Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 21, 2014

Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden

Filed under: Fascism,Ukraine — louisproyect @ 9:07 pm

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28329329

Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden

Mikael Skillt in Ukraine
Mikael Skillt in Ukraine
The appearance of far-right activists, both foreign and home-grown, among the Ukrainian volunteers fighting in east Ukraine is causing unease.

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ experience in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is currently fighting with the Azov Battalion, a pro-Ukrainian volunteer armed group in eastern Ukraine. He is known to be dangerous to the rebels: reportedly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a telephone conversation from an undisclosed location, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.”

As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi.

“It’s all about how you see it,” he says. “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see survival of white people. After World War Two, the victors wrote their history. They decided that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.”

‘One stray liberal’

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism”.

Mikael Skillt in UkraineMikael Skillt in Ukraine

Not all of Mr Skillt’s views are widely shared in the Azov Battalion, which is about 300-strong in total.

He says his comrades do not discuss politics much, though some of them may be “national socialists” and may wear swastikas. On the other hand, “there is even one liberal, though I don’t know how he got there”, he adds, with a smile in his voice.

Mr Skillt says there is only a handful of foreign fighters in the Azov Battalion and they do not get paid. “They see it as a good thing, to come and fight,” he explains. However, Mr Skillt is expecting more foreigners to join soon: he says there is now a recruiter who is looking for “serious fighters” from outside Ukraine.

The key figures in the Azov Battalion are its commander, Andriy Biletsky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk.

Andriy Biletsky is also the leader of a Ukrainian organisation called the Social National Assembly. Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:

  • “to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital”
  • “to punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man”

This, according to experts, is a typical neo-Nazi narrative.

‘Foreign journalists’

The Azov Battalion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s interior ministry. A ministerial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, got angry when I asked him if the battalion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly.

Azov Battalion fighters parading with flags in Kiev, 3 JuneAzov Battalion fighters parading with the Wolfsangel banner favoured by neo-Nazis

Young women say goodbye to Azov Battalion fighters in Kiev, 23 JuneYoung women saying goodbye to Azov Battalion fighters in Kiev last month

Azov fighters guarding suspected rebels in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, 13 June Azov fighters guarding suspected rebels in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, last month

“The Social National Assembly is not a neo-Nazi organisation,” he said.

“It is a party of Ukrainian patriots who are giving their lives while the rich Europeans are only talking about supporting Ukraine. When, may I ask, will English people come here and help us fight terrorists sent by Russia’s President [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lecturing us on our moral values or people’s political affiliations?”

Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, however, that there were no foreign citizens fighting in the Azov Battalion.

“There are foreign journalists, from Sweden, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achievements of the fighters in their struggle against terrorism,” he said.

He insisted he had never heard of Mikael Skillt, the Swedish sniper.

Ukraine is a democratic state, which held a democratic election in May, where the far right and nationalist parties got hardly any votes. These views are not popular with the electorate.

But Anton Shekhovtsov, a prominent expert on far-right and neo-Nazi movements in Europe, believes the Ukrainian government should be clear about whom it is arming to fight for Ukraine’s democratic cause.

“It is a pressing concern, especially with regards to the anti-terrorist operation,” he said. “In my view, the war against pro-Russia separatists is the war for democratic values. Neo-Nazis are as dangerous as pro-Russia extremists in eastern Ukraine.”

12 Comments »

  1. The Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior, needs foreign fighters. Especially of the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist variety. They’re the only ones willing to kill whomever, whenever, and without remorse. They’re a very dangerous lot. They only see in black & white; Jew & white. I guess Assad can’t wait for their arrival. Imagine a foreign battalion like this fighting along side Hamas.

    Comment by Jim Brash — July 21, 2014 @ 11:03 pm

  2. Ukraine is a democratic state, which held a democratic election in May, where the far right and nationalist parties got hardly any votes. These views are not popular with the electorate.

    Yeah, someone just forgot to tell ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine that there was an “election” going on to replace the government they thought they had elected previously. This is understandable given that these details are often obscured under artillery fire.

    Comment by Bill J. — July 22, 2014 @ 1:14 am

  3. So, a neo nazi wants to fight to support Assad makes Assad bad.
    So, if Daniel Ortega says “We want to congratulate him on his resounding victory in the presidential election on Tuesday June 3. Their victory, brother President Bashar represents a reaffirmation of the commitment to peace and spirit of the Syrian people, has defended you with chivalry”. He was also congratulated by Raul Castro, Nikolas Maduro, Evo Morales, Kim Jon-Un, Putin, well the list goes on: http://syria360.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/world-leaders-congradulate-president-assad-on-his-election-victory.
    The ones against it is also long list.
    But it is a predictable list for both sides. Same with the Ukraine election.

    Comment by Daniel de França — July 22, 2014 @ 3:06 am

  4. “I guess Assad can’t wait for their arrival. Imagine a foreign battalion like this fighting along side Hamas.”

    What? Hamas don’t support Assad in the civil war and are also pretty unlikely to be sending soldiers to intervene on either side while Gaza is being invaded by Israel.

    Comment by JN — July 22, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  5. This guys politics are confused to say the least but his being in the Swedish Army did not make it a fascist army any more than his presence makes the Ukraine Army fascist. On the other hand it is safe to say that people like him are rareish on the Ukraine side unlike the other side which are openly fascist militias intent on ethnic cleansing the East. The West European far right are more often to be found supporting Putin and his fash gangs and backing Assad against `Islamism’. Anyway it is the task of the left not only to support but to demand that the Ukraine army takes on and smashes the pro-Russian fascist militias in the East before they consolidate their vile dictatorship over the people and I would not kick this guy out of he helped with that. At the same time the people must demand a revolutionary democracy that unites East and West against gangster capitalism whichever imperialism it looks to for support.

    Comment by davidellis987 — July 22, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  6. Bill J’s evolution has been exceptionally rapid. From Permanent Revolution to neo-Stalinist backer of pro-Russian fascists in Donetsk in very short order. Not the first time Stalinism and Fascism have combined to dismember a nation but I’m guessing a first for him. Where will it end for you Bill J. You are like a British Mussolini.

    Comment by davidellis987 — July 22, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

  7. The West European far right are more often to be found supporting Putin and his fash gangs and backing Assad against `Islamism’.

    Exactly. That is why I found it so interesting. If you read the article rapidly, you would think that he was just another supporter of the Kremlin. The militarization of the conflict has led to this kind of development, one in which class solidarity becomes next to impossible. In a way, the separatist movement had the same designs as the Baathists in Syria who calculated that militarization would undermine the democratic struggle.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 22, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

  8. It is interesting that far right activists from the West are joining the Kiev Junta’s murdering policies in the East of Ukraine.

    The far right in Baltic States, those whose recent ancestors were busy murdering Jews in the hundreds of thousands, are fanatically anti Russian, and want, like Kiev, to cleanse the ethnic Russians from the East.

    I also think to call the fascist element in the Kiev Junta ‘rareish’ is rather blinded to the facts. Though he did include the ish just in case!

    But I am more interested in the plight and grievances of those in the East than I am of details about far rightists. Proyect makes out like the people of the East are the main threat in this situation, as if plucky Ukrainian masses are cowering under the onslaught of the ethnic Russian horde! As if the existential threat isn’t to the ethnic Russians in the East but to the Western Ukrainians. It would be akin to saying the Jews were the aggressors against the noble Nazi’s (not that I am comparing the Western Ukrainians to Nazis)! To make the analogy closer to home, it would be like calling Muslims the fascist threat against the righteous efforts of the EDL, and the white race they represent. So in Ukraine the very people who are the bogeymen of the far right are turned into the fascists and vise versa! This is what makes Ellis’s contribution all the more sickening. He turns everything on its head.

    David Ellis’s bestial views will not lead to a revolutionary democracy but carnage on a massive scale, all in the interests of oligarchs, wherever their loyalties lie. The Kiev Junta precipitated this conflict when they assumed power, and denied those in the East, who had seen their vote trampled into the dirt, their perfectly natural right to reject its authority.

    This goes back to Proyect (who actually endorses the bestial comments of Ellis) denying the right of the people in the East of Ukraine their legitimate grievance. For him they have no legitimate grievance, this is the very basis on which genocide carried out.

    A bestial evolution.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 22, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

  9. To make the analogy closer to home, it would be like calling Muslims the fascist threat against the righteous efforts of the EDL, and the white race they represent.

    —-

    I don’t know about the EDL but the much larger BNP is pro-Kremlin.

    http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/national/ukrainian-girl

    Ukrainian Girl
    Sat, 29/03/2014 – 10:00

    By Richard Cley – London Correspondent-While the world wonders what is really in the minds of the leaders of the New World Order, as they dance on the stage of the last democracies of Europe, a lone voice from Ukraine highlights the inconsistencies of US and EU media reporting.

    Ukrainian Girl converses candidly about what is going on in Ukraine with Syria Girl. She talks about the serial criminals jockeying for power; the imposed agreement being forced on her people by the EU; her belief that the IMF wants to rape her country; the cover up and refusal to investigate the shootings of both protesters and police by the new government; the hypocrisy of President Obama and his acceptance of a peace prize while behaving like a war criminal.

    This video is a “must see” to get the real unbiased view of events, as the people see them, on the street in Ukraine that the controlled western mainstream media refuses to present.

    This is a real person talking about world events from the Ukrainian perspective. She is not a trained media liar, and while her delivery is not polished, her message is still clearly vital.

    Ukrainian Girl shatters the lies presented by the New World Order’s anti-Ukraine media and highlights the real situation regarding Russia and the Crimea. It is clear that truth is an unknown element in western media editorial departments. No editor worth his salt can ignore Ukrainian Girl. She speaks clearly about the evil that is being daily forced on her people by the EU, the USA and the IMF.

    What the New World Order wants is war with Russia. It is clear to the ordinary Ukrainians that the Zionist neo-con governments in the west see Ukraine as the weakest link in the central European political sphere. Ukrainian Girl believes that by hook or by crook, the USA and the EU are going to destroy Ukraine while attacking Russia, either by war or financial exploitation, and probably both.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 22, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

  10. You have missed the point, it isn’t about which fascists support one side or the other, there will be historical reasons for this. The point is that David Ellis turns everything on its head. Fascists don’t tend to be associated with the more marginalised portions of a population, they usually claim to speak on behalf of the majority. When you think about it how could they do any different?

    I am not saying the ethnic Russians are all noble revolutionary communists anymore than I am saying all the Western Ukrainians are far right dupes of the Kiev Junta, but anyone who endorses the wild, bestial rantings of Ellis wants to start a long process of reflection.

    I now give you the opportunity to denounce David Ellis.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 22, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  11. “This guys politics are confused to say the least but his being in the Swedish Army did not make it a fascist army any more than his presence makes the Ukraine Army fascist.”

    Ellis apparently seeks to fall into the same one-sided trap as Clay C., in this case under the idealist rubric of “democratic revolution” rather than “Ukrainian national self-determination”. This requires the suppression of inconvenient facts that “mar” the idealist imagery.

    This is not about the regular Ukraine Army, which has shown on many occasions its distaste for killing its own people in a Gaza-style military assault, but the Azov Brigade and volunteer “National Guard” quickly organized after the coup. No doubt with US assistance. Of course the US involvement goes almost completely investigated here. It is precisely because the Kiev government in not “fascist” (neither is the Assad regime, in a message to the “one-siders”, and lets at last knock off the terminology abuse) that it would want to siphon off the actual neo-fascists in its counterinsurgency war, and use these for all the “dirty work” the regular Army won’t do.

    OTOH, so-called “neo-liberal” economics bears close comparison to the economic policies of fascist Germany in the 1930’s, including in its militaristic aspects. (See Hjalmar Schacht) The politics don’t emerge because our American oligarchs and their imperialism just aren’t in the same hurry right now, in fact they think they already rule the world. Wait until they find out they don’t, we may be nearer to that tipping point than we think.

    “Ukraine is a democratic state, which held a democratic election in May…”

    This is an example of the rather annoying tendency to blandly toss in a generalization in the midst of an argument for something else. One can make the case that the fascists are not popular without posing problematic characterizations of the Kiev regime. The same formalism can be applied – and is applied by its apologists – to the state of Israel. But it has to be asked, what kind of “democratic state” carries out full-blown conventional military assaults on their own people? (Yes, I am for the one-state solution as the only realistic solution, while I unconditionally support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, including their own state, just as with any other oppressed national group. The latter just ain’t going to happen, IMO).

    Denying by force the right to national self-determination is the complete, including formal, negation of a “democratic state”, whether this denial comes out of Moscow or Kiev or Tel Aviv. And what is so politically progressive about Hamas, anyway? Nothing, really, Hamas is quite a reactionary political movement, taken out of its context. The Marxist principle on the right of national self-determination is not conditional on the oppressed nationality possessing the “correct” politics. Either in Gaza/West Bank or in Donbass. Or in Iraq or Syria. And yes, these in Donbass are NOW an oppressed nationality (regardless of the lousy politics of the self-appointed “leaders”), whereas before the coup, they were not. Artillery and mortar shells falling around your neighborhood is pretty oppressive, try it sometime.

    Meanwhile, on another topic it appears the U.S. is now involved, directly or indirectly, in 3 counterinsurgency wars: Gaza, Donbass and (directly) the S. Asian/Yemen drone war. If there was no “war fever” in D.C. 2 years ago, there certainly is now. I predict the fever is going to worsen between now and 2016 in the leadup to the Presidential elections. U.S. imperialism is in serious trouble with its pretensions to an actually non-existing “hegemony” over the world capitalist system. This is why the world crisis of this system worsens decade after decade, see for example http://newleftreview.org/II/87/wolfgang-streeck-how-will-capitalism-end (Streeck is not a Marxist, but at least contemplates the end of capitalism as a historical system). Because there IS NO global hegemon. Which means not everything is traceable back to Washington, as in the manner of the “anti-imperialists”. But Putin’s Russia (and China) have tossed their hats into the ring, and Washington is anxious that the EU – whom it has otherwise been busy screwing in an inter-imperialist economic rivalry – not also pull away. That is the essence of US policy in Europe, including with Ukraine as a lever, with the added benefit of economically screwing the Euros again with real sanctions against Russia, where the US economy has little exposure.

    But quite a few things still are connected to Washington. So I want to see more on where is U.S. imperialism going. And that way, when the phony “anti-imperialists” show up to congratulate you on “coming to your senses”, you can tell them to eff off 🙂 But this highly important subject should not be left in their hands. That is really the essence of my complaint here.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — July 22, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

  12. `(Yes, I am for the one-state solution as the only realistic solution, while I unconditionally support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, including their own state, just as with any other oppressed national group. The latter just ain’t going to happen, IMO).’

    There are two versions of the one-state solution. Unified democratic Palestine or a Greater Israel. Yours is the Zionist version.

    Comment by davidellis987 — July 23, 2014 @ 12:49 pm


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