Ukraine after presidential elections. Radicals threaten national minorities

May 2019
On May 20, Showman Volodymyr Zelensky took the presidential office. Taking into account he is a new man in politics, and therefore cliffhanging, it is hard to imagine what Ukraine's both domestic and foreign policy will look like during the next five years (that is the presidential term in Ukraine). However, the first decree of the new leader of the state on dissolution of the Parliament has caused a wave of argument among political experts and journalists. It is clear the new President does not like the old Parliament, and reelections were just a question of time. However, besides political difficulties, there are a lot of unsolved issues the presidential team has come across. The status of national minorities and the activity of nationalist groups are some of issues.

For instance, right after voting information appeared that Ukrainian nationalist radical organization C14 is going to take upon itself maintaining order in Zakarpattia - a region populated with ethnical Hungarians and Rusyns. The nationalists call that "protection of state sovereignty and separatist manifestations prevention".

"Due to election of a new President and inevitable reshuffle of civil and military officials in the regions, C14 opens its HQ in Zakarpattia to protect state sovereignty and prevent separatist manifestation.

We know the Coordination Council of Rusyn organizations and the People's Council of Rusyns in Zakarpattia supported by the Matica Rusyns are going to use the resignation of head of regional state administration Hennadiy Moskal to make unstable the political situation in Zakarpattia via organizing protests for political autonomy. Therefore SBU preventative struggle against terrorism do not correspond to the level of threats from the Rusyn organizations.

Taking into account these circumstances, since April 30 C14 and Carpathian Sich mobile groups are starting a twenty-four-hour patrol of Duknovich sq., Ciril and Methodius sq., Yaroslav the Wise st., Mykhailo Hrushevsky st., Ilona Zrinyi st., Stefan Agoston st., etc. There will be created conditions in the HQ to monitor political situation in Mukachevo and to immediately react to the anti-Ukrainian manifestations. C14 will quarter nonresidents in Mukachevo, Kolchino and Chynadiiovo. Crowd funding is organized to provide the HQ activity and to solve everyday questions".

Nationalists' anxiety was provoked by the start of Zakarpattia Rusyns activity who have unsuccessfully been fighting for many years for Kyiv's recognizing their nationality has the right to exist. Surprisingly, there is a state in Europe that cynically ignores its citizens' basic rights: even the UN called upon Ukraine to recognize the Rusyns as a nation, but without success. The representatives of that nation repeatedly asked various international and governmental institutions of other countries to recognize existence of the Rusyn nationality. What is more, activists created a web-site to make public all misadventures of the Rusyns. It is supposed it will help to draw attention of the international community to a tragedy of the whole nation.

Regarding nationalists' claims, it is doubtful that such extremely radical group as the above-mentioned C14 can objectively perform police functions. What is more, Ukrainian nationalists always showed aggression to any kind of minorities. Their understanding of "maintain the order" just means ethnical or national persecution.

Such an approach to national problems is inappropriate for a European state. The new President has to solve a hard problem. First, he has to control nationalism dangerously bordering fascism which flourished during his forerunner. Second, he has to establish a dialogue with national minorities living in Ukraine and persecuted by the authorities for a long time.