Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Please note that this translation retains the original wording from the article published by the anti-Russian “Ukrainian Truth” website. Apparently, even pro-Kiev media can’t hide anymore the ostentatious signs of the presence of Nazis in Ukraine, especially considering the fact that they are forced to highlight it themselves due to the exponentially-growing worry about how Ukraine can be perceived in the West. Otherwise, everybody knows “there are no Nazis in Ukraine”.
Mass brawls, racist actions – this is the horrible ordinariness of Ukrainian stadiums.
The adherents of Nazi ideas feel themselves to be real masters of football arenas. Here they can do whatever they please. While football functionaries and law enforcement bodies show their helplessness or simply their unwillingness to deal with aggression.
On 19th June at the “Olympic” stadium the loudest incident for last few years took place. In the presence of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the leaders of the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), Kharkov ultras of the club “Metalist 1925” beat the opponents, and also those who were within an arm’s reach. Among the victims was the Vice-President of the Football Federation of Ukraine.
Instead of recognizing the fault of their own fans, the club tried to shift the blame onto others, and the FFU President pointed to the anti-Ukrainian organization “Oplot”.
Why is an egregious incident once again left without an adequate assessment? The answer may be hiding in the figures of the troublemakers.
As was found by the inquiry of “Ukrainian truth”, the most active participants of the incident were the most devoted ultras of the Kharkov club. Among these persons there are those who are no strangers to Nazi symbols. For the law enforcement bodies, these “patriots who were fighting in the ATO” can remain untouchable because of their closeness to the first persons of the country.
The disaster at the “Olympic” stadium
Over the past few years the main football arena of the country saw a lot of things. Due to the antics of the ultras, the “Olympic” stadium was sanctioned.
In April-2017 the “White Schizo” ultras of “Dynamo” Kiev attracted the attention of the British press. Reporters saw in it racist manifestations. At the same time at the stadium there were several fights.
It seemed that is the limit for uncontrolled ultras. But it turned out that it wasn’t.
On 19th June at the “Olympic” stadium the final of the Amateur tournament took place. An uninteresting fight resonated all over the country. At the end of the match when “Metalist 1925” was losing with a score of 0-4 to the club “Agribusiness” (Volochysk), Kharkov ultras began a mass brawl. And it wasn’t even a brawl – it was a beating.
The commentator summed up the actions of the ultras in one word: “Disaster…”
Outside the stadium the similarly aggressive behavior of the citizens qualified under the article of the Criminal Code “hooliganism” – a sentence of 4 years imprisonment.
Immediately after the incident, representatives of the club “Metalist 1925” addressed Arsen Avakov with a request to identify and punish the organizers and active participants of the fighting. The statement spoke about the fanatics of the Kharkov club fans and ultras of other clubs.
But the next day the position of the leadership of the club changed dramatically: they started to whitewash the ultras.
The head coach of “Metalist 1925” Aleksandr Prizetko: “In the section with the Kharkov fans there were also radical representatives of other cities and clubs. Kharkov residents who truly love the club didn’t want to damage it, and could not do it.”
The General Director of club Vladimir Linke: “It was not our fans!”
The President of the FFU Andrey Pavelko wanted to see in them Pro-Russian Kharkov residents: “Already 46 people are identified, this is ‘Oplot’, which we didn’t bring in Kiev. These are the people who belong to former President Sergey Kurchenko”.
While Kharkov fans themselves don’t deny their own guilt. They simply point out “the provocation of rival fans” and “the lack of organisation of the final”.
In the video of the incident you can see that those who initiated the fight and even later were the most active participants were ultras in t-shirts with the inscription “Kharkov City Patriots”.
A t-shirt with such an inscription was worn by one of the leaders of the Kharkov fans Sergey Velichko, who was present at the match.
In general, such t-shirts and flags with an inscription “Kharkov City Patriots” are actively used by the Kharkov ultras of “Metalist 1925”, who are involved in patriotic and nationalist organizations. In particular, the “Skhidny Corpus” and the civil corpus “Azov-Kharkov” and the party “National Corpus”.
So, we can clearly assert that the aggression at the “Olympic” stadium showed the ultras of the Kharkov club “Metalist-1925”, and it is precisely they who were in the forefront of the excesses.
Before the match, the organized Kharkov group of fans wearing t-shirts with the same inscription “Kharkov City Patriots” was photographed at Independence Square. The public “Troublemakers&UltrasAction” photo is signed: “‘No face, no name’ 88th level of KCP”.
At least 7 people in the photo do the sieg heil. The so-called “sieg heil” is a Nazi greeting. And the caption under the photo hints: because “88” is usually the encrypted Nazi greeting “Heil Hitler!” (“H” is the eighth letter in the Latin alphabet).
These same fans also use on their t-shirts a symbol of the Nazi “Black sun”. Such a swastika is banned at stadiums. The original mosaic of the “Black sun” can be seen in detail in the hall of Obergruppenführer SS castle Wewelsburg.
“Chilli Willie”. The leader of the Kharkov ultras
When representatives of the club speak about 46 identified “Oplot members of Kurchenko” – they openly lie.
For the Kharkov ultras among the patriotic and nationalist organizations, the pro-Russian activists are almost the greatest enemy. If at least one of the Oplot members appeared in the section of ultras, he would be very quickly brought out on a medical stretcher. And in the video of the incident it is possible to identify a lot of these ultras of “Metalist”. We will leave this matter to law enforcement bodies.
Let’s look at just one guy.
Here is a freeze frame from a broadcast of Kharkov ultras in the Central section of the “Olympic” stadium. In a black t-shirt with the inscription “Kharkov City Patriots, one of their leaders stands above all others. He is Sergey Velichko.
It is seen from the video that he, as a part of a group of fans, beats people near the rail fence of section 41. And it is precisely he who snatched the banner of rivals “Agribusiness”, ran onto the football field, and ran with it diagonally. Behind him a few dozen ultras followed.
Managers and players of “Metalist 1925” know Sergey very well. In the photo below he passes a flag and speaks on behalf of fans at a meeting with the team.
The photo report of this meeting shows that the fans made a banner with the name of the group – “KCP”.
In one photo near Velichko in the room is Oleg Shiryaev. He is also one of the leaders of the Kharkov ultras, but outside of stadiums.
There isn’t much information about Sergey Velichko on the Internet. But we managed to find something out. He has a profile on Facebook. The same FB-avatar photo is also present on the social network VKontakte. Only there, he is named as “Chilli Willie”.
Sergey is known among fans as “Chilli Willie”. This year he, as a representative of the Kharkov group “WTF”, was interviewed for football fans, where “Chilli Willie” said that his group is positioned not as ultras – but as a separate group “Kharkov Hooligans”, and that in the group “KCP” they have “family issues”.
Besides his “football” activity, Sergey spoke about his other activities. In particular, he mentioned his participation in the ATO – in “Azov” in the subunit “Borodach division”.
The user of Facebook “Dmitry Syroezhkin tagged Velichko in his photo with the flag of the subunit. Similar flags are also prohibited in football stadiums because of the image of Nazi symbols.
Also from Facebook comments it is possible to see that Sergey is an active participant in the street protests of the Civil Corpus “Azov”. In one of the posted videos of the National Corpus he is near the more famous Kharkov resident Andrey Biletsky.
“Sirko”. The leader of the Kharkov hooligans outside of stadiums
Kharkov resident Oleg Shiryaev was also present at the “Olympic” stadium. He didn’t actively participate in the incident, but watched the course of events from the VIP box.
Oleg descended to see his fans following the President of the FFU Andrey Pavelko.
Under this photo on Facebook an interesting discussion started. One of the reporters asked if Oleg led the process of disrupting the game, after all among the participants of the incident there were many “Azov” members, and Shiryaev personally knows almost half of those who ran onto the field. To which he received the answer: Shiryaev does not belong to the ultras – he just knows them.
The friendly relations of Shiryaev with “Kharkov Hooligans” is confirmed in a video from the “Olympic” stadium. At the end of the incident Oleg, together with Sergey Velichko and the other guys in black shirts of Kharkov City Patriots go to the section of the fans.
Later on his Facebook page Shiryaev explained that he had gone to Kharkov ultras because he saw familiar faces among them:
“From the beginning I said to representatives of the media that Yes, the activists of the ‘Skhidny Corpus’ are related to the incident. Having seen familiar faces, I immediately went to the conflict zone and did everything to prevent it. Many things connect us with the fan movement. Many ultras are members of our public organization. It is their free choice… Now the guys recognise their mistake. They took a decent and weighted decision. I, in turn, hope that the people who accused us of having links with “Oplot” (and this is indeed complete insanity!), which, in fact, we were destroying, will take back their words.”
Oleg is a person known in Kharkov. He’s one of those, thanks to whom, in 2014 in the city the “Kharkov People’s Republic” wasn’t created. That year, Shiryaev headed a police unit of special purpose “Skhidny Corpus”. Along with “Azov” he fought in Shirokino and Granitnoye. He is known at the front as “Sirko”.
In the spring of 2015 Oleg Shiryaev received an award weapon from Arsen Avakov.
Some in Kharkov consider Shiryaev as the “man of Avakov”. However, with the same success Oleg can be called “man of the head of the Presidential Administration”.
The fact is that last spring he became an Advisor to the Chairman of the Kharkov Regional State Administration Igor Rainin.
When the latter moved to an office on Bankova Street – Shiryaev stayed to work with the successor of Rainin, Yulia Svetlichnaya. Now Oleg is her adviser on issues of territorial defense.
In reality, Shiryaev is really close to another Kharkov resident – Andrey Biletsky.
10 years ago, Oleg Shiryaev enrolled in the organization of Biletsky “Patriots of Ukraine”. In the elections-2014 he was the head of civil order for the future constituency of the Deputy. Later he led the civil corpus “Azov-Kharkov”, and now he serves on the High Council of the party “National Corpus”.
In 2016, in an interview, Oleg Shiryaev said that the new party of “National Corpus” will be formed on the basis of Ukrainian nationalism.
According to him, this has nothing ideologically in common with Nazism and fascism: “What does fascism speak about – it speaks about one State dominating over others. What does the Nazism of the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler speak about – it speaks about one nation dominating over others.
What does nationalism speak about – and not only Ukrainian one: it is present in the UK, Belgium, Japan, and the United States? We don’t say that our government or nation dominates other ones, we don’t expand the borders of our Empire. We primarily want to retain ours – the established territory of Ukraine as it was at the beginning of 2013. I.e., of course, Ukrainian Donbass and Ukrainian Crimea”.
At the same time on the road to Finland for the match of the national team of Ukraine in June-2017, Oleg can be seen in a t-shirt of Kharkov City Patriots, in company with Sergey Velichko and other ultras.
An interesting detail: Shiryaev prefers the brand of clothing Svastone – this clothing is also banned in football stadiums because the manufacturer uses images of the swastika and racist slogans.
What to do
So, behind the incident in the “Olympic” stadium stand not anti-Ukrainian “Oplot” members, but ultras from “Kharkov Hooligans”.
These guys are known as patriots and nationalists, which are members of the “Skhidny Corpus” and subunits of “Azov”. Some of these ultras use Nazi symbols.
However, the problem is not only with Kharkov ultras and a separate episode of fighting of ultras at the “Olympic” stadium.
Aggression in the stadiums and the expansion of the circle of supporters of Nazis is a common trend of the ultra environment in Ukraine.
In recent years, the use of banned symbols in stadiums are increasingly seen. In their desire, on the one hand, to demonstrate their adherence to Nazis, and on the other to circumvent this ban, our fans are obliged to use various “cunning plans”, which periodically replenish the brochure of the international organization of the FARE.
For this, we increasingly are punished by Europeans.
Even if punishment inside the country occurs, it is purely symbolic. Even in Ukraine the law condemning Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes acts – in practice, no one touches the followers of the ideas of Hitler. The norms of the Criminal Code are also not used against aggressive ultras.
Why? One suggestion that is on the surface is that ultras have high-ranking patrons. However, for example, the collegue of Avakov Anton Gerashchenko explains the impunity of fans otherwise: no one gives a statement to law enforcement bodies.
After the last incident in the “Olympic” stadium, the President of the FFU Andrey Pavelko said that the problem will be solved through the adoption of a law on safety in stadiums. It is expected that law enforcement officers will come back to the stands will back (previously the responsibility for keeping order in stadiums was assigned to “Berkut”).
But this will not solve the problem.
Moreover, former Berkut officers can become a “red rag” for ultras who were at Maidan and participated in military operations.
The problem goes far beyond football stadiums.
There are people who benefit from having under control, as they believe, groups that are ready to take aggressive action. This can be used as a means of influence in politics. And also it is possible to crack down on designated “agents of the Kremlin” and “non-patriots”.
Of course, in this respect, we are still far from Russia, where international forums of neo-Nazis are openly held and organize thugs into the pro-Kremlin movement “Ours”, the members of which pursue the “5th column”.
But the trend of increasing manifestations of aggression and intolerance in society speak about the threat of a Ukrainian analogue of the movement “Ours”.
And then the next catastrophic incident involving ultras will seem like little flowers.
P.S. after this material was ready for publication the club “Metalist 1925” provided the FFU materials of the internal investigation of the incident at the “Olympic” stadium. The findings highlight the mistakes of the organizers of the match and focus on the “other persons” who were present at the section of Kharkov fans. In particular, they say that the fans had to write on their black the inscription “Brigade of the brave. Dynamo Kiev”, or “Dnipro”, or “Odessa”. The club failed to identify the persons who are violators of public order.
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