Western groups like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are not recognizing the November 2 vote for leadership of the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, so there are no traditional monitors observing the self-styled elections.
But the Agency for Security and Cooperation in Europe (ASCE) is.
It is an organization that does not appear to actually exist. Nevertheless, the day before the Donetsk and Luhansk vote, Ewald Stadler, an Austrian politician -- who could not remember if his new group was an "agency" or an "association" -- announced that observers would be monitoring the polls under its auspices.
So who is Ewald Stadler? Perhaps there are two of him.
Here, he is as a calm representative of Europe telling anti-Kyiv freelance journalist Graham Phillips that voting is meeting international standards.
And here he is, in 2010, giving what the U.S.-based Stormfront "white power" website gleefully called the most racist speech ever delivered in a European parliament:
In 2002, the far-right former European MP refused to say whether Austria under Naziism was worse than Austria under Allied power.
Despite Moscow's persistent warnings about the rise of fascism in Ukraine, it has relied on "euroskeptic" fringe parties from both the far left and far right in Europe to support its efforts in Ukraine.
And as outlined in detail by "The Interpreter" online journal, at least 17 representatives from far-right parties have come to Ukraine -- apparently through Russia -- to observe the unrecognized November 2 vote.
While Stadler appears to be keeping his more controversial opinions on race and religion to himself while in Ukraine, other observers are apparently rejecting such caution.
-- Glenn Kates