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Ukrainian students want ultranationalist ex-MP fired

Controversial politician and philologist Irina Farion has been criticized for disparaging Russian-speaking soldiers

Students of the Lviv Polytechnic National University rallied against professor Irina Farion, a Ukrainian philologist and ultranationalist ex-MP with the far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party, on Tuesday, demanding her dismissal.

A group of students showed up at the main building of the university carrying banners that read ‘Farion is an embarrassment to Ukraine,’ ‘Farion must go!’, footage from the scene shows. The protesters demanded the professor be dismissed from the university over multiple scandals she has found herself embroiled in recently. A group of students met with the university’s administration to address the situation, but it was not immediately clear how the meeting ended. 

Farion, known for her hardline nationalist views and bitter resentment toward use of the Russian language in the country, sparked several high-profile scandals, starting with explosive remarks she made during a TV show aired last week. 


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The ex-MP delved into the language issue, criticizing Russian-speaking members of the notorious neo-Nazi Azov regiment. The Russian-speaking fighters cannot be deemed “true Ukrainians” regardless of their achievements on the battlefield, while their inability or unwillingness to learn the “state language” shows their lack of “discipline,” which turns the military into “rabble,” Farion argued. 

The remarks angered the Ukrainian military and public figures alike. Maksim Zhorin, a former Azov commander and deputy commander of the 3rd Assault Brigade, composed largely of ex-fighters of the regiment, told Farion to “go f*ck herself,” urging law enforcement to probe the activities of “that c*nt.” Farion only creates divisions in Ukrainian society by making hateful comments, Zhorin said. 

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Ukrainian boxer and politician Aleksandr Usik, meanwhile, accused Farion of being a “Kremlin agent” for sowing discord in the country.

The ex-MP, however, stood by her remarks, attacking her critics on social media. Among other things, she branded all Russian speakers “garbage” and servants of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, who will “inevitably” get cleansed out of Ukraine. The incendiary rhetoric got her banned on Facebook, but she has continued to post on Instagram.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned Ukrainian laws that restrict the use of the Russian language and policies aimed at eroding cultural and historical ties with the neighboring state. Putin cited “the de-Russification and forced assimilation” of Russian speakers – more than a third of Ukraine’s population – as among the causes of the conflict between the two countries.

November 15, 2023 at 01:44AM


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