Ukraine: Italian anti-fascist activists at risk of prosecution

May 12, 2017
An Anti-Fascist Caravan delegation to the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in 2015.

It is official: solidarity and activism are, according to the Ukrainian government, criminal acts. It seems paradoxical, but it is true.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko has demanded the Italian government extradite members of the so-called Anti-Fascist Caravan (AFC), a group of activists who recently visited the separatist region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

The AFC is a solidarity network organised by Italian rock band Banda Bassotti, and involving representatives of many movements and groups from across Europe. Eleonora Forenza, a member of the European Parliament for the European United Left-Nordic Green Left, took part in the caravan.

The AFC’s aim is to promote peace and provide material assistance to the Donbass population, badly affected by the war with the Ukrainian government, by bringing essential goods such as food, clothes and medicines. It takes a large amount of creativity, to put it mildly, to define that kind of activity as a form of terrorism.

The Italian government, for its part, has tried to calm things down. It has reaffirmed its support for the Ukrainian government and Poroshenko, whose neo-fascist tendencies are no secret.

It seems absurd that the Italian government, rather than defending its citizens (including Italian representatives in the European parliament) or at least requesting evidence of the supposed terrorist activities, has declared itself neutral to avoid diplomatic tension.

Once again, the Italian government has glibly put aside one of the founding values of the Italian Republic — anti-fascism. Too often the Italian authorities turn a blind eye to examples of neo-fascism at a national and international level.

Its stance in relation to Ukraine’s request is nothing but a tacit agreement in favour of neo-fascist forces.

So, just because of power games, Eleonora Forenza, Banda Bassotti and 50 more Italian activists might go to prison for having demonstrated solidarity with the Donbass people.

Not only do the Ukrainian authorities consider showing sympathy to groups not aligned with the central government to be a form of terrorism, but, what is more, the European Union and United States are open allies of Poroshenko, who is accused (not without reason) of being a US-backed puppet by most of the left.

Once again Europe and the US are demonstrating their true nature, colluding with an anti-democratic government held by a reactionary tycoon.

Regardless of the outcome of this story, the most worrying thing is that a strong wave of anti-democratic and reactionary sentiments is currently sweeping much of Europe, and the European authorities not only seem unable to prevent it, but often endorse and tolerate it, just for political convenience.

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