In the media and diplomatic furore over the Crimea, the fact that neo-Nazis have taken prominent positions in a European government for the first time since the Second World War has been regrettably overlooked. The newly installed Ukrainian government contains members of Ukraine’s far right in key posts of defense, education and youth and sports.
As Seumas Milne writes for the UK’s Guardian newspaper:
It has been claimed that the role of fascists in the demonstrations has been exaggerated by Russian propaganda to justify Vladimir Putin’s manoeuvres in Crimea. The reality is alarming enough to need no exaggeration. Activists report that the far right made up around a third of the protesters, but they were decisive in armed confrontations with the police.
Fascist gangs now patrol the streets. But they are also in Kiev’s corridors of power. The far right Svoboda party, whose leader has denounced the “criminal activities” of “organised Jewry” and which was condemned by the European parliament for its “racist and antisemitic views”, has five ministerial posts in the new government, including deputy prime minister and prosecutor general. The leader of the even more extreme Right Sector, at the heart of the street violence, is now Ukraine’s deputy national security chief.