January 14, 2017

What Does It Mean to Be Right?

The Independent Analytical Centre for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” allows analysts to express their views on specific political, economic, security, information situation in Ukraine and the world at large, based on personal research and geopolitical analysis.

 

Note that the authors' point of view
can disagree with the editor's one.

 

Valeriy Shvets,
Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor,
Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Higher Education of Ukraine

It is not easy to be right. The right-wing radicalism scares people, so the financial and political support for their activities is minimal. But at the critical moment it is the Rights who commit actions dramatically accelerating the process of political evolution of the society, transforming it into a revolution. Revolution — is like an operation for the patient. We must do everything to avoid it, but when there is a threat to life, renouncing it is an equivalent to the loss of life itself.

The Revolution of 2013 in Ukraine meant the battle for Ukraine's civilized choice: to integrate into the European civilization or to return to the marginal North Asian civilization, part of which we had already been, with its endless wars and repressions, with its deliberate physical destruction exactly of the Ukrainian ethnos, which had lasted all the twentieth century long. At the same time, the Rights are a favorite object of special services' cultivation, as with the skillful intervention, their actions can always be used to the benefit of the society. I think everyone noticed that some right-wing organizations in Europe support Muscovy's actions undermining the situation in Ukraine and in Europe. And how in the “right” moment, some right-wing organizations in Poland got mobilized in the noisy campaign to discredit Ukraine and Ukrainians. “Death to Ukrainians”, — shouted some of the Poles during the recent demonstrations in Przemysl.

I also think that it would be wrong to assume that the main task of the KGB in the Soviet times, and now of the FSB in their foreign operations was to collect military and economic intelligence. Collecting compromat (literally — “compromising material” — transl.) about the leading politicians, establishing ties with radical organizations and their leaders, arranging channels of their financing, bribing the media and individual journalists. In a word, a secret information war, if conducted successfully, creates ideal conditions for a direct military aggression like capturing of the Crimea and the Eastern Donbas.

I remember my first impressions from the Rights' actions in Odesa. It was, I think, the spring of 1990. There was a regular meeting in Duke's park. The speakers were traditionally criticizing the authorities, and suddenly in the middle of the crowd someone raised the Ukrainian flag. At that time it was unheard-of impudence. The flag waved above the crowd for literally a few seconds. Some strong young men snatched it from the flag-bearer's hands, and in front of the crowd tore into pieces. The meeting continued, but not for long. Suddenly, about two dozens of people of all ages in the midst of the crowd, holding hands, formed a large circle. In its center there was a man again with a highly raised Ukrainian flag in his hands. The young men, who had torn the previous flag, rushed to the second one, but the crowd did not let them. So till the end of the meeting the blue-yellow Ukrainian flag was waving above the people, reminding of its heroic history and heralding its glorious future. After the meeting, I stayed in the square. Almost all the people have already gone. My attention was caught by a Militia Colonel, standing in a semicircle formed by a dozen of young men — those that had torn the flag. Coming closer, I realized that they were analyzing the incident with the flag. Those young men were of nearly the same age, strongly built, with rather pleasant faces. According to my quite grounded assumptions — they were students of the Odessa Militia College. That was how the government was struggling against the Ukrainian nationalism at the very beginning of its public manifestations.

In the mid-nineties, they preferred throwing in false information about nationalists in Odessa. Here's a typical example. The Taras Shevchenko Park, a meeting organized by the Narodnyi Rukh (People's Movement — transl.) of Ukraine. Everything went fine. The weather was fine, there was a lot of people, the speakers were and interesting. I had already announced the end of the meeting and was walking away from the microphone, when suddenly one of the participants ran up to the microphone and shouted: “Jews and Muscovites — out of Ukraine!”. In a minute correspondents from a number of Odessa newspapers (whom I had not seen at our meetings before or after) rushed to me and demanded an explanation. Within the next few days some Odessa newspapers published information about the “…Sabbath of Ukrainian nationalists in the T. Shevchenko Park”. At the same time, there were rumors in the city about possible anti-Jewish pogroms, being prepared by these damned nationalists. Information about this, I had been regularly receiving from my classmate, with whom I had shared a desk for several school years. Before leaving for Israel, her family had lived in Odessa for several years. My advice to supporters of the Rights: “Very carefully perceive the information in the media about the Right's actions. Always analyze it from the point of view — Cui prodest (Who benefits)”.

Another episode. Spring of 2001. At that time we had been pinning our political hopes on Viktor Yushchenko — the then Prime Minister of Ukraine, but his relationship with the President of Ukraine had been exacerbated and there was a threat of resignation. We decided to go through the streets with placards in support of him, but not to provoke further aggravation of relations between the two senior officials of Ukraine. First, the authorities officially allowed our column to march, but before the demonstration, to the place of people's gathering near the Opera House there came police officials and warned us that the action was banned. People had gathered, and we decided to go. To give people more confidence, I headed the column. I remember how we went along Richelieu Street, chanting the quite neutral slogan “Yushchenko!” and “Yes to Yushchenko!”. I was no longer the leader of the Narodnyi Rukh, but was still a member of its regional government. Suddenly the situation behind me changed, we were joined by a group of young people who began to chant the slogan, “Kuchma — to prison!” In between chanting they would talk friendly with the then leader of our Organization. My conclusion was simple — it was a planned and coordinated provocation. I left my place in front of the column, came up to the Chairman and in an ultimatum form demanded either to stop the action, or to get rid of the unexpected helpers. We did the latter. The demonstration continued, but it had lost its positive content.

I remembered this case in Odessa, when I read in the media about the chanting in Przemysl: “Death to Ukrainians!”. Let's not jump to conclusions. Ukrainians and Poles have only one alternative: either to die together as nations, or to win together. The right idea is gaining unprecedented additional power in the world, when it goes beyond the borders and already does not divide the peoples but unites them. German National Socialism was an ideology not only for the Germans, but also for many other European nations, that is why it was such a huge threat to the rest of the world, that is why the struggle against it continues. By contrast, Italian fascism had never gone outside Italy, so it is almost forgotten and no one blames Italians for their nationalist past.

As you know, Ukraine's political life began with two public organizations: the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Language Society and Memorial which were founded in early 1989. The Memorial in Odessa, has never gone beyond the intellectual circle, while the Society of the Ukrainian Language, known in Odessa as the “Southern Community”, was originally a rather mass organization. It became the basis for foundation, somewhere in half a year, of a new mass organization — the People's Movement of Ukraine (Rukh). The latter Organization, setting political goals — coming to power, was appealing to people of different nationalities.

The times of political and economic cataclysms always generate many people's temptation of quick success, for example, to become rich or to fall greedily upon power and then to make a fortune. Some succeeded. Many wanted to head something: to have a high post, a seal, the right to sign some papers. That was worth fighting for. The number of co-chairs of the Odessa People Rukh had reached 11 people. There was not enough room for them all in the Presidium. But the flow of the eager did not decrease. Then, on the basis of the People's Movement, new parties (with posts and seals) began to emerge. The Republican Party of Ukraine, Democratic Party of Ukraine, Green Party of Ukraine, Peasant Party. There were as many as four openly nationalist parties: the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (KUN-Banderites); Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-Melnykites); OUN in Ukraine (unknown); Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO).

Finally, in early 1992, at the Third Congress of the People's Movement of Ukraine an absolutely right decision was taken — to move from Rukh's status of a public organization to the status of a party. It already provided for a clear and responsible leadership hierarchy, and a fixed membership. In Odessa's reality of the 1990s, two parties had proved to be viable: Rukh (the People's Movement) and KUN.

Most of the leaders of the new parties did not understand that it is not the position of the leader that gives power over the people, but the ability to implement their values, or at least interests, and, if nothing else, the ability to work and to lead people. Once people feel that you start working for yourself, they leave you and your power over them ends. A seal is worth nothing without people.

The people's age also matters. I remember how I was surprised to see at one of the meetings of the “Southern Community” my former student Oleksa Boldyrev. He studied at the Faculty of Low-Temperature Technologies, had five (the highest mark) in mathematics which I taught, graduated with the honors degree and wrote a PhD dissertation on the history of Ukraine. Such was the man. I was surprised even more when I saw him later as an ideologist at a meeting of members of the UNA-UNSO. We maintained friendly relations with him throughout his short life. He was under forty, when he died of a stroke. Things like being handcuffed to a radiator and watch your own home being searched do not add to one's health. He left behind five great books, one of them in English. It also marked the beginning of a movement that is now gaining force, to restore the true history of the city of Odessa — “Odessa-600”. Only such prominent people had real authority in the society at that time. The time of profiteers from politics was already beginning, but there was still an illusion that belief is stronger than money.

I was much older than Oleksa. In 1992, at the age of 43, I defended my doctoral dissertation in theoretical physics and had good prospects for future professional life. My age and social position did not allow me to position myself as a too right. I opted for the Rukh, including because I was actively involved in some of its major events. I liked also that creation of the Rukh was initiated by the Union of Writers of Ukraine and its prominent representatives such as I. Drach, D. Pavlychko and many others. In early 1992, I signed up as a member of the Party, as soon as such registration had started, without even thinking about getting a leading post in the Organization.

But it did not work that way. In April 1994, I already was the Chairman of the regional organization of the Rukh. Odessa Organization was obviously going through hard times. Its office was taken away, and it huddled in the abandoned back room of the Ukrainian Cultural Center. Of the 11 former co-chairmen, there was none. On the eve of my arrival the Chief of the Council was sacked, the only paid employee in the Organization. He was an experienced man (a retired Colonel), who for some time had worked at that post and had the experience of organizational work. I did not inherit any channel of financing of the Organization. There was no centralized funding either. As I learned three years later, an important sponsor of the Organization was great granddaughter of the Ukrainian Hetman Ivan Bryukhovetskyi, who had a good business in Odessa. But exactly in the spring of 1994 someone threw a grenade into her office. The frightened woman sold her business and left Odessa. The Organization's Archives had also disappeared. The previous chairman allegedly passed them somewhere in storage. I think to the SBU. There was even no list of members of the Organization and not a single Ukrainian flag. Only a hundred of carelessly filled out cards on party members, half of whom had automatically dropped out. But things were not all that bad. There was a small group of good people — the board of the regional Organization:

Mykola Osadchuk, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, had many years of experience in managing a Department and a Faculty of the Odessa National Academy of Food Technologies;

Anatoliy Chumak, Professor, Doctor of Historical Sciences, also had many years of experience in managing a Department and worked at the same Academy;

Avenir Uyomov, Professor, Doctor of Philosophy, whom I knew in the years of studying at the Faculty of Physics of Odessa National University, and the Soviet Union knew him as an outstanding scientist. Already then, he was known for his free thinking and was forced to leave the University.

There were a lot of good and highly educated people: doctors, engineers, Candidates of sciences. Without the wholehearted support of my board members, my attempts to organize the work of the Organization would have immediately failed. Most of these wonderful people expected fateful decisions from me, and I myself expected from them basic tips on organizational work, funding of the Organization, legal matters, information about the people of the city and the region. The above-mentioned Professors were my father's age, and were the only people who really understood my problems. Thanks to them I quickly gained experience. It was the first leadership experience in my life, which was very useful for my further professional career: Head of a Department, Dean, Academic Secretary, Vice-Rector of the Academy of Refrigeration. My esteemed mentors are no more, but to my last day I will keep a grateful memory of them.

The somewhat scandalous image of the Organization began to change to a more positive one. We started publishing the newspaper “Rukh”, thoroughly preparing and conducting various political actions. Among us there were people to speak on the radio, and on television, to give a thoughtful and informative interview to the media. Gradually, former activists began to return, contacts with the cells of the party in the region were restored, there was a flow of new members. There were many active individuals, but those were the people sooner of interests than of values. We got a quite acceptable room for the party's office. Money was always a problem. The Organization existed in the situation of a strict financial diet. In two years, the list of party members amounted to 340 people. I was not interested in ghost members. If a person had joined the party, he had to participate in all its activities. Most people who went to other parties have not been able to create their own distinctive political image. They did not conduct their own public actions, and generally participated in ours, feeling that we were acting correctly and knew how to do it. In fact, on the inter-party basis I worked only with the KUN. So, the members decide the fate of an ideological political force more than other factors.

The chairmanship of the regional organization demanded super efforts from me. It took away the time from my main work, by which I actually lived: scientific articles, monographs, textbooks, participation in competitions for grants and their development, not to mention the daily quite exhausting teaching. I was burning the candle of my life from two sides. In a word, I brought the Organization up to a fairly decent state and decided to pass the matters over to other hand, remaining in the leadership of the Organization. I was succeeded by two people. I helped them as much as I could with planning and even organizing some fundamentally important actions.

What are the goals of the Right-wing Forces as I had learned in those years?

Firstly, monopoly control of the street. To this end, public events should occur with the regularity of natural phenomena — like the full moon in the sky, and they do not need many people.

Secondly — constant presence in the media. The axiom is: “The action has taken place only if it has become known. For this purpose it is necessary to work with the media”. In the nineties we controlled the street and that is why the monument to Catherine II, which could have appeared in Odessa in 1996, thanks to us has never been erected there. Only in 2000s, when the allotted by history time for the Rukh had come to an end, we lost this control and the monument to Catherine II was erected in Odessa. Moreover, Odessa almost followed the path of Donetsk and Luhansk, as evidenced by the events of May 2, 2014.

Thirdly, party members and supporters need to be constantly taught ideologically. To this end, we had two culturological seminars as we called them. With the same purpose on a weekly basis at a certain time, I would meet with ordinary party members.

Fourthly, you should always remember that you are not alone. You are watched closely. Perhaps even some of your active members are sources of leakage of important party information or agents of influence on the party activities by third parties. The more radical the organization, the more non-transparent its activity, the higher the probability of finding such people next to you. With this in mind, the complicated history of our nationalist underground of mid-20th century, looks not so confusing.

In our fast moving times, even an ideological party force does not live longer than its charismatic founders. The People's Movement of Ukraine lost power, in fact, after the murder of Vyacheslav Chornovil.

Ukraine can actualize itself solely as a national state. Only the right idea is able to bring it to the path of power and prosperity. That's the way it is all over the world. The right-wing forces always contribute to the development of their own nations and states. The left ones — only weaken them. The accelerator and the brake, the Rights and the Lefts — the two components of human life. The impressive progress in the development of a society occurs only because the accelerator pedal is used more often than the brake pedal. A skilled driver always keeps his right foot on the accelerator pedal while driving and only occasionally uses the brake pedal. Republicans and Democrats in the United States, the Conservatives and the Labour Party in the UK, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in Germany — there is the same bipolar world everywhere.

Pay attention to the fact that in all these strategically important for Ukraine countries, the right-wing forces are in power. In Poland, in power is the right-wing party “Law and Justice”. Interestingly, its main opponent in the last election was another right-wing party “The Civil Platform”.

This creates favorable external conditions for consolidation of right-wing forces in Ukraine. Abandoning crime and populism in politics, creating a powerful right-wing force, armed ideologically by our creative intelligentsia and financially supported by our bourgeoisie — this is the inevitable progress of the Ukrainian society. In the meantime, we have only some segments of a continuous right political spectrum. However, the merits of our Rights to Ukraine are enormous. Suffice it to mention that they were the first to come to the defense of the country from Russian aggression. This is their vocation. It is terrible to imagine where the front line would have been now, if it were not for them.

Good luck to you, because you're right and the future is yours.