Breaking: Live Updates – “Nationalist” Anti-reform Protest Violence in Kiev – Video, Photos, Analysis
August 31st. 2015 –
By: Joaquin Flores for Fort Russ, –
real-time social media monitoring by Ollie Richardson –
UPDATED 5:35PM GMT+3 (Kiev time) – Kiev, Ukraine – About 3000 protesters organized and supported by groups connected to the Pravy Sektor, Azov, and Svoboda Party, turned out in force today in Ukraine’s capital.
Over one hundred police wounded, police suffered injuries from a grenade blast. At least one reported national guard dead from shrapnel through to the heart.
Photo: Bloodied helmet from grenade shrapnel
Their aim was to pressure the government against the passage of today’s new constitutional reform bill. Things quickly turned violent, with several injured. Analysis below, following report.
See Aerial Overview:
Pravy Sektor spokesmen Aleksei Bvik stated that today’s bill represents an attempt at a ‘coup’:
“Now in the Verkhovna Rada takes anti-constitutional coup. This is an attempt of usurpation of authority. Each deputy, who today vote for the laws proposed by Poroshenko, is a traitor to the public and must be held accountable, “
An explosion was heard, later reported to be a grenade blast, which left several police injured and covered in blood, with several injuries other reported.
Video from pro-Kiev Espreso.TV
“Clashes have erupted between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, as deputies gave their initial backing to reforms for greater autonomy in the disputed east of the country.
A loud explosion has been heard. News footage shows objects thrown over the police cordon.
At least 10 people are said to have been injured.”
Eyewitnesses say demonstrators tried to break down the fence around the parliament building and police responded with tear gas.
During a noisy session of Ukraine’s parliament, deputies voted by a sound majority to give more autonomy to the disputed areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, currently under control of pro-Russian groups.
This was a clause in the MInsk 2 peace agreement.
“At least 10 police were hurt in the violence when demonstrators tried to break down the fence around parliament.
During a noisy session of Ukraine’s parliament, MPs voted to approve more powers in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk under control of pro-Russian rebels.
A fragile ceasefire is in place.
The rebels and Ukrainian forces agreed last week to bring an end to the escalation of violence on 1 September, the day children in the region return to school.”
Advisor to the Ukraine’s Internal Minister Anton Gerashchenko confirms the grenade attack on his facebook:
“A grenade was just thrown at servicemen guarding the Verkhovna Rada [parliament]. Several National Guard soldiers have been seriously wounded. Their lives are in danger,”
Analysis of the event – what this all means:
From photos and footage, which can mislead, the protest seems not to have attracted more then 3000 people. Density appears to be the result of a failed but concerted effort to push against the police line and actually storm the Rada.
Today’s protest was nothing like the scope of the Majdan Square protests from almost two years ago. This may tell us something about public opinion.
The protesters in today’s events were exclusively from “far-right” and “nationalist” organizations. Svoboda seems to have had the largest organized turn-out. You can see their banner with the
Background on Svoboda: it is the ‘reformed’ or ‘mainstream’ political wing of the Social-Nationalist Assembly, the propaganda arm of which was ‘Radio Svoboda’. This was the Ukraine section of Radio free Europe/Radio Liberty, backed directly by the US’s National Endowment for Democracy, as well as other ‘tax deductible’ charitable contributions, notably through the Soros Foundation.
You can see their banner was prominent, it’s the blue and yellow standard with the hand making three fingers.
Recall that Svoboda party was designed to be more electable, but like the Pravy Sektor umbrella organization, stems from the Social Nationalist Assembly. The difference is that the Pravy Sektor groups maintained their paramilitary organizing model. It is common for an individual active in one of these to be affiliated, in fact, with both.
|Tyahnybok present today, and directly involved in violence|
Poroshenko’s Dilemma : One of the major problems for Poroshenko is what the real nature of this bill reflects.
The actual language of the bill does not actually meet the final criteria established by Minsk II, of which Ukraine is a party to. This is a legally vulgar interpretation, which does not actually meet the terms of the agreement.
Poroshenko is presently unable to make good on Minsk II due to the nature of US involvement in his government, including the weight the US has in determining IMF conditions for access to tranches, haircuts, etc. Yet he must make gestures in the direction of Minsk II for several distinct but related reasons.
For one, the EU leaders have demanded an adherence to the ‘process’, and have backed Putin’s proposal to return in full to the ceasefire part of the plan by September 1. This demand reflects a process in motion within the EU, and can only said to be partially earnest at this point. Part of the EU elites do not want this sanctions program or the possibility of increased violence. Part of the EU reasoning may, on the other hand, have much to do with the second reason;
Secondly, if there is still any chance to make either the ‘rebels’ or Russia appear to be the party chiefly responsible for a failure of Minsk II, it will require the Kiev Junta to make these half-measures and yet make them appear as whole-measures.
Novorossiya’s Position on the Bill:
DPR an LPR leaders, Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky, have said on several occasions upon reviewing the public draft version of today’s bill, that the Kiev measures are not sufficient, and do not contain critical language that would reflect the actual agreement of the Contact Group, or that which was enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution which backs it.
And yet, in trying to ‘do politics’ and still not meet the requirements of the agreement, Poroshenko is not making anyone happy.
On the one hand radical and extremist elements like those in today’s protests, are taking Poroshenko’s own talking points at face value, and accusing him of capitulating to the ‘Russians’.
On the other hand, Russia, the LPR and DPR, cannot consider Poroshenko to have actually met the Minsk II terms and will justify their own process accordingly.
If indeed the language of the bill was genuinely reflective of the Minsk II agreement, then the protesters would at least be partially coherent.
Of course what the protesters and the public are reacting to is the spectacle of Minsk II adherence, and not what Poroshenko is actually doing. In that way, the protesters themselves are acting like ‘actors’ in this spectacle. Their outrage about it lends credibility to the idea that the bill represents an actual reform (!).
But, at any rate, everything that is happening is a result of the major defeats the UAF suffered last winter. The political process underway now is, in its own distorted form, a reflection of the facts on the ground: the UAF’s actual defeat and surrender at Debaltsevo.
Protesters seem unable to grapple with reality – they see a political capitulation happening in September when the real defeat was last February’s snow-covered graveyard.