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Civic Nation Unity in Deversity

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

Starting with the victory of Maidan in Ukraine in 2014, the new government began actively to adopt the rhetoric of right-wing radicals, thus earning political points. The authorities started play on the field of radicals in two ways. The first way is inaction. Law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to openly extremist statements by radicals, do not pursue offenders in the event that a minority representatives becomes a victim, etc. Thus, the power renders tacit support to the radicals. The second way that power resorts to in order to strengthen its influence on the radicals is its aggressive rhetoric.

Some officials made statements against the Russian language. On November 8 and 9, 2014, President Petro Poroshenko said that only Ukrainian language will have the official state language status, thus discriminating the large Russian-speaking population in the country.

On August 23, 2015, Ukrainian MP Oles Doniy stated that a regular cultivation programme of residents of eastern and southern regions must be carried out. “Otherwise, we are playing in Putin’s hand. Inactivity in the humanitarian sphere is helping Putin. Some say, we need to listen to Donbass and give them the Russian language. On the contrary, they need to have more Ukrainian books and TV shows, we need to attract more Ukrainian artists. There are many Russian speakers even in the National Guard, who need to partake in Ukrainian language more”.

On September 9, 2014, Glavkom newspaper published an interview where Commissioner for Ethnic and National Policy Gennady Druzenko talked about the disloyalty of minorities to the government. “Traditionally, there is the issue of gypsies, because it’s a problem of socialisation as well as language and culture. There are also attempts to use Hungarians in Ukraine and, partially, Romanians, to block mobilisation. The situation is exacerbated by demands of Hungarian autonomy”.

Members of the Svoboda party made numerous xenophobic statements. On February 23, 2014, Oleg Tyagnibok, leader of the Svoboda party that is part of the united opposition, stated that new Ukraine should have a Ministry of National Identity. Svoboda MP Irina Farion posted on Facebook about her dissatisfaction with President Poroshenko’s inaugural speech, part of which was in Russian language. She called it “servility” and “unprecedented disparagement of the Ukrainian language”. On August 14, 2014, Irina Farion accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of dismissing senior officials originally from Lviv and replacing them with “ethnically marked” people like Lozhkin, Klimkin or Groisman. Immediately Poroshenko was accused of preparing for a special status for the language of invaders – Russian. Farion also demanded the return of “nationality” section in Ukrainian passports.

Member of parliament Irina Farion spoke at the procession dedicated to UPA heroes, “I don’t like quoting Hitler, but he said – Wars are won before the war. We see this in Crimea. Be vigilant, our enemies live among us. Their names end in –enko, -uki, -yuki, -chuki. They may wear the uniform, but their souls are not Ukrainian”.

On February 14, Udar party MP and First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs Valentin Nalivaichenko told representatives of OSCE about anti-Semitism and xenophobia flourishing in the rank of Ukrainian “Berkut”, demonstrating the European parliamentary delegations anti-Semitic and xenophobic images and publication on “Berkut’s” pages in the social networks.

Head of the Ukrainian disease control in Uman Larisa Kachanov said that Hasidic pilgrims who will visit a landmark in the city could infect locals with the plague, Ebola and other terrible diseases.

A number of politicians defended nationalists who set fire to a cinema that was supposed to screen an LGBT movie. Deputy of Kiev City Council I. Moseichuck called the arrested activists “prisoners of conscience” who acted against “propaganda of sodomite sin” and in protection of “health of the nation”. His colleague and member of Svoboda Party Yu. Noevoy blamed the incident on “extremists who lobby anti-Christian and anti-family values”.

On December 10, 2014, Prosecutor of Zaporozhye told head of the region A. Sin that he is ready to buy him a one-way ticket to North Korea.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, in early June 2015, opposed the "Equality March" in support of sexual minorities, saying that "to hold mass events that also have an ambiguous perception in society, not to the time" and urging "not to play on hand to the enemy, not to incite enmity and not create another confrontation in the center of the capital, "accusing LGBT activists of inciting hatred. June 3, 2015 Verkhovna Rada deputy Vladimir Parasyuk said that gay men who will gather for the parade in Kiev, should be collected in a military car "Ural" and sent to the ATU (war) zone, because they, too, must defend the Motherland. Another MP Mikhail Gavrilyuk threatened to "break the backbone" gays and castrate them. June 4, 2015, the leader of the "Right Sector" Dmitry Yarosh wrote in his Facebook that the LGBT allegedly "impose an IDEOLOGY of sexual perversions and the destruction of the institution of the family." "Taking into account what has just been said, the representatives of the Military-Political Movement the "Right-wing sector" will be forced to distract from other affairs in order to prevent the implementation of the plans of haters of the family, morals and ordinary ideas about man. We have enough to do, but circumstances compel us to pay attention to this evil, "he said. June 6, 2015, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, nationalist I. Mosychuk accused Russia by the organization of the "March of Equality", because Russia "seeks to discredit Ukraine, and simultaneously called the attack of the ultra-right on the procession "just indignation".

Xenophobic statements have been noted amongst the separatists. Vice Prime Minister of the Donbass People’s Republic Vladimir Antyufeev told the New Gazette on August 15, 2014, that the situation in Donbass is the fault of “Ukrainian fascists and European and American masons”.

On December 30, 2014, head of the “ataman Platov Cossack regiment” published a video message, accusing head of Luhansk People’s Republic of stealing coal with anti-Semitic remarks.

Xenophobic media publications have also been noted in the monitoring. On April 3, 2015, “Misto Vechirne” newspaper published an article that accused Hassidic Jews of ritual murder of children. “Beilis case” and an alleged story of ritual murder of school students in Crimea were given as evidence. Author advised parents to “be vigilant and protect their children”.

Monitoring recorded an enthusiastic reaction of several nationalists to the deaths of people in Odessa on May 2 (they were burned alive). MP from the national-democratic Fatherland party (“Batkivshchina”) Lesya Orobets commended on the incidents, “This day went down in history,” she wrote on a social network. “Odessa citizens, despite the betrayal of at least part of police, have held Odessa and proved to everyone that Odessa is Ukraine. At the cost of lives of patriots, we achieved an outstanding victory. Colorado Swarms have been eliminated. Aggressors, who attacked first, were given a more than adequate response.” She accompanied her post with several photographs of headless corpses.

Svoboda MP Irina Farion also wrote about the death of 48 people in Odessa. “Bravo, Odessa. Pearl of Ukrainian Spirit. The birthplace of great nationalists Ivan and Yuri Lip. Let the devils burn in hell. Football fans are the best rebels. Bravo!”

Neo-fascist "Right Sector" posted a memo by Yevgeny Tromifenko on its official website. The text called the events of May 2nd a “bright page of our history. On this day, despite police efforts, not indifferent public eliminated the gatherings of Putin’s mercenaries and ordinary degenerates in Odessa. Alcoholics, drug addicts, other lumpen along with hired Russian activists and infiltrators all fled in shame from the outraged Ukrainian citizens”. After the tragic events, a number of Ukrainian users posted on social medias applauding the tragedy, joking and mocking the photographs of corpses, “gathered Colorado beetles in a bottle and burned them” , “the smell of May barbecue in Odessa”, “Colorados burned themselves down”, and so on.

On June 23, 2014, it was reported that artist A. Rozhkova, who was writing a comic against the war in eastern Ukraine, had a character with pronounced Jewish features as an oligarch.

I hope everyone understands that those who voted in Donetsk People’s Republic referendum must be deprived of the right to vote and be elected to national and local governments. We need to introduce a non-citizenship policy, like in the Baltics, to solve the problem of ‘cotton electorate’,” Ukrainian political scientist and chief editor of Khvilya magazine Yuri Romanenko wrote on August 21.

Political scientist T. Berezovets published an article on October 6, accusing Russia of preparing deportations of Crimean Tatars, citing their former leader M. Dzhemilev. According to him, population census in 2015 is planned in preparation of this action.

Xenophobic articles also appeared in the separatist media. On April 20, 2015, separatists in Slavyansk launched their own TV channel, replacing the frequency of Ukraine’s “Inter” and presenting it as a “powerful informational strike” on Ukrainian propaganda and “Zionist broadcasting”. The first programme aired on Adolf Hitler’s birthday (possibly coincidentally) and included a lecture by Konstantin Petrov, leader of Russian anti-Semitic Neo-Pagan Party.

On May 21, it was reported that a separatist commander Alexandr Mozhayev (known as Babai) urged President Vladimir Putin to “open a corridor” for people who want to fight for “Holy Russia” and destroy the evil of Western “Jew Masons”.

On December 5, 2014, Ukrainian newspaper "XXI Vek" published an article by Natalia Maximets, full of anti-Semitic remarks. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was called a “Valtsman”, who “rewrote the Constitution” and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was called a “known Hassid”.

On May 26, 2015 during the awarding ceremony of the winners of the 15th International Ukrainian Language Contest named after P.Yatsyka The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko again stated about the alleged consensus in the language issue: “In Ukraine there was and always will be one official language – our, Ukrainian language,” he said. President of Ukraine in noted that there have always been attempts to use the language issue to divide the state: “What is now uniting our nation, state, people? Language... and this was not the result of the policy. We have seen enough of manipulations of these self-proclaimed defenders of minority languages, their cynical manipulations with European charters, but this will not succeed in splitting our society.”

According to the president, the unity of the Ukrainian people was the result of a consensus: “Citizens who spoke different languages decided: now all our children will learn Ukrainian.” He added, “The choice of Ukrainian language was the choice of the younger generation. It is the youth who made the choice and now demonstrates it and protects it... annexation and aggression is the result of the powerlessness to stop this process... Ukrainians are deserving descendants of those who fought against the decrees and circulars that various empires wanted to deprive our people language, and hence - our soul.”

Several anti-Semitic statements came from officials in the separatist regions of Ukraine. On February 2, 2015, leaders of the Luhansk and Donetsk self-proclaimed republics (Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky) held a joint press conference, where the former called Ukrainian leaders “pathetic Jews”. LNR leader Igor Plotnitsky tried to present it as a joke. LNR Field Commander Mozgovoy, who controlled Alchevsk, told Anna-News in one of his last interviews, before he was killed on May 23, 2015: “We are fighting against New Israel. I realise that our enemies are not Ukrainians, but Jewish oligarchs and their American curators.”

On June 16, 2015, Igor Plotnitsky spoke at Nekrasov State University in Kostroma, where he presented a lecture “Modern Ukraine as a new fascist state” and repeated an anti-Semitic myth that Jews control Ukraine.

Anti-Semitic rhetoric was also common on the other side of the front. On June 19, Right Sector website announced a march dedicated to the victory of Russian Prince Svyatoslav Igorevich over the Khazar Khanate. Right Sector claimed that Ukraine is oppressed by a new Khazar – the criminal oligarchy, which robs the country and helps Moscow to take control over Ukraine.

Furthermore, in January 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavel Klimkin said during his visit in Transcarpathia that soon dual citizenship would be banned in Ukraine. In addition, Minister said that sanctions will be applied to those who keep dual citizenship, which concerned many local ethnic Hungarians, who hold citizenship of both countries.

In 2015, Ministry of Education and Science issued an additional paragraph to history books and methodical materials dedicated to the events of 2014-2015, containing a statement that Russia seeks to “deprive Ukrainians of the right to their own state, culture and history”. New textbooks demonised separatists and depicted them as “aliens”. The term “Russian terrorists” was used quite often.

“Peacekeeper” website (https://psb4ukr.org/), maintained by A. Avakov’s Advisor, A. Geraschenko continued its activities during the monitored period. Earlier, this website published personal detailes of Mr Kalashnikov and Ms Buzina, who were murdered shortly after. In an interview with a popular Baltic news portal, Delfi, Geraschenko compared website administrators to Simon Wiesenthal, a prominent Nazi hunter who published details of thousands of Nazi criminals. He also argued that publishing private information of Ms Buzina under the title “Enemy Accomplice” was not a call for murder in any shape of form. After the attack on foreign nationals in Kharkiv on June 11, Voice of Nation / Ultra-Right Activist association published a message on VK, titled “Patriots in Kharkiv carried out an attack on black students”, where they commended the attackers and regretted the fact that “not all occupiers were cut down”. Stepan Bandera Trident website (banderivets.org.ua), belonging to an organisation that later became part of Right Sector, also commended the attack on foreign students and talked about “brazen migrant students, who terrorise locals”.

Interestingly, in a statement on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2016, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko never used the word “Jews”.

On February 4, 2016, deputy head of the executive power of Lutsk, deputy of the Batkivshchyna Party, Sergei Grigorenko, said at a meeting of the executive committee of the Lutsk City Council that local drinking establishments, where alcohol is sold at night, act as “modern Jews - owners of tins that were soldering Ukrainians “[24].

Members of the government actively used the Internet to publish their xenophobic views. Website called “Peacemaker” (https://psb4ukr.org/) actively operated on the Internet, which was supported by the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs A. Avakov A. Gerashchenko. In an interview published April 27, with a popular Baltic news portal Delfi, A. Gerashchenko, referring to the portal “Peacemaker”, compared its authors with a Nazi hunter, S. Wiesenthal, who sent information about Nazi criminals to thousands of addresses. He also stated that the posting of O. Buzina's personal data on the website with the label “an accomplice of the enemy” was allegedly not an incitement to murder.

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NOTES:

[*] The name of the separatists by the Ukrainian national radicals - by the colors of the St. George's ribbon, which they compare with the coloring of the Colorado beetle - approx. aut. - approx. aut.

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