© Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili
Protesters from far-right group "Right Sector"
The creation of Ukraine's National Guard - the custodian of the coup-imposed government - has raised concerns that it may later be deployed to eastern regions of Ukraine to suppress the population increasingly standing up against Kiev.
Ukraine has established a National Guard which will be comprised of former and current Ukrainian troops and volunteers from Maidan self-defense squads. Its declared goal, according to the statement of the country's parliament, is the protection of Ukrainians against external and internal aggression as well as ensuring territorial integrity of the country.
A decree enabling the creation of National Guard has already been signed by the coup-imposed President of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, after it was hastily passed by the parliament on Thursday. A total of 262 members of the Rada voted in favor of establishing the Ukrainian National Guard. According to the law, the National Guard's chief will be appointed by the Rada upon the recommendation of the acting president.
The Guard will be compromised of 60,000 men and women and its official tasks will be to protect and safeguard the lives, rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, society and the state from criminal and other unlawful acts. In addition, the guard will ensure public order in cooperation with law enforcement authorities, protect state borders, combat terrorism, as well as the suppress the activities of illegal paramilitary or armed organized groups or individuals.
The National Guard will be able to carry out the functions of any law enforcement agency in the post-coup country, as the existing agencies cannot be fully relied upon, considering the questionable legitimacy of the new rulers and the public discontent in eastern regions.
Ukraine previously established the National Guard in 1991 with a similar role, as the remnants of the former Soviet army were then considered unreliable. In 1995, it became the personal praetorian guard of President Leonid Kuchma. It was later disbanded in 2000.
Yet experts are already beginning to question the true motives behind the formation of the new combat force in Ukraine. Historian Vladimir Skachko argues that the Guard will be used to antagonize the Russian speaking population, and he has called the creation of the special force "legalization of neo-Nazi and neo-fascist batons."
Citing historical examples from 20th century European history, Skachko draws a parallel with the SA, or Brownshirts, a paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, which acted as death squads.
This theory appears to hold ground, considering the coming of extreme right-associated politicians to key posts in the coup-installed Ukrainian government.