Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem is real, and it’s part of a larger problem in European and American political culture.
This problem can be called North Atlantic supremacism, by analogy with white supremacism. It’s a culture that assumes nations of the global northwest can and should exercise leadership over the rest of the world.
The Donbass-Ukraine war is a debacle for the North Atlantic supremacist cause. Despite the efforts of the Azov movement and its western allies, Donbass will remain Russian-speaking, and the future of the world will not be unipolar.
My thanks to Caitlin Johnstone for pointing out the ridiculous yet significant headline in The Times of London on Monday May 30: “Azov Battalion drops neo-Nazi symbol exploited by Russian propagandists”.
The headline demonstrates the disarray of the Azov movement and its North Atlantic political and media friends, including The Times.
The Azovs (called Ukraine’s “best warriors” by former President Poroshenko) had to surrender their stronghold in Mariupol, the Azovstal steel plant, two weeks earlier. Those who were guarding the steel plant are now prisoners of the Russians and the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Now Azov forces who are still in the fight have had to abandon the symbol of their corporate identity, the wolf-hook (Wolfsangel). Too many people in too many places were getting the message about its fascist connotations.
The Times’ own headline called the wolf-hook “a neo-Nazi symbol”.
Yet even while doing that, they vilified “Russian propagandists” for saying the same thing!
Hard right paramilitary groups emerged as Ukraine’s king-makers in the Euromaidan insurrection of February 2014.
Since then, North Atlantic media commentary on neo-Nazism in Ukraine has been sporadic, and hedged with disclaimers about Russian propaganda.
Nonetheless, North Atlantic media have expressed concerns about what neo-Nazis might do in future to Ukrainian Jews, or to their own government, or how they might encourage far-right extremists in other countries.