Ukraine: The role of Fascist far right in conflict

The Azov volunteer battalion is run by an extremist group and sports a modified neo-Nazi Wolf’s Hook

Ever since Ukraine’s February revolution, the Kremlin has characterised the new leaders in Kiev as a “fascist junta” made up of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, set on ethnic cleansing, the Russian-speaking population.

Svoboda is a Nazi party and was founded in 1991 as a Hitlerite party; it adopted the title of the National-Socialist Party of the Ukraine (Ukrainian: Соціал-національна партія України).

They explicitly state a desire to restore the Third Reich or quote historical National Socialism as their “ideological influence”.

Svoboda has attempted to link with the Nazis of the past.

Oleh Yaroslavovych Tyahnybok is leader of Svoboda political party. He notoriously made a speech in the Carpathian Mountains at the grave site of a commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. [ note: Taken from:Yushchenko Finally Gets Tough On Nationalists, The Jamestown Foundation (3 August 2004)] In the speech, which was aired on television in the summer of 2004, he made comments such as,

“[You are the ones] that the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine fears most”

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary, the military wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists—Bandera faction (the OUN-B) that engaged in a series of conflicts against the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
Its official date of creation is 14 October 1942; The Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army at the period from December 1941 till July 1943 has the same name (Ukrainian Insurgent Army or UPA).

During its existence, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought against the Poles and the Soviets as their primary opponents. From late spring 1944, the UPA and Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B (OUN-B)—faced with Soviet advances—also temporarily cooperated with German forces against the Soviets and Poles. It played a substantial role in ethnic cleansing of the Polish population of Volhynia and East Galicia.

After the end of World War II, the People’s Army of Poland, fought extensively against the UPA. The UPA remained active and fought against the People’s Republic of Poland until 1947, and against the Soviet Union until 1949.

Government ministers have links to nationalist parties. Ukrainian officials and many in the media now claim that Ukrainian politics are fascist-free and it remains a highly sensitive issue one which top officials and the media shy away from.

After the Maidan coup in Kiev in February 2014, the various ministerial posts were handed out, the fascist forces gained control of defence and got hold of various military hardware including armoured vehicles and tanks. They proceeded to lead the attack on the East and start the war.

Poroshenko pictured patting the shoulder of fascist Serhiy Korotkykh.

The Ukrainian leader, Poroshenko, handed out medals on 5 December to fighters who tried to capture the main airport in the eastern region of Donetsk.
Among the recipients was Serhiy Korotkykh, a Belarusian national, to whom Mr Poroshenko awarded Ukrainian citizenship, praising his “courageous and selfless service”.

Serhiy Korotkykh was among the fighters surrounded inside the wreck of Donetsk airport terminal
Experts who follow the far right have strongly objected to President Poroshenko’s decision.
They say Mr Korotkykh was a member of the far-right Russian National Unity party and also a founding member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Society (NSS) in Russia.
According to Ukrainian academic Anton Shekhovtsov, the NSS’s main goal “is to prepare for a race war”.
Mr Shekhovtsov said the Belarusian had been charged for involvement in a bombing in central Moscow in 2007, and was detained in 2013 in the Belarusian capital Minsk for allegedly stabbing an anti-fascist activist. He was later released for lack of evidence.
Top Ukrainian officials then rejected as defamatory any claims that Mr Korotkykh had neo-Nazi ties.

“Counter-intelligence has no information that could prevent him from receiving Ukrainian citizenship,” said Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the head of Ukraine’s security services.
Nevertheless, the fact is, neo-Nazis are indeed a fixture in Ukraine’s new political landscape.

Azov Battalion

As Mr Korotkykh’s case demonstrates, the Nazis are fighters in the brutal war in the east.
The volunteer Azov Battalion.

The Azov battalion enjoys the support of Kiev top officials
Run by the extremist Patriot of Ukraine organisation, which considers Jews and other minorities “sub-human” and calls for a white, Christian crusade against them, it sports three Nazi symbols on its insignia: a modified Wolf’s Hook, a black sun (or “Hakensonne”) and the title Black Corps, which was used by the Waffen SS.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and his deputy Anton Gerashchenko actively supported the parliament candidacy of Andriy Biletsky, the Azov and Patriot of Ukraine commander
· Vadim Troyan, another top Azov official and Patriot of Ukraine member, was recently named police chief for the Kiev region
· Mr Korotkykh is also an Azov member

Kiev’s media have been noticeably silent on this subject.

And after the Unian news agency reported the presidential ceremony under the headline, “Poroshenko awarded Belarusian neo-Nazi with Ukrainian passport”, it was soon replaced with an article that air-brushed out the accusations of extremism.

Unian’s editors have declined to comment on the two pieces.

There are significant risks to this silence. Experts say the Azov Battalion, which has been widely reported on in the West, has damaged Ukraine’s image.

Ukraine’s far-right extremists have also made inroads by other means, as in the country’s police department.

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