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08KYIV2441, UKRAINE’S SKINHEAD SUBCULTURE

December 12, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV2441 2008-12-12 18:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO5172
PP RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKV #2441/01 3471835
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121835Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6920
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 002441 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PREL SOCI UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE'S SKINHEAD SUBCULTURE 
 
REF: A. KYIV 2243 
     B. KYIV 2262 
 
(U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Please handle accordingly. 
Not for Internet. 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (SBU) Ukrainian skinheads congregate in small and poorly 
organized groups in a number of larger cities.  They tend to 
be divided on thematic lines, such as neo-Nazis, 
anti-fascists, and football hooligans.  Some are involved in 
hate crimes and have links with skinheads abroad, 
particularly Russia.  Estimates the number of skinheads in 
Ukraine vary; there may be about 500 hard-core skinheads as 
well as a few thousand followers.  End Summary. 
 
Skinheads of various stripes 
---------------------------- 
 
2.  (U) According to press statements by the Security Service 
of Ukraine (SBU), skinhead organizations exist in the cities 
of Kyiv, Sevastopol, and Yalta.   They also are present in a 
number of oblasts including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Sumy, 
Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Odesa, and Zhymtomyr.  In 
Kyiv, rock groups such as Perun's Axe and Dozer-88 attract 
skinheads with violent and anti-social music.   The 
unregistered Ukrainian National-Labor Party, Blood and Honor 
Ukraine, the Ukrainian Movement Against Illegal Immigration, 
and the Sevastopol Movement Against Illegal Immigrants have a 
following among neo-Nazi skinheads. 
 
3.  (SBU) Anti-fascist groups include Skinheads Against 
Racial Prejudice (SHARP) and the Red and Anarchist Skinheads 
(RASH).  Supporters of soccer teams, so called football 
hooligans, are also part of this violent subculture.  In a 
meeting with Emboffs, the SBU's Department to Combat 
Xenophobia confirmed that the perpetrators of violent hate 
crimes tended to be from extremist groups, including 
skinheads.  He noted that some the neo-Nazi and skinhead 
groups have connections to groups in Europe and the U.S. 
(ref A). 
 
Numbers Hard to Estimate 
------------------------ 
 
4.  (SBU) Vyacheslav Likhachev, an expert on skinheads in 
Ukraine, told EmbOff that skinheads here are poorly organized 
and loosely affiliated with better established 
ultranationalist organizations such as Patriot of Ukraine and 
the Ukrainian National-Labor Party.  Because of their 
fragmented organizational structure, Likhachev explained that 
reliable estimates of their numbers are hard to come by.  The 
Ministry of Interior has estimated that there are five 
hundred skinheads in the entire country, while independent 
experts asserted that there are five hundred in Kyiv alone. 
The SBU estimated roughly one hundred active and aggressive 
skinheads in Kyiv. 
 
Expert Estimates 500 Hard Core, 2000-3000 Followers 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
5.  (SBU) Likhachev believes that there are roughly 500 hard 
core skinhead "organizers" in Ukraine with 2000-3000 less 
committed followers on the periphery.  The followers attend 
demonstrations and concerts and stay in contact with the 
organizers via the internet.  Likhachev, who concurs with the 
SBU estimate of 100 violent skinheads in Kyiv, believes that 
groups of 5-8 individuals are responsible for many of the 
racially motivated attacks in the city over the past two 
years.  He believes that a crackdown by police in the past 
few months, including confinement of some group leaders, has 
forced the organizers to lower their profile and scared away 
the less committed followers. (ref B). 
 
Russian Skinheads 
----------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) Likhachev explained that German and Polish radical 
groups influenced Ukrainian skinheads during the 1990s. 
However, Russian skinheads have gained influence during the 
past six years - even in the western Ukraine, where 
anti-Russian sentiments are stronger.  He cited police 
statistics showing that one third of skinheads arrested in 
Ukraine were actually Russian nationals.  He attributed the 
nexus of Russian and Ukrainian skinhead movements to common 
cultural, linguistic, and historical ties.  There is frequent 
contact between Ukrainian and Russian skinheads including 
attendance of demonstrations and concerts in their respective 
countries according to Likhachev.  He doubted there was much 
 
KYIV 00002441  002 OF 002 
 
 
Russian funding for Ukrainian skinheads or ultranationalist 
groups except for pro-Russian "Cossack" groups in Crimea. 
 
MOI Human Rights Monitor Wants Special Hate Crimes Unit 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
7.  (SBU) The head of the recently established MOI Human 
Rights Monitoring Department, Oleg Martynenko, confirmed that 
extremist groups and skinheads are a contributing factor to 
xenophobia and hate crimes.  He told Emboff that although the 
MOI has a unit to combat crimes involving foreigners, he felt 
that the MOI should consider establishing a special hate 
crimes unit.  The problem, he felt, is that the existing unit 
investigates crimes committed by foreigners as well as crimes 
against foreigners.  This unit is understaffed and canno
t 
devote enough resources to investigating crimes against 
foreigners, who frequently are the victims of violent hate 
crimes.  If established, a special hate crimes unit would 
focus on racially motivated crimes and hate groups. 
 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (SBU) Ukraine's skinhead movement appears to be marginal 
and poorly organized.  However, they present a danger to 
society given the involvement of some skinheads in hate 
crimes.  As economic conditions worsen over the next year, 
more disaffected youth may be attracted by the skinheads' 
anti-social message. 
PETTIT

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