Skinheads on Kyivs Khreschatyk
Last Friday, the website www.basket.com.ua reported that the basketball player Marcus Faison, who is playing for the team «Kyiv» had been attacked by skinheads in the centre of Kyiv. The information, it said, had come from sources close to the team. Most disturbingly it said that Mr Faison had managed to break free of the skinheads and had run to a police patrol car. It claimed that the police officers had simply got into the car and driven away after which the skinheads had continued beating their victim. During the fight, the basketball player was stabbed on the arm and later had to have nine stitches.
The Internet publication Glavred has followed up the incident. In the press service of the capitals police, it was informed that Mr Faison had not reported the incident to any district police departments and therefore the police had no record of it happening. They said that they had also not found any medical institutions that he had approached. However, they were later able to contact the basketball club and told that Mr Faison had been seen in a private clinic. The police service said that they would visit the sportsman and ascertain what had happened. They added that if it was found that police officers had indeed acted improperly and not helped, that would be the subject of a separate internal enquiry.
Glavred reports that this was not the only attack by skinheads which came to light on 11 January. A police department received information from a doctor who had treated a 36-year-old Chinese national who had wounds to the head and back. Apparently the attack actually happened before New Year. The victim in this case also did not approach the police.
According to Glavred, the Kyiv Prosecutor has only recently passed a criminal case to the Court of Appeal following a fatal attack on a Korean national Kang Jongvon by four men on 23 April last year.
The article stresses that there are more attacks known of although not reported. Many of the victims from African or Asian countries are in the country illegally and are frightened to turn to the police.
Glavred points out that it is not only foreign nationals who are targeted by skinheads. The latter also assault people from fringe groups in society who unfortunately are also too scared on reprisals to turn to the police.
The publication points to discrepancies between human rights organizations which say that there is a problem with skinheads, and the police who claim that the problem is exaggerated, and often classify run-ins as hooliganism or everyday fights.
The number of skinhead-type organizations is rising year by year. The areas with the highest number of such individuals are Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv and Mykolaiv. The most scandalous is the international Blood & Honour Division Ukraine, which according to unofficial information has more than a thousand members in Ukraine. Other groups with skinhead and fascist ideas are the «Petrovsk tigers», «Dozor [Watch]-88» and «Peruns hammer». There are also other ultra-right groups «White Power – Skinhead Spectrum», and «Pagan Front». There is also the racist Ukrainian Movement against Illegal Immigration.
It is not for nothing, the publication adds, that at the Presidents instruction, in October 2007 a special department was created within the Ukrainian Security Service [SBU] to fight xenophobia and fight actions aimed at inciting national, racial or religious enmity.