|Svoboda supporter carries portrait of Nazi ally Bandera|
EXTRACT: So let us deal with the most pressing question - was there a fascist coup or Banderaite takeover? Inevitably, George Galloway has already taken to Twitter to denounce the “fascist and ultra-nationalist coup” in Kiev. It is certainly the case that the groups that ran and policed Euromaidan - such as Spilna Sprava (Common Cause), Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Patriots of Ukraine, Svoboda, etc - clearly fit the ‘fascist’ description. That is, groups of rightwing, anti-Semitic, non-state fighting squads that exist to destroy anything that passes for leftwing politics and resolve the crisis gripping the top of Ukrainian society in a negative fashion. These were the groups or people that in the main took on the riot police, organised the demonstrations and chased off those leftwingers brave (or foolhardy) enough to turn up at Independence Square.
In which case, how do we characterise Euromaidan, etc? Well, the description that seems closest to reality is that of an orange-brown movement - one that covers a wide range of forces from pro- EU liberals and the hard right merging into the far right and fascistic milieu. What is vital to recognise when looking at the ultra-nationalistic groups is that we are not dealing with fringe groups or movements. For instance, Svoboda is the fourth largest party in parliament - it won 10.44% of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections and secured 37 seats (Svoboda subsequently joined a formal coalition with two centre-right parties to form the parliament’s collective opposition). In other words, Svoboda has a mass base.