Recent allegations linking far-right terrorism to the Azov Battalion, largely fed by Kremlin misinformation campaigns against the Ukrainian National Guard, pose a threat to our national and global security.
The US Embassy in Kyiv recently posted a warning to citizens in the area about expected violent demonstrations.
The unnamed “nationalist group” were members of the Nationalist Corp, a legitimate political party whose members mainly consist of Azov Battalion military veterans, and who were demanding the arrest of officials involved in a defense department scandal.
While Ukraine has repeatedly informed the West that Azov Battalion are legitimate members of their national guard, Russia has insisted that they be labelled Nazi terrorists. Unfortunately, comments posted in response to this tweet reflect that the Kremlin’s efforts to malign the group have been largely successful.
Confusing them with separatists influenced by Aleksandr Dugin and his NazBol Eurasian Youth Union, some believe them to be co-opted by Russia.
“Not ‘Ukrainian nationalist group’, but ‘pro-russian natsi group, which are managed by the Russian secret services’. Please be objective in assessing the situation and do not deceive readers.”
Believing propaganda about the US orchestrating the Euromaidan Revolution, some think they are tools of US influenced regime change war.
“So you are not going to give them more arms and money?”
“Maybe one of McCains colleagues or Nuland will be arriving to support and hand out cookies . You have to keep the facist fed.”
Mistaking Ukrainian patriotic nationalism for national-socialism, others simply despise them because they believe them to be Nazis.
“Stop support nazis anti semitic regime in Ukraine glorifications ukrainian. Nazis killer’s jewish in. Holocaust and before in pogroms.”
This tweet totally set off a red flag for me:
The source of this misinformation about the New Zealand Terrorist’s Black Sun patch seems to originate from The Soufan Center.
IntelBrief: The Transnational Network That Nobody is Talking About — The Soufan Center In the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks, links have emerged between the shooter, Brent Tarrant, and a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, white supremacist paramilitary organization called the Azov Ba… https://thesoufancenter.org/intelbrief-the-transnational-network-that-nobody-is-talking-about/ thesoufancenter.org/intelbrief-the…
Up until the moment that TSC published their article, “nobody” was talking about it, because it simply is not true.
This patch, that the New Zealand shooter was wearing on his military vest, is what TSC says “links” the shooter with Azov Battalion.
There are several variations of the “Black Sun” symbol. This specific one is used by Neo Nazi Occultists. Lacking distinctive markings, no expert should attribute this generic symbol with a specific organized group.
This is the actual Azov Battalion’s actual patch:
And their military police add a variation of a Black Sun with ocean waves (symbolizing Atlanticism).
Even if you are one who believes that Azov Battalion are terrorists (which, they are not), the compared patches are very different.
But this didn’t stop TCS’s allegations from being repeated in a recent article about Ukrainian nationalists. APNews presented the Azov Battalion as an “ultranational” militia, and included comments from “experts” who claimed that Ukraine’s [unspecified] far right have ties with neo-Nazi groups throughout Europe.
Particularly damaging, is the convoluted way the reporter speaks of “Azov Battalion”, “ultra-nationalists” and “neo-Nazis” without making distinctions between various groups. By doing this, the reporter leaves an impression that the Ukraine government has no control over their national guard troops — which could threaten continued support from the US government.
APNews is not the first to report that European mercenaries fought with the Azov Battalion. Vice once interviewed a few of these foreign fighters, reporting that very few of them were neo-Nazis. They also produced a documentary about Ukraine’s rogue (non-government ) militias, and reached out to TSC to point out that the Azov Battalion are not the only paramilitary fighters in Ukraine.
But, remember: There is no proof that the New Zealand shooter has any ties with Ukraine. His connection with the Identitarian Movement has, however, been confirmed. While anecdotal, this evidence would align him more with the Azov Battalion’s archenemy: The anti-Ukraine Eurasian Youth Union, led by Aleksandr Dugin.
Worth nothing, is the fact that the US government has long recognized Dugin and his Eurasian Youth Union as a danger to society, and has officially banned them from setting foot on US soil. In spite of these sanctions, the Russian ideologue has managed to exert influence over American citizens through streaming university lectures, guest spots on far-right media outlets, promotional efforts by alt-right provocateurs, and Identitarian fraternal organizations.
It is alarming to see this misinformation being propagated to provoke Western condemnation of the Azov Battalion… especially during the Ukrainian presidential elections, which would certainly be affected by how Ukraine perceives the West, and how they believe the West perceives them.
Combine that with the Clinton-Ukraine scandal that some of us are predicting, and we may be in for a bumpy ride that aims to sever US-Ukraine ties. And it won’t help that a lot of the foreign actors that Trump associates were dirty-dealing with happen to be Ukrainian. That those Ukrainians were acting as Kremlin operatives is a nuance that non-Kremlinologists are unlikely to grasp.
If American leadership weren’t so focused on self-preservation (either of their selves, their interest groups, their political parties, or whatev political ideology), the public wouldn’t have to deal with these issues.
Unfortunately, we are governed by idiots, easily swayed by public opinion. The public debate over the Azov Battalion is sure to directly affect US support of the Ukraine military and its most effective fighting force against Russia.
It could also affect the American view of Ukraine overall. Some already believe that Ukraine is heavily infiltrated by Nazis, or that America has installed a Nazi regime there.
Even worse for Ukraine, would be if their leadership decided they needed to round up their militias (both those in their regular army, and rogue operators), else lose the confidence of Western nations. Such a move would surely weaken their battle-strength on the ground.
- The Left-of-Center hate Nazism more than the Kremlin.
- The Right-of-Center would relish a Clinton-Ukraine scandal, as an act of revenge.
- Any countermeasures launched in defense of Ukraine would be bogged down by futile attempts to explain the complexities of their nationalism. Ukraine defenders may also be challenged with accusations of sympathizing with Nazis, or worse… accusations of treachery, from those who may grow to see Ukraine as our enemy.
My personal analysis of things as they unfold:
Clinton-Ukraine scandals are coming, and they will be paired with even more sophisticated propaganda framing Ukraine as Nazis. The Kremlin’s goals would be to turn American hatred toward Ukraine, away from Russia; to sow further chaos and deeper divisions on American soil; and to distract us from what the Russian Federation is doing abroad.
All of this would be welcomed by corrupt actors on either side of the political spectrum, who would like their own crimes to remain covered up.
The chaos would also be welcomed by all with anti-liberal agendas who crave revolution… the Cultural Conservatives, the Socialist Greens, the Channers… pretty much everyone but the liberal-minded on both sides of the aisle.
And while America is busy fighting against Herself … just like the Kremlin wants us to … China and the Russian Federation will continue growing their influence abroad. China, by acting charitable; Russia, by acting as the benevolent hero who will save the world from the American Imperialist Bogeyman.
02 June 2019 Note: It’s pretty ridiculous to say that Ukraine is a Nazi country… since they just elected a Jewish president.
Naomi Allen is a Cold War OPSEC Veteran, currently studying political science and philosophy in the Midwest. She smashes propaganda and writes commentary on geo-socio politics at girlyGRRRL.com.