Dmytro Yarosh (born 30 September 1971) is the leader of the right-wing Right Sector organization which played a significant role in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Yarosh was born in Dniprodzerzhynsk, a town in predominantly Russian-speaking central-eastern Ukraine.
Starting in February 1989, Yarosh was a member of People’s Movement of Ukraine organization. From October 1989 to November 1991 he was drafted and served two years in the Soviet army as a private.
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 of the USSR. In 2001 Yarosh graduated from the State University of Education in Drohobych, Ukraine.
During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yarosh joined Ukrainian nationalist groups. In 1994, he joined Stepan Bandera Tryzub organization which he has led since 2005.
During the EuroMaidan protests in the early 2014, Tryzub became the core of the newly founded Right Sector, a coalition of right-wing nationalists. During these protests he advocated for a “national revolution” and dismissed the Viktor Yanukovych administration as an “internal occupational regime”.
Vilification and criminal charges by Russia
On March 1, 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 March 2, 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 March 11, 2014 Russian State Duma deputy Valery Rashkin (ru) urged Russian special services to “follow Mossad examples” and assassinate leaders of Right sector Dmytro Yarosh and Oleksandr Muzychko.
On March 12, 2014 Basmanny court (ru) of Moscow ordered Yarosh’s arrest on the charge of public inciting of terrorism.
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.
In a poll conducted by the “Socis” research center from February 25 to March 4, 2014, Yarosh’s possible candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections (planned for May 25, 2014) received the support of 1.6% of the people who were surveyed.
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 the Russian Federation. 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. According to an article on Russian-government funded news site RT, on March 16, Yarosh threatened to demolish the entire Russian gas pipeline to Europe if a diplomatic solution was not found for the Ukraine/Russia standoff. According to the RT article, Yarosh warned “Crimea was too small to satisfy the appetite of the ‘Russian Empire…’”