Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dugin accused of "terrorism"

Alexander Dugin's Union of Eurasian Youth (Евразийский Союз Молодежи, ESM) has been accused of three acts of terrorism directed against the Ukrainian government in recent weeks.

The immediate context for this is a worsening of relations between Russia and Ukraine after Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko decided in mid October to elevate the members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, active during the Second World War against both German and Soviet forces, to the status of national heroes.

  • On October 18, ESM activists climbed Mount Hoverla in the Carpathians. Mount Hoverla is Ukraine's highest mountain, and a national symbol. The ESM activists destroyed some Ukrainian monuments, unfurled the Eurasian flag, and renamed the mountain "Mount Stalin." See photos.

  • On October 30, the ESM launched attacks against the website of the Ukrainian president.

  • On November 2, the Ukrainian security service (SBU) seized explosives from a left-luggage office at Simferopol railway station. According to the SBU, ESM activists intended to use the explosives on November 4, Russia's Day of National Unity.
These ESM accepted responsibility for the first two of these "actions," and has not yet commented on the third.

The first action was described as vandalism. The second might be called either vandalism or cyberwarfare (see "Estonia and Russia: A cyber-riot," The Economist, May 10th 2007). The third, because of the presence of explosives, would probably be called terrorism.

In fact, from the perspective of terrorist theory, the distinction between vandalism and terrorism is relatively unimportant. The political objectives of the use of violence are the same, whatever the type of violence, and whether the violence is used against property or persons. Blowing people up, of course, involves playing for higher stakes than climbing mountains.

It is not known whether or not the ESM was intending to use explosives against persons, but the violence of its "actions" may be increasing and tending in that direction.
  • Escalation from vandalism against property to attacks on persons is a pattern familiar to terrorism analysts. The Baader-Meinhof gang started off by attacking a department store, for example.
  • Fully-fledged terrorist groups have been inspired by Traditionalism before, in Italy in the 1970s.


Anton Shekhovtsov said...

>> It is not known whether or
>> not the ESM was intending
>> to use explosives against
>> persons

The ESM has nothing to do with the explosives. Someone - either the Ukrainian security service or the Ukrainian nationalists - was trying to cross the ESM activists up.

Mark Sedgwick said...

I don't know Anton's sources of information, but what he says is of course quite possible.

It should also be noted that "actions" by the ESM have previously generally been carefully planned to stay on the "right" side of a line. If I remember correctly (I haven't checked) the NBP invented "velvet terror"--throwing flowers, for example--after Dugin's departure, but the Ukrainian ESM had its own version--for example, throwing rotten oranges as the Orange "revolutionaries." Humor rather than blood...

Anton Shekhovtsov said...

The ESM is a Lilliputian organization, and in Ukraine there are only five or so members of the Ukrainian ESM. They tend to be violent though only in their language ("verbal extremism"), thus resolving to symbolic - and rather bad taste - politics.
If Dr.Sedgwick can read Russian, then this link should be useful: This information was published a few days before the Ukrainian security service stated their suspicions regarding the explosives.

Unknown said...

An important difference between the "terrorism" described here and the terrorism of the Baader-Meinhoff Gruppe and the Italians would be that this is clearly taking place in an international context.

Concerning the explosives' find, since both the post and Anton's comment lack sources, it is anyone's guess really what it means. On the basis of what I know now, I would sooner believe Anton's version than that the ESM were plotting to use explosives against persons.

Mark Sedgwick said...

I will update the main post.

Anton Shekhovtsov said...

The father of the main ESM activist in the Crimea (Konstantin Knyrik) is a local council deputy and a member of the biggest party in Ukraine, Party of Regions, which won the 2007 Parliamentary elections. It is VERY unlikely that his son would 'entertain' with the exlosives or any other REAL terror instruments.