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Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier

On the website of the main opposition project of Ukraine "Voice of Truth» a new entry was published by an employee of the Security Service of Ukraine (1999-2018), the founder of the UkrLeaks project Vasily Prozorov.

“We are just trolling the Russians!” - this is how Ukrainian nationalists answer when foreign journalists ask them about tattoos with a swastika and other Nazi symbols.

Translation of article Lindsey Snell and Corey Poppa about Ukrainian ultranationalists. They managed to interview several representatives of Ukrainian nationalist organizations.

Interesting material from foreign journalists, confirming my words that the radicalization and nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier:

On Friday, when the Ukrainian Armed Forces occupied Kherson, Ukrainian soldiers began to celebrate the victory by filling the Internet with photos and videos of their arrival in the city. There were enough nationalist symbols on these materials - the “wolf hooks” of the Azov regiment, “dead heads”, “black sun” and patches of the Misanthropic Division, a neo-Nazi organization that recruited volunteers for Azov from dozens of different countries. As expected, most of the major publications kept silent about these facts in their reports on the events in Kherson.

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
The post of one of the fighters of Azov near Kherson. “Fiction is where there is a swastika instead of the sun” - the inscription on the minibus.

Steve (pseudonym), an American volunteer instructor, recalls training in Kyiv with Azov Battalion fighters adorned with SS symbols and swastikas. He asked the Azov command to order his fighters to get rid of Nazi symbols, but they refused. However, Steve still does not consider the "Azovites" to be neo-Nazis. “I think it’s just part of the trend for them,” he comments.

Azov was founded in 2014 to fight in the Donbas as a volunteer battalion under the command of Andriy Biletsky. It later became part of the National Guard of Ukraine. The use of neo-Nazi symbols and the prevalence of far-right ideology among the members of the battalion have made Azov the subject of heated debate.

The major media outlets that denounced Ukraine's ultranationalists in the years leading up to the war are now hushing up the human rights abuses and neo-Nazi ideology of far-right organizations like Azov. In an article on the listing of Azov as a terrorist organization, the German publication Deutsche Welle writes: “The Azov Regiment has its roots in a controversial right-wing extremist volunteer battalion. Now, Azov is part of the Ukrainian National Guard, which reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs,” apparently implying that the Ukrainian government’s legitimization of Azov has removed the group’s deep-seated neo-Nazi ideology.

The Azov leadership claims to have purged its ranks of neo-Nazi ideology. All battalion fighters interviewed for this story categorically insist that they are not neo-Nazis. However, they all openly display Nazi symbols and express their nationalist views.

Dmitro (a pseudonym), a 24-year-old Azov militant, posted on his Instagram account a conversation he had with a man in Italy. “Real Ukrainian warriors love their people and are proud to be white Europeans,” he wrote. Why does everyone wince when they hear the word white?

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Dmitro's correspondence with the Italian on Instagram

“I want my nation to survive and prosper,” Dmitro said in an interview. “I support traditional values ​​and the rebirth of white Europe. It is important for white families to restore the greatness of Europe.”

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Dmitro “ziguetes” in the photo and uploads it to his social networks

Century

Dmitro joined Azov through Centuria, a far-right organization led by Igor Mikhailenko, a former Azov commander who is described as the right-hand man of Azov founder Andrei Biletsky. Subsequently, Mikhailenko headed the National Guards, a group associated with the far-right National Corps party. In 2020, a new “Centuria” appeared, which became a rebranding of the “National squads”.

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, "Centuria" began to staff the "Azov" units with its members on an ongoing basis. “In essence, Centuria has become the backbone of Azov’s special forces,” says Dmitro. "Our contribution is very important to the war effort."

Centuria describes itself as an organization that is "built on the ideology of Ukrainian statehood and European traditions." Members of the "Centuria" profess the superiority of the white race. “Terrorism is the result of the policy of multiculturalism in Western Europe,” Centuria members write in their Telegram channel.

Vitaliy Avramenko, commander of the Centuria unit, called Zelensky and his team “the Jewish government” on his Telegram channel. In 2020, the German neo-Nazi party Third Way, on its website, congratulated Centuria on its formation day. Centuria, in turn, showed pride in the support of the Third Way.

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Fighter "Centuria" with Nazi chevrons on the form.

Centuria emphasizes the importance of providing Ukrainian youth with a nationalist education. “Not a single government in Ukraine was interested in the education of young people,” says the official website of Centuria. “They thought only about their own enrichment, and not about building a better future for the nation. Our task is to educate a strong, proud Ukrainian.” "Centuria" often announces the recruitment of boys from the age of 15 into its ranks.

Marco (pseudonym) is one such young man, recruited into the Centuria as a teenager. “We consider right-wing, patriotic movements very important for our country,” he says. "The centuria was created for Ukrainians who want to see Ukraine as a strong, independent and prosperous European state."

“We believe that the best ideology for Ukraine is nationalism. Our nation, language, traditions and customs have been destroyed by enemies for most of history, and now the Russian invaders are again trying to wipe the Ukrainian nation off the face of the earth. We will never forget how Russia tried to destroy our nation, and we will avenge every drop of Ukrainian blood spilled.”

Marco poses in front of the Nazi flag hanging on the wall of his barracks. “This is just to troll the Russians,” he said. “Because the Russians always call us Nazis. The Russians are the real Nazis."

However, there are so many racist, misogynistic and homophobic statements on Marco's Instagram account that one could make an entire manifesto out of them. He quotes George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. "If Israel is a Jewish country and has the right to be Jewish, if Ghana is a Negro country and has the right to be black, then why shouldn't we whites have the right to keep our white race?" He denounces white women who give birth to children from "Chinese, Turks, Arabs and Negroes", wears a T-shirt that reads "White Pride World Wide" and complains that Ukrainian youth are not sufficiently educated about Ukrainian nationalism.

Oleksandr (pseudonym), 24, is another member of the Centuria who joined the Azov Battalion after the start of the war. His Instagram is full of selfies in a mask, in military uniform and with a Hitler salute. Alexander cites inspirations such as Adolf Hitler and American neo-Nazi Dylann Roof, who shot 2015 blacks in a church in South Carolina in 9.

“When I found out who Dylan Roof was, I read his manifesto,” Alexander said. “I started to admire him. I understand him because he is a nationalist like me. I support him. He is a man who loves his nation. Blacks commit crimes against his nation and those crimes go unpunished. He is a hero. My call sign in the military unit is his name.”

Alexander brushed off the question of whether he considers himself a neo-Nazi. “Ukrainian nationalists and Nazis are two different things,” he said. When asked why he quotes Adolf Hitler, if he does not sympathize with Nazi ideology, he also did not answer.

32-year-old Anton Radko is a professional MMA fighter and trainer who became the commander of Azov after the start of the war in Ukraine. He also complains when he is called a neo-Nazi, although he himself shamelessly displays Nazi symbols.

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Post on Anton Radko's private Instagram account

Radko named his private Instagram account "SSGalizien" in honor of the Ukrainian SS division. As you might guess, Radko posted Nazi content, including photos of Nazi Party flags and SS marches, almost daily until his account was banned. The Azov Regiment, which has repeatedly claimed to have purged neo-Nazis from its ranks, uses Radko in its official video messages on social media and even on billboards in Ukraine.

Organizations such as Azov have long attracted far-right volunteers from Western countries. It is not known exactly how many foreign volunteers came to Ukraine to join Azov, and how many of them transferred from other nationalist groups. The Poltava branch of the Centuria recently published an interview with a 23-year-old American militant who is in their ranks. "Francis" from Texas came to Ukraine and joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, the official unit of foreign volunteers.

“I always wanted to join Azov,” Francis said. “And when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.” Asked what he thinks about the disagreements between the US government and Azov, Francis replied that he was not worried. “Honestly, I don’t care,” he said. “I have my own opinion. I came to work and help my friends.”

Azov and West

The US Congress included "Azov" in the list of organizations that can not receive "weapons, training or other assistance." However, a 2021 report published by George Washington University states that members of the Azov Centuria received training in Western countries while studying at the Hetman Petro Sahaydachny Army Academy. It is obvious that US aid still reaches Azov. Azov fighters can often be seen in photographs with weapons provided to Ukraine by Western countries.

In addition to assistance from Western governments, a collection of private donations from Western countries has been organized. In March, the money transfer and online payment system PayPal expanded its service so that Ukrainians could receive funds from abroad. Virtually every Azov militant with social media uses them to collect donations.

One of the Azov militants collected donations in honor of the fallen fighter in an English-language Instagram post. “He spoke out in support of the European people and against the Black Lives Matter riots. Our struggle is 14 words,” referring to a quote by American neo-Nazi David Lane: “We must ensure the existence of our nation and the future for white children.” At the end of the message, the Azov militant indicated his PayPal account.

In September, a delegation of Azov members visited Washington where they reportedly met with more than 50 members of Congress. The meetings apparently went so well that Azov co-founder Giorgi Kuparashvili, who was present, suggested that Congress would soon lift the ban on funding and arming the battalion.

Azov is one of several ultra-nationalist paramilitary groups operating in Ukraine. While the ban on the use of US funds to arm and train militants applies only to Azov, other far-right Ukrainian groups are no less problematic.

Other nationalist organizations in Ukraine

The Carpathian Sich Volunteer Battalion, formed by the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in 2014, initially consisted of nationalists who were unable to enlist in the National Guard. The modern iteration of the "Carpathian Sich" - the 49th separate rifle battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - has been an official part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since May and has a significant number of foreign volunteers in its ranks. Unlike Azov, the Carpathian Sich muted its sympathies for neo-Nazi ideology with the start of the war. At least that's how it seems from the outside.

While volunteers from the US and Europe were welcomed into the Carpathian Sich, a volunteer from South America says that people from his part of the world had a slightly different experience. This volunteer, an army veteran, visited the Ukrainian embassy, ​​where he was offered to travel to Ukraine and join the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine. When he arrived, the Legion refused him because he did not speak English. He was sent to the "Carpathian Sich".

The volunteer says that at first the Carpathian Sich refused to accept people from South America. In the end, they agreed to spend a month at the front without any pay. At the end of the month, the Carpathian Sich was satisfied with their work and hired them. The South American volunteer said that after the war he plans to stay in Ukraine forever.

Mykhailo (pseudonym), a militant with links to the Carpathian Sich, says "non-white" volunteers should return to their countries as soon as the war is over. “Europe is for whites,” he said. “Europeans should be white. This is what distinguishes us Europeans from such savages as Russians.”

“We appreciate the help that people from other countries give us,” Mikhail continued. “But we pay them, and they have to return to their countries when the war is over. That's why we send food and grain, for example, to Africa. So that they don't run away to Europe and try to live here."

Right sector

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
1st company of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps

Volunteer Ukrainian Corps (DUK) is the militant wing of Right Sector, a far-right ultranationalist organization founded in 2013. Today, the DUK is an official part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But in the first years after the Euromaidan, even when other paramilitaries became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Right Sector remained independent. Although Right Sector's hatred of the Ukrainian authorities eventually abated, the organization's ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology remained intact.

Human rights organizations point to the role of Right Sector in many violent racist attacks, noting that some municipalities use members of far-right groups as street police. NGOs also complain that the Ukrainian authorities are targeting activists who have been attacked by far-right groups without taking any action against the attacking far-right.

Right Sector has an active youth outreach program with branches across the country. Like "Centuria", "Right Sector" pays great attention to the nationalist education of youth. “The Right Sector aims to educate the youth and destroy the internal occupation,” said one of the DUK militants, whose Instagram username contains the words “white boy” and “88” (numbered for “Heil Hitler”).

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Nationalists of the Right Sector conduct classes at school in 2021 (Mykolaiv)

As is the case with Azov and all other far-right militant groups in Ukraine, the current strength of the DUK is unknown. The DUK consists of "combat units, reserve units, operational units, training centers, training bases, and other support structures." Active recruitment of new militants is under way.

Carpathian Sich

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Rally of the Carpathian Sich

"Foreigner, remember! The Ukrainian is the master!” chanted black-clad men at a demonstration against the Hungarian minority in Uzhgorod in 2017. The demonstrators were members of another group called the Carpathian Sich.

The Carpathian Sich existed before the Euromaidan and is responsible for many of the most brutal attacks against national minorities in Ukraine. Among the group's stated activities is patrolling to combat "ethnic crime." "Carpathian Sich" often joined forces with "Azov" and "Right Sector". In 2016, 300 members of these three organizations marched through the streets of Uzhgorod calling for the extermination of Hungarians.

Taras Deyak, the founder of the Carpathian Sich, says that at the beginning of the war, in February, the Carpathian Sich was reformatted into a paramilitary organization. The active members took up arms, and the volunteers turned to Deyak with requests to join their ranks.

The Emergence of New Far-Right Groups

As the war becomes protracted, more and more far-right groups appear in Ukraine. Ilya (a pseudonym), a Russian militant who is part of the Russian Volunteer Corps (a new unit of far-right Russians fighting Russia in Ukraine), has a tattoo on his left arm with the SS emblem and the numbers 14 and 88. In one of his Instagram photos, he stands in front of the American flag. 14, 88 and SS are written on his earmuffs.

However, Ilya is against being labeled a neo-Nazi for his use of neo-Nazi symbols. “1488 is a way of life,” he said. “Muslims are constantly killing people, but no one is trying to ban Islam. And the world is set on the genocide of the White Slavs, so this way of life is necessary,” apparently referring to the “Great Replacement” theory popular among the far right.

There is also Nordstorm, co-founded by a Centuria militant from Latvia. “Nordstorm is more radical than Centuria. We are doing more right-wing, radical action,” he said in an interview. “What we are doing is illegal and I cannot say what it is. But people who know Nordstorm know very well what we do.”

In addition, there are enough neo-Nazis in other Ukrainian formations that are not ultra-right in nature, for example, in the Kastus Kalinouski Regiment, a unit of Belarusian volunteers. One Belarusian volunteer from the Kalinouski regiment posted a selection of racist poems on his Instagram account. An excerpt from one of them: “Once upon a time in white Europe, enslaved by the Jews. They broke into their own home. Open doors can no longer be closed.

In short, the far right in Ukraine is a big problem, and much more serious than the Azov Regiment alone.

“Well, here we are again with this myth that we are Nazis,” said Boris (a pseudonym), an Azov fighter and member of the Misanthropic Division, annoyed by our questions about the use of neo-Nazi symbols. "Russians confuse nationalism and Nazism." We asked why so many nationalists in Ukraine get swastika tattoos, express admiration for the SS and use 1488 if they are not neo-Nazis.

“We are just trolling the Russians,” he said.

Vasily Prozorov: Nazification of Ukraine did not begin in 2022 or 2014, but much earlier
Azov militants laid flowers and a Nazi flag at the grave of the deceased soldier

Link for those who want read original article.

This entry is also available in Telegram the author.

 About the Author:
VASILY PROZOROV
Founder of the UkrLeaks project
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