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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/6/14

Did Right-Wing Protesters Hire Snipers to Kill Protesters and Police at Maidan?

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23.02.2014 Maidan Square
23.02.2014 Maidan Square
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Dmitro Yarosh is the leader of the right-wing radical Ukrainian group known as Pravy Sektor (The Right Sector). Pravy Sektor and Svoboda (one of the three oppositional parties in Ukraine's parliament prior to the coup d'état that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych) were particularly willing to resort to violence against the police at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in Kiev. Moreover, as Keith Darden and Lucan Way have observed, "The right-wing groups have been particularly active among the organization of the protest movement on the ground, particularly as the number of protesters has dwindled over time and revealed a resilient right-wing core." [Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2014]

According to Dr. Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on Ukraine and right-wing parties in Europe, "What is frightening, however, with Pravy Sektor itself is that it comprises many groups that I would call neo-Nazi. Fortunately, they also constitute a minor element of Pravy Sektor, but they are there. Dmitro Yarosh, who is the leader of the Trident, of Trizub-it's the name of the organization -- it may be not racist itself, but it cooperates with the real nasty people who are part of the Pravy Sektor, like Patriot of Ukraine." ["Crisis in Ukraine: The Role and Responsibility of the West." Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, February 7, 2014

According to Professors Darden and Way, "Svoboda, which captured 38 seats and 10 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, until 2004 called itself the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine and employed neo-Nazi and SS symbols. While the party changed its name and symbols in 2004, Svoboda's leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, continued to argue that the opposition should fight the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia running Ukraine' and praised the Ukrainian Insurgency Army (UPA) in World War II for fighting "against the Moscali [Muskovites], Germans, Zhydy [Jews] and other scum, who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state."

Nevertheless, because Pravy Sektor "suffered dozens of casualties in fighting off police during deadly clashes in Kiev last month"his militia members are idolized as heroes by many supporters of the revolution." [Time. com. March 1, 2014] Were they duped?

Supporters of the revolution might want to reconsider their support for Pravy Sektor and Svoboda, now that evidence has been uncovered, which indicates that they probably hired the snipers who killed fellow protesters and police at Maidan on February 20-21. Such snipers and horrific deaths could be blamed on Yanukovych and used as the pretext for a coup d'état. In fact, most observers assumed that the snipers were government snipers.

But, yesterday, reported that "Estonia's top diplomat told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in an audio leaked Wednesday about allegations that Ukraine's pro-Western leaders may have had a hand in the February 20-21 bloodbath in Kiev."

""There is now a stronger and stronger understanding (in Kiev) that behind the snipers, it was not (ousted president Viktor) Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition,' Urmas Paet tells Ashton in the audio leaked on YouTube."

The EUBusiness article notes: "Dozens of protesters and around 15 police officers were killed, and parliament impeached Yanukovych the next day." According to the audio, "Paet told Ashton he was informed in Kiev that "they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.'" He appears to have received that information from a physician on the scene, Olga Bogomolets, who claimed that people on both sides were killed by the same type of bullets.

Then Paet added: "It's really disturbing that now the new coalition, they don't want to investigate exactly what happened." (The authenticity of the audio has been confirmed by Estonia.)

Obviously, this is a matter that requires urgent investigation -- by the United States, the European Union, and by Russia. If the report is found to be accurate and it is determined that members of Pravy Sektor, Svoboda, or any other group of protesters hired snipers to inflame revolutionary support, then the U.S. and the EU must finally reconsider their knee-jerk, rubber-stamped support for the current rulers of Ukraine -- who, by any standard of international law, remain illegitimate -- and take steps to bring them to justice.

Think! Do you really want to be associated with the rule of such Fascists and neo-Nazis? Do you want to encircle Russia that badly? (And, please, spare me your talk about spreading democracy. December 2013 polls in Ukraine indicated that less than 20 percent of the protesters were driven to protest by violations of democracy or fears of dictatorship. Presumably, that percentage increased following the government's crackdown.)

Moreover, if the report is found to be accurate and members of the illegitimate current government do, indeed, have blood on their hands, then anti-Russia and anti-Putin politicians and pundits in the U.S. and the EU might want to reconsider Putin's actions in the Crimea.

His decision to move troops into the Crimea makes more sense if, indeed, neo-Nazis with blood on their hands have gained control in Kiev. By their very anti-Russian actions, the protestors who seized power in Kiev have demonstrated their lack of concern for the Russians living in Ukraine. Even worse, they showed their true colors when they rushed to rescind laws that protect the Russian language in Ukraine. Their behavior suggests that they do not know how to rule a country.

In 1995, Professor Mark van Hagen wrote an article for Slavic Review titled, "Does Ukraine Have a History?" He noted: If we" look to the political geography of history teaching, we find virtually no recognition that Ukraine has a history."

In his very thoughtful article, "Ukraine: The Price of Internal Division," Jack Matlock (former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union) extends Professor van Hagan's logic when he asserts, "Yes, Russia has interfered, but it is not Russian interference that has created Ukrainian disunity but rather the haphazard way the country was assembled from parts that were not always mutually compatible. To the flaw at the inception of an independent Ukraine, one must add the baleful effects of the Soviet Communist heritage both Russia and Ukraine have inherited."

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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