EU and Ukrainian regime seek to discipline fascist Right Sector

By Stefan Steinberg and Chris Marsden
5 April 2014

The European Union and the unelected Western-backed regime in Ukraine are intensifying their efforts to bring the fascist Right Sector under state control in the run-up to presidential elections planned for May 25.

For the past week, Right Sector members have been besieging the Ukrainian parliament demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, whom they blame for the death of Right Sector deputy leader Alexander Muzychko. Muzychko, also known as Sasha Bilyi, was gunned down by police on March 24 in Rivne, in an action that has all the hallmarks of a contract killing ordered by the Ukrainian state.

The Right Sector played a key role in the Maidan protests that culminated in the ousting of the pro-Russian regime of President Viktor Yanukovych. They crushed Yanukovych’s riot police and, during the putsch, surrounded Ukrainian state buildings and terrorized the state apparatus and parliamentarians of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions into supporting the Western-backed opposition.

A significant proportion of the $5 billion funnelled to opposition groups by Washington will have gone to bolstering the disparate fascistic outfits that make up the Right Sector. Its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, has acknowledged that his organisation successfully “recruited” members of the army and security forces in the weeks when the Maidan protests occurred.

Since the deposing of Yanukovych on February 22, however, the ties between the supposedly new and “democratic” regime installed by Washington and fascist bands have become increasingly problematic.

Thugs beating up politicians, stirring up anti-Russian chauvinism, and carrying out various criminal acts while sporting weapons and Nazi symbols too obviously contradicted the Western powers’ cynical claims that the Maidan protests were a democratic revolution. The imperialist powers saw it as a major factor in strengthening the hand of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While they moved to incorporate the fascists as a key basis of the new regime, the Ukrainian opposition and its imperialist backers have increasingly sought to discipline Right Sector and more closely bind it to their agenda.

Yarosh was offered the post of deputy head of the National Security Council by the transitional regime, to serve under Andriy Parubiy, a co-founder of Svoboda’s forerunner, the Social National Party of Ukraine. Yarosh turned down the request in order to run for the post of president of Ukraine, however.

The entire Right Sector was then urged to disarm and take their place in a newly created National Guard and to end their independent activity—which they have so far refused to do.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph on March 28 attributed the origins of this demand to the European Union. It reported that the EU is “deeply worried that the situation is playing into the Kremlin's hands. The Telegraph has learnt that two recent EU communiqués on Ukraine were supposed to include a clause demanding ‘the dissolution of paramilitary structures’. Officials then deleted the clause, because of fears it would provide a ‘propaganda coup’ to President Vladimir Putin.”

Deleted clauses notwithstanding, the EU’s guiding hand is clear. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has condemned the Right Sector protests outside the building of the Verkhovna Rada as “against the democratic principles and rule of law.” She insisted that the fascists “need to hand over any unauthorised arms to the authorities immediately.”

To underscore Ashton’s message, following their meeting at the end of March in Weimar, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Poland issued a joint appeal requesting that the Ukrainian government “distance itself from extremist groups,” arguing that such a move was necessary in order to “re-establish the state monopoly on the use of force.”

The Ukraine regime has heeded its masters’ voice. Referring to the Right Sector, Ukrainian MP Serhiy Sobolev told France 24 this week, “We have to be clear—if this is a political party it should focus on political activity... If these are combatants who want to serve their country, they can do so in the army or in the new National Guard.”

Avakov offered the Right Sector an opportunity to go to the front lines in the confrontation with Russia: “We told them, the war is finished. If you would like to participate in defending the country, go and join the National Guard of Ukraine.”

Calling upon the Right Sector to end their occupation of several buildings in central Kiev, Avakov advised them to “Go to the border regions in Ukraine and secure Ukraine.”

The killing of Muzychko was a clear warning to the fascists of the potential price of failing to heed the call to work under the supervision of the state. He was famously captured on video threatening the representatives of a regional parliament with violence and death. An official inquiry this week brazenly ruled that he accidentally shot and killed himself in the heart as police tried to wrestle him to the ground.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament used an incident the day before to pass a resolution ordering the Ukrainian security service (SBU) and the Interior Ministry to disarm paramilitaries.

In the incident, a member of Right Sector was involved in a shooting near the city centre on Monday evening that wounded three people. The man was arrested and his group was ordered to leave the hotel in the centre of Kiev they had turned into their headquarters. Armed police officers then surrounded the headquarters of Right Sector at the Hotel Dnipro in the city centre.

The abandoning of the Right Sector’s hotel base hardly constitutes an end to its independent activity. It still possesses substantial weaponry, which it reportedly acquired from an Interior Ministry depot—though it remains unclear whether they were given the weapons by sections of the security apparatus during the protests, in the run-up to the putsch. The Right Sector has largely ignored a government deadline to hand over its arms.

In any event, despite banner headlines such as the BBC’s “Kiev Takes On the Far Right”, neither the Ukraine regime nor its backers in the United States and Europe have any problem with collaborating with right-wing and fascist forces. They do not seek the elimination of the Right Sector, but its incorporation into the state under their orders.

In addition, no less than six leading posts, including deputy premier, in the new regime are occupied by members of Svoboda. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is the nominee of Fatherland, whose figurehead, Yulia Timoschenko, has called for the nuclear liquidation of Russians living in Ukraine.

The newly appointed head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is Valentine Nalyvaichenko. Photos available on the Internet show him addressing the annual rally of the "Trident" organization—the faction of the Right Sector headed by Yarosh, who is pictured alongside Nalyvaichenko—in 2011. The meeting was convened on the grounds of Zarvanitsa, the main complex of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

These are the forces which, according to the wishes of the EU and US State Department, are to be entrusted in Ukraine with the “state monopoly of force.”

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