31 December 2014

A comment on the involvement of the Patriot of Ukraine in the Ukrainian revolution

Adrian Karatnycky, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, has written a good article, titled "Warlords and armed groups threaten Ukraine’s rebuilding", in which he discusses important issues related to today's Ukraine.

In March this year, I wrote that the newly-elected (then acting) government had to "urgently address two most important problems: the military Russian invasion that [had] already started in the Crimea, the southernmost region of Ukraine, and the dire economic situation". Writing at the end of this year, Karatnycky argues that Ukraine's established government is relatively successfully dealing with these two problems: "Ukraine is intelligently addressing its key challenges: restructuring the national budget to avoid default and meeting the military threat posed by Russia".

At the same time, Karatnycky highlights another problem, namely "independently operating warlords and armed groups", some of which are guided by far right ideology, as well as the cooperation between these groups and Ukraine's Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov - the cooperation that I have briefly discussed here.

22 December 2014

A Putin in the heart of Europe?

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s declaration in summer 2014 that his government was going “to build an illiberal nation state” was far from a revelation. Rather, it was a statement of a long-acknowledged fact: Orbán’s Hungary is increasingly becoming a right-wing authoritarian kleptocracy bearing a growing resemblance to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The pro-Putin United Russia party formed its first parliamentary majority after the 2003 elections. Putin took this opportunity to modify the electoral law to marginalise minor parties in the next elections and strengthen the major parties and, in particular, the United Russia. These changes helped the United Russia to win enough seats in the 2007 parliamentary elections to form a constitutional majority. Since Orbán’s party Fidesz returned to power after the 2010 parliamentary elections, he has moved swiftly to consolidate it. Amid the popular disappointment with the previous, Socialist-led government that failed to effectively tackle the 2008 financial crisis, Fidesz and its minor coalition partner Christian Democratic People’s Party secured two-thirds of the seats in the parliament. Forming a parliamentary majority allowed them to modify the country’s constitution, including the electoral law, in 2012. The electoral reform helped Orbán retain the constitutional majority after the 2014 elections.

Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin

15 December 2014

Center for Eurasian Strategic Intelligence, a fraudulent "hawkish" think tank

Readers of this blog may have heard of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Intelligence (CESI) that seems to promote a "hawkish" view on Russia's foreign policy. In his Twitter, Edward Lucas has recently raised doubts about the authenticity of this organisation, and, as I found out, for a good reason. Let's have a closer look at CESI.

(Note that I will not be discussing their analyses, as they tend to plagiarise from other sources.)

Major resources of CESI:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eurasianintelligence. Registered on 18 March 2014.
- Website: http://eurasianintelligence.org. Registered on 18 July 2014.
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/eurasianintelligence/ Registered on 6 August 2014.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/EurasianIntel. Date of registration unknown, first tweet on 12 August 2014.

12 December 2014

How cronyism exploits Ukrainian neo-Nazis

Ukraine’s early presidential and parliamentary elections earlier this year proved to be disastrous for the Ukrainian party-political far right.

Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” (Svoboda), obtained 1.16% of the vote in the presidential election, while his party secured only 4.71% of the vote in the parliamentary election and, eventually, failed to pass the 5% electoral threshold and enter the parliament. In comparison, Svoboda obtained 10.44% of the votes in 2012 and formed the first ever far right parliamentary group in Ukraine’s history. Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, obtained 0.70% in the presidential election, and 1.80% of the voters supported his party in the parliamentary election.

However, the electoral failure of Svoboda and the Right Sector did not mark “the end of history” of the Ukrainian far right, and some other developments proved to be much more problematic. One of these developments is the rise of the previously obscure neo-Nazi organisation “Patriot of Ukraine” (PU) led by Andriy Bilets’ky.

Neo-Nazi leader Andriy Bilets'ky. Kharkiv, several years ago

28 November 2014

Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin gathering intelligence on the French military

A report written by Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin on 17 December 2013 (and published by the Anonymous International) suggests that he has been trying to gather intelligence on the French military circles.

In his report, Dugin describes a closed meeting of the French association "Civisme Défense Armée Nation" (Citizenship, Defense, Army, Nation, CiDAN) that took place at the Klingenthal castle near Strasbourg on 2-5 December 2013. CiDAN was established in 1999 by Admiral Pierre Lacoste, and, as they describe themselves, the association is guided by the "modern vision of patriotism and Europe", and promotes "devotion to the community" and contacts between civil society and the military. Its leadership largely consists of retired or reserve officers, and its president is Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Sonnet.

24 November 2014

The French far right secure a €9m loan from a Russian bank close to Putin

Writing for Mediapart, Marine Turchi reveals that the far right French Front National (FN) has secured, already in September this year, a 9 million Euros loan from the First Czech-Russian Bank (FCRB). The party led by Marine Le Pen has already received 2 million Euros. The information on the loan to the FN, according to Mediapart, has been confirmed by a member of the FN's political bureau. This development supports my earlier argument that "European right-wing extremists seem to benefit financially from their cooperation with the Kremlin".

As the FN's treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just explained, the party had been trying to borrow money from a number of French, European and US banks, but was unsuccessful. Eventually, the FCRB proved to be more sympathetic to the French far right cause. "Why not a Russian bank?", asked Christian Bouchet, FN's officer in Loire-Atlantique, French publisher of Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin and former leader of the National Bolshevik Nouvelle résistance group. "Money does not stink", he added, referring to Roman Emperor Vespasian's justification for a tax on the distribution of urine from public urinals in Rome.

13 November 2014

Russians involved in the fake elections in eastern Ukraine

According to the article "Ukraine Tensions Rise as U.S., EU Weigh More Sanctions" that was published by Bloomberg on 13 November 2014, officials from the EU and U.S. meeting in Brussels "will weigh further sanctions against Russia’s economy and Ukrainian separatists, after the reported movement of tanks, artillery and combat troops into eastern Ukraine".

Moreover, "the likeliest first step, they said, is to blacklist Ukrainian separatists and Russians involved in the Nov. 2 elections in eastern regions, which the Ukrainian government considers illegitimate".

I have already posted the list of "election monitors" that travelled to Eastern Ukraine (illegally) and to neighbouring Russian regions to "observe" fake elections for the "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic". The list, to which I refer, is not complete, but this is the most complete list of fake "observers" available today. In this post, I will provide more information on the Russians who were involved in organising the "observation mission" in the Donbass and participated in it.

Who organised the "observation mission"?

From the Russian side, the main group that was involved in organising the "observation mission" is the Moscow-based "Civic Control" Association. "Civic Control" is what can be called a "GONGO", i.e. a "government organised non-governmental organisation", as the groups that compose this association are loyal to the Kremlin, while the key figures in the management of the association are members of – or, at least, closely associated with – the Russian parliament and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

The co-chair of the "Civic Control", who was directly involved in organising the "observation mission", is Aleksandr Brod, director of the "Moscow Bureau for Human Rights". He also participated in the "observation mission" himself.

Aleksandr Semyonovich Brod (Александр Семенович Брод), born on 19 August 1969.

10 November 2014

Russian extreme right White Rex organisation engaged in training of British neo-Nazi thugs

In a revealing article for The Daily Star, Scott Hesketh and Colin Cortbus write about training camps in Wales where neo-Nazi thugs "are being drilled in unarmed combat and fighting using knives and assault rifles". According to the authors, anti-terror police are monitoring the activities of the training camps which - under the leadership of fitness instructor and author Craig Fraser - might be used "to prepare for a wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic attacks".

Moreover, the authors mention that neo-Nazi thugs were "also put through fitness ­sessions by trainers from ­Russian neo-Nazi group White Rex". Since there is not much information on White Rex available in English language, I decided to "introduce" the Anglophone audience to this movement. (I am grateful to the Moscow-based Sova Centre for Information and Analysis, the most important Russian NGO that conducts research on ultranationalism, racism and political radicalism in Russia, for the information they have provided).

8 November 2014

International "observers": Moscow - Rostov - Donetsk

International fake observers of the fake elections in the Donbass arrived in Moscow on the 31st of October and checked in the 5-star Metropol Hotel. They had a late dinner at the hotel restaurant and some of them went for a walk to the Red Square:

Alessandro Bertoldi, member of Forza Italia and "observer" of the terrorist "elections", Moscow, 31 October 2014

Vladimir Djukanovic, member of the Serbian Progressive Party and "observer" of the terrorist "elections", Moscow, 31 October 2014

2 November 2014

Helping international "observers" see armed men at "polling stations" in the Donbass

Graham Phillips, a controversial British reporter for the Kremlin's disinformation service Russia Today, has interviewed Austrian right-wing politician Ewald Stadler, who is one of the "observers" at "elections" in the Donbass.


According to Stadler, "there is no pressure to the people. Soldiers and people with guns are outside, not inside. Everybody can vote here free".

OK, so Stadler does not see a man in military fatigues standing behind him. So let's help Stadler see something else, shall we?

1 November 2014

Fake monitors "observe" fake elections in the Donbass

The "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) and "Luhansk People's Republic" (LNR), which are officially considered terrorist organisations by the Ukrainian authorities, will hold "parliamentary elections" on Sunday, 2nd of November, on the territories occupied by them with the help of the Russian army.

These "elections" are widely considered illegal and illegitimate, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored "the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own “elections” on 2 November, in breach of the Constitution and national law" adding that "these “elections” will seriously undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full".

Nevertheless, the Kremlin is said to be willing to recognise these "elections", yet again completely dismissing the advice from the UN let alone defying the laws of Ukraine that Russia has invaded in February-March 2014. The DNR/LNR "elections" will not be recognised as legitimate either by the EU or the US that threaten Russia with further sanctions for undermining Ukraine's independence and sovereignty.

28 October 2014

Vladimir Zhirinovsky's contacts with the European far right in the Yeltsin era

[This post is part of my ongoing research on the cooperation between post-Soviet Russia and the European/American far right. The fully referenced version of this post will appear in a published work, so all the links/footnotes/endnotes are deliberately omitted.]

In the Yeltsin era, the contacts between Russian politicians and the European/American far right were scarce. One could focus on four major areas of these contacts established by (1) Aleksandr Dugin, (2) Sergey Glazyev, (3) Pavel Tulaev, and (4) Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the misleadingly named far right Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) tried to forge relationships with European radical right-wing parties already in the early 1990s. Eduard Limonov of the National-Bolshevik Party, while living in France, introduced Zhirinovsky, in autumn 1992, to Jean-Marie Le Pen, contemporary leader of the Front National (FN). Their meeting turned out to be beneficial to Zhirinovsky, as later the FN “provided logistical support [to the LDPR], including computers and fax machines, in short supply in Moscow at that time”.

Already during his first meeting with Le Pen, Zhirinovsky suggested establishing the International Centre of Right-wing Parties in Moscow and invited Le Pen to Russia’s capital. Le Pen, according to Limonov, “confined himself to commending the project”. In 1996, when Le Pen did eventually visit Moscow, Zhirinovsky spoke of founding a pan-European far right alliance again, under the name “Union of Right-wing Forces of Europe”. At that time this project was not implemented, but Zhirinovsky revived – and, to some extent, materialised – this idea after Vladimir Putin became Russian president.

Jean-Marie Le Pen and Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Moscow, 1996
Zhirinovsky’s another major foreign contact in the Yeltsin era was the far right Deutsche Volksunion (German People’s Union, DVU) led by now late Gerhard Frey, “the multi-millionaire media czar” who owned and published several newspapers, as well as being the main sponsor of his party. As early as 1992, Zhirinovsky and Frey spoke at each other’s party conventions. Moreover, following the staggering victory in the 1993 parliamentary elections – the LDPR obtained 22.92% of the votes – Zhirinovsky met with Frey again in Munich on his way to Austria where the leader of the LDPR spent a few days in the company of Edwin Neuwirth, “a local industrialist, Holocaust denier and proud former member of the Waffen SS”. In 1994, the LDPR and DVU signed a friendship accord.

According to Russian journalist Leonid Mlechin who spoke to one of the heads of the anti-extremist department of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Frey provided financial support to the LDPR “in exchange for the promise to return the Kaliningrad oblast to Germany after Zhirinovsky became president of Russia”. Frey himself wrote that “if Mr. Zhirinovsky came to power in Russia he would negotiate with Germany about the return of the lost province of East Prussia”. Indeed, in his book The Last Thrust to the South, Zhirinovsky suggested restoring Germany to its 1937 borders. Zhirinovsky’s readiness to part with the Kaliningrad oblast seemed important to the DVU that insisted that Pomerania, Silesia and East Prussia be returned to Germany.

Vladimir Zhironovsky and Gerhard Frey in Munich, 1993
It seems viable to suggest that Zhirinovsky’s foreign relationships were not exclusively ideological, but also had a considerable element of financial interests. For example, in 1994, German authorities investigated whether Zhirinovsky was financed by the money of the defunct East German regime through his German contact Werner Girke who handled foreign financial holdings for the East German communists and was believed to have helped them covertly invest those funds in Western companies. In 1996, Italian police suspected Zhirinovsky of the involvement in the trade of nuclear materials that also involved Licio Gelli, a fascist activist since the 1930s and Grand Master of the Masonic lodge Propaganda Due (P2).

Zhirinovsky’s other far right contacts in the Yeltsin era included Zmago Jelinčič, the leader of the Slovenska Nacionalna Stranka (Slovenian National Party), and Vojislav Šešelj, the founder and leader of the Srpska Radikalna Stranka (Serbian Radical Party). Furthermore, in 1997, Zhirinovsky supported the separatist move of Umberto Bossi’s Lega Nord (Northern League) that attempted to create a state called “Padania” in Northern Italy. Bossi was excited about the support for his secessionist project received from “the third political force of the Russian parliament”, while Zhirinovsky took part in the opening sitting of the Padanian “parliament” and stated that, were he Russian president, he would recognise the independence of Padania.

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26 October 2014

Ukraine's parliamentary elections and the far right

On the 26th of October 2014, Ukrainians voted at the early parliamentary elections. Ukraine currently has a mixed electoral system (50% under party lists and 50% under constituencies) with a 5% election threshold. Here are the results of the National Exit Poll 2014 (I mention only those parties who seem to be entering the parliament and the parties which can be termed as far right):


Petro Poroshenko Bloc
23.0
People’s Front
21.3
Samopomich
13.2
Opposition Bloc
7.6
Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko
6.4
Svoboda
6.3
Batkivshchyna
5.6
Right Sector
2.4
Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists
0.1

8 October 2014

European far right team at the anti-Semitic conference in Tehran

On 27 September - 1 October 2014, the Iranian authorities held its annual "New Horizon" conference that hosted more than thirty participants to discuss "Zionist 9/11 conspiracy" and "Israel lobbying" in different countries.

While the anti-Semitic nature of this annual conference is nothing new, it was "surprising" to see several participants of the conference in Tehran who are supportive of Vladimir Putin's allegedly anti-fascist regime in Russia.

Mateusz Piskorski and Thierry Meyssan, Tehran, autumn 2014
Claudio Mutti doing the Quennelle salute in the courtyard of the former US Embassy in Tehran, autumn 2014
Leonid Savin and Manuel Ochsenreiter, Tehran, autumn 2014
Leonid Savin and Manuel Ochsenreiter, Tehran, autumn 2014

24 September 2014

Ukrainian intellectual was attacked by paramilitary right-wing thugs in Kyiv

Here is an extremely unsettling message from Kyiv:
Vasyl Cherepanyn, lecturer at the National University ''Kyiv-Mohyla Academy'' and head of Visual Culture Research Center, was attacked on Kontraktova square in Kiev, next to the university were he works.

A group of unknown men dressed in camouflage paramilitary uniforms suddenly attacked Vasyl Cherepanyn in broad daylight in a crowded square in central Kyiv. The police was late to the scene, and the attackers were not arrested. Vasyl Cherepanyn received heavy injuries, including fractures of facial bones. He links this incident to his professional activity.


Vasyl Cherepanyn, PhD of Theory of Art, is a lecturer at the Cultural Studies Department at the National University ''Kyiv-Mohyla Academy''. He is the head of Visual Culture Research Center and Editor of the Political Critique journal. He is an organizer of numerous scientific conferences, public discussions and art exhibitions. Among the latest events, co-organized by Vasyl Cherepanyn, is the conference "Ukraine: Thinking Together", with the participation of Timothy Snyder, Ivan Krastev, Agnieszka Holland, Paul Bermann and other leading intellectuals, and also the series of events during the Open University of Maidan.

While the military aggression is carried out against Ukraine, aggressive young men in military uniforms carried out an unprecedentedly violent attack on the university lecturer in the center of Kyiv. During the attack, the thugs were accusing Vasyl Cherepanyn of being ‘a separatist’, which is totally absurd to anyone aware of his activities. These unfounded and absurd claims, along with accusations of being ‘a communist’, are more and more often used by aggressive ignorants who aim to impose their ideology of hatred upon Ukrainian society, and to suppress any manifestations of critical thought. We demand a quick investigation of this appalling attack. We also demand to investigate the activities of paramilitary groups that use the war in Ukraine as a pretext to justify their own misantropic views.
I know Vasyl personally and consider this outrageous attack on him, which has been most likely carried out by Ukrainian neo-Nazis, as an attack on the most intelligent and intellectual part of the Ukrainian society. Vasyl is known for his pro-Ukrainian, pro-revolutionary left-wing views, and, together, we took part in several events providing academic analysis of the Ukrainian revolution from social, political and cultural perspectives.

I join the VCRC in their demands to immediately investigate the shocking attack on Vasyl Cherepanyn and arrest all those responsible for this crime.

17 September 2014

The "National-Bolshevik" alliance is again at work in the European Parliament

On 16 September 2014, the European Parliament ratified the EU-Ukraine Association agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The Agreement will establish a deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Ukraine. 535 MEPs voted in favour of the ratification, 127 - against, 35 - abstained, and 54 - did not vote.

The analysis of the vote shows that the majority of the MEPs who voted against the ratification of the EU-Ukraine agreement are coming from the far right (46 MEPs), (far-)left (35 MEPs) and eurosceptic (30) political parties. This anti-European "National-Bolshevik" alliance manifested itself, in particular, during the vote on the European Parliament resolution "On Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine" that recognised "Russia’s acts of aggression as a grave violation of international law and its own international obligations".

16 September 2014

European far right politicians observe regional elections in Russia

On Sunday, 14 September 2014, Russian authorities held "regional elections" in the annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Referring to the so called "Russian laws", the authorities said that there would be no international observers as they did not invite them for regional elections.

However, "international monitors" did "observe" regional elections in St. Petersburg on the same day, and it was not at all surprising to see familiar faces.

International electoral monitors meeting with acting governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko. 1 - Piotr Luczak, 2 - Aleksey Martynov, 3 - Milan Šarapatka, 4 - Fabrizio Bertot, 5 - Frank Creyelman, 6 - Robert Stelzl, 7 - Ludovic de Danne, 8 - Johann Gudenus, 9 - Georgiy Poltavchenko, 10 - Márton Gyöngyösi, 11 - Dragan Stanojevic, 12 - Adrienn Szaniszló, 13 - Jan Penris. St. Petersburg, 15 September 2014. (I would be grateful for helping me in identifying other non-Russian people featured on this picture.)

Below is almost the full list of individuals invited by the Russian authorities to monitor the elections in St. Petersburg. The list is divided in two tables: (1) those individuals whose participation in the electoral observation mission I can confirm, and (2) those individuals who were invited to observe the elections, but I cannot confirm their participation.

15 September 2014

A rose by any other name: the World Congress of Families in Moscow

In one of my previous posts and a guest op-ed for War is Boring, I wrote that the US-based anti-LGBT hate group World Congress of Families (WCF) planned but then cancelled its annual meeting (World Congress of Families VIII) "Every Child A Gift: Large Families – The Future of Humanity". It was supposed to take place in Moscow on 10-12 September 2014. Discussing possible reasons for the cancellation of the event, I wrote:
[Following the outrageous annexation of Crimea by Putin’s Russia], the U.S. imposed sanctions on three Russian individuals — Vladimir Yakunin, Yelena Mizulina and Aleksey Pushkov — who have cooperated with WCF, among others.

Since the WCF is, above all, a U.S.-based organization, they most likely decided not to risk harming its reputation domestically by dealing with the sanctioned individuals.
One organisation that had planned to take part in WCF VIII in Moscow, Concerned Women for America, pulled out for a similar reason. As its president Penny Nance said, "We made the decision that we’re not going to Russia. I don’t want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin".

As it often happens with the "good Christians" from various hate groups, the cancellation story was a lie. The WCF VIII did take place in Moscow on 10-11 September 2014, but had a different - yet unsurprisingly similar - name: the International Forum "Large Family and Future of Humanity".

9 September 2014

Boris Kagarlitsky, a Kremlin's mole in the leftist movement (updated)

Deluded British leftists like to invite Russian allegedly left-wing publicist Boris Kagarlitsky of the Institute for Globalization Studies and Social Movements to take part in their events.

On 2 June this year, he joined, via Skype, the founding meeting of the "Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine" that was attended by Richard Brenner, Lindsey German (Counterfire), Andrew Murray (Communist Party of Great Britain), Alan Woods (International Marxist Tendency) and Sergei Kirichuk (Borotba).

On 27 August, he spoke at the public meeting "How to stop the spread of War". Other speakers and participants included Tariq Ali, Lindsey German, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Owen Jones, Francesca Martinez, Stafford Scott, Kate Smurthwaite, and Christian Fuchs.

31 August 2014

Please help to identify participants of the Yalta conference

I need help in identifying participants of the international conference "Russia, Ukraine, New Russia: global problems and challenges" that took place on 29-31 August 2014 in Yalta, situated in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea currently occupied by Russia.

I have already identified* a few people but many are still unknown to me. I will also be grateful for additional pictures of people taken at the conference.

* Thanks to friends, colleagues and commentators, more names are now added.

29 August 2014

The "Ukraine crisis" is a long-planned operation

This article has first appeared in Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.

What is now known as the "Ukraine crisis” in the international media is hardly a properly Ukrainian phenomenon. The first uses of this phrase go back to the pro-European protests that started in November 2013 and ended with a revolution that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. Yet even if the initial pro-European protests could be considered an internal Ukrainian development, their trigger lay beyond the country’s borders.

It was Russian foreign policy that has always been directed at preventing Ukraine from leaving Russia’s sphere of influence. Since the annexation of Crimea in March, “the Ukraine crisis” seems an increasingly misleading concept. Especially because the plans to annex Crimea and support separatists in Eastern Ukraine were designed by the Russian authorities several years ago and have little to do with the defence of ethnic Russians allegedly threatened by the new Ukrainian authorities.

28 August 2014

The “Russian World” will destroy Russia

It has been 14 years since Pyotr Shchedrovitsky wrote that “russkiy mir” (Russian world) could be a potent source of Russia’s modernization. For him, the existence of “russkiy mir” implied the availability of “Russian capital” defined as “an accumulation of cultural, intellectual, human and organizational potentials expressed in the linguistic thinking and communication (humanitarian) resources of the Russian language”. Using this Russian capital and mobilizing the Russian diaspora could be a foundation of the country’s innovation and neo-industrial development.

Yet even then, in 2000, Shchedrovitsky’s modernizing and relatively progressive interpretation of “russkiy mir” was a lone voice in the wilderness of ultranationalist, isolationist and expansionist narratives about “russkiy mir”. Already under President Boris Yeltsin, Russian and Russian-speaking minorities in former Soviet countries were used as tools of political influence and propaganda, but President Vladimir Putin effectively formalized “russkiy mir”, by the end of his second term, as one of the most important socio-political instruments of consolidation and cultural legitimization of his regime.

In foreign policy, this concept means two things. First of all, as a diaspora, “russkiy mir” is supposed to be an agent of Russian soft power in the West in general and Europe in particular. Second, as a geopolitical concept, “russkiy mir” refers to East European countries that Russia wants to keep in its orbit and where it can intervene in case they prefer a different foreign policy.

"Free society"

19/84! Russian and European fascists reverse the 1945 Yalta Conference



Everybody who is following the developments in Ukraine, which is now under a direct attack from Russia, has perhaps noticed that Putin's propaganda machine is joyfully playing with meanings and concepts turning them upside down.

The deliberate confusion that Putin's Russia produces and the inverted concepts it employs have an ideological underpinning: Russia is trying to hide its right-wing extremist attempts to undermine the post-war liberal-democratic order in Europe under the guise of "anti-fascist struggle".

27 August 2014

French Eurasianists join (pro-)Russian extremists in Eastern Ukraine

An Internet TV channel of (pro-)Russian extremists has published a video featuring four Frenchmen who came to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine to fight against Ukrainian forces. They do not say their names and think that France will not know of their participation in the terrorist activities in Ukraine. Now it's time to reveal some of their secrets.

(from left to right) Mickael Takahashi, Guillaume "Lenormand" Cuvelier, Nikola Perovic, Victor-Alfonso Lenta in Donetsk, August 2014
(from left to right) Victor-Alfonso Lenta, Mickael Takahashi, Guillaume "Lenormand" Cuvelier, Nikola Perovic in Donetsk, August 2014

This video and other evidence I have gathered suggest that Guillaume "Lenormand" Cuvelier, Nikola Perovic and Mickael Takahashi, as well as Hungarian right-wing extremist Ferenc Almássy, first came to Moscow in the second half of June where they met Russian citizen Mikhail Polynkov. The latter is engaged in assisting international extremists to get to Eastern Ukraine.

21 August 2014

(Pro-)Russian extremists in 2006 and 2014: the Dugin Connection

In August 2006, Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin and his Eurasian Youth Union (Евразийский союз молодежи, ESM) organised a summer camp where ultranationalist activists were further indoctrinated and trained to fight against democratic movements in neighbouring independent states. Looking at the pictures from that camp, I have identified at least five people who, in 2014, were engaged in the terrorist activities of (pro-)Russian extremists in Eastern Ukraine.

Andrey Purgin in the ESM camp, 2006
Andrey Purgin, 2014
Andrey Purgin, first "Prime Minister" of the "Donetsk People's Republic". In 2006, he was a leader of the organisation "Donetsk Republic".

16 August 2014

Putin’s useful idiots and little ribbentrops in Europe


The Ukrainian revolution that started from pro-European protests (Euromaidan) in November 2013 and eventually ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych in March 2014 turned Russian president Vladimir Putin’s blood cold. There were two major – political and geopolitical – reasons for Putin to be terrified.

First of all, with his antagonism towards mass protests, which his regime systematically crushes in Russia itself, Putin feared that Maidan – which, after the “Orange revolution” in 2004, has become a name for a successful popular protest – could be somehow transferred to Russia and cause problems to his rule.

14 August 2014

Neo-Nazi Russian National Unity in Eastern Ukraine

Here are some photos of the Russian neo-Nazi organisation Russian National Unity (Русское национальное единство, RNE) who are fighting against Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine.

RNE's logo, a swastika, on a St. George ribbon hailed by Putin's Russia as an allegedly anti-fascist symbol
June 2014, Eastern Ukraine

3 August 2014

What Can Be Expected from Ukrainian Right in the Midst of Political and Military Crisis?

My interview to Nikolas Kozloff, author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and founder of the Revolutionary Handbook project.

In addition to the military crisis in Eastern Ukraine and the rise of pro-Russian separatist rebels, Kiev now confronts a growing political crisis as the country gears up for new elections. What can we expect from the Ukrainian right, and how will nationalist forces seek to profit from escalating tensions with Russia? For answers, I caught up with Anton Shekhovtsov, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and an expert on Ukrainian politics.

NK: In the aftermath of the Malaysia flight 17 disaster, the media has tended to examine events in Ukraine in military and geopolitical terms. Yet we hear very little about what effect the crash will have upon domestic politics in Ukraine and nationalist as well as rightwing sentiment. What are your thoughts?

AS: I don't think the crash has exerted much impact on domestic Ukrainian politics. Bear in mind that Kiev has been militarily engaged with Russian separatists for some time now, and so the Malaysia airliner disaster won't do much to change the fundamental dynamic one way or the other. I also don't believe this incident has had much of an impact upon nationalist groups, again for similar reasons.

16 July 2014

Article: "Ukraine’s Radical Right" published in Journal of Democracy

Journal of Democracy has recently published a new issue that features a special section "The Maidan and Beyond". Andreas Umland and I co-authored an article for this section:

Ukraine’s Radical Right

Abstract:
Thanks largely to the Kremlin’s information war, Ukraine’s ultranationalists have become global media stars of a sort, depicted in Western and other reports as key players in Ukraine’s third major political upheaval in less than a quarter-century. How do we explain the paradox of ultranationalist parties becoming involved in a protest movement whose thrust is toward greater integration between Ukraine and the European Union? And are the fears that swirl around these parties justified? The most obvious explanation for the Ukrainian far right’s ardent participation in the EuroMaidan may be found in the primary goal shared by all Ukrainian nationalists, radical and moderate alike: to liberate Kyiv from the Kremlin’s hegemony.

14 July 2014

Российский нео-нацист Роман Железнов просит политического убежища в Украине

9 июля в Украину прибыл российский нео-нацист - Роман "Зухель" Железнов. В киевском аэропорту "Борисполь" его встречали представители украинской нео-нацистской группировки "Социал-национальная ассамблея" (СНА), лидеры которой составляют руководство спецбатальона МВД Украины "Азов".

"Одна вера, один вождь и один народ. У нас есть вера. Наша вера - это национал-социализм". Выступление Романа Железнова на "Русском марше" в Москве 4 ноября 2012 года.
Игорь Криворучко (СНА), Анна Сенник (глава информационной службы "Азова") и Роман Железнов. Киев, 9 июля

13 July 2014

The Kremlin Builds an Unholy Alliance With America’s Christian Right

My guest op-ed for War is Boring:

The Kremlin Builds an Unholy Alliance With America’s Christian Right

Since the re-election of Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia in 2012, the Kremlin has clamped down on independent media, established a draconian ban on “gay propaganda” and invaded the Ukrainian Republic of Crimea.

This new Russian government is aggressive, autocratic and moving further to the political right, argues Anton Shekhovtsov, a London-based expert on the Ukrainian and Russian far right—who originally hails from the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The Kremlin is also reaching out to American conservative evangelicals as a means to find potential allies sympathetic to Russia’s rightward shift. In the following op-ed, Shekhovtsov explains why that’s dangerous.


11 July 2014

Look far right, and look right again

My new article for openDemocracy:

Look far right, and look right again

The Russian political establishment thinks that Ukrainians are 'traitors to Orthodox civilisation and Russian unity.’ But it is not only Putin’s Russia that is behind the challenge to democracy in Ukraine.

30 June 2014

Украинские нео-нацисты готовят "новую революцию"

Read this post in English here.

1 июля в 12:00 украинская нео-нацистская группировка Социал-Национальная Ассамблея (СНА) планирует устроить беспорядки в Киеве.

В руководство СНА входят Андрей Билецкий, Игорь Мосейчук и Олег Однороженко. Вместе с другими членами СНА они были освобождены из тюрьмы - благодаря Олегу Ляшко - после победы украинской революции как политзаключенные, хотя они не имели никакого отношения к самой революции и оказались в тюрьме (кроме Однороженко) задолго до нее. Во время революции СНА формально входила в "Правый сектор" (ПС), а Билецкий и Однороженко даже были введены в "провид" ПС в марте, но многие члены СНА предпочитали базироваться не на 5-ом этаже Дома профсоюзов (база ПС во время революции), а в КГГА, который контролировался "Свободой" и ее нео-нацистским крылом С14 ("Січ"). С марта-апреля СНА также предпочитает сотрудничать с Ляшко, нежели с ПС, а Мосейчук даже был избран депутатом Киевской Рады по списку Радикальной партии Олега Ляшко.

27 June 2014

Putyin hasznos idiótái és Európa kis Ribbentropjai

Putyin hasznos idiótái és Európa kis Ribbentropjai
Anton Shekhovtsov

Vita: Féljünk a putyini Oroszországtól?

A 2014 novemberében kezdődött ukrán EU-párti tüntetések, amelyek végül Viktor Janukovics bukásához vezettek, eléggé réijesztettek Putyinra, akinek két oka is lehet a félelemre.

Először is attól tarthat, hogy az ukrán tüntetések sikere átterjedhet Oroszországra, és ott is erős utcai ellenállás szerveződhet vele szemben, elvégre 2012-ben már voltak jelentős tüntetések ellene.

Másodsorban az EU-val kötött ukrán megállapodás, amely a kijevi tüntetések fő oka volt, végképp kihúzhatja Ukrajnát az orosz érdekszférából. Sőt, Ukrajna ezek után akar a NATO-tagságot is megcélozhatja, ami pedig minden orosz nacionalista legnagyobb félelme.

24 June 2014

Jobbik acknowledges Russian military invasion in Ukraine

Commenting on the planned military cooperation between Visegrád 4 (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and Ukraine, Hungarian far right Jobbik party acknowledged the fact that Russia is directly involved in the "civil war" in Ukraine.

First they blatantly recycle the Russian propagandistic narrative about the "civil war in Ukraine" and the "US involvement", but then they explicitly argue that if the Visegrad 4 military cooperation with Ukraine goes ahead, they would be confronting not pro-Russian separatists, but Russia itself. Thus, Jobbik forgot to follow the Russian line and - in a lucid moment - stated the obvious: It is Russia, rather than pro-Russian separatists, that is behind the chaos in Eastern Ukraine. Thank you, Jobbik - we knew it.

(in the centre) Jobbik's Béla Kovács, possibly a Russian spy, and Gábor Vona, leader of Jobbik in Moscow, December 2008

20 June 2014

Freedom Party of Austria: pro-Russian far right lobbyists and merchants of deception

German version of this post can be found here: "Die Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs – rechte pro-russische Lobbyisten und Händler mit Täuschungen".

I wrote previously that Putin's Russia cooperates with European far right parties partly because the latter help Russian political and business elites worm into the West economically, politically and socially, and that for them the far right's racism and ultra-conservatism are less important then the far right's corruptibility.

Take, for example, late Jörg Haider. For some, he was the long-time leader of the far right Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ) and, later, the chairman of the Bündnis Zukunft Österreich. But for two Russian rich businessmen, Artyom Bikov and Aleksey Bobrov, Haider was a corrupt Governor of Carinthia who could be paid €900,000 in order to "assist" them in their naturalisation process. Imagine: the leader of an Austrian anti-immigration party took bribes to facilitate the acquisition of citizenship by non-Austrians.

FPÖ, under the leadership of Heinz-Christian Strache, is also involved in dubious deals and processes which are partly ideological and partly financial. The links between FPÖ and Putin's Russia are deep and numerous, so as a starting point let's take an almost random event: the conference "Colour revolutions in the CIS countries and their current impact" that took place in Vienna on 4 June 2010 at the Imperial Hotel.

(from left to right) Maksim Shevchenko, Sergey Markov, Heinz-Christian Strache, Bermet Akayeva, Vladyslav Lukyanov, Geydar Dzhemal, Levan Pirveli, Barbara Kappel. 4 June 2010, Vienna

15 June 2014

Eurosceptic and Far-Right Parties’ Support Comparison 2009-2014

Eurosceptic and Far-Right Parties’ Support Comparison 2009-2014 (European Parliament elections)
Source: European Elections 2014: A First Look Pro-European Perspective



Country
National Party
2009 (share of national vote)
2014 (share of national vote)1
Percentage change in national vote
Austria
Freedom Party (FPÖ)
2 MEPs (12.71%)
4 MEPs (20.5%)
+7.79%
Belgium
Vlaams Belang
2 MEPs (9.85%)
1 MEP (6.8%)
-3.5%
Bulgaria
National Union Attack
2 MEPs (11.96%)
0 MEP (3.0%)
-8.96%

National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria
1 MEP (7.95%)2
0 MEP (3.5%)
-4.9%
Croatia
N/A



Cyprus
N/A



Czech
Republic
Party of Free Citizens (Svobodní)
0 MEP (1.27%)
1 MEP (5.2%)
+3.39%
Denmark
Danish People's Party
2 MEPs (14.8%)
4 MEPs (26.6%)
+ 11.8%
Estonia
N/A



Finland
Finns Party
1 MEP (9.79%)
2 MEPs (12.9%)
+3.11%
France
National Front
3 MEPs (6.3%)
24MEPs
(25%)
+15.21%
Germany
Libertas (MPF -CPNT)
2 MEP (4.8%)
0 MEP (%)

National Democratic Party
0 MEP (0 %)
1 MEP (1%)
+ 1%
Greece
Popular Orthodox Rally
2 MEPs (7.15%)
0 MEP (%)

Golden Dawn
N/A
3 MEPs (9.4%)
+ 9.4%
Independent Greeks
N/A
1 MEP (%)
+ 3.5%
Hungary
Jobbik
3 MEPs (14.77%)
3 MEPs (14.3%)
- 0.47%
Ireland
N/A



Italy
Northern League
9 MEPs (10.2%)
5 MEPs (6.2%)
-4%
Latvia
N/A



Lithuania
Order and Justice
2 MEPs (12.22%)
2 MEPs (14.3%)
+2.08%
Luxembourg
N/A



Malta
N/A



Netherlands
Party for Freedom
4 MEPs (16.97%)
4 MEPs (13.2%)
- 3.77%

Reformed Political Party (SGP)3
1 MEP (6.82%)
1 MEP (7.6%)
+ 0.78%
Poland
Congress of the New Right (KNP)
N/A
4 MEPs (7.1%)
+7.1%
Portugal
N/A



Romania
Greater Romania Party
3 MEPs (8.65%)
0MEP
(2.7%)
-5.95%
Slovakia
Slovak National Party
1 MEP (5.56%)
0 MEP (3.61%)
-1.95%
Slovenia
N/A



Spain
N/A



Sweden
Sweden Democrats (SD)
0 MEP (3.27%)
2 MEPs (9.7%)
+ 6.43%
United
Kingdom
British National Party
2 MEPs (6.04%)
0 MEP (1.1%)
- 4.91%
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
13 MEPs (16.09%)
24 MEPs (27.5%)
+11.41%
EU

55 MEPs
(7.47% of EP Seats)
86MEPs
(11.45% of EP Seats)
+ 3.98%



Notes:

[1] These figures are provisional as many of the newly elected parties have yet to determine which political grouping to sit in. Therefore it is expected that some of these figures will change.
[2] Party ran as part of a joint list in 2009 and as such this result includes the overall result for the list as individual figures for the national Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria not known at this stage.
[3] In both 2009 and 2014 SGP ran as part of a joint list with Christian Union, the % figures are the vote share of the joint list and not of the individual party.