Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? Or Putin Propaganda BS
Everybody knows that in Ukraine, a military group called the Azov Special Operations Detachment is the center of neo-Nazi thought and is responsible for many heinous white supremacist acts around the world. Hmmmm, everybody knows?
The neo-Nazi memes are all over the social media boards, most people believe them. The mainstream media believes Ukraine is run by neo-Nazis and they are gallantly ignoring it (because they are hypocritical assholes).
But I didn’t actually see any evidence of this. So I decided to analyze this just a bit.
What very few people seem to know is that Putin has been planning his invasion of Ukraine for more than 10 years, plenty of time to plan his excuses, implement propaganda and build a case that native Russians are in danger, that militant hate groups control the country.
At the suggestion of a commenter on the Telegram, I first watched a short documentary from Time. Interesting, but if you listen carefully, it shows a supposed white supremacist event, but the only indication that this is Nazi is the narrator saying it. Note that Black and Latino people are exceedingly rare in Ukraine so don’t expect to see them in the video. Yes, there is someone who is making anti-gay comments (not a member of Azov, not even Ukrainian), and they found a guy who came in from Sweden who was clearly a Nazi psychopath, but not a member of Azov and not Ukrainian. As you would suppose, one might expect a group accused of being neo-Nazi to attract foreigners who lean that way. On the whole, no actual evidence to be had.
So next I went to a BBC documentary. It describes the Azov and other militias in patrolling cities and looking to prevent crime and catch criminals. Apparently, the police are overwhelmed (more likely corrupt) and they are “helping.” Hidden cameras show a level of violence in attacking criminal organizations. Depending on how bad this is, it could range from an aggressive neighborhood watch to full up organized crime. But this does not rise to the level of government level neo-Nazi behavior.
In a former life, I worked counter insurgency operations with the CIA in Latin America, the Philippines and other places. When you have an area like Ukraine that is war torn, has just had a change in government from a a coup, where the current government is largely ineffectual, this becomes emergent behavior. Civilization takes longer to emerge (if ever). I’m not saying these are fuzzy kittens, just that it doesn’t make them Nazis.
The Wiki page on Azov cites two U.N. reports including Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine 16 November 2015 to 15 February 2016. We find some looting, torture and “ill treatment.” But these cases are very few in number, and point to individual members, not the group. In fact, for the amount of chaos in Ukraine at the time, I would anticipate massive breakdowns in discipline, acts of rape, looting, torture and much more. This is horrible stuff. But it has happened in EVERY insurgency that I have encountered, and there have been a lot of the, Still. No evidence of Nazi-ism.
Azov is not anti-semitic, the Wiki page says they actually have a great many Jewish members and supporters.
A great amount of effort was expended in relating their logo to Nazi symbols. I saw some material on that effort, just a little too labored for my tastes. The Azov people say it is just two letters in a stylized pattern.
I haven’t seen any racist speeches (don’t confuse third party accusations with actual speech by actual leaders). Not that I would understand them, but the adamant accusers would have thrown them at me with the translations if they existed.
The Telegram group where the background data comes from was provided by aggressive members who truly believe the neo-Nazi narrative. But out of the two dozen responses to my request for proof. There was nothing except hearsay, rumor, accusations and poorly produced drama.
I do not doubt that neo-Nazis exist in small numbers in Ukraine. How would you keep them out?
But one of Putin’s reasons for invading Ukraine was that is was overrun with neo-Nazis. That it was a neo-Nazi state and didn’t deserve defense. This has circulated through social media, in the mainstream news and is a major narrative.
But its not true.
And here is the final proof.
Russia has given up on “de-nazification.” The link below shows the progression of reports from Tass, from adament attacks on the supposed Nazi regime, to a total abdication of the theme.
This is not a comprehensive report and will not convince everyone. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
But there is a saying in medicine, If there is one cure for an illness then it almost certainly works, if there are 10 cures for an illness probably none of them work. . In propaganda and information propagation it is very similar. If there is an incident that everyone uses to prove a fact, it is probably true. If there are 10 incidents that people use to prove a fact, probably none of them are true.
I’m calling BS on the neo-Nazi narrative.
This is Putin’s propaganda work, not a real narrative.