Thursday, January 06, 2005

Seeing UNA-UNSO (with Update)

Now that Viktor Yushchenko's ascension to the Ukrainian presidency has been assured, one prominent American news organization, the Associated Press, has finally recognized the presence in his "Orange" coalition of the UNA-UNSO or Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense. According to this January 1st AP article, it was paramilitaries of the UNA-UNSO - distinguished by their "dark green uniforms and Iron Cross-like insignia", but apparently supposed to have been hitherto somehow invisible amidst the sea of orange-clad youth - that "provided much of the muscle behind the weeks of protests in support of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko." Here on Trans-Int, of course, I have been writing about the UNA-UNSO for over a month now. And another source, which I dare not mention by name, because unlike the AP it is supposed to be biased and unreliable, called attention to the UNA-UNSO role in the "Orange" coalition even earlier.

The AP article identifies the UNA-UNSO as a "far-right nationalist group", an expression that in AP nomenclature is presumably meant to be laden with rather negative connotations. Lest, however, it be thought that the AP was belatedly here achieving some degrees of separation from the "Orange" in the interest of objectivity, the article ends with a series of paragraphs clearly meant to suggest that the UNA-UNSO is not so bad after all.

Thus, citing UNA-UNSO paramilitary leader Ihor Mazur, the AP piece notes that "Mazur rejects widespread claims that the organization is anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi." Most reassuringly of all, the AP reporter has managed to find a Jew, of all people, to agree... I mean: who agrees!:

Leonid Finberg, the head of the Kiev-based Jewish Yudaica Institute, agreed. "Five or six years ago there were people with such sentiments, but that was not part of that organization's policy," he said.

I am not an expert in the matter. But I believe this "Jewish Yudaica Institute" would in plain English be the "Jewish Judaica Institute" - which strikes me as a bit of a pleonasm. We get the point, AP! Leonid's a yid. So, what me worry?

Finally, in order to seal the deal, the AP trots out the myth, with which Trans-Int readers will already be familiar, of the "bad", i.e. neo-Nazi, UNA-UNSO that, strangely enough, shares the same name as the "good" UNA-UNSO forming part of the "Orange" coalition and is thus supposed to be responsible for having sullied the reputation of the latter:

Much of UNA-UNSO's bad reputation comes from another group with the same name that paraded through downtown Kiev with Nazi flags. In a move to distance himself, Yushchenko urged that group's leader, Eduard Kovalenko, to offer his support to Yanukovych instead.

Mazur insisted that his group has no relation with Kovalenko's faction. "We want a democratic Ukraine in a unified Europe," Mazur said. "We are here because we are Ukrainians, not because of our nationality or religion."

As I have shown in "Viktor Yushchenko, Iraq and 'Fascist Thugs'", wherever the theatrically neo-Nazi UNA-UNSO of Eduard Kovalenko may have emerged from, scrutiny of materials published on the website of the UNA-UNSO of Andriy Shkil, i.e. Yushchenko's coalition partner, shows that it is perfectly capable of having secured its "bad reputation" on its own. Among other things, as we have seen, the website includes an article citing Shkil's praise for Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (whose Essay on the Inequality of Human Races had a major impact on the development of Nazi racial ideology), Nazi "racial theorist" Walter Darré, and even, though unnamed, the author of Mein Kampf - that would be, in other words, Adolf Hitler. Even without the "Nazi flags", I would think that such opinions should normally qualify an organization and its leader for being suspected of neo-Nazi tendencies. And, to paraphrase a German friend of mine, who prefers that things be called by their names, perhaps one ought to drop the "neo".

What is perhaps most amazing about the AP article is that in its earliest versions as picked up by various papers and websites on 1 January, it was followed by a link to the UNA-UNSO website containing the material just cited! The webpage at the Las Vegas Sun to which I link above, for instance, still contains this link to the UNA-UNSO site. Elsewhere, as on this page on the ABC news site, the words "Organization Web site" still appear, but they are followed by a blank.

UPDATE: Here, btw, is the missing link from the AP piece: And here is the link to the collection of English language materials on the UNA-UNSO site: I strongly advise anyone having doubts about the ideological tendencies of UNA-UNSO to have a look. The English language collection includes both articles about UNA-UNSO from English-language sources and programmatic statements from the organization itself. Keep in mind as concerns the articles by third parties - which, incidentally, repeatedly identify UNA-UNSO as a racist organization - that it is the UNA-UNSO itself that has chosen to make this material available and hence presumably regards it as good publicity. Among the programmatic statements, you'll find, for instance, a statement headed "Aims of the International Conference: New Order in Ukraine. New Order in Europe" that contains the following passage:

In Order to resist cosmopolitan anti–national forces we must unite our efforts we should realize that antinational regimes in our countries are only puppets of the World capital. Good [sic.] created different races, and nations with their own mentalities and cultures. Dictator Ship [sic.] of liberalism, leading to pacifism, homosexuals, Negro music, abortion etc, is crimes against Nature and God. On the eve of new millennium, struggle between. Good and Bad is getting more sharp. There fore we – nationalist must join out forces and gain victory in order to confirm new order in Europe and the World.

While the "New Order" statement clearly recycles many of the classic motifs of National Socialism (including, btw, the opposition to "World Capital" - National Socialism was not called "National Socialism" for nothing), another statement titled "Doctrine of Destabilization" adopts a still more delirious tone in advocating the use of violence to political ends:

Party is army. Party itself must struggle. Without practice of military struggle the program points are gossips. When I hear word, my hand looks for gun. For us violence is alone way of communication with people. Bombs against machinery of oppression we throw into the mass consciousness. Their challenge is murder, our response is murder. They murder, we repay with murder. In murder their argument, in murder our refutation....

Shatter doggy heads! [sic.] There are no innocent! When a plant has bad ventilation, one should burn apartment of manager. Act of revolutionary justice is the most humanistic act in society, divided into classes. Being a terrorist nowadays dignifies each human being of good will.

"Doctrine of Destabilization" ends with the following series of exhortations:

Yankee, go home!
We want everything and at once!
Ways of the Revolution lead eastwards!