July 19, 2015
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The “national assembly” intended to take place in Kiev today by the Right Sector did not take place. Instead of a large demonstration there was a small scuffle.
Only 100 people showed up on the Independence Square. Including no more than 10 members of the Right Sector. The rest were the activists of the “Strategic Union for Civic Ukraine” who in the end scuffled with one another due to disagreements on the Donbass conflict. Opposing sides seized and destroyed each other’s signs.
Right Sector also decided to end the demonstration in front of the Presidential Administration which has been ongoing since July 12, right after the Mukachevo events. The radicals have been demanding the firing of MVD chief Avakov and other concessions.
Today the Right Sector named the new date for not merely a “national” but an “all-national” assembly. This time it’s to take place on Tuesday, July 21. Yarosh himself promised to appear. One of the RS battalions announced that they will deploy to Kiev in order “say no to the government of traitors”, and “announce our demands to the whole country.”
J.Hawk’s Comment: The Right Sector appears to be in a downward spiral. They’ll probably do better than 10 people on Tuesday. Like, for example, 100 people! It seems that the advertised RS strength of 10 thousand members is something of a bluff by Yarosh because whenever an opportunity arises to actually use that strength, the result is a somewhat pathetic one like this.
Now, collectively, the volunteer formations do represent a significant force. They are also one of the most important pillars of the regime, which is why even the wayward RS tends to be treated with kid gloves (the Transcarpathia operations are aimed at RS “bad apples”, as if the barrel itself was full of wholesome ones). But they are internally divided. No single leaders controls all of them. Biletsky’s power is limited to Azov, Yarosh’s to the RS, and then there are 40 or so individual battalion fiefdoms with the respect to which Kiev is pursuing a pretty effective campaign of “divide and rule” simply by designating certain areas of criminal activity off which these battalions may profit. If you behave you get more, if you misbehave you get less. And the eagerness with which National Guard volunteer battalions moved into Transcarpathia suggests they are there to carry out a “corporate take-over” of RS smuggling operations.
How long can Kiev count on the loyalty of the volunteer battalions? For as long as there are spoils it can deliver, even at the expense of Ukraine’s own population. But not a minute longer.