Democratic and progressive sections in Ukraine condemned the participation of prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk in a neo-Nazi event in Kiev on October 13. The prime minister attended and addressed a ‘Veterans Strong Party’ event that was organized by the far-right activist, Andriy Medvedko, on the eve of the Defender of Ukraine Day on Oct. 14.
Andriy Medvedko is member of of the neo-Nazi group, C-14, which was charged with assassinating a pro-Russian journalist and writer, Oles Buzina, in April 2015. C-14 is also responsible for attacks on Roma camps. According to reports, along with Oleksiy Honcharuk, another minister, Oksana Koliada, also participated in the event headlined by the neo-Nazi band Sokyra Peruna.
Kiev Post has reported that C-14 leader Yevhen Karas was one of the first to share pictures of Oleksiy Honcharuk addressing the event. On October 14, several hyper nationalist right-wing groups also marched in Kiev to celebrate the 77th anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a Nazi collaborationist force that fought against the Soviets during World War II.
The Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) denounced the far-right demonstrations and also criticized the prime minister’s participation in the neo-Nazi event. KPU pointed out that the prime minister not only attended the concert which praised the leaders of Nazi Germany and the “holy racial war” on October 13, but also supported them in his speech.
Hyper-nationalist, neo-Nazi groups in the country have been on the ascendant over the past few years, riding a wave of anti-Russian, anti-communist and homophobic sentiments. Following the Euromaidan protests in 2014, fascists from the Svoboda party even entered the Ukrainian government. In 2015, the government of Petro Poroshenko banned the KPU and passed decommunization laws that banned the display of communist banners or symbols in the country.