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Moderate opposition losing control over Kiev protests?

Published time: January 22, 2014 04:20

Pro-European integration protesters carry Molotov cocktails during clashes with police in Kiev January 20, 2014.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

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Ukraine’s rioters are criminal gangs that are creating chaos in Kiev, political commentator Alexandr Nekrassov told RT. The violent protesters are extremists that are not part of the opposition or the government, but instead are guided by outsiders.

RT:We've just heard about the vigilante justice going on in Kiev now. How much in control is the mob at this point?

Alexandr Nekrassov: All the signs are pointing to chaos emerging in Kiev. What is more worrying is that so-called nationalists, basically extremists, are trying to create even more chaos and more mess. Nationalism across the whole of the European Union is actually considered to be too radical and some people even say that it is a form of racism. And it is a bit rich for some of the Western commentators and even officials to start claiming that nationalism in Ukraine is actually a healthy thing...what we are witnessing in Kiev is that these are extremists, basally semi-terrorists. What is even more worrying is that they are behaving in a very organized way, as if they were training beforehand or guided by somebody.

RT: Who are these people? Are they part of the opposition? Are they part of that group that first started protesting against the government after the trade act was not signed? Or is this another group with their own agenda?

AN: Just judging by the situation we already saw, such as Vitaly Klitschko trying to calm down these people, we might assume that the moderate opposition is itself worried now that the situation is getting out of control. How can anybody say that these people are protesting against the government’s decision not to join the EU after we see them attacking police with Molotov cocktails and bricks and so on? And basically breaking all the rules of civil society. To [this] extent these are criminal gangs.

Some people are saying that these anti-rally laws are strict and tough and anti-democratic. But I don’t know what would happen in Britain or in France or in Germany if they had such levels of violence and their demonstrators, for example, would have taken over a government building.

When there were some protests in London like the student protests or the Countryside Alliance, the police were very heavy-handed.

RT: How much control do you think the leaders of the opposition have over the people on the streets?

AN: They don’t have enough control over some of these groups. Looking at the violence, you would think that these groups have nothing to do with the opposition or pro-government groups. They are just on their own, guided by somebody from the outside as it looks.

The most important thing to point out is that some of the officials from the West created this situation where we are talking about people protesting against Ukraine getting closer to Russia, or protesting against the Ukrainian government moving closer to Russia, while ignoring Europe. But, at the same time, they forget one thing - this is a social civil conflict in a sense that these people want their lives to get better. And to radicalize them to such an extent, as some officials do in the West, I think that creates the problem where any discussion which is needed is very difficult to hold.