Government censorship means no Ukraine at Eurovision 2019

This 23 February 2019 music video from Ukraine shows the song ‘Siren song’ by ‘Maruv’, the stage name of singer Anna Korsun. With this song, Maruv won the Ukrainian final for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Maruv was supposed to go to Tel Aviv in Israel for the international final.

However, then right-wing Ukrainian government politicians intervened.

According to them, the Ukrainian representative at the song contest should make far-right Ukrainian nationalist ‘patriotic’ propaganda. And Ms Korsun did not do that.

So, Maruv was banned.

According to Dutch NOS TV today, the consequence is that there won’t be any Ukrainian singer at the final in Israel.

Authorities asked other Ukrainian singers to scab as substitutes for Maruv. But they refused.

With less than two weeks left in the presidential campaign, the Ukrainian Interior Minister has mobilized against incumbent president Petro Poroshenko the very same far-right forces that were instrumental in the imperialist-backed 2014 coup that brought Poroshenko to power. Last week, Poroshenko, who currently sits in third place in Ukraine’s Presidential election polls, behind comedian and leading candidate Volodmyr Zelenskiy and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was accosted by members of the far-right Azov Battalion-affiliated National Militia in the city of Zhytomyr during a campaign stop. In a photo that was widely shared on social media, Poroshenko was seen fleeing reporters and the far-right thugs while jumping through puddles in the street: here.

Ukrainian censorship of winning Eurovision singer

This 8 February 2019 music video from Ukraine is called MARUV – Siren Song (Lyric video) Eurovision 2019.

Well … Eurovision Song Contest 2019 … Ms Maruv did win the Ukrainian competition, so she was supposed to go to the international final in Tel Aviv.

However, then far-right Ukrainian ruling politicians intervened.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Ukraine must look for a new artist for the Eurovision Song Contest. The [Ukrainian] public broadcaster has withdrawn 27-year-old Maruv as their candidate after a fuss about her performances in Russia.

Immediately after her victory at the national qualifying round last weekend, several politicians said they did not want Maruv to represent Ukraine. As the singer sings regularly on Russian stages. Those performances are controversial

A commenter at Maruv’s YouTube video mentions that meanwhile, to Ukraine’s far-right warmongering billionaire oligarch president Poroshenko, the profits of his own businesses in Russia are not controversial at all; contrary to Maruv’s singing.

The singer and the public broadcaster sat around the table yesterday to come to a solution. Maruv offered to cancel her shows in Russia in the coming months. But that was not enough for the broadcasting authority, whom she accused of censorship.

“I am a Ukrainian citizen, who pays taxes here and I love Ukraine with all my heart”, she writes on Facebook.

One should hope that Facebook will not censor her now as well.

“But I refuse to parrot slogans and use my participation for the honour and glory of our politicians. I am a musician, not an instrument in the political arena.”


The broadcaster states that the Eurovision participant is a cultural ambassador for the country and that the opinion of the Ukrainian people

Especially the opinion of rich oligarchic people like Poroshenko

must be propagated. The Ministry of Culture takes that even further and says that “only patriots who are aware of their responsibility” should be allowed to participate in the song competition as long as “thousands of heroes die for the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Hey President Poroshenko and Poroshenko Ministry of Culture: if you have a few seconds time to listen in between your censoring of the internet and counting your profits from military weapons production and from tax dodging in Panama: then I will tell you that you might inspire far-right politicians in other European countries with your censorship.

Eg, ABBA won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo. But they oppose the Danish extreme right abusing their music. And they are not members of the Swedish neofascist party ‘Swedish Democrats‘, as far as I know. So, not patriots at all according to extreme right standards. ABBA should give their Eurovision trophy back immediately.

Dutch Eurovision contest singers have sometimes been of African or Asian ancestry. Dutch racists don’t like that. How can they ever be real right-wing Dutch patriots? That kind of singers should be banned forever. Etc. [Sarcasm off]

Nazi SS officer gets monument in Ukraine

This tweet is by Eduard Dolinsky, the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Director. Mr Dolinsky has denounced neonazism in today’s Ukraine with Ukrainian government complicity before.

While this Hauptsturmführer officer in Adolf Hitler’s murderous SS gets a monument, also in Ukraine monuments to, eg, Poles massacred by nazis during World War II are destroyed.

Neo-nazism in Ukraine

This 28 February 2014 video says about itself:

Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine: NEWSNIGHT

BBC Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse investigates the links between the new Ukrainian government and Neo-nazis

From Jewish daily Forward in the USA:

Why Does No One Care That Neo-Nazis Are Gaining Power In Ukraine?

Michael Colborne

December 31, 2018

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told Ukraine doesn’t really have a problem with its far-right. It’s all Kremlin propaganda; you’re personally helping Putin by talking about it; other countries have far-right problems too, so why single out Ukraine? I’ve heard it all.

But I expect hear even more lines like this in the New Year, all because I’m going to point out the obvious: Ukraine really does have a far-right problem, and it’s not a fiction of Kremlin propaganda. And it’s well past time to talk about it.

Ukraine’s far-right is like a hydra, with ugly heads that pop up far too frequently. Just within the last few weeks, an American-born cabinet minister thanked a group of violent neo-Nazi “activists” for their services, a soldier was photographed wearing a Nazi death’s head patch right behind President Petro Poroshenko and almost 1,500 neo-Nazis and friends threw a two-day Hitler-salute-fest.

Violent far-right groups have been around in Ukraine for years, albeit in marginal numbers. But over the last year they’ve grown not just in significance but in aggressiveness.

I know because I’ve been on the receiving end myself.

At a march in November to commemorate people who’ve fallen victim to transphobic violence, I watched as a march of barely 50 participants was shut down by some 200 far-right extremists. I felt their wrath myself as two of them assaulted me in separate incidents afterwards.

I’m far from the first person who’s fallen victim to Ukrainian far-right groups, nor anywhere near the most serious. Their members have attacked Roma camps multiple times, even killing a Roma man earlier this year. They’ve stormed local city council meetings to intimidate elected officials. They’ve marched by the thousands through the streets to commemorate WWII-era nationalist formations who took part in ethnic cleansing. They’ve acted as vigilantes with little to no negative reaction from state authorities.

Members of Ukraine’s far-right also offer themselves up as thugs for hire – sometimes with deadly consequences. This summer, anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handziuk was the victim of a horrifying acid attack. In July, several extremists – who apparently were paid by corrupt local police to carry out the attack – doused her with sulfuric acid, burning her over 40 percent of her body. She died from her injuries in November.

Ukraine’s notorious Azov movement keeps growing. Since it was created in 2014 to fight Russian-led forces in the east, it made news by accepting openly neo-Nazi members into its ranks. Now the Azov Battalion has become an official Ukrainian National Guard regiment. In 2016 the group formed a political party, which, they claim, now has tens of thousands of members. Earlier this year they unveiled a paramilitary force that doubles as a street gang.

Even as their party polls barely a percent, Azov is trying – as one of their higher-ups has told me personally – to build a far-right “state within the state”, running everything from nationalist study groups and mixed martial arts training to free gyms for youth and programs for the elderly. They’re also trying to turn Kiev into a capital of the global far-right, inviting neo-Nazis and white supremacists from around the world to visit.

Whatever group they’re part of, Ukraine’s far-right is increasingly nonchalant about the use of violence. When I was covering the march in Kiev on November 18, one of them walked up to me and sprayed me with a quart-sized bottle of pepper spray. Another then sucker-punched me in the face just yards away from onlooking police – hard enough to smash my glasses and cut me up.

Yes, I’m still mad about what happened to me. But I’m even more mad about a peaceful assembly of barely fifty people being cancelled because some violent hooligans decided it should be.

And what makes me angriest of all is that many prominent people in Ukraine and beyond that keep wanting to tell you that the far-right isn’t that big a problem.

But it’s time to talk about why extremists in this country are able to attack people in broad daylight as police stand by. It’s time to talk about why some of them are receiving state funds and taking part in official police patrols in some cities. It’s time to talk about why a group that denies it has neo-Nazi leanings can help host a two-day neo-Nazi music festival with barely a peep from anyone. It’s time to talk about why Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, up for re-election in March, is happy to flirt with hardline nationalist rhetoric and hasn’t bothered to condemn incidents like last month’s attack on a peaceful protest.

It’s time to talk about why so many mainstream figures in Ukraine and abroad don’t seem too bothered by any of this. Yes, every country has its extremists, but not every country has public figures that (repeatedly) defend the actions of violent vigilante groups like the notorious C14

In the C14 name, the C alludes to C18, the (originally English, later international) neonazi terror gang Combat 18. In which 18, the first and eighth letters in the alphabet, stands for ‘AH’=Adolf Hitler. The 14 in the C14 name stands for the ’14 words’, a racist neonazi slogan.

or, like Ukraine’s American-born health minister Ulana Suprun, sully a (deserved) positive reputation by hobnobbing for photos with the group’s leaders on social media).

And no, I haven’t forgotten that Ukraine is still mired in a Russian-orchestrated war on part of its territory, and that Moscow likes to use Ukrainian nationalists in its propaganda – part of its longstanding practice of painting all Ukrainians, nationalists or not, as “Nazis” (not true), or as supporters of Nazi-era collaborationist movements that were active in some parts of Ukraine (also not true). …

That’s why I know what I’m going to hear next. I’ll probably be told that I’m part of Putin’s hybrid war (really?), that I work for the Kremlin (um, no), or that I’m doing the Kremlin’s work (also no). But I didn’t invent Ukraine’s far-right, and I certainly haven’t helped them gain the prominence they’ve got heading in 2019.

The problem is real. It’s time for Ukraine to talk about it and take it on.

Michael Colborne is a Canadian journalist who covers central and eastern Europe and is writing a series of articles about Ukraine’s far-right. He tweets at @ColborneMichael.

Nazis in Dutch armed forces

This 15 July 2017 video from Britain is called Chris Garrett: British neo-Nazi Ukraine Fighter: Untouched by UK Authorities.

Not only neo-nazis in the German armed forces, in the United States armed forces, in the British armed forces, in the Ukrainian armed forces, in the Czech armed forces, in the Australian armed forces, in the Belgian armed forces, in the Greek armed forces

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Reports of Nazi statements investigated by the Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Defense is investigating scandals in the armed forces. State Secretary Visser writes to the Lower House that reports have been made about inadmissible behaviour at training institutes and in yet another armed forces section.

According to Visser, the commander of the Dutch Defense Academy (NLDA), including the army and navy schools, received signals that within a small group hurtful and abusive visual material is shared.

These were said to be racist and pornographic images and references to Nazi Germany. There are also behaviors that may be against a safe living and working environment. In another, unspecified, armed forces section, there are inadmissible statements about Nazi Germany.

Daily De Telegraaf recently reported that a trainee soldier was moderating a WhatsApp group in which Hitler, the Nazis and the [Dutch 1930s-1940s nazi party] NSB were glorified.