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Kyiv Post | 11Apr2012 | 43 anti-Tyahnybok signatories

Activists: Svoboda party rejects ‘core political and economic freedoms’

Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter supported by various people (whose names are listed at the end) in opposition to the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party led by Oleh Tiahnybok.

[W.Z.  "Hate-mongering" and "demonization" has long been a favoured tactic used by Ukraine's enemies to delegitimize the Ukrainian independence movement before 1991 and Ukraine's independence since then. Indeed, demonizing one's victims or opponents -- whether in war (WWI, WWII, Palestine, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq ... Iran), "attack ads" in politics (Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, etc.) and even individuals (John Demjanjuk) -- has been utilized for centuries.

Ukrainians have come to expect this from John-Paul Himka and his nest of Ukrainophobic vipers at the University of Alberta, who signed the infamous advertisement in the 23Apr2011 issue of the National Post [alternate internal link] attacking the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for demanding equal treatment of the Holodomor in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Thus, his signature below is not unexpected.

However, the signature of Taras Kuzio -- whose views I normally respect -- is unexpected. Rather than descending into hate-mongering, I would suggest that Mr. Kuzio arrange a debate (in Ukrainian) with Mr. Tyahnybok to discuss their mutual views of the Ukrainian political scene. Such a televized debate would attract and educate a large audience of viewers -- both in Ukraine and the Diaspora.

Surprisingly, nine of the signatories below are from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy -- a respected educational institution seeking moral and financial help within Ukraine and from the Diaspora to rebuff attacks on its existence and independence by Mr. Tabachnyk and the Party of Regions government. In my opinion, their signatures on this document lowers the prestige of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and certainly their credentials as unbiased educators.

Finally, I would expect that the Kyiv Post will provide Mr. Tyahnybok an opportunity to respond to this attack.]

We, the below citizens of Ukraine as well as foreign citizens of Ukrainian descent, are a group of researchers, journalists, editors, publicists, experts, activists, lecturers, etc.

As such, we are professionally engaged in the monitoring, analysis and interpretation of Ukrainian politics. Over the last years, we have been following the statements and actions of the former Social-National Party of Ukraine which calls itself today All-Ukrainian Union Freedom (Svoboda). Based on our and other specialists’ observations and investigations, we call upon the leaders of Ukraine's democratic opposition to re-consider the inclusion of Svoboda into the Committee Against Dictatorship, and further collaboration with this party.

Oleh Tiahnybok's party calls itself Freedom. Yet, it is a fundamentally anti-liberal party that has frequently, openly and explicitly rejected core political and economic freedoms.

Representatives of Svoboda regularly pose as tolerant democrats on TV: Yet, there are signs that the party's fundamental beliefs are marked by intolerance towards minorities, and striving towards an exclusive form of ethnocracy. [Such as intolerance towards the Ukrainian language and the material wellbeing of "ethnic" Ukrainians?]

Tiahnybok and Co. demonstratively cherish the resistance of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army resistance against Nazi occupation of Ukraine: Yet, some Svoboda members have been displaying a more than academic interest in the writings of representatives of Germany's fascist movement.

[W.Z. The signatories obviously do not "cherish" the sacrifice of UPA fighters against Polish-German-Soviet occupation of Ukraine and their attempt to establish an independent Ukraine. Furthermore, one would hope that academic "educators" would critically analyze the writings of "Germany's fascist movement" and encourage others to do so.]

Svoboda claims to be a pro-European party: Yet, its ethnocentric and homophobic world view is, in a number of ways, the exact opposite of the principles upon which post-war European integration is built. [Weasel words: ethnocentric, homophobic.]

Svoboda claims to be a typically European party: Yet, it belongs to the ultra-nationalist Alliance of European National Movements that includes some of the EU's most extremely right-wing parties which are sources of embarrassment, disgust and shame for most Europeans. [Weasel words: right-wing, embarrassment, disgust, shame.]

The Union Svoboda calls itself All-Ukrainian: Yet, it remains a regionally based party that divides rather than unites Ukraine, as shown by the disparity of its electoral results in Galicia [Halychyna], on the side, and the rest of Ukraine, on the other.

Tiahnybok's party poses as Ukraine's most resolute defender against Russian irredentism and colonialism: Yet, it is indirectly helping Moscow's neo-imperial schemes as its public activities and strident statements tend to deepen the estrangement between, and promote separatist sentiments in, Western and Southern/Eastern Ukraine. [I thought that it was Mr. Yanukovych, the Party of Regions, Putin's agents and fifth columnists who were promoting estrangement and separatism within Ukraine. To blame Mr. Tyahnybok for this is absurd.]

Svoboda presents itself as the most consistent opponent of Yanukoych's semi-authoritarian regime: Yet, its leaders are frequently invited to voice their views on TV channels linked to the Party of Regions. [Do the signatories expect a political leader to decline an opportunity to promote his views on television? All TV channels in Ukraine are linked to the Party of Regions.]

Svoboda claims to support Ukrainian democracy and Western integration: Yet, its ambivalent stance towards Ukraine’s liberal tradition, Jewish heritage, relations to Poland, multicultural society as well as numerous other issues indicate that Svoboda's understanding of democracy and the West is peculiar, to say the least. [The signatories of this document do not exhibit an understanding of liberal tradition, democracy and the West.]

For these and other reasons, we think that Svoboda is an unsuitable member of the Committee Against Dictatorship, and suggest to the leaders of Ukraine's democratic opposition to re-consider their partnership with this party.

[W.Z.  On the contrary, even if (and especially if) Mr. Tyahnybok and the Svoboda party are as evil as the signatories allege, the "leaders of Ukraine's democratic opposition" should make every effort to ensure that Svoboda becomes a member of the "Committee Against Dictatorship". Better inside the fold than outside the fold. What are the signatories afraid of?]

We have nothing to say to those voters of Svoboda who support this party because they hold racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic views. [Weasel words: racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic.]

Yet, we would like to appeal to those Ukrainian voters who are in favor of Ukraine's European perspective. We understand that you may have cast your vote for Svoboda in protest against President Viktor Yanukovych’s anti-European policies. However, Svoboda's further rise will not help, but undermine Ukraine’s incorporation into Europe, deepen our home country's isolation, and further damage its image in the world. It will complicate the domestic consolidation, geopolitical stabilization and international integration of the young Ukrainian state. [Unbelievable sophistry! Ukraine is regressing towards Stalinism and Mr. Tyahnybok is to blame.]

If Svoboda did not exist, the Kremlin would have to invent a party like it: Svoboda is Ukraine's enemies’ perfect instrument to act according to the rule "divide et impera" (divide and rule).

Support for Svoboda's candidates by pro-democracy opposition parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections may be used by the authorities and Party of Regions to discredit Ukraine’s democratic opposition, and to thereby reverse the declining support for Yanukovych and his party in the Eastern and southern part of Ukraine. In view of this scenario, any form of alliance with Svoboda is likely to result not in gains, but in losses for, or even in a defeat of, the democratic opposition in October 2012.

[W.Z. Divide and destroy! This is exactly what this document is attempting to do to Ukraine's "democratic opposition".]

We ask Ukraine's politicians to abstain from endorsement of Svoboda's candidates in majoritarian races, and from forming unified electoral lists with Svoboda representatives. While participation in joint opposition rallies with Svoboda may be unavoidable, we ask all responsible Ukrainian political leaders to refrain from permanent partnerships and deeper affiliations with this political force that harms Ukraine's fundamental national interests. [Exact opposite is required.]

We ask all Ukrainians in favor of a democratic, tolerant, open and inclusive Ukrainian society to express their disagreement with Svoboda's ideology.

[W.Z. I find the above document abhorrent. Presumably, the signatories below fancy themselves as modern, tolerant, enlightened, liberal, democratic, etc. "academics", who are qualified to guide Ukraine's future development as an independent state. For the past 21 years, they have been guiding Ukraine's development by mouthing nice platitudes, but accomplishing nothing. Obviously, the efforts of these "academics" have proved to be an abject failure, since Ukraine is regressing towards a Stalinist state. Furthermore, we in the Diaspora have also been miserable failures by swallowing these nice platitudes and failing to insist on real progress in the sociological, judicial and economic spheres.

I am only vaguely familiar with Mr. Tyahnybok and the Svoboda party. Nevertheless, it is my perception that their patriotism towards Ukraine and concern for the economic wellbeing of Ukrainians is unmatched by other politicians and political parties. It is also my perception, that Svoboda candidates who have won regional or municipal elections have performed well, have not become corrupted and have not defected to other political parties. It is possible (even likely) that saboteurs will try to enter into leading roles in Svoboda and to corrupt and discredit the party. As for rank and file supporters, it is impossible to prevent a saboteur from claiming that he is a Svoboda supporter, when he commits a criminal or immoral act or espouses detestable views. The FSB, CIA, Mossad, MI6, etc. are masters at compromising/corrupting politicians and demonizing fledgling political parties.

Conclusion: I do not trust the so-called failed "academics" and support Mr. Tyahnybok and Svoboda.]

Natalia Amelchenko, associate professor, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Maksym Butkevych, journalist, co-coordinator, Social Action Centre No Borders Project, Ukraine
Vasyl Cherepanyn, senior Lecturer, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Oleksandr Demyanchuk, professor & chair, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Volodymyr Dubrovskiy, senior economist, Center for Socioeconomic Research CASE, Ukraine
Yevhen Finkel, doctoral researcher, University of Wisconsin - Madison, United States
Oleksandr Fisun, professor & chair, Kharkiv National V. Karazin University, Ukraine
Kyrylo Halushko, Cand. Sc. hist., Head, Ukrainian Academic Society, Ukraine
John-Paul Himka, Ph. D., professor, University of Alberta, Canada
Serhiy Hirik, Post-Graduate Researcher, M.Hrushevsky Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies, Ukraine
Oleksandr Ivashyna, senior lecturer, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Valeriy Khmelko, professor, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Oksana Kis, senior research fellow, NANU Institute of Ethnology, Ukraine
Serhiy Kiselyov, associate professor, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Karyna Korostelina, associate professor, George Mason University, United States
Oleh Kotsyuba, doctoral researcher, Harvard University, United States
Nadiya Kravets, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, United States
Ostap Kryvdyk, policy analyst, Board Member, Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union, Ukraine
Serhiy Kudelia, visiting scholar, George Washington University, DC, United States
Taras Kuzio, honorary senior fellow, University of Toronto, Canada
Viacheslav Likhachev, program director, Congress of National Communities of Ukraine
Evhen Mahda, political analyst, Ukraine
Yuriy Makarov, host TVi channel and observer Ukrainskiy Tyzhden, Ukraine
Yuriy Matsiyevsky, Fulbright Scholar, Kennan Institute, Washington, United States
Mykhailo Minakov, associate professor, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Andriy Mokrousov, executive editor, journal Krytyka, Ukraine
Svitlana Oksamytna, associate professor & dean, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Oleksandr Polyanichev, postgraduate researcher, European University at St. Petersburg, Ukraine
Oleksiy Poltorakov, senior consultant, People Committee on National Security, Ukraine
Kyrylo Savin, head, Kyiv Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Ukraine
Anton Shekhovtsov, European Fellow, University of Northampton, United Kingdom
Oxana Shevel, assistant professor, Tufts University, Medford, United States
Viktoria Siumar, journalist, executive director, Institute of Mass Information, Ukraine
Ivan Soiko, associate professor, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine
Inna Sovsun, senior lecturer, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Ihor Todorov, professor, Donetsk National University, Ukraine
Vadym Triukhan, National Academy of Public Administration, Ukraine
Taras Voznyak, editor-in-chief, independent culturological journal "Ji," Ukraine
Kataryna Wolczuk, senior lecturer, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Olena Yatsunska, associate professor, Mykolayiv Regional Center for Local Government Development, Ukraine
Volodymyr Yermolenko, senior lecturer, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Serhiy Zhuk, associate professor, Ball State University, Muncie, United States
Tetyana Zhurzhenko, Shklar Fellow, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, United States


Old Tactic of FBI & KGB | 12Apr2012 at 20:12
set up and finance extremist organizations to attract extremists so as to easily monitor and use them for "dirty tricks" and set them up for "special ops"e.g. vandalize cemeteries (good fund raising gimmick -- works everytime) or blow up monuments. In the early 1950's in USA they did a survey re anti-Semitism and found NONE so started funding a few nut jobs like KKK and "American Nazi party"...this paid off politically as it led to all sort of new laws,etc
There was NEVER any RISK or any danger that these parties would ever take over but the media exploited their very existence( fragile as it was) to the hilt!
Anyone hated by these IQ clowns | 12Apr2012 at 08:30
can't be ALL bad!

carl | 11Apr2012 at 21:52
So it is okay for jews to have a ethnic state[israel]but not okay for ukrainians,russians,germans etc.

Guest | 11Apr2012 at 17:55
You could apply them same assessment to Our Ukraine. Theybclainm tribe pro west yet their policies are not spro Europe or supportive of European values and European models of democracy.

There are many of Svoboda's policies at do not agree with. I. Ertainy can not support of condone pro NAZI reverence. BUT I think it is equally wrong for some to decide they're more Hollier then thou. We was there protest when Yushchenko was trashing Ukraine's Ccntitutional rights. we're we're they when Yushchenko unilaterally declared Bandera a pro NAZI nationalist a National hero. Double standards. an open letter does not mean much and deserves little support. Particually when it is clearly partisan in its content and flavor.

elmer | 11Apr2012 at 17:02
"We have nothing to say to those voters of Svoboda who support this party because they hold racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic views."

OK, so these signatories have told voters not to vote for Svoboda.

At soccer games, there is a chant:

спасибо жителям Донбаса
за президента пидираса

thank you citizens of Donbas
for a president-pederast (creep)

So what do these signatories tell the voters who vote for the Party of Regions and the dictator imbecile "president" of Zookraine and his banda, whose entire existence is based on Russian imperialism, and xenophobic/racist views towards Ukraine?

Let us hear it.

Tell the people of Zookraine for whom they should vote.

як би ви знали паничі

спасибо жителям Донбаса
за президента ПИДИРАСА
100% Correct! | 11Apr2012 at 12:12
Tyahnibok is a Moscow and PoR project who is pulling the wool over the eyes of many patriotic Ukrainians in Lviv and Ternopil. This article is exactly right, and congratulations to all the signatories. Svoboda in its current form has no place in the democratic opposition. It only damages Ukraine's European prospects, as that brand of nationalism is persona non grata in mainstream Europe. Ukraine badly needs a new patriotic party that is not based on xenophobic ideology.