Ukraine: Report on Danger of Unchecked Violence to Democratic Institutions in Ukraine

Washington

Upon release of the Nations in Transit report “Far-right Extremism as a Threat to Ukrainian Democracy,” Freedom House issued the following statement: 

“We are concerned about the increase in violence by radicals in Ukraine against vulnerable groups across the country, and the use of violence with impunity,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia Programs at Freedom House. “With violence and intimidation on the rise, authorities seem unwilling or unable to respond effectively. While groups that use violence lack political power, their hate-motivated violence, if left unchecked, seriously undermines democracy and pluralism in Ukraine. The government and international community should develop effective law-enforcement and policy solutions to prevent violence and ensure the rights of all.”

The report describes in detail how violent far-right political forces threaten democratic development of Ukrainian society, and concludes:

  • Extreme nationalist views and groups, along with their preachers and propagandists, have been granted significant prominence and legitimacy by the wider society.
  • Current polling data indicates that the far right has little chance of being elected in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019 and is not able to challenge the state.
  • Extremist groups are aggressively trying to impose their agenda on Ukrainian society, including by using force against those with opposite political and cultural views.
  • In the last few months, extremist groups have become increasingly active. The most disturbing element of their recent show of force is that so far it has gone fully unpunished by the authorities.

Freedom House will hold a roundtable event in Kyiv on Tuesday, June 12 from 11 AM – 12 PM at Ukrinform (8/16 Bogdana Khmelnytskogo Str) to share and discuss these findings with the participation of Viacheslav Ligachev, author of the brief and expert on expert on right-wing groups in Ukraine and Russia, Marc Behrendt, Director of Europe and Eurasia Programs at Freedom House, Boris Zakharov, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Yuriy Zozula, head of Kyiv Patrol Police, as well as representatives of the government, media, and civil society of Ukraine. To attend the event, please RSVP to [email protected].

Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 4.64, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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