Our Boys in Kiev

Prompted by this post, I became interested in the composition of the government the US has recently installed in Ukraine.  Below the fold is a table with all the cabinet officials and several non-cabinet officials who seem important.  The cells colored brown are Nazis (Svoboda party and Right Sector organization).  The cell colored light brown is Arsen Avakov who is not overtly a Nazi but who has promised to fill his ministry with Nazis.  Fatherland is the political party of Yulia Tymoshenko.  It is the main competitor to the Nazis in the west of the country.  The people without affiliations are mostly career bureaucrat types aligned with Yatsenyuk.

There are three interesting things about this table.  First, there are a lot of Nazis.  Second, the Nazis are disproportionately in ministries related to policing, prosecution, and defense.  That is, they have the guns.  Third, the people staffing the government are wildly disproportionately from the west of Ukraine.  There are a few guys from the east and center, but they are mostly Nazis.

I tried to find the ethnic and religious backgrounds of these people, but I had little luck.  Yatsenyuk is a Catholic of Jewish parentage.  Avakov is Armenian, but I know not of what faith background.  Most of the information is from Wikipedia, but I have made some fill-ins from other sources and attempts  to check some of what I found.  Entirely possible that there are errors, however, and I would greatly appreciate any catches readers might have.






Arseniy Yatsenyuk



First Vice Prime

Vitaly Yarema



Vice Prime

Oleksandr Sych



Vice Prime

V. Groysman




Pavlo Petrenko



Foreign Affairs

Andriy Deshchytsia




Oleksandr Shlapak



Social Policy

Lyudmyla Denisova




Oleh Musiy




Pavlo Sheremeta




Serhiy Kvit




Yevhen Nyshchuk




Ihor Tenyukh



Internal Affairs

Arsen Avakov




Ihor Shvaika




Yuriy Prodan




Andriy Mokhnyk




Maksym Burbak



Youth and Sports

Dmytro Bulatov



Cabinet of Ministers

Ostap Semerak



Sec Council Head

Andriy Parubiy



Sec Council Vice

Dmytro Yarosh

Right Sector


Attorney General

Oleg Makhnitsky



31 thoughts on “Our Boys in Kiev

  1. My reading of the situation: felipemonteirodecarvalho.blogspot.com/2014/03/russian-ukrainian-conflict.html

    I analyzed from a west vs Russia perspective, as I didn’t know anything about the new government before reading your post. You made me have a more positive view of the new Ukrainian government. My generally negative view of Ukraine is because I was there once and it was really poor, everything old and not taken care of, more blacks than in Poland, so it left me with a negative view.

    • They like to tear down statues of Lenin, but yet they also like to defend Lenin’s and Stalin’s communist borders of Ukraine? Because modern Ukraine was result of USSR internal policy.
      That’s really odd…
      Even so, this same Lenin promoted campaign of de-russification of Ukraine, same practice supported by Svoboda:


      Actually, Svoboda members are mostly from region of Galicia (West Ukraine), which was for most of the time part of Austria-Hungary or Poland. Historically, they lived outside Russian empire and they become part of USSR in 1940, thanks to Stalin. They are also rabidly anti-russian, although they had nothing to do with Russians for most parts of history. Their justification for anti-russian attitudes is mostly “Holodomor” in 30-es. However, during the Holodomor, Galicians (West Ukrainians) were Polish citizens. The greatest irony is that center of Holodomor was Harkov, populated mostly by Russians. So Galician extremists justify their russophobia through famine that mostly killed Russian and pro-Russian population of eastern and central Ukraine, while their ancestors were not even victims.

      West Ukrainians have no historic ties with rest of Ukraine, on contrary. Only exception is the time of Kievan Rus. They are different from rest of Ukraine both culturally and religiously. Actually, thanks to Stalin Galicians had for the first time Kiev as their capital. Before Russian revolution, Kiev was 80% Russian town, and today there almost no Russians there. During the Russian civil war, Kiev was center of White Russian nationalists, and most of modern Ukraine was stronghold of “Army of Southern Russia” by general Denikin. Due to bolshevik policy of Ukrainization, Lenin’s repression of “Greater Russian nationalism”, and promotion of regional Soviet “bantustans” (artificial nations), plus Holodomor, Russian factor was reduced to Southwestern part of Ukraine, which was before Bolsheviks called “New Russia”. Rest of Ukraine was called “Little Russia”. West Ukraine was not even part of all this.

      Now, before Russian revolution official language and language of culture, in what is now modern Ukraine was standard Russian. What is now called “Ukrainian” wes regional peasant dialect of Russian language, later politically declared as separate language. Language of Galicians is more remote, due to influence of Polish. Only few poets, like Taras Shevchenko wrote in this Malorussian dialect (now Ukrainian).

      Every nation has official language, and local dialects. For example, in Bavaria standard German is official language and cultural language, while locals mostly speak Bavarian, which is quite different from official German, and is more different from German, then Ukrainian is different from Russian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austro-Bavarian_language

      Also, in historic sense Bavaria was separate state, while Ukraine was not. Bavarians originate from separate Germanic tribes, then those in rest of Germany. Now imagine if Bavarians suddenly became independent again, and reject standard German. Imagine if Bavarians reject Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, Kant …etc. with some regional Bavarian peasant poets as basis of their culture. Imagine if Bavarians reject their German identity and culture and replace it with some local Bavarian peasant-talk as separate language from German. Lets even imagine, if Bavarians accuse Germans for “repression” of Bavarian, simply because German was official. Since Bavarian culture is German culture, we can see insanity of it. Or imagine if English people reject standard English and English literature, and replace it with Cockney dialect or Cockney culture as official. However, this cultural insanity is what is happened in Ukraine. With exception of most western chunk of Ukraine, culture of Ukraine is Russian culture. Since Ukrainian identity is identical with Russian, in order to create separate Ukrainian identity (which has no positive identity in itself) they must impose their identity as anti-Russian chauvinism. Even the term “Ukraine” is not an ethnonym, but roughly means “borderland” in most Slavic speech, which clearly demonstrates artificial nature of this nation. Russian writer Bulgakov (born in Kiev) explained this process of artificial nation making in his “White Guard” novel, during Russian civil war.

      Galicians are main engine of Ukrainian nationalism, since they are former East-Orthodox population of Kievan Rus, and under Polish influence they adopted union with Pope, but remained under Byzantine rite (Greek Catholics). Poles failed to absorb them, so in the end we have people who are neither Roman Catholics, nor Orthodox, who lost their Russian roots long time ago, but failed to became Poles. As a result. they adopted separate ethnic identity (Ukrainian), through negation of neighboring nations of Russia and Poland. Lets not forget that first target of Galician Ukrainians were Roman Catholic Poles, which were massacred during WW2. Center of Ukrainian nationalism – Lavov, was almost purely Polish before WW2, since Galicians lived in countryside. Also Stalin cleansed the remaining Poles, thus helping the Galician Ukrainian, who now hypocritically pose as greatest victims of Stalin, and even use Stalin as justification of their Russo-phobia.


      The greatest irony is that Rurik dynasty, which founded Kievan Rus, fled to the north after Tatar destruction of Kievan Rus state, and they became rulers of Muscovite state, that later became Tsardom of Russia, which eventually became Russian Empire. That’s because capital of Russia changed from Kiev, to Novgorod and later to Moscow. First tsar of Russia was Ivan IV, himself of Rurik dynasty:


      Rurikids were replaced by Romanovs, after the time of turbulence.

      So when Ukrainian nationalists scream against “Moskals” that’s almost ironical, since state of Russia is continuation of Kievan Rus.

      • Note: The Kingdom of Rus’ (Galicia–Volhynia) has as much a claim to being the successor to Kievan Rus as Vladimir-Suzdal (later Muscovy). Rus’ was aligned with Hungary while Vladimir/Muscovy was a vassal to the Golden Horde for centuries.

    • Svoboda seems like they are nationalist and anti-communist and have made efforts to purge the party of neo-Nazis:

      Here is a picture of the Svoboda party’s highest official, Oleksandr Sych:

      Oleksadr Sych Roman Salute

      Svoboda has dropped the whole “kill Jews and Russians” in favor of “kill Russians” very recently. Corresponding to the time at which it apparently started getting lots of funding from Ukrainian Jewish oligarchs and US foreign policy Jews. The claim that this represents some kind of fundamental change of heart is a little hard to believe.

    • That’s kind of a big question. I would say that Naziism is a disordered extreme nationalism. Disordered extreme nationalisms feature beliefs that their subject nationality is not merely worthy of defending but superior and that other nationalities, their language, their cultures, and sometimes their people are not worthy of existence and should be eradicated. They also feature the lionization of violence and the use of totalitarian methods to eradicate rival national cultures and/or people. Naziism is the specifically German flavor of this kind of disordered nationalism.

      It looks to me as if the people I am calling Nazis in Ukraine fit the broader definition of disordered extreme nationalists. Their rhetoric fits the pattern, and their first act in power, for example, was to outlaw the Russian language in government and schooling.

      One could object to calling them Nazis on several grounds. First, they are not German nationalists. Second, they lack the Nazis vicious hatred of all Christianity. The first objection strikes me as inane. Words in natural language are not like symbols in math: their definition in use often expands in a “things like” direction. And, it’s clear enough that the Ukrainians I’m objecting to agree with me here—they have consciously appropriated Nazi imagery, said nice things about the Nazis, and etc. As to the second objection, the Nazis viewed something like Norse Paganism as the national religion of Germany. They hated Christianity because, first, it was not Norse Paganism, second, because it had destroyed paganism, and, third, because it was against them politically. Thus, I view anti-Christianity as a per accidens (though recurrent and very bad) feature of Naziism. Svoboda/Right Sector have this religiously tinged nationalism as well. It works itself out as favoring Catholicism over Orthodoxy. This favoritism doesn’t seem to come from a belief that Catholicism is right as much as from a belief that Catholicism is Ukrainian as against Judaism and Orthodoxy which are not.

      I don’t speak or read Russian, so it’s always possible that I’ve got it wrong. But I don’t think so.

      • > It looks to me as if the people I am calling Nazis in Ukraine fit the broader
        > definition of disordered extreme nationalists. Their rhetoric fits the pattern,
        > and their first act in power, for example, was to outlaw the Russian language
        > in government and schooling.

        While I disagree with their language policy, a nationalistic approach to language not at all exclusive of the far right, it is in fact something very, very common. France did the same in exterminanting Occitan. Lithuania is fighting against rights for the polish minority to use their language in schools and street signs, etc, etc, etc.

        So no, doing that doesn’t make anyone a Nazi, unless you think that France has been governed by nazis since the french revolution.

        > One could object to calling them Nazis on several grounds.

        The ground is that they are not Nazis, and nazi is nowadays a derrogatory term to denote right-wingers. Just call them what they actually are: Fascists. That’s the correct term, end of story. I see no reason to use nazi instead unless to pay homage to the left-wing political correctness as a good dhimmi.

        > Words in natural language are not like symbols in math: their definition
        > in use often expands in a “things like” direction.

        Come on, with the same argument I could just call every left-winger a communist, regardless of the correct classification of his leftism. We all know that reductio ad hitlerum is left-wing political correct language, so I’d not use it. Funny to note that libertarians use a combination of reductio ad socialism + reductio ad hitlerum.

        > said nice things about the Nazis, and etc.

        Didn’t the iranian president do that too?

        > They hated Christianity because, first, it was not Norse Paganism,
        > second, because it had destroyed paganism, and, third,
        > because it was against them politically.

        false, false and mostly false for your 3 statements. Hitler didn’t like Christianism because of the peace&love thing. He was not a neopagan, nor did he care about the destruction of paganism and the anti-christian position was not a majority in the nazi party. And many christians supported nazism.

        > Svoboda/Right Sector have this religiously tinged nationalism as well.

        The same could be said to nearly all islamic countries, budhists in Mianmar and Sri Lanka, etc, etc, etc.

      • To Felipe: There were a lot of commonalities between the Jacobins and the Nazis, namely nationalism, which has always been a left wing Ideology. Also, most leftists don’t wear Communist symbols while advocating Communist policies in their own countries and if they did I would agree that they should be called communists.

      • Felipe, I’m not really sure what your point is or what your argument is for whatever your point is. Perhaps this is your point:

        The ground is that they are not Nazis,

        But there is not an argument directed at that point in your comment.

      • > Felipe, I’m not really sure what your point is or what your
        > argument is for whatever your point is. Perhaps this is your point:

        I was not trying to make any point, I was just pointing out errors in your arguments.

  2. Hi Bill,

    Let me propose a simpler definition: a Nazi is someone who thinks he’s a Nazi. If you were to march up to a Svoboda supporter and ask him if his party is a Nazi party, what do you think he would say?

    Now, this definition itself is also inadequate. It only identifies self-conscious groups, not actual ideologies. If we believe, as I do, that ideologies can be objectively identified in a sort of Platonic realm, then we must admit the possibility that one may think one is a Nazi but be in error, in that one doesn’t actually adhere to the ideology of Nazism. You and I would both probably say that this is what has actually happened with most people nowadays who call themselves conservatives.

    However, one must understand the region of ideological space in question very well to be able to make such judgements about other peoples’ beliefs. Thus, I disagree with the thesis of the Orthosphere article a while back in which JMSmith basically identifies everyone he doesn’t like as a “Puritan”. I don’t think his description of “puritanism” is nearly clear enough to override the basic fact that none of these people think their beliefs are puritan or puritan-descended. I’ve also disagreed with Alan Roebuck’s claim that Mormons are not Christian, despite their protestations to the contrary. I give people a very strong benefit of doubt in characterizing themselves. I just do think I know conservatism well enough to say that what you describe in your article on CPAC is not remotely related to it.

    So I’m very interested in whether these people think of themselves as Nazis. Does anybody know?

    • The group Right Sector openly wears Waffen SS Symbols and when the BBC asked one of its members what his political beliefs were he answered “nationalist socialism.” He also said that many others in the group had the same views but not all of them. So at least some of the Maidan folks think of themselves as Nazis.

    • If we go with your definition, then I don’t really see anything much to analyze. Obviously, they see themselves as Nazis, or at least as the Ukrainian version of Nazis. They’ve got swastika-like armbands, swastika tattoos, Roman salutes, and various other Nazi imagery all over the place. They didn’t particularly bother to hide any of this before March. You just have to google. The imagery is the claim “I am a Nazi.”

  3. I have read some of the early Ukrainian nationalists back during WWII. They were mainly hateful towards Russians, Germans, Poles, and Gypsies. They were mostly indifferent towards the Jews and were willing to leave them be if they were neither harmful or beneficial for Ukraine, help them if they were beneficial for Ukraine, or kill them if they were harmful.

    Is this true for the modern Ukrainian nationalist movement?

  4. “This favoritism doesn’t seem to come from a belief that Catholicism is right as much as from a belief that Catholicism is Ukrainian as against Judaism and Orthodoxy which are not.”

    One question. If they are anti-semites are they religious anti-semites or racial/biological anti-semites? As in, is a Catholic Jew fine?

    For that matter, are they cultural russophobes or racial russophobes? If a Russian converts to Catholicism and assimilates to Ukrainian culture is he fine? Or is he to be killed too?

    • I can share my perspective. Full disclosure: I am a Russian-speaking, culturally Russian, ethnically Jewish, Christian Ukrainian, born in brought up in the Russian part of the Ukraine, now living in the West My perspective is just mine. I don’t pretend to speak for others. The way I see it, this is not so much an ethnic but rather a cultural conflict. Many Russians and Ukrainians are intermarried. In addition, there are West Ukrainians and East Ukrainians, who have somewhat different histories, different last names, and who, some people say, even differ in looks. They speak different dialects of Ukrainian. The official Ukrainian is closer to the Western dialect and closer to Polish. The East Ukrainian is called “surzhik.” It is not officially recognized as a legitimate language in itself and is considered a “peasant dialect.” Even this is a simplification. There is rather a gradual shading of dialects from the West to the East. East Ukraine and South Ukraine are mostly Russian speaking. Central Ukraine is mixed. Many people in the cities of Central Ukraine speak Russian, but people in villages speak surzhik, although some also speak Russian. From what I understand, many Russian-speaking East Ukrainians, especially those born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, are switching from Russian to Ukrainian these days, even though their families have been speaking Russian for a couple of generations. They are doing it “to get back to the roots.” And many other Russian-speaking East Ukrainians, who haven’t switched to Ukrainian, support, nonetheless, the ukrainization of Ukraine because, as ethnic Ukrainians, they identify with the nationalist sentiment. But at the same time, many ethnic East Ukrainians strongly oppose the ukrainization and want either independence or to re-join Russia. In general, people from the east and south of Ukraine identify with the Russian culture, and people from the west identify with the Ukrainian culture. People from the center are mixed. My point is simply to point out how complicated things are, even though I have simplified them. So, to sum up, I would say, this is about the Russian vs Ukrainian cultural identity, and in some cases, the Eastern (Russia as a political and historical entity) vs Western (Europe) cultural identity, and ethnicity so much or even language (although language is a very big part of it, just not 100%).

      As for antisemitism, my feeling is that antisemitism these days is mostly racial and not religious.

  5. East Ukrainian last names usually end in -ko. I see only one name ending with -ko. There are a couple of Russian names (-ov, -ova), but not Avakov, who is Armenian (you can tell by the root: Avak- doesn’t sound Russian), and one Jewish name (Groysman). The rest of the names look West Ukrainian to me. Well, obviously, the last name doesn’t tell the whole story, just that of one paternal ancestor.

    • That is one interesting thing about the Kiev junta, no? It was put there by Jewish money: from Ukraine’s Jewish oligarchs and America’s foreign policy Jews. Yet, it is dominated by Nazis. Apparently, they were the only local source of muscle. As I mention in the post, I have not been able to find ethnic/religious background for most of the cabinet (thanks for the tip on Groysman).

      I suppose that the plan (on the part of the oligarchs and US State Department) is eventually to ease the Nazis out of government. In fact, this has to be the plan, since they don’t want to be part of the EU or NATO, being extreme nationalists and all. How that is going to work, given that they have the guns, is another question. And it’s not just that they have the guns, there have been a spate of stories recently about tens of thousands of these guys being freshly armed, trained, and formed into paramilitary-sounding units. So, they are growing in capability. Obviously, a Western military could sweep them aside at will, but is that the plan?

      I’m also interested that the half-Russian, half-Jewish Yulia Tymoshenko ran out of the country almost instantly upon being released from jail and has not been back since. She is seeking treatment in Germany for back pain, the press says.

      • I have never seen any proof or even a credible intimation that Timoshenko is half-Jewish. Can you cite your sources? She doesn’t look Jewish to me.

  6. Spengler (David P. Goldman) has been writing about Russia for years now and suggests its actions are basically the playing-out of an existential crisis — Putin is trying (with some success) to reverse Russia’s demographic death-spiral, a strategy which, if it is to work, necessitates its reclaiming the 22 million or so ethnic Russians seeded throughout the satellite states by the Soviet Union and then stranded there after its collapse. The implications are that (a) Crimea’s the beginning, not the end, and (b) Russia is willing to fight a lot harder for these things than we are. Any thoughts?

    • That makes some sense to me. Putin clearly cares about Russian total fertility rate, and he has had some success at raising it. It will be interesting to see what happens in eastern and southern Ukraine in the next few weeks and months if the US does not back down.

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