The Lies that Led to Invasion: Part 3 - De-NAZIFICATION
Are there white nationalists in Ukraine? Yes.
Are there white nationalists in Australia? The UK? The USA? Russia? Also yes.
And as polling shows (see the image), Ukraine's problems with anti-semitism are actually less concerning than its neighbours.
For example, at the last election, the far right National Corps political party only won 2% of the vote. There is no serious broad public support for any of these groups.
The infamous Azov Battalion, a local militia group spawned out of a soccer hooligan group to fight Russian invaders in 2014, certainly had some far right sympathisers, but it also had many Jews.
However considering the "de-NAZIFICATION" of Ukraine was listed by Putin as one of his primary reasons for his invasion, it's worth digging a little deeper to understand why.
To start with, we need to understand history.
In the 1930s, about 4 million Ukrainians starved to death in an entirely man made, and intentional, famine orchestrated from Moscow in order to suppress any Ukrainian aspirations for independence, and to clear the way to populate rich farmland and industrial areas with ethnic Russians
This meant that when the NAZI's invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, many saw this as an opportunity for liberation.
One Ukrainian nationalist figure, Stepan Bandera, declared Ukrainian independence and swore allegiance to the NAZI's as a means to free Ukraine from the Soviets. Now we shouldn't neglect to acknowledge that Bandera was a fascist, and certainly anti-semitic, but he was also a leader in the fight for Ukrainian independence.
In addition to Bandera, a volunteer division of the SS, The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, was set up for any Ukrainians who wanted to help fight with the Germans against the Russians and, or so they thought, secure Ukrainian independence.
History shows us that these Ukrainian hopes of independence were short lived, and the Red Army soon regained full control over Ukraine and over most of Eastern Europe.
However Bandera and the men who fought with the 14th Waffen Grendier Division remain to this day a controversial rallying cry for some nationalists who see them not as NAZI's, but as independence fighters.
This is why you will occasionally find Ukrainian soldiers with SS insignia on their uniforms, they are wearing the insignia of the Ukrainian volunteers who fought with the NAZI's in the hope of securing Ukrainian independence from Russia.
But it should be noted that when the NAZI's invaded, the vast majority of Ukrainians still fought for the Soviet Red Army. Among them was a Jewish man who fought against the NAZI's all the way to the gates of Berlin... his grandson is now the Jewish President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky.
The idea that Ukraine is being run by NAZI's should fall over at this obvious hurdle... the President is a Jew whose grandfather literally fought against NAZI's... so why does Putin still persist with this line?
Well to understand this you need to understand how significantly Russian national identity is tied to the Second World War, or the Great Patriotic War as its known in Russia.
Russians are all taught from a young age that the Russian Red Army saved the World from NAZI's in World War Two (yes, a bit like Americans are), a revision of history that brushes over the fact Stalin and Hitler initially had a non-aggression pact that divided up Eastern Europe between the two expanding empires.
Men like Putin understand the value of this romanticised national identity and the fervent patriotism it inspires to this day. It is the single greatest moment in Russian history.
By attaching, however tenuously, this invasion of Ukraine to the noble cause of the Great Patriotic War, Putin wants to tap into that great nationalism that is bred into every Russian from a young age.
This is why his propaganda machines have begun discussing concern over "rising NAZISM in everywhere from Germany to Kazakhstan. All Russians believe that the single greatest thing any Russian can do is go to War to fight NAZI's... Putin is manufacturing ways for this to happen.