The pogroms against Roma communities are not even treated as news anymore in the Ukrainian press. Not even if they are nothing short of premeditated state-sponsored pogroms, organized and perpetrated by members of the National Guard—such as the one that happened on Thursday on the outskirts of Kiev.
At 1:03 p.m., on the official Facebook page of the “National Corps” (a vigilante organization, officially included by the Interior Ministry among the ranks of the departments of the Ukrainian police, and made up of veterans of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion from the Donbass) gave 24 hours to the Roma community living in the Goloseyevsky park “to clear off with all their crap.” Yet, at 6:45 p.m., the same site declared enthusiastically that they had already executed the action of “cleaning” the park and that they eliminated all traces of the “dirty gypsies.”
The comments to the post were terrifying: “Get rid of the biodegradable waste! It’s a shame we couldn’t finish the job in the 40s against these lice” was one of the more moderate ones.
It was a premeditated action, carried out in the presence of journalists and police. In a video circulated on YouTube, one can see the neo-fascists in uniform, armed with axes, bringing terror into the nomadic camp: women and children are screaming while their tents are being destroyed and burned.
That a substantial worsening of the situation has occurred is confirmed by the fact that on the same evening, the National Corps advertised what it had done more openly than before, distributing fliers at the Kiev subway stations Vasylkivska and Goloseevskaya with the unambiguous title, “The Roma have no place in Ukraine,” illustrated with a photo of the crossed-out face of a Roma child. According to these criminals, it was not a pogrom but rather a “normal cleaning operation.” In truth, it was no less than an ethnic cleansing, designed, managed and executed by an organization recognized and financed by the Ukrainian state.
The next day, in the newspapers of the capital, only a few short articles reported this news. The action was called, at most, “a show for the media” and “a regrettable episode,” and there was no surprise shown at the fact that the operation was perpetrated by none other than members of the National Guard.
Not even the condemnations from the UN a few weeks ago after the odious anti-Roma pogroms on the slopes of Lysa Hora, which were followed by the deportation of the Roma to western Ukraine, have been able to stop the groups on the extreme right.
Ukrainian civil society is looking distractedly on while the country is slipping into the abyss. Threats and violence against independent journalists and human rights activists are an everyday occurrence. Before the upcoming 2019 elections, the government is hurrying to implement the “reforms” and privatizations that the IMF has been demanding for years, while fear and uncertainty is growing among the people about the rumored imminent default of the country’s economy. Meanwhile, an increasingly unified extreme right has soared to 15 percent in the polls.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.