The ultra-right Svoboda Party has scored six major cabinet ministries in the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk approved by the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday. Svoboda is an ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the Western Ukraine.
The most important post was claimed by a co-founder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy. He was named Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee, which supervises the defense ministry and the armed forces.
The Parubiy appointment to such an important post should, alone, be cause for international outrage. He led the masked Svoboda and Right Sector thugs who battled riot police in the Independence Maidan in Kiev.
The Right Sector is an openly fascist, anti-Semitic and anti-Russian organization. Most of the snipers and bomb throwers in the crowds were connected with this group.
Right Sector members have been participating in military training camps for the last two years or more in preparation for street activity of the kind witnessed in the Ukraine over the last few months.
The Right Sector, as can be seen by the appointment of Parubiy, is now in a position to control major appointments to the provisional government and has succeeded in achieving its long time goal of legalizing discrimination against Russians. The new parliament has passed legislation that declares Russian speakers no longer have equal rights with Ukrainians. Svoboda and the Right Sector, as can be seen by the appointment of Parubiy, are now in a position to control major appointments to the provisional government and have succeeded in achieving their long-time goal of legalizing discrimination against Russians.
Parubiy is also associated with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk's Fatherland Party. Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector delegation in parliament, was named Parubiy's deputy. These appointments of open fascists to control of the armed forces are particularly alarming given the possibility of provocations against the Russian naval base in Sevastopol.
Oleksandr Sych, a Svoboda parliamentarian from Ivano-Frankivsk best known for his attempts to ban all abortions in Ukraine, including those resulting from rape, was named deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Svoboda was also rewarded with the Education Ministry under Serhiy Kvit, as well as the Ecology Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry under Andriy Makhnyk and Ihor Shvaiko, respectively.
Earlier in the week Svoboda member of parliament Oleh Makhnitsky was named prosecutor-general of the Ukraine.
Others with ultra-right associations with the Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) also received cabinet posts. Tetyana Chernovol, portrayed in the Western press as a crusading investigative journalist without reference to her past involvement in the anti-Semitic UNA-UNSO, was named chair of the government's anti-corruption committee. Dmytro Bulatov, known for his alleged kidnapping by police, but also with UNA-UNSO connections, was appointed minister of youth and sports.
Yatsenuyk's Fatherland Party, and figures close to it, obtained 10 cabinet posts, including deputy prime minister for EU integration, interior, justice, energy, infrastructure, defense, culture, social issues, and a minister without portfolio. Yegor Sobolev, leader of a civic group in Independence Maidan and politically close to Yatsenyuk, was appointed chair of the Lustration Committee, charged with purging followers of President Yanukovych from government and public life.
In a society where oligarchs play such an important political and economic role it is unsurprising that Volodymyr Groysman, mayor of Vinnytsa and close associate of oligarch Petro Poroshenko, was chosen as deputy prime minister for regional affairs. Groysman was also close to former President Viktor Yushchenko. The new finance minister, Oleksander Shlapak, is a representative of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskiy, the second wealthiest man in the Ukraine.
The remaining cabinet posts went to technocrats, a doctor who organized medical services for the Maidan protestors, and a retired police general.
The interim cabinet matches exactly the government which U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland recommended in her intercepted call with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev where she revealed the U.S. plan for a coup in Ukraine.
Vitali Klitschko and his UDAR party are excluded, likely because of their close relationship with German chancellor Angela Merkel. Yatsenuyk's Fatherland Party receives the majority of portfolios. And as Nuland demanded, so long as Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok did not receive a major cabinet post, Svoboda could receive several ministries.
In the eyes of many these facts are indicative of U.S. involvement in what has essentially been a coup against the elected government of the Ukraine.
In other developments in Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych was reported to be in Moscow, where it was announced that he was receiving protection from the Russian security service because of threats on his life by political "extremists."
He will reportedly appear at a press conference in Rostov-on-Don later today. Clashes between the Crimean Tartar minority and ethnic Russians occurred outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol, while armed pro-Russian demonstrators continued to hold the parliament building itself.
Photo: Russian-speaking demonstrators in Crimea protest the decision by the Ukrainian coup "government" to remove rights of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Darko Vojinovic/AP