The Western press recently reported the destruction of a Soviet-era statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The Washington Post would claim in its report, “Ukrainians just pulled down a massive Lenin statue. What does that signal for Russia?,” that:
Anti-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, pulled down a massive statue of Vladimir Lenin late Sunday, a sign of hardening anger toward the Kremlin in an eastern Ukrainian area where sympathies are split between Kiev and Moscow.
The pro-European protests that swept Ukraine in the winter were accompanied by a wave of Lenin statues being pulled down, eliminating symbolic vestiges of the Soviet Union that had endured after its 1991 breakup. But few such statues were toppled in eastern Ukraine, which has long been a bastion of pro-Russian sentiment and where separatists have embarked on an insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.
As usual with reports from the Western press, the deception can manifest itself just as much from what is omitted as from what is actually said. The Washington Post maintains that those who destroyed the statue were merely “anti-Russian protesters.” In reality, it was a mob led by literal Neo-Nazis of the notorious Azov Battalion – fielded and directed by Kiev’s Interior Ministry itself.
While the Washington Post attempts to claim the statue’s destruction was a manifestation of the people’s will in eastern Ukraine, it was in reality a stunt pulled by some of Kiev’s most vicious, ultra-right, and illegitimate supporters – supporters the West works continuously to obfuscate from public view.
Azov’s role in the Kharkiv incident was revealed not by the Russian media, but instead by the European Union and NATO’s own Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors on the ground in Ukraine. Submitting daily reports often ignored by the Western press, the OSCE stated in its September 29, 2014 briefing that (emphasis added):
On 28 September, at 14:30hrs, the SMM observed in Kharkiv a large demonstration of some 2,000 pro-Ukraine supporters gathering in front of the Opera house. The crowd, composed of men and women of different ages and including children, was led by members of the “Azov” volunteer battalion, as well as young men and women with masks. Some of the demonstrators marched towards Liberty Square, where Lenin’s monument was located. There, the SMM observed a group of young men with masks trying to climb on top of Lenin’s statue, while the crowd present on the square had increased to approximately 5,000 people. The demonstrators who had climbed up to the statue began using an electric cutting instrument to dismantle the base of the statue. Whilst not visible on the square, the SMM observed the police deploy and set up an outer perimeter cordon around the square and three buses of police behind the regional administration building. At 22:40hrs Lenin’s Statue was pulled down by the demonstrators. As the SMM left the scene, it did not observe any further incident.
While Azov’s role in much of Ukraine’s daily violence goes unreported, the Western media has tentatively reported on the group in the past. The Telegraph in one article titled, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” reported that:
As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle.
The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.
The Telegraph would also report in the same article that:
Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics”, proclaimed in eastern Ukraine in March, should send a shiver down Europe’s spine. Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming.
The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.
If this is who is tearing down statutes across Ukraine, including now eastern cities like Kharkiv, then to answer the Washington Post’s question as to what it “signals for Russia,” is a Nazi threat openly backed by the European Union, NATO, and the United States, lurking once again along its borders just as it did in the 1930′s and in immediate need of being addressed. This threat goes unnoticed to most among Western audiences primarily because of dishonest reporting from papers like the Washington Post as well as the West’s continuous campaign to defame and undermine Russian media who has apparently been accurately reporting the growing Nazi threat in Ukraine for some time.
So large has this threat the Western press previously was adamant did not exist, that the Western press itself has begun reporting in articles like, “Azov fighters are Ukraine’s greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat – The battalion’s far-right volunteers’ desire to ‘bring the fight to Kiev’ is a danger to post-conflict stability,” published in the London Guardian, that:
…there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.
As usual, while the Western press invents an impressive cast of villains for Western regimes to intervene against, it is their own proxies who often pose the greatest threat to global peace and stability. Nazis ravaging not only the West’s enemies in eastern Ukraine, but now threatening their own proxy regime in Kiev is just one of many examples.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.