Article by: Olena Matusova
The court process over the plaint filed by the Russian Office of the Prosecutor General was closed to the press, as the case materials are sealed as secret. Besides Right Sector and UNA-UNSO, the Russian High Court banned the activity of Ukrainian radical organization Bratstvo, as well as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the Stepan Bandera union Tryzub.
SOVA analytical center expert Natalya Yudina thinks that Russian official propaganda overstates the role of ultra-right wing Ukrainian organizations, and the current decision of the Russian High Court is nothing but a populistic gesture. “This ban seems senseless to me, at least because I am not aware of any activity on part of these organizations in Russia,” she says.
“It seems to me that this is a populistic gesture from the same paradigm as banning demonstrations, symbols and attributes of organizations which cooperated with fascists and Nazis – yet another populistic measure on part of the government,” notes Natalya Yudina. “I think Russia, or at least most Russian citizens, found out about the existence of these organizations from television. On principle, before this, they did not suspect that these organizations existed. Russian propaganda overestimates the role of ultra right-wing organizations in Ukraine extremely.”
Fight against discontent
At the presidential elections in May the leaders of Ukrainian ultra right-wing organizations got two percent of the votes all together. Neither Right Sector nor Svoboda passed to the new Parliament. However, Russia continues to scare people with the Ukrainian radical right-wing.
If start light up, it means someone needs it. If laws or decisions are made by the higher bodies of judicial government, this means that this is done for something. Right-wing movement on post-USSR territory specialist Vyacheslav Likhachev thinks that this decision of the Russian High Court is quite in context with Russian political life and will be used as one of the means to combat discontent.
“It is enough to suspect or accuse someone of belonging to Right Sector to start criminal prosecution. The step is logical, taking into account the direction in which the Russian government is moving, and the overall attitude towards the issue of Ukraine. The step is idiotic from the point of view of common sense and absurd from the point of view of legal realities. And the step, unfortunately, gives additional opportunities to the repressive machine and to incite paranoia in Russian society,” the expert emphasizes.
Right Sector thinks about ‘peacekeepers’
Right Sector decided to ‘troll’ the decision of the Russian High Court. They expressed ‘extreme concern’ and stated that they have only one way out: “rebuke Moscow aggression, conduct a nationalistic revolution and deploy our peacekeeping units to Moscow.”
On November 15, the law which prohibits demonstrating symbols and attributes of organizations which cooperated with fascists and Nazis came into effect. According to one of the authors of the bill, deputy head of the State Duma of Russia Sergey Zheleznyak, the document is first and foremost aimed “against the followers of Stepan Bandera’s ideology, as well as aims to stop the attempt to falsify the history of the Great Patriotic War and mocking historical memory.”
According to experts, if the norms of the law are interpreted literally, they may be used against many famous Russian movies: for example, 17 Moments of Spring and one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite movies, Shield and Sword.