TEL AVIV, November 2 (Itar-Tass) — The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed concern with growing popularity of the nationalistic Svoboda (Freedom) party at the recent parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission, the Svoboda party got 2.12 million votes (10.44 %) after 99.59% percent of voting papers had been processed and counted.
“Israel is expressing concern in connection with a rise of extremist anti-Semitic elements in Ukraine and the performance of the nationalistic Svoboda party at elections to the Ukrainian parliament. Its members often voice racist and anti-Semitic positions. Israel expects the Ukrainian government to take a clear-cut stance on any manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Thursday.
The Svoboda party is an ultra-right radical nationalistic organization whose members stood behind many notorious actions: they dismantled a monument to WWII Soviet soldiers, clashed with leftist forces in cities in western Ukraine and beat up Soviet war veterans in Lvov on May 9 with absolute impunity.
Deputies of the Lvov regional council refused to give proper assessment of those actions. Deputy Yulia Mikhalchishina said that the Bandera army would cross the Dnieper River and overthrow the Party of Regions while her fellow-deputy Irina Farion called the Russian language a language of occupiers.
A demand for this breed of politicians started forming under ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko. Political analysts say that the root cause behind Svoboda’s growing popularity is disappointment of supporters of the “orange forces” in Ukraine. Svoboda gained the first victory at local elections in the Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk and Ternopol regions in 2010. The first thing they did upon taking control over councils of various levels was to ban the use of Russian language and the Communist party, give up the Red Banner and refuse to celebrate Victory Day.
Now, they are planning to implement a similar scenario at Verkhovnaya Rada. Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the Svoboda movement, said that one of the first bills they were planning to submit to the new parliament would be a ban on Communism as an anti-Ukrainian and misanthropic ideology.
Early elections to local self-government bodies are expected to follow the parliamentary elections. Fourteen deputies of the Lvov regional council, including its chief, will now work at Verkhovnaya Rada.