Need debunking: image shows Azov Battalion members/Ukrainian Neo-Nazi troops

TheNZThrower

Active Member
The following Twitter thread purports to show Neo-Nazis fighting on Ukraine's side. It starts by claiming that these troops are Azov members:

The issue is there isn't anything that proves these are Azov troops at all. No Azov insignias. However, the 2nd soldier from the left has what appears to be the flag of the UPA, or Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Screen Shot 2022-10-16 at 1.05.25 am.png
However, the AK strap on the soldier on the far right is in Russian (the word is the Russian term for October, The Ukrainian word is жовтень)

The next post in the thread purports to show a Latvian Azov member with a Waffen SS tattoo:

Asides from the Azov patch, the circled emblem isn't part of any real Waffen SS division. However, it most closely resembles the logo of the 13th Waffen SS Division, composed mostly of Bosnians.

Now if anyone has more leads, that would help.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
A quick look through the twitter feed that follows this original tweet shows many people pointing out what you said above, with the suggestion that Snell is little more than a Russian mouthpiece (some people used much harsher language) and that these may be Russian members of the Rusich Group:

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A glance at Wikipedia gets us this about the Rusich and some info on Alexi Milchakov (bold by me):


The Sabotage Assault Reconnaissance Group (DShRG) "Rusich" (Russian: Диверсионно-штурмовая разведывательная группа «Русич», romanized: Diversionno-shturmovaya razvedyvatel'naya gruppa «Rusich» is a combat detachment of pro-Russian right-wing group[1][2] that took part in the Russo-Ukrainian War both in the War in Donbas from June 2014 to July 2015 on the side of the self-proclaimed republics, and in Russian invasion of Ukraine as part of Russian troops.[3]

The beginning of the history of the Rusich group was laid in 2009, when a training base for military training was founded.[4] Founder — Alexey Milchakov is a notorious neo-Nazi from Saint Petersburg,[1][5] who had the nickname "Fritz" before being sent to the Donbas (there he changed to the call sign "Serb")[2][6][7]

Upon his return from the Donbass, Milchakov engaged in combat training of teenagers in special camps in Russia. This was done in conjunction with right-wing radicals from the E.N.O.T (racoon) Corp. private military company.[24] The online edition "Belarusian Partizan" calls the "raccoons" a group of Russian militants who took part in the war in Donbass from its very beginning, and that they are close friends with Milchakov. As the publication notes, since 2015, raccoon began its legalization in Russia. They received the status of a public organization and the full support of the state, regularly holding military-patriotic games-gatherings. The chief instructor of the organization, Roman Telenkevich, simultaneously headed the Union of Donbass Volunteers.[25]
Content from External Source
The Tweeter, Snell, only responds once to the many claims of these being Russian/Russian aligned troops by implying that one of the people in the photo is from Kharkiv. At least I think that's what she's saying:

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Which might make since, as that's where the Rusich was sent:

Some investigative journalists assumed at the end of October 2021 that the group would return to Ukraine, which happened no later than the beginning of April 2022.[10][27] Rusich's fighters were transferred to the Kharkiv Oblast of Ukraine, where they were photographed near the village of Pletenevka.[28]
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusich_Group#Participation_in_military_operations

Chasing down footnote #28 brings up this news story:

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A band of neo-Nazi Russian mercenaries led by a commander who boasted of cutting the ears off enemy corpses has been deployed in eastern Ukraine before an expected assault.

Fighters for Rusich, a force affiliated with the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, were photographed near the Russian-Ukrainian border on Wednesday, crossing into the Kharkiv region near the village of Pletenivka in Z-marked vehicles.
Content from External Source
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rusichs-neo-nazi-mercenaries-head-for-kharkiv-prjndp9rl

Aside from the Latvian flag on the tattooed guy, none of these pictures show much in the way of meaningful insignia. In the photo above by the Z car, every guy has a different patch.

The bigger problem may be that, regardless of Russian or Ukrainian, the hard-core Nazi types seem to be from irregular, auxiliary and/or paramilitary groups that have access to a lot of the same weapons, uniforms and other stuff, making it difficult to identify who's who and where are they.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
The military/police of any country tends to attract people on the far right. Which should be no surprise as those institutes are very authoritarian regimented.

Yes the following is whataboutism but its hilarous claiming about Azov links when Russians mercenary outfit 'Wagner' is run by Dmitry Utkin, note the nazi tattoos, inc the nazi era Reichsadler on his right pectoral. Hell the choice of the name of hitler's favourite (*) composer Wagner should speak volumes



The whole Ukraine is full of Nazi's propaganda is just doesnt make sense. Heres some data from 2019 about far right support for certain European countries. FWIW in the 2019 Election in Ukraine, the far right party got in the low single digit % of votes. If Russia truly wanted to rid Europe of 'nazis'(**) then surely the obvious target should of been Hungary. This was never about freeing Ukraine from the nazi's.



(*) And also mine, I separate the man from his music
(**) I dislike this term, to me Nazi's existed in germany ~30s/40s. Call them facists
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Many good points from @CaptainCourgette on which we see eye to eye.

The military/police of any country tends to attract people on the far right. Which should be no surprise as those institutes are very authoritarian regimented.

Modern militaries, such as the one I'm serving in a Western European nation, have for decades specifically sought to identify and weed out far-right-leaning individuals in their recruitment and drafting processes. They're considered to be an operational liability and psychologically unreliable to carry arms and orders. Far-right-leaning individuals within the ranks have also been caught stealing assets and armaments that end up in the possession of criminal organizations. Recent European history with Nazism is no doubt one of the main reasons for these processes having been put in place. Are they watertight? Of course not. But constantly under refinement.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Just for reference, the so-called "Conservative" party here, "EKRE", is colloquially known as "the Hitler party". If you say that, *everyone* will know to whom you are referring. When there was a multi-platform round-table debate before the last election there were a lot of overlapping talking points, and nuance, but when EKRE stepped in, there were sharp intakes of breath. "Did he really say that" was almost certainly a phrase that passed my lips as I watched. However, the next sentence I said was "well, I'd rather he be honest than sneak such things in behind a pretence of being reasonable".

Thanks to him, and the mere (technically, it's not "mere") existence of his party, someone has tried to denazify me in a local pub. The existance of some implies they're everywhere, apparently. Technically, I'd say there are too many, as I say they are sharp-intake-of-breath edgy, but I hope it's a generational thing. If only people would stop popping up new mortal enemies into the narrative.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Another little bit of local detail - the Finnish far-right-but-somehow-still-palateble party used to call themselves the "True Finns": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Party . Nice of them to wear their no-true-Scotsman fallacy on their sleeve so unironically! Maybe that's not fair - the Finnish name, "Perussuomalaiset", is less fallacious, and has more or a "basic" or "traditional" edge to it. I think I've mentioned a couple of their politicians in the last couple of years in not-very-positive contexts. (Not seeing anything here that I remember mentioning on MB: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Party#Controversies ? Tony Halme? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Halme - but that was over a decade ago. Anyway, I'm rambling, sorry.)
 

captancourgette

Active Member
NZ has been largely spared the far right in mainstream politics, though its present in society of course. The closest mainstream party would be NZ First but they are mainly a populist party formed and focused on a single guy, (think of an intelligent trump with better hair, though they lean right on some things but left on others). They were like 3rd biggest party at one stage! Theres also ACT party but they are pure libertarian.
I havent been in NZ for 4 years but I have the feeling things have been changing rapidly chiefly due to misinformation spread on social media. I watched a documentary about it recently
https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2022/08/circuit/democracy-on-edge/
You may remember the big protest campout on the lawns of NZ parliament some months ago protesting covid restrictions but anyone with any old wacko conspiracy idea was camped out there.
It did give me one laugh. Some people camping there did not believe Covid existed, thus when large swaths of people got flu-like symptoms, loss of smell etc there response was of course the government is using a secret ray on us to make us sick, we have to wear tin foil hats.
You would like to think its just some guys having a laugh. But I've seen enough and met enough people to go, actually a fair chunk of them prolly believe this stuff

EDIT: Yes Im aware that the material these hats are made of would amplify the signals, which just makes it funnier
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
The military/police of any country tends to attract people on the far right. Which should be no surprise as those institutes are very authoritarian regimented.
Not sure about the veracity of this claim. Have any hard data?

I've been in and around both most of my adult life, don't know that the generalisation here is correct. It certainly isn't openly tolerated, esp these days.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Have any hard data?
Article:
[..] we conducted an exclusive, wide-ranging survey with two of America’s leading scholarly experts on sheriffs, Emily Farris of Texas Christian University and Mirya Holman of Tulane University. We received answers from more than 500 sheriffs — roughly 1 in 6 nationwide. (Read about our methodology below.)

Among the takeaways, we found that sheriffs — the vast majority of whom are White and male, according to a previous study — are also far more conservative than Americans as a whole, and largely approve of Trump’s performance as president.

SmartSelect_20221021-124858_Samsung Internet.jpg


Here's a counter-point that says you can't generalize across countries:
Article:
Right-Wing Extremism in the Military

Teun van Dongen, Yannick Veilleux-Lepage, Eviane Leidig, Hanna Rigault Arkhis
25 May 2022

SmartSelect_20221021-125820_Samsung Notes.jpg
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Article:
[..] we conducted an exclusive, wide-ranging survey with two of America’s leading scholarly experts on sheriffs, Emily Farris of Texas Christian University and Mirya Holman of Tulane University. We received answers from more than 500 sheriffs — roughly 1 in 6 nationwide. (Read about our methodology below.)

Among the takeaways, we found that sheriffs — the vast majority of whom are White and male, according to a previous study — are also far more conservative than Americans as a whole, and largely approve of Trump’s performance as president.

SmartSelect_20221021-124858_Samsung Internet.jpg


Here's a counter-point that says you can't generalize across countries:
Article:
Right-Wing Extremism in the Military

Teun van Dongen, Yannick Veilleux-Lepage, Eviane Leidig, Hanna Rigault Arkhis
25 May 2022

SmartSelect_20221021-125820_Samsung Notes.jpg

I think a survey of 500 odd people of one unique subset of law enforcement (in one country)is a bit of a stretch to backup the generalisation above. Also doesn't quite paint them as "far" right.

To be fair to OP, the original post did say "attracts" far right types, not necessarily employs/creates them, however the context didn't quite distinguish.

There is an obvious push to have those types of beliefs and behaviour stamped out where I am (Aus) and this is evident with the recruiting drives, promotional selections and all corporate publications. This is true in all government departments here as well.

Despite that, I will concede that it would be interesting to see a comparison of how attitudes/political views change over the course of those careers i.e. time in the job causing cynicism or shifting views.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I think a survey of 500 odd people of one unique subset of law enforcement (in one country)is a bit of a stretch to backup the generalisation above. Also doesn't quite paint them as "far" right.
you argue as if the claim was "attracts ONLY far right".

the survey shows that the sheriff position attracts far more "very conservative" people than liberal people. If it didn't attract the far right, you'd have a situation where it attracts "very conservative" but not "far right", and I don't see why that should happen.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
you argue as if the claim was "attracts ONLY far right".
I didn't tho, see next line in my reply. The context was kind of ambiguous, no sense in pretending how it was meant to be read.

I'm not interested in hair splitting - just asking for backup on the claim re far right types attracted to police/military. That survey doesn't really assist for reasons explained above.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
Theres a lot of articles about far right & police / military links
eg one of the first hits
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiMnqPAk_v6AhVngs4BHTfTA6cQFnoECAUQAQ&url=https://ccjls.scholasticahq.com/article/26321.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2gEXESHKzYPRBZmGqBdMfM
Far-Right Extremists in Law Enforcement.
The history of policing in the United States demonstrates
how some tenets of far-right extremist ideologies,
including racism and nativism, have been reflected in policing for centuries.
....
As German (2020) points out, an internal FBI policy
guide divulges that “domestic terrorism investigations
focused on militia extremists, white supremacist
extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have
identified active links to law enforcements officers and
those in positions to check NCIC for warrants”
(Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2015, p. 89). A more
recent FBI report in 2021 warns that “white
supremacists and other right-wing extremists would
‘very likely seek affiliation with military and law
enforcement entities in furtherance of’ their
ideologies'' (Margolin, 2021, para. 3).
In a report for Reveal from The Center for
Investigative Reporting, journalists investigated
extremist groups on Facebook and identified at least
400 active or former law enforcement officials,
including nearly 150 officers who were involved with
violent anti-government groups, including the Oath
Keepers and Three Percenters (Carless & Corey,
2019b, para. 3).
A bit strange (not really) when you think of it, with the timothy macveighs etc the dicotomy of being against government but working for that very government
oddly if you google military and the far left you find more articles talking about military and the far right
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
If it didn't attract the far right, you'd have a situation where it attracts "very conservative" but not "far right", and I don't see why that should happen.
Sheriffs are elected. Conservative areas tend to vote conservative. Liberal areas tend to vote liberal.

so your "study" is not a good example for the discussion of whether law enforcement attracts far right people. I myself imagine it does, but you should look in liberal areas and look at non-elected officers. (and maybe not recent studies as the left has had an anti-cop agenda pushing hard for a few years ie defund the police, burning down ciities, executing cops etc..i believe that would tweak officers political leanings even if they started off liberal)
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Here's a counter-point that says you can't generalize across countries:
Article: Right-Wing Extremism in the Military
There is a difference, however poorly defined, between "right wing" and "right wing extremism", so perhaps you're comparing apples and oranges.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
There is a difference, however poorly defined, between "right wing" and "right wing extremism", so perhaps you're comparing apples and oranges.
There's a difference between "right wing", "right wing nutjob", and "right wing extremist". (The left's an equally complex tapestry, obviously, I'm not singling out the right.)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's a difference between "right wing", "right wing nutjob", and "right wing extremist". (The left's an equally complex tapestry, obviously, I'm not singling out the right.)
i suspect these categories have considerable overlap
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
There's a difference between "right wing", "right wing nutjob", and "right wing extremist". (The left's an equally complex tapestry, obviously, I'm not singling out the right.)
I think a "right wing extremist" is just a "right wing nutjob" with a gun.
 
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