photo yaroshby Gordon M. Hahn

Dmitro Yarosh, one of the Ukrainian parliament’s neo-fascists and leader of the Right Sector (RS) party and volunteer battalions, has suggested “deportation, deprivation of civil rights, etc.” for the residents of the Donbass who oppose “ukrainization” in the breakaway region. Without coercion, the next stage of “soft ukrainization,” in which “sovok” or the alleged remnants of ‘Soviet’ (read: Russian) culture cannot begin (http://vesti-ukr.com/donbass/94280-jarosh-predlozhil-svoj-variant-ukrainizacii-donbasskogo-sovka).

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has offered the neo-fascist a position in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, according to Anton Geraschenko, an advisor to the Internal Affairs Ministry and a former Petroshenko advisor (http://vesti-ukr.com/strana/94012-gerawenko-zajavil-o-nalichii-vakansii-dlja-jarosha-v-minoborony). Right Sector members entered the neo-fascist-dominated volunteer battalions such as ‘Azov’ and ‘Aidar’ — which are accused of war crimes by Western human rights organizations such as Amnesty International — as well as Dnepr 1, the National Guard, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Others entered Right Sector’s own ‘Ukrainian Volunteer Corps’ (DUK) which refuses to subordinate itself to either the Defense Ministry, the General Staff, the MVD, the National Guard, or the intelligence services.

In a recent interview, Yarosh stated RS’s DUK will not subordinate itself to any state institution and that Poroshenko is “afraid” of Right Sector. He also said that when Poroshenko traveled to Ilovaisk a week ago, he told the president’s aide to tell him that “we removed Yanukovich, and we can remove you.” He also said the Ukrainian armed forces remain Soviet-like and that he plans to develop his DUK “according to NATO standards” (http://vesti-ukr.com/strana/94249-jarosh-nazval-prichiny-neprijazni-poroshenko-k-ps).

It is clear that Poroshenko’s offer is an attempt to coopt Yarosh so he can convince him and others to subordinate their volunteer battalions to the state’s armed forces. The dilemma of using neo-fascist-dominated extra-legal armed formations to carry forth its ‘anti-terrorist’ operations in Donbass is reaching a crisis point in the wake of oligarch and now former Dnepropetrovsk governor, Oleh Kolomoiskii.

As Western countries, including the U.S. military, prepare to begin training the Ukrainian army, Washington may be, and one would hope is, exerting pressure on Poroshenko to rein in the neo-fascists and the volunteer battalions. On April 20th US paratroopers will begin several weeks of training maneuvers with Ukraine’s National Guards and the volunteer battalions, including the neo-fascist-dominated ‘Azov’ battalion (http://www.ng.ru/news/498380.html).

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Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch; and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, California. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics and wrote, edited and published the Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report at CSIS from 2010-2013. Dr. Hahn has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute.