October 14 — Defender of Ukraine Day, a holiday introduced under the fifth president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. In this regard, the nationalists once again held their march. Klymenko Time analyzed the reasons for the popularization of nationalist ideology in the country, as well as why and which nationalists can be protesting.

Holiday as a break from Russia

Poroshenko, by a decree of October 14, 2014, officially established the celebration of Defender of Ukraine Day on this day, in parallel canceling the celebration of February 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day. The change in the date of celebration and the name took place after the annexation of Crimea, the change of power in Ukraine, the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbass and the geopolitical reorientation of the country, within which the process of breaking political, cultural, economic and other ties with the Russian Federation began. To this end, they tried to reduce the number of holidays common with Russia as much as possible (they are trying to replace May 9 with the 8th, the topic of postponing the celebration of Christmas to December 25, etc.) is raised in opinion polls.

This day was not chosen by chance: the Orthodox holiday of the Intercession, celebrated on October 14, was very significant for the Zaporozhye Cossacks, and, as a rule, on this day, the Cossacks elected new foremen. Since 1999, on this day, Ukraine also began to celebrate the Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks. In addition, October 14, 1942 is the day of the founding of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, timed to coincide with the Cossack holiday.


Choosing a new ideology

Since 2014, the new Ukrainian state ideology has been formed on the basis of the glorification of members of the OUN-UPA throughout Ukraine for several reasons:

-the most active participants in the victorious Euromaidan were the nationalists of the Western Ukrainian persuasion, which led to the strengthening of their positions, as well as to the defeat of their ideological opponents;

— members of the UPA were against the USSR during the Second World War, and all modern Ukrainian nationalism has an anti-Russian character. Therefore, within the framework of the struggle for their interpretation of history and the deepening of the ideological break with the Russian Federation, they chose the heroization of the Banderaites;

— cossacks for heroization and a new national idea could not choose, since they periodically collaborated with the Russian kingdom and applied for citizenship, and in 1654 the Pereyaslavl Rada passed, as a result of which, led by Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky, a decision was made to unite the territory of the Zaporizhzhya Army and the Russian kingdom, secured by an oath of allegiance to the tsar. And this did not fit into the anti-Russian ideology.

In addition, it is “Banderaism” that is most negatively perceived in Russia, which means, from the point of view of Poroshenko and his team, it could become the most optimal for the formation of an anti-Russian state reoriented to the West. The only thing that was not taken into account was that the absolute majority of Ukrainians did not accept this ideology, which was shown by the last presidential and parliamentary elections: 73% of Ukrainians voted against the nationalist Poroshenko, his party gained 8.1%, and Oleg Tyagnibok’s nationalist all-Ukrainian association  Svoboda — 2 ,15 %.

At the same time, a new unpopular ideology in Ukraine is being promoted at the state level — through the top officials of the state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Institute of National Remembrance, educational reform, the glorification of certain persons, renaming of streets, etc.


But not all nationalists can protest

In early 2016, the protests of the Revolutionary Right Forces (RRF), which set up tents on the Maidan, tried to hold veche there and declared that the new Ukrainian government did not meet the requirements of the Maidan, took place almost unnoticed and discredited in the media, and therefore they were going to convene “ Veche of the people of Ukraine ”. In parallel with them, representatives of the OUN called on to come with tents to Kiev, bring weapons and storm the Administration of President Poroshenko.

The organization included former deputies Stepan Khmara, Yuri Karmazin and Dmitry Pavlichenko, former ATO participants, the leader of autonomous nationalists Vladislav Goranin, ex-members of the «Right Sector». The rallies were attended by no more than a few hundred people and were actively discredited in all pro-government media.

As a result, on February 26, 2016, the installed tents were destroyed by a group of unknown persons in masks, and the broken structures were quickly loaded into a utility truck and taken away. That is, a situation has developed in which not all nationalists can protest, but only those who fit into the post-Maidan political system.

Army nationalization

In 2014, a number of nationalist volunteer units were included in the National Guard of Ukraine, including: the Donbass battalion, the Azov regiment, several battalions formed from representatives of the Maidan Self-Defense, and others.

And since October 2018, the greeting and slogan of the OUN-UPA “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!» became an official greeting in the Ukrainian army and police — the bill was developed and adopted after the proposal of Petro Poroshenko. That is, the Bandera slogan is now constantly used at the state level.

Privatization of patriotism

In Ukraine, an agenda has been formed in which people who share the new state ideology are considered patriots, and its opponents can be called «agents of the Kremlin», «collaborators», etc. In addition, nationalistically, the forces actually privatized state symbols: anthem, embroidery, flag, etc., the use of which became a form of tacit support for the modern anti-Russian and pro-Western course of  Ukraine.

Nationalist marches

In the tradition of nationalist forces since 2014, marches have been held on the days of the most significant public holidays: Independence Day, Defender of Ukraine Day. In addition, ultra-right nationalists annually hold marches on the day of the tragedy in Odessa on May 2, shouting nationalist and anti-Russian slogans, as well as on Stepan Bandera’s birthday on January 1 (whose heroization is actively criticized, in addition to the Russian Federation, Poland and Israel), holding traditional torchlight processions.

At the same time, the information agenda is developing in such a way that on the days of major public holidays, the attention of the media is more focused on what the nationalists organize than on state events.

Keeping an irrelevant agenda

The protests of the nationalists mainly concern the demands to release their people from the pre-trial detention center, pressure on the courts, the fight against «collaborators», «surrender», the resignation of inconvenient people in power (for example, Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova or the head of the President’s Office Andrei Yermak), etc. Their actions are often accompanied by a bright show, setting fires on fire, using bright props, and violent clashes, due to which they are widely covered in all media. This helps to form an artificial information agenda, which is supposedly relevant, but in fact is updated only when necessary and quickly disappears from the information field without proper feeding.

In addition, with the help of nationalists, they slow down the implementation of Minsk: they protest every time when real positive prospects appear in the peace process, which gives the impression in Ukraine and in foreign media that the “people” (and not an absolute minority ), and in the uncontrolled territories, the population is intimidated by «Banderaism», which complicates ideological reintegration.

At the same time, nationalists do not protest against the buildup of public debt, the fulfillment of foreign creditors’ requirements contrary to national interests, higher tariffs for the population, low social standards and poverty, de-industrialization, privatization of the energy sector, etc. — all that is really relevant in the country.

Nationalists can always

In the spring of 2020, during the period of the most stringent quarantine restrictions and a complete lockdown, under which a ban was imposed on gathering in groups of more than 2 people, nationalists, without obstacles from the police, held rallies against the «surrender», none of them was fined 17 thousand for violation of quarantine — unlike, for example, an athlete who single-handedly tried to get into the «rocking chair» in Hydropark and who was caught by a whole group of police officers.

On October 14, 2020, the nationalists held another march. The procession was attended by the «National Corps», all-Ukrainian association «Svoboda», «Right Sector», a number of veteran and patriotic organizations, as well as the recently created «Century» of  Biletsky, associated with the «National Corps» and «Azov».

At the same time, there was an absolute minority in masks — despite a significant increase in the incidence of coronavirus in the country, and the media sympathetic to nationalists tried not to mention this.

The nationalists put forward the following previously voiced demands: to adopt a law against collaborationism, demanded that the SSU and the police respond to the allegedly pro-Russian activities of Ukrainian citizens, revoke the licenses of a number of TV channels, including 112, Inter, ZIK, etc., as well as remove restrictions on Ukrainian military personnel. to return fire in the Donbass. In addition, under the Office of the President, they chanted «Get Zelia!» and demanded to fire Venediktova, after which they dispersed — until the next such action.

Eva Antonenko,klymenko-time.com

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