The “Carley Affair” can act as a warning of what to expect as the U.S. harbors more Ukrainian refugees.
A highly regarded Russia specialist in Canada, Professor Michael Carley at the University of Montreal, has refused to support the NATO narrative on the Ukraine conflict and has since been subjected to a vicious smear campaign.
Canada’s role in the Ukraine conflict and the power of the right-wing Ukrainian diaspora in Canada may be underestimated, according to the vitriol we have seen directed at Professor Carley. He is among the first in Canada to feel the wrath of the country’s mainstream media, after Russia’s special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022.
To grasp why the gripes of this diaspora have received such attention and consideration from Canadian media, it is first necessary to understand how the right-wing element of Ukrainian-Canadians gained dominance over the diaspora. While the experience is similar in the U.S., Canada has been a haven par excellence for Ukrainian fascists. Thus, the “Carley Affair” can act as a warning of what to expect as the U.S. harbors more Ukrainian refugees.
Canadian Parliament and media united in anti-Russia attitude
Canada’s parliamentarians have been united in condemnation of Russia and support for Ukraine.
This intensified following Russia’s recognition on February 21, 2022, of the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The next day, the Liberal government imposed “new prohibitions on direct and indirect dealings in Russian sovereign debt” and promised to send “up to an additional 460 personnel” to join Canadian military forces participating in NATO’s Operation Reassurance in Europe.
The government has “authorized approximately 3,400 Canadian Armed Forces personnel across all branches of the service to deploy to the NATO Response Force should they be required by NATO.” After Russia’s SMO began, on the same day, the Liberal government sanctioned additional Russian government officials and further restricted exports to Russia.
On March 15, Canada’s Parliament invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver a speech. It received unanimous applause and complete support.
On April 27, MP Heather McPherson of the New Democratic Party (Canada’s social democratic party, the third largest in Parliament and currently in a governing agreement with the Liberal Party of Canada) succeeded in passing a motion in Parliament with unanimous support declaring that Russia was committing a “genocide” in the midst of its SMO in Ukraine.
International lawyer Chris Black noted in an article for The Canada Files: “McPherson is always ready to assist the Americans in their attempt to dominate the world. She made similar allegations against China regarding the Uighurs based on ‘evidence’ produced by CIA-front, National Endowment for Democracy-funded groups and other U.S. government funded organizations.”
Black went further, noting the farcical nature of McPherson’s claims and demands:
“There is no point in discussing the examples the Canadian MP referred to in presenting her motion; it was just a litany of false claims, most already disproved, and none of which could amount to genocide under any legal definition. She even (at 2:27 in the clip) admitted this when a reporter for one of the mass media pointed out that the American government has refused to condemn Russia for genocide as there is not sufficient and reliable evidence of such actions and none of intent which is required to found such a charge. But, she stated, again displaying her motion was meant as a propaganda exercise against Russia, that she knew that but that “someone had to take action.” In other words, the Americans know they could not make such a claim and have any credibility, so they got their flunkies in Canada to do it along with their flunkies in Latvia, who soon followed suit.
She then added that Canada should send more money to the International Criminal Court so that the prosecutor there would take action, not seeming to blush at the fact she was really calling for offering a bribe to the ICC prosecutor for his cooperation. But then again, Canada’s government and parliamentarians are used to trying to control prosecutions and trials at tribunals as they did at the ICTY and ICTR, both of which were essentially NATO tribunals designed to fix blame on scapegoats for the crimes of the western nations involved in those wars.”
The Canadian mainstream media joined in the parliamentary obedience, refusing to challenge NATO narratives on Russia’s SMO. This obedience from both Parliament and the mainstream media set the table for the Canadian government to go heavy on sanctions against Russia and provision of military aid to Ukraine.
The Canadian government drove the coalition-building process necessary to have the West cut Russia off from the SWIFT international banking payment system. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland personally reached out to the U.S. government on the day Russia’s SMO began, to propose cutting off Russia from foreign reserves worth $640 billion USD. On the same day, Prime Minister Trudeau pitched the idea to other G7 leaders, and the day after to European leaders.
As of September 25, 2022, the Canadian state-run Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News noted that Canada has “committed or delivered $626 million in military aid to Ukraine” since the beginning of Russia’s SMO. It further noted that “Canadian forces have been responsible for delivering four million pounds of cargo since March,” which includes Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) Turrets, Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMVs), assault weapons, ammunition and more. Canada is promising to boost its capacity at a Scotland-based shipping hub that was once the site of a CIA rendition way-station, to speed up arms deliveries to Ukraine, to include 39 armored troop carriers.
How did Canada’s far-right Ukrainian diaspora, whose influence on Canadian politics drives coverage by Canadian MSM, form?
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) is the prime right-wing Ukrainian diaspora group in Canada and has had significant influence on Canadian policy toward Ukraine for decades.
Richard Sanders, founder of the Coalition Against the Arms Trade magazine, has explained that the Canadian government orchestrated the founding of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (originally called Ukrainian Canadian Committee) in 1940. Its purpose was “to rally all anti-Communist Ukrainians into one body in order to squash the then-powerful influence of left-wing Ukrainians whose forebears had come to Canada during earlier waves of migration.”
The UCC’s website reveals that its founding was ensured by the support of Canada’s National War Services body, which Sanders explains “was anxious that young Ukrainians enlist in military services.”
After World War II, in opposition to the UCC, the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (AUUC), “a progressive organisation which includes social democrats, socialists and communists,” opposed the Canadian government’s desire, supported by the UCC, to allow the immigration into Canada of thousands of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators into Canada.
As Sanders explained, the AUUC was viciously punished due to its left-wing politics: “Tons of books from AUUC libraries were literally burned, its leaders arrested, and its printing presses and Labour Temples (meeting halls) were seized [via the War Measures Act]. In some cases, these were even turned over to ultranationalists associated with Ukrainian Canadian Congress.”
In addition to an initial welcoming in 1950 of between 1,200 to 2,000 Ukrainian Waffen SS members in 1950 (the SS was the “elite” guard of Nazi Germany’s military), the Canadian government “had released thousands of Ukrainian SS veterans from UK internment camps by granting them Canadian citizenship.”
Over the following decades, the Canadian government would continue to support the Nazi-collaborator sympathizing and -collaborator Ukrainian right in Canada while secretly plotting (via Operation PROFUNC) to round up thousands of left-wing Canadians, including citizens who were active in the AUUC.
Thanks to Canadian government support, the UCC and its member organizations were able to gain hegemony over the Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora. With its hegemony, the UCC and right-wing Ukrainian Canadians have been able to ensure that Canadian media coverage of Ukraine-related stories is to its liking.
Carley Under Fire
Michael J. Carley is a professor in the University of Montreal’s Department of History. He is a specialist in the history of the USSR and Russia. Carley’s politics are expressly progressive. He was born in the United States and was involved in protests against the Vietnam war and for civil rights of Black people during the 1960s, before he came to Canada in 1967.
The Canada Files Contributing Editor, Arnold August, explained Carley’s work extensively in a May 2022 article for TCF titled “Ukraine-Russia: Sanctions against a ‘pro-Russian’ professor from the University of Montreal, or freedom of speech?”
August writes, “Professor Carley is a specialist in international relations in the 20th century and on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research interests focus on relations of the Soviet Union with Western Europe and the United States between 1917 and 1945. He is the author of three books (two of which have been translated into several languages) and about 100 articles and essays on French intervention in the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), on Soviet relations with the Great Powers between the two world wars, on questions of ‘appeasement,’ on the origins and conduct of the Second World War, and on topical issues. He is the author of over 115 book chapters, and his articles has been the recipient of some 15 awards. His works have been published in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia and elsewhere, and translated into a dozen languages.”
Before Carley came under attack, he was a member of the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CERIUM, the Centre for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal).
August’s article—whose conclusions were endorsed by Alfred de Zayas and Holocaust survivor Suzanne Weiss,–continued: “Professor Carley has recently worked on two major book projects. The first deals with the confrontation between Soviet Russia/USSR and the West from 1917 to 1930. This work, entitled Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, was published in 2014 by the American publisher, Rowman & Littlefield. The French translation, Une guerre sourde : L’émergence de l’Union soviétique et les puissances occidentales was published by PUM (Presses de l’Université de Montréal) in 2016. A Russian translation was published in 2019.
The second project, supported by a major research grant from the Canadian government think tank, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, focuses on the origins and creation of the ‘Grand Alliance’ against Nazi Germany during World War II. Writing of this second work is now complete in three volumes (1930-1941). Vol. 1 of his trilogy has been accepted for publication. The working title of the trilogy is ‘A Near-Run Thing: The Improbable Grand Alliance of World War II.’ He speaks, reads, and writes English and French, and he reads Russian.”
Carley did not come under fire until Russia began its Special Military Operation in Ukraine. The furor against him began via journalist Romain Schué Radio-Canada (RDI), the French language, state-funded CBC radio and television outlet in Canada. Schué’s hit-job article (translated from French here) on Carley was published on March 23.
The anger against Carley came because he refused to back away from the facts on the true nature of the Ukrainian Maidan regime that came to power in the violent coup of 2014 in Ukraine. He had stated that neo-Nazi militias, including the “Azov Battalion,” were blocking civilian evacuations and that Russia’s SMO involved clearing out the Azovstal factory and both the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics of neo-Nazis.
Carley also stated that the Maidan regime is extremely reliant on neo-Nazi militias to maintain control and fight Russia and allows the targeting of dissident Ukrainians by neo-Nazi militias. He says the narrative of a Russian “massacre” in the small city of Bucha in March 2022 was false, since all Russian troops were gone three days before Ukraine claims a massacre of civilians took place.
Facts indicate that the anti-Carley offensive was the result of collaboration of the state-funded media outlet with vigorous promoter of the Nazi-infested Ukrainian government, Ukrainian-Canadian University of Montreal student Katia Sviderskaya.
She was favorably quoted in Schué’s original article and has co-sponsored a petition (English version attached here) against Carley based on that same article, and in its turn promoted by Schué in a later update to the article, implicitly suggesting that Carley be removed from CERIUM and be suspended or fired from the university proper.
This entanglement, with a common objective, consists of open collaboration of the state-funded media with a Ukrainian Nazi-promoter in Canada, bringing into question the “journalism” of Schué, and thus the state-funded outlet.
In a Facebook post by Sviderskaya, she exposes herself as a right-wing nationalist and apologist of the Nazi-infested Zelensky regime. She states “Ukraine was, is, and always will be the center of the free world.”
Her petition included another line of attack against Carley: that he is willing to engage with, and share or utilize where valuable, information from Russian media such as Sputnik and RT and Russian government institutions. Comically, Sviderskaya’s petition claims that it does not ask the University of Montreal to take a political position and is in line with the values of academic freedom.
Carley’s lawyer noted that, in Canada, the Cloutier Commission report of 2021 (a commission set up to focus on questions around academic freedom in Quebec) defined “academic freedom as the freedom to teach and discuss, but also as the freedom to express one’s opinion.”
Sviderskaya’s petition and the coordinated efforts with Schué were the perfect excuse for other Canadian mainstream media outlets to join the campaign against Professor Carley (all referenced articles viewable in English). Soon the most important French language daily in Quebec, the online La Presse, would cover this petition, followed by The Globe and Mail (the largest national-circulation newspaper and one of the two main English-language outlets in Canada), the daily Journal de Montreal and then the Montreal Gazette (the city’s English-language print daily). The case would even reach the attention of U.S.-based news outlet Newsweek.
Sviderskaya and all the news outlets that ganged up on Carley had a unified implicit goal: to get him fired from the University of Montreal and ruin his professional career for daring to reject the NATO narrative on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This would serve as a warning for academics in Canada and also in the U.S.
While Carley has managed to fight off any attempts to suspend or fire him, he was removed from CERIUM by its director as a result of the pressure campaign against him. Needless to say, many dozens of Russia “experts” (and not even experts) from Canada and the U.S. are regularly paraded by the Canadian media. They all have in common the promotion of the U.S.-Canada-NATO narrative. On the other hand, we never see one of the real top experts—if not the top one—in Canada and the U.S. and that speaks English and French: Professor Carley.
After more then five months of resistance by Carley and his supporters at the university and elsewhere, a significant breakthrough finally took place. On September 7, 2022, the second most important French-language daily in Quebec, Le Devoir, published an op-ed that courageously challenged the NATO/U.S./Canada airtight narrative on Ukraine. Titled “From endless wars to permanent war” (PDF English version here), the authors are Samir Saul (Professor of History, Université de Montréal) and Michel Seymour (Retired Professor of Philosophy, Université de Montréal).
It is important to note that Carley has been vocal in writing about the Maidan regime for alternative media outlets such as Strategic Culture Foundation, which has been targeted and intimidated by the U.S. government itself. Canada, and the far-right Ukrainian diaspora here, has a less well-known role in getting the Maidan regime in power.
The far-right Ukrainian diaspora’s role in Canada and Ukraine, from the end of the Cold War onwards
When Mikhail Gorbachev betrayed socialism in the USSR and implemented his “Perestroika” policies seeking peace and accommodation with the rapacious Western powers during the mid-1980s, the right-wing Ukrainian-Canadian organizations took advantage of the opportunity in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to insert spies and Ukrainian nationalists there. They would go on to lead protest movements against the Soviet Union and cheer with joy when the USSR was dissolved.
When an independent Ukraine still retained close trade and relations with the Russian Federation, the right-wing extremists in the UCC chose to collaborate yet again with Canada’s government with a view to getting Viktor Yuschenko elected in the highly contested 2004 Ukrainian election. He was brought to power on the back of the Western-backed and financed “Orange Revolution,” which the Canadian government and the UCC backed. The “Orange” protests sought to block the election of Viktor Yanukovych, who was supported by those opposing the militant, anti-Russia politics of the far right.
A 2007 article from The Globe and Mail revealed the extent of Canadian interference in Ukraine’s 2004 elections. Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine collaborated with 28 other countries for donor coordination sessions. Canada’s embassy raised funds to help veterans of Otpor (Serbia) and Kmara (Georgia), color revolution specialists, to train Ukrainian groups that planned to protest if Yuschenko did not win the upcoming election. Pora, the civic youth organization which was a key organizer of the Orange Revolution, received its first donation of $30,000 USD via Canada’s embassy in Ukraine.
Canadian election observers were also extremely partisan in favor of Yuschenko. An election re-run came after the first round of Ukrainian election results had neither candidate hitting the required 50%-plus-one percentage to win. For that re-run, which culminated on December 26, Canada sent 500 observers to oversee it at a cost of $3 million CAD. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress sent another 500 observers on its own dime. Canadian election observers were openly cheering on the Orange Revolution, and one even spoke at a Yuschenko rally.
In the aforementioned Globe and Mail article, Mychailo Wynnyckyj, who served as an election observer, admitted that “we were told not to arrive wearing orange, but there was no doubt who everybody was supporting. Of the 500 observers supported by the Canadian government, maybe 100 were, in their hearts, truly impartial.” Many observers showed up in Ukraine in orange, the opposition’s signature color.
The Globe and Mail article notes that one election observer, former Canadian MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, “also invested some of his own fortune, funding election observation missions to Ukraine through the University of Alberta with $250,000 from his family foundation. He opened his spacious apartment in central Kyiv so those sleeping in tents could get an occasional shower.”
Wrzesnewskyj acted as “a conduit between Mr. Martin and Mr. Yushchenko, whom he had introduced in Canada several years earlier, and persuaded the prime minister to read a dramatic statement in the House of Commons” that condemned Russia’s alleged meddling in Ukraine. Election observers such as Wrzesnewskyj would be praised by Prime Minister Paul Martin at the opening of a Ukrainian Canadian Congress office in Winnipeg.
On January 23, 2005, after months in the street, the Orange Revolution won out, and Viktor Yuschenko was declared president of Ukraine. Still, by 2006, the “pro-Russian” politician Viktor Yanukovych’s party got a parliamentary majority, and in 2010 he was elected as president of Ukraine. In 2013, Yanukovych’s government chose to accept a condition-free $15 billion bailout deal from Russia, where Russia cut gas prices by one-third. The EU had offered a far worse deal for further trade integration into the bloc, which would have forced Ukraine to hike prices of fuel and other key goods. The Canadian government and the UCC found this unacceptable.
Then came the U.S.-orchestrated Euromaidan protests in favor of the EU trade deal. These protests, which called for Yanukovych’s resignation, began in November 2013. These protests turned into a violent right-wing coup whose force was mainly provided by neo-Nazi militias, which even tried to assassinate former President Yanukovych. They installed the Maidan regime into power in February 2014.
Ken Stone, treasurer of the Canada-based Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, explained Canada’s open support for the Maidan coup in an article for The Canada Files:
The Canadian government spent $1 billion CAD promoting the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and the Maidan coup of 2014. During the Maidan insurrection, the Harper Government strongly supported the Nazi-ridden insurrection in the Maidan square:
Stone notes that “Following the coup, successive governments of Canada recognized the junta and proceeded to pour Canadian taxpayers’ dollars, to the tune of at least $700 million. CAD, plus arms, into Ukraine from 2014 to the present. It also sent over 200 trainers for the Ukrainian army, dispatched Canadian special forces to Ukraine, and supported Ukraine with Canadian warships in the Black Sea.”
Though Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president in 2019 on the promise of peace with breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, formerly oblasts (provinces) in eastern Ukraine before the 2014 coup, the authoritarian Maidan regime remained in place and his policy and military decisions soon closely mirrored his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has remained steadfast in its support of Zelensky, after he quickly broke his vague election promises of peace. It has lobbied the Canadian government and met with Canadian government officials consistently since 2020 to urge them to increase aid and cooperation with Ukraine.
Danger for the United States
Moss Robeson, an activist and writer who opposes the influence of extreme right-wing Ukrainians, has written extensively about this element of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States. The difference is that the U.S.-based diaspora does not have as direct an influence on the government in the way that Canada’s right-wing Ukrainian diaspora does.
As uncritical NATO narratives are parroted across the U.S. mainstream media and even some left media bows to the pressure to condemn Russia, this is an opportunity for right-wing Ukrainian diaspora organizations to seek direct connections and funding from the U.S. government.
Grave danger is already faced by the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) in the U.S. for rejecting the NATO narrative on Ukraine. APSP was targeted by multiple FBI raids on July 29, 2022, with the Biden administration enabling assaults on anti-imperialist organizations in the U.S., a stance condemned by the Black Alliance for Peace. As of September 22, a delegation of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was visiting the USA.
With entire anti-imperialist organizations under attack, individual academics in the U.S. could very easily face similar waves of attack as Carley did, but even worse because of a xenophobic FBI on the prowl for “Russian interference.”
Carley and resistance to NATO narratives
Professor Michael Carley has faced serious attacks on his reputation and career and was even dropped from the University of Montreal’s research institute (CERIUM) for standing strong on his principles and condemning the Nazi-infested Maidan regime, as even many left writers and organizations bow to the pressure to condemn Russia.
Attacks on Carley come in the context of a right-wing Ukrainian diaspora in Canada that has been backed by the government since its head organization, the UCC, was founded in 1940.
Originally used as a battering ram against communism and left-wing Ukrainians in Canada, the UCC has grown to significantly influence Canadian politics and the two major Canadian political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, with Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland being a direct UCC connection to the very height of Canadian political power.
There is no guarantee that Carley will not face further attacks. The hysteria that will accompany Ukrainian military failures may get directed against those who reject the NATO narrative on Russia’s Special Military Operation. Carley is among those who can face ire yet again. If Carley isn’t defended, the door swings open for similar campaigns against any North American academic who speaks up.
At a time when there is so much discussion and confusion in North America and elsewhere on the spurious so-called equivalence of “communism and fascism,” supposedly as a result of the 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Non-Aggression Pact, the University of Toronto just announced the publication of Carley’s latest book: “Stalin’s Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930–1936.”
People may justly wonder: What kind of a world are we living in when a Nazi collaborator and a U.S. State Department stenographer such as Schué is allowed to predominate over an expert such as Professor Carley?
All this comes amid a shift toward a multipolar world, regardless of the delusions of NATO countries and their puppets who claim otherwise. Anti-imperialist countries, including China, Russia, Iran, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam, the DPRK, Syria, Yemen and more are seeking to de-dollarize and ignore U.S. sanctions that could previously cripple nations.
The ability of maintaining U.S. hegemony, prized by Washington, is slowly slipping away, a clear example being how China ramped up trade with Russia as Western sanctions piled up, and succeeded in significantly softening the impact of Western sanctions. Meanwhile, Iran, in 2020, joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, after striking a 25-year, $400 billion economic cooperation deal with China.
The multipolar world is coming; the people in the imperial core such as Professor Michael Carley, who genuinely support this goal for the future, should be firmly supported.
Act now or live in regret later.
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About the Author
He has written about Canadian imperialism, federal politics, and left-wing resistance to colonialism across the world.
Aidan is a fourth-year Bachelor of Journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University, who was the Head of Communications and Community Engagement for Etobicoke North (Ontario, Canada) New Democratic Party (NDP) Candidate Naiima Farah in the 2019 Federal Election.