The Azov Battalion is history

Colin Robinson
6 min readMar 28, 2022
Azov founder Andriy Biletsky with two of his volunteers, June 2014. (My News24, via Wikimedia Commons)

They were Ukraine’s most visible and powerful neo-Nazis. Now they’re beaten, peace may be closer.

Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, the country’s most visible and powerful neo-Nazis, are history.

In two senses…

  • They won’t be forgotten, nor should they be.
  • They’ve now been encircled and are facing defeat.

Their Waterloo is at Mariupol, the city they used to guard and police. They are being defeated there by the Russian Army and the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Basic facts about the Azov Battalion…

Its name refers to the Azov Sea, which is east of the Crimean Peninsula. Members of the Battalion come from various parts of Ukraine, but they established their base in the city of Mariupol, a port city on the Azov Sea’s north coast.

The Battalion’s original insignia includes two symbols which were also used by Hitler’s SS — the wolf-hook (Wolfsangel) and the black sun (Sonnenrad). There is also a simplified version without the black sun.

Comparison of Azov’s emblem and symbols used by the Nazi SS. (Kraftwerkvs, via Wikimedia Commons)

Originally a privately funded paramilitary unit, the Azov Battalion was later incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard as the Azov Regiment, though the name Azov Battalion continued to be used.

Its founder Andriy Biletsky

It was founded by Andriy Biletsky, a man with a long history of far-right politics.

Biletsky declared in 2010 that Ukraine’s mission is “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans]”.

Biletsky relinquished his position in the Azov Battalion in October 2014, before becoming a member of the Rada (parliament), but he continued to advocate for them.

Supporting organisations

The Battalion is supported by two other organisations:

  • The National Militia, a neighbourhood patrol group who members swear allegiance…
Colin Robinson

Someone who likes sharing factual information and fragments of the big picture