Right Sector Beat With Bats a Political Scientist for Defending Languages of National Minorities

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



On 21.03.17 local political scientist Oleg Khavich was beaten when he attempted to give a presentation as part of the public organization “Protection of the Rights of Ethnic Minorities” in Ukraine in Chernivtsi. 

On March 22nd SBU employees came to search the premises of the political scientist Oleg Khavich. This was reported by friends and relatives of the political scientist on social networks. At the time of writing, what he is accused of is still not clear. Oleg Khavich himself claimed that the police not only didn’t intervene whilst he was beaten by activists, but they also assisted them.

In Ukraine any attempts to “intercede” for Russian and other languages of national minorities, come to an end with accusations of separatism and the beating of those who try to remind about the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution. After all, according to the 10th article of the Constitution of Ukraine, free development of Russian and other languages of ethnic minorities is guaranteed by the State. Besides. In addition, the article 24 of the basic law claims that “there can’t be privileges or restrictions … on language or other attributes”.

However, Nazis with bats don’t read laws, and the country of the “victorious dignity” wiped their feet all over the Constitution already on Maidan. That’s why yesterday in Chernovtsy the famous West Ukrainian political scientist and blogger Oleg Khavich, who acted as the organizer of the roundtable “Protection of the rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine in the context of European integration”, was brutally beaten. The participants of the event, where there were politicians, public figures, European political scientists and experts, considered this roundtable to be timely and actual. Especially as the mayor Sadovoy declared recently that nearly 80% of inhabitants of Bukovina have Romanian passports. However, despite the in-absentia europeanization of the region and attempts to decorate a roundtable with “European dressing”, local activists considered this meeting to be separatist. Because also problems of restricted rights of Russian-speaking inhabitants of the Chernovitsky region were discussed there. According to local Right Sector members, it was a veiled separatist meeting, that’s why Chernovitsky ATO fighters, having learnt about it, came to the event, pulled Khavich out onto the street, and beat him. After being beaten as a “separatist”, he was handed over to the police. The blogger said that after the beating he felt very bad and asked to call doctors: his head was injured, and his arm was dislocated. But the police arrived first and on request of radicals they put handcuffs on Khavich. Then instead of bringing him to an ambulance, he was taken to the police station. And from there the organizer of the “roundtable” was transferred to the hospital, having evaluated the gravity of his injuries. By the way, a juicy detail: while the beaten political scientist lay unconscious, right-wing radicals cleaned his pockets, having stolen documents, money, and keys. So it isn’t excluded that the mangled political scientist also will be robed by marauder-ATO fighters.

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To say that the invited European guests were shocked is to say nothing. Thus, the leader of the interdisciplinary Politosophia project Svyatoslav Vyshinsky noted that the ambassador of the Bogusław Sonik of the Polish Sejm, who had to act at the same roundtable, was inexpressibly surprised that on Bukovina the patrol police put handcuffs not on the attackers, but on the victims.

“During a round table I wanted to ask the deputy about the beating by Polish nationalists of a Ukrainian religious procession in Przemysl in the summer of 2016. But after I saw in Ukraine Ukrainians attack each other – I understood that there is no sense,” wrote a Pole on social networks. However, patriots of Chernovtsy immediately blamed the Polish guest, having written: “We don’t care what some provoker thinks, be he a Moskal or a Pole”. In addition, activists began to be interested in the position of a participant of a forum, and came to a conclusion that the “the ambassador of Sejm” is a has been’s has been”. Of course, it’s not Nuland with cookies on Maidan, to which jumpers listened to spellbound, and even not the US ambassador.

The poor participants of the forum tried to remind radicals with bats and the police about the existence of the European charter of regional languages or languages of minorities, which Ukraine ratified in 2003 and on the basis of which, in 2012, the law on language policy was adopted. However, for the Right Sector member who beat the blogger, these arguments are meaningless: they swung weapons under the shouts of “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to heroes”. By the way, the attackers received whole-hearted support from locals, who gave them inspiration and forces for reprisals. Because local activists are sure that it is necessary to punish without mercy using bats and fists the organizers of “roundtables” that are carried out under the emblem of “Ukrainian Choice” of Medvedchuk. As confirmation of their correctness they give references to the political scientist’s materials on resources like the Russian Line information service, and assure that just for this the blogger needs to be killed.

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Now on social networks fund raising for Oleg Khavich was announced, who is in a serious condition in the hospital, but nationalists celebrate another victory over the “Russian world”.

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