Posted with kind permission, this is an excerpt from a March 6 CNN article by Carnegie Council's David Speedie, director of the U.S. Global Engagement program. The program's major ongoing project focuses on the rise of the new Far-Right across Europe See, for example, this recent article. To read the full CNN piece, click on the link below.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says neo-fascist far-right groups are firmly behind the putsch—coup d'etat—in Kiev and questions the democratic credentials of "men with black masks and Kalashnikovs" who became the poster children of the Maidan for Russians.
Does this assessment have any truth to it? In the fast-moving and chronically complex course of events in Ukraine, the issue has been debated from the beginning: the role of the far right in the events that led to the toppling of the Viktor Yanukovych government and in the present and future disposition of political power in the country.
There are some known facts: First, far-right, anti-Semitic, anti-Russian and openly fascist groups have existed and do exist as a blight on modern Ukraine. A 2012 European Parliament resolution condemned the main—but by no means most extreme—ultra-right party, Svoboda, as "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic."