New Munich agreementNew Munich agreement
New Munich agreement

New Munich agreement

Dmitry Kolesnik
Neoliberal whitewashing of neo-Nazis in Ukraine


There is no such ‘miracle’ that cannot be done with the help of just media whitewashing. As if with a wave of a magic wand, those who were first portrayed as reactionary thugs suddenly become progressives. Overtly neo-Nazi groups don’t need even to hide their xenophobic approach and agenda. And we can actually see how the most reactionary Islamist groups (the same who were terrorist some years ago) turn out to be ‘freedom-fighters’. And we see how Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups turn out to be ‘pro-democracy protesters’. What is needed for such transformation?

Recently “deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Melia addressed the meeting stressing the strategic significance of Ukraine. In his own report to the meeting, Melia announced that the US had “invested” over $5 billion in Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, with $815 million of this total going directly to pro-US NGOs. Melia also reported that, since 2009, the Obama administration had donated $184 million to various programs aimed at implementing political change in Ukraine”.

So such an unexpected rush to whitewash the image of neo-Nazi groups is quite explainable. It’s quite natural that some media try to represent protests as ‘pro-democracy’ with the help of the so called ‘experts’ from right-liberal funds and NGO’s. The recent letter of one of the ‘experts’ Anton Shekhovtsov (ex-member of the pro-Putin right-wing ‘Eurasian Youth Movement’ and now London-based NGO-expert) also tries to whitewash neo-Nazis in Ukraine and reduce all the criticism of the riot as irrelevant. And we can understand the reasons of such ‘whitewashing’. His piece in Eurozine reveals us an ‘expert’ who is right-winger and nationalist himself. “Ukrainian revolution is… a nationalist uprising against Russia's destructive influence on Ukraine; a revolution of independent businessmen against the voracious omnipotence of president; a revolution against the persistent spirit of Sovietism”.

That’s why such ‘experts’ and mainstream media ignore images of overtly Nazi groups in Ukrainian protests. Certainly there are not only far-righters and xenophobes taking part, but they are leading and most active force. "The presence of different nationalist, Fascist and reactionary groups within the EuroMaidan movement set the tone from the very beginning. The Right Sector organises the military confrontations with the police and has a coordinating role in the movement. The question is not whether all the Ukrainians taking part in Maidan are Fascists or not, but who currently dominates the movement”

Although, media not always try ignore ‘easy-to-use’ neo-Nazis. When it is about security of western tourist – the mainstream media warn about far-right threat. But when it is about benefits from free-trade deal and IMF loans – the media prefer to be blind. Mainstream media show the protest in Ukraine as a ‘desire for democracy’ but never show lynching mobs of far-right protesters when they suppress dissents in the streets. 

Thus, as we see it in Ukraine, ‘democracy’ actually means lynching without trial. ‘Democracy’ means banning of the left symbolic (as it happened to be in Ukrainian regions that are under control of the protesters). But first and foremost ‘democracy’ means forcing country to accept free-trade deal and IMF loans accompanied by austerity measures. That’s what really stands behind western uncritical support to far-righters in Ukraine. The US secretary of state John Kerry said in Munich that the standoff in the ex-Soviet country was about fighting for "a democratic, European future”. So we can clearly see what he sees as the future of Europe. We should remember also about the current rise of the European far-right parties and movements. 

As Slavoj Zizek says ‘capitalism can no longer afford freedom and democracy.’ The new wave of financial meltdown pushes corporate capitalism to abandon democracy as an ‘outdated’ institution. And as we could see it last Sunday after the Munich conference - the Ukrainian opposition with a full support of the US officials demands all the power (not just sharing it) so that to accept IMF loans with all the conditions included. And those who do not agree – will be ‘persuaded’ by the paramilitary neo-Nazi forces.

We have seen it in Latin American and African countries. Now it’s time for Europe. The main aim of far-righters is to suppress any dissent voice and real struggle against ‘fat cats’. It might seem a mere coincidence, but history repeats itself and in the same city. Western officials encouraged and promised financial aid to Ukrainian far-right groups on Sunday. An it happened to be in Munich again – in the city where Great Britain and France once betrayed Czechoslovakia throwing the independent state into the hands of Nazi Germany in their similar tug of war with Russia. The Nazi monster was thoroughly nurtured by big business.

The media in 1938 also tried to whitewash Nazi’s image till they went out of control. And we see the same trend time and again. Storm-troopers are marching through the streets of Ukrainian cities. You probably don’t see the victims of neo-Nazi’s attacks – you see only suffered in clashes far-righters. Yes, one may justify the anger caused by corrupted government, unemployment and uncertainty, but the anger is skillfully channeled into neo-Nazi protest on behalf of IMF and austerity measures. Yes, the Weimar republic was corrupted state, with huge level of inflation and unemployment. But what came next was Nazi terror unleashed after 1933.

And we should keep in mind the words of John Kerry about ‘European future’.  

Dmitry Kolesnik 

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