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05.09.2008

Open Letter from KHPG regarding the organization “Patriot of Ukraine”

   

Open Letter from the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

To the Central Board of the All-Ukrainian Society “Prosvita”

The Chair of the Board, P.M. Movchan

Khreschatyk, 10, Kyiv

 

Dear Pavlo Mykhailovych,

Unfortunately over recent times there have been by no means isolated cases where xenophobic, racist and not infrequently neo-Nazi ideas have been propagated.

Despite clear differences in the political, social and cultural situation, the rate at which neo-Nazi ideology is spreading in today’s Ukraine is most reminiscent of similar processes in Russia 7-8 years ago. There are grounds for fearing that if this continues much longer, Ukraine will have the same consequences, such as the spread of xenophobic and ultra-rightwing ideas among certain groups of young people, an organized neo-Nazi milieu aimed at violence in big cities, systematic killings on racial grounds, and as a result an overall increase in the level of violence in society and damage to Ukraine’s international reputation.

According to information from law enforcement structures and human rights organizations, there are extremely close ties between the militarized radical rightwing organization “Patriot of Ukraine” and neo-Nazi circles mainly in the Kharkiv region and in Kyiv, as well as between the “Patriots” and Russian neo-fascists (for example, with the “Russian Orthodox National-Socialist Movement”).

According to the programme of “Patriot of Ukraine” posted on the official website of the organization, the latter “speaks out for a mono-racial and mono-national society”. Its leader A. Biletsky directly states that “Ukrainian racial social-nationalism is the ideology of “Patriot of Ukraine” (this is the title of his article published in a collection of ideological works and programme documents “Ukrainian Social-Nationalism”). While the organization’s ideologue O. Odnorozhenko openly writes that “Restriction and control will be imposed on all alien ethno-racial groups, with their subsequent deportation to their historical home. We Ukrainian social-nationalists view so-called “human races” as separate biological species and consider only the White European Human Being” to be intelligent in the biological understanding.”

So how does social-nationalism differ from National Socialism as espoused by demon-possessed Hitler? Everything suggests that the result is not affected by a change of place and that “Patriot of Ukraine” is taking up the banners of neo-fascism and racism.

And this, unfortunately, is no exaggeration, after all the term “neo-fascist” according to the definition given by the European Court of Human Rights means “support for the ideology of anti-Semitism and racial discord” (cf. the case of Karman v. Russia).

Against this background, it is baffling and shocking that such a respected organization as “Prosvita” should be providing premises and encouraging “Patriot of Ukraine” in Kharkiv. More precisely a part of “Prosvita” which supports the former head of the Kharkiv branch of the organization M. Kindratenko has ““taken it under its wing”.

Hiding behind fine slogans, the organization “Patriot of Ukraine” through its actions discredits and dishonours the very concept of patriotism . Its activities are seeped in racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and leads to people in Eastern Ukraine beginning to see the concepts of nationalist and neo-Nazi as virtually synonymous.  Is it not this, in fact, that the “work” of the leaders of the organization is aimed at, is there not a basis in provocation?

For example, the “Patriots” flaunt the fact that they hold an annual “Patriot March” – a so-called anti-migrant procession. The specific feature of this is the fact that unlike other organizations, they are not just against illegal immigrants, but against immigration in Ukraine at all.  The “Patriot March” has been held twice in Kharkiv (in 2006 and 2008) and once in Kyiv (2007). For three years running, the organization has gained notoriety for its torch processions around student campuses in Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernivtsi which fill foreign students studying in Ukraine with terror. And yet another “achievement” is that as the result of numerous pickets of the Ministry of Education and Science and its local offices, which the organization has held in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernivtsi, a course on “Tolerance” planned to be added to the school curriculum from September 2008 and was aimed at developing tolerance to ethnic and other minorities has been cancelled [or is under threat – it is still unclear – translator]/.  The organization “Patriot of Ukraine” has groupings organized on military lines and carries out regular “training” for its members. What kind of war are these youngsters being prepared for? Perhaps for a war with their own nation, with those people who in their anthropometric characteristics don’t fit their definition of “white race”?  “In order to affirm the right of the nation any methods from public to underground, from local to global, from parliamentary to armed force are acceptable”. Any useful and adequate violence and ferocity is justified”, these newly emerged “patriots” write in their booklet.

It was with such booklets and brochures that Hitler began his path to power almost 100 years ago. History remembers how that ended. The main thing is that today’s Ukrainians must remember.

It is of course for the members and leaders of “Prosvita” to decide who they work with side by side. At the same time we would like to warn you that the name of an organization which has a 125 year history of which it can be proud should not be profaned by the dirty stain of the brown neo-Nazi colours.

 

Yevhen Zakharov

KHPG

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