Dmytro Anatoliyovych Yarosh (Ukrainian: Дмитро Анатолійович Я́рош; born 30 September 1971) is an activist, politician, and the main commander of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army (Ukrainian: Українська добровольча армія (УДА)). He formerly (2013 to 2015) led the far-right Right Sector organisation. In late 2015 he withdrew from the Right Sector. From 2014 until 2019 Yarosh served as a Ukrainian Member of Parliament. In February 2016 he started a new organisation called Governmental Initiative of Yarosh (DIYA) ("Ukrainian: Державницька ініціатива Яроша (ДІЯ)").
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
27 November 2014 – 29 July 2019
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
|Assumed office |
27 November 2014
|Constituency||Right Sector, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast,|
|Born||30 September 1971|
Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Right Sector (2013–2015)|
People's Movement of Ukraine (1989–1994)
|Alma mater||Drohobych State University of Education|
|Allegiance|| Soviet Union (historical) |
|Years of service||1989–1991 |
In the May 25, 2014 presidential election Yarosh received 127,772 votes (0.7% of the total). He was elected to the Ukrainian parliament in the October 26, 2014 election from a single-seat constituency in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast by winning 29.76% of the votes. He lost the seat in the 2019 parliamentary election.
Yarosh was born on 30 September 1971 in Dniprodzerzhynsk, a town in predominantly Russian-speaking Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in central-eastern Ukraine. Yarosh grew up in a Russian-speaking family. His mother worked in a car factory and his father an engineer at a machine plant. Yarosh has described his early ears as "a happy Soviet childhood." His father refused to join the Communist Party, although Yarosh claims he was asked to join many times.
In 1988 Yarosh graduated from High School #24 of Dniprodzerzhynsk. As almost all pre-teens and young teenagers in the Soviet Union, he was a member of Young Pioneers and later the Countrywide Leninist Communist Youth League organizations, youth-based sub-organizations of the Communist Party.
In 1989 Yarosh who was 18 at the time and a group of friends (who were all about twelve years old) were, allegedly, the first person who first raised the yellow-blue flag of Ukraine in East Ukraine, more precisely in Dneprodzerzhinsk. The flag was sewed by his grandmother and her sister with cloth bought by Yarosh.
Starting in February 1989, Yarosh was a member of People's Movement of Ukraine organisation. From October 1989 to November 1991 he was drafted and served two years in the Soviet army as a private.
In February 1989 he became a member of the People’s Movement of Ukraine.
In 1989-1991 Yarosh served in the ranks of the Soviet army.
In 1994 Yarosh was one of the founders of the nationalist organization Tryzub. An organization he became head of in 2005. In October 2010 he tried to create a unified Nationalist movement.
During the Euromaidan protests in early 2014, Tryzub became the core of the newly founded Right Sector, a coalition of right-wing nationalists. During these protests Yarosh advocated for a "national revolution" and dismissed the Viktor Yanukovych administration as an "internal occupational regime". In early February, weeks before the ousting of President Yanukovych, Yarosh stated in an interview that there would be no civil war in Ukraine because 80% of the population did not support Yanukovych.
Right before the 21 February ouster of Yanukovych, in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Yarosh claims he and the Right Sector leadership was consulted by Yanukovych on the deal Yanukovych had signed with the opposition to end Euromaidan. Yarosh refused to endorse this agreement and refused to disarm Right Sector.
Following a 10 March 2014, Lenta.ru interview by Ilya Azar of Andriy Tarasenko from the Right Sector's Kyiv branch, Roskomnadzor immediately issued a press release on 12 March 2014, in which Lenta.ru was implicated in violating numerous Russian media laws, information laws, and laws to counter extremism because the interview allowed a leader from the informal group to appeal to persons in the nation of Ukraine (Ukrainians, Crimean Tartars, and others) to support causes for the inviolable territory of Ukraine which has always included Crimea and that the article contained a link to Dmytro Yarosh's 1 March 2014, appeal to fight Moscow's imperialism. Since the warning by Roskomnadzor was the second issued in a 12 month period, Roskomnadzor would ask the courts to terminate Lenta.ru's mass media license. However, Lenta.ru's owner Alexander Mamut fired nearly half its staff and established a very pro Kremlin media source. The fired personnel stated that the new Editor-in-Chief Alexey Goreslavsky is Kremlin controlled for the Kremlin's propaganda purposes.
In the aftermath of the collapse of Yanukovych's regime, Yarosh demanded to be appointed Vice Prime Minister for the law enforcement matters, but his demand was rejected; he was offered a post of the Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine instead, but Yarosh rejected this position as being beneath him. There were discussions of appointing Yarosh deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine, but these discussions quickly petered out for unknown reasons.
On 20 April 2014, Dmytro Yarosh claims he was ordered by acting President Oleksandr Turchinov to lead 20 Right Sector members to sabotage an insurgent-controlled television tower in Sloviansk, leading to the first combat fatalities in the Siege of Sloviansk. Yarosh denied his role in these events until two years later.
Yarosh was a candidate in the 25 May 2014 Ukrainian presidential election. A poll conducted by the "Socis" research center (from 25 February – 4 March 2014) predicted that Yarosh's candidacy received the support of 1.6% of the people who were surveyed. On election day he actually received 0.7% of the votes. In January 2019 Yarosh stated he only took part in the election "not to destroy the revolutionary structures after the revolution". He also stated that he was fully aware it was "virtually impossible" he could win the election and that because he was engaged in military action since the first days of April 2014 he did not campaign.
Yarosh took part in the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election as a Right Sector candidate in single-member district number 39 (first-past-the-post wins a parliament seat) located in Vasylkivka Raion. He won a parliamentary seat by winning this constituency with 29.76% of the votes. Yarosh did not join a faction in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament). He did join the inter-factional group Ukrop.
Military and withdrawal from Right Sector
During the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport, Yarosh was wounded on 21 January 2015 by an exploding Grad rocket in the nearby village of Pisky. He was evacuated out of the conflict zone.
In early April 2015, Ukraine's defence ministry announced that MP Dmytro Yarosh was to become an aide to military chief Viktor Muzhenko and that his Right Sector fighting group would be integrated into the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Yarosh resigned as Right Sector leader on 11 November 2015. After he was wounded on 21 January 2015 he had delegated tasks to others in the organisation and he stated on 11 November 2015 he "did not want to be a wedding general". Especially since he claimed "my positions were not always the same as the aspirations of some of the leadership". Late December 2015 Yarosh announced he was forming a new political party that would have its founding congress in February 2016.
Governmental Initiative of Yarosh
In February 2016 Yarosh started a new organisation called Governmental Initiative of Yarosh (DIYA). The departure of Yarosh resulted in at least 20% of Right Sector members leaving with him. According to Yarosh DIYA will be a public movement like People's Movement of Ukraine was in its early days.
In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election DIYA joined a united party list with the political parties of Svoboda, Right Sector and National Corps. Yarosh himself was placed 3rd on the party list. But in the election they won not enough votes to clear the 5% election threshold and thus no parliamentary seats. The party did also not win a single-mandate constituency parliamentary seat.
Yarosh met his wife Olha, who Yarosh claims was his first love, in elementary school. The couple married in 1993 and has 3 children: daughters Anastasya and Jarina and son Dmytro. On 11 March 2014 grandson Nazar was born.
Yarosh was baptized in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, (he claims) because "Then there was no other." In 1994 Yarosh converted to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Political positions and views
- Yarosh calls himself a follower of Stepan Bandera
- Yarosh proposed to ban the Party of Regions of Ukraine, as well as the Communist Party of Ukraine.
- He considers Russia as a main adversary of Ukraine, although he also has little patience for Western influence on Ukraine either.
- The Spiegel Online reported: "For years, Yarosh has been fighting for the "de-Russification" of Ukraine ... He believes that "anti-Christian" powers are afoot in the European Union and that Brussels forces people into lifestyles such as gay marriage. ... He doesn't see Europe or NATO as a potential partner and has stated that the US is also part of an "anti-Ukrainian front"."
- Yarosh has denied allegations of anti-Semitism, but in a book he wrote "I wonder how it came to pass that most of the billionaires in Ukraine are Jews?"
- "For all the years of Ukraine's independence, Russia has pursued a systematic, targeted policy of subjugation toward Ukraine ... So of course we will prepare for a conflict with them, ...If they stick their faces here like they did in Georgia in 2008, they'll get it in the teeth."
- "Sooner or later, we are doomed to fight a war with [the] Moscow empire."
- "We're not using oligarchs' money in politics, but when a war is on, we do not object to their funding the army."
Yarosh is a controversial figure. In Russia's state-run media he has been described as a "radical nationalist". Mainstream Western media has generally called him a radical or extreme nationalist. Some mainstream and left-wing sources have denounced him as a "fascist".
Reactions in Russia
On 12 March, an editor of privately owned Lenta.ru website, Galina Timchenko, was fired by the company's owner Alexander Mamut for publishing a link to an interview with Yarosh he gave two days earlier, after Russian media regulatory agency Roskomnadzor formally warned the Lenta.ru website for publishing this link. In this interview Yarosh said: "Sooner or later, we are doomed to fight a war with [the] Moscow empire".
On 1 March 2014 Right Sector's page on Russian online social networking service VKontakte showed an entry with Dmytro Yarosh's alleged appeal to Dokka Umarov, a Chechen militant guerrilla leader associated with Al-Qaeda, for support of Ukraine. On 2 March 2014, Right Sector's spokesman Art Skoropadskyi denied the message was posted and approved by Yarosh. According to the spokesman, this alleged appeal to Umarov appeared on Right Sector's VKontakte webpage after one of its administrator's accounts was hacked. VKontakte blocks the page at a request of an Attorney General of Russia. On 11 March 2014 Russian State Duma deputy Valery Rashkin urged Russian special services to "follow Mossad examples" and assassinate leaders of Right sector Dmytro Yarosh and Oleksandr Muzychko.
On 12 March 2014 Basmanny court of Moscow ordered Yarosh's arrest on the charge of public inciting of terrorism.
In March 2014 Russia launched a criminal case against Yarosh, and some members (including party leader Oleh Tyahnybok) of Svoboda and UNA-UNSO, for "organizing an armed gang" that had allegedly fought against Russian 76th Guards Air Assault Division in a First Chechen War and for "public calls for extremism and public calls for terrorism". Yarosh has been placed on an international wanted list by Interpol at the request of the Russian Federation on 25 July 2015. The charge last alleges he "incriminated [himself by making] public appeals to terrorism and extremism." These two actions are a crime according to Russian criminal code (205th and 280th articles, respectively). Yarosh has been placed on an international wanted list by the Russian Federation. This made him the only person wanted internationally after the beginning of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in 2014. Since 2 Januari 2016 Yarosh name can not be found on the international wanted list that is visible on Interpol's website.
- Russian: Илья Вильямович Азар Ukrainian: Ілля Вільямович Азар
- Russian: Андрей Иванович Тарасенко Ukrainian: Андрій Іванович Тарасенко
- On 5 March 2014, Dmytro Yarosh received Basmanny Justice (Russian: Басманное Правосудие) by being placed on the international wanted list and charged in absentia by Moscow's Basmanny court for his actions against Moscow's imperialism.
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Сам Дмитро Ярош нібито вимагав для себе посади віце-прем’єра з питань силового блоку з одночасним підпорядкуванням йому внутрішніх військ. Вимогу відхилили, запропонувавши йому посаду заступника секретаря РНБОУ. ... Ще три тижні тому у владних коридорах обережно обговорювався також варіант призначення лідера Правого сектору заступником голови СБУ, але згодом з невідомих причин ці обговорення припинились.
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Andriy Parubiy, a lawmaker who served as commander of the protest movement’s guards, was chosen to serve as chair of the national security and defence council. Victoria Siumar, a civil society activist, and Dmytro Yarosh, head of Right Sector, a militant protest group, were proposed as his deputies.
- Shuster, Simon (1 March 2014). "Many Ukrainians want Russia to invade". Time.
Shkiryak, a revolutionary lawmaker involved in the negotiations over Yarosh's role in the government, says the right-wing militant … was offered the role of deputy head of the National Security Council, but rejected it as beneath him.
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(in Ukrainian) Yarosh's profile, Verkhovna Rada official website
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