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Ukraine's "Romantic" Nazi Storm Troopers

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Cross-posted from Consortium News


The U.S. mainstream media's deeply biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis -- endlessly portraying the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev as "the good guys" -- reached a new level of absurdity over the weekend as the Washington Post excused the appearance of Swastikas and other Nazi symbols among a Ukrainian government militia as "romantic."

This curious description of these symbols for unspeakable evil -- the human devastation of the Holocaust and World War II -- can be found in the last three paragraphs of the lead story in the Post's Saturday editions, an article about Ukraine's Azov battalion which has become best known for waging brutal warfare under Nazi and neo-Nazi insignia.

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However, if you didn't know that reputation, you would have learned little about that grim feature of the Azov paramilitaries as you wound your way through the long story which began on Page One and covered half an inside page.

Post correspondent Anthony Faiola portrayed the Azov fighters as "battle-scarred patriots" who were nobly resisting "Russian aggression," so determined to fight for Ukraine's freedom that they threatened to resort to "guerrilla war."

The article finds nothing objectionable about Azov's plans for "sabotage, targeted assassinations and other insurgent tactics" against Russians, although such actions are often regarded as terrorism. Similar threats are directed even at the government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko if he agrees to a peace deal with the ethnic Russian east that is not to the militia's liking.

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"If Kiev reaches a deal with rebels that they don't support, paramilitary fighters say they could potentially strike pro-Russian targets on their own -- or even turn on the government itself," the article states.

Incorruptible Freedom Fighters

The Post, which has avidly supported a Cold War-style confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, portrays Kiev's so-called "voluntary battalions" as the true heroes of this international morality play, incorruptible freedom fighters angry about a potential sell-out by Poroshenko and other politicians far from the front lines.

So, you might have been a little unsettled to reach the inside jump of the story and see a photograph of a Swastika festooning one barracks of the Azov brigade. According to a variety of other news accounts, the Azov brigade also marches under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel banner, a slight variant of a symbol used by the Nazi SS.

But the Post offers an excuse for the Swastika in the barracks. In the last three paragraphs, Faiola reported:

"One platoon leader, who called himself Kirt, conceded that the group's far right views had attracted about two dozen foreign fighters from around Europe.

"In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt, a former hospitality worker, dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers -- many of them still teenagers -- embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of 'romantic' idea.

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"He insisted the group's primary goal is defending its country against Russian aggression."

Yet, whatever excuses the Post and other Western media offer -- or how much they try to downplay the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime -- the ugly reality is that Nazism, deeply rooted in western Ukraine since World War II, has been an integral part of the story since the crisis erupted last winter.

The putsch that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine, organized in 100-man brigades and dispatched to Kiev where they became the muscle behind the increasingly violent Maidan protests. [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Discovers Ukraine's Neo-Nazis at War."]

Empowering the Nazis

On Feb. 21, when Yanukovych agreed to set early elections (in a deal brokered by three European nations) and pulled back the police (at the request of U.S. officials), the neo-Nazi bands seized government offices on Feb. 22 and forced Yanukovych's loyalists to flee for their lives. Far-right parties were then rewarded with four or more ministries in the new regime, including national security.

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http://www.consortiumnews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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