In a letter sent in mid-December to the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) warned about the racism, anti-Semitism, and Nazi ideology espoused by the Svoboda political party. Writing to Ukrainian Ambassador Olexander Motsyk, Rep. Jeffries stated:
“I write to express my deep concern regarding the rising level of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine. The Svoboda Party’s political rise and status as the fourth-largest party in the Verkhovna Rada is particularly disturbing.
“Under the guise of defending traditional Ukrainian culture, Svoboda’s platform espouses a radical ideology that is rife with anti-Semitic and xenophobic language and openly endorses Nazi ideology. While I commend your government’s efforts to combat intolerance and prejudice, violence of an anti-Semitic nature remains a growing concern. Reports of physical attacks and hate speech against racial and ethnic minorities in Kyiv, Sevastopol and other cities remain altogether too commonplace.
“The spread of Svoboda’s Neo-Nazi ideology, which disregards Ukraine’s political process, not only hampers Ukraine’s pursuit of a free and open society, but also has the potential to undermine and destabilize the government. Further, the actions of the Svoboda Party paint a negative image of Ukraine to the rest of the world and could, if left unchecked, have drastic implications for Ukraine’s standing in the international community.
“As Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, I respectfully ask you to communicate these serious concerns to government officials in your country. It is essential that leading members of the Ukrainian government and the Verkhovna Rada understand the dangers of cooperating with the Svoboda Party and work to marginalize this extremist group.”