Back in 2009, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was initially banned from entering the UK, due to his views. That ban was rescinded on appeal, Wilders was admitted. But the principle, supposedly, that the UK doesn’t allow known, high profile exponents of far-right, ultra-national, politics which could be termed ‘fascist’ or ‘neo-Nazi’ to cross its borders.
Fast forward 6 years, and a man who makes Wilders look like a moderate is not only to be let into the UK, but warmly welcomed as a VIP guest by the UK government, coming for a series of meetings with government officials, think tanks and the Ukrainian community.
So, who exactly are they meeting? Well, Andriy Parubiy, 44, of the Lviv area of Ukraine, formed the Ukrainian National Socialist Party, its name drawn from Nazism, its tenents, its symbols drawn from Nazism. On October 23rd, he’s guest of honour at the prestigious Royal United Services Institute, that being the Professional Forum in the UK for those concerned with National and International Defence and Security. The talk’s to take place at Whitehall, just a couple of hundred metres away from 10 Downing Street itself.
So who really is the man feted as First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council of Ukraine) and former Head of the National Security and Defense Council. Only holding the latter position for just over 5 months is actually the least of his problems. Channel 4 described him as –
“Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler’s Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians. The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist party.”
Quite a difference to his glowing write-up on the RUSI site (a young Parubiy pictured at a meeting, right) –
Andriy Parubiy is First Deputy Speaker, Parliament of Ukraine. He is a former Member of Parliament (VIII convocation), Narodnyy Front faction and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (2014) and during 2013-2014 was Head of the Maidan Self-Defense Forces. Between 2012-2014 he was a Member of Parliament (VII convocation), Batkivshchyna faction and a Member of the Science and Education Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. From 2007-2012, he was Member of Parliament (VI convocation), Nasha Ukraina faction and a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. He was educated within the Faculty of History at Lviv National University (1994).
And even the Channel 4 description only skims the surface. Parubiy himself has never even tried to deny the lineage of his 1991-formed Social National Party of Ukraine as deriving predominantly from Nazi ideology. Their symbol, the Wolfsangel (pictured), now most known for its association with radical Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov battalion, is described, along with Parubiy’s SNPU itself in (Andreas Umland and Anton Shekhovstov, Ultra right Party Politics in Post-Soviet Ukraine and the Puzzle of the Electoral Marginalism of Ukrainian Ultranationalists in 1994–2009) –
“… of these various Ukrainian nationalist parties the SNPU was the least inclined to conceal its neo fascist afﬁliations. Its ofﬁcial symbol was the somewhat modiﬁed Wolf’s Hook (Wolfsangel),used as a symbol by the German SS division Das Reich and the DutchSS division Landstorm Nederland during World War II and by a numberof European neofascist organizations after 1945. As seen by the SNPU leadership, the Wolf’s Hook became the “idea of the nation.”
Moreover,the ofﬁcial name of the party’s ideology, “social nationalism,” clearly referred back to “national socialism”—the offcial name of the ideology of the National-Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) and of the Hitlerite regime. The SNPU’s political platform distinguished itself by its openly revolutionary ultranationalism, its demands for the violent takeover of power in the country, and its willingness to blame Russia for all of Ukraine’s ills. Moreover, the SNPU was the ﬁrst relatively large party to recruit Nazi skinheads and football hooligans.”
Between 1998-2004 Parubiy was the head of paramilitary youth wing of Social-Nationalist Party ‘Patriot of Ukraine‘, which existed until December 2014 when it merged with the similarly far-right, neo Nazi Right Sector (Pravy Sector), who would play such a key role in Euromaidan. He was engaged with and co-ordinating their various violent actions, which ranged from simple football violence to attacks on anything associated with Russia – Parubiy himself was put on trial for alleged assault on communist demonstrators in Lviv on 7 November 1997. Parubiy himself has an extensive history of violence, Parubiy’s book ‘A View from the Right‘, was published in Lviv in 1999, a quote from that here –
“Young men with loose long dirty hair and worn out jeans propagate dissoluteness and pacifism – that’s the result of expansion into Ukraine of American way of life and liberal ideology. Russian-speaking criminal world, devoid of spirituality, without national roots – is the legacy of communist rule in Ukraine.” Parubiy ‘The view from the right ‘ (p. 15)
Parubiy left the SNPU in 2004, by then the party had rebranded itself as Svoboda, the Nazi lineage remaining, and ever more prevalent as they came to increasing prominence – renaming a street in the Lviv area from ‘Peace Street’ to ‘Nachtigall Street’, honouring the Ukrainian battalion who fought alongside the Nazis, with senior member Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn translating the texts of, and open in his reverence of Joseph Goebbels. Numerous anti-Semitic statements, violent attacks on anything connected with Russia, open racism, attacks on homosexuals … it goes on.
Parubiy has maintained close ties with his former parties, openly allying with them as he became commander of the Euromaidan ‘Defence’, in the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government of 2014 (pictured).
He was in charge of the various paramilitary units during this, mobilising them throughout the 3 months of bloody conflict which resulted in the forcing out of Ukraine’s president, and government on February 22nd. There have been allegations he was responsible in instigating the notorious sniper fire of February 20th, where Euromaidan organisers fired on their own activists to escalate the situation.
There is also a connection between Parubiy, and the Odessa massacre of May 2nd, 2014. He was seen, on April 29, 2014 (right), delivering military grade bullet proof vests to the Euromaidan activists who would play an integral part in the burning of the Trade Union House base of pro-Russian activists, just days later, with mass loss of life.
So, what is Parubiy’s aim in coming to the UK? Almost certainly aligned with that of his previous visits, to Canada and the UK, where he appealed with those countries to increase their military aid to Ukraine, to send lethal aid.
Unlike Wilders, the UK press have so far kept quiet about Parubiy, the RUSI are certainly keeping quiet about his Nazi connections. Parubiy is set to take his place at 11am, on October 23rd, at RUSI, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET, to ‘discuss Ukraine’s experiences in countering separatist and Russian actions, with particular focus on assessing the role of hybrid warfare’.
It’s unclear if his audience, and the event is free, open to everyone, via online booking, will know that they are taking ‘expert advice’ from a man who formed a Ukrainian neo-Nazi party, let alone be able to ask him about that.