Expert polls conducting

March 22, 2011

Intention of the “Russian Unity” to carry out demonstration on May 9, 2011 in Lviv is the undisguised cynicism and provocation

The Crimean party “Russian Unity” declared about intention to carry out the demonstration “March of the Victory” in Lviv on May 9, 2011. Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia (IHRPEX) asked experts to comment these claims. 

Vadym KOLESNICHENKO, people's deputy of Ukraine (Party of Regions), head of all-Ukrainian public organization “Human rights public movement “Russian-speaking Ukraine”: “This is rather startling action, and it is, unfortunately, the result of the inadequate actions of Lviv authorities with their claims, which exceed the limits of understanding, for example, claims about the fact that they should make May 9 the working day. But “Svoboda” needs the PR, and making such decisions they provoke such reaction. This leads to escalation of the conflict, increase of tension and just to open fights. That is why both the first ones and the others do not deserve approval. During the Coordination Council of the Association of Russian Compatriots of Ukraine, headed by me, we discussed this topic and decided that this action must not be supported. We made the decision that celebration of the Victory must be the complex action, taken place not only on May 9, and lasting for several days. It should be directed at heroizing of the memory of our veterans. We will develop the soldiers’ graves, arrange memorial events. And as for coming to Lviv only for fighting, we do not approve this”. 

Taras STETSKIV, people's deputy of Ukraine (Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc), historian: “This action was planned in the cabinets of Russian Federal Security Service, its purpose is to increase the confrontation, to cause the fight of the representatives of this party and “Svoboda”. But I think this demonstration will just not take place in Lviv, because the authorities will prohibit it. Nobody let them make any demonstrations. The local authorities will go to court, and the court in turn will make peremptory decision. Because it is nonsense. The same would be if “Svoboda” made the demonstration of nationalists in Simjeropol. This is the conscious action, directed at stirring up of the national disagreement between the East and the West of Ukraine. Thus, the confrontation between the rich and the poor is substituted by the artificial confrontation between nationalists and this mythical “Russian Unity”. This is the direct escalation of violence. And the use by the organizers of the veterans is the undisguised cynicism at all.” 

Andrey OKARA, Russian political expert: “I think that this is the PR-action, which will increase the recognizability of this party outside the Crimea. Apparently they want to carry out the demonstration in Lviv, because they consider that it will be interpreted the most strictly exactly in this region, and this may cause some resonance conflicts and great public discussion, that in turn will attract public attention to them. This will make the party more recognizable and famous. And the more this will be discussed, prohibited, argued, especially by Oleg Tiagnybok and its party, the more the resonance will be. Because “Russian Unity” is very similar to “Svoboda” and is potentially symmetrical to it, with the only one difference – nobody knows this party. And the more scandal actions it has, the more famous it will be.” 

Igor MARKOV, the head of the department of ethnic and social researches of the Institute of Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (city of Lviv): “The demonstration of the “Russian Unity” party in Lviv is nothing but challenge to residents of Galychyna and whole Western Ukraine with its values and opinions. This is not the celebration of the Victory Day. If it will be carried out, it will obtain the adequate negative and may by strict response. And this will be the only one result of their intentions. They do not care about the veterans from both sides. Moreover, this is also the action against the veterans. Because not only Russians fought on the side of Soviet Army during the World War II, there were also people, mobilized by force, these were people of different destinies, nationalities and political views. And there is not even that country already, on the side of which they fought. There is the main universal value of the victory of Coalition and the USSR in the World War II, which is the destruction of Nazism. If this motive is not dominating in celebration of the Victory Day (and this day was never the day of victory for residents of Galychyna, but they respect this day as the day of termination of the war), if the “Russian Unity” wants to make this day to be the day of Russian victory, then this holiday will be leveled.” 

Igor ZHDANOV, the president of the “Open policy” Centre: “The intention to carry out such event will only lead to worsening of the political situation in Ukraine. I do not exclude that there will be just conflicts of radically-aiming citizens of Lviv and the representatives of this party. Nationalistic organizations will make everything not to allow this demonstration. And this is well understood by the representatives of this little known party. It is possible just to speak here about their political responsibility, which is, as for me, completely absent in this party. They understand the consequences, and nevertheless they want to carry out this action, to gain points, not in the West of Ukraine, but in the East and the Crimea. Regarding veterans, one thing is when the event, celebrating their contribution is carried out at the state level, but when it is the obvious provocation of the little known organization – that’s quite another story. And if they involve veterans into this event, we will obtain another big problem.”