Kiev’s New Decree: Decommunisation of the UAF or an Attempt to Cover Up the Widespread Use of Nazi Symbols?

By Ollie Richardson

The chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko (yes, the same guy who said there are no Russian troops in Donbass) signed a decree on “decommunisation” in the Ukrainian army. At face value this news looks like a repetition of what has already happened: for example, the colour of the berets that UAF soldiers wear was changed in favour of the NATO scheme, and the structure of the army as a whole is changing. However as is said, the devil is in the details. Muzhenko wrote the following on his Facebook page: 

“I signed a decree of the General Staff that strictly regulates the implementation by commanders (heads) of all levels in the leadership of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the condemnation of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) regimes, and prohibition of propaganda of their symbols’.

This is a confirmation of the correctness of our course.

Concerning the appropriation of the so-called honorary names to units of the Russian army.

1. The Ukrainian Army has its own military-historical traditions and Russia’s actions in no way affects us.

2. By their decisions the Russians continue their long tradition – stealing someone else’s history and glory.

3. This is the marking of territory and the sounding of claims to the land of other peoples that Russia has no relation to.

4. This is a clear signal to us and to the world that the aggressor is not going to stop in Donbass and Crimea. It also aims to mobilise pro-Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine.

5. The traditions of the modern Russian army is a strange blend of Russian imperial and Soviet myths.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine realised this in 2014, when each of us made a choice.”

Putting to one side his babble about what Russia did on July 2nd – renaming some of its units after Ukrainian cities, the detail in question is in the name of the Law he cites: “On the condemnation of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) regimes, and prohibition of propaganda of their symbols”. I.e., the focus here isn’t about communism, since the UAF generally doesn’t exhibit any hammers and sickles (only during the odd parade or ceremony [see photo below]), and it’s not sure what else can really be “decommunised”?

The focus here is on the expression “national socialist (Nazi) regimes”. It would appear that the last “accidental” exhibition of Nazi symbols live on Ukrainian TV by a Ukrainian soldier was the final straw for the command of the UAF (read: America).

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In the new reality, where the EU needs Ukraine to look “respectable” before the elections kick off in 2019 and where “Russian aggression” is last year’s fashion (after all, no proof of even a single Russian soldier being in Donbass has ever been presented), symbols from the Das Reich division and the Nazi Totenkopf will not receive much of a warm applause in the “civilised West”, and will indeed, albeit with a smattering of hypocrisy, raise the alarm. In fact, if Muzhenko doesn’t nip this practice of drawing “SS” runes on military equipment in the bud now, then western Europeans might start to wonder who Stepan Bandera is, what Nachtigall is, where Volyn is, why the CIA was collaborating with OUN-UPA during the early post-WW2 years, etc.

Things became a bit too close for the West’s liking when it was recently discovered that the band of thugs known as “C14” receives financing from Kiev (and thus the West). This led to the Atlantic Council rushing to publish a whitewashing article that aims to absolve the West of any wrongdoing, to which the head of RT Margarita Simonyan responded to by reminding the West of what they have done in Ukraine in recent times.

So, time will tell if the appearances of Nazi symbols among the ranks of the UAF will become an extinct phenomenon. But when one bears in mind that since this new Law entered into force in 2015 not only has nobody in Ukraine in general has been punished for bearing Nazi symbols – whether it be from the SS “Galicia” division, the “Azov” battalion, or even OUN-UPA – but also that these symbols are actually glorified and equated with State symbols, then it becomes apparent that punishing UAF troops for bearing such symbols will be difficult since it won’t appease the rabid Banderist part of society. And after all, if Ukraine is to really “decommunise” itself, then it must rename the entire country into “Galicia”, give back territories to neighbours, and oust all ethnic minorities, as well as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I.e., nationwide civil war and the actual rapid disintegration of the State.

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