I must say I haven’t followed the Sternenko case since this post, and I made a mistake because today I realised just how much international support that little twerp received from a variety of international organisations…
Sternenko is the Odessa leader of the Right Sector, an umbrella organisation uniting a variety of radical nationalist and Neonazi outfits. Sternenko is a violent Neonazi, who is accused of murdering an unarmed person in Odessa and wounding another. Sternenko says he was defending himself from an assassination attempt but there are other opinions on the matter. Stalker Zone has a lot of information in English regarding Sternenko:
At the moment we can say the following: Sergey Sternenko came back home with a girl. He had a verbal conflict with two unknown guys a block before. This didn’t result in a fight. In front of the house the guys caught up with him and tried to sort things out again. The guys weren’t armed. Sternenko pulled out a knife and hit the first one twice, then the other guy. After that the guys started running away – both were seriously wounded. One inhabitant of Odessa – 1988 year of birth – succeeded to escape, despite having received two received wounds to the stomach. The second guy, who also received two knife blows – to his hand and chest, wasn’t able to escape – Sternenko ran towards him to catch him up and, having caught him up, stabbed him two more times. This time in the stomach. The guy died from four wounds. Preliminary information says that this is pure murder, and not self-defense – the guys weren’t armed. The deceased – named Ivan – served in the 25th airborne brigade in the past. The one who managed to run away already said that they and his killed friend didn’t know Sternenko earlier. I.e., there is no ideological or political background to this crime,” explained the source of “Strana” in the Odessa police.
If he was a target of assassination, Sternenko would be dead like Buzyna, who was a target of assassination. He is also accused of abducting a man and torturing him. For the latter case he was recently sentenced to 7 years and three months. Sternenko says he was arresting an anti-Maidan activist, who was on his way to Kiev to beat up the protesters at the Maidan. It is unclear what right did Sternenko as a Right Sector thug have to arrest anyone?
However, the court proceedings began to be interfered with by a variety of international organisations that are trying to make Sternenko into an unjustly persecuted anti-corruption activist. (all of them are activists, Protasevych was also just a journalist and an activist) Several months ago, I reported that the head of the International Renaissance Fund in Ukraine, a George Soros related outfit, Oleksandr Sushko asked whether it is possible to enact sanctions against the judges involved in the Stenenko case.
But this high level support did not end there. The Netherlands Helsinki Committee outdid itself:
On 23 February 2021, anti-corruption activist and coordinator of NGO Nebayduzhi, Serhiy Sternenko, was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison and saw half of his property confiscated following what many believe was a politically-motivated investigation and court case dating back to 2015.
Serhiy Sternenko has ardently fought against corruption in Ukraine, most recently by campaigning against illegal construction projects and exposing corruption including around allegations against the Odesa mayor, Hennadiy Trukhanov, and his associates. Sternenko’s efforts have also included opposing pro-Russian separatist actions in Odesa in 2014-2015 and calling for the cancellation of the concerts of a number of Russian celebrities who have been vocally supportive of the illegal annexation of Crimea and conflict-affected Donbas.
With the verdict of 23 February, Sternenko was convicted for the alleged abduction of a local Odesa functionary, Serhiy Shcherbych, and for the alleged theft of UAH 300 (at the time, the equivalent of less than 15 EUR) from him in 2015 — both accusations Sternenko denies. Despite the expiration of the statute of limitations for the alleged abduction, the judge’s ruling convicted Sternenko of both charges, a clear infringement of both the criminal code and of Sternenko’s fair trial rights.
While the prison sentence imposed on Sternenko was solely based on the theft charge – correctly taking into account the inapplicability of the charge of adduction, yet not clearing Sternenko’s criminal record of that charge – there is real concern about its proportionality. For example, while the murderers of another activist from Kherson, Kateryna Handziuk, received sentences from 3 to 6 years, Sternenko’s sentencing to more than 7 years imprisonment leads credence to the belief of many that the entire proceedings were politically motivated, and are meant to send a chilling message to any and all who oppose corruption in Ukraine.
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee and ZMINA Human Rights Centre remain concerned about the verdict and sentencing, and call on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that Sternenko’s fair trials are respected throughout the appeal process (begun on 5 March 2021), and to seek proportionate alternatives to his current terms of detention.
Some observers view this case as yet another example of a systemic crisis occurring among the Ukrainian judiciary and law enforcement which must be urgently addressed with much-needed reform. For example, the Public Council of Integrity had previously concluded that the judge assigned to Sternenko’s case has not met the criteria of integrity and professional ethics, which raises questions about his impartiality.
The unusual personal involvement of the Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova, and the Minister of Interior Affairs, Arsen Avakov, directly in the case has also been called into question – not least by Viktor Trepak, who served as a deputy to the previous Prosecutor General, and has stated that Ms. Venediktova’s insistence upon bringing charges against Sternenko, is extremely concerning.
In protest of the trial outcome, people took the streets in Kyiv directly following the verdict in solidarity with Sternenko. However, resulting clashes between the peaceful protestors and the police led to several injuries as the police employed disproportionate force, including tear gas and smoke bombs. Moreover, at least 24 people were unlawfully detained, although they were subsequently released later that day.
But that did not stop the outcry: on 27 February, more than 10.000 people took part in a peaceful protest, co-organised by ZMINA Human Rights Center and five other organisations, and on 20 March, more than 1.000 people gathered before the President’s Office, to protest Stenenko’s conviction. While a handful of attendees vandalized the building with paint or broke windows during the protest on 20 March, such acts of hooliganism are now being used to falsely frame peaceful protestors who were not involved in those actions, such as environmental activist, Roman Ratushny.
What if Neonazis took to the streets and attacked and vandalised the seat of the government in the Netherlands? Unthinkable! But here the Netherlands Helsinki Committee promotes the values of street thugs pressuring the president. Ukraine must be the only country in Europe where forces deemed far right get this much support from the government and assorted variety of human rights organisations.
But it would seem there are other friends of Sternenko. Stalker Zone further reports rumour has it Sternenko was in contact with the US Embassy:
“What happened to Sternenko? Why was he removed from suspicion by the Prosecutor General himself, admitting that he personally met the murderer of someone?
According to one possibility the new authorities are afraid to anger ‘activists’. The second possibility — it was agreed in advance that Sternenko won’t participate in the Steinmeier-Maidan.
The third possibility (there is informal talk about this in ‘Servant of the People’) is that Sternenko’s contact with the American Embassy worked.
Although, it may well be that all three possibilities are at work — out of fear there was a deal, and in addition the US Embassy called.
But the result is obvious. For the time being. But the fight continues. We won’t become demoralised.”
The former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Nikolay Azarov, said on RT that it was the Depute Chief of Mission, Kristina Kvien, who was very active in the release of Sternenko. This is what actually made me research this twerp further.
PS: Sternenko lawyer is Masi Nayyem, who recently called for war with Russia. Sternenko likes wearing clothing of the Svastone brand. If Svastone sounds like swastika to you, you are not mistaken, the brand uses a stylised swastika as a label.
If you go to the Svastone website, you will see them sell music albums by Sokyra Peruna (the axe of Perun, Perun is the chief god of the Slavic pantheon). The New Republic says the brand belongs to one of the band members. This is from their Ukrainian language Wikipedia:
I do not think there can be any illusions about Sokyra Peruna, Svastone, and the subculture they belong to. And I would like to just ask, why do Western institutions support Nazis?
Galery of Svastone and Sternenko: