My video Reportage from Kharkov: 14th March, 2014

I know we live in an age, or rather the age of ‘open source’, etc, journalism. But I still believe that if you want to know about a situation, the best way is to go for yourself. 

So it was, 3 years ago today, I was still travelling round the east of Ukraine, as it was (travelling some 5000km in a week, filming reportage, simply for my YouTube channel, from over a dozen places).

Without further ado, just as it was, 3 years ago today, the city of Kharkov

Who Goes to an Azov Battalion Charity Concert? Here’s 10

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’.

Azov concert posterIn 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 –

Vkontakte Lutin

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 –

Vkontakte Lutin2

Luti would seem to be a member of Azov himself, with many personal style photos of the battalion posted –

Lutin4
Azov Battalion1

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. 

Vkontakte Lutin3
The Wolfsangel is there in his pictures, on a black helmet against the Ukrainian flag –

Azov supporters (3).bmp

His profile goes on, with swastikas –

Azov supporters (5).bmp

A photo in honour of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik

Azov supporters (2).bmp

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.

Azov supporters (4).bmp

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 –

Azov supporter Ukraine
There’s Злая Щука, Zlaya Shuka, which translates something like ‘wicked pike’. He’s gone for a Nazi war medal on his profile page –
Azov supporters (1).bmp
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 –
Bolshoi rebenok
Then, in his photos, among copious other extremist images, this –
VK Nazi skulls
Создан Творить, Sozdan Tvorit, translates as ‘created to create’ has himself bearing the Wolfsangel as his profile photo –

Azov supporter2

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 –

Azov supporter5

Here Sozdan is giving out a Nazi salute on top of a building –

Azov supporter3

And, among a litany of himself in combat images, here he is kicking a drawing of a Star of David

Azov supporter4

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 –


Azov Nazi 2
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 –
Azov Nazi 3
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 –
Azov Nazi
One declaring ‘I want this again’ with a photo of Hitler, and a line about rolling on tanks throwing out ‘sieg heils’ –

Azov Nazi1

But it can’t all be Hitler, Andrei likes the ladies too. As long as the ladies like Hitler.

Azov Nazi porn

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.
Nazi Azov2
Nazi Azov
The Wolfsangel again –
Nazi Azov1Nazi Azov3Nazi Azov4Nazi Azov6

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

Azov concert guy

Валерия Жежеленко, Valeriya Zhezhelenko
Azov concert girl
Алексей Кузнецов, Aleksiy Kutznetzov
Azov concert guy1

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.

Azov Battalion Ukraine

 

Unchanged from original –Скриншот 01.02.2015 212230.bmp