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Ambassador Ivan Soltanovsky, Permanent Representative of Russia to the Council of Europe

On December 8 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the resolution on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Ukraine. In our view, the adopted document does not reflect the dramatic situation of national minorities in this country.

In particular, the Russian delegation drew the attention of the Committee to spreading Neo-Nazi ideology in Ukraine, particularly among the youth. Resurgence of Neo-Nazi gangs, such as “Right Sector” (it is recognized an extremist organization and prohibited in Russia), ’’Azov”, “C14”, “National Corps”, “Aidar” and others is deeply rooted in the history of Ukrainian nationalism. These Neo-Nazi gangs are not merely nationalistic. They share xenophobic, anti-Semitic, white supremacist and racist views. Aggressive and well-organized, they have repeatedly participated in racially motivated violence, incited to hatred, creating atmosphere which renders national minorities more and more vulnerable.

They have been one of the driving forces of the civil conflict in the Southeast of the country.

Neo-Nazis enjoy the full support of the Ukrainian authorities. Some of their groups like battalion “Azov”, officially operate under command of the Ministry of the Interior.
Failure to investigate killings at Maidan in 2014, terrible tragedy in Odessa on 2 May the same year, murder of writer and public figure Oles Buzina and other crimes which Ukrainian far-right activists are naturally linked to, generated in Ukraine a climate of total impunity.

Ukraine is the only Member State of the Council of Europe, which has voted against the United Nations General Assembly resolution on inadmissibility of glorification of Nazi collaborators. Official Kiev is continuing policy of dividing the Ukrainian society by imposing one version of history of World War II which is unacceptable for whole regions of the country. SS henchmen and collaborators, in particular Bandera, Shukhevich, Konovalets, Stetsko, Melnik and other Nazis responsible for extermination of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, are persistently glorified at a national level.

At the same time, Red Army’s veterans who saved the world from the Nazism and who are still alive every year are harassed and attacked during the Victory Day Celebration. The War Memorials are demolished and vandalized.

In these circumstances, we decided to present the amendment, which was calling upon the Ukrainian authorities to combat Neo-Nazism among all other forms of intolerance and apply adequate sanctions for it.

Unfortunately, the majority of member States failed to support our amendment despite all the evidences of flourishing Neo-Nazism in Ukraine. We are deeply disappointed with the fact that once again our European partners sacrificed the real values of the Council of Europe to short-term political conjuncture.

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