Among the figures of neo-Nazism that supposedly does not exist in Ukraine, there is Dmytro Iaroch, the emblematic figure of one of the worst extremist movements in Europe: Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). His story, like that of many other neo-Nazis in Ukraine, is edifying, and speaks for itself, of what has been happening in Ukraine since well before the Maidan of winter 2013-2014.
From a neo-Nazi group to the Maïdan barricades. Born in 1971 in Dneprodzerzhinsk, not far from Dniepropetrovsk, a town with Russian traditions, he became involved in militant activities at a very young age (1989), in the hard fringe of Ukrainian ultranationalism. From then on he was active in an obscure neo-Nazi group, and then did his military service (1989-1991). Later, he was one of the founders of an organisation claiming to be Bandera: the Trident (1994). He became one of the leaders in 1996 and was its head until 1999. He studied at university, graduating from the Faculty of Philology and publishing a book: The Ukrainian Revolution: the 21st Century, in which he expounded his ultra-radical theses, including expressing avowed Russophobia and anti-Semitism (he published others in the same tone). He then linked up with MP Valentin Nalivaitchenko, head of the SBU (2006-2010, then from 2014 to 2015), member and executive of the Our Ukraine party (2010-2012), and one of the discreet figures of the Maidan revolution. Iaroch was one of his advisors, and this powerful support gave him a foothold.
He entered the scene during Euromaidan, and Trident was renamed Pravy Sektor (November 2013). He stated at the time that the aim of his organisation’s involvement “is not to support the signing of a treaty of integration into the European Union, but to make the national revolution and overthrow the regime that we call the regime of internal occupation”, in reference to the alleged Russian occupation of Ukraine. He proposed an ethnic cleansing of Ukraine by force or by choice, of what he defined as “Russian-Jewish scum”. During the demonstrations, his supporters formed companies to defend the Maidan, displaying flags of the UPA of Bandera and Shukhevich. These famous “heroes” of Ukraine were none other than collaborators of Nazi Germany. The second is undoubtedly one of the worst war criminals of the Second World War, having been involved in the Shoah by bullets in Ukraine and Belarus (between 1941 and 1942). His movement was organized in the manner of the SA and SS, with the Pravy Sektor companies, real paramilitary troops, disciplined and armed, which sadly distinguished themselves on the Maïdan barricades.
The supporter of total war, repression and political assassinations. He put pressure on the provisional government (February 2014) and demanded the banning of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, but also of the Ukrainian Communist Party (which was soon the case for the latter). On 16 March, as Crimea proclaimed its attachment to the Russian Federation, he threatened to launch sabotage groups to prevent the supply of oil and gas from Russia to the European Union. Soon Pravy Sektor was transformed into a political party, and it ran for the presidency of Ukraine. He announced a programme that prioritized the fight “against the neo-colonialism of the Kremlin” and “Russian aggression”. From that moment on he called for a general mobilisation, for all-out war, and for the use of the country’s resources to form a powerful army. These anti-democratic demands were reinforced by the demand to ban certain media deemed anti-Ukrainian. He also proposed to organise an anti-Russian guerrilla war in Crimea using the Tatar population and to order the assassination of the main Russian-speaking separatist leaders. He also proposed a major purge of the country’s administrations, replacing civil servants with loyal nationalists, but also setting up structures to influence and shape the youth, rather like the Hitler Youth. Going it alone, he described the National Socialist Party of Ukraine, Svoboda, as ‘too soft’, but declared that a merger of the two parties was possible (22 May 2014).
In the elections, it won only 0.7% of the vote (about 320,000 votes) and announced that it would “support all actions of the newly elected President Petro Poroshenko to unite and preserve Ukraine and restore order in the east of the country”. He had called on 12 April for party members to join paramilitary units to fight the republican insurgents in eastern Ukraine. His party founded a unit of Maidan veterans, called the ‘special Donbass battalion’. He then moved to Dnepropetrovsk, where his supporters carried out terror operations against the Russian-speaking population. Expropriations, kidnappings, murders and persecutions were reported, especially against the local Communist Party and against inhabitants deemed to be opposed to Ukrainian nationalism. Its militiamen practiced kidnapping, forcible requisitioning, harsh intimidation, even murder and torture. The abuses committed by the Donbass battalion became so widespread that an international arrest warrant was issued against it by Interpol, at the request of Russia (25 July 2014).
From his political rise, to explicit threats “against traitors”. The international mandate went unheeded, and he was soon triumphantly elected to the Rada of Ukraine (26 October 2014). He repeatedly threatened President Poroshenko with turning against Kiev with the retaliatory battalions acting in the East “if the latter deviated from the course of the revolution”. He often protested against the bad reputation of his neo-Nazi party, blaming Russian propaganda, and tried to seduce Russian nationalists by claiming that he allowed and respected the Russian language. This was mainly to distinguish itself from the Svoboda party, which favors a pure and simple ban on the Russian language, but also to attract volunteers from Russia. As early as 12 April 2014, he had called for the mobilisation of all the “patriots” of his movement, to go and fight the “Russian invasion” in Eastern Ukraine. Judging the authorities to be too weak, he took a swipe at the government, even declaring that “if during the war the authorities could not be criticized, it should be remembered that during the war the traitors would be shot…”. His order to illegally mobilise his activists set off a firestorm in a martyred Donbass town: Slaviansk. His supporters murdered six opponents in the town (20 April), but had to flee in the face of the ensuing general insurrection. These murders, soon coupled with the massacres in Odessa (2 May) and Mariupol (9 May), embraced the Donbass in an instant. As the situation became critical, he asked the Minister of Defense to arm the population… and his volunteer battalion, claiming to be able to raise at least 10,000 militants in Dnepropetrovsk. He pushed for the formation of more retaliation battalions, and for the systematization of hostage-taking, in order to exchange prisoners or silence anti-Maidan activists (28 April).
From the bitter defeats in the Donbass to the arm wrestling with the Poroshenko government. It soon became clear that he had linked up with the oligarch and mafioso, Igor Kolomoisky, and became an ally. He took the lead of his men and took part in the reprisal operations and the exactions in the Donbass. A poor military commander, his unit was crushed following his incoherent orders (17 August 2014), in the Donetsk sector (32 killed and an unknown number of wounded left behind). He took part in the famous battle of Donetsk airport, where his “cyborgs” were almost wiped out and he himself was wounded (21 January 2015). As the battle was lost, as well as that of Debaltsevo, he was ordered to put all Pravy Sektor units under the command of the Ukrainian armed forces (January-April 2015). He categorically refused, putting the country on the brink of another civil war. He finally negotiated a secret agreement, where he was appointed adviser to the Chief of the Army Staff, Victor Mougenko, and Pravy Sektor troops were officially withdrawn from the front (April 2015). The Mukachevo incident (July 2015), where Pravy Sektor activists were involved in a deadly shootout with Ukrainian police, finally weakened his position.
Faced with the judicial sanctions implemented against them, Iaroch mobilized his militias throughout the country, calling for nationwide protests. He threatened the government again (17 July), asked for an amnesty for his men, and claimed that “an information war had been launched by the government against him and his movement”. This dangerous madman, with thousands of armed fighters and overexcited paramilitaries, then demanded a referendum of no confidence in the government, the cancellation of the Minsk agreements, the total blockade of the Donbass and Crimea and the legalization of the retaliation battalions (21 July). His demands were accompanied by a demonstration of forces with 2,000 neo-Nazis in Maidan Square. Having gone too far, with the war crimes of his units weighing heavily in the balance, and from the point of view of the Maidan’s official financier, the US, he soon found himself isolated. The stinging defeats of the battalions in the Donbass finally led to his resignation as president of the Pravy Sektor (11 November 2015).
From allying with ISIS to organizing assassinations. He soon announced that he wanted to bring together all ‘patriots’ and nationalists of all political persuasions in a more unifying movement (February 2016). Despite the failure of this last announcement, he was still very much in the media and even declared that he was in contact with the SBU’s political police in order to form a sabotage unit that would carry out actions and assassinations of political figures and ‘war criminals’ in Russia. We note that this was achieved with the assassinations of insurgent commanders Mozgovoy (23 May 2015), Motorola (16 October 2016) and Givi (8 February 2017), and then of President Zakhartchenko (31 August 2018). These alone demonstrate the nature of the Ukrainian regime. Also noteworthy is the repeated dismantling of Ukrainian subversive groups, such as the arrest of this former Yaroch henchman, Alexander Shumkov. Having crossed into Russia in August 2017, he had disappeared from circulation the following month, before it became known that he had been arrested in Russia and sentenced to four years in prison for his activities there for Pravy Sektor (trial in Bryansk, 4 December 2018).
Iaroch then took a strong stand in the media during the dismantling of the Kolomoisky mafia network (2019-2020), claiming to have been threatened by searches targeting him and his entourage. This was not followed by anything concrete due to his powerful protections (SBU). Iaroch had also made a name for himself in statements of support for Salafists and Islamists fighting Russia in Chechnya and Syria (March 2014). For these reasons, Islamist fanatics served in the Ukrainian ranks, including during the battle of Donetsk airport, with Republicans even seizing an ISIS flag. Wanted in Russia for his tenuous links to Chechen terrorists, Armenia had also followed suit (15 March 2014), opening criminal proceedings against him and Pravy Sektor (following propaganda developed by his movement in Armenia to attack Russia and Crimea).
Ukraine’s bulky ultranationalist ghost. Under pressure from the US, Iaroch was finally removed from the Interpol terrorist and wanted list (January 2016). In political wandering, he could not afford to be re-elected to his post as a member of parliament, where he had been reported absent (July 2019). In the presidential elections, he supported Ruslan Kochoulynsky of the Ukrainian National Socialist party Svoboda (1.62% of the vote, but 7% in the Ivano-Franko oblast and 5% in the Lvov oblast, lands of Ukrainian neo-Nazism). He made a short-lived comeback by being appointed adviser to the general-in-chief of the Ukrainian army (2 November 2021), before being dismissed the following month, no doubt under American political pressure to keep a clean image of the Ukrainian army. The great Western lie has continued ever since. The retaliation battalions were transformed into regular units (2015-2017), but the men who made them up did not change. Some battalions became regiments and brigades and neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist cadres have spread throughout the army since then.
Like other cadres, Iaroch has benefited from a thorough internet cleansing. He remains active on Facebook and does not seem to have the courage to return to the front, probably for fear of being caught by the Russians. He recently announced (21 April 2022) that the only way for Ukraine to win this war would be the complete de-Russification of the country: ethnic (elimination of ethnic Russians), political (liquidation of “traitors”), linguistic (prohibition of the Russian language), cultural (liquidation of Russian culture and its prohibition), spiritual (persecution of the Orthodox), economic and financial (confiscation of everything belonging to Russians or to personalities considered to be pro-Russian), and finally historical (complete rewriting of the history of Ukraine, revisionism, negationism). As an avowed enemy of Zelinsky’s because of his fierce anti-Semitism, it is dangerous for Western propaganda to deny the importance of men like Yaroch. Even if his influence is limited to only a few hundred thousand Ukrainians, it is a bit like French neo-Nazi groups, such as the GUD, suddenly finding themselves armed, with political representatives and an important media window. With the ongoing special operation, the war is justifying “these heroes of Ukraine” again. The cleansing of the reputations of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis by the French and Western media, normalizes their ideology, their political presence and their actions, not to mention disgracing themselves before our country and before history.
If the lie is big, it heralds the definitive collapse of the credibility of the media in question, of the governments that support this disinformation and of all the personalities who have wetted themselves by displaying the symbols of nationalist Ukraine: like the famous trident, or by bellowing the cry of the collaborators of Nazi Germany, launched by Bandera: “Slava Oukraïni”. This cry was taken up by MEPs from Emmanuel Macron’s party and the whole of official France was cowardly decked out in Ukrainian flags… those of the massacres in Eastern Ukraine, in the Donbass, of the despicable secret political prisons and the endless murders of people who had refused to fall under the yoke of the Maidan, the United States and the European Union. Because yes, it is the right of every person, of all peoples to want to decide for themselves what is good for them.