Jewish Newspaper in Berlin about Ukraine

March 2, 2014   ·   0 Comments

The fear of the day after

Why Jews in Ukraine are concerned.

27.02.2014 – of Igor MitchnikIgor Mitchnik

Swoboda marches: members of the extreme right-wing party in Kiev

© imago

The Ukraine is in transition: After the fall of the regime of Yanukovych the Parliament elected a new government. While in Kiev begins the redesigning of the state, from the South-East of the country, more precisely from the city of Zaporozhye, about an arson attack on the local synagogue is reported. The Bad News. The fear of further anti-Semitic Attacks is spreading. Rabbi in Kiev shows concern, advises Jews even to leave the country. Is there a threat?

One should not overestimate the role of right-wing extremist and anti-Semites in the opposition movement in Kyiv, Donetsk or Lviv, one can hear currently often.

The German based Heinrich-Boell-Foundation, for example, presented a study, according to which on the Maidan » there are no extremists, but rather elements of a liberal movement of a civil disobedience movement«.

OPPOSITION The fact is, however, that anti-Semitic and nationalist groups in the Opposition have played an important role. There is a right-wing extremist organization Swoboda – the world Jewish Congress named it along with the Greek party »Golden dawn« and the Hungarian “Jobbik” party, as well as other representatives of the so-called rights sector, an Association of radical right wing and neo-fascistic groups.

Some of its representatives are among the forces, which control currently in Kiev the streets. Some of these extremists may become memebers in a future government.

From the Maidan in the ministries. One can not exclude that members of the Swoboda-party will be in responsible positions, for example in the Ministry of Internal affairs, and in the Prosecutor General’s office. 

New powerful woman in the Ukrainian politics is – again – Julia Tymoshenko, a long time in prison, detained former Prime Minister. Her party »Fatherland« was formed together with heavyweight Boxing champion and Udar-party leader Vitali Klitschko and the Swoboda-party Opposition against the government.

ALTERNATIVE This Block is now in Power. The strongest is the »Fatherland«. Now, is that the hoped-for an Alternative to the detached corrupt government and the rampant nationalism? Doubts are appropriate, because after the »Orange Revolution« in 2005, Tymoshenko, along with her former ally, President Viktor Yushchenko, have promoted the nationalism in the country. The aim was, in the very heterogeneous population of the Ukraine to enforce a homogeneous view of history. 

One measure was the attempt to abolish Russian as an official language, although this is at least in the traditionally Russian-dominated East of the native language of many Ukrainians. 2012, this law has been conceded. However, after the recent overthrow many millions citizens are afraid again in regards to their language.

The new interim President is currently a follower of Tymoshenko, Alexander Turtschinow.

As one of the first acts of the Ukrainian Parliament it cancelled the law of 2012, which gave the Russian-speaking population the guarantee to be able to use their language in public life.

But the language issue was not all what was done.

Then after it was a matter of propagation of a unified sense of history in the Ukraine. The »Soviet« based historiography should have been replaced in favor of a Patriotic one. This resulted in nothing more than the rehabilitation of nationalist and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. He became to a Hero of the Ukrainian independence movement. The killings and persecution by the Bandera-supporters of Russians, Poles and Jews in the Second World War suddenly appeared as a dark, though inevitable Chapter in the struggle for Ukrainian freedom.

The Swoboda-people worship now Bandera, as well as the followers of the Right sector.

JEW-HATRED Though we can not confirm easily claims from Russia and from the deposed President Yanukovych that the Ukrainian Opposition there would consist only from the extreme right, it is the question of how strong the Jew-hatred in these movements is present.

In Ukraine there are currently over 200,000 Jews. Many are in the opposition movement involved, like Journalist Vitaly Portnikov and artist Aleksandr Roitburd, many are holding back, and some are also with the old Regime. All of them unites the concern of whether their life, whether Jewish life in Ukraine will be still safe in the future.

The one who voices these concerns is according to many commentators falling in the back of the “The legitimate democratic movement of Ukrainians”.

It is not so, it is rather frightening how easy in view of a political upheaval antisemitism is being regarded as a rather marginal phenomenon.

Translated automatically from German.

Original article, German


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