Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!
Rightwing groups also protest against Polish law making it a crime to deny atrocities committed by Ukrainian nationalists during WWII.6 February 2018
The right-wing “National Militia” that marched through Kyiv last week says its members should be allowed to engage in low-level law enforcement.
Six hundred members of the group took an oath “of loyalty and service” to the Ukrainian people during a 28 January ceremony organized by the far-right National Corps political party.
Ukrainian law allows for civilian groups to help patrol the streets, but only in conjunction with the national police, Hromadske writes.
National Militia leader Ihor Mykhailenko, however, suggested its members would act on their own.
“The police can’t cope with protecting law and order.… We are not going to patrol the streets with them.…The work will be specific, if we find out about an underground casino, or that someone has drawn graffiti, or they are advertising drugs, we won’t even beat them, we will just detain them until the police arrive,” Mykhailenko said.
He also said the group has already handed over thieves and drug dealers to the police, the Irish Times reported last week.
Hromadske reports the group is closely tied to the Azov Battalion, a nationalist volunteer force that emerged early in the fighting against Russian-backed separatists and was later co-opted into the state National Guard.
The National Militia is in process of changing its legal status in Kyiv from a non-governmental organization to a “civic formation for the protection of public order,” as in other Ukrainian cities.
But the city official in charge of liaison with law enforcement bodies, Oleh Kuyavsky, told Hromadske the authorities have not yet received the relevant documents from the National Militia.
“We met with them and we realized that they were more interested in distributing information about themselves, rather than patrolling the streets with the police,” he said.
Far-right paramilitary groups took part in the Maidan uprising that toppled Viktor Yanukovych from power in 2013 and have been prominent on the front lines in the four-year conflict with separatists in eastern Ukraine. Extremist political parties have struggled to gain a foothold in mainstream politics, however.
“The far-right groups and political parties have been losing their electorate in the last few years,” National Minority Rights Monitoring Group head Vyacheslav Likhachev told The Daily Beast. “I can see that the National [Militia], as an alternative to the unpopular police, has a chance to find sympathy among ordinary people.”
Summer journalism program: Going on Assignment in Prague: 7 July 2018 - 22 July 2018 - Practical training by respected journalists and media professionals.
Early Bird discount! Save 305 USD, if paid before March 15, 2018
The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.