Corrupt Ukraine

Nazis in Ukraine

SITUATION: Ukraine has an active Nazi community.

DETAILS: In fact, they have a Nazi battalion in their military. They have so
many far right Nazis that they are a marketing demographic. There is a
Neo Nazi music scene. They hold annual Nazi concerts ripe with Hitler salutes, swastikas and white supremacy slogans.

WHY IT MATTERS: Putin claimed his invasion in Ukraine was, in part, to “De-Nazify” the country. It is clear this is not the whole truth, but – nonetheless – it should’ve at least started a conversation about Nazis in Ukraine. However, this has been almost entirely ignored. Through our investigation, we found that Nazism is more entrenched in the country that we were led to believe.

The upcoming neo-Nazi concert in Ukraine that no one is talking about

The upcoming neo-Nazi concert in Ukraine that no one is talking about

Saturday will see up to 1,500 people attending a gig in Kiev headlined by notorious U.S. neo-Nazi group Blue Eyed Devils. Even an expert on the far-right music scene is shocked how open Fortress Europe is being

ANALYSIS

Culture

Nazism is part of culture for some parts of Ukraine. There are even far right clothing brands like Svastone which is owned by a prominent Ukranian neo-Nazi named Arseniy Bilodub. It has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram and around 7,000 on Facebook. Sva Stone’s clothing includes symbols that mimic the Nazi SS logo and feature modified swastikas. It also makes a line of T-shirts with its swastika-like logo and the slogans “white boy,” “white girl” and a children’s size “white baby.”

“Generally, it’s worn by neo-Nazis around Eastern Europe,” said Pavel Klymenko, a monitor of extremism and researcher at the FARE Network, an organization that tracks far-right hooliganism and discrimination in soccer.

Arseniy Bilodub is also the head of a neo-Nazi band Sokyra Peruna (“Perun’s Ax” in Ukrainian).

He has fronted Sokyra Peruna since the mid-1990s, his lyrics have denied the Holocaust (“Six million lies”); decried apparent Jewish control of Ukraine — ironically, the country’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish, as is outgoing Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman; and lamented that people have forgotten the “14 Words,” a notorious neo-Nazi slogan authored by the late U.S. white supremacist David Lane.

Sokyra Peruna along with a dozen neo-Nazi bands from around the world with violent, racist and openly anti-Semitic lyrics — including a band whose former guitar player murdered six people in a 2012 hate crime — will be performing at the Bingo Club, a venue that can hold up to 1,500 people.

 

Saturday night won’t be the band’s first time at the Bingo Club, either. At a concert Sokyra Peruna headlined last year, Ukrainian journalists from the Zaborona website, who focus on topics they feel are underdiscussed in Ukrainian media, witnessed numerous open displays of Hitler salutes, Nazi flags and swastika tattoos.

Other neo-Nazi events hosted at the Bingo Club include a two-day neo-Nazi metal concert last December, headlined by a band fronted by Kiev-based Russian neo-Nazi Alexey Levkin, a senior figure in the Azov movement. On Fortress Europe’s Facebook page, Bingo is described as “a key part of the Svastone family.”

Finnish band Mistreat, also decades-long veterans of Europe’s neo-Nazi music scene, could well perform their song “I Hate Faggots” on Saturday — especially troubling given that Kiev’s annual LGBT march is taking place the day after. Their lyrics include lines about murdering black people, proclaiming “the swastika will fly again” and praising the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Evil Barber, a Ukrainian band formed in 2014, doesn’t have as long a history as some of its peers. But some band members used to be in Tsyrulnia, a group who over almost two decades released albums like “Six Million Soaps” and “Thor Against Torah,” and songs asking “why Jews walk so free and easy.”

Government

 In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Yarosh won a parliament seat as a Right Sector candidate by winning a single-member district with 29.8% of the votes.[35] Right Sector spokesperson Boryslav Bereza also won a seat as an independent candidate and district with 29.4% of the votes.[36] In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Right Sector took part on a united radical right nationwide-party list with the Governmental Initiative of Yarosh, National Corps, and Svoboda,[37] winning no seats.[38]

Right Sector (Ukrainian: Пра́вий се́ктор, Pravyi sektor) is a far-right,[9] Ukrainian nationalist organization.[3][10] It originated in November 2013 as a right-wing, paramilitary confederation of several radical nationalist organizations at the Euromaidan revolt in Kyiv,[11] where its street fighters participated in clashes with riot police.[12][13] The coalition became a political party on 22 March 2014, at which time it claimed to have roughly 10,000 members.[14][15] Founding groups included Trident (Tryzub), led by Dmytro Yarosh and Andriy Tarasenko, and the Ukrainian National Assembly–Ukrainian National Self-Defense (UNA–UNSO), a political and paramilitary organization.[16][17][18] Other founding groups included the Social-National Assembly and its Patriot of Ukraine paramilitary wing, White Hammer, and Carpathian Sich. White Hammer was expelled in March 2014,[19] and Patriot of Ukraine left the organization, along with many UNA–UNSO members, in the following months.[20]

Right Sector’s political ideology has been described as right-wing,[21] hardline right-wing nationalist,[22][23][24] neo-fascist,[5][6] or neo-Nazi,[25][26] political party and paramilitary movement,[27][28][29] and part of the European radical right.[30][31][32]

Ukrainians are scheduled to go to the polls in new parliamentary elections next month, but the far right has little chance of success at the ballot box.

Polls suggest that even combined into a “united nationalist bloc” comprising Azov’s National Corps Party (a “nationalist hate group” according to a recent U.S. State Department report), Svoboda, Right Sector and others, the far right likely won’t reach the 5 percent threshold needed to get into parliament (although it could still win a small number of single-member districts). However, in the unlikely event it does pass the threshold, a neo-Nazi concert organizer may well become a parliamentarian: Bilodub, affiliated with Right Sector, is number 18 on the united bloc’s slate — enough to land a parliamentary seat if it gets 6 or 7 percent of the vote.

 

But even if he doesn’t make it into parliament, Bilodub still appears to have enough connections with Ukraine’s political mainstream to remain influential. For example, he spoke at a 2017 state-organized youth camp in Ukraine, doing so alongside a representative of Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sport and members of Ukrainian diaspora groups, including the spouse of a Ukrainian cabinet minister.

Military

Right Sector gangs were integrated into the National Guard and sent to fight in East Ukraine while the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, accused of committing war crimes in the East, has attracted many Nazis. It has become undeniable that neo-Nazi units are operating in Ukraine with full governmental support.

On 5 April 2015, one of Right Sector’s founders, Dmytro Yarosh was appointed an advisor to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.[39] On 11 November, Yarosh formally stepped down as the group’s leader.[40]

On 27 December, he announced that he and his team would be withdrawing from the group entirely, declaring that Right Sector had fulfilled its purpose “as a revolutionary structure” and was no longer needed. He stated he and his faction were against pseudo-revolutionary activity that threatens the state, fringe radicalism, and were against violent revolts against the government.

In a statement issued in response to Yarosh’s departure, Right Sector said the schism was due to continuing a “revolutionary path”.[41][42] The departure of Yarosh resulted in at least 20% of Right Sector members leaving with him.[43]

In February 2016, Yarosh started a new organisation called the Governmental Initiative of Yarosh.[44] Since 19 March 2016, Tarasenko has been the new chairman of Right Sector.[1]

In December 2021, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine refused to disclose any details on cooperation with Yarosh, citing the confidentiality of the information requested.[45]