‘Right wing practicing violence in Ukraine no mystery to anyone’
RT: The US said Kiev can use force to uphold the rule of law, but that's not what it was saying during Maidan, which they say was "largely peaceful". Would you agree with that assessment of Maidan?
Roger Annis: No not at all. In fact there is a growing body of evidence that researchers into the events on Maidan Square are showing that there was extreme violence practiced by the right-wing forces that were striving to overthrow the elected president at that time, and specifically the use of sniper fire on February 20. Now there is considerable evidence, including in the official investigation ongoing in the Ukraine itself, that the sniper fire that was blamed on the police of the government that was overthrown in fact came from the right-wing side. So that the right wing practices violence is no mystery to anyone, but perhaps these latest events in Kiev will give more impetus to a real and serious investigation into the extremely violent events on Maidan Square on February 20 and the days and weeks leading up to that.
James Petras, Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University on latest protests in Kiev: “It’s very clear that economically Ukraine is a basket case. Internally the Kiev regime is deeply divided and increasingly the conflicts are becoming violent. Svoboda and Right Sector groups have become very belligerent and are challenging the government’s authority. I think the outside survival link is what holds Poroshenko in power. Without that… and the legislation to try to decentralize some of the issues that confront the country is a way of retaining outside support which is so necessary since Poroshenko has more or less lost it internally.”
RT: Back in January last year the US State Department even considered sanctions against the previous Yanukovich government for using force on Maidan square. Why was the attitude to Yanukovich so different when he tried to get his country in order?
RA: Precisely, and in fact let’s take that a little bit further. When we look at the so called violence that was carried out on Maidan Square for those months before the overthrow of the elected president, violence coming from the government… I'm not going to sit here and defend all the actions of the Yanukovich government, but they are grossly exaggerated. And at the same time the violence coming from the right-wing side striving to overthrow the government has been - as we are seeing by the reaction today from the State Department - has been mysteriously downgraded in a complete whitewash and cover-up, as I said the growing body of evidence about the sniper fire. So what we saw on Maidan Square was the unraveling of a conspiracy. And that requires a lot of evidence to be hushed up and silenced and it requires a massive media propaganda effort to convince the world that something rather opposite to what was taking place on Maidan Square, that a violent right wing uprising against an elected president was taking place. The US can't sell that to the world, they can't say “we supported a violent right wing protest against an elected president.” They have that … fictional narrative of the actual events. And you know we're seeing today the very forces that were out there on Maidan Square 18 months ago, we see them in action again. And now this government is really reaping the whirlwind of the conspiracy that it was a part of it months ago.
James Petras, Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University on latest protests in Kiev: “This could be the second Maidan too and it reflects that the government came to power illegitimately through violence and now is facing its own violent internal opposition. If Svoboda comes to power it will create turmoil on the borders, because these extremist groups look toward a confrontation with Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. It is an extremist group which has no understanding of the international alignments today.”
RT: Can these protests involving radicals escalate? And do you think Washington will back Poroshenko's government till the very end?
RA: I'm not sure how much further this can go. The extreme right in Ukraine is in no position to overthrow this government in Kiev. This could not be solved internationally, not in the slightest. And so I think the right wing is making its points, we may see more of these violent protests, but they are in no position to overthrow the government. Now the government on the other hand [has got to use peaceful means] because it has obligations under the Minsk II ceasefire agreement which it is failing to carry out, including this proposed decentralization law, which is for the most part is an evasion by the Kiev government of its responsibilities and obligations under Minsk II.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.