Seeds of impunity: who shut the West’s eyes on Ukraine’s far right?

When CNN’ Christiane Amanpour was countering the arguments of the veteran expert on Russia and the Soviet Union, Stephen Cohen, she used the classical arguments of all appeasers and Holocaust deniers. Judge for yourself. Here is when Stephen Cohen had to say:

“There’s a small but resolute right-wing nationalist movement in Ukraine.Its quasi fascist, and its dictating terms to this parliament in Kiev – which is not legitimate in law, international or constitutional.”

Having heard this, Christiane Amanpour retorted by saying that one should not call ALL Ukrainians neo-Nazis or fascists. In this way she echoed many similar claims from the West’s political leaders: from Barak Obama to the EU’s chief diplomat Catherine Ashton who allowed herself to be photographed with some of the most racist leaders of Ukraine’s ultra right.

9highres_00000401897511So, are they all fascists? Indeed, they are not. Even in Adolph Hitler’s Germany between 1933 and 1945 people with Nazi views might not even make up a majority. The Nazis never won absolute majority at the relatively fair elections held in Germany in 1920s and the beginning of the 30s. But certainly it does not take off the responsibility from the German people for what happened to their own country and other countries of Europe in that period. The German Nazis at a certain moment became the most vocal, the most active and the most determined part of Germany’s political spectrum. But the deeply immoral character of their movement was visible to all people who had even the most limited access to the Nazi programs and newspapers. So, shame on the German voters of that period and on the governments which whitewashed the ideology of National Socialism.

Alas, the bulk of the Western public opinion is behaving now worse than in the 1930s. Modern media give us unlimited access to the program and ideas of the neo-Nazi party Svoboda, which now controls four seats in the new Ukrainian government, as well as the position of the prosecutor general. You can read their wishes: to make people running for important positions reveal their ethnic origin; to make what they call Ukrainophobia a criminal offence; to proclaim the former allies of Adolph Hitler heroes of the Ukrainian nation.

These ideas are deeply dangerous not only for minorities inside Ukraine or for Ukraine’s neighbors. They are destructive for Ukraine itself. After 1991, the Ukrainian nation got s chance to build its own state on the territories which were far greater than the old Ukrainian heartland. They included sizable ethnic minorities, such as Russians in Crimea, Jews in Odessa, Moldovans in Bukovina. And the activities of the Svoboda party in the government are eroding the ethnic peace and mutual trust among people of different ethnic groups, which had been typical for this area for centuries. Obviously, Crimea, Kharkov and Donetsk developed a fear of Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev not yesterday and not even the day before yesterday. All 23 years of Ukraine’s independence showed people that Ukrainian ultra right is not a myth and that they can be extremely dangerous. The Western supporters of Maidan just refused to notice the radicalism of their anti-Russian allies. Now time for building trust between various communities in Ukraine has been lost. The Western supporters share responsibility for this tense situation with their brown-shirt allies in Ukraine.

Source: Voice of Russia

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