UNITED KINGDOM -- November 24 -- Western television viewers and newspaper readers are being fed on a diet of propaganda about the current crisis in Ukraine. The orange flags and uniforms of the opposition fill our screens and decorate the front pages. People power and Western-orientated democrats are on the march against evil ex-communist oligarchs. Good is battling against evil for the soul of Ukraine.|
Sadly it is not so simple. Western media and governments may have edited out the manifestations of extreme nationalism and anti-Semitism which disfigure the Ukrainian oppositions rabble-rousing but history will record that in the run up to the disputed presidential elections, key opposition leaders, including Viktor Yushchenko, Julia Timoshenko and Alexander Moroz, defended anti-Semitic publications and accepted the backing of neo-Nazi groups as well as US and EU and so-called civic society NGOs. Nor were the anti-Semtic apologetics of the Ukrainian opposition unknown to key OSCE observers and EU parliamentarians who nonetheless ignored the dark shadow across Yushchenkos campaign preferring instead to abuse his rival.
A key media outlet which has backed Viktor Yushchenkos long march on the Ukrainian presidency published an extraordinary anti-Semitic rant in 2003 which claimed that 400,000 Jews fought alongside Hitlers invading army in 1941!
Inserted as an advertising feature, Jews in Ukraine Today: Reality Without Myths," appeared in Silski visti (Village News). The newspaper was one of the largest in Ukraine with a circulation of around 500,000. It was a prominent backer of Viktor Yushchenko and his Our Ukraine party.
In late 2003, Alexander Shlayen, the head of the Ukrainian Anti-Fascist Committee and a prominent member of the post-Holocaust Jewish community in Ukraine, initiated a prosecution of the newspaper, Silski visti for promoting inter-ethnic discord in the country which was the site of the infamous Babi Yar massacre along with countless other Nazi atrocities against Jews.
On 28th January, 2004, the court ordered the closing of the newspaper but it defied the ruling with the vocal backing of the opposition Our Ukraine party and its allies. In August, 2004, Alexander Shlaven died suddenly and unexpectedly.
In an interview with JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) , the paper's editor, Vasily Gruzin, defended the newspaper's decision to publish the piece: "Although we published the Yaremenko article as a paid advertisement and not as a position we ourselves endorsed, I happen to believe the figure of 400,000 Jews taking part in the German invasion of the Ukraine is not far from the truth," he said.
"I personally have nothing against common Jews, but rather against a small group of Jewish oligarchs who control Ukraine both economically and politically. I believe the point of Zionism today is Jewish control of the world, and we see this process at work in Ukraine today."
Shortly after this anti-Semitic diatribe by Yaremenko, Victor Yuschenko who our media always apostrophises as the pro-Western presidential candidate and who enjoys the open support of the Bush administration -- and another prominent opposition leader, energy oligarch Yulia Timoshenko and Alexander Moroz of the Socialist Party issued a statement headed "Hands Off Silski Visti!
[ http://www.ncsj.org/AuxPages/092104JTA_Ukraine.shtml ]
Mr Moroz has been a prominent figure on the opposition in tribune in Kiev and as recently as 21st September, 2004, he insisted,
"I have defended Silski Visti and will continue to do so," Moroz said. "I personally think the argument of the author of the article, Vasily Yaremenko, citing 400,000 Jews in the S.S. is incorrect, but I am not in a position to know all the facts." [http://www.ncsj.org/AuxPages/092104JTA_Ukraine.shtml ]
What kind of ally of the West needs to learn more about the Nazis to refute Yaremenkos claims about a Jewish-Nazi alliance? Yet this is the sort of politician who gets unconditional backing in Washington and Brussels.
One of the so-called independent election observers whose denunciation of the Yanukovich camp for fraud has been a central part of the propaganda battle is the British Conservative MEP, Charles Tannock, who has appeared in recent days on opposition platforms egging on the protestors. Before the elections Mr Tannock wrote several articles openly backing Viktor Yushchenkos candidacy, but Mr Tannocks best known intervention in Ukrainian politics before the disputed presidential election was his criticism of the courts for banning the anti-Semitic newspaper, Silski visti.
Like Viktor Yushchenko and Julia Timoshenko, MEP Tannock condemned the ban saying in an interview in the Our Ukraine party newspaper on 12th March,
2004: the closure of the newspaper went a step far too far according to Mr Tannocks own web-page. He goes on to admit that as a backer of Our Ukraine I dont think it does your party any good to be associated with extreme [emphasis added] anti-Semitic articles! [ http://www.charlestannock.com/pressarticle.asp?ID=360 ]
Sadly the Silski visti affair was not unique.
In western Ukraine in particular (as in Britain and North America) there is an aging cohort of elderly veterans of the Waffen SSs Galician division. They are anxious to revise their countrys history and re-habilitate their wartime service on behalf of the Third Reich. In Ukraine these old Nazis parade protesting their patriotism and demanding equal rights with Red Army veterans. A younger more aggressive and openly racist and neo-Nazi cohort of historical revisionists has also appeared. They have their intellectual spokesmen whose anti-Semitic and white supremacist writings have produced scandal in Kiev not only in Silski visti.
In western Ukrainian towns like Ivano-Frankivsk, the uniformed bully-boys of the UNSO movement, so-called Ukrainian Self-Defence forces, act as enforcers for Our Ukraine in effect. Mr Yushchenko scored well over 90% in western regions like Ivano-Frankivsk results at least as improbable as any for Mr Yanukevich in the east of the country. How much does Mr Yushchenkos near unanimous support in western towns depend on the storm troopers of the Ukrainian new right?
It is shocking that any link could exist between such neo-Nazi muscle men and their propagandists and politicians usually presented in the Anglo-American media as the harbingers of Western democracy and universal humanitarian values in Ukraine. Even more bizarre than the defence of the right of an anti-Semite to disseminate his wares by pro-Western Ukrainian politicians like Yushchenko, Julia Timoshenko and Aleksandr Moroz is the fact that Mr. Yushchenkos candidacy for president of Ukraine is openly backed by the famous American billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, himself a survivor of the Holocaust.
Although ten years ago in 1994, Mr. Soros put his influence and money behind Leonid Kuchma, the democracy-promoting philanthropist has since turned against the outgoing Ukrainian President and his preferred successor as candidate for president, Viktor Yanukevich. As far back as 1st March, 2001, the American billionaire had written an editorial page piece in the Financial Times making his support for Yushchenko clear when he demanded , If Mr Kuchma cares about Ukraines survival as an independent democratic state, he must take responsibility for his actions and hand over duties to the prime minister, [i.e. Yushchenko] the constitutionally designated successor, pending the results of the investigation. The West must take a clear position, denouncing Mr Kuchmas behavior and his actions. There is no way for the international community to continue to do business with Mr Kuchma until an impartial investigation [into the Gongadze murder case] has been completed and those responsible are held to account.
Mr. Soros's concern for human rights and due process does him credit, but his tone does not suggest the assumption of innocence! Moreover at precisely the same time in early, 2001, his own local Ukrainian foundation was supporting media which were the antithesis of democratic decency. In Germany, Neue Solidaritts Roman Bessonov reported from the western Ukrainian city of Lvov on 4th April, 2001, that a Soros-funded Renaissance foundation was backing the nationalist monthly, Derzhanist ((Independent
Statehood) commenting Whoever reads it would conclude that Kiev is the Fourth Rome and that Babi Yar wasnt where umpteen thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazi SS but rather where the Chekists murdered Ukrainian patriots.
[See http://www.bueso.de/nrw/Aktuelles/ukraine.htm ]
In Ukraine, in the presidential elections, Soross people back Yushchenko but he is also supported by Andrei Shkils ultra-nationalist UNSO. Vyacheslav Likhachev of the European-Asian Jewish Congress noted the unsettling links between Mr Soross preferred candidate for Ukrainian president, Yuschchenko, and the neo-Nazis there after the 2002 parliamentary elections
the former leader of the UNA-UNSD Andry Shkil was elected to the parliament in a single-ticket election in the Lviv region, with the support of Our Ukraine, led by Viktor Yuschenko (Victor Yuschenko is a former prime minister and one of the quite probable presidential candidates). At the time elections were held, the leader of the nationalists had been in jail for a year, accused of organizing mass anti-government riots. Having been elected, Andry Shkil was granted immunity to criminal prosecution. Thus, the moderate national-democrats form unions with the radicals.
[See Vyacheslav Likhachev, Anti-Semtism in Ukraine, http://www.eajc.org/program_art_e.php?id=10 ]
Some idea of Mr Shkils pro-Western reform-minded ideas is available on his
web-page: Inside, an article appeared, entitled Nationalism in the World: Past, Present, Future, written by Andriy Shkil, editor-in-chief of Natsionalist, chairman of the Dontsov Supporters Club, and head of the Lviv branch of UNA. Mostly devoted to the New Right, it also mentioned their precursors, including Gobineau, and his worthy student Walter Darre, who developed the idea of artificial selection [eugenics] to improve the human race. Mein Kampf and its author (whose name is not given) are praised for re-examining these ideas on the highest level. Several of Darres ideas are applied to the Ukrainian situation: Christianitys mistaken view of the equality of human beings, the necessity for the revival of paganism as an essential spiritual feature of the nation and as a precondition for the creation of a new national elite, with eugenics as a means of cleansing and renewing the people.Thus, the UNA values the experience of the European Right, and other radicals regardless of their political orientation.
[See http://www.una-unso.org/av/mainview.asp?TT_id=17&TX_id=402 ]
Belatedly in the run-up to Octobers presidential elections, Mr Yuschchenko tried to distance himself from radical nationalists like Shkil _ at least in the English-language version of his web-page. [ See Yushchenko advises fascist thugs to support Yanukovych 15:25, 2 July 2004 @ http://www.yuschenko.com.ua/eng/present/News/838/ ] But they were not prepared to denounce him: It was reported that last Saturday in Kyiv there was a parade of the UNA-UNSO party that has nothing in common with the UNA-UNSO organization headed by Andriy Shkil, YTB member. During this meeting Kovalenkos UNA-UNSO declared the support of Yushchenko with the fascist signs, SSS symbols and gestures in Hitlerite manner.!
[See http://www.una-unso.org/av/mainview.asp?TT_id=17&TX_id=402 ]
With friends like these Mr Yushchenko may feel he has all the People Power he needs to seize the presidency, but should OSCE observers, European parliamentarians, Colin Powell and George W. Bush be undiluted in endorsing a candidate with backing from neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers? What kind of West is being created if the Euro-Atlantic elite openly endorses a president of Ukraine whose domestic supporters at senior levels as well as at street level dont know who invaded the country in 1941 and defend publications which say Jews were the culprits?
IN ADDITION TO THE ARTICLE ON ANTI-SEMITISM ABOVE:
How the US and Britain are intervening in Ukraine's elections" http://globalresearch.ca/articles/LAU411A.html
"Cold War Crisis in The Ukraine
Control of oil: Key Grand Chessboard 'Pivot' at Stake" http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHI411D.html
For updates - Interfax newswire: http://www.interfax.ru/e/C/0/28.html?
Ukraine: Presidential Elections
British Helsinki Human Rights Group Challenges Media Image of Government-sponsored Fraud BBHRG.org 24 November 2004 www.globalresearch.ca 6 November 2004 The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/BHH411A.html
This preliminary report of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) observers on the controversial second round of the Ukrainian presidential elections challenges the widely-disseminated media image of government-sponsored fraud at the expense of an untainted opposition on the basis of first-hand reporting. Ukrainian Presidential Elections - 2nd Round Preliminary Report
24th November, 2004
The British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) sent observers to the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine on 21st November 2004. BHHRG monitored the election in the city and district of Kiev, Chernigov, and Transcarpathia. Counts were observed in central Kiev and Uzhgorod.
Contrary to the condemnations issued by the team of professional politicians and diplomats deployed by the OSCE mainly from NATO and EU states, the BHHRG observers did not see evidence of government-organized fraud nor of suppression of opposition media. Improbably high votes for Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovich, have been reported from south-eastern Ukraine but less attention has been given to the 90% pro-Yushchenko results declared in western Ukraine.
Although Western media widely claimed that in Ukraine the opposition was, in effect, excluded from the broadcast media, particularly in western Ukraine the opposite was the case. On the eve of the poll in flagrant violation of the law banning propaganda for candidates a series of so-called social information advertisements showing well-known pop stars like Eurovision winner Ruslana wearing the orange symbols of Mr Yushchenkos candidacy and urging people to vote appeared on state television!
Although BHHRG did not encounter blatant violations in either the first or second rounds, the Groups observers were alarmed by a palpable change in the atmosphere inside the polling stations in central Ukraine in particular. In Round 1, a relaxed and orderly mood prevailed throughout the day. In Round 2 the situation had become slightly tense and chaotic. In BHHRGs observation the change in Round 2 was attributable primarily to an overabundance of local observers, who exercised undue influence over the process and in some instances were an intimidating factor. The vast majority of observers in the polling stations visited were representatives of Viktor Yushchenko.
Transparent ballot boxes meant that these observers could frequently see how people had voted. This OSCE-approved innovation made intimidation of voters for the more unpopular candidate in any district easier since few supporters of the minority would wish it to be seen how they had voted.
Ukraines election law allows only candidates and political parties, not non-governmental organizations, to deploy observers. However, observers can be deployed in the guise of journalists. For example, the Western-sponsored Committee of Voters of Ukraine (KVU) clearly sympathetic to the opposition deployed observers throughout Ukraine as correspondents for the organizations newspaper, Tochka Zora. On 31st October, BHHRG did not encounter any representatives of this newspaper anywhere, but on 21st November such journalist-observers were highly visible in central Ukraine. In Chernigov 11/208, for example, all 6 journalist-observers represented opposition newspapers and one, for Tochka Zora, stood very close to the ballot boxes and closely inspected how votes were cast. Because ballot papers in Round 2 were much smaller than in Round 1 and were not placed in envelopes before insertion into the transparent ballot boxes, secrecy of the ballot was compromised. In this case, the immediate impression was that a young Tochka Zora correspondent exercised more control over the process than the election commission chairman himself.
In Chernigov (7/208), all 7 journalist-observers represented opposition newspapers, in some cases simply temporary campaign publications such as the pro-Yushchenko propaganda paper Tak his election slogan Yes. In a scene exemplary of the mood of voting on 21st November, BHHRG watched a nervous looking old woman emerge from a voting booth, approach the three opposition observers sitting directly behind the ballot boxes, and ask: Have I filled out the ballot correctly? An observer inspected the ballot, saw it was filled in for Viktor Yushchenko, and replied: Yes. The womans unfolded ballot was plainly visible in the transparent ballot box.
Such groups of opposition journalist/observers were not in evidence in the Transcarpathian region visited by BHHRGs observers. Exit pollsters in Mukachevo admitted to being Yushchenko supporters and were carrying out their poll in a simplistic manner asking every twentieth voter for their choice without categorizing by age, class, etc. 40% of voters refused to say how they had voted, but 80% of the remainder said that they had backed Yushchenko. The exit polls were clearly not scientific less so even than the ones predicting Kerry trouncing George W. Bush in Florida and Ohio!
In a polling station attached to Uzhgorods university a group of young, male Yushenko observers hung around the entrance to the polling room and next to the ballot box. OSCE guidelines condemn the presence of such un-authorised personnel. The commission chairman in this polling station stated that four members of the election commission had prevented observers for Mr. Yushenko from fulfilling their tasks leading to the intervention of lawyers. When this accusation was put to other members of the commission they appeared dumb-founded and said no such incident had taken place. The chairman appeared shocked that the BHHRG observers sought to confirm his detailed account of the misbehaviour of some of his colleagues by asking other witnesses, but no proper observation should accept allegations unquestioningly.
Whatever may have been the case in south-eastern Ukraine, it was clear to this Groups observers in central Ukraine and western Ukraine that the opposition exercised near complete control. The broadcast media showed bias towards Mr. Yushchenko in these areas, particularly in western Ukraine where Mr Yanukovich was invisible not even being shown voting on polling day. It is nave to think only the government had the facilities to exercise improper influence over the polls. From what BHHRG observed, the opposition exercised disproportionate control over the electoral process in many places, giving rise to concerns that the opposition not only the authorities may have committed violations and may have even falsified the vote in opposition-controlled areas. So-called administrative resources in places visited by BHHRG appeared to be in the hands of the opposition, not the government, and this may have frightened voters. After all since Sunday, police and security personnel in some western towns have declared their loyalty to president Yushchenko.
The open bias of Western governments and their nominated observers in the OSCE delegation, some of whom have appeared on opposition platforms, makes it unreasonable to rely on its report.
In spite of concerns, BHHRG finds no reason to believe that the final result of the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine was not generally representative of genuine popular will. The election featured a genuine choice of candidates, active pre-election campaigns, and high voter participation. It is clear that Ukrainian opinion was highly polarized. That meant many people backing a losing candidate would find it difficult to accept a defeat. Foreigners should not encourage civil conflict because the candidate on whom they have lavished expensive support turned out to be a loser.