Biletsky’s Azov: The new leader of Ukrainian neo-Nazis and the Third Maidan


July 22, 2016 – 

By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ

Translated by J. Arnoldski

Over the past week, numerous materials in Ukrainian media have discussed the possibility of a coup d’etat in Ukraine. Such discussions were started by the speech of Verkhovna Rada deputy Vladimir Parasyuk live on TV channel 112. According to him, only Azov is capable of carrying out such today, as the parliamentarian asserts that Azov is a serious ideological organization that is ready to overthrow the government. Other volunteer battalions have been either deliberately weakened or been taken under control by the head of state, Petro Poroshenko. The only one keeping Azov under control is Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, who at the present moment does not have the best relations with the president.

But “can” does not yet mean “wants.” Parasyuk said nothing of any plans of Azov’s to seize power yet.

Ukraine is filled with a constant flow of sensations, including those associated with the activities of neo-Nazis. Parasyuk has in his turn been known for his extravagance since the days of the Maidan, yet his words have caused a stir and marked the beginning of discussion and, most importantly, they have been spoken at a suitable time. On July 20th, the famous journalist Pavel Sheremet, who openly supported Azov’s founder, Andrey Biletsky, was killed. This subsequently spawned the theory that the Poroshenko regime is eliminating its political rivals. Parasyuk has in fact repeated Sheremet’s words to the effect that Azov is the most organized ideological force in Ukraine. 

- Advertisement -

According to various polls, Poroshenko’s rating is as little as 3-6% and the rating of the “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” is only slightly higher. On the other, ultra-right flank, the situation is also deplorable. The split in the ranks of Right Sector and Yarosh’s departure from leadership has practically destroyed Right Sector as any kind of powerful political force even though it indeed still boasts its own military force. But today, only specialists remember the Right Sector party established in March, 2014. Even the less radical Svoboda party lost elections and was not included in the Verkhovna Rada. 

It seems that, out of all of the leaders of Ukrainian neo-Nazis, only Biletsky wields a “correct” strategy. He is a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada but, instead of striving to become a media personality, he is instead actively operating the civil corps of the Azov regiment promoting cultural and social initiatives. At the same time, he participates in political actions. As is known, Sheremet was killed when he was on his way to an event held by Azov’s civil corps together with miners and protesters against high tariffs. Ukrainian neo-Nazis are only able to expand their electoral base and become attractive in the eyes of part of the Ukrainian population by way of such actions. The other neo-Nazis are meanwhile busying themselves with smuggling (like Right Sector in Transcarpathia) or clashing with the police.

In an article on Ukrainian nationalism from 6 years ago, I described Kharkov, a Russian city in the East of present-day Ukraine, as the capital of the new Ukrainian nationalism. It appears that today’s events are confirming this conclusion. A few years ago, it became obvious that the new generation of Ukrainian nationalists (or rather neo-Nazis) has intellectually and organizationally defeated the archaic and primitive Galician variety of Ukrainian neo-Nazism. An analysis of the programmatic documents of “Patriot of Ukraine” and the Social National Assembly (from which the battalions were formed followed by the Azov regiment) suggests that this force has made its own symbiosis of racist and social ideas on the day’s agenda. This is form of national socialism in pure form with an emphasis on artificially constructed paganism. But did the founders and leaders of the National Socialist German Workers Party themselves not engage in this? Hitler and his supporters in 1919 were a dwarf party even in terms of just Munich and Bavaria. Nevertheless, they were able to push aside and then destroy enormous competitors. In addition to Hitler’s outstanding political instinct and incredibly tenacity, the success of the NSDAP had yet another explanation: the German Nazis actively exploited social problems.

Biletsky, the “white leader” (his party nickname), undoubtedly possesses leadership qualities. His “Patriot of Ukraine” and Social National Assembly were the most ideologically developed organizations of their kind. And it seems that the most talented political strategists are working for them in order to prevent Azov from turning into a gang like Right Sector or Aidar. In such a time as now, in which all state institutions from the president to the parliament, army, etc. have been discredited, people, especially the youth, are in need of solid reference points and idols. While all of the political forces in Ukraine are busy fighting each other as they population watches and tries to understand, only Andrey Biletsky, the “white leader”, is sitting quietly in his deputy chair in the Verkhovna Rada while managing the work of his military and public structures. The Azov regiment is now constantly improving its military training and establishing necessary contacts with officers from the UAF and SBU. Security circles need their own man in power or, even better, at the head of the state. This means that Biletsky could gradually gain the support of security forces. Azov’s civil corps is also developing contacts with trade unions and protest movements, i.e., it is being supported on the streets.

Time is working against Ukraine. In other words, time is working on Ukraine. 

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.