Originally published on http://www.grahamwphillips.com on 1st July 2014… (see below)
The Azov Battalion was formed on May 5th, 4 days later they were involved in still one of the most shocking actions of this Ukraine crisis, the Mariupol massacre. They were the battalion sent out of the Mariupol police hq first, into the streets, shooting, killing unarmed civilians. Since then, involvement in further atrocities across the former east of Ukraine has had them labelled ‘men in black’ (their uniform is all black, unmarked), even a ‘death squad‘. Part of their funding reportedly comes from oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. How many of them are there? Some have reported 70, but the group itself are secretive about exact numbers, with speculation it could be in the hundreds. Their official Facebook page has over 8000 ‘likes’.
In addition to Kolomoisky, the unit is part funded by the Ukrainian government and now, as it transpires, part funded by a charity concert taking place in Kharkov on July 13th, comprising heavy and death metal acts, with tickets on sale for 150 UAH (a bit under $13 – left).
The axes are clear, the sign superimposed over the Ukrainian colours of the shield, the Wolfsangel, a symbol in common use among neo-Nazi groups. Here from the Anti-Defamation League website –
Along with many other runic symbols, Nazi Germany appropriated the Wolfsangel. It appeared as part of the divisional insignia of several Waffen-SS units, including the notorious 2nd SS “Das Reich” Panzer Division. As a result, it became a symbol of choice for neo-Nazis in Europe and the United States.
So, who would go to this concert? Well, 172 are confirmed, 236 maybes, let’s have a look at 10 – (all photos taken from their Vkontakte profiles, links provided so you can check yourself) –
>Лютый Слобожанин – Luti Slobozhanin is going. Luti translates from Russian as ‘fierce’, by the way. This is his profile photo –
Fairly ordinary, albeit with weapons. Then in his photos this below, which says, in Ukrainian, Mariupol Today, Sevastopol Tomorrow, presumably a reference to the Mariupol massacre of May 9th and that supposedly representing the ‘taking back’ of the city for the Ukrainian side, with Sevastopol in Crimea they believe to come –
Luti would seem to be a member of Azov himself, with many personal style photos of the battalion posted –
And this one, which says ‘There was never an order to disband the UPA‘. The UPA being the notorious Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who collaborated with the Nazis in World War Two. Actually, their purges of Jews and Poles in west Ukraine shocked even the Nazis at their brutality.
The Wolfsangel is there in his pictures, on a black helmet against the Ukrainian flag –
His profile goes on, with swastikas –
A photo in honour of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik –
And a poster declaring ‘Legalize Murder’, something which clearly resonates with an Azov battalion who opened fire on unarmed civilians in Mariupol on May 9th.
Luti will be there at the event, which advertises tickets on sale at shops across Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city.
Helga Wise has a profile photo of an avatar holding a molotov cocktail against the Ukrainian flag. She also identifies herself as a member of far-right extremist group the Pravy Sektor. She’s going –
There’s Злая Щука, Zlaya Shuka, which translates something like ‘wicked pike’. He’s gone for a Nazi war medal on his profile page –
Zlaya will be there on the 13th, at Club Zhara, near the city’s Metalist football stadium.
There’s Большой Ребёнок – Bolshoi Rebenok – translates as big child. The faces are blurred on an otherwise standard profile photos of him and his friends in front of the Ukrainian flag –
Then, in his photos, among copious other extremist images, this –
Создан Творить, Sozdan Tvorit, translates as ‘created to create’ has himself bearing the Wolfsangel as his profile photo –
He’s blacked out his own eyes in most his photos, those not, such as this, spraying a Wolfsangel onto a wall, he (presumably) is balaclava-d –
Here Sozdan is giving out a Nazi salute on top of a building –
And, among a litany of himself in combat images, here he is kicking a drawing of a Star of David –
There’s Андрій Нахтігаль, Andrei Nachtigall – the Nachtigall not his real name rather the name of the Ukrainian Nachtigall battalion which collaborated with the Nazis in WWII. Here’s his profile –
With many photos of Andrei in fatigues and military equipment, he’s clearly a trained soldier, from Ternopil in the west of Ukraine. And numerous photos of neo-Nazi party Svoboda indicate an affiliation there too –
But Andrei’s main obsession is apparent even from a quick overview of his photos. Hitler and the Nazis. There’s a photo marking Hitler’s birthday –
One declaring ‘I want this again’ with a photo of Hitler, and a line about rolling on tanks throwing out ‘sieg heils’ –
But it can’t all be Hitler, Andrei likes the ladies too. As long as the ladies like Hitler.
Some senior figures too, Ігор Криворучко, Igor Krivoruchko, head of the Social National Assembly – an umbrella organisation encompassing the most extreme far-right groups in Ukraine, from which the Pravy Sektor was born last year.
The Wolfsangel again –
You’ll find Igor there, enjoying LIMITED MUTANTER (Death Metal), among others. And as for the others going, there are the above and those like them, but there are many who look just like normal Ukrainians –
Лёля Радченко, Lelya Radchenko
Валерия Жежеленко, Valeriya Zhezhelenko
Алексей Кузнецов, Aleksiy Kutznetzov
The above are just 10 who will be cheering on, attendance set to swell to well above 200, perhaps 300 on a night which will surely spawn countless Vkontakte photos of men who’ve carried out the murder of civilians being feted as stars. Any sum of money raised by the concert, maximum a few thousand dollars, will be a drop in the ocean in keeping the fully-equipped military unit they are rolling, so the event organised by a group called the ‘eastern brotherhood‘ is really just a chance for all their fans to congratulate their heroes.
The men who take their name from the Sea of Azov, claim they are ‘patriots of Ukraine‘, worship Nazi ideology. An official part of the Ukrainian military. A Ukrainian military endorsed by the EU, the US. By neo-Nazi Ukrainians. By normal Ukrainians. They will surely give the Azov battalion a big night on the 13th, before unleashing their men in black to bring further death to those in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Unchanged from original –