Far-right politics in Ukraine

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During Ukraine's post-Soviet history, the far-right has remained on the political periphery and been largely excluded from national politics since independence in 1991.[1][2] Unlike most Eastern European countries which saw far-right groups become permanent fixtures in their countries' politics during the decline and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the national electoral support for far-right parties in Ukraine only rarely exceeded 3% of the popular vote.[3] Far-right parties usually enjoyed just a few wins in single-mandate districts, and no far right candidate for president has ever secured more than 5 percent of the popular vote in an election.[3] Only once in the 1994–2014 period was a radical right-wing party elected to the parliament as an independent organization within the proportional part of the voting: Svoboda in 2012.[3] Since then far-right parties have failed to gain enough votes to attain political representation, even at the height of nationalist sentiment during and after Russia's annexation of Crimea and the Russo-Ukrainian War.[3]

The far-right was heavily represented among the pro-Russian separatists with several past or current leaders of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk linked to various neo-Nazi, white supremacist and ultra-nationalist groups. The importance of the far-right on both sides of the conflict declined over time. In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, the coalition of Svoboda and the other extreme-right political parties in Ukraine―National Corps, the Governmental Initiative of Yarosh, and the Right Sector―won only 2.15% of the vote combined and failed to pass the 5% threshold. As a result, no party was able to win a proportional seat.[4][5] One party – the Svoboda party – was able to secure a single constituency seat.[6]


Schutzmannschaft with Nazi uniform and the Ukrainian Coat of arms, 1943

The far-right in Ukraine is not identical with Ukrainian nationalism which resulted in part from Ukraine being historically divided between various imperial powers.[7] Post-Soviet Ukraine is home to competing nationalisms and cultural orientations.[8] The nationalist organizations during World War II remain controversial.[8] National attitudes about the far-right are impacted by the ambivalent role Ukraine played during Nazi occupation, with Ukrainians volunteering in SS troops and as concentration camp guards.[9]

Far-right violence[edit]

Ukrainian Right Sector extremists wearing the Wolfsangel on Maidan. 2014

Hate crimes were relatively uncommon in Ukraine compared to other Eastern European countries until 2005,[10] but became more common between 2005 and 2008, mostly due to informal youth groups, in particular skinheads. 2007 was the most violent year in terms of racially motivated crimes with 88 registered assaults with 6 fatalities.[11] By comparison, in Russia during the same year there were a reported 625 casualties with 94 deaths attributed to far-right violence.[11] The significant difference results in part the from the different sizes of the racist youth and skinhead scene in Ukraine and Russia.[11] According to estimates, in 2008 Ukraine had a maximum of 2,000 organized skinheads whereas in Russia the estimates range between 20,000 and 70,000 members of skinhead groups.[12][13] Since 2008, there has been a more explicit response to such crimes by law enforcement and the justice system, which has led to a decrease of violent right-wing offences.[10] Ukraine has seen a decrease in both the frequency and the severity of hate crimes since their high in the mid-2000s.[11] Between 2006 and 2012, there were 295 reported violent hate crimes and 13 hate-crime-related deaths, the last reported death occurred in 2010 before the start of the war with Russia.[11]

In 2008, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, issued an open letter complaining about the radical right-wing organization Patriot of Ukraine which according to the author had close ties to Russian and Ukrainian extremists. The author warned that the spread of extremist ideology was reminiscent of that in Russia 2000-2001.[14]

In 2018, Human Rights Watch issued a letter stating that, in the months preceding the letter's publication, there have been a series of hate-motivated violent incidents and harassment by radical groups against LGBT people, Roma people, feminists and rights activists. According to the letter, the violent incidents were not prosecuted adequately by the Ukrainian authorities.[15] According to a 2018 report by Freedom House, in the first three months of 2018, extremist groups tried to disrupt twelve public events and attacked a variety of targets. While direct physical violence was not deployed in all twelve cases, extremist groups sought to restrict the rights and freedoms of Ukraine's citizens. Overall, the report argues that far-right groups have been marginal in Ukrainian society and especially in Ukrainian politics.[16]

In 2019, a Bellingcat investigation revealed that the Ukrainian government gave over 8 million hryvnias (over $300,000 USD)) for "national-patriotic education projects" targeting Ukrainian youth. A proportion of this (845,000 hryvnias — over $30,000) went to several far-right nationalist groups, including National Corps and possible fronts for C14.[17]

Violence against Jews[edit]

A survey by the Pew Research Center in 2018 found that antisemitic sentiments were less prevalent in Ukraine than other Eastern and Central European countries. While 5% of Ukrainians stated that they would not like to have Jews as their fellow citizens, the figure was 14% in Russia and Hungary, 16% in Greece and 32% in Armenia.[18] According to a 2023 survey by the Anti-Defamation League Ukraine has a 29% index score (answering 'probably true' to a majority of the antisemitic stereotypes tested), compared to 37% for Hungary, 35% for Poland and 26% for Russia.[19]

Antisemitic rhetoric used by far-right activists relatively rarely translates into violent actions.[11][20] Between 2004 and 2014, there were 112 anti-Semitic violent attacks, with a decrease over time, in Ukraine.[11]

Historical memory[edit]

In April 2015, Ukraine passed four decommunization laws regulating official memory of the Soviet period. The laws ban Nazi and Communist ideology and symbols and the "public denial of the criminal nature of the Communist totalitarian regime 1917–1991"; they open former KGB archives; replace the Soviet term "great patriotic war" with the European second world war, and provide public recognition to anyone who fought for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century.[21] The laws represent attempts to reorient historical memory and pivot more decisively away from the Russian-Soviet narrative of the Soviet period, and in particular the World War II era.[22] They laws were criticized by intellectuals in Ukraine and abroad who argued that the laws limited freedom of speech.[22][23] The fourth bill in the package, "On the Legal Status and Honouring of Fighters for Ukraine's Independence in the Twentieth Century", has been particularly controversial because it covers a long list of individuals and organisations from human rights activists to fighters accused of committing crimes during World War II, including the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.[21][24][25][26]

Monuments in honor of members of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army such as Roman Shukhevych and Yaroslav Stetsko have been controversial and, in one case, earned official protest notes by Israel and Poland.[27][28]

Pro-Russian separatism[edit]

Flags of three far-right Russian separatist groups in Ukraine: Rusich, Russian National Unity, and the Russian Imperial Legion.

According to a 2016 report by French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), far-right Russian nationalism, neo-imperialism and Orthodox fundamentalism has shaped the official ideology of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics,[29] the two self-proclaimed states controlled by pro-Russian separatists but internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. During the Russo-Ukrainian War, especially at the beginning, far-right groups played an important role on the pro-Russian side, arguably more so than on the Ukrainian side.[30][31]

Members and former members of Russian National Unity (RNU), the National Bolshevik Party, the Eurasian Youth Union, and Cossack groups formed branches to recruit volunteers to join the separatists.[32][33][34][35] A former RNU member, Pavel Gubarev, was founder of the Donbas People's Militia and first "governor" of the Donetsk People's Republic.[32][36] RNU is particularly linked to the Russian Orthodox Army,[32] one of a number of separatist units described as "pro-Tsarist" and "extremist" Orthodox nationalists.[37] Neo-Nazi units such as the 'Rusich', 'Svarozhich' and 'Ratibor' battalions, use Slavic swastikas on their badges.[32] 'Rusich' is part of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary group in Ukraine which has been linked to far-right extremism.[38][39]

Some of the most influential far-right nationalists among the Russian separatists are neo-imperialists, who seek to revive the Russian Empire.[32] These included Igor 'Strelkov' Girkin, first "minister of defence" of the Donetsk People's Republic, who espouses Russian neo-imperialism and ethno-nationalism.[32] The Russian Imperial Movement, a white supremacist militant group,[38] has recruited thousands of volunteers to join the separatists.[37] Some separatists have flown the black-yellow-white Russian imperial flag,[32] such as the Sparta Battalion. In 2014, volunteers from the National Liberation Movement joined the DPR People's Militia bearing portraits of Tsar Nicholas II.[33]

Other Russian volunteers involved in separatist militias included members of the Eurasian Youth Union, and of banned groups such as the Slavic Union and the Movement Against Illegal Immigration.[34] Another Russian separatist paramilitary unit, the Interbrigades, is made up of activists from the National Bolshevik (Nazbol) group Other Russia.[32]

Russian far-right groups gradually became less important in Donbas as the need for Russian radical nationalists faded.[32]


A 2018 report by Freedom House concluded that although far-right groups in Ukraine had no significant representation in parliament nor any plausible path to power, they had "a serious impact on everyday life and societal development in the country." The report identifies three extremist political parties ― Svoboda, National Corps and Right Sector, and argues that their lack of relevance in official politics has resulted in right-wing groups seeking avenues outside of politics to impose their agenda on Ukrainian society. Such attempts have included efforts to disrupt peaceful assemblies and violence against those with opposite political and cultural views including the left, feminists, LGBT groups, and human rights activists. One particular area of concern noted in the report is that Ukrainian law enforcement has failed to stop far-right disruptions and such activities have gone unpunished. The report calls on Ukrainian authorities to take more effective measures.[2]

While far-right activists played their role in the first few months of the conflict in 2014, their importance was often exaggerated. The development of the conflict ultimately led declination of far-right groups on both sides of the conflict. The political climate in the separatists-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk further pushed far-right groups into the margins.[32]

American scholar and journalist Stephen F. Cohen wrote in The Nation in 2018 that the resurrection of Nazi ideology could be observed all around the globe, including Europe and the United States, but that the growing Ukrainian Neo-Nazi movement posed a special danger due to its well-armed and well-organized nature in a political center of the Second Cold War.[40] Cohen cited the Azov battalion and Right Sector in this regard.[40] In 2020, Taras Kuzio criticized Cohen, noting research finding they were largely filled by Russian speakers and national minorities. Kuzio says despite Cohen's claims, even Right Sector and Azov Regiment that are often described as 'nationalist', had minorities such included Georgians, Jews, Russians, Tatars, and Armenians.[41]

British scholar Richard Sakwa wrote in 2015 that "The creation of the National Guard, consisting largely of far-right militants and others from the Maidan self-defence forces, had the advantage of removing these militants from the centre of Kyiv and other western Ukrainian towns, but they often lacked discipline and treated south-east Ukraine as occupied territory, regularly committing atrocities against civilians and captured 'terrorists'."[42]

Russian disinformation[edit]

Despite the fact that far-right parties in Ukraine have been unpopular with the electorate and received less support than far-right parties in other European countries, the Russian government and media started to label Ukraine a "fascist state" following the Orange Revolution in 2004.[1] The subject of the far right's alleged influence in Ukraine became especially politicized during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity when small radical groups received disproportionate media attention not only in Russia but also in the West. The impact of these organizations on Ukrainian politics and society has been greatly exaggerated in Russian state media and also in some West European media.[3] Media coverage has been focused largely on Right Sector and on Svoboda,[1] whose members stand accused of killing four national guardsmen using hand grenades during a rally outside Ukrainian parliament in August 2015.[43]

Russian president Vladimir Putin used the pretext of "denazification" to launch the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, falsely claiming that the Ukrainian government were neo-Nazis.[44] Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti published an article by Timofey Sergeytsev, "What Russia should do with Ukraine", where he argued that Ukraine and Ukrainian national identity must be wiped out, because he claimed most Ukrainians are at least "passive Nazis".[45][46]

These allegations of Nazism are widely rejected as untrue and part of a Russian disinformation campaign to justify the invasion, with many pointing out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and had relatives who were victims of the Holocaust.[47] Some of the world's leading historians of Nazism and the Holocaust put out a statement rejecting Putin's claims, which was signed by hundreds of other historians and scholars of the subject. It says:

"We strongly reject the Russian government's ... equation of the Ukrainian state with the Nazi regime to justify its unprovoked aggression. This rhetoric is factually wrong, morally repugnant and deeply offensive to the memory of millions of victims of Nazism and those who courageously fought against it".[48]

The authors say that Ukraine "has right-wing extremists and violent xenophobic groups" like any country, but "none of this justifies the Russian aggression and the gross mischaracterization of Ukraine".[48] The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum,[49] the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem condemned Putin's abuse of Holocaust history.[50][51][52] Ukrainian Jews likewise rejected claims of Ukraine being a neo-Nazi state.[53]

Kremlin claims of Nazism against Ukraine are partly an attempt to drum-up support for the war among Russians, framing it as a continuation of the Soviet Union's "Great Patriotic War" against Nazi Germany, "even as Russia supports extreme-right groups across Europe".[54][55] Experts on disinformation say that portraying Ukrainians as Nazis also helps Russians justify war crimes against them, such as the Bucha massacre.[56] Historian Timothy Snyder said the Russian regime calls Ukrainians "Nazis" to justify genocidal acts against them. He said pro-war Russians use the word "Nazi" to mean "a Ukrainian who refuses to be Russian", and he called Putin's Russia "the world center of fascism" (ruscism).[45]

Far-right political parties[edit]

After Yanokovych's ouster in February 2014, the interim First Yatsenyuk government placed four Svoboda members in leading positions: Oleksandr Sych as Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Ihor Tenyukh as Minister of Defense, lawyer Ihor Shvaika as Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food and Andriy Mokhnyk as Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine; with the fall of the First Yatsenyuk government on 27 November 2014, Svoboda lost representation in the Ukrainian Government.[57][58] From 14 April 2016 to 29 August 2019, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament was Andriy Parubiy,[59][60] the co-founder of the SNPU; however, Parubiy left such organizations in 2004 and later joined moderate political parties, such as Our Ukraine, Batkivshchyna and the People's Front.[58][61]

In June 2015, Democratic Representative John Conyers and his Republican colleague Ted Yoho offered bipartisan amendments to block the U.S. military training of Ukraine's Azov Battalion—called a "neo-Nazi paramilitary militia" by Conyers and Yoho.[62][63][64] Andriy Biletsky, the head of the ultra-nationalist and far right political groups Social-National Assembly and Patriots of Ukraine,[65] has been commander of the Azov Battalion.[66] Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard[62] is fighting pro-Russian separatists in the War in Donbass.[67][68] Some members of the battalion are openly white supremacists.[66]

In the 2019 Ukrainian elections, the far-right nationalist electoral alliance, including Svoboda, National Corps, Right Sector, Azov Battalion, OUN, and Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, under-performed expectations. In the presidential election, its candidate Ruslan Koshulynskyi received 1.6% of the vote, and in the parliamentary election, it was reduced to a single seat and saw its national vote fall to 2.15%, half of its result from 2014 and one-quarter of its result from 2012.[69][70]

Far-right groups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 861, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  2. ^ a b Likhachev 2018, p. 1.
  3. ^ a b c d e Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 862, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  4. ^ Aram Terzyan: Towards Democratic Consolidation? Ukraine After the Revolution of Dignity. Open Political Science, 2020; 3: 183–191, p. 186. doi:10.1515/openps-2020-0015
  5. ^ CEC counts 100 percent of vote in Ukraine's parliamentary elections, Ukrinform (26 July 2019)
    (in Russian) Results of the extraordinary elections of the People's Deputies of Ukraine 2019, Ukrayinska Pravda (21 July 2019)
  6. ^ "Результаты внеочередных выборов народных депутатов Украины 2019". Украинская правда (in Russian). Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  7. ^ Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 12, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  8. ^ a b Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 876, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  9. ^ Kersten & Hankel 2013, p. 91, 92.
  10. ^ a b Kersten & Hankel 2013, pp. 93―94.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 878, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  12. ^ Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak: The Radical Right in Post-Soviet Ukraine. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Ed. Jens Rydgren). Oxford University Press, 2018, p. 879, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190274559.013.30.
  13. ^ Andreas Umland & Anton Shekhovtsov (2013): "Ultraright Party Politics in Post-Soviet Ukraine and the Puzzle of the Electoral Marginalism of Ukrainian Ultranationalists in 1994–2009." Russian Politics and Law 51 (5), p. 47, doi:10.2753/RUP1061-1940510502.
  14. ^ "Open Letter from KHPG regarding the organization "Patriot of Ukraine"". Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. Retrieved 2022-06-07.
  15. ^ "Ukraine: Investigate, Punish Hate Crimes". 2018-06-14.
  16. ^ Likhachev 2018, p. 1-4.
  17. ^ "Ukrainian Far-Right Extremists Receive State Funds to Teach "Patriotism"". 16 July 2019.
  18. ^ David Masci: Most Poles accept Jews as fellow citizens and neighbors, but a minority do not. Pew Research Center, March 28, 2018.
  19. ^ ADL Global: Eastern Europe
  20. ^ Lenka Bustikov (2015): "Voting, Identity and Security Threats in Ukraine: Who Supports the Radical 'Freedom' Party?" Communist and Post-Communist Studies 48 (2), pp. 239–256, doi:10.1016/j.postcomstud.2015.06.011.
  21. ^ a b Hyde, Lily (2015-04-20). "Ukraine to rewrite Soviet history with controversial 'decommunisation' laws". the Guardian. Retrieved 2022-06-08.
  22. ^ a b Oxana Shevel (October 2016). "The Battle for Historical Memory in Postrevolutionary Ukraine". Current History. University of California Press. 115 (783): 258–263. doi:10.1525/curh.2016.115.783.258.
  23. ^ Barbara Törnquist-Plewa; Yuliya Yurchuk (2019). "Memory politics in contemporary Ukraine: Reflections from the postcolonial perspective". Memory Studies. SAGE Publications. 12 (6): 699–720. doi:10.1177/1750698017727806. S2CID 148625264.
  24. ^ Kasianov, Georgiy (2022-05-04). "The War Over Ukrainian Identity". ISSN 0015-7120. Archived from the original on 2022-05-04. Retrieved 2022-06-08.
  25. ^ Shevel, Oxana (2016-01-11). "Decommunization in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine: Law and Practice". PONARS Eurasia. Retrieved 2022-06-08.[dead link]
  26. ^ Rudling, Per Anders; Gilley, Christopher (2015-04-29). "Laws 2558 and 2538-1: On Critical Inquiry, the Holocaust, and Academic Freedom in Ukraine". Політична критика (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2022-06-08.
  27. ^ "Israel, Poland join in protest against Ukraine monument to Nazi collaborator". timesofisrael.com.
  28. ^ "Nazi collaborator monuments in Ukraine". forward.com. 2021-01-27.
  29. ^ Likhachev, Vyacheslav (July 2016). "The Far Right in the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine" (PDF). Russie.NEI.Visions in English. pp. 25–26. Retrieved 1 March 2022. The ideas of Russian imperial (and, to some extent, ethnic) nationalism and Orthodox fundamentalism shaped the official ideology of the DNR and LNR. ... Anti-Semitism and homophobia play a lesser, though still significant, role in public rhetoric. ... It can therefore be argued that the official ideology of the DNR and LNR, which developed under the influence of Russian far-right activists, is largely right-wing, conservative and xenophobic in character.
  30. ^ Likhachev, Vyacheslav (July 2016). "The Far Right in the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine" (PDF). Russie.NEI.Visions in English. pp. 21–22. Retrieved 1 March 2022. Members of far-right groups played a much greater role on the Russian side of the conflict than on the Ukrainian side, especially at the beginning.
  31. ^ Averre, Derek; Wolczuk, Kataryna, eds. (2018). The Ukraine Conflict: Security, Identity and Politics in the Wider Europe. Routledge. pp. 90–91. Separatist ideologues in the Donbas, such as they are, have therefore produced a strange melange since 2014. Of what Marlène Laruelle (2016) has called the 'three colours' of Russian nationalism designed for export—red (Soviet), white (Orthodox) and brown (fascist) ... there are arguably more real fascists on the rebel side than the Ukrainian side
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Likhachev, Vyacheslav (July 2016). "The Far Right in the Conflict between Russia and Ukraine" (PDF). Russie.NEI.Visions in English. pp. 18–28. Retrieved 1 March 2022. The National Bolshevik Party (NBP), the Russian National Unity (RNU), the Eurasian Youth Union, newly formed armed Cossack units and other groups were active in opening branches... The involvement of "The Other Russia" ("descendants" of the outlawed NAtional Bolshevik Party) supporters in the war against Ukraine is entirely consistent with the party's activities... The first "separatist people's governor of Donetsk...had also been an RNU member... During the war in Donbass, the RNU altered the symbols on its chevrons, dispensing with the modified swastika it had always used in the past. Other Russian neo-Nazi groups were less careful, however. The round eight-pronged swastika-kolovrat (a neo-pagan swastika) appeared on the badges of the neo-Nazi "Rusich" and "Ratibor" [units].
  33. ^ a b Yudina, Natalia (1 June 2015). "Russian Nationalists Fight Ukrainian War". Journal on Baltic Security. Walter de Gruyter GmbH. 1 (1): 47–60. doi:10.1515/jobs-2016-0012. S2CID 157714883. Less known organisations are more active in sending fighters to the conflict area, such as Alexander Barkashov's Russian National Unity, RNE (or rather a fragment thereof which somehow remained loyal to the leader)...The National Liberation Movement (NOD) led by United Russia deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov is busy forming volunteer units and transporting them to Ukraine... Other Russian volunteers spotted in Ukraine included activists of the Eurasian Youth Union (the youth branch of Alexander Dugin's party), the Russian Imperial Movement led by Stanislav Vorobyov, and the National Democratic Party.
  34. ^ a b Laruelle, Marlene (26 June 2014). "Is anyone in charge of Russian nationalists fighting in Ukraine?". The Washington Post. Many mercenaries are related, directly or indirectly, to the Russian National Unity (RNU) movement of Alexander Barkashov ... The RNU is supposedly closely associated to members of the self-proclaimed government of Donetsk and in particular of Dmitri Boitsov, leader of the Orthodox Donbass organization ... The volunteers come from several other Russian nationalist groups: the Eurasianist Youth inspired by the Fascist and neo-Eurasianist geopolitician Alexander Dugin; the now-banned Movement Against Illegal Immigration led by Alexander Belov; the group 'Sputnik and Pogrom'; the national-socialist Slavic Union of Dmitri Demushkin; several small groups inspired by monarchism such as the Russian Imperial Movement
  35. ^ Saunders, Robert (2019). Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. pp. 581–582. Russian National Unity (RNU), banned ultranationalist political party ... neo-Nazi party ... a number of RNU members joined separatist forces in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk
  36. ^ Snyder, Timothy. Far-Right Forces are Influencing Russia's Actions in Crimea. The New Republic. 17 March 2014.
  37. ^ a b Kuzio, Taras (2015). Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption, and the New Russian Imperialism. ABC-CLIO. pp. 110–111. the Russian Orthodox Army, one of a number of separatist units fighting for the "Orthodox faith," revival of the Tsarist Empire, and the Russkii Mir. Igor Girkin (Strelkov [Shooter]), who led the Russian capture of Slovyansk in April 2014, was an example of the Russian nationalists who have sympathies to pro-Tsarist and extremist Orthodox groups in Russia. ... the Russian Imperial Movement ... has recruited thousands of volunteers to fight with the separatists. ... separatists received support from Russian neo-Nazis such as the Russian Party of National Unity who use a modified swastika as their party symbol and Dugin's Eurasianist movement. The paramilitaries of both of these ... are fighting alongside separatists.
  38. ^ a b Townsend, Mark (20 March 2022). "Russian mercenaries in Ukraine linked to far-right extremists". The Guardian. Russian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine, including the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, have been linked to far-right extremism ... Much of the extremist content, posted on Telegram and the Russian social media platform VKontakte (VK), relates to a far-right unit within the Wagner Group called Rusich ... One post on the messaging app Telegram, dated 15 March, shows the flag of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white-supremacist paramilitary ... Another recent VK posting lists Rusich as part of a coalition of separatist groups and militias including the extreme far-right group, Russian National Unity.
  39. ^ Šmíd, Tomáš; Šmídová, Alexandra (2021-06-01). "Anti-government Non-state Armed Actors in the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine". Mezinárodní vztahy. Institute of International Relations Prague. 56 (2): 35–64. doi:10.32422/mv-cjir.1778. ISSN 2570-9429. S2CID 236341469. Another group of Russian citizens who became involved in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine were members of the so-called right-wing units of the Russian Spring. Here we mean mainly extreme-right activists... the members of Rusich around [Aleksei] Milchakov are activists of various Russian extreme-right groups... Varyag is one of the few not to hide their extreme-right orientation, as it endorses its neo-Nazi ideology quite openly...
  40. ^ a b Stephen F. Cohen America's Collusion With Neo-Nazis. Neo-fascists play an important official or tolerated role in US-backed Ukraine Archived 2019-12-27 at the Wayback Machine The Nation, 2018
  41. ^ Kuzio, Taras (2020). Crisis in Russian Studies? Nationalism (Imperialism), Racism and War. E-International Relations. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-910814-55-0. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  42. ^ Sakwa 2015, p. 159-160.
  43. ^ Paul Funder Larsen Right-wing nationalists under investigation after last year's sniper massacre in Kiev Jyllands-Posten, 2015
  44. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Russian forces invade after Putin TV declaration". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2022-02-24. Archived from the original on 2022-03-07. Retrieved 2022-02-24. […] The Russian leader launched the "special military operation" by repeating a number of unfounded claims he has made this week, including alleging that Ukraine's democratically elected government had been responsible for eight years of genocide. […] He said the goal was demilitarisation and "denazification" of Ukraine. Hours earlier Ukraine's president had asked how a people who lost eight million of its citizens fighting Nazis could support Nazism. "How could I be a Nazi?" said Mr Zelensky, who is himself Jewish. […]
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  48. ^ a b Tabarovsky, Izabella; Finkel, Eugene (2022-02-27). "Statement on the War in Ukraine by Scholars of Genocide, Nazism and World War II". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
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  50. ^ Snyder, Timothy (2022-02-24). "Putin's Hitler-like tricks and tactics in Ukraine - The glorification of violence and the disregard for law is central to the history of fascism. Taking law seriously and preventing senseless war was supposed to be the lesson learned from World War II". The Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Archived from the original on 2022-03-09. Retrieved 2022-02-25. […] Vladimir Putin's excuse for his senseless attack on Ukraine is "denazification." […] the president of Russia claimed that he needs to replace a neighboring democracy with his own foreign tyranny in the name of World War II. He also referred […] to an entirely imaginary "genocide" of those who speak Russian in Eastern Ukraine. […] Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, is himself a Russian speaker. […] He also referred to the grotesque Nazi charge, pointing out that Ukrainians had died by the millions in World War II fighting the Germans. "Tell it to my grandfather," he said, "who fought in the infantry of the Red Army and died a colonel in independent Ukraine." […]
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