Yes, There Are Bad Guys in the Ukrainian Government
Vladimir Putin insists Russia invaded Crimea to protect the ethnic Russians who live in that southern Ukrainian territory. Ukraine, the Russian president contends, has come under the control of “neo-Nazis and Nazis and anti-Semites,” and the country’s Russian population is under threat. It is easy to dismiss Putin’s rhetoric — he is, after all, a serial fibber and fabricator who conflates gays and pedophiles and heads a state where Cossacks gas and whip punk rockers in broad daylight. But while Western governments and pundits are correct to dismiss Putin’s pretenses for invading Ukraine, they are wrong to presume his Ukrainian opponents are necessarily in the right. The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kiev’s current government — and the protesters who brought it to power — are, indeed, fascists. If Western governments hope to steer Ukraine clear from the most unsavory characters in Moscow and Kiev, they will need to wage a two-pronged diplomatic offensive: against Putin’s propaganda and, at the same time, against Ukraine’s resurgent far-right.