prime minister, prosecutor general, minister of agrarian policy, and minister of ecology and natural resources. The minister of defense is Admiral Ihor Tenyukh, who graduated from the US Defense Language Institute and previously called for the Ukrainian army to mutiny against Yanukovych while the deputy PM is the devoted Banderovite academic Oleksandr Sych.
English also points out that the West is plainly hypocritical:
"Given our own hypocrisy — don't violate agreements (except the one not to expand NATO eastward), don't invade countries on phony pretexts (except Iraq) and don't support minority secession movements (except Kosovo)"
Professor English's editorial is a welcome sign. Now, Stephen F. Cohen is not the only mainstream American academic that has a sane view on the Brown Revolution.
While there may be some cause for concern regarding Svoboda/Right Sector, much of what is written about them either is silly or sins by omission.
For instance it is not a "swastika-like symbol" it is neither from ancient India, nor from runes. Their fondness for 'Nazism' is also clearly related to its support in removing Soviets from their territory, rather than the writings of Alfred Rosenberg or some other Nazi theorist. In other words it is tied to historical causes, not ideological ones.
They are a crude assertion of national identity, bolstered by a dislike of Russian power.
On the other side they are pro-NATO, have deep links with US representatives, boast of their contacts with OSCE and EU representatives and wish to send their ex-President to the Hague. Hardly the actions of full-blown nationalists and partly why I am also suspicious of them (Svoboda).
I think some of the recoiling from them is due to an internalised fear of those who do not abide by western liberal niceties which smile and yet be villains. They destroy cultures and national sovereignty, cause untold harm and misery to organic structures yet do it with a smile and the swish of a pen wielded by globalized elites.
Mr. Green, the Banderovites' fondness for Nazism (without your sarcastic quotation marks) doesn't stem from the Nazi opposition to the Soviets, but from the Nazi hatred of Jews and Russians. It is tied mostly to ideological causes, actually, as well as to the fact that the OUN had a very cozy relationship with Abwehr and SS. One does not have to be a liberal or a member of globalized elites to be disgusted and disturbed by the likes of Svoboda and Right Sector.
"hatred of Jews and Russians...is tied mostly to ideological causes"
Really? What price, historical memory, into which we might recall Ukrainian-Bolshevik 20C history as well as the Nazi reaction to the Banderites.
"Disgusted and disturbed"
One may certainly be so, in fact probably should be so, but might also choose to have a wider appreciation of why this particular expression may exist in the first place, while also seeing the seeming conflicting strands within the current Svoboda.
It would behoove Chronicles Magazine, for the sake of a fair presentation, to mention the problem Russia has with neo-Nazism and neo-Stalinism. Zhirinovsky, who has called for the deportation of all Jews from Russia, and his LDPR party, have greater representation in the Duma, proportionally speaking, than Svoboda has in the Rada. And Putin's rehabilitation of Stalin is well known.
"Fondness for Nazism"? Incredible! If Bandera's OUN had a "cozy" relationship with the Nazis, they would not have been imprisoned and deported. The Ukrainians found themselves in 1941 in a familiar position, caught between two powerful, ruthless enemies. In desperation, they sought to play one against the other, hoping to come through it in a position to realize their age-old dream of independence, snatched from them so many times in the past. In this lawless maelstrom of deceit, plot and counterplot, some Ukrainians could not resist availing themselves of the opportunity to take revenge upon their former oppressors, such as their former Polish landlords and the Jewish estate agents, liquor monopolists, and moneylenders i.e., usurers. There was also the memory of the disproportionally Jewish participation among those who designed and carried out the Holodomor, as in the likes of Kaganovich, Yagoda, Kamenev, and the heavily Jewish presence in the Red Army officer corps and among the commissars. But noted Russian scholar Sergei Pavliuchenkov says ... "one of the earliest factors in the development of an explicitly ethnic dimension to Ukrainian nationalism was anti-Bolshevism..."
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