Russian propaganda has exploited the narrative about “neo-Nazies” in Ukraine as one of the key pretexts to justify a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. While it is clear that the “rule of neo-Nazies”, as the Kremlin portrays it, is complete nonsense, nevertheless, the problem of politically motivated violence and hate crimes exists in Ukraine as in any other European country.
Right-wing radical movements exist not only in transitional societies, like the Ukrainian one, but are a pathology of modern industrial states, according to Andreas Umland, a political scientist and analyst. Considering Ukraine’s course towards membership in the EU, it is important to properly cover such threats to human rights as political violence and hate crimes.
While Ukraine must be cautious while addressing politically motivated violence, right-wing radicalism, and hate crimes not to play along with Russian propaganda, just denying Kremlin narratives is a non-constructive and ineffective way of communication, especially regarding foreign audiences. To resist the Russian propaganda machine, the Ukrainian side must operate facts only and professionally monitor hate crimes.
- Viacheslav Likhachev, Center for Civil Liberties expert;
- Andreas Umland, Analyst Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI).
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