Tag Archives: Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv)

Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Attack Presentation of Journal “Commons” in Ternopil


Neo-Nazis attack organizers at presentation of journal “Commons” in Ternopil
December 1, 2012

Ten neo-Nazis assaulted the four organizers of a presentation of the journal Spilne (“Commons”) on December 1 in Ternopil. Spilne is a journal of social critique whose new issue focuses on the subjects of class exploitation and class struggle.


The presentation was scheduled for 1 p.m. at the regional history museum. At noon, however, the four organizers were attacked right in the museum by ten neo-Nazis, most of them football hooligans from FC Niva (Ternopil). Despite their numerical advantage, the attackers used pepper spray. One of the organizers was hit over the head with a chair and required stitches.


It is known that the attack was organized by Igor “Juice” Kostyuk, a member of the far-right party Svoboda. Before the presentation, he had threatened the presentation’s organizers online and mobilized the local extreme right.

This was not the first neo-Nazi attack on critical thought in Ukraine. In particular, the extreme right had carried out physical attacks on the Visual Culture Research Center at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University and actively supported moves by the university administration to close the center, the most active venue for critical public scholarship in our country.

The presentation of Spilne was to have been purely educational in nature. The participants intended to discuss forms of abuse by employers (in particular, precarious employment), as well as what things are needed to empower workers and trade unions. “The Nazis thus showed their opposition to the people of Ternopil thinking critically, knowing more about free education, free labor and class exploitation, and taking a skeptical attitude toward myths about migration. It is symbolic that the extreme right now actually hinders the grassroots self-organization of workers and young people,” said Maxim, one of the organizers of the event. “Currently the extreme right can ‘persuade’ opponents only through violence. “

Police came to the scene of the crime and are now deciding whether to institute criminal proceedings.

After the incident, the presentation and discussion took place as planned.

This report is based on an article originally published on the web site gaslo.info.

UPDATE: According to the online Ternopil newspaper Doba, members of the far-right group Trizub (“Trident”) have assumed responsibility for the attack. They were, allegedly, thus protecting “the honor of God and country” (!) from “anti-Ukrainian scribbling.”

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Masked Thugs Attack Transgender Event in Kyiv

Press Release

About 10 men in masks tried to attack the participants of a discussion on hate crimes but were fought off.

In Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 20, 2010, during the Transgender Day of Remembrance of those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred, unknown persons attacked “A Response to Violence against Transgender People,” a peaceful gathering organized by the NGO Insight and the Visual Culture Research Center. The organizers had planned a film screening, discussion, and flash-mob with paper lanterns.

About ten unknown men broke into the Visual Culture Center as the film Boys Don’t Cry was being screened. The attackers had apparently planned to break into the screening room, which contained over thirty spectators, and attack them with tear gas. However, due to the prompt reaction of organizers and activists, the attackers were stopped at the entrance and forced out of the room. One of the organizers, Timur Lysenko (coordinator of Insight’s transgender program), who first confronted the bandits and blocked their access to the room, was beaten up. He and his colleague Anastasia Medco (from the NGO Fulcrum), who also resisted the bandits, were heavily poisoned by tear gas. The attackers fled the scene.

Timur was diagnosed with internal injuries and facial chemical burns. All spectators present in the room during the attack suffered from the effects of the tear gas.

Police who came to the scene have preliminarily called the attack an act of “hooliganism.” However, the tactics used by the attackers clearly indicate preplanning and prior intent: the attackers were wearing masks; they had weapons; their actions were consistent and deliberate; and they fled the scene at once. The event dedicated to the Transgender Day of Remembrance had been announced in advance, thus allowing the attackers to preplan and organize the attack. The attack was motivated by anti-transgender hatred and homophobia. Such actions should be qualified under part 3 of Article 161 of the Ukraine Criminal Code: “Deliberate acts aimed at inciting […] hatred, […], as well as direct or indirect restriction of rights […] on the basis of race, skin color, political, religious and other beliefs, gender, ethnicity or social origin, property status, place of residence, language or any other characteristic.”

At the moment, several complaints have been submitted to the police by event participants who suffered during the attack. Organizers demand that the authorities recognize that the attack was a preplanned, organized hate crime.

Transgendered people are often subjected to violence fuelled by hatred. According to a TGEU research project on transphobia, more than 420 murders of transgender persons have been reported since 2008 worldwide. In Ukraine, due to the lack of a monitoring system and the reluctance of law enforcement agencies to classify such cases as hate crimes, the problem of xenophobia and hate-based violence remains invisible.

The number of ultra right-wing attacks on peaceful gatherings for LGBT rights and against discrimination has increased over the past two years. In May 2010, two men tried to bring a smoke bomb into the cinema during a film screening that was part of the LGBT festival Queer Week. In September 2009, both presentations of the queer anthology “120 Pages of Sodom,” held in Lviv and Kyiv, were attacked by ultra right-wing groups followed by physical violence against participants. On the night of September 30, 2009, the Kyiv art center I Gallery was burned down following a discussion of the attacks on the queer anthology presentations and the official ban of the film Bruno. Homophobic inscriptions were left on the walls of the burnt gallery.


Taisia Gerasymova
Board Member, Insight

Timur Lysenko
Coordinator, Transgender Program, Insight

Editor’s Note. The text of the press release has been lightly edited to make it more readable.

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Court Experiment (Kyiv)


Visual Culture Research Center, the Center for Social Research, and Hudrada Curatorial Union in cooperation with tranzit.at

12 October – 12 November 2010, Kyiv

Court Experiment

Court Experiment is a statement against the judicial prosecution of Ukrainian activists for expressing disagreement with existing injustices. It is an action of solidarity with prosecuted activists Yevgenia Belorusets, Andriy Movchan, Serhiy Movchan and Olexandr Wolodarsky, whose trials have been going on for years. The project started with visits to the court hearings by people who wanted to express their support for the accused activists. Among them were activists, journalists, academics, and artists.

Court Experiment is an attempt to attract public attention both to these concrete cases of prosecution and more generally to the judicial system, which as part of the capitalist economy is an instrument of violence and injustice. The second important goal of the exhibition is to reveal the real things against which the activists protested – the destructive expansion of capital in the social sphere and the increase of moral censorship as an authoritarian symptom – framing them in the wider context of the political, cultural, and social circumstances inherent to post-Soviet society.

The exhibition consists of works by artists and documentation of the court hearings, which has been made collectively. Only documentary materials will be presented at the opening; later, the space will gradually fill with individual works by artists. The process of filling the space will be accompanied by discussions, screenings, performances, and seminars. Court Experiment is an installation-in-process, which by imitating the cyclical unfolding of the trials against the activists addresses the subjects of political action within the field of articulation between art, knowledge, and politics.

The exhibition presents works by Yevgeniya Belorusets, David Chichkan, Ksenia Hnylytska, Nikita Kadan, Yulia Kostereva, Yuriy Kruchak, Vasyl Lozynskyy, Lada Nakonechna, Mykola Ridniy, Oleksiy Salmanov, Oleksandr Wolodarsky, and Anna Zvyagintseva. The court drawings, photos, and installation of documentary material have been produced by Anatoliy Belov, Yevgeniya Belorusets, Oleksandr Burlaka, Nikita Kadan, Dmytro Myronchuk, Viktor Wolodarsky, and Anna Zvyagintseva. The exhibition is organized by the Hudrada Curatorial Union.

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