Neo-fascists play an important official or tolerated role in US-backed Ukraine.
BY Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and cross-posted from TheNation.com.
Cohen begins: The orthodox American political-media narrative blames “Putin’s Russia” alone for the new U.S.-Russian Cold War. Maintaining this (at most) partial truth involves various mainstream media malpractices, among them lack of historical context; reporting based on unverified “facts” and selective sources; editorial bias; and the excluding, even slurring, of proponents of alternative explanatory narratives as “Kremlin apologists” and carriers of “Russian propaganda.” An extraordinary example appeared on May 1, when Jim Sciutto, CNN’s leading purveyor of Russiagate allegations, tweeted that “Jill Stein is … repeating Russian talking points on its interference in the 2016 election and on U.S. foreign policy.” To the extent that Sciutto represents CNN, as he does almost nightly on air, it is useful to know what this influential network actually thinks about a legitimate third party in American electoral democracy and its presidential candidate. And also about many well-informed Americans who have not supported Stein or her party but who strongly disagree with CNN’s orthodox positions on Russiagate and U.S. foreign policy. No less important, however, is the highly selective nature of the mainstream narrative of the new Cold War, what it chooses to feature and what it virtually omits. Among the omissions, few realities are more important than the role played by neo-fascist forces in U.S.-backed, Kiev-governed Ukraine since 2014. Not even many Americans who follow international news know the following, for example:
— That the snipers who killed scores of protestors and policemen on Kiev’s Maidan Square in February 2014, thereby triggering a “democratic revolution” that overthrew the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and brought to power a virulent anti-Russian, pro-American regime — it was neither democratic nor a revolution, but a violent coup unfolding in the streets with high-level support — were sent not by Yanukovych, as is still widely reported, but instead almost certainly by the neo-fascist organization Right Sector and its co-conspirators.
— That the pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa shortly later in 2014 reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War II has been all but deleted from the American mainstream narrative even though it remains a painful and revelatory experience for many Ukrainians.
— That the Azov Battalion of some 3,000 well-armed fighters, which has played a major combat role in the Ukrainian civil war and now is an official component of Kiev’s armed forces, is avowedly “partially” pro-Nazi, as evidenced by its regalia, slogans, and programmatic statements, and well-documented as such by several international monitoring organizations. Congressional legislation recently banned Azov from receiving any U.S. military aid, but it is likely to obtain some of the new weapons recently sent to Kiev by the Trump Administration due to the country’s rampant network of corruption and black markets…