Blockbuster: Below the Wolfsangel: The uncomfortable reality about radical ideologies in Ukraine

RT: A cursory have a look at the paperwork relating to the inspiration of the…

RT: A cursory have a look at the paperwork relating to the inspiration of the Ukrainian state would make it seem fairly European and democratic, which is precisely the explanation why many might need dismissed Vladimir Putin’s discuss neo-Nazis in Ukraine as rhetoric and propaganda. The reality, nonetheless, is far more difficult and can’t be summarized by saying “Ukrainian president is Jewish, and thus all allegations are unfaithful”.

Inform me who your heroes are, and I’ll inform you who you’re

One historic determine who has emerged as a hero in post-Maidan Ukraine is Stepan Bandera, a frontrunner and ideologist of the militant wing of the far-right Group of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In the present day, there are streets named after him, individuals sing songs in his honor and carry his portrait.

Born in Galicia (on the time a part of Austria-Hungary) on January 1, 1909, Stepan Bandera was tried on terrorism expenses in Poland on a number of events. In 1934, he was sentenced to loss of life, however the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He served his sentence till 1939, when he was launched following the German invasion of Poland.


Bandera spent his youthful years constructing a profession in nationalist organizations. In 1928, he joined the Ukrainian Navy Group, and in 1929, he turned a member of the Group of Ukrainian Nationalists the place he shortly gained affect. He was instrumental within the break up of the group into two factions in February 1940. Bandera turned the chief of the extra radical OUN-B, whereas extra reasonable members supported Andriy Melnyk’s OUN-M.

Each factions supported Hitler’s Third Reich and collaborated with the Germans throughout WWII. Bandera personally negotiated the creation of the “Ukrainian Legion” below German command that was lastly organized as two models. One, commanded by Roman Shukhevych turned generally known as Nachtigall Battalion, and the opposite, commanded by Richard Yary, was the Roland Battalion. Each have been the subunits below command of the Abwehr (the German military-intelligence service) particular operation unit Brandenburgers.

The first Galician Division of the SS was additionally drafted predominantly from volunteers of Ukrainian ethnic background with ties to the OUN. One of many Division’s battalions was commanded by an OUN member, Main Yevgeny Pobigushchy. Current-day Ukrainian propaganda depicts this Division because the Ukrainian Rebel Military, however it was yet one more OUN-established nationalist paramilitary group that collaborated with the Nazis and was steered by the OUN leaders Dmytro Klyachkivsky and Roman Shukhevych. In actuality, the first Galician Division of the SS began off because the   SS-Freiwilligen Division “Galizien” however was re-named after 1944 because the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS and was purported to be made up of Galicians solely, who have been thought of by Nazis to be “extra Aryan-like” than Ukrainians. Nevertheless, OUN-B efficiently infiltrated the division and took over some main positions in it.

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The Nazi essence of Bandera is highlighted by the choices of the group, paragraph 16 of the instruction ‘Wrestle and Actions of the OUN in Wartime’ of 1941 states:

“Nationwide minorities are divided into these:

a) pleasant to us, that’s, members of all enslaved peoples; 

b) hostile to us – Muscovites, Poles, Jews.

a) with identical rights as Ukrainians, who can return to their homeland; 

b) who’re destroyed within the battle, besides for many who defend the regime: resettlement of their lands, the destruction, to start with, of the intelligentsia, which shouldn’t be allowed in any authorities establishments, and customarily make it unattainable for the intelligentsia to look, that’s, entry to varsities, and many others. For instance, the so-called Polish villagers must be assimilated, informing them, particularly on this scorching, fanatical time, that they’re Ukrainians, solely of the Latin ceremony, forcibly assimilated. Destroy the leaders. Isolate the Yids, take away them from authorities establishments with a purpose to keep away from sabotage, particularly Muscovites and Poles. If there’s an insurmountable want to depart a Yid within the financial equipment, put our policeman over him and liquidate him for the slightest offense.

The leaders of sure areas of life can solely be Ukrainians, and never foreigners-enemies. Assimilation of Yids is out of the query.”

Bandera, as the top of this group, was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine by ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko on January 20, 2010. On February 17, 2010, MEPs known as on newly elected President Viktor Yanukovych to rethink Yushchenko’s actions, and the Simon Wiesenthal Middle expressed “deep disgust” over the “shameful” veneration of Bandera.

After the coup of 2014, the brand new Ukrainian authorities took a extra systematic method to glorifying Hitler’s collaborators. In April of 2015, the legislation ‘On the Authorized Standing and Perpetuation of the Reminiscence of Fighters for the Independence of Ukraine within the twentieth Century’ was adopted, through which the OUN and UPA are glorified. This perpetuation of reminiscence refers back to the constructing of memorial complexes, renaming important locations after the collaborators, propaganda in artwork, and many others. In 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a decision on celebrating memorable dates and anniversaries. The checklist contains the birthday of Stepan Bandera. On January 1, torchlight processions honoring Bandera are held yearly in Ukrainian cities, and a Stepan Bandera Avenue has appeared in Kiev.

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Nothing within the legislation prevents marches to be held and monuments to be erected in honor of the Galicia SS division. In accordance with Ukrainian laws, no monuments might be created with out the permission of the municipal authorities.

Historic myths at school and the Hitler Youth

Educating kids within the spirit of Ukrainian Nazism begins at school. Particularly, a historical past textbook written by Mykola Galichants immediately refers back to the ‘Aryan origin’ of the Ukrainian nation, whose existence he traces immediately again to the Paleolithic period. This textbook was revealed in 2005.

All references to the ‘Second World Struggle’ have fully disappeared from Ukrainian textbooks. Within the examination subjects for 2020, solely a sure ‘Soviet-German Struggle’ is talked about and any reference to Hitler, Bandera, the Holocaust, and many others. is diligently averted. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions. One model of a Fifth-grade textbook notes that on April 1, 1939, Hitler allegedly said: “The soul hurts after we see the struggling of the noble Ukrainian individuals… The time has come to create a standard Ukrainian state.” Some textbooks specific delight that Ukrainian youths defended German cities from bombing assaults, whereas others declare that the regimes of Hitler and Stalin have been equally hostile to Ukrainians.

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These discrepancies are unsurprising as a result of there is no such thing as a single historical past textbook for colleges in Ukraine. Whereas the authors attempt to adjust to a legislation entitled ‘On the Condemnation of the Communist and Nationwide Socialist Regimes and the Prohibition of Propaganda of Their Symbols’, when referring to the cooperation of the OUN and Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church with the Nazis, it could seem that they don’t seem to be all the time profitable.

For instance, a Tenth-grade textbook authored by V. Vlasov and S. Kulchitsky talks about how Metropolitan Archbishop Andrei Sheptytsky saved Jews, for which individuals are usually bestowed with the title ‘Righteous Among the many Nations of the World’. Nevertheless, the Israeli World Holocaust Remembrance Middle, Yad Vashem, denied Sheptytsky this honor, and it’s fairly clear why. Originally of World Struggle II, Sheptytsky despatched a letter to Hitler expressing help for the ‘liberation’ of Kiev. The textbook additionally names Bandera because the initiator of the ‘Act of Restoration of Ukrainian Statehood’. Whereas educators are in no hurry to tell schoolchildren of its contents, you may see festive posters on the streets of Ukraine honoring this doc. It must be famous that the third web page of this Act reads as follows: “As soon as restored, the Ukrainian State will carefully cooperate with Nationwide Socialist Germany, which is creating a brand new system in Europe and the world below the management of Adolf Hitler and serving to the Ukrainian individuals to free themselves from Moscow’s occupation. The Ukrainian Nationwide Revolutionary Military, which is being shaped on Ukrainian soil, will battle along with the allied German Military in opposition to Moscow for a sovereign, united Ukrainian state and a brand new system all through the world.”

However what the faculties don’t train is made up for by Ukrainian neo-Nazi organizations which might be lively everywhere in the nation. The commonest are the Azovets army camps organized by the Azov Battalion, the place kids from the age of seven are taught to interact in battle and sabotage. The complete coaching system is plagued by Nazi symbols and slogans. Particularly, the Ukrainian chant ‘Ukraine above all’ is immediately derived from ‘Deutschland über alles’.


Whereas Ukrainian nationalists performed an necessary function within the change of energy in the course of the Euromaidan in 2013-2014, the schooling of younger individuals within the Nazi spirit started means earlier than 2014. For instance, in 2006, terrorist and sabotage coaching have been performed in Estonia below the steerage of curators from NATO international locations. In 2013, the UNA-UNSO additionally reported that they’d performed these workout routines. The latter group is likely one of the oldest, and its members took half within the wars in opposition to the Russian military in Georgia and Chechnya. The coaching of militants and the Patriot of Ukraine group are broadly identified, and these processes are supported on the highest state stage. For instance, a neo-Nazi camp organized by the Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Tryzub group was honored by the presence of Valentin Nalivaichenko, the top of the Ukrainian Safety Service.


The Nazi aspect of Maidan and atrocities within the Donbass

Whereas the worldwide media confirmed Ukraine’s Euromaidan with the leaders of pro-Western political events well-known overseas, a bunch of far-right organizations was forming behind the scenes – the Proper Sector. Tryzub, Bely Molot (“White Hammer”), Patriot of Ukraine, the Social-Nationwide Meeting, radical soccer followers and others got here below its umbrella.

Every of those organizations has its ideological roots within the Group of Ukrainian Nationalists from the World Struggle 2 period. Tryzub was based by Yaroslava Stetsko, the spouse of the creator of the Ukrainian Statehood Renewal Act and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. Yuri Shukhevich, the son of Roman Shukhevich, the infamous Ukrainian Rebel Military commander and deputy commander of the Nachtigall Battalion, headed up the Ukrainian Nationwide Meeting – Ukrainian Folks’s Self-Protection. He was additionally an MP. The “respectable” nationalists from the Svoboda celebration selected the title Social-Nationwide Occasion (sound acquainted?) when it was based in 1991. The novel Patriot of Ukraine group got here from this celebration, and, to start with, its head was Andriy Parubiy, ex-Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.

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Statements made by the leaders give an concept as to what these “patriots” imagine in. Azov’s deputy commander Oleg Odnorozhenko, who additionally holds management positions throughout the Social-Nationwide Meeting and was one of many ideologists behind Patriot of Ukraine, thinks that it’s essential to revive white dominance in international locations with “non-while inhabitants.”  And Andriy Biletsky, co-founder of the Social-Nationwide Meeting, who was once an MP and now serves as chief of the Nationwide Corps, (the Azov Battalion’s political wing), is satisfied that the historic mission of the Ukrainian nation is to “spearhead the white campaign in opposition to sub-humans led by Semites.” Oleg Tyagnibok, the  “respectable”  founding father of Patriot of Ukraine, additionally made his views on the “Jewish situation” very clear again in 2004.

Anti-Semitism can also be spreading in Ukraine, together with the Nazi ideology. In response to the 2020 report revealed by the United Jewish Neighborhood of Ukraine, 56% of Jews residing in Ukraine really feel like anti-Semitism is rising within the nation. The doc additionally comprises quite a few pictures that exhibit anti-Semitic tendencies amongst Ukrainians.

Masked neo-Nazis attack Roma camp with knives in deadly late night raid in Lvov, Ukraine

These have been the individuals who shaped a extremely motivated core group of the so-called anti-terrorist operation within the Donbass after the civil battle in Ukraine broke out. Performing President Oleksandr Turchynov gave the order to determine these paramilitary battalions. First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaly Yarema mentioned, “We are going to invite Maidan’s activists and squads that assist preserve nationwide order to the Nationwide Guard. These servicemen is likely to be deployed to the east and south.”

Brining followers of Stepan Bandera’s ideology to the DPR and LPR led to quite a few crimes in opposition to civilians, which worldwide organizations couldn’t ignore. In September 2015, a report was revealed by the Particular Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, stating that “there stay a small variety of probably violent militia teams, such because the Proper Sector, that act seemingly on their very own authority, because of a excessive stage of official tolerance, and with full impunity” within the Donbass and the remainder of Ukraine.

Amnesty Worldwide additionally revealed a report on the crimes dedicated by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion, in addition to report on how the Safety Service of Ukraine (SBU) saved individuals in unacknowledged detention for lengthy intervals of time (typically as much as fifteen months) with out correct felony course of being adopted and denying them entry to legal professionals and kinfolk. The latter doc offers ugly particulars concerning the torture of a resident of Mariupol, Artem, (whose actual title was withheld) by the Azov Battalion (that grew out of the Patriot of Ukraine neo-Nazi group). He was tortured with electrical shocks, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The UN Workplace of the Excessive Commissioner on Human Rights cites a number of instances of the members of the Azov Battalion and troopers of the Ukrainian military looting and violating civilians. In a most outrageous act of violence, a person with a psychological incapacity was topic to merciless remedy and rape by the hands of members of the Azov and Donbas Battalions. The sufferer’s well being subsequently deteriorated, and he was positioned in a psychiatric hospital.

In Mariupol, the Azov Battalion was reported to have had a secret detention facility the place a number of individuals have been tortured. Ukraine’s SBU was mentioned to offer the quilt for the operation, which signifies that this exercise was supported by the official authorities of Ukraine. What extra proof do we want, if former deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, Vadym Troyan, went on to be appointed Deputy Minister of Inside Affairs of Ukraine, and the Azov Battalion itself is now a unit of the Nationwide Guard of Ukraine that serves the Ministry of Inside Affairs? Troyan was answerable for police reforms that concerned an entire change of employees. On his orders, the officers who labored with the earlier authorities of Viktor Yanukovych have been let go and changed. Most of the new recruits have been keen to indicate off their Nazi salutes in entrance of the Ministry’s entrance carrying the coat-of-arms of Ukraine.

The actual fact is the authorities in Kiev don’t even cover their affection for symbols of the Third Reich. For instance, the insignia of the Azov Battalion embrace the Wolfsangel (Wolf Entice) image that was extremely popular with numerous German Wehrmacht and SS models. It was carried by the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, amongst others. Azov members have additionally been pictured sporting the Schwarze Sonne (Black Solar) one other well-known neo-Nazi image. The identical goes for the insignia of the Donbass Battalion, which options the Nazi Eagle in a nose-dive assault.

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Moreover, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a decision “On departure from some obligations enshrined within the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” as early as Might 2015. This decision supplied a authorized basis for the battle crimes dedicated by the regime in opposition to the inhabitants residing within the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Zone, the ATO being what Ukraine formally known as its battle in opposition to Donbass.

The Nazi Worldwide

From the very first days of Kiev’s battle in opposition to Donbass, Ukrainian troops have been joined by worldwide mercenaries, principally of a neo-Nazi, ultra-right and racist selection. The Azov Battalion, joined by the intense proper Misanthropic Division, performed a key function in organizing this worldwide neo-Nazi guerilla community.

Worldwide mercenaries started coaching for the Misanthropic Division as early as in 2015 in Portugal, and residents of France, Italy, Belarus, Canada, Sweden, Slovenia and the USA had all participated within the battle on Donbass earlier than that. For instance, there have been experiences of Mikael Skillt, a Swedish neo-Nazi sniper becoming a member of the Azov Battalion. Portugal’s Publico every day reported that Francesco Saverio Fontana, an Italian neo-fascist linked to CasaPound Italia fought in Donbass and recruited worldwide fighters for Ukraine’s ATO operation from the UK, France and Brazil. Michael Colborne, a Canadian journalist working with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Community (BIRN) reported that in 2014 and 2015 the Azov Battalion was joined by not less than thirty mercenaries from Croatia. In response to the information supplied by the German authorities upon the request of the Left Occasion faction, the entire variety of foreigners who joined the battle in opposition to Donbass exceeded one thousand, together with about 150 German fighters.

Nevertheless it’s not simply mercenaries. The Azov Battalion has additionally been strengthening ties with far proper and Nazi organizations within the US and Europe. It’s in touch not solely with the Croatian neo-Nazis and racists, but in addition ones in Estonia (EKRE), France (Bastion Social), Poland (Szturmowcy), the US (Rise Above Motion), Sweden (Nordic Resistance Motion), and Italy (CasaPound). Final yr, head of the Rise Above Motion Greg Johnson got here to Kiev to satisfy with like-minded individuals, whereas the Swedish Nordic Resistance Motion gladly publish interviews with Azov Battalion members.

German media reported on the Azov Battalion’s shut ties with the Nationwide Democratic Occasion of Germany and Der III. Weg (The Third Path). These ties additionally prolong to Norway, because the constructing housing the Nationwide Democratic Occasion’s HQ belongs to a Norwegian nationalist. Die Zeit investigated how native nationalists are related with the Azov Battalion and came upon about quite a lot of joint tasks. The investigation highlighted the lively function performed by Azov’s Elena Semenyaka, who visited Germany eight occasions. Amongst different instances, she was invited by the far-right Die Rechte to talk to an Identitarian Motion group (Identitäre Bewegung Deutschland). At a pageant organized by the neo-Nazi celebration Der III. Weg close to Erfurt in 2018, she promoted a right-wing rock pageant in Ukraine known as Asgardsrei. Asgardsrei is likely one of the largest nationalistic occasions of its sort, enabling right-wing extremists from Norway, Italy, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere to satisfy and trade concepts. It’s typically even doable to see the Atomwaffen Division flags within the viewers.

Masked neo-Nazis attack Roma camp with knives in deadly late night raid in Lvov, Ukraine

Neo-Nazis have shut and intensive worldwide ties, which has led to a rising variety of terrorist assaults, in addition to hate and religion-driven crimes, such because the New Zealand mosque taking pictures or California synagogue taking pictures. When Italy was investigating the homicide of journalist Andrea Rocchelli, it got here to gentle that there have been 5 Italians combating within the Donbass on Ukraine’s aspect – particularly, as a part of the Azov Battalion. They discovered a stash the place neo-Nazis saved over 100 weapons and even an air-to-air missile. Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister of Italy on the time, mentioned that Ukrainian nationalists have been planning an assassination try on him.

In response to the UN Safety Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, in 2015-2020 the world noticed a 320% rise in terrorist assaults affiliated with far-right ideologies.

To a big extent, we’ve got Ukraine to ‘thank’ for that. Hatebook – an investigative report revealed by the London-based Middle for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) on its web site – highlights the usage of social media to coordinate neo-Nazi actions internationally. That is what the report says concerning the Azov Battalion and Misanthropic Division: “Each teams have sought to export their ideology to Western international locations, achieve followers and incite violence. Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi paramilitary drive, has provided to host and practice US members of the violent Rise Above Motion. Misanthropic Division – carefully affiliated with Azov – influenced home extremists within the US and the UK who have been charged with terrorist offences.”

Regardless of quite a few makes an attempt to designate the Azov Battalion as a terrorist group, Western international locations nonetheless haven’t managed to try this. So, right here’s a query – who advantages from supporting Nazism in Ukraine?