The overthrow of the authoritarian regime of Yanukovych by no means signifies for us the end of our fight.
New dictators hasten to take the place of the Party of Regions. They will not hesitate to rely not only on considerably weakened security agencies, but on the far right militants as well. The regime of police and prosecutorial arbitrariness deserved its overthrow unconditionally, but now there may come a time for a new terror that will justify itself ideologically.
At the moment, the main power is concentrated in the hands of the opposition party Batkivshchyna (“Fatherland”), which has managed to rally a substantial part of the ruling class. Its leader, recently released from prison, Yulia Tymoshenko, has obvious presidential ambitions. It should be remembered though, that when Tymoshenko’s sentence was pronounced, the rally in her support in Kiev gathered no more than five thousand people, and all the mass demos of this party had to use paid-for extras. Batkivshchyna as well as the Party of Regions has virtually no serious grassroot support or activist base, but it has large enough material resources.
In order to stay in power, Yulia Tymoshenko’s team will have to appease the far rightists, the Right Sector in particular. Two such attempts have already been made – the fascists who had been imprisoned in cases not related to the Maidan were released after the enactment of the According Law in the Parliament. New Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has promised to introduce representatives of the RS into his ministry. Now we’ll be able to call the cops “Nazis” with a good reason. But Batkivshchyna is clearly frightened of such a passionate and uncontrolled element in power. So they will try to get the far-right on the hook, not only by buying them but also by tying them with blood. Right Sector dreams of settling old accounts with subcultural anti-fascists, so they were carefully supplied with the Security Service or police dossiers containing personal data. Probably in the near future the authorities will close their eyes to violence against the left or racist attacks, but will recall it a few months later, when they will need an excuse to reign in the uncomfortable allies.
Right Sector leads its own game, and has been doing so for long enough. Today its leader Dmitry Jarosh claims entry into power at a very high level, as a deputy prime minister for law enforcement agencies. At the same time, as reported by the journalist Mustafa Nayem, according to the records found in the Presidential Administration, Yarosh was communicating with Yanukovych or his representatives on February 20. Even before that, on January 28 the negotiations between the Right Sector and Security Service/Ministry of Internal Affairs were officially announced. A day later representatives of the right let this fact slip, declaring “the desire to join the negotiation process.” Probably such negotiations actually have been taking place since much earlier, especially when one considers the background of all the organizations that were a part of “Right Sector”: “Tryzub” (“Trident”) as well as SNA, and “Bely Molot” (“White Hammer”) have in various forms actively interacted with politicians from both governmental parties, and with the security forces since the 90s – 2000s.
Svoboda (“Freedom”) Party is a competitor for both Batkivshchyna and RS equally. The latter will actively infringe on Svoboda electorate and by the time of the election the standoff between these political forces will escalate. Now Svoboda has a chair in the prosecutor’s office. It is symbolic, because the cops and prosecutors always work closely and at the same time hate each other; their interests are very similar, but occasionally come into conflict. This is the type of relationship that exists between Svoboda and Right Sector. Security Service is headed by Nalivaychenko, who already held the post under President Yushchenko. The chief security officer of the country is famous not only for the posthumous prosecution of Joseph Stalin for the Holodomor (1) (which looks like a particularly dark joke), but also the fight against “Kremlin-sponsored terrorist organization Antifa.” After losing his job, Nalivaychenko worked with the ultra-right (including future Svoboda activist Eugene Karas, known under the pseudonym “Vortex”), trying to create a movement “Otpor”, but this project was not successful.
At the same time, in the regions that have not yet submitted to the new government, but renounced Yanukovych, their own fascist sentiments are ripening. The Party of Regions representatives, who failed to join the parliamentary majority, establish blocks with pro-Russian far-rightists and Stalinists. Imperialists and Stalinists, Cossacks and Orthodox fanatics – all together fight against the often imaginary Banderovites, meanwhile cracking down on journalists and human rights activists. The new brown centre is confronted by brown regions. The only difference is the historical tradition to which they appeal. All of them will focus on their “fight for traditional values”, appealing to social partnership and at the same time slashing social expenditures.
We take no side in the conflict between the Ukrainian and the Russian nationalists. But many protesters against the regime of Yanukovych will be dissatisfied with both the rapacious policies of Batkivshchyna, which will hit workers’ pockets, and the “national revolution” of Right sector and Svoboda, which will try to take away the remnants of human rights and freedoms. It is these people who are indifferent to the ultra-right and critical of the system opposition, the “disgruntled members of the Maidan (2),” who can soon fill the ranks of the left and anarchists.
(1) Holomodor is the Ukraininian name for the Great Famine, which occurred in Ukraine under Stalin, during the enforced collectivisation of the peasantry between 1932-33. Millions died.
(2) The movement to oust the corrupt Yanukovych government is known as Maidan, named after Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square in Kiev.