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An Interview with Mira, Andrei, and Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine

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A group of Defense Militia members at EuroMaidan. On the left one gives a Nazi salute.

Sascha, Andrei, and Mira are members of AntiFascist Union Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine. We sat down to talk about the influence of fascism in EuroMaidan, this is what they told me:

Sascha: There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.

Mira: The two biggest groups are Svoboda and Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). The defense forces aren’t 100% Pravy but a large percentage is.

S: Svoboda is more legal as a group, but they also have an illegal militant faction. Pravy Sektor is more illegal, but they want to usurp Svoboda.

M: There’s a lot of infighting between Pravy and Svoboda. They worked together during the violence but now everything is calm so there’s time to focus on each other. Pravy and Svoboda both take donations and they have lots of money. Recently Pravy has all these new uniforms, military fatigues.
One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!

S: A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.

M: Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.
Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.

S: After this Pravy will have more young guys. They have money to make propaganda, uniforms, they’re getting more attention and they look cool.

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(r) A group of young men who recently joined the Defense Militia

M: The Ukraine is a patriarchal country so to be a strong man who’s fighting is a good aim.

Click Here to View A Recent Example of Pravy Sektor Propaganda

S: Nazi groups are also trying to mimic leftists, to try to ingratiate themselves. They use anarchist vocabulary, words like “autonomous.” One group of the ugliest Nazis is now doing this by calling themselves “Autonomous Resistance.” They’ve had lots of success with this tactic.
They attract some Anarchists who think they’re changing the Nazis, but really the Nazis are changing them.” They’re becoming more nationalistic, they have more more anti-feminist views, etc. Now is when Anarchists need to speak out and be louder.

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Two symbols that could be found at EuroMaidan. The Celtic Cross (l) is a common symbol representing white supremacy. The Wolfsangel (r) was a symbol used by several divisions of the SS during World War II and now represents Neo-Nazism.

S: There’s a whole spectrum of Nationalists represented. They divide themselves into groups with their own symbols. They want support so they don’t use Nazi or fascist symbols so much. They use symbols that are recognizable to other fascistic people, but look innocuous to anyone else. For example there is a special eagle symbol. It’s drawn a certain way, it doesn’t look like anything unless you know the meaning.
No one has any idea how this could turn out, what form a new government could take. The fascist groups don’t have common aims, they know what they’re opposed to, and that they’re opposed to each other, but they don’t all want the same things. If Pravy has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.

M: People have these chants: “Glory Ukraine,” “Glory to Heroes,” “Death to Enemies.” But who are these heroes, who are these enemies? I don’t think they have any idea. “Ukraine Above All” is one, just like they used to chant in Germany.

Andrei: I’m from Germany, and from my perspective it’s like Ukraine has had this nationalism since the fall of the USSR. The nationalist sentiment on Maidan is there to divide people. The East of Ukraine favors Russia, the West is nationalist. People are quite divided, but if you look at the whole country everyone has the same social and economic problems. If people saw that and came together that would be the most dangerous for Svoboda, or Yanukovich, or any political party. Svoboda and Yanukovich favor the same neoliberal policies that make life worse for Ukrainians.

M: These nationalists are here not for rights but for nation and it’s practical for leaders to encourage this, because a focus on nationalism lets them do whatever they want. It’s mostly working class and poor people at EuroMaidan, and their attention needs to be diverted to real problems. Lots of people want to manipulate the people here.

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A sign hangs in a EuroMaidan tent: “Ultra-Radical Pacifist”

Click Here to Read My Interview With A Member of the Defense Militia

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13 Comments

  1. Hello, i did not understand, reading this interview if this group makes part of EuroMaidan or if theses guys are out of it.
    They seem to explain that many things are controlled by Nationalists or Nazis, can you confirm it?

    Thank You for your work.

    Fred from France

  2. Tim Eastman Tim Eastman

    Hi Fred, as I understand it Pravy is a part of Euromaidan, but is one of many factions participating. There doesn’t seem to be any one Euromaidan group, more like a loose coalition and lots of people who don’t identify with any organization at all.

  3. Dear Tim.
    This is Yougoslavia on repeated mission. I can see mutch paralels with the policy in the ’80s and ’90s in Yougoslavia. And with the Ukrain today.

    Howe to stop this madnes?

    libetarian regards,
    Manolis

  4. Thanx for the interview, Tim, but when did you do it?

  5. Sorry, should have also said that your interview was linked from urban75.

  6. Tim Eastman Tim Eastman

    Hey Mustn’t, I did this last thursday, before the most recent violence broke out. Thanks for mentioning that, I’ll put up a note.

    Manolis I think everybody’s trying to figure that out right now!

  7. Wow. Stalinists and “anti” fascists getting what they derserve. This is new.

  8. “After this Pravy will have more young guys. They have money to make propaganda, uniforms, they’re getting more attention and they look cool.”

    I wonder where this money is from.

    It´s like Hiltler and his NSDAP, financed by Henri Dedering and other billionaires.

  9. Tim Eastman Tim Eastman

    Pravy definitely take in donations, but it’s a little mysterious as to how those could cover so much. It could be totally legitimate, but there’s always the possibility of some background figures providing money.

  10. Tim,
    Very insightful article. I find myself wondering how major powers like the EU and the US can still support the rebel cause to want to break away from Putin and join the EU while still condemning the fascists. How can people support the Ukraines right to govern itself and support it’s people without giving strength to the fascist movement?

  11. Tim, is that you at the front, visiting the Prez’s residence when it was opened to the public on Saturday?
    http://i.lb.ua/005/09/530872e037c55.jpeg

  12. What a load of bullshit. Why don’t those idiots try living in Donetsk, like I am, where the scum of the Donetsk Peoples republic have bombed the water supply lines so now we only get water in the mornings and evenings for a couple of hours. Where the scum of the Donetsk Peoples Republic have cut off all Ukrainian cable TV channels, the only ones that offered a realistic view of the situation, now all we get is the Russian channels that are full of bullshit and propaganda that is far more aggressive than Soviet propaganda ever was. This is where the scum of the Donetsk Peoples Republic bomb blocks of flats and then try to blame it on the Ukrainian Army and Government whom they call fascists. The only real fascists here are the scum of the Donetsk Peoples Republic. Recently Igor Girkin has issued a looting order that legitamises robbing the people, who have very little and most of whom earn less than 5,000 grivnas a month (Ihappen to be from Australia so less than $500 AUD a month). These separatists are fucking scum and they have brainwashed the populace here into thinking the Government are fascists, when in fact it’s these very separatist scum who are fascists. The Donbass communists are all fake as can be and are really ultra-capitalists. Here’s that looting order, I have translated the text side by side into English. Those fuckwit maydan protesters need to come here to Donetsk city and get a fucking taste of reality, this is what their protests have yielded, east for them to talk shit about politics from the safety of the other Oblasts that aren’t war zones.

    http://imgur.com/miTZDbz

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