A Look at Ukraine’s Dark Side

Exclusive: Americans have been carefully shielded from the ugly underbelly of Ukraine’s Maidan uprising in 2014 that overthrew the elected president and installed a U.S.-backed, fiercely anti-Russian regime which has unleashed armed neo-Nazis. But a French documentary has dared to expose this grim reality, as Gilbert Doctorow describes.

By Gilbert Doctorow

A new French documentary depicts a long-denied truth that Ukraine is in the grip of extreme right-wing nationalists who seek to impose what the British scholar Richard Sakwa has called a monist view of nationhood, one which does not accept minorities or heterogeneity. Rainbow politics is not what the Maidan uprising was all about.

Like the Communism which held power in Ukraine before 1992, this new extreme nationalism can impose its will only by violence or the threat of violence. It is by definition the antithesis of European values of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

This intimidation is what Paul Moreira’s Canal+ documentary, “Ukraine: The Masks of Revolution,” shows us graphically, frame by frame. That this repression happens to take place under an ideology that incorporates elements of fascism if not Nazism is incidental but not decisive to the power of the documentary. [Click here for the documentary in French; here for a segment with English subtitles.]

But what Moreira shows as surprising as the contents may be to a Western audience actually represents very basic journalism, reporting on events that are quite well known inside Ukraine even as this dark underbelly of the Maidan “revolution” has been hidden from most Europeans and Americans.

Moreira is a professional documentary filmmaker, not an area specialist. He has done films in many countries including Iraq, Israel, Burma and Argentina. He says at the start of this Canal+ documentary that he was drawn to the subject of Ukraine’s Maidan uprising because he “felt sympathy for these people who demonstrated day after day on the streets in winter conditions.

“They wanted to join Europe, to move away from Russia. They wanted the corrupt President [Viktor] Yanukovych to leave. They hoped for more justice, fewer inequalities. But I was struck by one thing the images of the American diplomat [Victoria] Nuland on Maidan distributing bread. The Free World, its cameras, sided with the insurgents.”

There were also the discordant images of neo-Nazi symbols and flags. To assess the post-Maidan Ukraine, Moreira decided to go see for himself.

The documentary draws upon his interviews with leaders of the rightist paramilitary groups and extreme nationalist politicians as well as other Ukrainians on both sides of the conflict. He shows the attacks on police by Maidan street fighters before Yanukovych’s overthrow on Feb. 22, 2014, and the May 2, 2014 massacre in Odessa of 46 Russian-speaking demonstrators who opposed the new regime.

He shows a violent protest by nationalist extremists outside the parliament in Kiev and the recent blockade by the Right Sektor militias stopping food and other goods crossing into Crimea, which voted overwhelmingly after the 2014 putsch to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. The Crimean blockade was in violation of Ukrainian government policy but was not stopped by the Kiev authorities.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Secretary Nuland’s Cookies

During the course of the film, Moreira intersperses footage of the controlling hand of U.S. officials both before and after the February 2014 coup. Twice we see Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Nuland handing out cookies on the Maidan to encourage the demonstrators in December 2013. We see U.S politicians including Sen. John McCain with neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok on a podium in Maidan.

In another scene, Nuland testifies before Congress in May 2014 and is asked by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, if she knew there were neo-Nazis in the street violence that led to Yanukovych’s removal. When Nuland was evasive, Rohrabacher asked whether besides the popular Maidan images of mothers and grandmothers with flowers there were very dangerous street fighters and neo-Nazi groups.

Nuland responded, “Almost every color of Ukraine was represented including some ugly colors.” Rohrabacher said he took that as a “yes.”

In September 2015, Moreira covered the annual Yalta European Strategy Meeting in Kiev and tried to get impromptu interviews with prominent Americans, such as Nuland and former CIA boss General David Petraeus, the author of the 2007 “surge” in Iraq and currently a strong advocate for sending offensive weapons to Ukraine.

Moreira succeeded only in getting a sound bite from retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who said the task of the day was to improve the militias and strengthen their ties to the Ukrainian government. Moreira asked McChrystal if he knew that the paramilitaries had attacked the Verhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) the week before. With a dismissive smile before he made his getaway, McChrystal responded, “That’s a problem”

Though Moreira’s documentary presented material that was undeniably true much from the public record it was revelatory for many Westerners familiar only with the pro-Maidan images and commentary carried by the West’s mainstream news media. Because the documentary clashed with this “conventional wisdom,” it immediately became “controversial.”

On Jan. 31, one day before the documentary appeared on Canal+, Le Monde issued a stern rebuke under the title “Paul Moreira gives us a distorted vision of the Ukrainian conflict.”

Benoit Vitkine, the newspaper’s reporter for Ukraine, wrote that the extreme nationalists were only one part of the armed uprising and accused Moreira of focusing too much on their role in the Maidan and its aftermath. Vitkine noted that the Right’s “electoral results are laughable” and denied that they are “the new masters of the Ukrainian streets.”

Key Nazi Role

But there is little doubt that the neo-Nazis and other extreme nationalists played a key role in escalating the Maidan protests into the violent uprising that drove Yanukovych from office. For instance, Andriy Parubiy, the commandant of the Maidan “self-defense forces,” was a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.

After the Feb. 22 coup, Parubiy was one of four far-right Ukrainian nationalists given control of a ministry, in his case, national security, and he integrated many of the right-wing militias into the National Guard, sending neo-Nazi units such as the Azov Battalion into eastern Ukraine to crush ethnic Russians who resisted the new order in Kiev.

Ukrainian Secretary for National Security Andriy Parubiy.

Ukraine’s post-coup Secretary for National Security Andriy Parubiy.

Moreira’s documentary also shows footage of right-wing paramilitaries demonstrating aggressively in the streets outside the parliament and scenes of their illegal blockade at the Crimean border, where they literally did control the streets and roads.

Le Monde’s other argument about how poorly the rightists have fared in elections misses the point about the significance of the Right’s large-scale disruptions and violent attacks thus intimidating the parliament and the government. But that reality is downplayed in the West.

Vitkine also accuses Moreira of omitting “the Russian aggression” against Ukraine, which Vitkine says explains the radicalization of part of the Ukrainian population and the decision of Kiev to arm the battalions of right-wing volunteers. But the neo-Nazi role in the Maidan protests predated any Russian intervention in support of the embattled ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin held a key strategy session on how to respond to the Maidan putsch on Feb. 23, 2014, the day after the coup. Putin and Russia were responding to what they saw as a U.S.-backed overthrow of a democratically elected government on their border; they didn’t instigate the crisis.

Similarly Vitkine rejects Moreira’s charge of U.S. complicity in the rise of the neo-Nazis and Moreira’s acceptance of the Crimean referendum in which 96 percent of the voters favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia. But the results of that referendum have been supported by polls both before and after the referendum, including public opinion samples organized by the U.S. government. There can be no serious doubt that the vast majority of Crimeans wanted out of Ukraine and saw practical benefits in rejoining Russia. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Crimeans Keep Saying No to Ukraine.”]

Bolstering Propaganda

In other words, Le Monde’s key reporter on Ukraine is attacking Moreira from the standpoint of a narrative written in Washington that is more propaganda than reality. In this sense, the French center left as reflected by Le Monde is no less under the spell of neoconservative ideology than many Democrats in the United States.

That being said, Vitkine does toss one bouquet to Moreira for his treatment of the May 2, 2014 “events” in Odessa, the slaughter of anti-Maidan protesters who sought safety inside the Trade Union Building, which was then set ablaze:

“Even if he overestimates the role of Pravy [Right] Sektor and assigns responsibility for this drama too peremptorily, the film performs a salutary piece of work by dwelling at length on this episode from the post-Maidan days that is often neglected.”

But Vitkine condescendingly mocks Moreira’s self-presentation as “the white knight who is exposing past truths that have been passed over in silence [which] just doesn’t work. This experienced documentary filmmaker has taken up a real subject. He has chosen to ‘see for himself,’ as he tells us. But he only saw what he wanted to see.”

Moreira’s response to Le Monde and two other critics appeared in French on the site blogs.mediapart.fr and in English translation on the website of newcoldwar.org. He cited the pressure from the Ukrainian authorities for Canal+ not to air the documentary.

He also reasserted his thesis that the right-wing paramilitaries are a great threat to Ukrainian democracy and that to deny their existence and the danger they pose simply to avoid playing “into Russian propaganda is to become a propagandist oneself.” Moreira accused Vitkine of “unusually violent writing.”

After the airing of the documentary, an “Open Letter to Paul Moreira” was published on the website of the French weekly Nouvel Observateur, which has been described as “the French intellectuals’ parish magazine.”

Seven of the 17 journalists who signed the Open Letter work for French state media France 24 and Radio France International. The letter starts and ends with stinging reproaches to Moreira, but the contents in the middle are muddled.

For instance, the letter acknowledges the reality of the central issue raised by Moreira’s documentary: that there is a problem with paramilitaries in Ukraine. However, like Vitkine, the authors wanted to shift the discussion from that reality and find excuses in the war that rendered these paramilitaries heavily armed and a danger to the country’s future, i.e., blaming “Russian aggression.”

Rejecting a Referendum

Like Vitkine, the authors reject the results of the Crimean referendum, pointing to the presence of Russian troops on the peninsula. But they themselves ignore the repeated polls and news reporting by disinterested third parties in the past year validating the results of the 2014 referendum.

Images of dead victims from the Odessa fire on May 2, 2014. (Photo via RT, credited to ustream channel opposition-ru)

Images of dead victims from the Odessa fire on May 2, 2014. (Photo via RT, credited to ustream channel opposition-ru)

They acknowledge that the right-wing paramilitaries were a problem but claim they were brought under control during 2015. This is a dubious assertion given the continuing political instability in Kiev and the apparent extremist influence on the parliament, frustrating the government’s efforts to implement the terms of the Minsk II accords. The authors are silent about Moreira’s footage of the rightists’ blockade at the Crimean-Ukrainian border.

Most emphatically, the authors reject the “theory of overthrow of the government in February 2014 by the paramilitary groups of the extreme right.” In doing so, these journalists claiming expert knowledge of the recent history willfully ignore the substantial evidence indicating that the Maidan snipers who escalated the violence on Feb. 20, 2014, were rightist false-flag provocateurs intent on enraging both the demonstrators and the government’s Berkut police, some of whom were also targeted and killed.

The letter writers also overlook the critical role of right-wing leader Dmitry Yarosh and his forces in shredding the European Union’s Feb. 21, 2014 agreement with Yanukovych in which the embattled president agreed to reduced powers and new elections.

They do salute Moreira’s coverage of the Odessa massacre, but say vaguely it was not the only incident in Ukraine that has not been adequately investigated. And they say that the French and international press has covered extensively the atrocities in Ukraine, which is not a credible claim.

We might conclude that these 17 journalists have written their Open Letter to safeguard their jobs with the French state media and their continued travel rights to Ukraine, which is essential to their careers. But the story does not end there.

One of the 17 signatories, Gulliver Cragg, who works for the France24 television channel, also published a very curious article on the Moreira documentary in other venues. His side essay was written for the Kyiv Post and put online by the still more dubious stopfake.org, a website devoted to the “struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine,” especially any evidence that puts the U.S.-backed regime in a negative light.

Cragg’s essay opens and closes with harsh words for Moreira. However, in the middle, he has harsh words for the Ukrainian authorities, whom he blames for creating their own public relations disasters by misguided policies, such as: “by naming a suspected neo-Nazi, Vadim Troyan, to be police chief in Kyiv region in Autumn 2014. Or appointing the Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh an official Defence Ministry adviser.

“Or allowing the Azov battalion, now integrated into the National Guard, to use the Wolfsangel [neo-Nazi] symbol on their logo. Or failing, as Moreira points out in his documentary, to punish any Ukrainian nationalists for their role in the Odessa tragedy.”

Cragg acknowledges that this might lead outsiders to conclude that the far right has too much influence in Ukraine. Moreover, he blames directly President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk for simply not understanding all of this and for not changing their behavior and appointments.

And while Cragg comes back to his conclusion that Moreira is blowing things out of proportion, he agrees that far-right groups in Ukraine wield influence and that their weapons are cause for concern, “a legitimate topic for foreign reporters.”

Some Criticism of Ukraine

Cragg continues: “Ukraine’s leaders and media should engage with this issue and encourage a national debate. How do we define far-right? Where does patriotism end and bigotry begin? Where do we draw the line between activist and extremist? Politicians should be addressing these questions and speaking out against those whose views are not compatible with the European values Ukraine claims to espouse. And, crucially, they should be heard doing so on foreign media.”

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

And so, grudgingly, even some of Moreira’s critics have come out of their crouches and put forward constructive suggestions. By prompting this, Moreira has performed a praiseworthy service.

Yet, while the French mainstream journalists found the need to chastise one of their own for breaking with the pro-Maidan “group think,” the U.S. mainstream media simply continues to ignore Ukraine’s ugly realities, all the better to fit with the State Department’s prescribed narrative.

Nothing like Moreira’s documentary has appeared on U.S. television or in mainstream U.S. newspapers. The dark side of the Maidan and in particular the role of neo-Nazi groups and other violent extremists in fomenting and achieving the coup d’etat have been discussed almost exclusively at alternative and independent outlets, mostly on the Internet.

The editorial boards of the country’s newspapers of record The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ensured that newspaper columns and op-ed pages set out almost exclusively Official Washington’s narrative day after day. Opposing views were increasingly choked off, finally getting no space whatsoever in mainstream outlets.

One of the few exceptions in print media was The Nation, where contributing editor and Professor of Russian History emeritus at Princeton and New York University Stephen Cohen delivered detailed critiques of the factual and interpretational errors of the mainstream narrative.

Otherwise heterodox views became accessible only to determined truth seekers exploring the alternative media portals. I name here in particular one devastating critique of the one-sided mainstream narrative that Jim Naureckas published at the media criticism site, Fair.

Needless to say, critical views of the Maidan and its neo-Nazi components got almost no attention in American broadcast media. No American channel so far has shown the civic courage of a Canal+.

Ukraine’s Diversity

Much as I admire the courage and dedication of Paul Moreira to produce such a valuable documentary focusing on very troubling aspects of the post-Maidan political realities in Ukraine, he is an outsider to the subject matter who has missed some very relevant facts about Ukrainian society before his eyes. His critics have missed the same points due to their ideological persuasions or lacking analytical skills.

The fact is that the population of Ukraine is very diverse. The major split between native Ukrainian speakers in the West of the country and native Russian speakers in the East of the country remains unchanged. It is more than ironic that four of the five leaders of extremist Ukrainian nationalists whom Moreira interviewed or otherwise featured in the documentary were speaking native Russian. Such was the intermix of family traditions and ethnicity in Ukraine until recently. Add to this the very many minorities of other nationalities, including Hungarians and Romanians who are especially numerous in territorial pockets.

The ambition of the post-Maidan government in Kiev and of the nationalist extremists who are maintaining pressure on it through intimidation by their paramilitaries is to forge a monist national identity. This suppression of non-Ukrainian-ethnic minorities can be achieved only by violence and threats of violence.

In this sense, the paramilitaries are only the tip of the iceberg.  Violence and intimidation today permeates Ukrainian society across the whole geography of the country. It takes the form of murder of journalist and newspaper editors. Meanwhile, there have been changes in the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as well as to street and city names. Further demonstrating hostility toward ethnic and political diversity, Ukraine has witnessed forcible destruction of war memorials to the “wrong” heroes to erase the shared Russian-Ukrainian traditions and to impose a new politically correct consciousness on a hitherto diverse country. Had Moreira sought to document this, he would have needed another one-hour segment or more.

Instead, Moreira focused on the existence of the aggressive nationalist and neo-Nazi armed movements in present-day Ukraine, a reality that his critics in France don’t deny even as they try to forgive it by alluding to “Russian aggression” and the war in the Donbass.

Their insistence that these extremists are just a small part of the paramilitary battalions, not to mention the general population, as revealed by electoral results, is intentionally misleading. That point would have relevance if Ukraine were a functioning democracy. But the ability of these nationalist extremists to intimidate parliament and operate illegal blockades as they do at the Crimean border proves that Ukraine is not a functioning democracy.

Those are the essential points which emerge from the Canal+ documentary and its aftermath. For this we must express our deep appreciation to Mr. Moreira and the management of the television channel.

Doctorow is the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord, Ltd. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? (August 2015) is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.com and affiliated websites. For donations to support the European activities of ACEWA, write to [email protected]. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2015

40 comments for “A Look at Ukraine’s Dark Side

  1. WheatUnderSky
    February 12, 2016 at 08:03

    so many words discussing so called documentary that has big holes in facts. For example, regarding Odessa events. Nothing is said that 300 anti-Ukrainian weaponized thugs attacked soccer fans under assistance of police. 6 people were shoot at the center of the city. The chief of police Fuchedzhy that was assisting them openly was saying: “here will be russia soon.” Russian neo-nazis from Petersburg were leading pro-russian rallies picturing it as “many local people”. Then a few of them were found in that burnt building or arrested after shooting in the center. Interesting facts are the leaders of so called pro-russian movement Albu, Egor Kvasnuk and a few others were in that building shortly before and left unharmed. Now both are in russia or on occupied territories. Also strange thing was there were bullet holes found in the windows of the burnt building shot from inside the way how a trained sniper would do it away from window deeper inside making it difficult to detect.

    So, if this website is independent source of information then do better job on editing and fact checking not poking and twisting, because you are responsible for providing unbiased information to people who have little time checking info or little knowledge about events.

  2. Liane Theuer
    February 10, 2016 at 16:45

    On March 2015 appeared a German documentary that had less attention then Moreira´s film. But I think this version is just as worth seeing.

    Lauffeuer – Eine Tragödie zerreißt Odessa zu Beginn des Ukrainischen Bürgerkrieges.
    A film about the fire attacks on the trade union-community house in Odessa at the beginning of the Ukrainian civil war, the role of the National Ultra, the police and politics in the post-Soviet space.
    This is a documentary about a key event of the Ukrainian civil war and a city that was torn apart by it.
    A film by Ulrich Heyden & Marco Benson produced by leftvision.de

    • Abe
      February 11, 2016 at 03:25

      Vielen Dank, Liane!

  3. Abe
    February 9, 2016 at 19:33

    The Nazi Party Congresses were intended to draw a propagandistic relation between the National-Socialist movement and the glory of the medieval emperors and the meetings of the Imperial States which were held in Nuremberg.

    The “Hall of Honor” (Ehrenhalle) in the Luitpold grove park was built by the city of Nuremberg during the Weimar Republic. An arcaded hall with an adjacent cobbled stone terrace with two rows of pedestals for fire bowls, it was originally constructed as a memorial site for the 9,855 soldiers from Nuremberg who were fallen in World War I.

    The then unfinished “Hall of Honour” was used for the enactment of a cult of the dead by the National Socialists during the Party Congress of 1929. The Nazis used the Ehrenhalle cenotaph, not only to memorialize the fallen of World War I, but to commemorate the 16 dead of the Hitlerputsch of 1923.

    Documented by Leni Riefenstahl in the film Triumph of the Will, the September 1934 Nazi rallies in Nuremberg were named the Reich Party Congress of Unity and Strength (Reichsparteitag der Einheit und Stärke).

    Riefenstahl’s documentary glorifies Nazi power with scenes of long torchlit parades and endless columns of flag-bearing marching stormtroopers.

    In the film’s most famous scene, Hitler, accompanied by SS-leader Heinrich Himmler and SA-leader Viktor Lutze, strode through the arena over the 240 meters long granite path from the main grandstand to the terrace of the Ehrenhalle and showed the Nazi salute there. The ritual was the climax of the celebration.

    Lutze had succeeded SA leader Ernst Röhm after the Night of the Long Knives (Nacht der langen Messer), sometimes called the Röhm Putsch or mockingly referred to as Reich’s murder week (Reichsmordwoche), a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political ex-judicial executions.

    Triumph of the Will gave the then little-known Lutze the aura of prestige as a party leader to draw attention away from the murder of Röhm.

    The previous Riefenstahl film, The Victory of Faith (Der Sieg des Glaubens) of the 1933 Nazi Party Congress, showed Hitler and Röhm on close and intimate terms. That film was withdrawn from circulation and all prints known to the Nazi officials were eradicated after Röhm’s murder. The film was considered lost until a copy turned up in the 1990s in the United Kingdom.

    The Nazi penchant for cynically rewriting history and using documentaries as vehicles for propaganda is thriving in post-Maidan Ukraine (and Hollywood, but that’s another current story).

    It’s no wonder that Kiev’s neo-Nazi stormtroopers, tired from flag-waving, torchlit marches, murder and mayhem, just love to relax while watching Triumph of the Will.

  4. Abe
    February 9, 2016 at 17:35

    On December 20, 2015, the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov Regiment led by Andriy Biletsky conducted a torchlit march down the main street of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.


    Called ‘March Khorobrikh’ (March of the Brave), torch wielding Azov fighters and their radical nationalist supporters chanted racist and nationalist slogans like “One race and one nation”, “Death to enemies” and “Glory to the nation”.

    Biletsky was quoted by the UK Telegraph in August 2015 as stating, “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

    In a deliberate act of provocation, the Azov unit illegally erected a monument in Mariupol’s central square to Sviatoslav Ihorovych, the first ruler of the Kievan Rus’.

    Mariupol city authorities did not authorize the monument and it is therefore considered illegal.

    Biletsky announced that the monument would be guarded by the Azov fighters: “If they [the authorities or anyone else] are willing to demolish the monument, they are welcome to try”.

    Biletsky added the Svyatoslav monument would not be the only “monument to the outstanding Ukrainian figures that will be erected in Mariupol.”

    The Azov press-service issued a statement praising the tenth century ruler’s aggressive foreign policy as well as the fact that “the then Ukraine was feared and respected by its enemies”.

    The slogan of the rally, “coming after you” was borrowed from Sviatoslav, who is said to have been warning all of his enemies with this catchphrase before attacking them.

    Organizers of the march claimed that the slogan is directed against everything that is “killing Ukraine”, such as “the enemy, treason, separatism, and Russia.”

    Mariupol is the tenth-largest city in Ukraine and the second largest in the Donetsk Oblast.

    The city is largely and traditionally Russophone, while ethnically population is divided between Russians and Ukrainians about 50/50. There also is a large number of Greek-speaking people in the city.

    Following the declaration the Donetsk People’s Republic in May 2014, Mariupol was made the provisional administrative center of the DPR’s Donetsk Oblast. The Azov Battalion joined the Kiev regime’s so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) assault on eastern Ukraine.

    Videos indicate that the Azov Battalion assaulted civilians and tortured prisoners during their capture of Mariupol after a brief fight with a relatively small number of DPR defenders in June 2014. Major combat took place around Mariupol in September 2014 and January 2015. The current ceasefire holds despite sporadic fighting.

    The US Congress has quietly enabled funding for the neo-Nazi-led Azov Regiment. The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law by Obama late last year, did not include a previously expected ban against the funding of the Azov Regiment.

    In June 2015, the House of Representatives voted to amend the 2016 Department of Defense Appropriations Act so as to include the text, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide arms, training, or other assistance to the Azov Battalion.” Representative John Conyers, Jr. (Democrat-Michigan) had introduced this proposal, pointing out that the magazine Foreign Affairs as well as other leading media organizations characterized the Azov Battalion as “openly neo-Nazi” and “fascist,” and arguing that “these groups run counter to American values.”

    According to the Nation, the Defense Department subsequently began exerting pressure on the House Defense Appropriations Committee to withdraw the proposed amendment, arguing that the restriction was redundant. According to this specious line of reasoning, funding of the Azov Regiment should already be prohibited by the Leahy Law, which establishes that “No assistance shall be furnished … to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

    The Department of State explains on one of its official web sites that it “vets its assistance to foreign security forces, as well as certain Department of Defense training programs, to ensure that recipients have not committed gross human rights abuses. When the vetting process uncovers credible information that an individual or unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, US assistance is withheld.”

    Reports published by Amnesty International in 2014 and 2015 gave evidence of widespread torture and summary executions in Ukraine but did not specifically name the Azov Regiment or its members as suspects. The UN also issued a report in 2014 accusing both sides of the Ukrainian civil war of committing acts of torture and attacks on civilian targets.

    While Conyers’ amendment was widely reported in the media when it passed the House of Representatives in June last year, it was never subject to a vote in the Senate. The 2016 Department of Defense Appropriations Act was incorporated into the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which became law on December 18. The absence of the prohibition on funding for the Azov Regiment was first noted in the media by the Nation on January 14.

    The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act includes a section entitled “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” which appropriates $250 million “to provide assistance, including training; equipment; lethal weapons of a defensive nature; logistics support, supplies and services; sustainment; and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine.. .” Additionally, the US is to spend at least $658.2 million on “bilateral economic assistance,” international security assistance,” “multilateral assistance,” and “export and investment assistance” for Ukraine in 2016. All this follows nearly $760 million in “security, programmatic, and technical assistance” and $2 billion in loan guarantees that the US has provided Ukraine since the February 2014 Maidan coup.

    The United States has been supplying military hardware to Ukraine since March 2015, and US instructors have been training Ukrainian National Guard units since last April.

    As of December 2015, approximately 400 American military instructors, as well as military instructors from Canada, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom, were training Ukrainian military servicemen in the Lviv Oblast. American instructors are also teaching Ukrainian special operations forces in Khmelnytsky Oblast. Instructors from the United States have also been sent to Ukraine to train special police units and NATO troops have been participating in joint military exercises in Western Ukraine.

  5. Oleg
    February 8, 2016 at 22:08

    In reply to None, February 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm. For whatever reasons there is no reply button under his/her post.

    First. Distancing oneself and waging information war, imposing sanctions, packing gross lies in the press every day by day – are vastly different things in my view.

    Second. The majority of Russians and Putin, including myself, indeed think very little of the “European values” in the form as currently demonstrated by the EU. However, this is no ground for the behavior as described above. One of the real European values, as I recall, is tolerance towards opposing views, n’est-ce pas?

    Third. The West and Europe are NOT the world party, as you put it. The West and especially Europe is a small part of the world with declining significance. Of course, arrogance is yet another indisputable Western value.

    Fourth. Regarding specific comments on how Putin and Russia went against the European values.

    4.1. You tell me, a Russian, about democracy in Russia? You cannot even select your own words and take them right from the MSM (revolving doors, chronies, etc).
    4.2. The same thing. Do you read the Russian press? I do.
    4.3. The lie about homosexuality – the first phase of the information war, started well before Ukraine. How many times should everybody repeat that NOBODY outlawed homosexuality in Russia. What was outlawed is homosexual propaganda in schools. That’s all. And concerning the European values: how about Italians who were recently marching against homosexual laws in their country? Italians are probably not enough European for you?
    4.4. Opposing the US-led coalition. Well, Russia is a sovereign state that has every right to oppose it. Just 13 years ago, France and Germany had the guts to oppose the US invasion of Iraq. Now having their own views on something is clearly not a European value anymore.

    And finally. My understanding of the European values, the real ones, is that they are built on tolerance and mutual respect. Even if the parties differ in opinions they are supposed to respect each other. The whole European behavior of the past several years is absolutely contrary to these values. No respect, just lies and demonization and lies again and again. And you have the chutzpa to accuse Russia in not sharing the “European values”?

    • Ptaha
      February 11, 2016 at 14:27

      Thank you, Oleg. I wish I had your fluency in English. I wrote couple times here as I am Rusian, who was born in Mariupol, spent 90s in Moscow and 11 years ago moved to Canada. This site Is only place where I can meet brainwash resistant people. Thanks one more time for supporting and defending our country.

  6. Vega
    February 8, 2016 at 17:55

    LiveLeak posted “Ukraine: Masks of revolution” with English subtitles:

    • Abe
      February 8, 2016 at 19:11

      Minutes 15:45-16:15 of Moreira’s documentary shows lounging Ukrainian paramilitary forces watching Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens), a 1935 German propaganda film directed, produced, edited, and co-written by Leni Riefenstahl.

      Riefenstahl’s documentary chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters.

      The film contains excerpts from speeches given by Nazi leaders at the Congress, including Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, and Julius Streicher, interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel troops and public reaction.

      Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The film’s overriding theme is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the leader who will bring glory to the nation.

      Because the film was made after the 1934 Night of the Long Knives (on June 30) many prominent Sturmabteilung (SA) members are absent—they were murdered in that Party purge, organized and orchestrated by Hitler to replace the SA with the Schutzstaffeln (SS) as his main paramilitary forces.

      • Oleg
        February 8, 2016 at 21:24

        Actually, watching this documentary helped me to better understand how such wise and distinguished people as Germans were converted into rabid Nazi murderers. If you remember, we discussed some time ago a quote from Mein Kampf about propaganda and big lies repeated over and over again. Then comes a seemingly small but important step: they are enemies. They are not people like us. Killing them is doing our cause a service. One of the most revealing moments of Mr. Moreira’s documentary is the interview with the current nationalist chief of the Odessa police. Who speaks Russian, by the way. It is clearly seen that he is somewhere still a human being, a Christian, that his conscience keeps bothering him. He repeatedly tries to justify the murders of the enemies, and it is seen that this still comes with much difficulty for him. But he is able to live with it and justify these murders as “lessons”. Here we see a Nazi in the making. I believe this was what happened in Germany too.

        And another thing. Denigrating your “enemy”, denying them humanity, repeating all over and over again that they are enemies, they are not people like us – isn’t it something that Western press is doing now with respect to Russia and the Russians? You in the West do not like to be compared to Nazi. Then do not behave like them.

        • Liane Theuer
          February 9, 2016 at 11:56

          Oleg wrote : “Here we see a Nazi in the making. I believe this was what happened in Germany too.”

          Yes, that´s my association, too. I see the run of the new stormtroopers.
          People like Mark Gordienko, Igor Mosiychuk, Dmitrij Jarosh, Andrei Biletsky, Oleg Lyashko and all the others are the agents of nationalist hate speech.
          The 3rd Reich had created the image of the Jews beeing the enemy.
          Now, the same propaganda is used against the Russians.

          @Abe : Indeed – the Oscar-nomination of “Winter on Fire” is a slap in the face.

          • Oleg
            February 9, 2016 at 13:19

            Hello Liane,

            Just to reply to this as well as your other post.

            Unfortunately, Europe is in crisis now. Which is caused by Europe itself, the lack of true leadership, lack of professionalism, vision. Lack of true politicians, as opposed to numerous apparatchiks. Plus absolutely unwise expansion beyond Europe’s capabilities. The US cannot be blamed for this, they come in to fill the void. You cannot blame a wolf for hunting. In fact, Europe reminds me of the late Soviet Union before it broke up. The same problems, bureaucracy, inefficiency, discord among national elites. The EU’s economy seems to be stronger, which is good, but still the challenges are great too. The migrant crisis, the euro. This is all very troubling. You need to find true leaders, with vision, who will be able to take necessary actions. Including standing up to the US. Then many problems will become easier, I hope.

            On a personal note, I worked and lived in Germany for 2 years in 2001-2002. Then I moved and did not really come back until last June. I was totally shocked by the changes. The main change was the mood, it was very gloomy, as if Germany lost its sense of purpose. I do hope you will be able to mend the situation over there.

    • Abe
      February 9, 2016 at 00:42

      “…nur ein Wahnsinniger oder ein bewusster Lügner kann denken, dass ich oder irgendjemand jemals die Absicht hätten, das aufzulösen, was wir selbst in langen Jahren aufgebaut haben. Nein, meine Kameraden, wir stehen fest zusammen…”

      “…only a lunatic or a deliberate liar could think that I or anyone would ever have the sole intention to dissolve what we ourselves have built up after so many long years. No, my comrades, we stand together firmly…”

      — Adolf Hitler addressing over 150,000 SA and SS paramilitary troops on the final day of the 1934 Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg

      Numerous documentaries concerning the Nazi era use footage from the climax [minutes 1:01:00 -1:12:30] of Riefenstahl’s propagandist documentary, Triumph of the Will https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHs2coAzLJ8

      After his Luitpold Arena speech to the SA and SS paramilitary forces, Hitler conducted the Fahnenweihe (flag consecration) ceremony while SS men fired “honor shots” from an artillery piece. Hitler sanctified party flags by touching them to the Blutfahne (Blood Flag), the individual Nazi German Swastika flag that was soaked in the blood during the failed Nazi Putsch in Munich on 9 November 1923.

      The German noun Putsch describes an attempt to overthrow a government that depends upon suddenness and speed.

      The Maidan protests in Kiev were exploited by neo-Nazi paramilitary forces, culminating in the February 2014 surge of terrorist violence that manufactured martyrs for the Putsch.

      A propaganda documentary broadcast on Netflix and nominated for the 2016 Oscars conceals the dark side of the 2014 Kiev Putsch and downplays the terrorist violence of the neo-Nazi paramilitary forces.

  7. February 8, 2016 at 06:35

    Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union Ukraine was the most prosperous Soviet republic, despite the fact that there were deep fault lines in society and a history of ethnic strife and Nazi-collaboration. The rushed introduction of a free market economy, the privatization of public property, and the abandoning of social welfare under the guidance of Western advisors caused, as in all other former Soviet republics, a deep decline of living standards. Life expectancy for males fell by ten years.

    Tricksters and fraudsters took advantage of the chaotic situation and became the oligarch class.

    In Russia, which saw a similar decline as the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin superseded the drunkard Boris Yelzin and started to reign in the oligarchs (Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Yevtushenkov). He also renationalized key industries via the big banks and tried to curtail Western influence and economic dependencies. The current Western sanctions are very helpful in this respect because they give Russia the chance to develop local businesses and become self sufficient.

    Ukraine did not have a leader like Putin and the tricksters and fraudsters are still in charge.

    The disaster capitalists (equity firms, investment banks, big agricultural corporations) and vulture capitalists (Singer, Sheehan, Grossman, etc.) like it this way. They will not come to the rescue, they will not make attempts to heal a sick society, they will just try to pick up the most luscious pieces from the corps.

    The only conciliation one can feel in regard to this is the fact, that Western ruling elites apply the very same methods of social and economic destabilization also to their own countries. This is a questionable sentiment of course, but it at least gives hope that the imperium one day will implode due to internal stress and decay.

    • Oleg
      February 8, 2016 at 14:06

      As a Russian who actually lived through the 1990-s in Russia, I deeply resent any attempts of revolutions, regime changes, empire implosions etc. Whatever fine goals may all these changes pursue, they all inevitably result in mass sufferings for the ordinary citizens. Perhaps it was OK in the Dark Ages when nobody really cared for human lives. This should not be OK now. Any pursuit of democracy cannot and will not succeed if the mechanisms of state, law and order are broken in the process. People may vote for anyone they want but in a failed state their votes do not matter because elected representatives have no power. The path to democracy goes first to restoration of the state mechanisms, law and order. Only then can democratic procedures be gradually introduced. All current successful democracies went either through foreign occupation (Germany, Japan) or authoritarian regimes (S. Korea, Spain, even France to a fashion). What this documentary shows is total disintegration of state, law and order in Ukraine. This will take many years to mend.

      Incidentally, I has been quite dubious about the whole Crimean thing. I felt that it was indeed not a friendly act towards our Ukrainian neighbors. Not anymore. What I feel now is that we saved at least some people from this plight, and therefore this course of action is totally justified from humanitarian point of view. What happened in Odessa would be happening over and over again in Crimea. In fact, the whole Crimean crisis started with exactly that, an attempt to incite disturbances near Crimean Parliament, clashes between opposing groups of people, etc. Furthermore, I am now more and more against returning Donbass to Ukraine any time soon. If Donbass is simply restored to Ukraine, even upon adoption of the amnesty and other laws as required by the Minsk accord, the Ukrainian government simply will not have power to enforce these laws (and will never have any willingness to do so). The result will be a humanitarian catastrophe with the Right Sector and other Ukrainian Nazi moving into Donbass and massacring Russian-speaking population there. Maybe the Europeans will be OK with that, we all remember the failure of Dutch peacekeepers in Bosnia, but Russia will not. For the Minsk accords to go through, the population of Donbass must be protected, and it is possible only with very strong and trusted international peacekeeping mission. Which is totally impossible in the current atmosphere of mutual distrust and will be like that for quite long time. I have to ask again, was it really worth it to destabilize Ukraine (and both US and EU played very destructive roles there) to inflict all these sufferings on the Ukrainian people? The US and EU of course now blame Russia, but Russia, if anything, has saved some people there. Ukraine became a failed state not because of the Russian activities, but because of internal turmoil that was instigated, supported and funded by the US and the EU. As Mr. Putin said, do you realize what you have done?

      • Liane Theuer
        February 8, 2016 at 15:17

        Oleg, I am European and I feel NOT OK with Ukrainian Nazi moving into Donbass and massacring Russian-speaking population ! I hope this will never happen.
        I deeply regret the destructive role of the German Government in this dirty game at the expense of Ukraine and Russia.
        And YES – I realize what has been done !
        But we as ordinary people should be friends, Oleg. That´s the power we have.

        • Oleg
          February 8, 2016 at 17:54

          Hello Liane,

          Thank you for your comment. Well, I believe ordinary people everywhere harbor no ill will to anyone. However, ordinary people are usually busy about their lives and have little knowledge of the outside world. Therefore their opinions can be manipulated. What is really very troubling for me in this whole affair is how well orchestrated, coordinated and successful has been the assault on the truth by the MSM in pretty much all Western countries. I am a Russian but I lived in several countries over the years, including Germany, France and Canada. In fact, I write now from Canada. Since the beginning of the whole Ukrainian situation, I could not bear watching any Western TV. I was literally getting sick of all the hatred and lies that were thrown 24/7 at Russia and Russians from all TV stations/newspapers/etc. With notable exceptions like this site, which is an absolutely great resource but, however, cannot be compared to MSM in its reach. I tried already to ask here, why all this hatred, where does it come from? Nobody could really answer me except something like the US wants to keep the domination of the dollar, etc. Nothing personal, just business. OK, in the US, maybe. But in Europe? What was the reason for the sudden insurgence of Russophobia in Europe? German media, in particular, have been extremely hostile and manipulating. I do not know for sure, I can only guess, there are probably certain hidden sentiments in the European psyche that have been expertly exploited. When I read your press all these accusations seem totally ridiculous to me, but they are not intended for me, and they do the trick. The bottom line is, we can aspire to be friends, but in order for this to be really successful we first need to break through all the lies that have been accumulated over the years. Even better would be to understand what was driving the need for these lies. Particularly in Europe. The US are in a sense a world in itself, they seem to think that Russia is a threat to them as a global power. I think they are wrong but at least I can understand where this may come from. Canada is just trying to appease the Ukrainian-Canadians, who are very powerful here and yet very much misinformed about what is really going on in their old country. What I cannot understand is why Europe has been and remains that hostile to Russia. A few years back all Russian opinion polls cited Germany as the most friendly country in Russian eyes after, incidentally, Ukraine. So if we are not friends now it is not due to lack of trying on our part. And honestly I am not sure that Russia wants to be friends with anyone anymore. One good thing for Russia in the current situation is that we have been cured of all illusions about the world. We have no friends, and this is just fine. Great powers do not have friends, they have only interests (attributed to Charles de Gaulle).

          • None
            February 8, 2016 at 20:31

            I’m no expert Oleg, but my thoughts on your question of why Europe has distanced itself from Russia (i.e. “sudden insurgence of Russophobia in Europe”) is due to Putin’s non-European values, demonstrated when he:

            1. Replaced the freely elected democratic system with a marionette-revolving-door shell game, where people vote and the only winners are either him or his cronies.

            2. Turned the free press into a state-owned press; causing it to lose all credibility.

            3. Outlawed homosexuality.

            4. Consistently stood in opposition to any U.S. lead coalitions in the Middle-East.

            While Europe at large is not naive to America’s smug and self-righteous political and economic policies, they nevertheless share many of the same values.

            Putin’s values stands in stark contrast to that of the West, and while this may play favorably with those who feel oppressed by the current role the U.S. plays in the world, the net result is that he isolated Russia from world party.

            Personally, I think he hoped Europe would respond more favorably to his defiant attitude toward the U.S., and would help him galvanize a new non-U.S. narrative and vision for the world. But compared to the U.S., he ain’t got no money, so no one wants to sleep with him.

          • Liane Theuer
            February 9, 2016 at 11:25

            Oleg, I try to answer a few of your questions :
            1) „German media, in particular, have been extremely hostile and manipulating. I do not know for sure, I can only guess, there are probably certain hidden sentiments in the European psyche that have been expertly exploited.”
            The „hidden sentiments“ concern only a few groups in Germany. The majority of Germans understand that they are misinformed by the media about the coup in Ukraine.
            One can see this in the comments, which are under newspaper articles. Many newspapers have consequently ceased the comments. This has even more led to distrust among the population.
            Many Germans are tired of the United States supremacy. We see in Russia the opportunity for a balance of power.

            2) „What I cannot understand is why Europe has been and remains that hostile to Russia.“
            As I said, this is only true on the governments level. Even our business leaders think differently, not to mention the majority of people.
            Europe undergoes an immense pressure by the US and NATO. The Normandy Four are a feeble attempt to undermine the strategic interests of NATO.
            The complete failure of the Ukrainian government now leads to a rethink even at the political level. Let´s wait and see.

            3) „One good thing for Russia in the current situation is that we have been cured of all illusions about the world.“
            The eye opening takes place around the world, not only in Russia.
            Even only a few countries dare to speak out, but a lot of states want to get rid of the US as “world leader”. And I think the US are very much aware. They must always increase their pressure, resulting in the fact that its ugly face becomes more and more visible.

        • UnderPaleGreySky
          February 11, 2016 at 22:20

          Liane, you are ok with Russian Nazis moving to Donbass and killing russian speaking pro-Ukrainian population? Check massacres by company Rusich under command of neo-nazi Alexey Milchakov, or russian national union (under fearless leader Barkashov) scums. I hope I did not break your pink glasses.

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 8, 2016 at 14:18

      Thanks Wolf Mato for your always insightful comments. I remember thinking while Putin was meeting Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice on the “ranch” that he probably was thinking, “we better get back and prepare for the worst, because these guys are insane.”

      • Oleg
        February 8, 2016 at 15:54

        Well, as I read a couple of days ago in a Russian newspaper, the days of President Bush Jr. are remembered in Kremlin now as a really good and jolly time. And Rice was after all a pro in Russian/Soviet affairs. So I wonder if this is really THE worst. So far we seem to keep digging.

  8. Oleg
    February 7, 2016 at 23:50

    I have just watched this documentary on youtube and I am still under impression of this excellent and highly professional work by Mr. Moreira. Not that I did not know anything that was portrayed in the film before, but one thing is to know and another is to see. Especially the massacre in Odessa. And I should say I am really worried about Ukraine now. I really feel sorry for the people there. This will not go away anytime soon. I harbor no hopes that Ms. Nuland will ever lose any sleep about ordinary citizens of Ukraine whose life was destroyed so that neocons could do you know what with Mr. Putin’s cornflakes. It has become a kind of American pastime recently, destroy other peoples’ life on a whim. What can I say… Gottes Mühlen mahlen langsam, mahlen aber trefflich klein.

    • Abe
      February 8, 2016 at 01:33

      Der Teufel ist ein Optimist, wenn er glaubt, daß er die Menschen schlechter machen kann.
      — Karl Kraus

      • February 8, 2016 at 05:18

        Wow, never thought that I will read something from Pro domo et mundo (Aphorismen. Sprüche und Widersprüche) here. Unfortunately we may soon have reason to quote The last days of Mankind (Die letzten Tage der Menschheit), because the regime change maniacs are not content anymore with creating failed states but have set their eyes on the ultimate goal of creating a failed planet.

      • Abe
        February 8, 2016 at 15:05

        Bankrotteure der eigenen Ökonomie,

        Buschräuber hinter dem Ideale,

        — Karl Kraus, Die letzten Tage der Menschheit, Epilog

  9. Regina Schulte
    February 7, 2016 at 23:17

    Oops! Sorry that I didn’t say what I learned was about THIS regime change–Ukraine.

  10. Regina Schulte
    February 7, 2016 at 23:13

    I learned sometime last year, from an authentic news source, that the U.S. was
    involved in (guess what?) yet another regime change. And Nuland was in the
    midst of it. So, what did our Secretary of State contribute?

  11. Regina Schulte
    February 7, 2016 at 23:13

    I learned sometime last year, from an authentic news source, that the U.S. was
    involved in (guess what?) yet another regime change. And Nuland was in the
    midst of it. So, what did our Secretary of State contribute?

  12. Liane Theuer
    February 7, 2016 at 22:28

    I want to make a contribution from a German perspective.
    The documentary by Paul Moreira, “Ukraine, les masques de la révolution” has told nothing new to me. I might even add a lot of aspects to the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, which Moreira could not consider due to time constraints.
    In Germany, many people are aware of the disastrous role Western media play. This has resulted in my country to a deep distrust in the press. It was created the slogan “lies Press (Lügenpresse)”.
    It is time that people awakens and opposes the warmongers.
    In this sense I thank Moreira for his wonderful documentation.

  13. Abe
    February 7, 2016 at 20:11

    The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
    By Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D.

    This 79-page analysis of the Maidan sniper attacks was presented by Dr. Katchanovski at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, Sept 3-6, 2015.

    The This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power.

    It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas.

    The various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations include some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of “snipers” targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of positions of the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry wounds, and bullet impact signs.

    Detailed analysis confirms the presence of “snipers,” spotters, and their coordinators in the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina, Zhovtnevyi (October) Palace, Kinopalats, Finbank, and Trade Union buildings.

    For example, videos show one of these groups of armed shooters led by a special Maidan company commander, entering and leaving the hotel Ukraina in presence of Svoboda deputies during the time when protesters were massacred from the hotel.

    The paper also presents implications of these findings for understanding the nature of the change of the government in Ukraine, events in Crimea and Donbas, and the international conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

    The new government that came to power largely as a result of the massacre falsified its investigation, while the Ukrainian media helped to misrepresent this mass killing of the protesters and the police.

    Professor Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. He was Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics at the State University of New York at Potsdam, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and Kluge Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University.

  14. Abe
    February 7, 2016 at 16:16

    The documentary by Paul Moreira, “Ukraine, les masques de la révolution” [Ukraine: Masks of the Revolution], released on Monday evening, 1 February by Canal+, created a turmoil both in Ukraine and France well before the premiere.

    On Sunday, 31 January the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported in Facebook that their Ambassador in France had sent an outraged letter to Canal+ where he condemned the documentary as a “a pamphlet at the height of the worst disinformation traditions” “using primitive methods of journalistic manipulation, including the handling of comments of respondents, distorted in translation and facts and purely fabricated images“. The same day Le Monde doubled the pressure on Canal+.

    On 30 January, Moreira responded to his critics via a detailed post on his blog. His response has been translated into English https://newcoldwar.org/french-filmmaker-paul-moreira-responds-to-critics-of-his-documentary-film-on-the-odessa-massacre-of-may-2-2014/

    Here is an excerpt from Moreira’s post:

    “What happened on that May 2, 2014, in Odessa? I discovered the answer after viewing hours of video shootings, interviewing dozens of witnesses, finding victims and aggressors and comparing the stories until I pieced together facts that make sense of this fury. Important fact: I interviewed and have broadcast only direct witnesses of events–the people I saw on videos– in order to filter to some extent the exaggerations and lies that arise in such a circumstance, on the side of the attackers as well as victims. The result of this painstaking work is at the heart of the film to be broadcast Monday evening [February 1] by Canal Plus [Canal +].

    “During my investigation into this massacre of little exposure, I saw the importance of Ukrainian nationalist militias. They were at the forefront of street fighting on Maidan Square (January-February 2014], and later formed battalions to fight Russian troops in the east of the country. But these battalions were merged into the army. They did not exercise the same discipline. They were able to serve as auxiliaries to the government; or become a parallel police. And, yes, in their ranks, the signs of neo-Nazi ideology were obvious.

    “My investigation went against the commonly accepted narrative. I knew I was going to meet strong opposition, that we would be accused of playing into the hands of Putin, to voice elements of Russian propaganda. I did not expect to meet with such huge denial, bordering on hysteria at times. On a Ukrainian website, I am called a ‘terrorist’ in the pay of the Russian secret service. The site calls for a ban on the film. Even the Ukrainian ambassador to France pressured Canal Plus [not to screen the film]. That is what surprises me the most. For it seems to me that Ukraine must ask itself about these paramilitary groups. They are, as stated in the film, the greatest threat to Ukrainian democracy. To renounce saying what one knows to be the truth because ‘it plays into Russian propaganda’ is to become a propagandist oneself. One omits, not because we are liars but because we are full of good intentions. But never forget that from such omissions, the worst conspiracy theories are born.

    “In France, the accusations against the film have come mainly from two militant blogs and an unusually violent writing by the reporter in charge of Ukraine in Le Monde, Benoit Vitkine. In all three publications, the arguments are similar. It is said I did not nuance enough my perception of the extreme right, which ranges from dark brown neo-Nazism to light-beige nationalism. I exaggerated the importance of the paramilitary groups, armed with Kalashnikovs and sometimes with tanks. I have not stressed enough their heroic role in their fight against the Russians. I exaggerated the influence of Americans in the regime change [of February 2014].

    “And then certain factual errors are pinpointed. I’ll try to answer them here.

    “To question the rigor of my documentary, Benoit Vitkine cites one, sole example. He accuses me of having created out of my imagination the manufacture of a new generation of tanks by the nationalist battalion Azov (for which he seems to feel a fond indulgence). But it’s the truth. Andriy Biletsky, the head of the battalion, sang to me its praises [manufactured tank] with much pride. 1.2 meters of armored shield in the front and steering video cameras used to steer it. The technical details of this new beast of war can be found here.

    “Benoit Vitkine is well aware that Andriy Biletsky comes from the most radical extreme right. His electoral standing is low (although he is a Rada deputy), but his standing in steel and in battle-hardened men is strong.

    “Then Benoit Vitkine insinuates, without citing anything in support, that my purpose is to highlight ‘the installation of a new fascism in Ukraine’. Vitkine must be very angry to write such things. I never said that fascism had settled in Ukraine. The key phrase of my documentary is: ‘The Ukrainian revolution has created a monster that will soon turn against its creator.’ And then I tell how far-right groups attacked the parliament and killed three policemen in August 2015. I have never suggested that the attackers were in power. Even if those who are in power were able to use them.”

  15. bfearn
    February 7, 2016 at 13:50

    Here in mild mannered Canada our national broadcaster, the CBC, which is paid for by the taxpayers, continues to tell us that Russia “annexed” Crimea. The vote that overwhelming supported Crimea staying with Russia is rarely mentioned and if it is, it is dismissed as commie propaganda.
    We are also misled in many other subtle ways that create misunderstanding and tensions amongst nations. Today we were told that Korea had launched a satellite with a “missile” sounds much more menacing than a rocket. We were told many times that the president of Iran wanted to “wipe Israel off the map”. He never said that but the CBC never clarified this distortion.
    As long as Western mainstream media continues to be a rabid part of the military industrial complex we will never know peace.

    • Through the Looking Glass
      February 7, 2016 at 19:03

      How would Ottawa and Harper have viewed the situation if P.M. Medvedev (in the style of John McCain and Victoria Nuland) personally trolled the streets of Quebec, encouraging the province to secede from Canada and become an ally of the Russian Federation, including billions in military perks to challenge the United States? Harper would have asked NATO to immediately declare war on Russia, that’s what. And would have bombarded Quebec with as much ordnance as Ukraine has delivered on the Donbass. The East and the West live on opposite sides of the mirror, where the West defines its own reality irrespective of the facts. The West will never allow parity and never allow the East to live by the same standards that they reserve to themselves. The hypocrisy and embrace of evil (especially violence) are simply too ingrained on this side of the mirror.

  16. Jean-Marie van Isacker
    February 7, 2016 at 07:02

    And so, we in the Netherlands, have to live with the consequences of this new cold war. As you can imagine, there would never have been a passenger plane shot down by the DDR or Poland in, for arguments sake, the seventies. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall the two blocs could reasonably behave and have a sense of decency and control. Now that the Russians have shown they are ready to resist the Empire it is we have entered the final phase to total annihilation. Our media is sold. And the Dutch are starting to wake up. The Association Treaty with Ukraine is a joke and will drain our blood. Hence the referendum which the Dutch government is trying to sabotage with the help of … Soros. Truth is lost. And as Paul Craig Roberts mentioned in his latest blog, no truth no liberty!

    • Patrick Verswevelt
      February 7, 2016 at 11:10

      Dag Jean-Marie, wat bedoel je met DCFTA is een grap? En hoe gaat dat ons schaden? Please explain.

      • onno
        February 7, 2016 at 12:47

        DCFTA is a joke indeed since UA had already an agreement that covered 80 of their export products to EU. However to justify the Maidan coup and the violence and the US investment of $ 5 billion in UA Brussel bureaucrats developed DCFTA to fool the European people (MSM propaganda) and the Ukrainian people as well believing that they got a good deal with EU.
        On top of that UA needed $ 3 billion and not 800 million (offer by EU) to prevent a default on their debt so Yanukovich went for the Russian deal of a total $ 15 bn. When this news broke Washington lost patience and organized, financed and supported the Maidan uprising (similar Arab Spring in Cairo) with US CIA agents and Blackwater snipers doing the rest and of course blaming UA police and Yanukovich for this bloodbath!

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