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Human Rights

The crisis in Ukraine with Grabowski’s murder

Marcelo Rech

It’s been two years since the beginning of the conflict in the southeast of Ukraine. On April 7 of 2014, Donetsk People's Republic was established. Immediately, a civil war began. One week later, the then president of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (official name of the Ukrainian Parliament), Oleksandr Turchynov, announced the beginning of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donbass, against his people. The Lugansk People's Republic was proclaimed on April 28.

Two years went by since the revolution that overthrew the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and now the whole world sees once more the protesters burning tires in the vicinity of the Presidential Administration building in Kiev, where there are also confrontations with the police. What is the reason?

The country, since 2014, is under extern management, which worsened the already huge economic crisis. The local oligarchic groups keep on struggling desperately to reach the power, aware that the West is tired of its own geopolitical project in the country. In other words, the focus of the instability is already created and the division of the country is irreversible, as well as the Russian integration plans were frustrated. For the Ukrainian people, the price of these foreigners’ games was too high.

Recently, it became known the case involving the murder of the lawyer Yuri Grabowski, who represented in the Court the interests of the Russian citizen Alexander Alexandrov, accused by the Security Service of Ukraine of involvement in the fighting in Donbass and of connections with the Russian special services. It is obvious that Grabowski’s job implicated in his murder. He was blunt in the trial by saying that there was no evidence against his client. This would have been his death sentence.

The Association of Lawyers of Ukraine expressed its hope that those involved in the death of Grabowski are found and punished. However, the Ukrainian reality does not allow naivety. The true goals of the murder are clear. Accused of betraying his homeland, Grabowski may have been a victim of Ukrainian nationalists. It is also possible that neo-Nazis are behind his death.

With the connivance of extremists, the Ukrainian government buries its own project of Euro-Atlantic integration, which is already dead. It is doubtful that Europe wants to assume responsibility over a million of poor and unsatisfied men and women. This situation feeds the growth of criminality, of prostitution and of contraband of weapons, elements that are important to sow a nationalism in the best Adolf Hitler style.

The murder of Grabowski is a bell that rings through all Europe. It is disturbing the absence of concrete answers from the international community, in particular from the West. Where are the human rights, the tolerance and other democratic "magic tricks" that destroyed independent states to build a new world order?

Anna Neistat, one of the leaders of the international organization of human rights Amnesty International said that the murder of the Ukrainian lawyer Yuri Grabowski is a heinous crime and a terrible memory of the dangers faced by social activists and lawyers.

It is at least doubtful that the Ukrainian authorities react with any indignation. The local government simply cannot stop the nationalists and bandits. And the citizens, most of them deceived by the media, are not able to exert any influence with their own government.

It is clear that this situation cannot last forever. Sooner or later the people will confront the political leaders.

Marcelo Rech is a journalist, specialist in International Relations; Strategies and Policies of Defense; Terrorism and Counterinsurgency; Human Rights in the Armed Conflicts; and director of the Instituto InfoRel de Relações Internacionais e Defesa. E-mail:

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