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‘Land of Oz’: Ukraine slipping into far-right hands

‘Land of Oz’: Ukraine slipping into far-right hands
With growing popularity of neo-Nazi Oleg Tyahnybok, leader of the Ukrainian far-right Svoboda party, Ukraine is falling into an extremely dangerous situation, journalist and blogger Graham Phillips told RT.

“We are looking at a tinder box which might go up and we are looking at a man [Tyahnybok] who's standing there and waiting for that to happen,” Phillips said, describing the current situation in Ukraine.

“At the moment, the landscape of Ukrainian politics can be compared to the Wizard of Oz,” he said.

“You've got three leaders: you've got [Vitaly] Klichko, [Arseniy] Yatsenyuk and [Oleg] Tyahnybok, and of course you've got Timoshenko if you like. And they all are missing something: Klichko doesn’t have intelligence, but he has charisma, Yatsenyuk has intelligence, but he has no charisma, Tyahnybok has intelligence and charisma but he is an extremely dangerous Neo-Nazi figure. And Timoshenko is still pulling the strings and still orchestrating things from behind bars, but where she fits into the whole picture is not clear.”

Klichko and Yatsenyuk are the guys at the front, “very much on the stage, in front of the camera,” and what you've got behind it is only Tyahnybok, Phillips told RT. Back in the October 2012 elections when Tyahnybok didn't really capitalize, his party only got around 40 MPs in the Rada, but now Tyahnybok is a strong politician who’s waiting for his moment to seize power, Phillips said.

Activists of the Svoboda (Freedom) Ukrainian nationalist party shout slogans as they take part in a rally marking the 71st anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought both Nazi and Soviet forces in World War Two, and the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in central Kiev, October 14, 2013. (REUTERS/ Gleb Garanich)

“Tyahnybok is waiting for the other leaders to knock themselves out and then he's going to step over them to seize control. It’s a very big likelihood. He is just staying behind, observing the situation and he's quite prepared to let his enemies rip out each other's throats. He's in a very powerful position and has a dominating role in Ukrainian politics. He’s taking a back seat but he is waiting and playing a waiting game, waiting for the right time to make his move. Believe me, he has something up his sleeve, and this is something intrinsic in terms of the future of Ukraine,” he said.

If the future of Ukraine is Tyahnybok, you are looking at an extremely dangerous situation, Phillips said, whereby Ukraine would move closer to the EU under the opposition.

“Tyahnybok and Svoboda party are far-right, in fact even further right than the Golden Dawn party in Greece. You are looking at Ukraine falling in the hands of the man who is one of the most far-right leaders in world politics.”

As for Yatsenyuk, he is an extremely ambitious man, who declared his intention to be president back in 2009, Phillips told RT. Nevertheless, Yatsenyuk’s position is not that strong as Yushchenko’s was at the time of the Orange Revolution, or Tyahnybok’s position now.

“The issue that Yatsenyuk has is that he himself is not a popular figure, he isn’t a popular leader. He is an a leader who has inspired Ukrainians at this time when the country is really crying out for a figure to come forward to give them some kind of an inspiration, the way that Yushchenko did at the time of the Orange Revolution,” Phillips said.

There is also a problem with Klichko, Phillips said. Klitschko is a young man of 42, but he doesn’t have the degree of intelligence required to lead the country. And more than that, Klichko isn’t a man who really has charisma. “That’s something that has been apparent during the EuroMaidan gatherings, because whenever [Klichko] appeared there has never been a high degree of enthusiasm from the public. I think Ukrainians would like to like Klichko more than they really do,” Phillips said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.