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Azov Battalion neo-Nazis and fascists emerge as custodians of Ukraine

Azov Battalion, Ukraine, Joe Biden, Neo-Nazis, Adolf Hitler, Zelensky, Azov, Nazi, Ukrainian National Guard


Azov Battalion neo-Nazis and fascists emerge as custodians of Ukraine

Despite the fact of Azov Battalion known to the world as one of the cruelest neo-Nazi fascist groups, Joe Biden and several Western leaders are showing no sign of rumors in backing these neo-Nazis in further consolidating power in Ukraine. According to analysts, members of Azov Battalion had long ago emerged into the custodian of Ukraine by establishing extreme romance with Vladimir Zelensky – the clown-turned politician. Members of this group considers Adolf Hitler as their iconic guru, upholds Nazi symbols and promotes white supremacist ideology.

The Washington Post in a recent article has elaborated the fascist tendencies of Azov Battalion. It said:

“Of all the Ukrainian forces fighting the invading Russian military, the most controversial is the Azov Battalion. It is amongst Ukraine’s most adept military units and has battled Russian forces in key cities, including the besieged city of Mariupol and near the capital Kiev.

“…the battalion’s far-right nationalist ideology has raised concerns that it is attracting extremists, including white supremacist neo-Nazis, who could pose a future threat”.

In an interview, the force’s co-founder and top commander, Col. Andriy Biletskiy, did not dispute his far-right ultraconservative leanings or the presence of some extremists in his units, according to The Post.

Transnational support for Azov has been wide, and Ukraine has emerged as a new hub for the far right across the world, The Post alleged. “…Even as they have consistently denied any Nazi affiliations, their uniforms and tattoos on many of their fighters display a number of fascist and Nazi symbols, including swastikas and SS symbols.”

Mariupol is also where the Azov Battalion, which is part of the Ukrainian National Guard and thus subordinate to the Interior Ministry, has set up its headquarters. Its fighters are well trained, but the unit is composed of nationalists and far-right radicals, according to a report in German media DW.

In 2019, there was an attempt by US Congress to designate the regiment as a “terrorist organization” but this did not happen. Nevertheless, for years, Azov has maintained contacts with far-right movements abroad, including in Germany according to the German government’s answer to a question related to this issue by the Left Party parliamentary group,” according to DW.

Azov received support from Ukraine’s interior minister in 2014. These forces were privately funded by Ukrainian oligarchs – the most known being Igor Kolomoisky, an energy magnate billionaire and then-governor of the Dnipropetrovska region.

It should be mentioned here that, Ukraine has a genuine Nazi problem — both past and present. On the eve of World War II, Ukraine was home to one the largest Jewish communities in Europe, with estimates as high as 2.7 million, a remarkable number considering the territory’s long record of antisemitism and pogroms. By the end, more than half would perish. When German troops took control of Kyiv in 1941, they were welcomed by “Heil Hitler” banners. Soon after, nearly 34,000 Jews — along with Roma and other “undesirables” — were rounded up and marched to fields outside the city on the pretext of resettlement only to be massacred in what became known as the “Holocaust by bullets”.

The Babyn Yar ravine continued to fill up as a mass grave for two years. With as many as 100,000 murdered there, it became one of the largest single killing sites of the Holocaust outside of Auschwitz and other death camps. Researchers have noted the key role locals played in fulfilling Nazi kill orders at the site.

In Ukraine far-right groups have gained political currency in the past decade, none more chilling than Svoboda (formerly the Social National Party of Ukraine), whose leader claimed the country was controlled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” and whose deputy used an antisemitic slur to describe Ukrainian-born Jewish actor Mila Kunis. Svoboda has sent several members to Ukraine’s Parliament, including one who called the Holocaust a “bright period” in human history, according to Foreign Policy.

Just as disturbing, neo-Nazis are part of some of Ukraine’s growing ranks of volunteer battalions. They are battle-hardened after waging some of the toughest street fighting in eastern Ukraine. One is the Azov Battalion, founded by an avowed white supremacist who claimed Ukraine’s national purpose was to rid the country of Jews and other inferior races. In 2018, the US Congress stipulated that its aid to Ukraine couldn’t be used “to provide arms, training or other assistance to the Azov Battalion.” Even so, Azov is now an official member of the Ukraine National Guard.

West denies or ignores neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine

Zelensky has to fully depend on neo-Nazis, including Azov Battalion and Right Sector as Ukraine’s regular army is weakened by decades of corruption and neglect. According to analysts, these battalions distinguished themselves by fighting in the hottest engagements and suppressing further secession attempts in government-controlled regions; as a result, they grew, in size and popularity. Their commanders were elected to Ukraine’s parliament, their units deployed to hold critical hotspots along the frontline. What began as neo-Nazi street gangs evolved into the best fighters in the country.

Now Zelensky, Ukrainian regular army and these neo-Nazis have gathered into same platform. Under the pretext of fighting Russian troops, neo-Nazis are gradually consolidating power and it is feared that the future of Ukraine would be even worse than Afghanistan. Neo-Nazis will certainly transform Ukraine into a ‘Nazi Land’ of this century, where Adolf Hitler’s statues would be erected throughout the country, and Nazi SS and Swastika signs will be prominently displayed everywhere.

Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz

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