How could Ukrainians embrace Naziism?

Azov battalion of the Ukrainian army. Click to enlarge

Azov battalion of the Ukrainian army. Click to enlarge.

Source: Cannonfire.

I cannot understand how a Ukrainian could be a Nazi.

Given the purges and starvation imposed on Ukraine by Stalin, it is not surprising that many Ukrainians welcomed the invading Germans as liberators in 1941.  But they soon learned better.

Wikipedia says the Nazis killed 17 million people, including 6 million Jews and 11 million others, mostly Slavs.

Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 3 million Ukrainian and other gentile victims were killed as part of Nazi extermination policies in the territory of modern Ukraine. 

More Ukrainians were killed fighting the Wehrmacht than American, British, and French soldiers combined.

Original plans of genocide called for the extermination of 65 percent of the nation’s 23.2 million Ukrainians, with the remainder of inhabitants to be treated as slaves.  Over 2 million Ukrainians were deported to Germany for slave labor. 

In ten years’ time, the plan effectively called for the extermination, expulsion, Germanization or enslavement of most or all Ukrainians.

via Holocaust victims – Wikipedia.

The picture above shows members of the Azov battalion of the Ukrainian army.  Notice whose portrait is being held up.  Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov battalion, has been quoted as follows.

From the mass of individuals must arise the Nation; and from weak modern man, Superman… The historic mission of our Nation in this watershed century is to lead the White Races of the world in the final crusade for their survival: a crusade against semite-led sub-humanity… The task of the present generation is to create a Third Empire — Great Ukraine… If we are strong, we take what is ours by right and even more; we will build a Superpower-Empire…

via Azov Battalion – Wikipedia.

I hope and believe Azov is unrepresentative of a majority of Ukrainians, not to mention the Russians, Tatars, Jews, Poles and other ethnic groups in Ukraine.

Azov+neo+naziBut the present Ukrainian government accepts Azov’s display of Nazi symbols.   The Ukraine, along with the USA and Canada, were the only countries to vote against a United Nations resolution condemning the glorification of Naziism.

There are neo-Nazis in the Russian Federation who’ve murdered Central Asian immigrants.  There have even been neo-Nazi skinheads in Israel some years back, among Russian immigrants whose Jewish identity evidently wasn’t strong.  There are neo-Nazis in other countries, too.   But there are no neo-Nazis in countries other than Ukraine, that I know of, with official acceptance.

Maybe one reason why Naziism is acceptable among a segment of Ukrainians is that the old Soviet Union treated Naziism as a kind of benchmark of evil, and Ukrainians understandably felt that whatever the Communists said must be the opposite of the truth.

Many people around the world have embraced fascism because they think it is the opposite of Communism, and vice versa.

Racism has an enduring appeal.  If you are a nationalist based on culture or religion, it implies an obligation to have some knowledge of culture and religion and to live up to its ideals.  But if you are a racist, you have a sense of superiority you don’t have to do anything to earn, and a sense of solidarity that you also need do nothing to earn.


Generalplan Ost on Wikipedia.  Hitler’s master plan for eastern Europe and the Slavic peoples.   World War Two would have been just the beginning.

Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists by Tom Parfit for The Telegraph.

New York Times Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War by Robert Parry for Consortium News.

Ukraine’s Controversial World War II Legacy Lives On As Nation Remains Divided Over Nazi Allegiances by Maria Danilova for the Huffington Post and Berggreun Institute.

Europe and Ukraine: Putin’s Project by Timothy Snyder for Frankfurter Allgemeine.  A defense of Ukrainian nationalism.

How Ukraine’s Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries on front lines of war with Russia by Alexander Rubenstein and Max Blumenthal for The Greyzone.  [Added 03/16/2022]

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One Response to “How could Ukrainians embrace Naziism?”

  1. peteybee Says:

    From what I can tell, I agree completely that the various Neo-Nazis, right-wing ultra-nationalists, etc. do not represent the typical Ukrainian.

    They nevertheless do make up a disproportionate part of the active forces willing to do the dirty work required by the current government there (with the repeated, overt and unambiguous blessing of our government, if not at our direct request as frequently speculated).

    A “vanguard”, that’s what I think they called it in the language of the early 20th century (??). These kinds of groups have changed the course of nations.

    I think it is one of the worst and most irresponsible things OUR government does, to make use of these guys (they look pretty young, no?), without taking the time out to separate the vicious extremist philosophies from our immediate short-term geopolitical needs. This is exactly the kind of thing that comes back to bite you, and we should know better. Not good.


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