“Right Sector” in Ukraine: Ultra-nationalist Rehearse Uprising Against Kiev

By Benjamin Bidder
Spiegel Online
Edited autotranslation from German by Quemado Institute
July 14, 2015

Ukrainian Security forces patrol in the village of Bobrovyshche near the small Ukrainian town of Mukacheve, to locate far-right nationalist organization Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) fighters on July 14, 2015. At least two people were killed and several more injured in fighting that erupted on July 11 between police and heavily armed members of the far-right nationalist organization Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) in Mukacheve, western Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko confronted a fresh crisis Monday as a deadly standoff between interior ministry units and armed Ukrainian ultranationalists entered a third day in a western enclave near Hungary. (--AFP / Alexander Zobin)

Ukrainien Security forces patrol the village of Bobrovyshche near Mukachevo (–AFP / Alexander Zobin)

Photo at left: Ukrainian Security forces patrol in the village of Bobrovyshche near the small Ukrainian town of Mukacheve, to locate far-right nationalist organization Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) fighters on July 14, 2015. At least two people were killed and several more injured in fighting that erupted on July 11 between police and heavily armed members of the far-right nationalist organization Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) in Mukacheve, western Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko confronted a fresh crisis Monday as a deadly standoff between interior ministry units and armed Ukrainian ultranationalists entered a third day in a western enclave near Hungary.

The “Right Sector” melting pot of Ukrainian Nationalists and one of the driving forces of 2014 Maidan revolution, has published a manifesto on the Internet. It reads like a declaration of war. It is aimed not as usual against the Kremlin and the “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine heavily armed by Moscow. It is threatened against the police and their own government. It calls them the “occupation regime”…. after the Maidan revolution had failed to [carry] “the thing through to the end and make the people’s rebellion into a genuine national revolution”, it says on the website of the organization. Blame “those who came to power through the blood of the people”, says the document.

The Ukrainian government had equipped volunteer battalions such as the “right sector” with weapons for the war in Donbass. Now the nationalists are calling out the state power itself. On the weekend, the “rights sector” had opened a second front, this time in the Carpathians, in the far west of the country. A column of nationalists Guard passed through the provincial Mukachevo. The fighters were armed with machine guns, grenade launchers and a heavy machine gun, which they had installed on the back of a pick-up. At a police checkpoint they opened fire on the security forces. A dozen people were injured, including civilians. Two fighters of the “Right Sector” died, the others withdrew. The Kiev government moved military units into the Transcarpathian region and promised tough action. The head of the Security Council referred the nationalists as “bandits and murderers”. The “Right Sector” threatens further escalation. The EU Ambassador Jan Tombinski said he hoped for “rapid adjustment of the conflict”.

Mukachevo lies near the border with several EU countries. Hungary is 40 kilometers away, Slovakia 90 km, and Romania 110 kilometers away.

The “Right Sector” threatens to escalate further. A spokesman for the Nationalist Guard announced that it would send if necessary armed battle organizations into the Ukrainian capital. In the Donbass war zone, only two units were in use. Throughout the country, there are “18 or 19 battalions” in reserve. In Kiev, hundreds of supporters of the organization marched in front of the presidential palace. Also in Odessa, Kharkiv and other cities nationalists went on the streets and demanded the dismissal of the Interior Minister.

The “Right Sector” had emerged during the revolution from the merger of several nationalist factions. The ideology of the leader Dmytro Jarosch can be described as a radical ethno-nationalism. He called for a “de-Russification” of Ukraine. He condemned the alleged “liberal totalitarianism” of Europe and the oligarchs. President Poroshenko, a billionaire, has long been considered too soft by the Rights. Other nationalist organizations support the “Right Sector”, including the infamous Azov volunteer battalion. The coat of arms of the group shows the sun and Wolfsangel, both symbols are also popular with German neo-Nazis. Andrej Bilezkij, commander of “Azov”, threw at Poroschenko’s government last of betrayal. Kiev is ready not only to leave the Donbass to Moscow, but “six, eight or nine more provinces”. The oligarchs wanted to appease Russia, only to “fully milk” the rest of the country alone.

The background of the shooting in Mukachevo is confused. The conflict is deeply rooted in the Ukrainian shadow world in which the distinction between politics and crime are blurred. The reason for the dispute apparently were conflicts over distribution: It was about the control of smuggling in the border region. According to Ukrainian media, the lucrative business has so far been in the hands of local deputies, a henchman of the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych. For some time but should also have earned “Rights Sector” on tobacco smuggling [sic]. Following a meeting of nationalists with the deputies, there was a first exchange of fire. The politicians took advantage of … its compounds to build police roadblocks.

In the government in Kiev calls have been made to fire all employees on Karpathian duty. Dmitry Jarosch, the head of the Right Sector, meanwhile, mimics the prudent statesman. He rushed immediately to Mukachevo, allegedly “to resolve the crisis peacefully”. But Jarosch makes no bones about the fact that his loyalty to the government is limited. According to Spiegel, he warned the Kiev establishment last year: “Our revolution is not yet over”.

 

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