Neo-Nazis in Ukraine – stages of denial

Some people are still in the denial stage regarding the presence and role of neo-Nazis in Ukraine. OK, I can understand how people who don’t know the history behind this current war and are influenced by the wartime campaigns of virtue-signalling may hold to this denial stage. It’s not easy to accept you may be supporting neo-Nazis and it is easy to just reject any evidence you come across as “Russian propaganda” or disinformation.  This denial is helped by widespread censorship – including self-censorship.

Hell, even someone as influential as Micael McFaul who should know better embarrassed himself with this tweet.

I suppose he relies on censorship to hide the truth but even he must see the widespread use of swastikas in the body tattoos of soldiers in the Azov and similar battalions revealed in the recent massive surrender of 2500 Ukrainian troops in Mariupol.

Some of the body tattoos on Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered in the final stages of the Mariupol battle this month.

Many people have gone on from outright denial but are still at the bargaining stage – they accept there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine but attempt to explain it away by claiming the tattoos are harmless, only used to scare Russian soldiers, etc., etc. But I came across a novel explanation in response to my last post – blaming Ukrainian neo-Nazis on Putin. This is the “Putin did it” part of the bargaining stage of denial.

Putin did it

Peter, who asked me to analyse the Conversation article I am discussing in this series of posts appears to accept my arguments so far but comments:

“You chose to focus on neo-nazi ties to Ukraine, as if they weren’t formed while Ukraine had a puppet ruler appointed with the approval of Putin.”

Peter really needs to read up on the history of the revival of ultranationalism/neo-Nazism in Ukraine after independence. Here are a few quotes from a very reputable source:

Rudling, P. A. (2107). The OUN, the UPA and the Holocaust: A Study in the Manufacturing of Historical Myths. The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies, 2107.

“During the past decade, particularly under the presidency of the third Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko (2005–2010) there have been repeated attempts to turn the leading figures of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its armed wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) into national heroes. As these fascist organizations collaborated with the Nazi Germany, carried out ethnic cleansing and mass murder on a massive scale, they are problematic symbols for an aspiring democracy with the stated ambition to join the European Union.”

One can go further back than that president but Viktor Yushchenko is considered anti-Russian and represented that side of the electoral conflict between Ukrainian non-Russians and Ukrainian-Russians (who generally supported Victor Yanukovych who defeated Yulia Tymoshenko in the 2010 presidential elections, where Yushchenko lost at the run-off stage).

“By turning Bandera, Shukhevych, the OUN(b), and the UPA into official heroes and denying their murders, Yushchenko’s legitimizing historians helped cement a stereotypical identification of Ukrainians with banderivty. Many Poles hold “Ukrainians” collectively responsible for the crimes of the UPA. Ironically, some of the historical interpretations of his successor Viktor Yanukovych and his electorate in the east and south of the country are more in line with the rest of Europe than those Yushchenko, who describes his political orientation as oriented toward the West.”

So, Peter’s naive denial simply holds no water at all. Yanukovych was the democratically elected fourth president of independent Ukraine until he was overthrown in an ultranationalist/neo-Nazi coup supported by the USA. And no, Putin didn’t appoint him, and he was not a Russian puppet. While standing for good relations with the Russian Federation his own policies often differed from those of Russia. (He was, for example, a critic of the return of Crimea to Russia in 2014).

I gather Peter is critical of voters in the east of Ukraine, mainly ethnic Russian Ukrainians, but these were the people who opposed neo-Nazism after the 2014 coup and routinely celebrated the defeat of Hitler’s armies every May 9 – Victory day.


“As one of his final acts in office, Yushchenko officially designated Stepan Bandera as a Hero of Ukraine, in a polarizing and much-criticized move. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, of which both OUN wings and veteran organizations of the UPA and the Waffen- SS Galizien are members, enthusiastically endorsed Yushchenko’s decree and called “upon the Government of Canada to make changes to Canada’s War Veterans Allowance Act by expanding eligibility to include designated resistance groups such as OUN-UPA.” Under
Yanukovych, a sharp reversal in the field of memory management followed. Yushchenko’s posthumous designation of Bandera and Shukhevych as national heroes was declared illegal by the courts, and the order was recalled.”

And there is more.

Simply – one should look at the evidence and stop making unsupported declarations based on personal political bias or wishful thinking.


One response to “Neo-Nazis in Ukraine – stages of denial

  1. The cover up of Ukrainian Nazi past extends to the person most likely to be the next prime minister of Canada. Her grandfather edited a Nazi paper in Ukraine during WW2. Looks like he was a lot more than a reluctant collaborator. This person, who is now the deputy prime minister, covers it up to this day.

    It seems the Polish police were after her grandfather until just before he died in 1984. But he had fled to Canada and was safe there.



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