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Neonazis and Euromaidan: from democracy to dictatorship
Foreword to the Second Edition
Russia, whether in the form of an Orthodox monarchy of the country of soviets, has never been a colonial empire, like Spain, France of Great Britain. Russia did not exploit its provinces, but rather tried to develop them economically and culturally to the level of the central-Russian “heartland” or even higher. This makes the “post-colonial guilt complex” typical of a significant part of the post-Soviet intelligentsia and creative class so astonishing. It has been most glaring in the light of the tragic events in Ukraine in 2013-2014.
Ranging from “the Maidan has nothing to do with Russophobia” and “individual manifestations of anti-Russian sentiments in Ukraine mean nothing – we have many idiots too” to “never will we be brothers” and “they have every right to hate us for all we did to Ukraine”. The attitude based on an irrational feeling of guilt could be explained by media propaganda, but for a very significant “but”. There are a plethora of available sources of information nowadays, and everyone who has access to the Internet (that is to say any resident of any Russian city) can choose if they want to watch the government-run First Channel or the liberal oppositional Dozhd, the Russia Today or ВВС and CNN, the Russian LifeNews or Ukrainian Inter. A freedom of choice is obviously predetermined by an internal or/and external framework.
As Hitler of Goebbels rightfully mentioned, the bigger the lie, the more people believe it. Especially when a big lie is promoted by those who are assumed to be competent experts on the issue involved. So it happens that people believe such “qualitative” judgments as:
“Members of the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalist activists comprise only a small portion of the total Euromaidan Self- Defense forces – dozens of various “hundreds” that jointly mounted violent opposition to Yanukovich attempting to clamp down on the protesters. Nevertheless, it is largely the right radicals who have been shown and are being discussed in the Kremlin’s large-scale international information campaign against the new government in Kiev. Russian officials, leading diplomats, pseudo-journalists and lobbyists in the West have widely used hyperboles, half-correct reports, fakes and alarmist statements towards radical-right activists of Ukraine in order to discredit the pro-European revolution in Ukraine as at least partly fascist”. 
This short but very illustrative “expert” opinion has both a big lie and an underlying appeal to the irrational guilt feeling of a certain segment of the Russian society. Apolitical residents of Kiev constituted a vast majority during the protests on the Independence Square at the turn of 2013-2014. On the other hand, it was only radical ideologically-motivated Ukrainian nationalists equipped and managed from a consolidated center who took part in the violent confrontations with the police, takeovers of administrative buildings and set-up of the Maidan Self-Defense and the Right Sector. It is only the dispersal of the first student Euromaidan on the night of November 30, 2013 that could be called a confrontation of the totalitarian Berkut and liberal democratic hipsters who shielded themselves from watchdogs of the regime with the last model of iPad. What happened later is a completely different story, with a confrontation of completely different forces and resources.
Even after the Maidan Self-Defense burned alive dozens of unarmed people in Odessa on May 2, even after the National Guard made up of radical nationalists shot at the peaceful demonstration in Mariupol on May 9, the voices blaming Russia have become just a little quieter. However, few are willing to answer the question: “who is to blame?” the “civilizational” gloss of the Euromaidan is too powerful for many, while the antagonism between “bad” Russia and the “good” West associated with post-revolutionary Ukraine is too well-established. The emperor proved to not only have no clothes, but also to be a sadist and a serial killer.
One has to agree with Dmitry Galkovsky, a modern Russian philosopher, who described the events in Ukraine in 2013-2014 saying that “when cultists in Lviv chanted “Guillotine Moskals”, easily amused Orthodox Ukrainians with a sense of humor giggled. For residents of Kiev, “beheading a Moskal” or “burning a Moskal alive” was an ironical exaggeration of an everyday enmity and a political chant, like the popular “the ref needs glasses!” But when cultists chant such things, they are actually going to put the glasses on the ref. Unless somebody stops them.
Stanislav Byshok and Alexey Kochetkov, June 2014
- Ukraine’s right radicals, Eurointegration and neo-Fascist threat - Umland A., Shehkovtsov A.
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