03.08.2004 | "Kyiv Post"
FOREIGNERS MUST KEEP OUT OF OUR POLITICS
The right-wing political party Bratstvo ("Brotherhood" in Ukrainian) has a mere several hundred members, but has mode a lot of noise recently, supportingthe war in Iraq, agatating for a Ukraine-Belarus gas UNI0N, and pelting U.S. philanthropist George Soros with mayonnaise during his recent Kyiv visit.
Dmytro Korchynsky, the party's leader, led the radical nationalist UNA-UNSO party until 1997, and is now a TV host and "professional provocateur" who has become know for lambasting the opposition on 1+1's "Prote" program.
Korchynsky was interviewed at Bratstvo's offices in Kypv by Valentyna Kolesnyk on April 29.
What role Bratstvo play in Ukrainian politics?
We occupy a niche where we have no competitors. First of all, Bratstvo is engaged in anti-bureaucratic activities, and exercises civic pressure on our authorities in the forms that are customary in the West and the U.S. In Kyiv, Bratstvo has established itself as the city's main strike committee.
Exept for ourselves, no Ukrainian organization seriously deals with organizing street actions. What we have now in Ukrainian politics are cabinet brawls and intrigues. And until we stir the street to greater activity, we won't have a real opposition or real politics.
You once said that true opposition is based either on big money or on violence. What do you base Bratstvo on?
Well, the word "opposition" is so devalued now and has so many meanings that I don't call Bratstvo "the opposition" any more.
We established Bratstvo as a legal organization, one that won't use violence. All that filthy job was done long ago by the Bolsheviks. They scared our people so much that there's no need to do it any more. We can archive our goals through peaceful means, through civic disobediance and protest. Civic society grows out of the tempestuous masses.
Who supports you financially?
All Bratstvo members give a tenth part (of their income) to the organization.
Your first big action was a "crusade to Brussels", which started on April 28. What's the goal?
To remind Europe that it owes us a lot. Millions of Ukrainians died to liberate Europe from fascism. We liquidated nuclear weapons and other weapons voluntarily; we closed Chornobyl and got nothing. Europe responds with base ingratitude to us. With this action we are going to remind Europeans that they have obligations to us...
Look at our brothers, the Jews; they managed to develop in Europeans a guilt complex after the war and take fair advantage of that. But Europe owes Ukrainians even more.
So with this action we're demanding an open border with the EU, cancellation of the visa regime and a general indemnification of Ukraine for losses.
Should Ukraine strive to become a full EU member?
I don't think so. Ukraine can play a bigger role. Membership in the EU is a refusal of a big part of sovereignty... We are a young country and we should be ambitious.
Since in the CES Ukraine will never realize its ambitions, the man goal of our foreign policy should be to achieve a Ukranian-Belarusian gas and transport UNI0N... It would bring Ukraine more money by monopolizing the export of Russian gas, which would go through the UNI0N, and contrjlling transit prices. Now Russia manipulates both countries; if it does not like Ukraine's behavior , it can send gas through Belarus and vice versa. We should make both Russian exporters and European consumers dependent.
Now Europe doesn't perceive us a serious player. They see that Ukrainians can't pose any danger like, say, the Albanians. If interest is lost, money is lost too.
Bratstvo has been critical about U.S. foreign policy, but you approved of the war in Iraq.
Yes, we did criticize U.S. foreign policy in general say, its military campaign in Yugoslavia. But we think it was the right decision on the U.S.'s part to start the Iraq war. It corresponds with Bratstvo's aim of resisting Islam...
However, we think U.S. policy in Iraq isn't effective now. The coalition is too afraid to offend the local people... I visited Basra. It's the second largest city in Iraq. I visited their internal ministry's local department. It's a small three-storey building, and their jail has only eight cells. That was enough for Saddam Hussepn to keep the whole region obedient. The coalition is much stronger than Saddam, but cannot put Iraq in order.
Practically, Americans face clan warfare in Iraq, and they should respond in the same way. They should announce a tender among those who would be able to control the Iraqi territories and give those lands away as feudal possession. Belive me, there would be a long line of interested parties, including Bratstvo.
Why did Bratstvo treat George Soros so disrespectfully? Why did your guys douse Soros and not Richard Armitage or Steven Pifer?
Well, not many people know Pifer or Armitage, but everyone knows Soros. That's why it's interesting to douse him. Seriously, we acted against him because we're a patriotic organization and we shouldn't let foreigners influence Ukrainian politics. And he's the one who tries to do that, and in such a demonstrative way. We didn't see that Soros had enough respect for Ukraine, and that's not good.
But note that we didn't troww acid him, because we are a peaceful organization and we acted in a civilized way. Someone finally had to do this to Soros. We did, and got greetings from our brothers-in-arms from Europe and the U.S.
What are the sore spots todey in Ukraine that draw your attention?
The Crimean conflicts are alarming. We are now organizing Bratstvo's branch there in order to take part in all Crimean events. What's going on there is the result of outside influence. Whereas the Mejlis (the Crimean Tatar preParliament) is supported by the West and our friend Soros in particular, the extremist elements are fed by some Islamic centers. We don't like that Mejlis members claim their goal is creating a Crimean-Tatar state, and that some of them call Ukrainian authorities "occopationist". I think these people are provoked by our weakness. The Ukrainian goverment should pursue a much stricter policy in Crimea and show who's master there. The Crimea is Ukraine's land.
Bratstvo says a strong national leader is needed. Who of today's politicians could that be?
None. Real leaders are born in strikes, street demonstrations and fights. They cannot develop from lobby intrigues... A man should first live through real trials before he becomes the nation's leader.
What about Viktor Yanukovich, who did undergo real trials?
(Pause) Well, our top politicians are all good boys and girls, but aren't the ones to rule the country.
Would you be able to rule the country?
Yes, I would... And I am going to.
What's your power as a leader?
My power is that I have little personal ambition. I can follow Chesterton's saying: I've never treated myself seriously, but I treated my beliefs seriously.
Do your performances on "Prote" reflect your serious beliefs?
Inasmuch as they're a matter of creativity for me. Before "Prote", Ukrainian journalism had never reached such a level of political polemic... It's a sample, at least a literary one, of high-quality polemic.
Why does this polemic aim so much the opposition leaders, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko?
Well, we aim at others as well... But Yushchenko is the most dangerous, because he's the biggest Ukrainian illusion. We think illusion need to be destroyed... When the authorities say "Don't go out in the streets, go and vote for the opposition leader - see what a nice Yushchenko we offer you", they manipulate people. And we say that whether you vote or not, nothing will change. The only way out is to change things on the spot - to organize strikes, to take part in street actions and thus become a civil society.
May 9, 2006