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28.12.2007 | Halya Coynash

Incendiary devices

   

On 14 December during a virulent DDOS attack which brought down the civic network Maidan and our human rights sties, there was not a lot which could distract us from the urgent need to get the sites running and the burning issue of who might be behind this latest cyber attack on freedom of speech.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs achieved the near impossible with a statement issued on their website* regarding what it deemed to be the rise in “nationalist, anti-Russian and Russo-phobic sentiments” in Ukraine. If nothing else, we all started looking around, ringing friends, wondering what had been happening during those first five days of the attack.

Then we read the Ministry’s statement again and understood from the sheer number of alleged assaults and cases of arson, as well as certain other identifiable, if rather curiously described, issues, that Ukrainians did not stand accused of a mere five-day surge of blind bigotry.  

We would venture to dispute all of the unsubstantiated claims made in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s  statement regarding the Ukrainian Resistance Army [UPA], as well as a considerable amount else. The best way, however, to refute, or of course, substantiate, such claims is through relentless commitment to ascertaining historical truth, based solely on facts. Should the Russian Government seriously be in possession of facts confirming their claims, we can only repeat the requests made by the Ukrainian Security Service and President to declassify the archival material in Russian possession which remains closed to investigators.

However there was one most disturbing and entirely specific allegation, against “a certain Tymchyna”.  The accusation against Vasyl Tymchyna is serious enough to warrant being quoted in full.

It is noticeable that radical nationalist forces in the country do not only feel that they have freedom to act with impunity, but are positively activating their attempts at provocation. For example, at the end of November in Zaporizhya, during the official opening of a memorial to the victims of famine in the USSR 1932-1933, in the cravenly silent presence of representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, the head of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, a certain Tymchyna stooped to making  blasphemous Russo-phobic and anti-Semitic utterances. .

Now cyber attack or no cyber attack, that was serious.  Nor, according to the text, was it just one moral Neanderthal, but a whole silent mob behind him.  It was not only we, however, who found the story disturbing.  We could name legions of others similarly concerned, however let’s concentrate on one indignant voice, that of Mr Vasyl Tymchyna himself.  We all get misunderstood from time to time or find that our words have been quoted with inaccuracies or distortions. We are however talking about our own words. Mr Tymchyna was ill on the day in question and not only unable to give the speech he was accused of having made, but quite simply not there at all. 

Well, well, well.  This all emerged since the Ukrainian Security Service [SBU], quite understandably, wished to check the facts before considering charges under Articles 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (inciting ethnic enmity).  This in fact is so understandable that one wonders why nobody else seemed inclined to check whether the allegations bore any relation to the truth. 

The scurrilous libel published by the Internet site in question is still available for perusal (http://www.mignews.com/news/disasters/cis/291107_130747_15216.html ). 

Were they misinformed?  One must assume that they were and that they went on to misinform the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which would appear to have staff especially employed to scrutinize Ukrainian regional press.  They saw this article, not, admittedly, repeated anywhere else, and reacted most promptly.

We must however stress that neither media outlets nor the representatives of foreign governments are entitled to make very serious allegations of criminally liable offences without some basic checks.  These must involve ascertaining at very least whether the person in question was anywhere near the place where the criminal offence was alleged to have occurred.  This, after all, unlike our plight, was not a case of cyber crime.   

*  http://www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/sps/8B02FF594F151D36C32573B1004930DC

It is with immense reluctance that we publish a translation of this appalling document which as of 27 December was still available at the URL cited in the text.   Given the readiness of one Internet site and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to believe the accusations made, we feel we have no choice.

“In Ukraine Jews* and Moskali” will be drowned in the Dnipro River

In Zaporizhya, in the presence of all enforcement officers of the region, an outrageous incident took place which requires urgent attention from the law enforcement agencies.

On the eve of a session of the Zaporizhya Regional Council a memorial was opened to the victims of Holodomor 1932-1933 which is protected by law. However the erection of the monument led to protests with the threat of acts of vandalism.

MIGnews.com.ua has learned that yesterday the head of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists in the Zaporizhya region Vasyl Tymchyna made the following statement (verbatim): “Our time has come and the Dnipro will become red with the blood of Jews and Moskali”*.  He also demanded that all birch trees and firs be uprooted from in front of the memorial to the victims of Holodomor since these are “Moskali trees”.

What is shocking is that none of the representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine< the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Prosecutor General present stopped the racist. They all stood silently, with their heads bowed.

MIGnews.com.ua is beginning an investigation into this case. Our Ukrainian colleagues are contacting representatives of the law enforcement agencies, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and other organizations. “

* Two words are used. The term for Jews is not one considered acceptable in Ukrainian or in Russian.  The term “Moskali” is only slightly less offensive and is a term used by some Ukrainians to refer to Russians. (HC)

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