The Commander of the “Azov” Battalion’s Prospect of Becoming the New Ukrainian Leader

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

18/12/2018 (Aleksandr Aleksandrovsky)

At the end of the year the PR activity of the Ukrainian National Corpus and its “Fuhrer” Andrey Biletsky gained steam. There is such a feeling that this radical force proposes itself not only to situational allies, such as the Interior Minister of the country Arsen Avakov, but also to the presidential camp.

Events show that participating in such a nationalist project where “downed pilots” from Svoboda will play the first violin it isn’t at all interesting for Biletsky.

His reaction to the decision of five nationalist organisations (“Svoboda”, Right Sector, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists [OUN], the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, and C14) to nominate the former deputy speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and current head of the secretariat of “Svoboda”  Ruslan Koshulinsky as a candidate for president was very predictable. Biletsky treated them like losers who conceived to use a more lucky partner in the enterprise doomed to failure.

The ambitious and vigorous “white leader” isn’t going to perform as a backup dancer for eaten by moths “Svoboda” members. Of course, a merger of nationalist organisations could be interesting to Biletsky if it placed a stake on him as the single candidate in presidential race.

“Svoboda” is an example of how a nationalist party having a parliamentary faction near to the “bandit authorities” ( in many respects — thanks to the “grey cardinals” and political strategists of the former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the ideological voluntarism of the “Party of Regions”) turned into a marginal one after the victory of Maidan. And on the contrary, the “white leader” is an example of how the leader of marginal neo-Nazi organisations who was sat in jail during the coup then, after Maidan’s victory, in a few months, via the efforts of serious uncles from law enforcements departments, turned into a project for which the “green light” was given.

The Ukrainian Ernst Röhm started to be moulded from Biletsky. It was for him that the advisers to the Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko and Zoryan Shkiryak were allocated as backup dancers during the parliamentary elections of 2014. Back then it was still unclear whether Biletsky will pass the political casting in front of serious uncles, whether he will become steady, whether will he accustom himself to not publicly show his tendency to “sieg heil”.

It isn’t difficult to find inadequate Banderists like the “Svoboda” member Miroshnichenko or the nazi Karas from “C14” for street terror and dirty actions. If Biletsky eventually assimilated to them, the participation of advisers to the Minister of Internal Affairs in his promotion would be simple to explain: Gerashchenko and Shkiryak are stupid clowns themselves, that’s why they put a stake on the wrong one, they lost.

But Biletsky reached a new qualitative level. If odious criminals from Tornado, Aidar, and other units were written off as junk, serious uncles managed to reformat the so-called Azov movement into the necessary form.

The incidental concern of the West with regards to the “wolfsangel” and the nazi principles of “Azov” didn’t become a problem for Biletsky’s militants. Some of the founders and active members of the “Azov” regiment are unaccounted for. And after this there was the rebranding of the organisations that Biletsky cooked up, during the process of which he gradually exfiltrated his “storm troopers” from fair accusations of neo-nazism. A competent stitching up of their external appearance, skilful masking of their actual contents — and… nobody saw nazis. Military patriotic education of the youth, zoo protection, and combatting drug trafficking and the gambling business …

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All in all – he is “for the people”.

So the image of the fledglings of the “Ukrainian Röhm” was seriously worked on. By the efforts of professional operators the marches of National Druzhinaand “National Corpus” secured in the consciousness of the Ukrainian layperson the image of a new force; carriers of “a new order” that one can complain to about drug dealers, raiders, and doubtful (illegal) constructors.

The “green light” was given not to the individual Andrey Biletsky or the “Patriot of Ukraine” organisation. It was given to a long-playing right-wing project that will be able to definitively turn Ukraine into a laboratory for breeding a hybrid from political Ukrainism, integrated nationalism, and the “wolfsangel”.

Why did Europe and the US quickly close their eyes to the frank Nazism of “Azov”? Well, because precisely this unit and the related to it “National Corpus” and “National Druzhina” are the most suitable for the militarisation of Ukraine and inflating military hysteria, for the stage-by-stage establishment of “a new order”, where dissent will be herded into a leper colony, ghetto, or concentration camp – depending on the results of elections.

Whoever is president there — Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, or somebody else — the project of “a new order” will be ready to put itself forward, and it will be willingly used. This is how any new government in Ukraine used the already-ready corruption schemes of its predecessors.

Today the political cadaver of Poroshenko quotes the Ukrainian suicidal chekist Khvylovy: “Away from Moscow!”.

The cadaver will leave for the past, but the project of “a new order” moulded from political Ukrainism and Nazism will work for this result: “Away from Moscow!”.

The story of the neo-Nazi organisations “Patriot of Ukraine” and “Social-National Assembly” in the spring of 2014, after the shooting on Rymarskaya Street in Kharkov, could’ve developed in a way that the law demanded. And then the shooters from Rymarskaya Street, together with Biletsky,  would’ve sat in jail. This story could’ve developed also according to the laws and logic of post-revolutionary time. And then Biletsky could’ve been swept away in the same way that Aleksandr Muzychko was. But, unlike Sashko Bily [nickname of Muzychko – ed], the “white leader” passed “casting”.

In the spring of 2014 the SBU, headed by Nalyvaichenko, was already being coordinated by transatlantic colleagues. And, probably, Biletsky was being tried out according to a long-term outlook.

The “white leader” was technically withdrawn from the marginal field, where such human garbage as “C14” remains. The authorities and law enforcement also find a use for marginals – they give them “delicate instructions” and allow them to commit pogroms and to punish objectionable persons. Militants from “C14”  are being protected for the time being, rescued from criminal liability and prison, which has been beckoning them for a long time. They are even being drip fed from the budget. In the summer of this year the nazis from “C14”, who “became famous” for pogroms of Romani camps, received 440,000 hryvnia from the Ministry of Youth and Sport for “national-patriotic education”. But the militants from “C14” and similar organisations look like poisonous insects and reptiles in comparison with Biletsky, to who serious uncles assign the role of predator.

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Today the small tips are uninteresting to the “white leader”. Being at the beck and call of “Svoboda” with its candidate Koshulinsky would be especially uninteresting to him. Biletsky is waiting for serious offers from serious uncles. It is worth playing along not with a player who will definitely fritter away the game. At the moment serious uncles are still bargaining, calculating their options, and putting their eggs in different baskets. And, for example, the option of entering parliament not as a lone wolf-majoritarian, but as a group of “brothers-in-arms” in a solid fraction could be interesting to Biletsky.

It already become commonplace to remind how and when Avakov gave carte blanche to “Azov”. For “Azov” members disowning Avakov’s patronage became a usual thing. But relations along the line Poroshenko-Biletsky can turn out to be much more interesting.

The option where Biletsky, along with “National Corpus” and “National Druzhina”, would play along with the incumbent president during elections looks sudden and intriguing against the background of forecasts that Poroshenko can enter the second round of voting only by a miracle. It isn’t so important whether Biletsky will participate in the first round and fight for 0.1- 1% of votes. What’s important is what big chunk can be offered to the “white leader” and what the right-wing nationalist project can develop into should Poroshenko win. If to reflect upon it, “National Corpus”, which is actively working with the youth in schools, already implements the maniacal theses of the president about a “final farewell to Russia” and “Away from Moscow”. They have common interests. The military practices implemented by “Azov” within the framework of the “Concept of the Ukrainian army of the future” advance the so-called reform that is carried out by the military department.

Poroshenko can use the well organised and harmonious structures of Biletsky in his presidential campaign, without demanding direct support from them, which would look shameful for the “Azov movement”. It is possible to use them in a more cunning way: for example, for disrupting the electoral campaign of Tymoshenko at the local level; arming “National Druzhina” members with two-three main Poroshenko-bot theses – Yuliya = Medvedchuk and Putin, etc, and to unleash them on the campaign headquarters of the “pro-Kremlin” candidate Tymoshenko; and to be engaged in the usual thing – blocking, pogroms, and physical persuasion.

However, Tymoshenko is also interested in inclining Biletsky to come to her side, to promise him something “fatter” or quicker than what Poroshenko can offer. She can also have common topics with the “white leader”: “I, like you, demanded the introduction of martial law four years ago, and not just now”.

Hungry wolves from “National Corpus” and “National Druzhina” so far have remained silent. But Biletsky is competently involved in promoting his organisations. Their activity this year gives the impression that they have already began someone’s electoral campaign.

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Why are we dissecting all these trends in such detail? In this positional fuss there is no “ours”, there are no healthy forces. The natural reaction of “our” person who isn’t poisoned by the Maidan stench is: gobble each other up. But here it’s something else that is important. They can devour each other as much and as long as is necessary. At the same time, nazis were let into schools long ago. The task of giving national-patriotic education was placed in their hands. Teenagers enter their sports halls

The list of actions that were carried out this year by “National Corpus” and “National Druzhina” is quite impressive. They hold All-Ukrainian sports competitions and flashmobs for children under nazi slogans. They opened a nationalist hub in Kharkov with sports sections. They launched a female self-defense project named “White Angels”. They opened a rehabilitation center for participants of the ATO named “Brotherly Citadel” in the Kharkov children’s and youth sports school. They give so-called “courage lessons” in schools.

Even people unacquainted with this subject matter for sure have for sure stumbled upon video footage from children’s camps where “Azov” members work with school students.

It is possible to further pretend that it doesn’t concern us in Russia. It does concern us though. Just one example. The videoclip of the “BRUTTO” group of Sergey Mikhalok devoted to “Azov” has millions of views just on YouTube. It is watched by teenagers and youth not only in Ukraine, but also in Belarus and the Russian Federation. Mikhalok sings this song at concerts in Belarus. What qualitative antidote can be offered to the youth of Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolaev, and the part of Donbass that remained under the Ukrainian military authorities? Perhaps Vladimir Bortko’s movie about the war in Donbass, for which the state still hasn’t allocated money?

Nazi propaganda works with the Russian youth and with the Russian people of the East of Ukraine more actively than we do. And taking into account the isolation of these territories from the Russian world, we on the contrary have to several times, tens of times more powerfully appeal to the Russian people.

The resident of Ukraine can’t watch Russian movies or qualitative TV programs. We haven’t made this any easier for them. Mikhalk’s clip glorifying the “Azov” member Garri is much easier to find on the Internet than the movie “Legend of Kolovrat”.

The “white leader” Andrey Biletsky has so far been silent about his political plans. But he has been talking to your children for a long time.

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