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4 Jun, 2019 06:43

Euromaidan activist with neo-Nazi links joins Facebook as public policy manager

Euromaidan activist with neo-Nazi links joins Facebook as public policy manager

A Ukrainian activist who rejoiced at the sight of 48 anti-Maidan protesters burning to death in Odessa in 2014 has been hired by Facebook ostensibly to combat Russian ‘disinformation’.

Kateryna Kruk will be working out of Warsaw in her new role as Facebook’s public policy manager for Ukraine. While Kruk’s immediate duties are not clear, the announcement was met with enthusiasm by her followers, hoping she would unleash a crackdown on ‘Kremlin trolls’.  Kruk has an unequivocal anti-Russian reputation, having written for several international publications and on Twitter.

Kruk shot to prominence at the height of the mass protests that preceded the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, becoming a ‘spokesman for Euromaidan’ as she live-tweeted in English from the first days of the two-month protest. As the movement was hijacked by right-wing nationalists led by the Right Sector and the far-right, borderline neo-Nazi Svoboda party, the situation quickly spiraled into violence. Around that time, Kruk worked as a staffer for Svoboda, praising the party for being “Ukrainian-focused,” while expressing some reservations about its hardline ultra-nationalist ideology. 

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Kruk might have had some concerns about the party, which embraced Ukrainian nationalist leader and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera as a hero, but it did not deter her from gloating over the deaths of several dozen of her political opponents in Odessa’s trade union building in May 2014, which was set on fire by football hooligans as police seemingly stood by watching. The people who burned to death and suffocated inside the building were peacefully protesting the coup in the central city square before being attacked by the rowdy gangs. 

READ MORE: Who checks the fact-checkers? Facebook leaves verification to groups funded by Soros, US Congress

“Odessa cleaned itself from terrorists, proud for city fighting for its identity. Glory to fallen heroes,” Kruk tweeted at the time. 

Since then, she has briefly served as a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture (2014) and the Ministry of Health (2017), and managed social media and international communication for the Ukrainian Parliament. She was one of the “leading analysts” of Stopfake.org, a site that purports to track Russian media “lies” about Ukraine. 

Her controversial background and statements did not prevent her from being given a Freedom Award by the Atlantic Council in 2014 for her live-tweeting skills.

Facebook has previously come under fire for carrying out a crusade against misinformation with questionable means. The ‘certified fact-checkers’ the company has cooperated with have been revealed to have links to the US government and Democratic Party mega-donor George Soros. 

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