‘It’s a huge embarrassment for the West to ignore Ukraine’s neo-Nazis’
The Ukrainian protesters clashed with police in Kiev after nearly 10,000 people took part in an anti-government demonstration at Maidan, or Independence Square, on January 18-19. What started as a peaceful demonstration turned into violent clashes with the police later Sunday. The most aggressive group of protesters, known as nationalists from Oleg Tyahnybok’s party, started throwing stones, debris and Molotov cocktails directly at the police, and using bats to beat the policemen.
RT:We are seeing some serious violence against the police in Ukraine. Why are they the victims here? What’s the crowd’s problem with them?
Dmitry Babich: I think that some people in the opposition decided that they could use the occasion that they had with this vote in the Ukrainian Parliament, the Rada, on January 16. At that time the majority of Rada deputies, despite the attempts by the minority opposition to block the session of the Rada, voted for the country’s budget which is needed urgently. This was condemned without real reason by a lot of Western governments so the opposition felt reassured, they decided to step up the protests and then these neo-Nazis got in because I think we should call a spade a spade. The ultranationalists from Western Ukraine, they are neo-Nazis.
RT:What these nationalists are campaigning for? Do they want closer ties with the West?
DB: Just like in 1941 they wanted closer ties with Adolf Hitler’s Germany and they expected Hitler's help in fighting the Soviet Army, in the same way now they want to establish their government and their control over Ukraine. [But] they are actually a small minority in Ukraine.
RT:But the majority of the peaceful protesters are here in the square tonight, they have different names, different arguments.
DB: I’m not sure, because these so-called peaceful protesters have been for months putting up with nasty slogans that these ultranationalists from Western Ukraine brought to Kiev. Slogans like “Україна — понад усё!” which is just the Ukrainian translation of “Deutschland über alles” – “Germany above everything,” the famous nasty Nazi slogan. This is the only part of the European population which is not repentant about their ancestors’ support for Adolf Hitler. Even in Latvia or in Finland, which were allied to Nazi Germany at certain periods in their history, even there you don’t have politicians and the mainstream media saying openly that what was done in 1941-42 was right. In Western Ukraine from these people you can hear direct support for Adolf Hitler. They say that Ukrainians are anthropologically superior to Russians, you can read all these terrible stuff in their newspapers and in their Internet messages.
RT:That’s not what the people of Vitaly Klichko are standing for, is it?
DB: Unfortunately, Vitaly Klichko is ready to use them. He doesn’t condemn [them]. And in this situation, I’m sure that Klichko will find a way out and say that these are provocateurs sent by Yanukovich or he’ll just say that this is a small radical part of the opposition that doesn’t really represent it. The problem is that both Klichko and Yatsenyuk stood side-by-side with these people, they stood side-by-side with their leader Oleg Tyahnybok, an open anti-Semite.
RT:Publicly, Vitaly Klichko’s people are very distant from those nationalists. But you are not saying that Klichko is actually agreeing with this clashes tonight, are you?
DB: The problem is that when the violence first erupted last year, Klichko failed to really condemn it – they always blame everything on the government. And this time again they are going to blame everything on the government, instead of admitting that they have some very bad people among them on Maidan. And I think it’s a huge embarrassment for the West because it’s just like with the Syrian opposition: the West has been saying that there are no jihadists among the opponents of Mr. Assad until we saw public executions and we suddenly found out that the most combat-ready forces in the Syrian opposition are the jihadists. In the same way the West has been turning a blind eye to all these neo-Nazis now operating in Kiev.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.