[News] How Ukraine's Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries on front lines of war with Russia

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Mar 5 20:58:51 EST 2022

<https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/04/nazis-ukrainian-war-russia/> How
Ukraine's Jewish president Zelensky made peace with neo-Nazi paramilitaries
on front lines of war with Russia
Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal·March 4, 2022

While Western media deploys Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish heritage to refute
accusations of Nazi influence in Ukraine, the president has ceded to
neo-Nazi forces and now depends on them as front line fighters.

Back in October 2019, as the war in eastern Ukraine dragged on, Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Zolote, a town situated firmly in
the “gray zone” of Donbas, where over 14,000 had been killed, mostly on the
pro-Russian side <https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1496308793810034688>.
There, the president encountered the hardened veterans of extreme right
paramilitary units keeping up the fight against separatists just a few
miles away.

Elected on a platform of de-escalation of hostilities with Russia, Zelensky
was determined to enforce the so-called Steinmeier Formula conceived by
then-German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier which called for elections
in the Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

In a face-to-face confrontation with militants from the neo-Nazi Azov
Battalion who had launched a campaign to sabotage the peace initiative
called “No to Capitulation,” Zelensky encountered a wall of obstinacy.

With appeals for disengagement from the frontlines firmly rejected,
Zelensky melted down
on camera. “I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a
loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons,” Zelensky implored
the fighters.

President of Ukraine Zelensky has visited disengaging area in Zolote today
https://t.co/scFZLt45C2 pic.twitter.com/JlD1cWPQ39 <https://t.co/JlD1cWPQ39>

— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) October 26, 2019

Once video of the stormy confrontation spread across Ukrainian social media
channels, Zelensky became the target of an angry backlash

Andriy Biletsky, the proudly fascist Azov Battalion leader who once pledged
<https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/neo-nazis-far-right-ukraine/> to
“lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semite-led
Untermenschen”, vowed to bring thousands of fighters to Zolote if Zelensky
pressed any further. Meanwhile, a parliamentarian from the party of former
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko openly fantasized about Zelensky being
blown to bits by a militant’s grenade.

Though Zelensky achieved a minor disengagement, the neo-Nazi paramilitaries
escalated their “No Capitulation” campaign. And within months, fighting
began to heat up <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51543463> again in
Zolote, sparking a new cycle of violations of the Minsk Agreement

By this point, Azov had been formally incorporated into the Ukrainian
military and its street vigilante wing, known as the National Corps, was
deployed across the country under the watch of the Ukrainian Interior
Ministry, and alongside the National Police <https://khpg.org/en/1517275970>.
In December 2021, Zelensky would be seen delivering a “Hero of Ukraine”
award to a leader of the fascistic Right Sector in a ceremony in Ukraine’s

A full-scale conflict with Russia was approaching, and the distance between
Zelensky and the extremist paramilitaries was closing fast.

This February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into
Ukrainian territory on a stated mission to “demilitarize and denazify” the
country, US media embarked on a mission of its own: to deny the power of
neo-Nazi paramilitaries over the country’s military and political sphere.
As the US government-funded National Public Radio insisted
“Putin’s language [about denazification] is offensive and factually wrong.”

In its bid to deflect from the influence of Nazism in contemporary Ukraine,
US media has found its most effective PR tool in the figure of Zelensky, a
former TV star and comedian from a Jewish background. It is a role the
actor-turned-politician has eagerly assumed.

But as we will see, Zelensky has not only ceded ground to the neo-Nazis in
his midst, he has entrusted them with a front line role in his country’s
war against pro-Russian and Russian forces.
*The president’s Jewishness as Western media PR device *

Hours before President Putin’s February 24 speech declaring denazification
as the goal of Russian operations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
“asked how a people who lost eight million of its citizens fighting Nazis
could support Nazism,” according to the BBC

Raised in a non-religious Jewish family in the Soviet Union during the
1980’s, Zelensky has downplayed his heritage in the past. “The fact that I
am Jewish barely makes 20 in my long list of faults,” he joked during a 2019
in which he declined to go into further detail about his religious

Today, as Russian troops bear down on cities like Mariupol, which is
effectively under the control of the Azov Battalion, Zelensky is no longer
ashamed to broadcast his Jewishness. “How could I be a Nazi?” he wondered
aloud during a public address. For a US media engaged in an all-out
information war against Russia, the president’s Jewish background has
become an essential public relations tool.

Watch left & right wing factions of MSM unite to declare any allegations of
Nazism in Ukraine to be Russian fake news because President Zelensky is
Jewish. Featuring Senators Marsha Blackburn & Mark Warner, former CIA spy
Dan Hoffman & "Ukraine Whistleblower" Alexander Vindman
pic.twitter.com/vruyDUoWxv <https://t.co/vruyDUoWxv>

— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) February 28, 2022

A few examples of the US media’s deployment of Zelensky as a shield against
allegations of rampant Nazism in Ukraine are below (see mash-up above for

   - PBS NewsHour noted Putin’s comments on denazification with a
   qualifier: “even though President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and his
   great uncles died in the Holocaust.”
   - On Fox & Friends, former CIA officer Dan Hoffman declared that “it’s
   the height of hypocrisy to call the Ukrainian nation to denazify — their
   president is Jewish after all.”
   - On MSNBC, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said Putin’s
   “terminology, outrageous and obnoxious as it is — ‘denazify’ where
   you’ve got frankly a Jewish president in Mr. Zelensky. This guy [Putin] is
   on his own kind of personal jihad to restore greater Russia.”
   - Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said on Fox Business she’s “been
   impressed with President Zelensky and how he has stood up. And for Putin to
   go out there and say ‘we’re going to denazify’ and Zelensky is Jewish.”
   - In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Gen. John Allen denounced
   Putin’s use of the term, “de-Nazify” while the newsman and former Israel
   lobbyist shook his head in disgust. In a separate interview with Blitzer,
   the so-called “Ukraine whistleblower” and Ukraine-born Alexander Vindman
   grumbled that the claim is “patently absurd, there’s really no merit… you
   pointed out that Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish… the Jewish community [is]
   embraced. It’s central to the country and there is nothing to this Nazi
   narrative, this fascist narrative. It’s fabricated as a pretext.”

Behind the corporate media spin lies the complex and increasingly close
relationship Zelensky’s administration has enjoyed with the neo-Nazi forces
invested with key military and political posts by the Ukrainian state, and
the power these open fascists have enjoyed since Washington installed a
Western-aligned regime through a coup in 2014.

In fact, Zelensky’s top financial backer, the Ukrainian Jewish oligarch
Igor Kolomoisky, has been a key benefactor of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion
and other extremists militias.
The Azov Battalion marches with Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel flags in Mariupol,
August 2020 *Backed by Zelensky’s top financier, neo-Nazi militants unleash
a wave of intimidation*

Incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard, the Azov Battalion is
considered the most ideologically zealous and militarily motivated unit
fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region.

With Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel insignia on the uniforms of its fighters, who
have been photographed with Nazi SS symbols on their helmets, Azov “is
known for its association with neo-Nazi ideology…[and] is believed to have
participated in training and radicalizing US-based white supremacy
organizations,” according to an FBI indictment of several US white
nationalists that traveled to Kiev to train with Azov.

Igor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian energy baron of Jewish heritage, has been a
top funder of Azov
<https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/1/who-are-the-azov-regiment> since
it was formed in 2014. He has also bankrolled
private militias like the Dnipro and Aidar Battalions, and has deployed
them as a personal thug squad to protect his financial interests.

In 2019, Kolomoisky emerged as the top backer of Zelensky’s presidential
bid. Though Zelensky made anti-corruption the signature issue of his
campaign, the Pandora Papers exposed
him and members of his inner circle stashing large payments from Kolomoisky
in a shadowy web of offshore accounts.
President Zelensky (C) meets with billionaire oligarch and business
associate Ihor Kolomoisky on September 10, 2019

When Zelensky took office in May 2019, the Azov Battalion maintained de
facto control of the strategic southeastern port city of Mariupol and its
surrounding villages. As Open Democracy noted
“Azov has certainly established political control of the streets in
Mariupol. To maintain this control, they have to react violently, even if
not officially, to any public event which diverges sufficiently from their
political agenda.”

Attacks by Azov in Mariupol have included assaults on “feminists and
liberals” marching on International Women’s Day among other incidents.

In March 2019, members of the Azov Battalion’s National Corps attacked the
home <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7RflyZdULY> of Viktor Medvedchuk,
the leading opposition figure in Ukraine, accusing him of treason for his
friendly relations with Vladimir Putin, the godfather of Medvedchuk’s

Zelensky’s administration escalated the attack on Medvedchuk, shuttering
several media outlets he controlled in February 2021 with the open approval
of the US State Department, and jailing the opposition leader for treason
three months later. Zelensky justified his actions on the grounds that he
needed to “fight against the danger of Russian aggression in the
information arena.”

Next, in August 2020, Azov’s National Corps opened fire
on a bus containing members of Medvedchuk’s party, Patriots for Life,
wounding several with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Breaking! A bus carrying supporters and members of #Ukraine
opposition party "Patriots For Life" was attacked by Ukrainian National
Corps and Azov Battalion in the east of the country (Kharkov), unconfirmed
reports that some of the passengers have been murdered.
pic.twitter.com/O0hB2sqbRA <https://t.co/O0hB2sqbRA>

— The Eurasianist  (@Russ_Warrior) August 27, 2020

*Zelensky failed to rein in neo-Nazis, wound up collaborating with them*

Following his failed attempt to demobilize neo-Nazi militants in the town
of Zolote in October 2019, Zelensky called the fighters to the table,
telling <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VavqTg7SLEg> reporters “I met with
veterans yesterday. Everyone was there – the National Corps, Azov, and
everyone else.”

A few seats away from the Jewish president was Yehven Karas, the leader of
the neo-Nazi C14 gang.
Zelensky meets with “veterans” including Yehven Karas (far right) and
Dmytro Shatrovsky, an Azov Battalion leader (bottom left).

During the Maidan “Revolution of Dignity” that ousted Ukraine’s elected
president in 2014, C14 activists took over Kiev’s city hall and plastered
its walls with neo-Nazi insignia before taking shelter in the Canadian

As the former youth wing of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda Party, C14
appears to draw its name from the infamous 14 words of US neo-Nazi leader
David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for
white children.”

By offering <https://khpg.org/en/1520808476> to carry out acts of
spectacular violence on behalf of anyone willing to pay, the hooligans have
fostered a cozy relationship with various governing bodies and powerful
elites across Ukraine.
C14 neo-Nazi gang offers to carry out violence-for-hire: “C14 works for
you. Help us keep afloat, and we will help you. For regular donors, we are
opening a box for wishes. Which of your enemies would you like to make life
difficult for? We’ll try to do that.”

A March 2018 report
by Reuters stated that “C14 and Kiev’s city government recently signed an
agreement allowing C14 to establish a ‘municipal guard’ to patrol the
streets,” effectively giving them the sanction of the state to carry out

As The Grayzone reported
C14 led raid to “purge” Romani from Kiev’s railway station in collaboration
with the Kiev police.

The C14 Nazi terror gang signed an agreement with the Kiev municipal
government to patrol its streets. This footage taken just a few months
later in 2018 shows them carrying out a pogrom against a Romani camp.
pic.twitter.com/9aAA86K8TQ <https://t.co/9aAA86K8TQ>

— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) February 28, 2022

Not only was this activity sanctioned by the Kiev city government, the US
government itself saw little problem with it, hosting Bondar at an official
US government institution
in Kiev where he bragged about the pogroms. C14 continued to receive
state funding throughout 2018 for “national-patriotic education.”

Karas has claimed
that the Ukrainian Security Serves would “pass on” information regarding
pro-separatist rallies “not only [to] us, but also Azov, the Right Sector
and so on.”

“In general, deputies of all factions, the National Guard, the Security
Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Internal Affairs work for us. You
can joke like that,” Karas said.

Throughout 2019, Zelensky and his administration deepened their ties with
ultra-nationalist elements across Ukraine.
Then-Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk onstage at the neo-Nazi “Veterans
Strong” concert After Prime Minister attends neo-Nazi concert, Zelensky
honors Right Sector leader

Just days after Zelensky’s meeting with Karas and other neo-Nazi leaders in
November 2019, Oleksiy Honcharuk – then the Prime Minister and deputy head
of Zelensky’s presidential office – appeared on stage
at a neo-Nazi concert organized by C14 figure and accused murderer Andriy

Zelensky’s Minister for Veterans Affairs not only attended the concert,
which featured several antisemitic metal bands, she promoted the concert on

Also in 2019, Zelensky defended Ukrainian footballer Roman Zolzulya against
Spanish fans taunting him as a “Nazi.” Zolzulya had posed beside photos
of the World War II-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and openly
the Azov Battalion. Zelensky responded to the controversy by proclaiming
that all of Ukraine backed Zolzulya, describing him as “not only a cool
football player but a true patriot.”

In November 2021, one of Ukraine’s most prominent ultra-nationalist
militiamen, Dmytro Yarosh, announced
<https://www.facebook.com/dyastrub/posts/4533858036691045> that he had been
appointed as an advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of
Ukraine. Yarosh is an avowed follower of the Nazi collaborator Bandera who
led Right Sector from 2013 to 2015, vowing
to lead the “de-Russification” of Ukraine.
Dmytro Yarosh poses with Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces

A month later, as war with Russia drew closer, Zelensky awarded
Right Sector commander Dmytro Kotsyubaylo the “Hero of Ukraine”
commendation. Known as “Da Vinci,” Kosyubaylo keeps a pet wolf in his
frontline base, and likes to joke
to visiting reporters that his fighters “feed it the bones of
Russian-speaking children.”

Zelensky awards Right Sector commander Dmytro Kotsyubaylo the “Hero of
Ukraine” award *Ukrainian state-backed neo-Nazi leader flaunts influence on
the eve of war with Russia *

On February 5, 2022, only days before full-scale war with Russia erupted,
Yevhen Karas of the neo-Nazi C14 delivered a stem-winding public address in
Kiev intended to highlight the influence his organization and others like
it enjoyed over Ukrainian politics.

Watch Yevhen Karas the leader of Ukraine's neo-Nazi terror gang C14's
speech from Kiev earlier this month. Straight from the horses' mouth, he
dispels the many narratives pushed by the left, the mainstream media and
the State Department. pic.twitter.com/VWJqWPUGUp <https://t.co/VWJqWPUGUp>

— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) February 27, 2022

“LGBT and foreign embassies say ‘there were not many Nazis at Maidan, maybe
about 10 percent of real ideological ones,’” Karas remarked. “If not for
those eight percent [of neo-Nazis] the effectiveness [of the Maidan coup]
would have dropped by 90 percent.”

The 2014 Maidan “Revolution of Dignity” would have been a “gay parade” if
not for the instrumental role of neo-Nazis, he proclaimed.

Karas went on to opine that the West armed Ukrainian ultra-nationalists
because “we have fun killing.” He also fantasized about the balkanization
of Russia, declaring that it should be broken up into “five different”
Yevhen Karas delivering the Nazi salute. *“If we get killed…we died
fighting a holy war”*

When Russian forces entered Ukraine this February 24, encircling the
Ukrainian military in the east and driving towards Kiev, President Zelensky
announced a national mobilization that included the release of criminals
<https://twitter.com/RussiaUSA/status/1498245126300311552> from prison,
among them accused murderers wanted in Russia. He also blessed the
distribution of arms to average citizens, and their training by
battle-hardened paramilitaries like the Azov Battalion.

With fighting underway, Azov’s National Corps gathered hundreds of ordinary
civilians, including grandmothers and children, to train in public squares
and warehouses from Kharviv to Kiev to Lviv.

As US media celebrated average Ukrainian citizens taking up arms against
Russian troops, the ultra-nationalist Azov Battalion's National Corps
published a propaganda video of its fighters training and passing out arms
to residents of Kharkiv, transforming them into combatants.
pic.twitter.com/RVL1nyWkfw <https://t.co/RVL1nyWkfw>

— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) March 1, 2022

On February 27, the official Twitter account of the National Guard of
Ukraine posted <https://twitter.com/ng_ukraine/status/1497924614865002497>
video of “Azov Fighters” greasing their bullets with pig fat to humiliate
Russian Muslim fighters from Chechnya.

Azov fighters of the National Guard greased the bullets with lard against
the Kadyrov orcs

Бійці Азова Нацгвардії змастили кулі салом проти кадировських орків

Підписуйтесь на наш телеграм канал https://t.co/SBQltMr4bM
pic.twitter.com/A1ci7tZL8r <https://t.co/A1ci7tZL8r>

— НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 27, 2022

A day later, the Azov Battalion’s National Corps announced
<https://t.me/nationalcorps/11126> that the Azov Battalion’s Kharkiv
Regional Police would begin using the city’s Regional State Administration
building as a defense headquarters. Footage posted
<https://t.me/czartv/2282> to Telegram the following day shows the
Azov-occupied building being hit by a Russian airstrike.

Besides authorizing the release of hardcore criminals to join the battle
against Russia, Zelensky has ordered all males of fighting age to remain in
the country. Azov militants have proceeded to enforce the policy by
brutalizing civilians attempting to flee from the fighting around

According to one Greek resident in Mariupol recently interviewed
by a Greek news station, “When you try to leave you run the risk of running
into a patrol of the Ukrainian fascists, the Azov Battalion,” he said,
adding “they would kill me and are responsible for everything.”

Footage posted online appears to show
<https://twitter.com/Deus_Abscondis/status/1497620925176754184> uniformed
members of a fascist Ukrainian militia in Mariupol violently pulling
fleeing residents out of their vehicles at gunpoint.

BREAKING  Ukrainian NAZI are preventing people from leaving Mariupol and
are shooting at them.

Residents of #Mariupol
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mariupol?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> do not
move around the city, Mariupol will soon be liberated!#EndTheBandera
#Ukraine <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ukraine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
#Russia <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Russia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
#DPR <https://twitter.com/hashtag/DPR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> #LPR
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/LPR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> #DNR
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/DNR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> #LPR
<https://twitter.com/hashtag/LPR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> #Donbass
pic.twitter.com/AakZGyNxQx <https://t.co/AakZGyNxQx>

— Deus Abscondis (@Deus_Abscondis) February 26, 2022

Other video filmed at checkpoints around Mariupol showed Azov fighters shooting
and killing <https://twitter.com/oulosP/status/1499435522590224385>
civilians attempting to flee.

On March 1, Zelensky replaced
the regional administrator of Odessa with Maksym Marchenko, a former
commander of the extreme right Aidar Battalion, which has been accused
<https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur50/040/2014/en/> of an array of
war crimes in the Donbass region.

Meanwhile, as a massive convoy of Russian armored vehicles bore down on
Kiev, Yehven Karas of the neo-Nazi C14 posted a video
<https://youtu.be/ylCCIbcw5rk?t=584> on YouTube from inside a vehicle
presumably transporting fighters.

“If we get killed, it’s fucking great because it means we died fighting a
holy war,” Karas exclaimed. ”If we survive, it’s going to be even fucking
better! That’s why I don’t see a downside to this, only upside!”
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