Ukrainian government continues campaign of domestic oppression

As the NATO proxy war against Russia rages in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian government is carrying out a campaign of domestic repression against alleged “collaborators” and “traitors” in order to bolster its pro-war agenda and eliminate any opposition that may favor a negotiated peace with Moscow to end the war.

Last week the Kyiv Independent reported that “a hunt for alleged collaborators is underway in recaptured parts of the country.” The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) along with the national and local police, territorial defense units and the State Emergency Service, are leading the hunt for suspects.

A Ukrainian soldier stands near an apartment ruined from Russian shelling in Borodyanka, Ukraine, Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022. [AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky]

According to the Kyiv Independent, the SBU had already arrested 33 suspects in Kiev by April 7, and by April 15, over 300 alleged collaborators had been arrested.

It is unclear how the SBU is able to deduce exactly who collaborated with the Russian forces other than relying on the testimony of neighbors. 

Such an approach leaves the door wide open for the settling of petty grievances between neighbors and the arrest and jailing—or perhaps worse—of innocent Ukrainians who are not enthusiastic supporters of a NATO-backed war that is destroying large parts of an already impoverished country.

The report comes on the heels of the revelation that Kiev was supplied with  advanced face-scanning technology by the American firm Clearview AI and that such technology was already being used to identify dead Russian soldiers and scan the faces of Ukrainian citizens in order to find “traitors.”

In a government-dictated hunt for potential “traitors,” misidentification is also far from impossible as Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project told Reuters. 

“We’re going to see well-intentioned technology backfiring and harming the very people it’s supposed to help,” Cahn said.

A street-level campaign of vigilante lynchings is already being carried out with the support of Ukraine’s Armed Forces who are either direct participants or observers in the attacks on Ukrainian civilians. 

The Kyiv Independent also reported approvingly on the arrest of leading pro-Russian political figure Viktor Medvedchuk, who was apprehended on April 12. He had attempted to disguise himself as a member of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and has now been charged with treason. 

Medvedchuk, an oligarch and friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was previously arrested for “high treason” in May 2021 and placed under house arrest. He then fled at the onset of Russia’s invasion. His capture was celebrated by the Kiev government as a propaganda victory against Russia.

Western capitalist press outlets such as Newsweek reported on Medvedchuk’s capture simply as the justified arrest of a “pro-Putin ally,” purposely obscuring the fact that Medvedchuk led Ukraine's second largest political party by parliamentary seats that had begun to poll close to or was even ahead of Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People party in pre-invasion political polls.

Moreover, no evidence has been published, indicating how exactly Medvedchuk supposedly collaborated with the Russians. Nor has it been explained why he remained in Kiev days after the attack, putting his life in certain danger, if he really did know of the impending invasion beforehand. 

Medvedchuk’s party, the Opposition Platform—For Life, was banned in March by Zelensky along with 10 other opposition and left-wing parties. These parties had denounced the Russian attack but were also calling for immediate negotiations to end the war. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly offered Moscow to exchange Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainian soldiers. So far, Moscow has refused to publicly discuss the exchange of its supposed stalwart collaborator.

Anatoly Shariy, a popular YouTube blogger who is critical of the Kiev regime and its various right-wing nationalist militias, has likewise been targeted by Zelensky and the SBU since the beginning of the war. Speaking with MPN News, Shariy reported recently being made aware of an assassination attempt by the SBU after receiving an obviously staged email from a friend looking to pin down Shariy’s daily whereabouts. Despite living abroad since 2012, Shariy’s address and personal details were even published on the Myrotvorets (Peacemaker) online database with names of supposed “enemies of the state.” Since the beginning of the war, Shariy has been subject to protests and harassment by right-wing thugs outside his home in Spain.

A former supporter of Zelensky during his presidential campaign against former President Petro Poroshenko, Shariy has also been accused of “treason” and had his political party, the Shariy party, banned by Zelensky’s order in March.

What all of these persecuted political figures have in common is support for a negotiated settlement to end the disastrous proxy war between NATO and Russia that is being waged in Ukraine and that has already cost the lives of tens of thousands.

Meanwhile, the imperialist powers and the Zelensky government continue to offer their full support to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militias, such as the Azov Battalion who are being hailed as “heroes” for continuing to occupy the Azovstal factory in Mariupol despite the destruction of the entire surrounding city. On Thursday, it was revealed that Ukraine’s other prominent neo-Nazi militia, the Right Sector, had been fully integrated into Ukraine’s Armed Forces as part of its Special Operations Forces.