Ukrainian Far-Right Extremists Receive State Funds to Teach “Patriotism”
Ahead of Ukrainian parliamentary elections on July 21, it is clear from polling data that Ukraine’s far-right groups and their ideas enjoy little popular support among its citizens. Despite this, Ukraine’s government continues to provide funds to notorious far-right extremist groups and their affiliates — including two organizations led by extremists currently on trial for a 2015 murder — to carry out “national-patriotic education” (NPE) programs aimed at young Ukrainians.
An investigation by Bellingcat reveals that far-right organizations run some of the projects funded by state NPE grants, allowing these groups to grow and recruit new members. Moreover, this patriotic youth education was shaped and led by a figure with years of experience in Ukraine’s far-right: Mykola Lyakhovych, Head of the Department for National Patriotic Education in Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports..
*In response to Bellingcat’s request for commentary the Ministry of Youth and Sports wrote that it would provide requested information “within the time frame designated by Ukraine’s laws”. The law on access to public information allows government bodies up to 20 business days for responses to requests*. Bellingcat also asked the Ministry of Youth and Sports to comment if there are checks in place to ensure that funds for projects cannot be used by an organization for other purposes.
“Nationalist hate group” gets state project funding
For 2019, the government of Ukraine has earmarked eight million hryvnias (over $300,000 USD) for what it calls “national-patriotic education projects” aimed at Ukrainian youth, including children. Of these 845,000 hryvnias — over $30,000 — apparently go to programs that are run by a number of branches of Ukrainian far-right groups, including National Corps, the political wing of the Azov movement. National Corps has been implicated in numerous incidents against minorities, activists …read more