Vitrenko Describes Physical Threats, Exposes Sophistry of the Ukrainian Parliament’s “Neo-Nazi” Laws

April 17, 2015

An interview with Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) leader Dr. Natalia Vitrenko was included in a Channel One Russia TV segment Sunday night on the adoption of drastic laws against freedom of expression in Ukraine. Vitrenko described how it is currently impossible for her, a former member of Parliament and Presidential candidate, to organize politically in her country: “I cannot have contact with the population. I am never allowed on Ukrainian television channels. I cannot hold a rally, because it’s immediately taken over by goons, who come with sticks, chains, and stones, and maim people taking part in the rally.”

On April 10, the day after passage of the new laws, Vitrenko released a video analyzing them (a video link to the Russian-language presentation can be found here.). She and PSPU co-leader Vladimir Marchenko have called on President Petro Poroshenko not to sign them. In the 45-minute talk, Vitrenko declared that these are “neo-Nazi laws, no matter what anybody says.” In a point-by-point analysis, she exposed the sophistry of the law “On the condemnation of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols,” which pretends to be “anti-Nazi” as well as “anti-Communist,” coupling the two as “totalitarian” systems. But the “Nazism” that is banned is only the symbols of the German Third Reich in 1933-1945, thus leaving, for example, today’s Azov Battalion in Ukraine free to march under the Wolfsangel symbol. The Third Reich, Vitrenko pointed out, was already thoroughly condemned by the Nuremberg Tribunals, which convicted the Nazis and their accomplices. Yet the Supreme Rada, in another of the new laws, has now elevated the Nazis’ accomplices from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA) organization to the status of “fighters for Ukraine’s independence during the 20th century.”

As soon as the laws are signed, said Vitrenko, “I could get 10 years in prison, for saying that I am proud of my grandfather and my father,” who served in the Soviet Red Army. She detailed how the laws violate an array of European conventions on human rights and freedom of expression, to which Ukraine adhered when it signed the Association Agreement with the European Union, as well as Ukraine’s own 2000 law on the perpetual commemoration of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.

Last week, the PSPU denounced a new media campaign to target and frame Vitrenko as “pro-separatist” and a Russian agent. Her associates have expressed concern that the media smears are intended to make her an enemy in the eyes of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi and Banderite radicals, who would then move to eliminate her physically. In 1999, as a Presidential candidate, Vitrenko and 40 others were injured in a grenade attack on her campaign rally.

During the Rada session, which adopted the laws with minimal discussion, testimony on behalf of their passage was given by Yuri Shukhevych, son of Roman Shukhevych, a commander in the German Abwehr’s Nachtigall Battalion, and in 1943 a key figure in the UPA’s Volhynia massacres of Poles living in western Ukraine. Long the head of UNA-UNSO, which became a component of Right Sector, the younger Shukhevych is now an MP from Oleg Lyashko’s Radical Party. Also testifying was Volodymyr Viatrovych, the “historian” assigned in the 2000s by then (and now) Ukraine Security Service (SBU) head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko and then-President Yushchenko to rewrite history, whitewashing the OUN-UPA. (See Per Anders Rudling, “Warfare, or War Criminality?”)

Amid the renewal of artillery shelling around Donetsk, this past Orthodox Easter weekend saw night-time attacks in which statues of Soviet-era figures were torn down in the city of Kharkov. Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, now a Defense Ministry official, posted on his Facebook page images of grenades, decorated as Easter eggs and captioned with a call for divine help in achieving “Victory in the Holy War with the Russian-terrorist bands.”

In the Channel One Russia broadcast, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, who himself was hauled in for 11 hours of interrogation last week, told an interviewer, “There is now a dictatorship in the country – of one opinion and one ideology; a dictatorship of those who came to power through the Maidan, and that excludes any pluralism of views.” The report also highlighted the case of Ukrainian Labor Party leader Alexander Bondarchuk, currently on trial and facing five years in prison for “infringing the territorial integrity of Ukraine” through articles published last August in the newspaper he edits.



Pro-Russian Figures Assassinated in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin, during his four-hour call-in session Thursday on the Russian program, Direct Line, referred to the shooting death of anti-fascist Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzyna's on April 16 as a political assassination, stating that it was not the first and noting that "Ukraine is dealing with a whole string of such murders."

Putin added: "In Ukraine, which has pretensions of being a democratic state and has aspirations to join democratic Europe, nothing of the sort is going on. Where are the killers of these people? They simply don't exist. There is nobody who carried out the crimes and nobody who ordered them. And in Europe and North America, people prefer not to notice."

Buzyna was assassinated Thursday morning as he was leaving his home. On Wednesday, Member of Parliament Oleg Kalashnikov was shot and killed; he was a former close associate of President Viktor Yanukovych before he was overthrown in the nazi-led Maidan coup.

The deaths underscore the warning by Lyndon LaRouche that Dr. Natalia Vitrenko, former Member of Parliament, faces the risk of assassination for her vocal opposition to the Nazi coup.

Both assassination victims were involved in the anti-Maidan movement which opposed the coup against Yanukovych in February last year. According to Ukraine media, three days ago another noted anti-fascist Ukraine journalist, Serhiy Sukhobok, was shot. In addition, a number of Yanukovych allies have died in suspicious circumstances in the last three months, according to news reports.

Vitrenko and Marchenko to Petro Poroshenko: Ensure the Right to Life, or Step Down!

The following statement was issued April 16, 2015 by Dr. Natalia Vitrenko and Vladimir Marchenko, former members of Parliament and leaders of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine.

The European democracy and European values, promised by the Euromaidan, have in reality been forgotten and trampled upon.

The true essence of those currently in power in Ukraine is Nazism, the physical elimination of dissidents, political repressions, terror in the information sphere, the destruction of the national economy, and social genocide.

We are politicians with enough experience, including as Parliamentarians of Ukraine, to make an evaluation of the current regime. We do this with regret, but the facts compel us to defend justice.

Therefore we appeal to you: Stop supporting neo-Nazism in both policies and ideology, stop making heroes of Hitler's accomplishes from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA), both as a political movement and for how they practiced the struggle for "Ukraine's independence."

In the mass media, including on your Channel 5, for more than a year any dissident views whatsoever have been classified as abetting separatists, infringing the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and undermining the national security. Political and public figures, scientists and teachers, journalists and writers, and even ordinary citizens of Ukraine, who have advocated, and continue to advocate, preserving the integrity of the country, but envision its protection based on different domestic and foreign policy principles than you, the Parliamentary majority, and the government formed thereby do, are immediately branded as enemies of the people, Ukrainophobes, and agents of Putin. Lists of "accomplices of separatists and terrorists" are drawn up and disseminated through the Internet.

The Ukraine Security Service (SBU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) disseminate falsehoods about people who don't suit them, initiate criminal cases against them, put them in prison, and drive them to suicide. Among these, without question, are V. Semenyuk-Samsonenko, M. Chechetov, S. Melnik, A. Peklushenko, A. Bondarchuk, S. Dolgov, A. Mayevsky, D. Denisov, and others. Those in power have directed their repressive discreditation and persecution machine also against N. Vitrenko and P. Symonenko.

For two days in a row, Ukraine has been shaken by the murders of political opponents of the authorities: People's Deputy of Ukraine Oleg Kalashnikov, and the writer and journalist Oles Buzyna. These murders were brutal, provocatory, and, unquestionably, politically motivated.

We believe that the horrors being experienced by the people of Ukraine are linked with the activity of neo-Nazi parties and movements, and the support of their actions by those in power (both in the media, and in law enforcement agencies).

The Laws of Ukraine "On the perpetual commemoration of victory over Nazism during the Second World War, 1939-1945," "On the condemnation of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols," and "On the legal status and honoring of the memory of fighters for Ukraine's independence during the 20th century," adopted April 9, 2015, recognized the regime of the USSR and Ukrainian SSR as criminal, while simultaneously glorifying Hitler's accomplices from the OUN-UPA as participants in the Ukrainian liberation movement, thereby glorifying their forms and methods of fighting their political opponents. Those forms and methods of struggle, and the cases of the millions of innocent civilians — women, children, and old men — who were their victims, were examined at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunals. The whole world shuddered at the truth revealed there. Atrocities committed by members of the OUN-UPA were also exposed during thousands of trials in Ukraine after the end of the Great Patriotic War. These crimes were judged to be so monstrous, that even upon review of the cases after 1991, they were deemed inappropriate for exoneration (rehabilitation) proceedings.

We have already sent you our open letters, demanding that you not sign the aforementioned laws, since by doing so you would split Ukraine and trigger a mechanism for the physical annihilation of millions of Ukrainians at the hands of neo-Nazi gangs, which are armed to the teeth. Like their predecessors, they will cover for all such horror, in the name of the struggle for an independent Ukraine. And they will consider the murder of the writer and journalist Oles Buzyna to have been a "great deed," just like the October 24, 1949 murder of the outstanding antifascist writer Yaroslav Halan in Lviv.

Petro Alexeyevich, open up the Constitution of Ukraine and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and read about your obligations to the citizens of Ukraine, the most important of which is the obligation to guarantee the right to life, safety, and inviolability of every person in Ukraine. The SBU and MVD agencies, which are subordinate to you, are obligated to ensure these guarantees, rather than conducting political repressions.

We demand that you, personally, fulfill your constitutional obligations, or leave the political scene!