Expert polls conducting

January 16, 2011

Does the wave of extremis threaten Ukraine?

The Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia (IHRPEX) carried out the expert poll about the ways of prevention of repetition in Ukraine of such situations as the explosions in Makiivka, and is there a threat of their development into terrorist acts of such level, as in Russian airport Domodedovo? 

Oleg Zarubinskyi, the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations: “The part of Ukrainian experts and politicians supports the Russian proposal to reformat the system of collective security of the North Atlantic Bloc to the European collective system. In this context, there is the idea of creating of the European Rapid Reaction Corps Reaction Corps numbering 60000, reporting to the EU. However, we should not rank the incident in Makeyevka with the one in Domodedovo, it is harmful. There is no serious grounds for the terrorist acts in Ukraine. There is the completely different situation in Russia: there are regions the population of which consider themselves occupied – Chechnya, Dagestan, North Caucasus - and there are difficulties in the relationship of the central authorities and the population in these regions. It is very serious and, as we see, a permanent problem in Russia. Ukraine is lucky that the terrorist acts, if one can call them so, are, I repeat, of comic and caricatural nature.”  

Taras Chornovil, the First Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs: “Events in Makiivka and Domodedovo are the things of totally different nature. In the case of Russia it is, definitely, can be called terrorism, and to a large degree provoked as by the domestic policy of Russia itself, as by the fact that an explosive mixture of currents and trends, which are often of extremist nature has recently formed in the Caucasus. Besides, xenophobic and racist sentiments are rather seriously, though informally, cultivated today in Russia. Therefore, today Russia obtained an enormous threat of terrorist acts, where they do occur often, almost every month. The classical terrorism in Ukraine today, thank God, is uncharacteristic for several reasons. First of all, because the extremist groups, which are inclined to terrorism has not taken roots in Ukraine yet. Secondly, the Ukrainian state, unlike the Russian one, was able to oppose the displays of xenophobia and racism, and currently there is no threat in this area. The problem that we have today is the possibility of appearing of extremist organizations in the Crimea. This is a consequence of the fact that the government for some obscure reason decided to struggle against the Majlis of Crimean Tatar people, who always cooperated with any government and always restrained any terrorist or extremist influences. And today, opposing them, the authorities may repeat the mistake of Americans in Afghanistan and educate the extremist organizations. But this still does not mean that in result there will be terrorist acts. That is why, the events in Makiivka cannot be called terrorism in the full sense of the word. It is rather a return to the tumultuous nineties, when the business conflicts were solved by means of explosives. It’s more like a gangster shoot-out. 

Kyrylo Kulykov, the member of the inter-Parliamentary Commission for Co-operation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation: “Events in Makiivka have no relation to displays of terrorism. They are rather connected with the growing extremism in society, and these are two different things, and they should not be confused – terrorism is a professional activity, and extremism - is an extremism. In order to prevent further displays of extremism, Ukrainian authorities must stop support of extremist organizations. Oleg Tiagnybok and related organization may be accountable to the authorities, and those who follow him, unfortunately, are not subject to Tiagnybok. And if today there will not be attempt to properly moderate what is happening in the Ukrainian society, then, given that the economic situation is very serious, extremist movements will always appear. If the authorities do not start intelligently, competently and professionally deal these extremist movements, then these movements will develop into something bad.”  

Genadii Moskal, the First Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee for Struggle against Organized Crime: “I do not know, whether it is correct to compare the explosions in Makiivka and Domodedovo. It is incorrectly that in the twentieth year of independence, they do exist. In order to prevent the wave of extremism in the country, we need a special law that would provide for all, including the functioning of the various sects and organizations, which would protect citizens against racism, xenophobia and extremism. Environment must be safe for living, and the state is responsible for this. We do not need to invent anything, it is necessary to analyze the legislation of other countries and choose the model that can be adapted in the Ukraine. In Germany, for example, those, who use the Nazi symbols, are put into jail, while in Ukraine it is possible to walk down the street with it freely. Today, Ukrainian legislation does not say anything about extremism, there is only the article about inciting of ethnic hatred, by which, during the history of Ukraine, there were only three or four criminal cases, none of which was taken by the court, all were discontinued. We move nowhere without legislative basis.”  

Volodymyr Kornilov, the Director of the Ukrainian Branch of the Institute of CIS countries: “We know that the suspects in the explosions in Makiivka are already detained, but we do not know the motives yet. If we know who took responsibility for explosions in Domodedovo, and realize that they are purely political, then, according to official information about the explosions in Makiivka, there we are talking about profit, attempt to blackmail and extortion. Still, these are the events of a different category. It is necessary to straggle against blackmail by other means than against political terrorism, extremism on national ground. There is the fact that Ukraine does not straggle against extremism, and in particular the extremism on national ground. Unfortunately, during several years, the state encouraged a very radical extremist xenophobic views and ideology. And, unfortunately, during the last year, when the state development paradigm seems to have changed, nothing has been done toward correcting this situation. We have formally acting articles, including the article in the Criminal Code on inciting ethnic hatred, but we have actually no one pursued for these articles for all years of the existence of the Criminal Code, while there were enough grounds for this. But in addition to legislative initiatives and adoption of new laws, there should be taken the number of measures at the level of state and the public, including regulations that condemn xenophobia and neo-Nazism as such. Recently there was an action in Germany, during which the Minister of Internal Affairs joined the live chain of those, protesting against demonstration of the extreme right, neo-Nazis. In our country, the extreme right and neo-Nazis easily participate in the elections (let alone street actions) and win in some regions, and some officials play up to such phenomena. This is unacceptable. There should be a consensus at the elite, media owners level, about the fact that neo-Nazi right views should not be in such volume, in which they are available in the information space. Suffice it to recall recent events in Austria, where right extremists, by the way, with a much more liberal views than the Ukrainian party “Svoboda” supports, got to the Austrian government and took power in a separate province. Austria immediately was ostracized by the rest of Europe and international organizations. The same happens in Ukraine in more radical forms. And if Ukraine does not want to be isolated from the outside world, we should consider these lessons.”