The West's tolerance of Ukraine's right-wing, neo-Nazi paramilitary groups is disgusting, but hardly surprising. And now they pose a serious danger to Ukraine and the rest of Europe.
Many were shocked when Kiev openly admitted that neo-Nazis are part of the Ukrainian armed forces, that they are controlled by Kiev and that without them "the Russian army" could not be stopped. Most of the Western media have completely ignored this scandalous statement.
According to Western politicians and media there is no real danger of Ukrainian nationalistic extremists taking over power or influencing politics in Ukraine. On the contrary, influential US neo-cons including professional Russophobe Anne Applebaum argues that the West must support Ukrainian nationalism: "Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine needs now."
Influential militant groups like Right Sector and Azov battalion advocate ethnic segregation, aggressive Ukrainaization, total subordination of everything to the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism, and the purge of anything non-Ukrainian.Their goal is to assimilate or exterminate all national and cultural minorities and establish unitary national state with a strong authoritarian leader.
However, maybe radical Ukrainism is just a form of extreme nationalism that exists in every country or there is something more to it? What makes it different in comparison with nationalism/fascism in other countries?
These are four important reasons why Ukrainian neo-Nazis are much more dangerous than their European comrades:
1. Driven by clear political agenda, Western media are minimizing the role of Ukrainian neo-Nazis in Ukrainian society/politics. Yes, in Russia and the rest of the Europe, there are neo-Nazi and nationalistic groups but there is no country in the world where declared neo-Nazis control security services, hold important position in Ministry of Interior and in Parliament and so on. In other countries, neo-Nazis are just marginal political groups with no significant influence on the country's political life.
2. Western governments support and encourage Ukrainian nationalism/fascism. Western governments are not only ignoring and underestimating the power of the Ukrainian radical right, but they are directly encouraging and strengthening it, having in mind a long therm geo-political plan of establishing Ukraine as "Anti-Russia", as excellently explained by Nikolai Starikov.
3. Infiltration of neo-Nazis in Ukrainian institutions (parliament, government, military, police etc.). Many Western apologists of the Maidan coup d'état will mention the fact that the most prominent far-right organization Right Sector didn't pass the election threshold of 5% during Ukrainian parliamentary elections. However they will forget to mention that both Interpol wanted Dmytro Yarosh and Borislav Bereza were elected as MPs thanks to mixed electoral system (both proportional and majoritarian) which allows direct election of MPs in their electoral districts.
Extreme right-wing populist Lyahsko, leader of the Radical Party, is also a member of ruling pro-NATO coalition. Even highly influential and anti-Russian US foreign policy journal: Foreign Policy wrote about his radical right, thuggish and scandalous behavior, including public torture of POWs. White power supremacist and Azov battalion leader Andriy Biletsky is part of Yatsenyuk's People's Front party that won the parliamentary elections. Currently he is an MP in the Ukrainian Rada and member of the ruling coalition. He is well-known for openly promoting his racist "white power" and Nazi views. Andriy Parubiy, co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine, was appointed as a Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee. Together with current Prime Minister Yatsenyuk he founded the new People's Front party. Currently he is a MP and deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament.
Neo-nazi Azov battalion officially became a special military unit of Ukrainian interior ministry and it is under its control. So formerly neo-Nazi militants are part of the Ministry of Police. Furthermore, Vadim Troyan, deputy commander of Azov battalion has been appointed as the head of the Kiev police. Poroshenko even decorated him for valor.
Even though, one can notice marginal presence of far-right parties in some of EU member states parliaments, no far right or neo-Nazi groups are part of a government, not to speak about being part of army and police forces.
In terms of ideology one can argue that Ukrainian nationalism is more Nazi-like because of Bandera's collaboration with Nazis, the Ukrainian SS division adored by many in western and central Ukraine, and Azov battalion's current popularity and strength. One could also argue that there is a difference between Right Sector fascist ideology and Azov neo-Nazi "white power" ideology, but they are both strong representative of radical Ukrainism and their goal is the same.
There are numerous reports about war crimes of nationalist volunteer battalions. It's obvious that these Ukrainian marauders are not afraid of the potential consequences and criminal proceedings against them for committing war crimes, since they are an integral part of the power structure in Kiev. This can explain why they openly brag about war crimes, recruit foreign Nazis for Azov and war tourism, admit to torture in - squeezing nipples with pliers, putting needles under fingernails, waterboarding, racketeering and robing companies and individuals allegedly for "patriotic cause" and branding Swastikas on prisoners’ buttocks.