This post is a brief overview of events surrounding the Euro Maidan in Kiev and the involvement of Ultra Nationalist groups.
President (at the time) Viktor Yanukovych was intending to sign an agreement for closer ties with the EU following discussions over many months.
At the eleventh hour Russia produced a counter offer that would have closer ties to Russia and consisted of favorable energy deals and investment.
Independent analysts widely agree that the Russian deal was financially better for the country but pro EU supporters also wanted right’s more commonly found in the West.
President Viktor Yanukovych then reneged on his position to sign the EU deal in favour of the Russian offer causing the public who were pro EU integration to begin demonstrating (to be clear, this was not the majority of the country demonstrating). This evolved into the ‘Euro Maidan’ and subsequent shootings of protesters and police, helped along by unidentified snipers.
As the state system collapsed, opposition leaders along with ultra nationalist groups filled the vacuum politically and in terms of security.
Far right groups such as The Right Sector and The Azov Battalion have been included in the Security and military structure of Ukraine and have also included support by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
The Eastern areas of Ukraine (Donbass and Luhansk) say they do not recognize the installed government and accuse it of containing neo-nazi groups. Many in the east of Ukraine naturally identify with Russia more than they do the EU even before the protests, many have family members across the border in Russia.
Putin sees the military action in the East as EU expansionism and has therefore sought to advise and arm the rebels. This also creates a buffer zone from the West, Putin harbors concerns about western influence in Russia and on its border which could threaten his continued Presidency.
Western main stream media has been reluctant to report the rise and influence of Ultra Nationalist groups in Ukraine following the removal of Viktor Yanukovych, possibly for fear of tarnishing the revolution which main stream media supported.
BBC Newsnight briefly reported on this issue in early 2014 and then remained quiet until a new report with a rather ‘surprised’ tone was aired in July 2015 (nearly a year and a half after the first report) showing the growth of the ultra nationalist Right Sector.
Note that The Right Sector was the only group featured in the BBC Newsnight report which failed to mention the myriad of other ultra nationalistic groups and therefore failed to report the true extent of their rise.
See links below from various independent sources highlighting these points:
- Vice news embeds with the Azov Battalion. Vice news have been reporting on Ukraine for the last year now (hence the high dispatch number):
- Ross Kemp – Extreme World – Ukraine (2014) documentary of the protests and the rise of the far right:
- Wikipedia page regarding The Right Sector (Right Sector flags could be seen waving during the Maidan protests and can be seen in many subsequent videos):
- BBC Newsnight report from 2014 making an initial report on right-wing groups:
- Brief BBC Newsnight report on events at the centre of Kiev at a Right Sector protest march threatening to overthrow the Poroshenko Government by force if necessary (fast forward to 17.55):
- Full BBC Newsnight report by Gabriel Gatehouse on the Right Sector in Ukraine (fast forward to 18:15):
- German TV report: “Who were the Maidan Snipers?”:
- Newsnight report on mysterious Maidan snipers:
This post is merely to show examples of what main stream media either do not report or are late to report. This matters considering we are supporting the Government in Ukraine and therefore groups such as The Right Sector indirectly.
I believe it is because main stream media cannot be seen to give any support to the Russian narrative even if there is truth to it.
Why does it matter? Well the problem comes later.
If Ukraine eventually ‘wins’ its dispute with the eastern areas of Donbass and Luhansk, these militias will return from the front lines, battle hardened and expect their rewards having fought for their country.
Then what happens?