The mayor of Ukraine, known to many, is an ultra-nationalist

It was a particularly exciting story of Ukrainian courage in a war full of them. In a video that spread rapidly online on March 2, Artem Semenikhin, the mayor of the small city of Konotop in northeastern Ukraine, stood in a planter outside the city council, and Russian soldiers told him “if it did not surrender.” , The city on the ground with their artillery. ” Then Semenikin asked the crowd if they wanted to fight anyway, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor.

The video was featured by Western media including: Newsweek, Daily mail When New York Times, This also showed a video of armed Russian troops being ridiculed by the inhabitants of Konotop. Semenikhin was also introduced in “PBS NewsHour” segmentSo he called the Russian army a “cockroach”.

There was only one thing missing from these explanations. It is the fact that Semenikhin is a member of the far-right ultra-nationalist Ukrainian political party Svoboda, which emerged from the former Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine in 2004.

Activists in coats and hats, one covered with a flag, raises a sign and various flags high.

Ukrainian Svoboda party supporters held a rally outside the Polish embassy in Kyiv in 2018, using the term “Polish death camp” to suggest accomplices to Polish Nazi crimes. Opposed the Polish bill, which imposes imprisonment of up to three years. state. (Gleb Garanich / Reuters)

Shortly after Semenikin took office in 2015, The Jerusalem Post reported “I refused to raise the city’s official flag at the opening ceremony of the city council, because he opposed the Star of David on it,” he said. The newspaper also claimed that he was using the white supremacist dog whistle politics.

One Twitter sharp-eyed observer Noticed In an interview with PBS in Semenikin, which takes place remotely via video, you can see a picture of Stepan Bandera, the icon of the Ukrainian nationalist, in the background. During World War II, Bandera led the Ukrainian Insurder and worked with Nazi Germany to kill Polish and Jewish citizens. At that time, Nazi troops were invading the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union wanted Ukrainian nationalists to break away. Bandera later dropped out of the Nazi government and was imprisoned in a concentration camp. He remains a very controversial figure in Ukraine. After the election of Semenikin in 2015, he replaced the portrait of the mayor’s office of then-President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine with a portrait of Bandera.

Artem Semenikhin wears a camouflage jacket with the Ukrainian flag on the sleeves.

Artem Semenikin. (Via Facebook)

As an excuse for his aggression, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to “denazify” the Kyiv government and has repeatedly called for the entire Ukrainian government to be tied to the Nazis. But, based on the facts, Putin’s claim is ridiculous. Although there were only about 80,000 people in the city of Konotop in Semenikin before the war, Ukrainian President Zelensky said he was one of the few Jewish leaders on the world stage. He killed many relatives on the Holocaust..

Russia has accepted this false accusation for many years. In 2014, Russian state propaganda claimed that the Maidan Revolution was also supported by the Nazis as pro-Western protesters defeated Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. Ukrainian experts have characterized the claim as “completely unfounded.” According to US News & World Report..

That said, Ukraine, like many European countries, has a far-right nationalist party with a tendency to be racist. Semenikhin’s party, Svoboda, has experienced numerous incidents that have caused widespread accusations.

Ukrainians fill the street while marching under the flag of the Svoboda party on the far right.

Ukrainians will join the march under the flag of the Svoboda Party on the far right in 2019 to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgents in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine. (Sergii Kharchenko / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Svoboda leader, Olef Chafnibok has been accused of racism Ukraine is anti-Semitic in response to comments such as saying that it is led by “Muscovite-Jewish Mafia”. April 20, 2018-Adolf Hitler’s Birthday-Youth Movement in Svoboda, C14, Destroyed Rome settled in Kyiv by expelling the inhabitants and burning the tents.

However, it is worth noting that Svoboda no longer has a seat in the Ukrainian Parliament. Far-right nationalists have seats in parliaments of at least 19 European countriesIncludes Hungary, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark.


What happened in Ukraine this week? Check out this explainer on Yahoo Immersive to find out.

Where are Russian troops attacking Ukraine?  Check out this explainer on Yahoo Immersive to find out.