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Byshok's speech at the OSCE Human Dimension Meeting in Vienna

At the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in Vienna (30-31 October), CIS-EMO political analyst Stanislav Byshok gave a speech on the radical Ukrainian nationalism in the conditions of the economic crisis. 

Ladies and gentlemen

It is widely acknowledged that economic crises are always strongly associated with or provoke extremist tensions in societies. A lack of money and job prospects, and absence of confidence in the future induce people to search for enemies, both external and internal, who are believed to be responsible for all the country’s misfortunes. The extremist tendencies already existing in a given society gain momentum in such times of crisis.  

Ukraine is no exeption. The turmoil that began a year ago and hasn’t finished yet, has shown two contradictory tendencies in the Ukrainian society: 

the first is the aspiration for “the return to Europe”, 

the second is the radicalization of masses and the rise of the agressive forms of nationalism. 

Radical nationalism and chauvinism have been manifested in the society’s silent approval of the use of a violent force and sometimes of mass killings of the dissidents. Thus, on the 2nd of May in the Odessa Trade unions building over a 40 anti-Maidan protesters were burned alive with Molotov cocktails by the pro-Maidan activists. All Ukrainian mass-media as well as social networks users, both nationalist and democratic, showed total support for this massacre. “Barbeque made of the Colorado bugs” - that’s what they called the tragedy. There was no remorse or sympathy shown at all. 

Afrer the massive airstrikes by Ukrainian airforces on Lugansk city on the 2nd of June all the TV channels and social networks were filled by pictures of the wounded or dead civilians. Among the most exciting were the pictures and videos of the local female medic who lost her legs and died in agony asking for help not for herself but for the people left in the ruins. “An example of a dead female Colorado bug” - that’s how the Ukrainian social networks described her.

The radicalization of Ukrainian society in the conditions of the economic crisis is being manifested by the outbreak of violence against communist activists and leaders. Thus, Peter Simonenko, the leader of the Communist party of Ukraine, was forced to withdraw his candidacy from the presidential elections. His car was attacked by the pro-Maidan activists using the Molotov cocktails. The Lenin monuments have been destroyed throughout country since the February Maidan revolution. The offices of the Communist party have been repeatedly attacked and set afire, the peaceful rallies of communists have been either banned or attacked. The communist fraction in the Ukrainian parliament was abandoned before the early parliamentary elections. There was a question raised in the Parliament about the total abolition of the communist ideology and organizations in the country. The top media and political leaders have been blaming the Communists as well as the members of the former ruling Party of Regions for being the “Fifth Column of Russian imperialism in Ukraine”. 

The cultural segregation is growing as the economic crisis hits the country. Russian language, which is used by the half of the Ukrainian citizens, has been labelled as a “language of an occupying power” by the parliamentary tribune. As long as the Russian language is repressed and not protected by a law of the country, the Russian-speaking half of the Ukrainians don’t have the opportunity to learn it in public schools or use it in civil activities. In the current condition of economic crisis the language problem in Ukraine is unlikely to be solved.

Severe economic crisis and the radical chauvinist political agenda it brought have led to the massive reinterpretation of Ukrainian history in a revisionist way. This concerns in particular the history of the WWII. Thus, the official approach of Ukrainian historical science is that the only legitimate Ukrainian military forces during the war were the Waffen-SS division “Galychyna” and the Nazi-collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The latter was responsible for the mass murders of Polish and Jewish civilians in the Nazi-occupied West Ukraine. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in his recent message to the nation has called the Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldiers “the true national heroes and the example of bravery”. 

The volunteer battalions of the “counter-terrorist operation” launched by Kiev against Donetsk and Lugansk regions openly use the Neo-Nazi symbols and ideology. Even the most popular greetings of today’s Ukraine “Glory to the Ukraine - Glory to the heroes” was established by the Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators in 1941 and was accompanied with the Nazi-like salute.

I believe the OSCE member states must not turn a blind eye to the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Ukraine despite the Ukrainian officials’ pro-EU declarations.


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