“Neo-Nazi” uprising in Ukraine: Russian propaganda or a real risk?

When Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine just over a month ago, he claimed he was on a mission to “denazify” Russia’s eastern European neighbors.

The claim that a country with a Jewish president would be overrun by the far right was repeated on Saturday by one of Putin’s closest allies, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.

“Of the many distortions” the Kremlin cites as reasons for regime change in Ukraine is the alleged need to “denazify” the leadership of the beleaguered nation. save ethnic Russians from “genocide”. is “perhaps the most bizarre,” Allan Ripp continued NBC News. But while “Putin is doing propaganda, it’s also true that Ukraine has a real Nazi problem,” Ripp added.

frontline fighter

The most prominent right-wing extremist group involved in the fight against Russia is the Azov battalion. The unit was created in 2014 as a volunteer militia to fight against Russian-backed separatists in Donbass and was formally admitted to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the same year.

The battalion, named after the Sea of ​​Azov, first joined the fight against the Separatist forces around Mariupol and has been stationed there leading the defense ever since The port city is under relentless bombardment in recent weeks.

The estimated 900 Azov members are “ultranationalists” accused of “fostering neo-Nazi and white racist ideology.” Al Jazeera reported. But the unit “received support from Ukraine’s interior minister” after the annexation of Crimea, “as the government realized its own military was too weak to repel the pro-Russian separatists.”

The group’s founder is Andriy Biletsky, a white nationalist who used to lead the far-right National Corps party. He had “toned down his rhetoric in recent years,” The guard reported in 2020.

But Biletsky had previously urged Ukraine to “lead the white races of the world in a last crusade… against those led by the Semites subhuman [subhumans]”, says the newspaper.

In 2015, the battalion spokesman said “that 10 to 20 percent of Azov recruits were Nazis,” Al Jazeera reported. And although the unit denies that it “adheres to Nazi ideology as a whole,” images and symbols “such as the swastika and SS insignia are common on the uniforms and bodies of Azov dependents.”

“Defender of the Nation”

While “most of Ukraine’s armed forces have been quietly engaged in a grueling tug-of-war with Russia over the past month,” he said The TelegraphAzov was “busy in publishing slick videos and pictures trumpeting his own achievements.”

“Its well-oiled PR machine has produced Ukraine’s war videos in arguably the best quality, with camera drones perfectly capturing the attacks in real time,” the newspaper reported. And “Ukrainian Armed Forces have been happy to use Azov’s videos as visual evidence of the country’s counterattacks on the invading army.”

The efforts of the “effective, courageous and highly ideological” Azov fighters to stop the invasion of Russia have earned them “a great reputation as defenders of the nation and the support of a grateful Ukrainian state,” he wrote unherd Foreign Policy Editor Aris Roussinos.

However, the “uncomfortably close relationship between a liberal-democratic state” and “armed advocates of a very different ideology” is causing “some uneasiness” among Ukraine’s Western supporters, Roussinos added. The US Congress “has been debating back and forth for the past few years whether Azov should be prevented from receiving American arms shipments,” but the battalion has begun receiving some of the deadly supplies of aid from the West as fighting in the Ukraine to aggravate.

Keep enemies closer

In the war against Russia, the Azovs were “stubborn, disciplined and committed fighters”. great benefit to the government in Kyiv, according to Roussinos from UnHerd. Instead of “denazifying the country,” Putin has actually “helped cement the role and presence of far-right factions in Ukraine’s military and revitalized a waning political force.”

The National Corps party of unit founder Biletsky “never ran in national elections,” The Telegraph said. But “its candidates put on a dismal performance in local elections, which is a clear sign of how distant Azov’s ideology is from the concerns of ordinary Ukrainians.”

The organization was also dealt a blow in 2016 report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHA), which accused its fighters of violating international humanitarian law in their response to Russian-backed separatists.

“The current war is certainly a blessed relief for Azov,” Roussinos said. The concern is now with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is forced to “sign a peace agreement By handing over “Ukrainian territory” to Russia, Azov “may find a golden opportunity to challenge what remains of the state and consolidate its own power bases.”

“Right now,” Roussinos added, “Ukraine and Zelenskyy may need the military prowess and ideological zeal of nationalist and far-right militias just to fight and win their fight for national survival.

“But when the war ends, both Zelenskyy and his Western supporters must be very careful to ensure they do not empower groups whose goals are in direct conflict with the liberal-democratic norms they both pledge to uphold.”

Azov “are battle-hardened, having fought some of the toughest street fights against Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine,” Ripp told NBC News.

And while their involvement in the Ukrainian resistance “does not justify the misery that has befallen Ukrainians in recent weeks,” it is crucial that Zelenskyy and his government recognize that the country’s “Nazi problem is real,” he warned rib

https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/europe/956229/is-there-risk-neo-nazi-insurgency-ukraine “Neo-Nazi” uprising in Ukraine: Russian propaganda or a real risk?

Fry Electronics Team

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