How prevalent are far right nationalists in Ukraine?
Matt Florence

Hey Matt, I was wondering how much time you’ve actually spent in Ukraine. Your article is full of some of the most basic errors. For example, there was no “coup” in Ukraine sponsored by the United States. Anyone with any familiarity of the basic facts of Maidan knows that this is simply laughable.

For example, in the beginning of your article you write:

“ In early 2014 there was a coup in Ukraine in which the then Russian allied Ukrainian government was overthrown by Ukrainian nationalists.”

“Russian allied Ukrainian government?” Here’s some news for you- the Ukrainian government has always endeavored to maintain good relations with both the West and Russia since 1991. That European Union Association Agreement that sparked the first protest (which was peaceful and didn’t involve nationalists)? That was Yanukovych’s own project. He said that Ukraine was going on the European path and would not turn back- that’s even as he suspended signing the agreement.

Later in that sentence you claim he was overthrown by Ukrainian nationalists- no, he wasn’t. Nationalists were a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of people who were involved in Maidan over that period. The first Maidan was mostly just students, not nationalists. It was non-violent as well- the government side initiated the violence.

Plus, when nationalists overthrow a government, typically we’d expect nationalist to be in power. That’s not what happened with Maidan. They failed almost from the get-go.

You’re obviously cherry picking sources and not looking at the wider picture, most notably the poor showing of all far right parties in Ukraine’s polls. The Ukrainian far right is capable of making a lot of noise at times- but that’s all. If anything helped them immensely it was the war Russia started.

We might also ask if Ukraine is allegedly dominated by the far-right, why is it that the far right is constantly engaging in anti-government activity, some of which has actually led to deaths. That’s kind of a strange thing to do when you allegedly dominate the government.

Next you wrote this:

“ Very shortly after the coup forwarded by far right nationalists, attacks on trade unionists and ethnic Russians became increasingly more violent up until the point where armed and organised paramilitary groups were conducting mass killings of ethnic Russians and trade unionists.”

Uh no- that didn’t quite happen that way, buddy. First of all in Odessa the first people to die were pro-Maidan marchers who were literally shot by armed pro-Russian protesters. This isn’t disputed and the armed Russian protesters were caught on video. Second, both sides started throwing molotov cocktails at each other when the pro-Russian side took refuge in the Trade Union building. This was a tragedy to be sure, but the idea that Russians or Russian speakers are persecuted in Ukraine is simply ludicrous and it shows how little you know about this country.

I find the point you made about Azov to be pretty funny because you point out that it’s one among about 50 battalions. Yes, it is. Discounting the Pravy Sektor volunteer corps which are unofficial, that means the vast majority of volunteer battalions are not heavily populated by far-rightists. The truth is that while the far right is an issue in Ukraine, many of these people have views no different than pro-Kremlin Russians, including so-called Communists.

And speaking of Communists, you mention the KPU (Communist Party of Ukraine), which you incorrectly refer to as the Ukrainian Communist Party (if you knew anything about this country, you’d understand the mistake). Let me tell you that party being banned was no loss for Ukraine’s working class. Some people used to call it the Capitalist Party of Ukraine because it was run by corrupt businessmen who robbed the country blind.

If you’re wondering why the left is weak in Ukraine, you should look no further than yourself. Thousands of Western leftists like you looked at this country you knew nothing about, stripped the Ukrainian people of their own agency, and decided that this was just a struggle between the West and Russia. You bought into the Russian propaganda without bothering to do any serious research or talk to anyone involved on the ground except maybe someone who already confirmed your presupposed beliefs.

It’s understandable and alright to be mistaken about events in faraway countries- I had my own mistakes about Maidan in spite of living 12 hours by train from Kyiv, having visited four times at that point, and speaking Russian and a great deal of Ukrainian. But once you’ve been brought face to face with the facts you must either accept reality or you will go astray, into a fantasy world of your own making. Any Marxist must choose the former route.

If you have any further questions about Ukraine or Russia you may look me up via my blog at

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