13:56 19.12.2020

Ukraine should legislatively define 'extremism' concept, develop state program, preventive measures – experts

3 min read

KYIV. Dec 19 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Illegal possession of weapons, anonymous reports of bomb threats, threats to the life of public people are the most frequent manifestations of extremism in Ukraine, according to the results of a study conducted by the Ukrainian Politics Foundation/UP Foundation.
At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Friday, head of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation/UP Foundation, political experts Kostiantyn Bondarenko noted that there is no legal concept of "extremism" in Ukraine, there is no law that would provide for the fight against extremism, and some of its manifestations, such as terrorism, are prosecuted by law.
According to him, despite the fact that Ukraine does not have such a level of extremism as in the Middle East or Europe, manifestations of ethno-nationalist extremism are not isolated.
"We are talking about the need to prevent severe manifestations of extremism. In order not to be late, we believe that already now it is necessary to do a number of studies, develop a methodological and legislative basis for combating extremism, so that in the future it does not become the most important problem for Ukraine," Bondarenko emphasized.
In turn, Lev Bondarenko, executive director of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation, UP Foundation, published the results of a study on manifestations of extremism in Ukraine. The study was conducted from December 2019 to November 2020 by monitoring media reports throughout Ukraine, based on ten key criteria that fall under the manifestation of extremism.
"As for the overall results for the year, the following picture has developed: most of all manifestations of extremism were recorded according to the criterion of 'illegal possession, manufacture and distribution of weapons' - 746 such cases ... The second place is occupied with attempts to prepare terrorist acts, mining of buildings, all statements that we hear about mined premises ... there have been 567 of them this year. The third place is taken by the threat to the lives of civil servants, politicians, journalists, public figures ... someone have their cars blown up, someone is threatened by force, someone is kidnapped," he said.
Also, according to Bondarenko, over the past year there have been 14 cases of attempts to seize power and government agencies.
In terms of the number of cases of extremism, Kyiv, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions are "in the lead" in the regional scope.
"Basically in Ukraine, right-wing radical groups are associated with extremism. To a certain extent, this corresponds to reality ... Despite the fact that these groups and political structures have combat experience, in our opinion (and this is confirmed by law enforcement agencies), they are not ready to introduce forceful methods of struggle," head of projects of the Foundation Ukrainian Politics/UP Foundation Oleh Vytiahov said.
"The fight against extremism is being conducted chaotically in Ukraine ... Certain crimes that carry extremist signs are attributed to the jurisdiction of various law enforcement agencies ... We propose ... to systematically work to create a state program to counter extremism. In addition to the right-wing radical, there is also the left-radical extremism," he stressed.
"It is necessary to define what extremism is within the framework of the legislative field of Ukraine ... Then we will be able to develop a law on countering extremism."