Robert Mackey reports: Since a coalition of Ukrainian opposition groups took control of Independence Square in Kiev and held it long enough to undermine the authority of President Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian government and news media outlets under Kremlin control have consistently focused on the part played by far-right, nationalist demonstrators who manned the barricades there during deadly clashes with the police.
To counter the perception fostered in Moscow that the interim government in Kiev, which took power after Mr. Yanukovych fled the country, is led by neo-Nazis and fascist thugs, pro-Western Ukrainian activists have drawn attention to voices of moderation and tolerance in their coalition. One part of that effort was a YouTube video letter to the Russian people from prominent Ukrainian musicians and artists who appealed, in Russian, for peace, love and understanding from their neighbors. “There are no ‘Nazis’ here; your brothers are here,” the singer Valeriy Kharchyshyn said in the video. “We love you and we don’t want war.”
In that context, a highly discordant note was struck by video posted on YouTube this week that showed three men who represent the Ukrainian nationalist party Svoboda in Parliament berating the head of Ukraine’s state broadcaster over his decision to cover the Kremlin ceremony marking the annexation of Crimea. [Continue reading…]