Okay, so it seems this story is getting more traction than I realized. I was originally pretty dismissive of it.
As I wrote before:
Regarding that story, two possibilities:
1. Svoboda are trying to show how tough they are and regain the standing the lost in these protests. (The protests are largely a ship that sailed without them, and they’ve even embarrassed themselves by getting caught in lies exaggerating their activity: http://romaninukraine.com/wounded-maidan-protesters-vs-svoboda-party/.)
2. These are Russian sponsored provocateurs.
I hadn’t heard of this guy or this incident before until an American colleague asked me about them, so I just checked with a friend (thanks, Andriy!). It seems nobody is giving it much attention b/c the guy was corrupted thief who would have eventually been fired anyway.
I did not know who the guy was. Apparently, he’s been identified as Igor Miroshnichenko, a Svoboda member of the Verkhovna Rada.
So, probably he doesn’t see himself as a provocateur. He’s probably another narcissistic idiot seeing credibility in the political realm by going after an easy and safe target.
Regarding Russian influence however, there have been wide spread rumors in the past that Svoboda was sponsored by either the Kremlin or Party of Regions in order to radicalize the opposition. I do not know if these rumors are true, btw. I only know that they exist.
Ukrainians seem horrified by the incident. When I was in Lviv’s city center, they were playing interviews on the big screen in which people denounced him, saying “Now Putin is going to play this all over Eastern Ukraine and claim that he was right after all about us being bandits.”
Here, someone photoshopped Ihor’s face onto Vadim Titushka, the Eastern-Ukrainian rent-a-thug who beat up a female journalist last year.
Vadim has since sought forgiveness. He was on Maidan chopping firewood for the protesters. I heard he then volunteered for the military. Unfortunately for him, the word “Titushka” has stuck, and is now commonly used to refer to the rent-a-thugs used by Russia and the now-ousted Party of Regions.
Lol! I think this is a new meme. “Zaiavy Pyshy, Suka, Blin!”
Translation: “Write the Statement, bitch, dammit!”
Here’s the American & Russian US diplomats: