Identification of Modern Fascism: Ukrainian “Brown” Project

The population of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was multi-ethnic since the moment of its creation. According to population census materials, 72.3% of Ukrainians, 22.0% of Russians, and about 5% of the ethnic minorities living on Russian cultural and language foundations lived in the Republic in 1989. However, more than half of those who identified themselves as Ukrainian during the census did not use Ukrainian at home or at work. Thus, indeed Russians made up the most part of the population of the Republic. All residents of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were strongly sovietised, i.e., they were a part of the Soviet nation.

The highest legislative body of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was the Supreme Council, and the executive power belonged to the Council of Ministers. Actually power was in the hands of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), operating as a part of the structure of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The Communist Party of Ukraine was run by the Central Committee (CC) headed by the First Secretary. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine approved the list of candidates for the Supreme Council and local authorities, and controlled all Soviet and economic workers.

In the 1970s-1980s, the Central Committee of the Communist party, under the leadership of First Secretary Vladimir Shcherbitsky, pursued a consistent internationalist policy. Even after Moscow initiated the perestroika policy, Ukraine’s internationalist-communists maintained control over public processes. The western Ukrainian nationalist-communist elite was not organised and had no broad influence on the masses, especially in the eastern part of the country, inhabited by mainly Russians.

In August 1991, after the failure of the State Committee on the State of Emergency’s attempt to maintain legal power and the socialist system in the USSR, it became clear that an anti-communist coup had taken place in Moscow. It allowed a small group of Ukrainian nationalist-communists under the leadership of the former Secretary of the Central Committee on ideology Leonid Kravchuk, to take the initiative and to push internationalist-communists away from power in the Supreme Council of the Republic. L. Kravchuk was the chairman of the supreme authority.

In August 1991, the Supreme Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. In December of the same year communists organised a referendum, during which the people confirmed the decision of deputies to transform the union republic into a Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to an independent Ukrainian state. The Supreme Council was renamed into the Verkhovna Rada, and a new head of state post was founded – the president. Leonid Kravchuk then was elected to this post. In the Verkhovna Rada power was taken over by the former communist Ivan Plyushch.

After the declaration of independence communists retained their power, but started to build capitalism, i.e., to implement a “white” project instead of a “red” one.

Communists, instead of the CPU – banned by the Verkhovna Rada as a part of the CPSU, founded the Socialist Party of Ukraine. The party was led by Aleksandr Moroz. In June 1993 the Communist Party of Ukraine was restored. Petro Simonenko was elected as its leader.

The alliance of communists and socialists won the first free Verkhovna Rada elections in May 1994. A. Moroz was elected Chairman of the Parliament. The former communists appointed their own people to the government and started to privatise state property. A. Moroz then held the post of head of the parliament more than once.

Ukrainian nationalist-communists under the leadership of President Leonid Kravchuk tried to put the process of the privatisation of state property under their control, but this provoked opposition from internationalist-communists. Kravchuk lost the president’s post. In 1994 the Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma, who promised to take the interests of internationalist-communists and the Russian population of the country standing behind them into account, was elected to the post of the president. He kept his promise and in 1999 Kuchma was elected as president for the second time.

L. Kuchma’s position allowed to establish the precarious balance of the main political forces in the republic that is necessary for the successful privatisation of state ownership. This problem was solved by the heads of the government, also former communists – E. Zvyagilsky, V. Masol, and E. Marchuk. The ethnic factor in the fight between the ruling groups during this period significantly weakened.

Cooperation between former communistic elite allowed them to maintain control over the western Ukrainian elite trying to come to power under the banners of at first the social movement, and then the People’s Movement of Ukraine (PMU) party. The PMU constantly offered voters a “brown” project, but did not get support and remained as opposition.

In 1991, the Social-National Party of Ukraine left the Movement. Later, this party was named “Svoboda“. Oleg Tyagnibok was elected as the head of the party. The “Svoboda” party program had an obviously expressed fascist character. It proclaimed the transformation of Ukraine into a state only of the Ukrainian ethnos, as well as the definition of the Ukrainian language as the only state language. “Svoboda” demanded the closure of state universities and schools that teach in the Russian language, the withdrawal of Russian books from libraries, the introductions of obligatory Ukrainian language quotas for media broadcasting, and the reservation of quotas for Ukrainians in state institutions and enterprises, as well as in private enterprises. For the creation of “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, the use of means of violence was supposed.

By the 2000s, the Ukrainian internationalist-communists, who by this time had already transformed into Ukrainian liberals-democrats, had completed the process of privatising state property. However, a strong bourgeois class had not developed by this time, and a small oligarchy, closely associated with the ruling elites, had emerged. This alliance focused on the continuation of the privatisation process, only now the state budget funds have become “privatised”. Capturing political power became the main condition for preserving and increasing wealth.

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After such economic changes oligarchs decided to use the ethnic factor in the race for power. This made the Ukrainian “brown” project relevant. Ukrainian oligarchs decided to implement this project within the framework of a new party – “Our Ukraine”. At the head of this party there were Viktor Yushchenko and Petro Poroshenko. They attracted the support of western Ukrainian nationalist elites who were previously in opposition – PMU and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. The Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYT) party became the second nationalist-radical project.

However, Rada elections in 2002 were again won by the elite group supporting the “white” project – the Party of Regions in an alliance with the CPU. Viktor Yanukovych became the head of this group.

In November 2004 Viktor Yanukovych won in the second round of the presidential election. However, under the rigid external pressure of the Anglo-Saxons the results of the election were challenged and the presidency was transferred to the hands of the nationalist-radical Viktor Yushchenko, who promised his foreign sponsors to pursue an anti-Russian line.

The illegal transition of power was carried out through a campaign featuring the exertion of propaganda pressure on the authorities in Kiev, which was called the Orange Revolution. During this “revolution” the bloc of the CPU and Party of Regions was opposed by forces that adopted Ukrainian nationalist slogans.

After receiving the post of the president, Yushchenko completely changed the heads of regional administrations and the officials dependent on them. The Prosecutor’s Office started to initiate criminal cases against political opponents, and a revision of the results of privatisation was announced. As he promised to his sponsors, Yushchenko took an anti-Russian foreign policy line.

However, the powers of the President were severely limited by the decision of the Verkhovna Rada (the so-called constitutional reform of 2004). The President’s initiative to redistribute state property that had been privatised by oligarchs was torpedoed.

After that, Yushchenko focused on implementing the ideological part of the “brown” project. For this purpose he founded the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory and started to conduct with its support the “Holodomor” ideological campaign with an anti-Russia and anti-Russian orientation. Western Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych was awarded the title Hero of Ukraine by the President. The western Ukrainian OUN-UPA fascist organisation was rehabilitated, and its participants started to receive material support from the state. The activities of OUN-UPA for the construction of “Ukraine for Ukrainians” started to be promoted in films, books, and articles on the instructions of the President.

The Party of Regions and communists, with the assistance of socialists and agrarians, continued to form ruling coalitions after the Verkhovna Rada elections in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, and appoint their own Prime Ministers. The implementation of the “white” Ukrainian project continued.

In February 2010, the presidential election was won by Viktor Yanukovych. He started to pursue a line towards ensuring equal rights for the Ukrainian and Russian population of the Republic. In 2012 the Party of Regions run by Yanukovych passed a law in the Verkhovna Rada on giving Russian the status of a regional language. In terms of foreign policy, the Party of Regions supported cooperation with Russia.

Implementing the “white” project, the ruling bourgeois elite in Ukraine, including that part of it which was a part of the Party of Regions and the Communist Party, consistently built the Ukrainian nation. Only this construction was carried out through the acculturation of Russians via Ukrainian social institutions, by depriving the Russian intelligentsia of income and marginalising them, and by the soft suppression of Russian political elites.

For example, under all authorities there was a forced closure of Russian schools and the transfer of Russian children to Ukrainian schools. So, if in 1991 54% of all children studied in Russian schools, then in 2003 it only 27%.

By 2001, the percentage of people who receive higher education in the Russian language had halved compared to 1991.

During 1991-1997, the number of Russian drama theaters was reduced threefold, from 43 to 13. Members of nationalist groups held protests against the concerts of Russian-speaking performers.

In 1992, President L. Kravchuk supported the creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), independent of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate. It was founded by Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret (Denisenko). However, this church was not recognised as canonical by other Orthodox churches, and Filaret himself was excommunicated. Nevertheless, the UOC-KP was supported by President L. Kuchma, and then by President V. Yushchenko. The latter tried to raise the status of the UOC-KP and transfer it to the subordination of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. All the presidents assumed that this church would be an effective tool for building the Ukrainian nation.

Victor Yanukovych was guided by one of several developed oligarchical groups and helped it to earn profits with the use of the opportunities of the state. He also did not leave himself in the balance. Other oligarchical groups were dissatisfied with the existing distribution of resources.

This discontent allowed the Anglo-Saxons to again interfere with the political process in Ukraine. They helped an ousted group of oligarchs organise a new “orange” revolution. This revolution received the name of the square on which protest actions took place in Kiev – Maidan.

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Oppositional oligarchs, in particular Petro Poroshenko, brought to Maidan people who were dissatisfied with the difficult economic situation and corruption in the country. The protests were led by Ukrainian fascist parties: “Svoboda” and “UDAR”. Paramilitary groups of a fascist persuasion arrived at Maidan: “Maidan Self-Defence Force”, “Right Sector“, and “Socialist-Nationalist Assembly”. Their members were armed and made demands to build a “Ukraine for Ukrainians”. Protesters occupied a number of office buildings and organised armed terror in the capital of Ukraine. The oligarchs paid for the holding of actions on Maidan and supported them through controlled media.

The Party of Regions and communists organised a counteraction in support of the legitimate authorities – Anti-Maidan. This structure involved forces that supported the preservation of democratic order in Ukraine and equality between all ethnoses within the Ukrainian nation. The counteractions were not less massive than Maidan, however they practically did not break into the information field.

In December 2013, President V. Yanukovych and the Prime Minister from the Party of Regions Nikolay Azarov were overthrown by the Ukrainian paramilitary groups that had gathered on Maidan. During the coup about 100 people on both sides were killed.

Scared of the fascist terror, deputies who were supporters of the Party of Regions and the Communist Party started to switch to the Ukrainian nationalist-radical parties in the Verkhovna Rada en masse. These parties gained the necessary number of votes and illegally voted for Yanukovych’s dismissal. Presidential power after the coup was appropriated by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Aleksandr Turchynov. He appointed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister. Both were henchmen of P. Poroshenko and the oligarchical group supporting him.

The coup strengthened the role of the west Ukrainian fascist elites in society. This elite concentrated in the “Svoboda” party, the “Right Sector” association (headed by Dmitry Yarosh), “UNA-UNSO” stormtrooper units, and the “Samopomoshch” movement. Being afraid of these organisations, the henchmen of oligarchs demanded to disarm them and make their members join the National Guard and Armed Forces.

The fascist parties “Svoboda” and “Socialist-Nationalist Assembly” did not get access to power and because of this left the structure of the ruling coalition in the Rada. This paralysed the coalition’s work.

In the summer of 2014, Petro Poroshenko was elected President of Ukraine in an early election.

In October 2014, an early Rada election took place. The election was won by the nationalist-democratic “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko” (headed by Yury Lutsenko) and the nationalist-radical People’s Front (headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk). Vladimir Groisman, and then Andriy Parubiy, became the Rada chairman. Arseniy Yatsenyuk was elected as the Prime Minister.

Under the leadership of these politicians, the state apparatus and fascist stormtroopers started to implement the “brown” Ukrainian project. The core of this project was the persecution and genocide of the Russian population.

Immediately after the coup in February 2014, the Verkhovna Rada canceled the regional status of the Russian language. Hate speech against the Russian population of the Republic was heard from the official tribune.

In response to these threats, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea held a referendum in March 2014, and in accordance with its results it seceded from Ukraine and joined Russia at the request of the newly elected authorities.

In the Lugansk, Donetsk, and Kharkov regions in April 2014 the Russian population, which wanted to leave the structure of Ukraine and join Russia, started to revolt. The revolt in Kharkov was suppressed by the Ukrainian authorities. The revolt of Russians in Donbass led to the formation of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Kiev declared the Russian protest movement in Donbass separatist and used army forces against the mutineers. Residents of the region formed self-defence forces and resisted the military. A civil war started in the country.

A. Turchynov, who was acting as President at the time, initiated the creation of voluntary Ukrainian punitive battalions to fight the Russian population of the country. The “Donbas“, “Dnepr-1“, “Azov“, “Aidar“, “Krivbas”, “Volunteer Ukrainian Corps”, and other battalions were created.

The Ukrainian authorities, using the army and punitive battalions, attempted to carry out the genocide of the Russian population of Donbass. According to the UN, from the beginning of the conflict in April 2014 to March 2020, the Ukrainian military and punishers killed 3,350 civilians.

Ukrainian fascist paramilitary organisations started to carry out terror against the Russians throughout the Republic. For example, in May 2014 in Odessa they dispersed the protest activists of the Russian resistance movement in the streets and squares and pushed some of them into the building of the House of Trade Unions. Then the building was blocked by fascist stormtroopers and set on fire. 50 people who were defending the right of the Russian population to preserve their identity died in the fire. The murderers have not been punished.

In April 2015 a wave of murders of public figures who articulated the interests of the Russian population of the Republic took place. The writer Oles Buzina, public figures Oleg Kalashnikov, Mikhail Chechetov, Aleksandr Peklushenko, and Stanislav Melnik were killed. UPA claimed responsibility for these murders, but the killers have not been punished.

In total, almost two dozen Russian journalists were killed after Maidan. The murderers have not been found and have not been punished.

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After the coup of February 2014, the communists advocating equality of all citizens were subjected to persecution. Fascist stormtroopers smashed up the offices of the CPU, destroyed its property, assaulted its leaders, and kidnapped them for the purpose of intimidation.

In May 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine banned the activity of the Communist Party and the public use of communist symbols. A package of decommunisation laws was at the same time adopted. Under these laws there was the renaming of cities, settlements, streets, and squares, monuments to Soviet and Communist figures were dismantled, and the Soviet anthem, coat of arms, flag, as well as a mention and the memorilisation of persons who were connected with the Communist Party and the Soviet system, were forbidden.

It is characteristic that one of the laws adopted by the Rada was called “About the condemnation of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of promotion of their symbols”. However neither symbols, nor names connected with Nazism in the country were actually forbidden. It was necessary to deprive only the communists of the tools to mobilise the masses in support of the “red” project and to suppress the workers’ rights movement. Nazi names and symbols played an important role in the completion of this task.

Another law from the package on decommunisation was called: “About the legal status and memory of fighters for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century”. It equated the legal status of anti-Nazism soldiers with that of pro-Nazism militants. Practically, the murderers and executioners of three million Ukrainians during the Great Patriotic War were politically rehabilitated. Moreover, Galician fascists, in particular the leaders of OUN-UPA Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera, were elevated to the rank of national heroes. Monuments and plaques were erected, streets and squares were re-named, books were published, and celebrations were held in their honour.

The Ukrainian fascists started to profane the graves of the Soviet soldiers who liberated Ukraine from fascism, take down the monuments and memorials standing on them, and dismantle monuments dedicated to Soviet military leaders. Many monuments dedicated to Russian and Soviet cultural figures were also bulldozed – everything that materialised the values of unity of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and prevented the spread of fascist ideas.

Moving towards the goal of building an ethnic hierarchy in Ukraine, the new authorities introduced quotas on the use of the Russian language in television and radio broadcasts, and banned the broadcasting of the main part of Russian television and radio channels in the country. The majority of Russian films made after 1991 were banned from being shown in Ukraine.

In April 2019, the Rada of Ukraine adopted the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language”. According to this law, all education in schools and universities, as well as all public life of the country, were translated into Ukrainian. Moreover, the Galician version of the Ukrainian language, which was spoken by a relatively small part of the entire population, was imposed on society. The main part of Ukrainians talk at the same time in Russian or a mixed Russian-Ukrainian version of the language – surzhik. According to the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, in March 2002 Ukrainians made up 78.4% of the population of Ukraine, and Russians 16.8%, while 53.2% of the population of Ukraine customarily speak Russian and only 44.7% speak Ukrainian.

Those members of national minorities who resisted forced assimilation were prosecuted by the authorities. In order to trigger prosecution it was only necessary to write or tell the truth, as the case of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who was sent to prison for his professional work, showed.

According to the former Rada deputy E. Bondarenko, cited on the pages of the “NewsOne” website, by the end of 2019 there were about 3,000 political prisoners, mainly Russian, in Ukrainian prisons.

In 2017 and 2019, during a prisoner exchange between Ukraine, the DPR, and the LPR, less than 300 people had been released by Kiev.

In May 2019, the comedian Vladimir Zelensky won the Ukrainian presidential election. He was nominated by the “Servants of the People” party, which is funded by the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, who is in conflict with Petro Poroshenko.

After being elected as President, Zelensky dissolved Parliament. During the extraordinary election in July 2019, the “Servants of the People” party gained an absolute majority and formed a government. The party positioned itself as liberal-democratic, but it did not stop the fighting of Ukrainian Armed Forces against the Russian population of Donbass, it did not cancel the transition to exclusively the Ukrainian language in the public sphere and in the education system, and it did not stop the persecution of Russian culture. This makes it possible to say that the ruling Ukrainian elite is not going to abandon the implementation of the “brown” project.

In general, it can be said that since February 2014 in Ukraine the bourgeoisie has been implementing the “brown” Ukrainian project through large parties under its control. This project aims to suppress and rob all workers and forcefully assimilate the Russian population of the Republic into the Ukrainian nation. Ukrainian fascist parties are used by the ruling elite to terrorise Russian activists. At the same time, an important role in this is played by the anti-Russian policy that the Ukrainian ruling elite pursues at the order of the Anglo-Saxons.


Aleksandr Gaponenko

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