Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog 9: Kharkiv Partisans: Pro-Russia Terror Group Threatening To Kill Ukrainians If Soviet Monuments Are Toppled

A pro-Russian group in Ukraine calling itself the Kharkiv Partisans issued a threat this week to execute five Ukrainian citizens for every Soviet monument torn down as part of recent laws passed by the Ukrainian Parliament. The laws ban Soviet and Nazi imagery and order that all related monuments be removed or destroyed, Newsweek reported Thursday. The Kharkiv Partisans have claimed responsibility for more than a dozen guerilla bombings around Kharkiv in recent months. Those bombings targeted both civilians and military personnel. A February bombing of a pro-government rally killed two and injured 10, and an April 1 bombing targeted a military installation. Supporters of the anti-Russian Maidan movement pulled down more than 100 communist monuments and statues last year in the weeks following the fall of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Ukrainians have struggled with their country’s violent Soviet history since the fall of the USSR in 1991. Kharkiv, which lies near the Russian border in Ukraine’s northeast, and its citizens are largely split along pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian lines. On Sunday, a group of masked men pulled down a number of Soviet statues in the city. The half-dozen or so men worked quickly and did not appear to be part of a government-sanctioned team. While some praised the laws banning Nazi and Soviet imagery, others criticized them for being impractical, costly and inflammatory. Russian politicians leaped to denounce the laws, calling them anti-Russian and disrespectful to the millions of Soviet service members who died in World War II. Critics said the measures would only stoke the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government, which has generally calmed following a February ceasefire agreement.

Clifton Coleman



No comments: