Andriy Biletsky (politician)
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Biletsky in July 2014
|Leader of National Corps|
Assumed office |
14 October 2016
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
Assumed office |
27 November 2014
|Commander of Azov Battalion|
5 May 2014 – October 2016
Andriy Yevhenovych Biletsky|
5 August 1979
Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR
|Political party||National Corps|
|Alma mater||University of Kharkiv|
Andriy Yevhenovych Biletsky (Ukrainian: Андрій Євгенович Білецький; born 5 August 1979) is a Ukrainian Member of Parliament, Lieutenant Colonel of police, former political prisoner and university instructor. He is a co-founder and former leader of the multi-organizational ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi movement "Social-National Assembly" , that has transformed since 2015 into political youth organization "Azov Civil Corps" and later into National Corps political party, of which he is the leader. He was also the first commander of the volunteer-based Azov Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine.
Born in 1979 in Kharkiv, Soviet Union, Biletsky's father Yevhen Mykhailovych Biletsky hailed from an old Cossack family that founded the village of Krasnopavlivka (Lozova Raion), while Biletsky's mother Olena Anatolivna Biletsky (née Lukashevych) descended from a noble family from Zhytomyr region, to which belong the Decembrist Vasiliy Lukashevich (Vasyl Lukashevych) who founded the "Little-Russian Secret Society".
In his youth, Biletsky practiced several types of martial arts and boxing. In 1990 he refused to be accepted into the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization. Biletsky, along with senior schoolmates, raised the Ukrainian flag over his school. His major patriotic influence in his youth was his father's gift of a book prohibited in the Soviet Union, History of Ukraine for children by Anton Lototsky. In 2001, Biletsky graduated with honors from the History faculty of the University of Kharkiv. His thesis was about the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The same year Biletsky participated in the Ukraine without Kuchma (UBK) protests, for which he was placed under administrative arrest. The Security Service of Ukraine pressured university administration to expel Biletsky from the institution.
In 2002 Biletsky became a leader of the Kharkiv branch of the political organization Tryzub, and in 2003 cooperated with the Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) opposing the idea of its transformation into Svoboda.
After transformation of SNPU into Svoboda and liquidation of the original Patriot of Ukraine, in 2005 Biletsky initiated a revival of the Patriot of Ukraine, independent from any political factions. The new Patriot of Ukraine initially consisted of the Kharkiv branches of UNA-UNSO, Tryzub, and former SNPU. Since 2005, Biletsky also cooperated with the newly established Ukrainian Conservative Party.
On 18 October 2008, Biletsky and other Patriot of Ukraine members were arrested during the Ukrainian Insurgent Army memorial march. In November 2008, Biletsky initiated the creation of the Social National Assembly (SNA) which included four other organizations: Spadshchyna (Heritage), Patriot of Ukraine (2005), Revolyutsiya i Derzhava (RiD, Revolution and State), and Slava i Chest (SiCh, Glory and Honor).
In August 2011, members of Patriot and SNA were arrested in connection with the Vasylkiv terrorists case. At the same time, there was an armed assault on the headquarters of Patriot of Ukraine in Kharkiv during which two members were wounded, while the assailant was injured. Patriot of Ukraine members were arrested and charged with an attempted murder on 11 September 2011. On 19 November 2011, there was an attempt on Biletsky's life when he was fired upon in Kharkiv receiving two bullet wounds. Biletsky managed to bring himself to the city hospital where he was operated upon. The local law enforcement classified the event as hooliganism. On 27 December 2011, Biletsky was also arrested on the same charges along with other Patriot of Ukraine members and was held in detention at the Kharkiv investigation jail (remand) for 28 months until 27 April 2012. The supporters of Social-National movements qualified the arrests as politically motivated repressions, and led to nationalist protests in several Ukrainian cities.
During the Euromaidan events, members of the Biletsky's Patriot of Ukraine were among the founders of Right Sector on November 28, 2013. On 24 February 2014, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a decision on the freedom of political prisoners. The next day, Biletsky, along with other prisoners, were completely acquitted of all charges and freed from custody.
On 12 March 2014, Biletsky became a party leader in special operations for the "Right Sector - East," which included such regions as Poltava, Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts. On 5 May 2014 in Berdyansk Biletsky became a founder and commander of the Azov Battalion (as a territorial battalion of patrol service). Azov Battalion was transformed into a regiment on 20 November 2014. The battalion was initially composed of members of the Patriot of Ukraine, SNA, football fans (notably the Dynamo Kyiv supporters) and the AutoMaidan movement. The paramilitary formation became known as the Little black men as an opposition to the Russian special operations "Little green men".
On 13 June 2014, Biletsky led his detachment to the successful liberation of Mariupol (First Battle of Mariupol) from Russian separatists. According to British military reporter Askold Krushelnycky, "Biletsky was cool in the evaluation of actions and giving orders calmly and, in my opinion, logically". On 2 August 2014, Biletsky, holding a rank of Major of Militsiya, was awarded the Order For Courage (III degree) and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 15 August 2014.
On 10 September 2014, Biletsky was admitted to the military council of the People's Front, yet did not became a member of the party. On 27 September 2014, he ran as an independent candidate at the 217th electoral district (Kiev) for the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election and won by receiving 31,445 votes (33.75%). In parliament, he joined the inter-factional group Ukrop.
In an interview to LB.ua (Left Bank) given on 10 December 2014, Biletsky announced that the Patriot of Ukraine suspended its activities as political organization due to the war, and would be absorbed primarily into the Azov Battalion. In the same interview Biletsky said that logo of the battalion is different from the German Wolfsangel and symbolizes Ukrainian national idea.
In October 2016 Biletsky official left the Ukrainian military because (Ukrainian) elected officials are barred from serving the army. But he vowed to continue his military career "without titles".
- (in Ukrainian) Andriy Biletsky: Avakov - man system, but the system I think is negative, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 October 2016)
- (in Ukrainian) The former leader of "Azov" Beletsky declared only salary and $ 5,000, Ukrayinska Pravda (30 October 2016)
- Білецький Андрій Євгенійович
- (in Ukrainian) "We are trying to come to power through elections, but we have all sorts of possibilities" - as "Azov" becomes party, Hromadske.TV (13 October 2016)
- Shekhovstov, Anton (March 2011). "The Creeping Resurgence of the Ukrainian Radical Right? The Case of the Freedom Party". Europe-Asia Studies. 63 (2): 203–228. doi:10.1080/09668136.2011.547696.
- Shekhovstov, Anton (2013). "17: Para-Militarism to Radical Right-Wing Populism: The Rise of the Ukrainian Far-Right Party Svoboda.". In Wodak. Right-Wing Populism in Europe. Bloomsbury Academic.
- Anton Shekhovtsov, Andreas Umland Ukraine's Radical Right // Journal of Democracy. Volume 25, Number 3 July 2014
- Shekhovtsov, Anton (2013). "17: From Para-Militarism to Radical Right-Wing Populism: The Rise of the Ukrainian Far-Right Party Svoboda". In Ruth Wodak. Right-Wing Populism in Europe. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 249–263. ISBN 1780932456. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Ishchenko, Volodymyr (2011). "Fighting Fences vs Fighting Monuments: Politics of Memory and Protest Mobilization in Ukraine". Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe. 19 (1-2).
- Ghosh, Mridula (2013). Ralf Melzer, ed. The Extreme Right in Ukraine’s Political Mainstream: What Lies Ahead?. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
- Azov fighters are Ukraine's greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat
- Volunteer Ukrainian unit includes Nazis
- Bereza, A. Andriy Biletsky. How war changed a political prisoner into a commander of the Azov Battalion. "Novoye Vremya". 22 October 2014
- Justice Ministry registered the party Kolomoisky, Korrespondent.net (18 June 2015)
- Shvets, Ye. Andriy Biletsky: Half of Azov speaks the Russian language. But they die and kill for Ukraine. LB.ua. 10 December 2014
- Vladislav Maltsev (10 November 2016). "Языческий полк "Азов" вмешался в церковные дела на Украине" [The pagan regiment "Azov" intervened in church affairs in Ukraine]. Life.ru. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.