Ukraine's #TrashBucketChallenge Is Its Violent, Appalling Version Of The Ice Bucket Challenge
So, this whole "bucket challenge" thing is starting to get a little out of hand. What was first ushered into the public consciousness as a clever (and very effective) means to generate donations for combating ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge, has since mutated into different derivative forms intended not just to raise awareness, but to make a political statement. And while there's nothing wrong with political statements broadly, this is a little jarring — Ukrainian politicians are taking the #TrashBucketChallenge, and they don't want to, to put it mildly.
So, what is the Trash Bucket Challenge? Well, first of all, are you a member of Ukraine's far-right radical group Right Sector? You are? Great! Here's how it works: find a Ukrainian politician who was affiliated with/supported the government of deposed ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, or even just a politician you blame for the ongoing corruption and strife within the Eastern European nation. Then, grab them and throw them into a dumpster or garbage can. Congratulations, you've just foisted the Trash Bucket Challenge on someone!
Yes, indeed, that's all 100 percent true. Right-wing Ukrainian dissidents are hurling politicians into trash receptacles, and they're doing it with the utmost vigor.
According to Mashable's Christopher Miller, the dumpster-ed man shown above is insurance official Oleg Rudenko, who's been accused of taking a $45,000 bribe. Of course, ideally you'd take care of corruption allegations through the justice system, rather than hurling somebody into the trash.
A similar fate befell Viktor Pylypyshyn, a Ukrainian member of parliament (MP) who was attacked by a mob and made to sit on the ground, covered in trash, streaked and smeared with red paint across his face and arms on the very night he was trying to register for another parliamentary run, according to the Kyiv Post. Pylypyshyn was targeted because he'd been one of the parliamentarians who supported Yanukovych's efforts to enact a series of draconian measures in early 2014, aimed at halting the burgeoning revolution against his rule. The government's response to ensuing protests turned bloody, with over 100 protesters reportedly killed.
All that said, that doesn't mean that right-wing mobs should get a free pass to toss people into dumpsters. Things have been tumultuous in Ukraine for basically the entire year, and they've gotten awfully violent recently, with military battles between Ukranian and pro-Russian forces claiming thousands of lives in eastern areas like Donetsk. And that upheaval — combined with the lack of punishment that former Yanukovych supporters and corrupted politicians in the government have received — is causing concern that more and more dissidents could start turning to this kind of street justice. The Kyiv Post quoted Hlib Vyshlinsky, the deputy director for market research/polling organization GfK Ukraine:
This phenomenon undermines perception of the authorities as those who control the situation. Something needs to be done to the problem that underlines this trend, the fact that nobody has been punished.
The reason this is causing concern is, well, pretty obvious — this is extremely proximate to mob rule, and indeed, the BBC reports that one politician was badly beaten in the process of being dumped.