A Year of Political “Safari” and Battle for the District. The Marker Monitoring Group Presented the Report on Far-Right Violence in 2020
In 2020, 118 cases of confrontation and violence caused by far-right organizations, groups, or persons were recorded; these cases became more radical than in 2019. Such information was released by Marker Monitoring Group on January 15 when they presented their annual Report on far-right confrontation and violence. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Odesa appeared among cities with the most numerous cases. The attacks were foremost targeted at political opponents of far-rights as well as on members of the LGBT+ community, feminists, and left-wing activists.
During the presentation, a social scientist and a coordinator of the Monitoring Project Oksana Dutchak provided a detailed account according to which out of 118 reported cases 81 included elements of violence (meaning they were aimed at damaging people or property) while the other 37 were just confrontations. Next, out of 81 aforementioned cases of violence 66 were directed at people; in 58 such cases, we also have casualties reported. That way, compared with 2019, these assaults became more radical. The number of violent actions had grown, and this violence turned to be more often directed at people which resulted in more physical injuries.
In 2020, the most common victims of far-right violence were members of certain political parties on whom radicals had announced the “safari” hunting. We have records of 51 corresponding cases. Beatings of members of oppositional parties accused by far-rights of pro-Russian stance and separatism, attacking agitators, damaging tents, painting offices, and blocking party events came to be part and parcel of the previous year local elections. The biggest surge in far-right activities happened exactly during the local elections in 2020.
In 2020, LGBT+ and feminists were regularly under attack (25 recorded cases, 17 included violence). What was new is that far-right groups attempted to gain control over the Podil, a district in Kyiv and an attractive rest place for the youth of “informal appearance”. In half of the year, 9 assaults took place there committed by far-rights against youth. 1 confrontation occurred as well.
In our Report for 2020, National Сorps appeared as the most common actor of confrontations and violence. It is responsible for 23 cases including 16 of violent nature. The second place holds Tradition and Order with its 17 cases including 10 with elements of violence. By putting activities of these two ‘leaders’ of street confrontation and violence under inspection, one reveals that each has a certain specialization. National Corps primarily performs actions against politicians and political parties, whereas Tradition and Order prefers to fight with members of LGBT+, feminists, leftists, and antifascists communities as well as with people who have an “informal appearance”.
“Among the factors responsible for far-right confrontation and violence within the political and ideological processes are: the factual monopoly of far-rights on street violence, the police restraining itself from taking action and sometimes even showing indulgence to far-right actors, selective coverage of the problem by media and a limited attention to the issue from civil society. Meanwhile, the far-right street activity has been growing more radical which may lead to the radicalization of the whole political scene in Ukraine. In its turn, it poses a direct threat to the democratic development of the country”, resumed Oksana Dutchak.
The full version of the Report can be accessed here: https://violence-marker.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/2021/paper-ua-2021.pdf
Marker Monitoring Group has been working to collect and systemize data on far-right violence and confrontations in Ukraine. Our goal is to analyze the activities of xenophobic, antidemocratic, and violent organizations and initiatives on the right-wing spectrum which commit hate crimes, attacks, and resort to pressure on their political opponents, minorities, and vulnerable groups.