Growing Concern in Israel as Tymoshenko's Party Forms Electoral Alliance with the National Socialist Svoboda All-Ukrainian Union in Ukraine

Oct 26, 2012, 10:07 ET from Jewish Ukraine Monitor

KYIV, Ukraine, October 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

The Opposition Party in Ukraine headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been harshly criticized by a leading Israeli politician for teaming up with the Svoboda All-Ukrainian Union.

According to the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Svoboda is a fascist party, and its full name - the Social-National Party of Ukraine - was chosen in association with the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP).

Alex Miller, head of the Israel-Ukraine inter-parliamentary association, and a member of the Knesset for the Israel is Our Home Party, has said he cannot understand why the Ukrainian opposition led by Tymoshenko signed a coalition agreement last week with the party.

Svoboda, which was formed as a Nationalist Socialist Party by Oleh Tiahnybok, has also been repeatedly criticized by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.

Miller noted that Tiahnybok was known for making insulting remarks about Jews, such as his widely publicized comment that "Ukraine was occupied by the Jews, rather than the Germans."

"I cannot imagine how opposition political parties in Ukraine, who describe themselves as being democratic, could sign an agreement with such personalities. Israel and Ukraine have in recent years established great relations, and tourism and trade are growing. If politicians like Tiahnybok come to power, they can start putting a spoke in our wheel and stop the expansion of ties between the two countries," Miller told the portal IzRus.

The Batkivschyna, or Fatherland party of Tymoshenko, who is serving a prison sentence after being convicted last year on abuse of office charges, signed an electoral alliance to join forces with Svoboda in this Sunday's parliamentary elections.

"I cannot understand why the leaders of Ukraine's Batkivschyna United Opposition decided to sign an agreement on the creation after the parliamentary elections on October 28 of a coalition with Oleh Tiahnybok, the head of the Svoboda Party," Miller said.

"I and my colleagues in Israel are concerned that for the first time, a similar party, which openly defends far-right chauvinistic positions, might not only be represented in parliament, but also join the government of a country friendly to us," he added.

The agreement between Batkivschyna and Svoboda was signed on October 19.

SOURCE Jewish Ukraine Monitor