Ukraine Between 'Popular Uprising for Democracy' (Canadian Government) and 'Fascist Putsch' (Russian Government)

Mandel, David

Publisher:  The Bullet
Date Written:  12/03/2014
Year Published:  2014  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX15938

That movement is characteristic of the present period which has seen a series of similar popular uprisings – in the Arab countries, but also in the former Soviet territory – (Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004, and Kirgizstan 2005). An atomized population is fed up with the political regime. It mobilizes through the social media, but without a clear programme. The fruits of the mass mobilization are then reaped by forces that are organized and that have a clear programme. The lack of a clear analysis and programme explains the role that fascist forces were able to play in the events. These forces rejected any compromise with the contested government, presenting themselves as unyielding adversaries, not only of the current leaders, but of the ‘system’ itself. And they call for a ‘national revolution.’ This intransigent position attracted demonstrators who were aware of the bitter fruits of the Orange Revolution and who did not understand the real meaning of the proposed ‘national revolution.’



for the first time since World War II, neo-fascists hold posts in the national government of a European state. And they do this with the blessing of the Western democracies.
Right Sector forces have seized government arsenals in the western regions and are the source of a wave of violence and vandalism that has swept Ukraine, directed at pro-Russian or left-wing organizations, personalities, and symbols. Among other, the headquarters of the Communist Party and the offices of an anti-fascist organization in Kiev were ransacked. There were failed attempts to burn down the Kiev home of the head of the Communist Party and a synagogue in Zaproizhe. In some towns in the west of Ukraine (for example, Rovno) Right Sektor thugs appear to be in control of the local government.
In sum, although one cannot speak of a ‘fascist putsch,’ fascists forces have emerged from the events with increased strengthen and legitimacy.
It goes without saying that this does not augur well for a country that is so deeply divided, for a very fragile state that had never existed until 1991 (except for some months during the Russian civil war). The western provinces were attached to Soviet Ukraine only in 1939 (and reattached in 1944). As for Crimea, which had been part of Russia since the eighteenth century, Moscow presented it as a gift to Ukraine in 1954. If the nationalists reject the Soviet past as illegitimate – and they are calling for lustration – they should logically be prepared to give up Crimea. Instead, Svoboda's programme calls for the abolition of Crimea's autonomy. The party also wants to reintroduce ethnicity in identity documents.
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