“Unlike administrative resources, thugs and cynical rhetoric, imagination was lacking among those who thought up the 18 May “antifascist demonstration” in Kyiv. It also lacked credibility. It was difficult not to suspect that the police had received prior instructions when they estimated the number of “antifascists” brought out by the ruling Party of the Regions as 10 times higher than the participants in the opposition “Rise, Ukraine!” rally (44,000 vs. 4,000). Another worrying incident occurred when an “antifascist” lout beat up a female journalist and cameraman.
Even if those in power were not actively trying to provoke trouble in Kyiv – as well as at the recent memorial events in Simferopol to mark the 69th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars – they showed an irresponsible indifference to people’s safety and an inability to use democratic methods when faced with diverging views.
The execution was also extremely poor.
The “antifascist” card has been part of the current administration’s line ever since Yanukovych came to power. But it really took off after the right-wing Svoboda party gained over 10 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. The obvious mileage the Party of the Regions has been extracting from that victory, and from Svoboda’s coalition with the opposition Batkivshchyna and UDAR parties, can only fuel suspicions that Svoboda received tacit support. There is a cynical logic to such support since at the very least votes for Svoboda steal votes from other opposition parties, not from those in power. Moreover, with support for the ruling party falling ever lower, Svoboda’s rising popularity at least gives the Party of Regions the chance to cast themselves as the champions of moderate, non-nationalist ideology.
While Svoboda’s ideological consistency does not make its bigoted views any more palatable, the Party of the Regions is still a loser in terms of message. The old Soviet rhetoric being regurgitated was once part of a need to concentrate on the War and “fight against fascism,” because reality had stripped all communist myths of any credibility.
The Party of the Regions does not really have any ideology and even with near total monopoly over the media, the series of “anti-fascist” rallies around the country from May 14 and ending with Saturday’s rally could not convince anybody.”