Azov Regiment, battle banner, 2015.
There is an inconvenient truth that those beating the war-drum against Russia love to ignore—namely, the Nazis of Ukraine. We are told that this is all somehow “Russian disinformation/misinformation,” or that Putin loves to call people whom he doesn’t like, “Nazis” (notice, this is what actually is done in the West against opponents of the elite). Of course, no real evidence is ever given to back up these claims, as has now become a sad habit, any self-righteous assertion is considered “truth.”
Here are the facts about Nazis in Ukraine. The drumbeaters have yet to disprove any of them.
When Hitler invaded Ukraine, for many it was a liberation from communism and openly celebrated, and soon led to the creation of the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galician” (later, the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, 1st Galician). It was nearly annihilated in the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive (1944). What remained was regrouped as the Ukrainian National Army (UNA), under the German High Command (OKH) and led by General Pavlo Shandruk (1889-1979). The UNA numbered some 220,000 volunteers and fought in various theatres throughout Europe with the Wehrmacht, including Austria. What marked all these volunteers was a strong antipathy to the Soviet Union. With the defeat of the Nazis, the UNA surrendered to the British and the US. All the volunteers did not want to be sent back to the Ukraine and sought asylum elsewhere (a large number coming to Canada and the US).
General Shandruk struck a special deal with Poland (with the help of General Władysław Anders), which accepted members of the UNA as “pre-war Polish citizens.” Shandruk was given the Polish Virtuti Militari order, and he settled in Germany, before eventually moving to the US, where he died in 1979.
In effect, in Ukraine, Nazi Germany was not regarded as the enemy; rather, it was an ally in the fight against the Soviet Union, or the “Russians.” And therefore the negativity associated with Nazis and Nazism is weak, if not absent, in the Ukrainian context, where “uncle Hitler” was seen as a liberator from the Soviets.
This positive view of Germany goes back to that bloody period after the Russian Revolution, when Civil War broke out in all parts of what was once the Russian Empire, fueled by resistance to the Bolsheviks. As happened everywhere in the former Russian Empire, regions that did not want to become communist went into armed conflict with the Bolsheviks, including Ukraine, which declared itself independent of Moscow in 1918, with the establishment of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR).
The Bolsheviks did not accept such independence and launched a series of highly successful campaigns in the region that saw the capture of key cities and put the UPR government in a position of total collapse. To prevent such collapse, the UPR turned for help to Germany, which quickly sent in troops and supplies, and bolstered the weak Ukrainian National Army (UNA), and beat back the Reds.
But it was 1918, and Germany itself was exhausted and before long signed the Armistice of November 11, 1918, thus ending the First World War. This left Ukraine to fight on, on its own, until gradually it lost and became part of the Soviet Union, in 1922, as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Thus, in the post-1917 Ukrainian psyche, the enemy was always the Soviets, or the Russians, while Germany, whether in the figure of Kaiser Wilhelm or Hitler, was always the friend. Thus, also Nazism carried none of the negative connotations in Ukraine as it carries in the West.
A Nazi-sympathizer, collaborator and murderer, Stepan Bandera is nevertheless a hero for many now fighting the Russians in Ukraine. His statues are proudly displayed and streets are named after him. Who was he? (What follows is summarized from Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist, by Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe.)
Born in Galicia (now Western Ukraine, but then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Bandera early showed signs of violence. As a university student in Lvov, he routinely tortured himself in order to toughen himself up for the time when authorities might question him. Such discipline included self-flagellation and slamming a door on his fingers. He was getting ready for his life ahead—as a national revolutionary.
By this time, the Russian Revolution had already happened and new countries came into existence. But in Eastern Europe, the struggle was not simply the winning of a national destiny but also the fight for or against communism; for the Russian Revolution had also unleashed a bloody civil war which would devour entire populations. What was once Galicia now became part of Poland. The eastern portions of Ukraine belonged to the Soviets. Both outcomes stuck in the craw of the nationalists who wanted to unite the western portion and the eastern portions into one unified whole (Ukraine). The eastern portions had already been engaged in a long, bloody war with the Soviets (from 1917 to 1921), a war which was lost.
At the age of 20, Bandera joined the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), in whose ranks he rose quickly, given his penchant for violence. Aside from robberies (to fund the movement), in 1933, he organized an attack on the Soviet embassy in Lvov, killing one of the staff. This was the first of his murders in the thousands. In 1934, he planned and carried out the assassination of Bronisław Pieracki, the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as other murders. Bandera was arrested by the Poles, tried and given a death sentence, which was commuted to life. But the killings continued. Things got so bad that the Polish government carried out mass arrests of OUN members, which led to further dislike of Poland. Just before the outbreak of the war, the general sentiment was to appeal to Hitler to come and rescue Ukraine.
And in 1939, it seemed Hitler granted the Ukrainians their dearest wish; he invaded Poland. In the fog of war, Bandera escaped from prison and made his way to his allies, the invading Germans. As Bandera declared the “German army as the army of allies.” Once safely among the Nazis, Bandera created a break-away “Bandera faction” of the OUN, known as “OUN-B[andera],” or Banderites, whose goal was to fashion a Nazi Ukraine, under the auspices of Hitler, because Bandera had stated that “German and Ukraine interests” were identical.
The Banderites set up various militias, such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and Ukrainian People’s Militsiya, or the Ukrainian National Militsiya. The Banderites then undertook vicious reprisals and ethnic-cleaning actions, against Poles, communists, “ethnic Russians,” and against Jews. Or, in the words of Bandera: “Muscovites, Poles, and Jews” must be “destroyed.”
It was during this time that a distinct Ukrainian “identity” was also fashioned, one which stated that the “real” Ukrainians were supposed descendants of Vikings who set up Kievan Rus. There is no real historical or genetic basis for this designation, but it was a convenient merging with Nazi ideology. In other words, in the “true Ukraine,” there were the superior humans and the sub-humans. This “Germanic identity” of Ukraine would have tragic consequences down to today.
The inevitable result of all this was mass slaughter of those that were “undesirable,” the bloodiest of which occurred in June and July of 1941, all coordinated by Bandera, and in which some 9,000 people were murdered (Jews, Poles, and “Muscovites”).
Given the success of this violence and thinking that he had the upper hand, Bandera blundered and declared the Ukraine as independent, and so was promptly arrested by his friends, the Nazis, who sent him off to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he stayed until 1944, when he was released to coordinate resistance against the Red Army, a task he took up with renewed fervor.
After the war, the Banderites were reorganized by the British (MI6) and the CIA, as a way to fight the Soviets. During this time, Bandera moved about, often in disguise and in secret, and always protected by the many members of the former SS, who had found convenient shelter in Ukraine and who formed an extensive underground network.
During this time, Bandera and his organizations killed thousands; some say hundreds of thousands; and all the while he worked closely with the BND, the Federal Intelligence Service of what was then West Germany.
Finally, Bandera was assassinated by the Soviets in Munich, in 1959. But this did not end the deep influence of Hitler and the Nazis in the aspirations of Ukraine nationalists—so much so that it is now difficult to say where Nazism ends and Ukrainian nationalism begins.
In the new Ukraine, statues of Bandera are everywhere. He is the official, national hero.
In view of the above, it is important to note that theme of the “Ukrainian people” is again at the center of the current Ukraine-Russia conflict. In the West, this has come to mean an alliance with the “Ukrainians” in order to defeat the Russians who are regarded as aliens and who do not belong to “us.” Such is the legacy of Nazism in Ukraine, in that people repeat its core tenet of the inferior Other, in their “defense” of Ukraine. Russians are not “Western” and so must be fought and defeated. That is the gist of the hysterical Russophobia that now grips the West, where “innocent Ukraine” and the “bully Russia” has become “settled science.”
Few in the grip of this hysteria seem to want to understand the complexity involved, let alone the near-impossibility of separating Ukrainian nationalism from Nazism—for the Banderites never went away—meaning that the Ukraine was never de-Nazified. Rather, the Banderites became inseparable from the country’s power-structures and institutions. This relationship only intensified with the dissolution of the Soviet Union when Ukraine became independent in 1991, and when Ukrainian nationalism gained full legitimacy.
And the myth of a “superior, Germanic Ukrainian” was central to the “new Ukraine,” which in turn was central to Euromaidan and what came later—the relentless slaughter of the “sub-humans” in the Donbas regions, as many have meticulously catalogued from 2014 to today.
And according to current Ukrainian law, there are two kinds of “Ukrainians”—the “Germanic Ukrainians,” along with allied people, the Tatars and Karaites (neither of whom actually live in Ukraine).
Then, there are the undesirable people, who are not legally “Ukrainians.” These are the Slavs, and a few others like the Magyars and the Romani who are denied the use of their own language in public. They have to use the official “Ukrainian” language which officially has nothing to do with Russian (!!).
This is the “Law of the Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine” which states that only Germanic Ukrainians, Tatars and Karaites have “the right to fully enjoy all human rights and all fundamental freedoms.” It was signed into law by the current BFF of the West, President Volodymyr Zelensky, on July 21, 2021. In other words, racial segregation of society into the Uebermenschen and the Untermenschen.
This law is not an aberration; rather it reflects the widespread view of where Ukraine “belongs.” For example, in 2018, a book appeared (which became a bestseller and won the Stepan Bandera Prize) in which wide-ranging claims were made about ancient Aryan Ukrainians who invented all kinds of things, including civilization itself. The book was happily “reviewed” by three professors of history and philology at Lviv University (Iryna Kochan, Viktor Golubko and Iosif Los).
As a further demonstration of this positive understanding of Nazis, recently the Ukrainian Parliament tweeted out a photo, comparing what the Russians were supposedly doing to what happened to Hamburg in 1943. The tweet was subsequently deleted. This could again be naivete. But in the context of Ukraine’s twentieth-century history, this should never be assumed.
Then, there is Hitler as the protector of Ukraine, a trope that appears often in children’s school textbooks. For example, one of the more popular textbooks is Andrei Kozitsky’s История Украины. 1914-2014 (History of Ukraine. 1914-2014), in which Ukrainian patriots often wear Nazi uniforms.
In another such textbook, Hitler is nearly teary-eyed with Ukrainian nationalism: “On April 1, 1939, he [Hitler] said: ‘My soul aches when we see the suffering of the noble Ukrainian people… The time has come to create a common Ukrainian state.’”
In other words, in Ukraine, uncle Hitler was never the bad guy; and Nazis equal real Ukrainian nationalism.
The West’s Grooming Of Nazis
Although the term “Nazi” is tossed about in the West to smear ideological opponents, the West also has a long and sordid history of grooming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
In 2007, the CIA put together a “conference” of various anti-Russian factions in Ukraine whose purpose seems nothing other than to groom neo-Nazis and jihadists, both groups being solidly anti-Russian. Overseeing the conference was Dmytro Yarosh, who led the Trident and the Right Sector, both neo-Nazi organizations. Yarosh’s career is widely known.
These various neo-Nazi units were organized into anti-Russian fighters, trained by the West, and which were integrated into the Ukrainian army. Victoria Nuland, in 2021, told Zelensky to appoint Yarosh as adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian army—because no one can fight Russians better than Nazis, right? After 2014, the West actively protected these neo-Nazi groups
Of course, it is usual to hear that all this is “Russian disinformation,” and that Putin just likes to call people he doesn’t like “neo-Nazis.” The facts, however, are straight-forward enough. Here are the larger units of neo-Nazis, or Banderites currently fighting Russians in Ukraine:
- Members of Svoboda (formerly the “Nation-Social Party of Ukraine,” which curiously rhymes with Hitler’s “National-Socialist German Workers Party”)
- The AZOV Battalion (likely now destroyed by the Russians)
- C14 of Kiev
- The Aidar Battalion (destroyed recently by the Russians)
- The Wotanjugend (who are actually Russian in origin)
- Ukraine Patriot (co-founded by Andriy Parubiy)
- The National Militia
- Karpatska Sich
There are also many other smaller units (more than 30) that have merged with the larger ones, and all have been integrated into the Ukrainian army. And the various symbols of these organizations are common-place in Ukraine (i.e., the Sonnenrad, the Totenkopf, the Wolfsangel). After 2014, Ukraine also became the main “exporter” of Nazi ideology throughout the world (the mosque shooter in New Zealand was an ardent supporter, for example).
Fighting alongside the neo-Nazis and the Ukrainian army are a slew of jihadis and mercenaries, many of whom are from other Western neo-Nazi groups like the Misanthropic Division. These mercenaries are known as the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
There are some who say that none of this is true because Zelensky is Jewish. There is no need to go into the history of Jewish collusion with the Nazis. Suffice to say that the Azov Battalion, and various other neo-Nazi militias, are funded by the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky who happens to be Jewish and who, it is said, hand-picked Zelensky. Both men also figure prominently in the Pandora Papers which further explains Zelensky the billionaire, complete with a mansion in Florida, lording it over the poorest nation in Europe.
Trudeau And The Nazis
In 2016, the government of Canada invited Andriy Parubiy to Ottawa, when he was the leader of the Social-National Party of Ukraine (now Svoboda), co-founder of Ukraine Patriot, and at that time Parliamentary Speaker of the Rada (the Ukrainian parliament). And Trudeau met him again in Ukraine later that same year.
In 2018, Parubiy opined about democracy: “I’m a major supporter of direct democracy… By the way, I tell you that the biggest man, who practiced a direct democracy, was Adolf Aloizovich [Hitler—and note the use of the honorific form of Adolf’s name, to show great respect].”
In his inimical way, Trudeau lined up with Ukrainian nationalism in a tweet (here translated from the French): “Five years ago, brave Euromaidan protesters were killed in Ukraine while demanding a better future for their country. Today, we honour the Hundred Heavenly Heroes and their sacrifices for democracy. Canada will always stand with the Ukrainian people.”
Irony aside, from the man who is now dictator of Canada, “the Hundred Heavenly Heroes” refers to protestors during Euromaidan who died, many of whom were neo-Nazis.
This may all be put down to naivete, but it is also clear that when Parubiy was invited to Ottawa, the government was fully briefed about his neo-Nazi credentials. But it seemed not to matter, in the greater game of besting Russia.
Perhaps, therefore, it is not surprising that Trudeau’s prominent role in backing Zelensky does have a precedent, and that neo-Nazis in Ukraine are perfectly acceptable, as long as they fight Russians. This is a very old story in Ukraine.
More recently, the current Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland happily posed with a neo-Nazi banner and posted the photo on Twitter, then removed it and posted another without the banner, while saying that anyone who said that she posed with a neo-Nazi banner was obviously spreading “Russian disinformation.”
The black-and-red banner read: “Slava Ukraini” (“Glory to Ukraine”), and it was the slogan of Banderites and the official slogan of the OUN-B. The colors, black and red, are the banner of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
Of course, one should never believe one’s lying eyes. It is better to believe the official narrative. It is also said that Freeland’s own family has connections to Banderites. The point being, not blood-guilt, but the deep-rooted problem of Nazism in Ukraine.
Such images might be seen as “innocent mistakes.” But in the blood-soaked history of Ukrainian nationalism, they carry a lot of weight and are used as valuable currency.
But the West helping Nazis is also nothing new.
Ever since 2014, the sad litany of atrocities committed by the neo-Nazis, especially the Azov Battalion, are well-known and widely catalogued. And in the recent conflict, it these neo-Nazi units who are at the forefront of committing further atrocities against civilians. And there are also false-flag operations and yet more atrocities. Where will justice for these crimes come from? From the enablers of the Nazis?
But it would seem, few in the West care, as long as we can all collectively hate Putin and his Russians. Hatred is a great unifier, while the West keeps handing out cash and Wunderwaffen, in the hope that a great Volkssturm will sweep the Russians back where they came from. But notice too that the model of such efforts is always Nazi Germany.
And why does no one object to civilians being made into combatants? Is it a tactical Western move to get “bad press” about Russians “killing civilians?” Whatever the case, Zelensky is certainly guilty of a terrible crime against his own people whom he has pitted against a trained, professional army—and how are Russian soldiers to differentiate between combatants and civilians? Such is the face of a war led by Wokists.
Putin famously, at the beginning of Operation Z, said that Ukraine was ruled by a bunch of drug-addicts and Nazis. Others have looked at the wide-spread drug habits of the rulers, and in the Ukrainian army. The neo-Nazis we have outlined here.
Russia will succeed in its objectives, because it is not led by hysterical woke social justice warriors; and Russia will finally ne-Nazify Ukraine, a job long overdue. Here is Konstantin Pulikovsky, the Russian commander who sets the record straight. His is a voice of true sobriety. (You can watch with translation enabled):
C.B. Forde practices permaculture and builds log-houses in remote locations.