Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard 16:38:47 20/06/2017 strana.ua During the last parade of the “Azov” regiment in Mariupol for the “third anniversary of liberation of the city from separatists” – June 13th, 2014, one of the militants of the regiment marched with a sledgehammer. The photo caused a resonance on social networks – many identified the tool as a pagan symbol: the hammer of the Norse God Torah. “Strana” found out what the hammer in hands of the “Azov” militant is for. The official website of the “Azov” battalion offers an explanation for the emergence of this unusual “weapon”. As was reported, it is a new tradition of inauguration of the chief sergeant of the military school of commanders of the “Azov” regiment Evgeny Konovalts. The tool symbolizes the “forging” of sergeants in the structure of the military school of commanders. The hammer, as they write in the message, is made of Damascus steel by the famous Ukrainian master, and is a symbol of the power of the chief sergeant of the school. The chief sergeant of the military school exhibited the forging tool at the parade – only he has the right to touch it. When there is the next graduation of sergeants from the military school – on May 23rd every year, the hammer is taken from a box and solemnly transferred to the new chief sergeant. On one side of the tool is Evgeny Konovalets, and on the other – the emblem of “Azov” – a nazi rune Wolfsangel is represented. And on the handle are quotes of Colonel Konovalts – “No sobbing, but win” and “The fire melted iron into steel, the struggle transformed the people into a nation”. In turn, “Azov” militants say that the hammer being a ritual symbol of the military school of the regiment didn’t happen by accident. “There was always many Pagans in the regiment, and rodnovers. And the command very much encourages Paganism in the regiment – there are rituals that are carried out by preachers of Pagan cults. They are invited to the regiment, they live for a long time and even go to training grounds with the regiment, to carry out the initiation of soldiers,” said one of the demobilized fighters of the regiment Vladimir V. “Some consider themselves as a rodnover, others consider themselves as a successors of the belief of Vikings. All this happens quite seriously – many draw runes on helmets and on weapons. But for other religions the regiment treat them neutrally, the main thing is that representatives of these religions wouldn’t disturb the Pagan rituals that are carried out quite officially. Many even say things in the spirit of paganism becoming a State religion,” explained the veteran of a unit Igor D. Earlier, “Strana” reported that the leader of the right-wing party “National Corpus”, the People’s Deputy Andrey Biletsky asked the Kiev authorities to register the community of pagans “Rodobozhie”. Copyright © 2017 СТАЛКЕР/ZONE. All Rights Reserved.