On the danger and cynicism behind the “anti-fascist” events planned for 18 May
The Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine [Vaad] and the Congress of National Communities have issued a joint statement regarding the supposed “anti-fascist” demonstration planned for 18 May.
“On 18 May in Kyiv a rally is planned which the organizers, linked with the Party of the Regions are calling “anti-fascist”. The event is to be the culmination of several days of demonstrations entitled “Into Europe without Fascists!” taking place in many Ukrainian cities. Our information leads us to confidently assert that the campaign claiming to be “anti-fascist” has been initiated by the ruling party and is taking place with considerable use of administrative resource. According to the method recommendations made public on holding “anti-fascist marches and rallies” the aim of the campaign can be seen as artificially creating a binary model in which the regime, directed towards Europe, is countered against “fascists” dragging the country into the past. During the campaign symbols linked with the Great Patriotic War are exploited in order, one can assume, to facilitate public mobilization and radicalization via artificial juxtaposition.
It is clear that the “anti-fascist” demonstrations are aimed exclusively at discrediting the political opposition by pushing associations between historical fascism and the party VO Svoboda as well as all parties in opposition to the current regime. It should be stressed that at the present time in the Ukrainian political realm the groups endorsing ideology which can with full justification be called “fascist” are tiny. They are extremely marginalized and do not take part in the electoral process. However the organizers of the campaign are asserting that “the revival of fascism” and “political extremism” represented by VO Svoboda is a real threat to the country, and the fact that there is an alliance between opposition parties and national-radicals is interpreted as loyalty by the liberal democratic opposition in general to “fascism”.
Such an extended understanding of “fascism” blurs the boundaries of a political term and once again in our political history turns it into a slogan stripped of real substance which can be pinned on any force which doesn’t suit. Conscious actions in this direction however coated in dishonest anti-fascist rhetoric can only harm our society. The questions linked with countering real political extremism and ethnic xenophobia are too serious to allow them to be sullied for the sake of cynical political games.
One notes that 18 May is the day on which the nationwide opposition campaign “Rise Ukraine” has long planned its final rally. In the light of this fact the manipulative and speculative nature of the “anti-fascist” action planned for that day becomes evident.
Serious concern arises over the possibility of provocation which is extremely probable given the holding of these two rallies in Kyiv at the same time.
Members of various communities of ethnic minorities are especially concerned over such a prospect since this provocation could be aimed at undermining the spirit of tolerance in society and exacerbating tension in inter-ethnic relations within Ukraine.
Vaad in Ukraine and the Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine would note that it is unacceptable to use artificial “anti-fascist” rhetoric in order to radicalize socio-political confrontation.
Vaad in Ukraine and the Congress of National Minorities must warn the organizers of the “anti-fascist” demonstration that all responsibility for possible provocation will fall on the organizers of a political technology campaign.
Vaad in Ukraine and the Congress of National Minorities call on members of the public, participants in the mass events on 18 May and political leaders to demonstrate wisdom, mutual tolerance, control and restraint.
There is no place in Ukrainian society for inter-ethnic provocation.
Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine [Vaad]
The Congress of National Communities of Ukraine