French documentary exposes neo-Nazi role in Ukraine

By Greg Butterfield, Workers World

For the first time, the role of fascist politicians and neo-Nazi gangs in the 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Kiev has reached a mass audience in the West, with the Feb. 1 broadcast of journalist Paul Moreira’s documentary “Ukraine: Masks of the Revolution” on Frances’ Canal+ television network.

The 55-minute film shines a bright light on the massacre carried out by ultra-right forces at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2, 2014, where at least 48 anti-fascists and trade unionists were brutally murdered.

One of the film’s great strengths – although it makes for difficult viewing – is that it allows the neo-Nazis and supporters of the Kiev regime to indict themselves through interviews, juxtaposed with footage shot by cameraphones at the scene.

“When I started this investigation on Ukraine, I was astonished to discover the degree to which the massacre in Odessa had faded from memory,” Paul Moreira wrote on his blog Jan. 30. “Over 40 people were killed in a huge fire in the heart of a major European city in the 21st century. Everything was filmed by dozens of cameras and cell phones. Yet around me, no one remembered. … It had been addressed, discussed, but never investigated.

“Why no investigation? Probably because the victims were Russian speakers. These victims were reported as ‘persons’ but without knowning who they were, who killed them, and why they were dead. ‘Persons’ who were nobodies.” (English translation at website The New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond)

Moreira also lets anti-fascists give their perspective – something they are denied in Ukraine, where their views are banned and criminalized.

Among those interviewed are Fatima Papura, mother of Vadim, a teenager and member of the Communist Youth who was the youngest victim of the May 2 massacre; and Alexey Albu, former Odessa Regional Council deputy and a leader of the revolutionary Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle), who survived the massacre and was subsequently forced into exile.

Fatima Papura, mother of Communist Youth and Odessa massacre martyr Vadim Papura.

Though focused on the Odessa events, Moreira’s film also exposes the role of the Western imperialist powers, especially the United States, in the February 2014 coup in Kiev, including collaboration of U.S. and European Union officials with known fascists in overthrowing the legally-elected government of President Victor Yanukovich.

The film’s broadcast outraged the Ukrainian regime headed by oligarch President Petro Poroshenko and its Western backers. French capitalist newspaper Le Monde tried unsuccessfully to have Moreira’s film pulled before broadcast. Since then, a campaign of slander has been waged to discredit the director and the anti-fascists he interviewed.

Complete English and Russian-dubbed versions appeared online after the film’s French broadcast. Both were immediately censored by YouTube. There have also been reports of people banned by Facebook for posting links to the Russian-language version.

UPDATE March 11: The complete film is available with English subtitles here:

Mask of ‘democratic revolution’ torn away

The film’s broadcast marks an important breakthrough against the two-year-long conspiracy of lies and censorship by Western media and governments denying or ignoring the role of armed neo-Nazis and right-wing nationalists in the so-called “revolution of dignity.”

Their rise to power, enabling the naked rule of the country’s neoliberal oligarchs, led to war against the mainly Russian-speaking Donbass region, formerly part of eastern Ukraine, where at least 10,000 people have been killed, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes.

Washington and the EU continue to provide money, arms and political cover for both the Poroshenko government and the neo-Nazis. The Western imperialists aim to steal the former Soviet republic’s industry and resources while expanding the NATO military alliance to Russia’s western border.

On February 3, the U.S. Embassy in Keiv announced the opening of the Joint Operations Centre, a military base and training center in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk. The event was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe Gen. Ben Hodges. The JOC will train members of the neo-Nazi Dnepr-1 volunteer battalion, set up in 2014 under the auspices of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, owner of PrivatBank. (Novorossia Today)

 Commander of U.S. Army in Europe Gen. Ben Hodges and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt at opening of Joint Operations Center in Dnipropetrovsk.
The war against Donbass continues today, though it is largely out of the headlines. Antifascist militias, now organized in the Armed Forces of Novorossiya, defend the independent Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from constant ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and neo-Nazi volunteer battalions.

The threat of a wider outbreak of war hangs over the heads of Donbass residents, who voted for independence in a popular referendum in May 2014. And today the crisis is heating up again.

As Donetsk People’s Republic military spokesperson Eduard Basurin reported Feb. 1, “Over the past day the Ukrainian military violated the ceasefire 31 times and shelled the territory of the republic 108 times. Over the past week, from January 25 to 31, the punitive forces shelled the territory of the Republic 990 times, including 669 time with heavy weapons.” (DONi News)

On Feb. 5, Head of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko stated, “The number of attacks [by Ukrainian forces] has increased tenfold. Ukraine is trying to put the blame on us, but even the representatives of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, who cannot be suspected of loyalty to us, say that it is Ukraine that violates the ceasefire. Gorlovka, Yasinovatay, Pesky, the area of the Donetsk airport are under fire.

“Judging by what is going on, Ukraine is preparing a full-scale provocation. We are waiting. We are ready. Let them make their choice. How long can you pull the cat’s tail?” (DONi News)

Odessa communist leader replies to slanders

Regular readers of Workers World will recognize the name of Alexey Albu, the Borotba coordinator exiled from his hometown after the May 2, 2014, massacre. WW has recently published interviews conducted by Albu with women fighters of the Ghost Brigade anti-fascist militia.

Albu currently lives in the Lugansk People’s Republic, where he helps to coordinate the economic development and social welfare programs of the Ghost Brigade. He was interviewed in “Ukraine: Masks of the Revolution” about the Odessa massacre, and has come under vicious attack from Kiev’s propagandists seeking to discredit the documentary.

Borotba’s Alexey Albu
The smear campaign is based on an article by Alya Shandra, managing editor of pro-Kiev propaganda website Euromaidan Press. Shandra’s hyperbolic article charges Albu with being, among other things, “homophobic,” “Stalinist,” a “fascist collaborator” and “terrorist.”

On February 4, Albu released a statement responding to the charges. He says in part, “All my life I’ve been a supporter of left-wing and progressive ideas, based on non-discrimination against people on the grounds of nationality, race and sexual, cultural or ideological grounds. From a young age I have always struggled against the ultra-right forces in the streets of my native Odessa and in the political arena.

“Paul Moreira managed to accurately convey the atmosphere of fear and powerlessness prevailing today in Ukraine. … The film shows the truth that the Ukrainian authorities try so carefully to hide. …

“One of the arguments of the film’s critics, supporters of the Ukrainian authorities, is to hurl the words ‘homophoic, Stalinist, neo-Nazi collaborator’ at me. These ‘facts’ are taken from a fabricated and dirty article intended to blacken my name in the eyes of European citizens.”

Though these same charges were made and publicly refuted in Ukrainian and Russian-langugage media long before the release of Moreira’s documentary, they’ve been uncritically published by Western media attempting to undermine the film’s impact.

Albu noted: “Ukrainian propagandists have used another lie – that I urged people to take shelter in the House of Trade Union [on May 2, 2014], and therefore, I am guilty of their deaths. They aren’t bothered by the fact that even if this were true, the blame is not with those who tried to take refuge, but those who shot, beat and finished off injured people. …

“Despite all the difficulties, despite all the dirt poured on me by pro-regime agitators, despite the announcement that I am wanted by the Ukrainian authorities, despite pressure from the Ukrainian security services on my relatives – I will not stop the struggle for the liberation of my native city from the neo-Nazi gangs,” he concluded. 

Albu’s statement can be read at
Alexey Albu attempting to aid survivors of the Odessa Massacre on May 2, 2014 …
… and seriously injured afterward.

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