In this Al Jazeera article, Halya Coynash discusses the glaring irony in the fact that accusations of “fascism” are being made against Ukraine by a Russian government that is increasingly establishing close links with the parties of the European far right. In addition,
A number of the main actors in the pro-Russian protests in the Donetsk region have strong links with far-right parties. Pavel Gubarev, for example, is a Donetsk business owner and the head of the “People’s Militia”. On March 1, he was supposedly elected “people’s governor” and led a crowd in storming the Donetsk regional administration building, demanding that a referendum be held on the oblast’s secession and calling for Russian military intervention. His detention was presented by Russian TV channels as politically motivated persecution. They preferred not to delve into Gubarev’s ideological roots as a member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity Party.
On his Facebook blog, Ukrainian military expert Dmitry Tymchuk observes a difference in the behaviour of Russian forces in East Ukraine:
It is worth noting that earlier Russian troops tried to hide their affiliation to the Russian Armed Forces. But immediately after yesterday’s signing by Moscow of the so-called Geneva agreements, they began to “legitimize themselves”, though the Russian government sharply denies their presence in eastern Ukraine.
And in Novaya Gazeta a report from Slovyansk suggests that Russian servicemen are no longer bothering to conceal their identity on the ground.
In the New Atlanticist, Taras Kuzio writes that the unthinkable has happened in Europe – Russia has invaded Ukraine. But there are obstacles in Russia’s path:
First, the aim of the “green men” is to mobilize support for separatism in Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine opinion, but polls do not give high levels of support for either federalism, a strong Russian demand, or for union with Russia. In a poll conducted by the Kyiv-based Democratic Initiative foundation, only 6 to 7 percent in eastern and southern Ukraine support their region’s separation and union with Russia. That support reaches its high, 18 percent, in the Donbass region, in the far southeast. Nowhere does secession have majority support.
Second, Ukraine ultimately will fight for its eastern regions, meaning there will be high numbers of casualties on both sides.
The blog of Alexei Navalny, blocked by Roskomnadzor, now has a new home at navalny.com
Voices of Ukraine notes that the “Bravo” section of the Information Resistance Group has published a list and overview of organizations in Ukraine that use the presence of Russian and Russian-speaking minorities to provoke autonomist and separatist sentiment and also to threaten Ukraine’s territorial integrity. One of these structures is the officially banned Eurasian Youth Union. From its Wikipedia entry:
The early-20th century Eurasianism ideology of a part of the Russian emigration and modern Neo-Eurasianism developed by Aleksandr Dugin has been declared the main ideology of the organization. Its ideology also features prominently Russian nationalism and imperialism, calls for the creation of a new Eurasian empire centered around Russia. On its website the movement declared the West and in particular the United States as its main opponent and termed it as the “main evil”.
At Voices of Ukraine, Aleksei Fyodorov, a Crimea resident, describes the intimidation and threatening, Soviet-style behaviour of the civil and military authorities now that the Russian occupation is a fact of daily life:
When the “little green men” started to take over the peninsula, some people really were euphoric. I even entertained the perfidious thought that Russia would put its petrodollars into the Crimean economy and life would at last sort itself out. But that’s not how it turned out! Already after a few days some incredibly terrible things happened, it’s difficult to describe them, but to see them live is even worse. It’s like a nightmare or a horror film! A family of Crimean Tartars lived in our building, they had come back home at the beginning of the 1990s. The head of the family dared tell a Russian soldier that his armoured car was blocking the parking spaces near our building (it is on the edge of the city, almost as you come into town). The soldier immediately started swearing, then laughing loudly he commanded his comrade to ram the car. The front of his Lada Priora (bought six months ago on credit) was crushed and the Tartar, hardly believing his eyes, only just got out of the car.
The text of the poem by 23 year-old Kievan Anastasia Dmitruk
and a reading by the poet, together with a musical setting sung by a group including Lithuania’s Jeronimas Milius.