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Odessa region's new vice-governor sees no problem in Right Sector activity in Ukraine

July 20, 2015, 12:46 UTC+3 KIEV
Maria Gaidar said the Right Sector activists "are entitled to their own views and they are entitled to express them"
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Members of the Right Sector group

Members of the Right Sector group

© AP Photo/Darko Bandic

KIEV, July 20. /TASS/. Maria Gaidar, Russian opposition figure recently appointed deputy governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, said on Monday she saw no problem in the activity of the ultranationalist Right Sector group.

"I am against gangsterism but Right Sector is part of Ukrainian policy," Gaidar told a news conference in Kiev. "They are entitled to their own views and they are entitled to express them. I see no problem as long as it is in a democratic way."

Right Sector was behind a contraband-related scandal in Ukraine’s western Trans-Carpathian region. On Saturday, July 11, gunmen of the Right Sector group, which is deemed extremist and banned in Russia, opened fire from small arms at their opponents while discussing the "redistribution of spheres of influence" in Mukachevo. The extremists later opened fire from rifles, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers at police who arrived at the scene. They destroyed several police vehicles and also set fire to a traffic police checkpoint and a petrol station. As a result, three people were killed and 11 more were wounded. The Right Sector gunmen escaped to the mountains. Prosecutors described the incident as a terrorist attack.

Georgia’s former president and Odessa region Governor Mikheil Saakashvili appointed Russian public figure Maria Gaidar his deputy last week. Gaidar will be responsible for the social sphere and first of all focus on refugees.

"I will deal with social sphere. The priority is the issue of refugees," Gaidar told a briefing. "The situation with refugees in the Odessa Region was in limbo - people were accommodated in a sanatorium, and temporary became constant. My task is to start solving these problems as soon as possible," she noted adding that she will also "deal with issues of orphans and education."

Maria Gaidar represents the so-called non-systemic opposition in Russia. She is the former vice-governor of Russia’s Kirov region and the head of the Social Demand foundation. In 2014, she intended to run in elections to the Moscow State Duma but was not registered as a candidate. Gaidar is an active participant in a number of liberal pro-Western movements in Russia. In 2011, she studied at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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