by Michael Wood
On June 23, 1941, one day after the German attack on the Soviet Union, Stepan Bandera sent a letter to Hitler arguing the case for an independent Ukraine. On 30 June 1941, with the arrival of Nazi troops in Ukraine, Bandera and the OUN-B group unilaterally declared an independent Ukrainian state (“Act of Renewal of Ukrainian Statehood”). The proclamation pledged a cooperation of the new Ukrainian state with Nazi Germany under the leadership of Hitler with a closing note “Glory to the heroic German army and its Führer, Adolf Hitler”. The declaration was accompanied by violent pogroms.
Later in 1941, Bandera’s group and incoming German Nazi officials held a joint public celebration of the “liberation” of Ukraine.
On 22 January 2010, on the Day of Unity of Ukraine, the then-President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko awarded to Stepan Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously) for “defending national ideas and battling for an independent Ukrainian state”. A grandson of Bandera, also named Stepan, accepted the award that day from the Ukrainian President during the state ceremony to commemorate the Day of Unity of Ukraine at the National Opera House of Ukraine
In Kharkiv, the fascist Andriy Biletsky rallied some activists from Patriot of Ukraine, SNA, who formed part of the AutoMaidan movement and some ultras groups, and formed a small militia to help local security forces against the local pro-Russian movement in the city. Biletsky’s militia, and later the Battalion, was known as the “Black Corps”, and nicknamed by Ukrainian media as the “Men in Black” or “Little Black Men”, due to their secrecy and mystery, as well their use of all-black fatigues and masks in Kharkiv and later in Mariupol.
As the situation in the Donbas deteriorated, on 13 April 2014, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov issued a decree authorising the creation of new paramilitary forces of up to 12,000 men. The former Black Corps were then incorporated by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry as a unit of the Special Tasks Patrol Police, and became officially known as the “Azov” Battalion, which was officially formed on 5 May 2014 in Berdiansk.
Initially, the militia was mostly funded independently of the state, with billionaire and oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi as their primary financier. Among other early patrons of the battalion were Oleh Lyashko, a member of the Verkhovna Rada, ultra-nationalist Dmytro Korchynsky, oligarch-politician Serhiy Taruta, and Avakov.
In September 2014, the Azov Battalion underwent a reorganisation, and was upgraded from a battalion to a regiment, and on the 11th of November, the regiment was officially enrolled into the National Guard of Ukraine.
Now let’s look at the oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskiy who was the owner-funder of the Nazi Azov battalion and the Dnipro battalion. Like Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the first Prime Minister of Zelenskyy’s government, Kolomoisky is an ethnic Jew. Ukraine was the first country outside of Israel to have ethnic Jews as Head of State and Head of Government both then and now.
Kolomoisky’s television station 1+1 hosted Zelenskyy’s hit show Servant of the People, in other words he was Zelensky’s effective employer for three years. Kolomoisky’s media outlet also provided security and logistical backup for the comedian’s political campaign, and it emerged that Zelenskyy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch’s personal lawyer. Investigative journalists have also reported that Zelenskyy travelled 14 times in two years to Geneva and Tel Aviv, where Kolomoisky is based. And they have traced $41 million from Kolomoisky’s Privatbank to Zelenskyy’s private bank account. It is said that Zelenskyy himself is now a billionaire, during the Russo-Ukrainian War Zelenskyy’s Kvartal 95 company donated ₴1 million to the Ukrainian army.
Zelenskyy’s voters chose to trust in his “righteous schoolteacher” television persona, imagining that is what they would get in real life.
The 52-year-old oligarch Kolomoisky, has big stakes in media, metals and aviation companies in Ukraine — and who is said to have taken over $5 billion from his Privatbank, the nation’s largest.
Appointed governor of his home state of Dnipropetrovsk (also the home state of Volodymyr Zalenskyy) in south-east Ukraine in March 2014, he was instrumental in turning back the tide of Russian aggression by spending more than $10 million to create the “Dnipro battalion” that successfully defended the region from a separatist insurgency.
His unquestioned support for a Ukraine independent of Russian influence had unleashed a wave of patriotism, with residents painting their balconies, pavements, shopfronts — and even cars — in the sky blue and cornflower yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.
“While Donbas burns, our city is as quiet as a graveyard,” boasted a local restaurateur. “And that’s thanks to our Governor Kolomoisky.”
The connections ……. the Nazi Bandera, his successor Andriy Biletsky through Kolomoiskiy’s funding of the Azov battalions, and his employment and promotion of Zelenskyy is a continuum of extreme “right wing” organisation running Ukraine since the Maidan revolution.
November 2014 saw riot police violently disperse protesters from Kyiv’s Maidan (or Independence Square, in Ukrainian), then ramming through a set of oppressive anti-protest laws in January. Both moves only drew more people to take part, with state violence against the protesters and their release from prison becoming, respectively, the leading motivator and demand of participants by December.
But righteous though their cause may have been, the movement’s critics had a point, too. For one thing, the Maidan protests didn’t have majority support, with the Ukrainian public split along the regional and sociocultural lines that have long defined so many of the country’s political difficulties (very broadly, and possibly inaccurately speaking, north and west of the Dnieper is heavily Roman Catholic, speaks Ukrainian and has historic ties to Poland, while south and east of the Dnieper is heavily Orthodox, speaks Russian and has historic ties to Russia). While the western regions — where most of the protesters came from, and which had historically been ruled by other countries, some as late as 1939 — backed the protests, the Russian-speaking East, ruled by Russia since the seventeenth century, were alienated by their explicit, strongly fascist anti-Russian nationalism.
Demonstrators were by now resorting to force. Whatever one thinks of the Maidan protests, the increasing violence of those involved was key to their ultimate victory. In response to a brutal police crackdown, protesters began fighting with chains, sticks, stones, petrol bombs, even a bulldozer — and, eventually, firearms, all culminating in what was effectively an armed battle in February, which left thirteen police officers and nearly fifty protesters dead. The police “could no longer defend themselves’ from protesters’ attacks,” writes political scientist Sergiy Kudelia, causing them to retreat, and precipitating Yanukovych’s exit.
The driver of this violence was largely the Ukrainian fascists, which, while a minority of the protesters, served as a kind of revolutionary vanguard. Looking outside Kyiv, a systematic analysis of more than 3,000 Maidan protesters found that members of the far-right Svoboda party — whose leader once complained Ukraine was run by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” and which includes a politician who admires Joseph Goebbels — were the most active agents in the protests. They were also more likely to take part in violent actions than any group but one: Right Sector, a collection of far-right activists that traces its lineage to genocidal Nazi collaborators.
The political party Svoboda used its considerable resources, which included thousands of ideologically committed activists, party funds, and the power and prominence afforded to it as a parliamentary party, to mobilise and keep the protests alive, while eventually leading the occupation of key government buildings in both Kyiv and the western regions. This was particularly the case in the western city of Lviv, where protesters took over a regional administration building that soon came to be partially controlled and guarded by far-right paramilitaries. There, they declared a “people’s council” that “proclaimed Svoboda-dominated local councils and their executive committees the only legitimate bodies in the region,” fuelling the crisis of legitimacy that ended in Yanukovych’s ouster.
But this was by no means limited to Ukraine’s West. Right Sector led the January 19th attacks on police in Kyiv with one protester saying the far-right bloc had “breathed new life into these protests.” Andriy Parubiy, the unofficial “commander of Maidan,” founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine — an obvious allusion to Hitler’s Nazism (National Socialist – na-zi- party) — that later became Svoboda. By January 2014, even America’s NBC TV was admitting that “right-wing militia thugs are now one of the most prominent factions leading Ukraine’s protests.” What was meant to be a revolution for democracy and liberal values ended up featuring ultranationalist neo-nazi chants from the 1930s and prominent displays of fascist and white supremacist symbols.
One enduring mystery of the Maidan Revolution is who was behind the February 20th sniper killings that set off the final, most bloody stage of protests. There’s now considerable evidence that the same far-right forces who joined the protesters’ cause were also at least among the forces firing that night. At the time, men resembling protesters had been witnessed shooting from protester-controlled buildings in the capital. Closure on the matter is unlikely since the post-Yanukovych interim government, in which leading fascist figures took prominent positions, swiftly passed a law giving Maidan participants legal immunity for any violence.
American Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy met with Svoboda’s fascist leader Andriy Parubiy, standing shoulder to shoulder with him as they announced their support to the protesters, while a leaked phone call showed assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine manoeuvring to shape the post-Maidan government. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told him, over its less aggressive intervention into the country. “Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience,” she said, referring to opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who backed the devastating neoliberal policies demanded by the West. Yatsenyuk became prime minister in the post-Maidan interim government. There’s no doubt US officials backed. funded and exploited the Maidan revolution for their own ends.
The 2014 revolution in Ukraine was an enormously complicated affair. Yet for most Western observers, many of its basic, well-documented facts have been either excised to push a simplistic, black-and-white narrative, or cast as misinformation and propaganda, like the crucial, even overwhelming role of the far right in the revolution.
In truth, the Maidan Revolution remains a messy event that isn’t easy to categorise but is far from what Western audiences have been led to believe. It’s a story of liberal, pro-Western protesters, driven by legitimate grievances but largely drawn from only one-half of a polarized country, entering a temporary marriage of convenience with the extreme far right to carry out an insurrection against a government. The tragedy is that it served largely to empower literal neo-Nazis while implementing primarily the goals of the Western powers that opportunistically lent their support — among which was the geopolitical equivalent of a predatory payday loan and the massive entry of western (American) corporations into ownership of much of the Ukraine.
It’s a story tragically common in post–Cold War Europe, of a country torn apart when its political and social divisions were taken further apart in the furtherance of great power rivalry and the greed of large American corporations. Add in that the Western failure to understand it has led us to a point where Washington continues to recklessly involve itself in a place full of shadowy motives, shifting allegiances, and where little is what it seems on the surface.
Western involvement helped bring the country to this crisis. There’s little reason to think it’ll now get it out.
At the core of the Ukraine state is a policy of ethnic nationalism….and “Double think” is the policy driver, which the west in its expediency and hatred for and of Russia indulges. The Ukrainian state was infiltrated and overwhelmed by Banderite ideology because, one of the most prosperous and industrially advanced economies in Europe on the dissolution of USSR Europe, was so paralysed by extreme corruption, that the army was unable to defend it. The only effective military power was exercised by private far right militias, formed by disparate thugs including football hooligans, fascist idealists, white supremacist and their ilk, who were bankrolled by oligarchs as protectors and enforcers in their economic pillaging of Ukraine. The Oligarchs indeed were often Jewish or moslem, but the cohesion of the militias that they sponsored to “protect their interests” was provided by Banderite fascist ideology that provided focus and purpose to men looking for purpose and identity following the collapse of USSR and formation of a nebulous state called Ukraine.
The price extracted by the militias was positions of ideological influence within the state organs, particularly the army, and the education department. Banderite ideology of ethnic nationalism based upon western Ukrainian identity became the state policy, of what was actually a multi ethnic state divided culturally/linguistically between Ukrainian (mainly Galicia) and Russian speakers, and composed ethnically of Ukrainians (mainly Galicia), Russians, Hungarians, Romanians, Tartars, Greeks, Jews…..
Ukraine is a state that purposefully exercises “double think”. It has at its core a Banderite fascist ideology as state policy. Back and red flags of Bandera’s national army fly from public buildings, soldiers wear Bandera symbols and effigies on uniforms and are awarded medals in the name of Bandera’s lieutenants. Schools, streets, buildings and restaurants are named after men who murdered thousands of non Ukrainians, particularly Jews. Yet, Zelensky takes the salute from and awards those fascist medals to soldiers wearing Bandera regalia on their uniform. Men who fight, kill and die for an ethnic national fable that undertook mass slaughter based upon ethnic identity. The Polish government regularly condemns diplomatically Ukrainian state insensitivities in the celebration of, and memorials to, the Banderite “heros”. “Heros” of an ethnic ideology that called for and perpetuated mass murder of non-Ukrainians, whilst Hungary and Romania too make regular diplomatic protests about the treatment of their ethnic minorities within the Ukrainian state that exercises Ukrainian only ethnic policies.
The west too exercises “Double think” driven by its historic and visceral hatred of and for Russia. It repeatedly crows that Ukraine cannot be afflicted by far right ethnic nationalism, despite Ukrainian ethnic state policies, because Ukraine has a Jewish president and Prime Minister and Jews are in leadership positions. The USA forgets that it once imposed sanctions on funding part of the Ukrainian army affiliated with Azov, because they were declared “white supremacist” by the House of Representatives. The west’s MSM forgets their salacious headlines and earnest investigations into far right influence within and upon the Ukrainian state. Collective “Double think”.
…and of course the uniate church, the predominant church in Western Ukraine and of which Bandera’s father was a priest, is the “national” church of this Banderite ideology… Bandera’s effigy is almost an ikon in the church…and “slava ukraini” that is parroted in solidarity by Western liberals is…. Bandera’s slogan adopted as he undertook his most “profitable” slaughters.
In the broadest possible terms, the Ukraine can be thought of as being run by two broad groups, one very small one quite large.
In the first place is an ethnically diverse group of men who made criminal activity-based fortunes out of the failed state at the fall of communism and thereafter. Leading this group were Akhat Bragin a Volga Tatar moslem leader of organised crime groups until his assasination at which point he was succeeded by Rinat Akhmetov also an ethnic Tatar and Sunni Moslem now the richest oligarch in the Ukraine. Akhmetov owns SCM and according to Serhiy Holovnev and Yuriy Vinnichuk, in 2018 SCM enterprises paid 22.6% of all tax revenues to the government budget of Ukraine. In 2022, SCM paid about €1.2 billion in taxes to the national budget, becoming the country’s biggest private taxpayer in the wartime. They are joined by Ihor Kolomoisky an ethnic Jew and similar financial criminal, financier of the nazi-style Azov Batallions.
Akhmetov is the sponsor of the ethnically Jewish Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Ihor Kolomoisky is the sponsor of the ethnically Jewish president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. U.S. Ambassador John Herbst referred to Akhmetov’s Party of Regions as “long a haven for Donetsk-based mobsters and oligarchs” and called Akhmetov the “godfather” of the Donetsk criminal clan. There are other Oligarchs involved such as the ethnic Russian Serhiy Taruta. This group is motivated solely by the use of political power to gain access to money from state assets and regulations. They use their financial power to cooperate with the group of extreme right wing parties in order to achieve their aims.
The group of right wing parties in the parliament of the Ukraine Social-National Party of Ukraine (1991–2004) which changed its name to Svoboda (2004–present) Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (1992–present) Ukrainian National Union (political party) (2009–present) Right Sector (2013–present) National Corps (2016–present)
Andriy Biletsky, the head of the ultra-nationalist and far right political groups Social-National Assembly and Patriots of Ukraine.
There are undoubtedly a few classic ideological fascists, but ethnic nationalism: “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, supported by revisionist interpretations of Bandera, is now pervasive. Banderite fascist ideology is cleverly wrapped up in all the liberal terms to make accusations of fascism seem “crazy” and extremist. This idea of freeing Ukraine from “Russian orbit” is the outer wrapper , making Ukrainian ethnic nationalism “palatable to Russian hating “liberal” west. But look at the Banderite flags on government buildings, look at the hero-worshipping of Bandera and his followers and look at long-term CEO of 1+1 Media Group Oleksandr Tkachenko, now a government minister and long term employee of … none other that Ihor Kolomoisky the oligarch and former owner of the neo-nazi Azov Batallion and long term employer of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The old rule holds good in all assessments of Ukraine today: FOLLOW THE MONEY! Both in its government and the external American forces acting upon it – follow the money.
Information that I am seeing but have not substantiated leads me to wonder if the Ukraine will survive as a country for more than two years, perhaps being torn apart and swallowed by various neighbours. Or perhaps not.