Azov and Ukrainian Security Service (SBU)
Seize Progressive Socialists’ Office
|Watch the video (in Russian)|
Nov. 1, 2016—The Schiller Institute has received an e-mail from Kiev, reporting on the seizure and occupation, by government security forces, of the offices of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU). The raid occurred on Friday, October 28. The statement below was issued by the PSPU Press Service today.
“Azov” refers to the Azov Battalion, an armed formation rooted in the fascist Right Sector movement, which was instrumental in the violent coup of February 2014, in which Ukraine’s elected President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown. This year, Azov registered itself as a political party, called the National Corps.
Dr. Natalia Vitrenko, the economist who leads the PSPU, has warned since the early 1990s that the brutal economic policies demanded by the International Monetary Fund would set the stage for political chaos and a fascist movement in Ukraine. She was a Presidential candidate in 1999, running at over 30 percent in public opinion polls before her campaign was thrown into disarray by an assassination attempt. Her party this year has been physically attacked by Right Sector toughs and is facing government attempts to deregister it.
Background information and Dr. Vitrenko’s speeches in English are available via the links shown at the end of this release.
PSPU Press Department Statement
The Ukrainian government’s political terror machine is moving to crush any free thinking, any small shoots of independent opinion, and any evaluations of current events, made on their own by political parties, public organizations, journalists or writers.
Hiding behind the cover of slogans about European values, democracy and the rule of law, in reality the institutions of state power in Ukraine are acting through law enforcement agencies and neo-Nazi battalions, to carry out a systematic mop-up of any dissidence.
The struggle of the Euromaidan government against the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) and its leader, Natalia Vitrenko, is a challenge to the world community.
On 28 October 2016 a group of individuals, including fighters from Azov, broke down the entrance door and seized the premises of Siver Ukraina LLC. Since 2005 among the tenants of this building has been the PSPU, as well as the editorial offices of the PSPU newspaper Dosvitni ogni (Light before Dawn), and later the public organizations Dar zhizni (Gift of Life), the Eurasian People’s Union, and the Assembly of Orthodox Women of Ukraine.
Siver Ukraina LLC obtained ownership of these premises in 2003 and has not been legally deprived of these rights in the intervening years. Neither has any party contested or dissolved the leases contracted with the aforementioned tenants.
Nonetheless, carrying out a political order to act against the PSPU, which has a unique status as a party in opposition to current domestic and foreign policy, and against its leader, Natalia Vitrenko, the police essentially allowed these premises to be seized and handed over to the SBU for an illegal search. This marks the beginning of a new phase of political terror against the PSPU.
“Ukrainian patriots expose EU support for neo-Nazi coup”, 7 March 2014
“Let us end this nightmare, and turn to building things”, speech by Natalia Vitrenko to Citizens Electoral Council of Australia International Conference, March 2015
“Facing terror under a Kiev regime”, 24 April 2015
“A report on the state of Ukraine”, 24 February 2016
“Neo-Nazi thugs attack Vitrenko’s Kiev demonstration”, 23 March 2016
The Original text of the following letter in Russian and Ukrainian is on the PSPU website: http://www.vitrenko.org/article/33107.
To President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yu. Lutsenko
Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine V. Hrytsak
Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine A. Avakov
Human Rights Ombudsmen of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine V. Lutkovska
Chairman of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine Committee on Human Rights,
National Minorities and Ethnic Relations H. Nemyria
Representative office of the OSCE in Ukraine
Representative office of the European Union in Ukraine
Embassy of the United States of America in Ukraine
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ukraine
Embassy of France in Ukraine
Embassy of Italy in Ukraine
Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ukraine
Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Ukraine
Embassy of Israel in Ukraine
Stop the Political Terror, Defend the Right to Life
of Leaders of a Ukrainian Opposition Party!
from Chairman of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine Natalia Vitrenko
2 November 2016
I am compelled to ask you to defend the political rights of members of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU), which have been grossly violated, and to seek a halt to actions impeding the lawful activity of our party.
On 28 October 2016 at 16:30, a group of unknown persons, among whom were fighters of the Azov Battalion under the direction of A.E. Shatilin, forcibly seized the premises located at 3/7 Podgornaya/Tatarskaya St., Kyiv, which legally belong to Siver Ukraina LLC. These property rights were established by decision #18/519 of the Kyiv Commercial Court, dated 22 July 2003, and have not been revoked by any party up through the present time.
Since 2005 the PSPU has rented a part of the premises at the aforementioned address from Siver Ukraina LLC on the basis of a lease contract. In full compliance with the law and the lease contract, the PSPU makes the required payments. The contractual relations between the PSPU and Siver Ukraina LLC have not been revoked by any party.
The PSPU kept its party documents, including the originals of the Charter and Program of the PSPU, proceedings of its congresses, plenary sessions of its Central Committee, and sessions of the Presidium of its Central Committee, as well as the party archives, emblems and literature, in these rented premises. The party papers included the registration documents of the local, district and regional party organizations; the personal data of the local and central party leadership; originals and copies of numerous court rulings made during the 20 years in which the PSPU has been active; a large quantity of photo and video material from throughout the years in which the party has existed; computer and duplicating equipment; cameras and video recorders; household appliances; and personal property belonging to me, the chairman of the PSPU and a People’s Deputy of Ukraine in two convocations, to V. Marchenko, deputy chairman of the PSPU and a People’s Deputy of Ukraine in three convocations, and to several other party members. In addition, the rented premises housed our unique historical, legal, economic, political, sociological and statistics library; records related to meetings with citizens on personal issues; my scientific and analytical working papers (as a professional economist, a doctor of economics); and papers belonging to the editor-in-chief of the PSPU newspaper Dosvitni ogni, which are needed by V. Marchenko for his work as a journalist.
I note that neither the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] nor the MVD [Internal Affairs Ministry] has made any claims of crimes against myself or V. Marchenko and has not initiated proceedings on such matters.
In the absence of a court decision authorizing eviction from the premises and in the absence of any officer of a court, what occurred on Friday, 28 October 2016 was a forcible seizure of the entire premises owned by Siver Ukraina LLC, including the premises rented by the PSPU. That is, there took place in addition an illegal seizure of the property, documents, equipment, literature and emblems of the PSPU.
A.E. Shatilin stated on Saturday, 29 October 2016 that the SBU had conducted a search in the Siver Ukrainia LLC premises, including the PSPU premises, and had removed two busloads of property, documents, literature, computer equipment, and so forth, which were essentially stolen from us. No warrants for the search and seizure of documents or party and personal property have been presented either to the owner of the premises, Siver Ukraina LLC, or to me as chairman of the PSPU.
I emphasize that on Friday, 28 October 2016, when the forcible seizure of our premises was carried out, I personally demanded of police officers and of investigator D. Soroka that they ensure the security and safe-keeping of our party property, documents, literature and equipment, as well as the personal possessions of the PSPU’s leaders and members. That is, to prevent outside parties from entering the premises rented by us. My demand was ignored, and the law enforcement agencies did not defend our rights.
On Monday, 31 October 2016, I personally, V. Marchenko, and representatives of other renters were barred from entering our places of work. We were compelled again to summon the police from the Shevchenko District of Kyiv, who recorded this instance of violation of the law.
I believe that the illegal seizure of the Siver Ukraina LLC premises and the entry into the premises leased by the PSPU were committed for the purpose of impeding the political activity of the PSPU, an opposition party, and of fishing for spurious grounds on which to ban our party, launch criminal prosecutions of myself and V. Marchenko as leaders of the party, and intimidate members of the PSPU and of society as a whole.
This political action is aimed at suppressing the freedom of speech and the freedom of thought and beliefs, and at legalizing dictatorial forms of combating the opposition. The harassment of the PSPU and the unlawful inaction of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are particularly distinguished by the circumstances not only that the PSPU on reasonable ground criticizes the government’s socioeconomic and foreign policy, but also that our party takes an anti-fascist position and openly, providing evidence and invoking the norms and principles of international law, publicizes the collaboration of members of the OUN-UPA [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army] with Nazi Germany and exposes their crimes during the occupation of Ukraine by Hitler’s forces.
The inaction of the law enforcement agencies and the free hand allowed to the Azov fighters portend, in addition to a political crackdown on the PSPU, the threat of physical elimination of myself, V. Marchenko, and core PSPU activists.
Please give your urgent attention to this appeal, and defend the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine against discrimination and unlawful infringements on the part of agencies of state power and of radical guerrillas; I ask you, as well, to ensure the right of the citizens of Ukraine to take part in the lawful activity of the PSPU on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties of Ukraine,” and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. I ask you to ensure the personal security of myself, V. Marchenko and members of the PSPU.
Chairman of the PSPU Natalia Vitrenko