US Democrats vs Azov: What’s Behind the Demarche of American Congress

On October 19th 40 American congressmen signed a letter to the US Department of State demanding that the “Azov” regiment be recognised as a terrorist organisation and added to the corresponding list.

The rationale was that American citizens preparing an attack in their own country were indirectly associated with “Azov”, and the terrorist from New Zealand responsible for the deaths of 50 people went to Ukraine and was trained in the regiment’s camps. Congressmen are also aware that this armed group is a neo-Nazi group, and its militants are guilty of human rights violations and torture.

There is one curious detail to this news. All signatories without exception are members of the Democratic Party, which, as domestic experts often claim, supports the most radical Ukrainian forces, acting from extremely anti-Russian positions and insisting on the continuation of the war in Donbass. In fact, for a long time the Americans have turned a blind eye to the activities of “Azov”, although they were well aware of the racist and neo-Nazi ideology of the regiment.

In 2018, in court, in the case of the American right-wing radical group Rise Above Movement, FBI agent Scott Bierwirth claimed that four of its members who took part in the 2017 Charlottesville disorder were associated with nationalists from the-then “Azov” battalion.

Why did this story only come up now?

There is reason to think that in this way the Democratic Party is trying to take under its protection the current ruling team in Ukraine and, in particular, Vladimir Zelensky. Surrounded by the president, there are many of its proteges, and, in fact, the Ukrainian government itself seems already inclined to follow the orders of the Democrats, not Donald Trump, who, as is known, gave the task to his Ukrainian colleague to “negotiate” with Moscow. This means ending the war and starting to implement the political points of the Minsk Agreements.

After the memorable meeting in New York, the process moved in this direction, but the same neo-Nazis intervened, and the Ukrainian government immediately retreated to its position previously held by Petro Poroshenko’s team. I.e., none of the political points, as they are recorded in the agreement, can be fulfilled. In addition, it was disrupted by the indefinite postponement of the disengagement of forces and means in two settlements.

The Democrats cannot but like such a turn of events. The action plan proposed by Trump is effectively blocked. But if the former “Azov” commander, now head of its political wing, the “National Corpus” party, would have stopped there… Back then, perhaps, the Democratic Party wouldn’t have drawn the State Department’s attention to the neo-Nazi formation.

But Biletsky set his sights on a coup d ‘état. On October 16th he put forward an ultimatum to Zelensky, giving him 10 days to refuse to withdraw the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the contact line. I.e., there was a public threat to deprive the president of power if he did not comply with a whole list of demands made by nationalists.

There was no need for an ultimatum, after the first protest in Kiev Vladimir Zelensky fled from the battlefield, losing via this move the remains of his dignity and male status. And after the second protest the “Steinmeier formula” started to be interpreted by him and Foreign Minister Vadim Pristayko in full compliance with Petro Poroshenko’s extensive work on this topic.

It should be assumed that after issuing the ultimatum, the Ukrainian government sought help from its patrons in the United States. There is no doubt that the Democrats provide every protection for the current “Poroshenko-esque” course of Zelensky.

The Democratic Party decided to help the “right” guys and put the regiment “Azov” in their crosshairs. The problem, however, is that the Democrats’ anger at the Nazis and the State Department’s decision, if there even is any, is not scary. Financial assistance from the United States does not reach them, as there has long been a strict ban on the allocation of funds and the supply of American weapons to “Azov”. It is even honourable to be on the list of terrorist organisations. It’s an extra and very spectacular advertisement for the ultra-right.

I.e., the demarche of the Democrats is unlikely to change the alignment of forces in Ukraine. Biletsky, in company with other nationalist forces, will continue to scare Zelensky with a coup and other unpleasant things. The President will continue to retreat, although there seems to be nowhere else to run.

Although there are places. The radicals, seeing how easy it is to make the president flee in panic, may well think about a new combination: Zelensky can be chased away until he turns into a reincarnation of Bandera or Shukhevych.

Andrey Babitsky

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