October 15, 2018 – February 15, 2019
In recent years, cases of violence and confrontations by ultra-right groups have become a dangerous aspect of a political sphere in Ukraine. Among the most well-known cases are: a series of massacres of Roma’s settlers in their settlements during the first half of 2018, and a murder of David Pop, a Roma native citizen, in Lviv in June 2018; an attack on Katerina Gandzyuk in Kherson, which led to her death in November 2018; regular attacks and disruptions in activities of feminist and LGBT communities (starting around the end of 2017).
In the light of these dangerous tendencies, it is important to call attention to this ultra-right violence and confrontation cases in general, paying attention to who exactly is the initiator of such actions, what kind of forms they are creating and acquiring, and against whom they really are standing. Such information should help to track the dynamics of street confrontation / ultra-right violence, determine the most dangerous actors, and identify those groups or minorities which are the most affected by the ultra-right.
Since October 2018, the «Institute Respublica» launched a pilot monitoring project. The project is aimed to gather information regarding street confrontations and violence where ultra-right parties, organizations, groups, and citizens are involved. The results are based on systematical monitoring of national and macro-regional inspection, activist sites and social media reports, which were revealed by relevant sources.
According to the monitoring data, there were 71 provocations registered, caused by the extreme right-wing groups, resulting in violent confrontations, where 31 of them were of a small nature, and 40 constituted elements of violence against the property of the local citizens. Hence, from October 14 to October 31, 15 cases were recorded (4 were confrontational and 11 carried elements of violence). In November, 23 cases were reported (11 confrontational and 12 signified elements of violence).
In December there were 14 cases were recorded (7 confrontational and 7 carried elements of violence). Furthermore, during the first month of 2019, 6 cases occurred (4 confrontational cases and 2 cases with elements of violence). And between February 1st and 15th, monitoring facility recorded 13 cases (5 were confrontational and 8 recorded elements of violence).
Based on the details from the table above, it is clear that throughout four months of monitoring, there were only two weeks during which no cases of ultra-right violence were reported. However, two cases were reported each week on average.
Most cases of ultra-right groups on violence and/or confrontation occurred in Kyiv (31 cases), Kharkiv (six cases), Lviv (six cases), Dnipro (five cases), Odessa (three cases), Kryvyi Rih (three cases) and Kremenchuk (three cases). In other settlements, less than three cases of extreme violence and/or confrontation were reported: in Berdyansk, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Kherson, Lutsk (urban areas). Mangush, Nikolaev, Rivne, Uzhgorod, Zaporozhye, and Zhytomyr.
The most visible ultra-right actors, who participated in acts of confrontation and/or violence, were C14 and the National Corps. The C14 group has been involved in 34 cases, where 20 cases were of a violent nature (including five cases of violence against people). The «National Corps» caused 11 violent attacks, where six cases had a character of violence (including two cases of violence against people). Other notable identified actors were: an organization «Nevidomi Patrioty» (five cases registered, three of which had elements of violence, two of which were aimed against people); «Tradition and Order» (four cases registered, out of which two cases of violence were aimed against people).
In most cases, cases of ultra-right violence were aimed at the destruction of a property (23 cases), however, at least 17 cases of ultra-right violence were intended against people, which resulted in causing injuries in 15 cases (in the other two attacks, a green colored liquid was used to mark and “label the wrong-doing” to “warn” the civilians from acting against the ultra-right group, but no injuries were reported).
On October 30th, 2018, in Carpathian Sich and an organization called “Obyednani Viynoyu, loosely translated as United Warfare or United by war” in Uzhgorod, attacked a migrant, an owner of a small business (a sales stall selling Shawarma), because of a conflict they had in the past. Based on the communication on their social media, the right-wingers used xenophobic anti-migrant rhetoric.
On November 18th, 2018 in Kiev, C14, «Tradition and Order», «Right Sector», «Brotherhood», «National Corps», «Carpathian Sich» and «Catechon» blocked and attacked a march led by the transgender group of people. As a result of the attack, at least five people were injured, including journalists (one of them was from abroad).
On January 15th, 2019, a group of teenagers who have associated themselves with the ultras Dynamo-Kyiv, committed a group attack on of the crossroads in Kiev. Subsequently, following the posts shared on their social media, it turned out that the teenagers were supporters of not only the ultra Dynamo-Kyiv but also of Hitler.
On February 1st, 2019, Berdyansk ultra-right group, including representatives of the National Corps, prevented a meeting of the presidential candidate, Oleksandr Vilkul, accusing him of pro-Russian views and his support for separatism. They also attacked him with the «green» color, injuring Vilkul causing him eyes damage. It is worth mentioning, that the same day in the Mangush village (Donetsk region), probably the Civil Corps «Azov» prevented another meeting of a candidate, by blocking the premises.
On February 9th, 2019, the ultra-right C14, «Tradition and Order» and «Nevidomi Patrioty» (along with other activists) in Kiev, were picketing a congress of presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, demanding to punish the culprits of murder of Kateryna Gandzjuk. Police detained and brought more than a dozen right-wingers to the police station, by using gas masks because of the presence of irritant gas canisters. Furthermore, police officers found knives and traumatic pistols with the detainees. Subsequently, the ultra-right group, as reported by the police, attempted to attack the police station, equipped with irritant gas canisters, knuckledusters, knives, and guns. The riot resulted into a fight between the rioters and the police, which terminated in arresting of several dozen of the right-wingers. There were seven people injured during the fight, including three police officers. Additionally, three cases of attacking of the police departments were registered, as well as a case of exceeding the official’s authority by a police officer. As far as we know, all right-wingers were subsequently released, however, after a certain time, four of them were declared wanted criminals.
On February 13th, 2019, ultra-right supporters of the Dynamo-Kyiv football club, in particular representatives of the «Autonomous National Socialist Society», attacked fans of the German football club «Eintracht», accusing them of «sympathy for the so-called Novorossiya.» The attack resulted in a massive fight involving more than a hundred people, which terminated in death of at least five people.
Some of the ultra-right violence cases, having a consequence of a number of injured people and victims, were not covered at all by the media: information about them came into sight only on the ultra-right social media pages. For example, on November 6th, 2018, in Kiev, the C14 group attacked a citizen and «detained» him, accusing him of committing theft. On December 21st, 2018, in Odesa, the C14 group beat two teenagers for «bullying» over the anthem, which was recorded on a video and released in the public on the Internet. The C14 group substantiated their actions by the fact that teenagers «shouted phrases” expressing an inclination towards the “Russian world».
Later on December 27th, 2018, in Kryvyi Rih, the C14 group beat a citizen who was accused of «disrespecting the flag.» Substantiating the attack, the C14 group called the victim «watnik» (a person with a (post) Soviet mentality who finds it hard to comprehend the existence of the state of Ukraine. On February 10th, 2019, representatives of the «Autonomous National Socialist Society» in Kiev, beat a drunk man accusing him of urinating in public space, calling him «filthy» and «unhuman».
During the monitoring period, ultra-right violence cases against property (which were not accompanied by violence against people), included attacks on: companies and small businesses (six cases), offices of politicians and political parties (five cases), Soviet monuments (five cases), Russian embassies (two cases), churches (two cases), state institutions (one case), a lawyer (one case) and a Roma settlement (one case).
For example, on October 23rd, 2018, the Police and the «Municipal Guard of Kyiv» in Kyiv, with a participation of representatives of the C14 group, realized an eviction of Roma people from their temporary residence near the central railway station. On January 4th, 2019, in Zhytomyr, the C14 group painted walls and broke windows at the local office of the Communist Party of Ukraine. In particular, inscriptions «Down Communion» and «Communist Party of Ukraine – Separatists» appeared on the walls. On February 7th, 2019 in Cherkasy, allegedly an ultra-right group (representatives of the «National Corps» confirmed and reported the event on their social media) dismantled a billboard of a presidential candidate, Alexander Vilkul, accusing him of supporting separatism.
Offenses of vandalizing property through arson were registered in nice cases. On October 19th, 2018 in Kiev, the C14 group attacked the branches of the Russian «Sberbank», throwing petrol bombs, also known as Molotov cocktails. On November 7th, 2018, in Kherson, the C14 group set on fire a house of Igor Pavlovsky (former assistant to People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko) who is suspected of involvement in a murder of Kateryna Handzyuk. On November 25th, 2018, allegedly an ultra-right group, committed an arson crime by igniting a car belonging to the Russian embassy, on fire.
In Lviv, on the night of November 28th, 2018, probably an ultra-right group (where prior to this were the walls painted by the C14 group), set two branches of Alfa-Bank on fire, a bank where 30% of its shares belongs to the Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman. On December 24th, 2018, a car of an advocate Valentin Rybin, was probably burnt down by the ultra-right group in Kyiv. The C14 group gladly reported the act on their social media, but additionally, earlier in July 2018, the advocate had already had a conflict with them during one of the court sessions. Valentin Rybin represents interests of those who have been accused in high-profile processes, in particular Vyacheslav Pivovarenko, who is suspected of an assassination of a journalist Arkady Babchenko; Volodymyr Ruban, who is accused of preparing terrorist acts and also accused of a state treason, and a number of other figures involved in high-profile cases on a state treason. On February 15th, 2019, in Kryvyi Rih, allegedly an ultra-right group vandalized (graffitis with the «1488» number sprayed on the walls), two churches of the Moscow Patriarchate.
During this period, other confrontational actions on the streets by the ultra-right groups were directed against political parties or politicians (nine cases), business (five cases), journalist or media (three cases), feminist or LGBT activists (three cases), religious institutions (two cases), and medical establishments (two cases). For example, on November 21st, 2018 in Kharkiv, representatives of «Freikorps» were jabbing journalists of the «NewsOne» channel, when they were reporting during the rally.
The ultra-right group accused the channel of «propaganda of separatism» activities. In Lviv, on December 21st, 2018, «National Corps», «Community Development» and «Ukrainian Union of ATO Participants» barged into an editorial office of an online portal «Zaxid.net» and impeded the work of the media which were working on a journalistic investigation of a fraud on an allocation of land to the ATO members. On November 20th, 2018 in Kharkov, «Tradition and Order» broke into PrideHub, trying to disrupt the LGBT community. On December 5th, 2018, «Brotherhood» and «National Corps» in Rivne broke into the premises and prevented an event that was held on a topic of gender issues. On December 14th, 2018 in Kyiv, the C14 group attempted to disrupt an internal training for staff at the Institute of Heart. The C14 group reasoned their actions by the fact that in the past Yuri Krysin, an advocate of a case concerning the murder of a journalist during EuroMaydan, was previously at the Institute.
According to the same administration of the Institute, ultra-right actions were associated with a conflict between the Directorate of the Institute and the Ministry of Health, in particular, Acting Minister Ulyana Suprun. On December 29th, 2018 in Kharkiv, the «National Corps», «National Wife» and «Poton» broke into the premises and blocked the work of the rehabilitation medical center for drug addicts. On January 14th, 2019, representatives of the C14 group in Lviv painted gates of the Moscow Patriarchate church, leaving the inscription «FSB – away from Lviv!». On January 23rd, 2019 in Kyiv, the C14 representatives came to the Academy of Fine Arts, demanding recoupment of a student of the Academy of Spartacus Khachanov, accusing him of his outrage over the Ukrainian army, and of propagating separatism that they saw in his artistic work. The student had to lock himself up in a room to avoid a confrontation.
On February 7th, 2019 in Kyiv, «National resistance» tried to disrupt a lecture on a topic of an ultra-right movement. On February 9th, 2019, representatives of the organization «Nevidomi Patrioty» in Kyiv tried to disrupt an event where Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine took part in Gender Equality.
The monitoring of the ultra-right activities in the streets of Ukraine results in points to showing a threatening nature, which takes on forms of confrontation and violence against people. To summarize: in the context of inactivity of the police and law enforcement agencies, the ultra-right groups pressure (sometimes physically) political opponents, often justifying their actions by real or fictitious «pro-Russian» or «separatist» views of the victims of their attacks. The ultra-right groups are a threat to minorities, in particular, Roma, migrants, LGBT communities. They resort to extrajudicial persecution, committing massacres of the people. The ultra-right groups jeopardize freedom of speech and belief, oppresses opposition political parties and politicians, and provokes religious hatred.