Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis “Suddenly” a Problem for the West
The central role right-wing extremists and literal Neo-Nazis played in Ukraine’s “Euromaidan” protests was obvious from the beginning. The square in Kiev the protests unfolded in were filled with the flags of ultra-right party, Svoboda as well as the red and black banners of the Neo-Nazi Right Sector movement.
The Western media never scrutinized who these political parties and militias were leading the protests and often times the violence that eventually overthrew the elected Ukrainian government in 2014. This was a deliberate attempt to portray the protests as spontaneous and popular rather than the efforts of fringe extremists merely portrayed as spontaneous and popular.
Since the NATO-organized coup in 2014, right-wing extremists and Neo-Nazis have played a growing role in the Ukrainian government. From holding public positions to filling up the rank and file of regular and irregular military units with their members, so bad has it gotten that many involved in initially covering up their role in the 2014 Euromaidan protests are now speaking up.
Ukraine needs to get these people out of Interior Ministry, police & other official structures. They will do more to help Russia, by reinforcing its propaganda about Nazi influence in Kyiv, than Ukraine – regardless of any good that Azov did on frontlines.
Even as part of Bond’s admission, he still attempts to salvage “Azov” (Azov Battalion), a heavily armed Neo-Nazi militia now formally incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard.
While attempting to deny the presence of Neo-Nazis throughout the present day Ukrainian government and military, even official US policy regarding Ukraine reflects their presence and the obvious dangers (or at least, political inconvenience) they pose.
Articles like, “National Guard Decides Not To Give U.S. Arms To Azov Regiment On Request Of United States,” clearly illustrate awareness in Washington of the dangers/political inconvenience of yet another one of its client regimes around the globe being cobbled together with some of the most unsavory elements in that nation’s society.
As Ian Bond of the CER noted, the Azov Battalion has performed well on “frontlines.” Just as designated terrorist organizations in Syria, including Al Nusra and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS) proved the most capable forces in the US proxy war against Damascus, Neo-Nazis are proving themselves the most loyal and dedicated proxies in Washington’s continued confrontation with Russia.
It is clear that despite “official” US policy being not to arm or train Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, the fact that the Ukrainian government whom the US does arm and train, in turn arms and trains militias like the Azov Battalion, makes such US policy mere window dressing than anything else.
Again, the US arming and supporting the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who in turn admittedly are arming and funding US designated terrorist organizations, is in actuality Washington’s enthusiastic support for such militant groups simply “laundered” through its Gulf ally intermediaries.
The Real Problem
The real problem isn’t that Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi political and armed organizations are growing in power, it is the political nightmare of Washington being seen as openly associating with and even supporting them.
Just as the US has played a sort of geopolitical dance in Syria, circling around IS and Al Nusra, while at other times outright shielding them from destruction, attempting to pose as fighting them while clearly preserving their fighting capacity, the US is preparing to perform a similar dance in Ukraine.
Comments like Ian Bond’s of the CER and other NATO-initiated propaganda campaigns aimed at noting and condemning the Neo-Nazi scourge growing inside Ukraine will lead to no discernible change in actual US or NATO policy. Behind the scenes however, attempts will be made to further obfuscate Washington-fed pipelines funneling groups like the Azov Battalion and Right Sector weapons, training and funds.
The real problem is that Washington lacks any credible partners in its “Ukraine project.” Those like Azov and its backers in Kiev were always going to inevitably rise to the top in an atmosphere corruption, foreign-backed subversion and counterproductive policies determined in Washington and aimed at hurting Russia regardless of the cost accrued by Ukraine itself.
Hiding the growing power of these extremists, including outright Neo-Nazis is Washington’s (and its European partners’) real problem, not actually dealing with the growing threat of Nazism in Ukraine in any meaningful manner.
Just as Washington’s policy of supporting terrorists in Syria while posing as fighting against them was entirely unsustainable, so too is its current policies regarding Ukraine. Unlike the threat of terrorism through organizations like Al Qaeda and its many affiliates, Nazism is a more universally reviled and well-recognized scourge that will further taint whatever remains of America’s reputation within the international community, a community it poses as the unilateral leader of, yet demonstrates none of the qualities associated with actual global leadership.
Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer