“Svoboda” Neo-Nazis in Kiev: “If You Want to Live Here, You Must Forget the Russian Language”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Over 100 Ukrainian nationalists came to the building of the Constitutional Court on Zhilyanskaya Street, demanding to completely ban the Russian language in Ukraine. This was reported by the correspondent of the Federal News Agency (FAN) from the place of events.

Neo-Nazis cried out offensive slogans at Russian-speaking citizens, and also hung on the fence of the court ValenkiLapti, and bottles with inscription “A Boyaryshnik for Russians” – a reference to last year’s tragedy when some dozens of people were poisoned in Russia by a substitute alcohol on the basis of hawthorn tincture. It should be noted that after this tragedy an even more mass tragedy with this hawthorn tincture happened in Ukraine, when Ukrainians were poisoned, but nobody in Russia thought about laughing.

Besides bottles, posters were hung on the fence: “The Ukrainian language is the best”, “Russian language is for slaves”, “Russian is the language of occupiers”, “The Ukrainian language is our freedom”, etc.

The activists were from the Svoboda party, which is officially represented in the Ukrainian parliament, and its leader, Oleg Tyagnybok, regularly and publicly calls for ethnic cleaning in Ukraine.

Most of the activists didn’t want to communicate with the press on camera, but off-camera men calling themselves nationalists didn’t hesitate to threaten all Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine in absentia.

“The Russian language is spoken only by the enemies of Ukraine. If you want to live here, you must forget Russian. Neither Hungarian, Polish, or Russian! There won’t be any other languages! We will hammer a wooden stake into the throat of all who will impede the development of our native melodious language! If you speak Russian, then receive a fist to the face! And it’s only in this way that we will win!” answered one of the men when requested in the Russian language to comment. However, he didn’t attack the correspondent of the FAN.

It should be noted that most of the protesters looked extremely slovenly: these people were dressed in dirty and often ripped clothes, they reeked of alcohol and dirt. There was the impression that these men were employed for a small payment, and that the selection took place among the vagrants who since 2014 are constantly filling up the center of the Kiev capital.

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Activists of “Svoboda” demand to recognise as unconstitutional and to cancel the law “On the Principles of the State Language Policy” – the so-called “Law of Kivalov-Kolesnichenko”. This law provides the possibility of official bilingualism in regions where the number of ethnic minorities exceeds 10%. After the coup d’etat in 2014 the Verkhovna Rada recognised this law as invalid, and because of this riots happened in the South and the Southeast of the country, which developed into civil war in the East of the country. As a result the Ukrainian parliament withdrew its decision on the cancellation of this law, but the Russian citizens of Donbass and Crimea didn’t trust the Kiev authorities anymore.

On January 23rd the Constitutional Court of Ukraine tried once again to elect its chairman. Also on the agenda was the continuation of the consideration of the law on the principles of the State language policy. It’s possible that the result of consideration will indeed become a total ban on the use of the Russian language. In the Rada several draft bills on the State language are registered. One of them suggests to use the Ukrainian language exclusively almost in all spheres of life, and to penalise the use of the Russian language.

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