|“Don’t feed the lions!” [Lions in Russian is the same as ‘Lvov’]|
July 15, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
The Lvov “Pravo-Sich”
What are the real prospects of the “Right sector” in the current situation of direct conflict with the authorities?
All the dreams of the all-Ukrainian “Maidan 3.0”, which would become even more “right” than the “second” still remain just dreams. Moreover, given how hesitant was the all-mighty “big and scary” “Right sector” in the most critical hours after the shootout in Mukachevo, we can confidently say – the authorities have a significant power advantage. So what, a protest at the AP (even without the burning tires), so what, tents popped up in different cities – but is this what some expected, and others were afraid of?
What about all of this: “The Right Sector is transferring units from the front to Western Ukraine”, “all Right Sector personnel is in full combat readiness”?.. Apparently, not feeling the public support, without real power advantage, the “Right sector” decided not go for the seizure of power in Kiev. Moreover, “pravoseki” [Right Sector members], being well aware of the internal situation and views of their colleagues in the new Ukrainian power politics, clearly knew that no one will play games with them and instead of “Berkut” with traumatic shotguns circa 2013, the government will simply bring out all the armored vehicles – “Saxons” and “Humvees” — which has still not reached the front just for such a situation and without unnecessary discussions will sweep all the radicals with a fire barrage, as the “agents of the Kremlin, seeking to strike the warring country in the back.”
However, the situation is such that time has accelerated significantly and it is playing against the Right Sector. Every day and hour ushers the moment of the inevitable large-scale repressions – and worst of all, the Right Sector understands that there is no need for any dirt: illegal arsenals of small arms and heavy weapons in the possession of the “righties” are such that it’s time for Kiev to seek NATO’s help in fighting the new terrorist threat. Arrest any Right Sector organization in any town – and you are sure to find machine guns and explosives. And everyone understands this.
But it’s a problem. A weapon is an instrument of force, self-defence, the seizure of power, finally! But if it turns out that the Right Sector is not ready for mutiny, the stockpiled weapons instead of the “trump card” become a “suitcase without a handle” and a “hot potato”. To use it makes no sense, but to keep is more risky, it is easy to go to jail. However, no one will get rid of it.
Zugzwang? Actually, no.
The only logical solution for right-wing radicals becomes “privatization” of some particular region where they would feel in relative or absolute security. Kind of a “Pravo-Sich”. Of course, it is desirable that it is within Ukraine’s borders as nobody will welcome banderites anywhere abroad (Canada is too far [home of Bandera grandson and a largest Ukrainian diaspora]), and preferably in a big city, and not in the damp underground caves of the Carpathian mountains.
By very simple reasoning we find that Lvov best fits the role of “Pravo-Sich”.
There is traditionally a high percentage of sympathisers of the radical nationalists, here they can recruit new cadres, a long-standing dialogue has been established with many of the power structures (if not fusion). And there is another significant factor – the desire of Galicia to expand its own managerial and financial autonomy. More than once the Galicians lost during redistribution of power. Yushchenko of Sumy, Timoshenko of Dnepropetrovsk, Yanukovich of Donetsk, and Poroshenko of Vinnitsa did not share much with them. Galicians are always in demand to aid a Maidan, but not as much when it comes to distributing portfolios. Kiev is too much to bite for Lvov. Is it not better in this case to arrange a informal autonomy by distancing from the dictate of the center? It is best done by negotiating with Kiev, using a few dozen thousand fighters as a card.
[Decentralization is particularly desperately needed in the current economic crisis, due to the fact that all Ukrainian regions only get 20% of their revenue and have to transfer 80% to the center – Kiev – KR]
That the Right Sector is moving in this direction is clearly shown by the recent bombings of police stations in Lvov, after which it was stated that the town is taken under the control of the “righties”. “In order to avoid further terrorist attacks” (of course!) Right Sector checkpoints were put up around the city. What is the status of the informal (and possibly armed) searches of personal property? That’s right – completely illegal. But in Lvov no one said a word. The analogy with Donetsk will be correct – there the first checkpoints of the militia have also been accepted as a necessity. Each region has its own “militia”.
Most likely, terrorist attacks will continue. Everyone will understand who is behind them, but the Right Sector will loudly declare that only it can provide security in the region. So it was in the 90s: the bandits offered to provide security to businesses, otherwise the business was on fire and exploding. By such blackmail an agreement will be reached with the government, according to which “pravoseki” will become guarantors of peaceful life of the city, and therefore all persecution will be stopped and menacing arrest decrees from Kiev will be openly or secretly sabotaged on the ground. In turn, the Right Sector will chase away all the Kiev appointees, branding them as corrupt and “unpatriotic”. Everyone is happy – elites will sit in their chairs without the risk to be deposed and the Right Sector will march with guns and keep order.
The only way for Kiev to regain control of the region is another ATO. But a war on two fronts, and even with a decrease of a significant portion of its Western mobilization potential, Ukraine is unlikely to even dare to start. Withdraw troops from Donbass – Mariupol or Slavyansk will have to be abandoned. And in general, punitive actions of Kiev in Galicia would cause such a monstrous cognitive dissonance that it will almost certainly lead to the overall collapse of the entire modern Ukrainian mythology.
It’s possible that it’s even for the better. Right radicals will get their reservation, beyond which open criminal cases will be awaiting them. A large part of all the extreme nationalist element from all over Ukraine will descend on “Pravo-Sich”, which means in the Dnepr, Kharkov and Odessa it will be much easier to breathe and safer to live. And Kiev will also have to find a new basis for their own identity, because the outdated Galician underground nationalism will become something indecent and criminally punishable, like Wahhabism in Russia. Anyway, there will be a substantial cooling of senses in a tangled love story of the Ukrainian people with their Bandera “half”.
KR: The only thing standing in the way of such a scenario are the ambitions of the new generation of proud Dnepropetrovsk, Mariupol and Kharkov radical nationalists infected with the Galician bug. Judging by the events of the last year they can not be expected to rationally and peacefully surrender and move to Galicia, which is unfortunate for them because they are outnumbered. But the swing is about to go the other way.