Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brought along an Azov Nazi of Greek heritage to his speech to the Greek Parliament on Thursday and all hell broke loose, reports Joe Lauria.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been making a virtual world tour with video hookups to parliaments around the globe, as well as to the Grammy Awards and the U.N. Security Council, sometimes with troublesome results.
On Thursday a major row erupted when Zelensky brought along a Ukrainian soldier of Greek heritage from the city of Mariupol, who just happened to be a member of the ne0-Nazi Azov Regiment. Greece was under Nazi occupation during World War II and fought a bitter partisan war against Nazism (later to be betrayed by Britain and the United States.)
With Zelensky in the screen, the man, who gave only his first name, told Parliament: “I speak to you as a man of Greek descent. My name is Michail. My grandfather fought against the Nazis in the Second World War. I am born in Mariupol and I am now also fighting to defend my city from the Russian nazis.”
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— e-tetRadio.gr (@tetRadio) April 7, 2022
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition party, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, blasted the appearance of the Azov fighter before parliament.
“Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a given. But nazis cannot be allowed to speak in parliament,” Tsipras said on social media. “The speech was a provocation.” He said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “bears full responsibility. … He talked about a historic day but it is a historical shame.”
Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called the video being played in parliament a “big mistake”.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias said: “The Greek government irresponsibly undermined the struggle of the Ukrainian people, by giving the floor to a Nazi. The responsibilities are heavy. The government should publish a detailed report of preparation and contacts for the event.”
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ MeRA25 party said the event turned into a “Nazi fiesta.”
The Greek Reporter said a government spokesman admitted the mistake but then used it to smear SYRIZA as Russian apologists:
“The socialist KINAL party issued a statement asking why Greek lawmakers had not been informed about the video intervention of an Azov Battalion member and called on the president of the Greek Parliament to bear responsibility.
Government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou said the inclusion of the Azov Battalion message was ‘incorrect and inappropriate.’ However, he did not say who should be held responsible for this.
Oikonomou, nevertheless, slammed SYRIZA for allegedly ‘using that mistake… to justify the Russian invasion. … It is time for a clear answer: are they on the side of the Ukrainians, who are fighting for their freedom, or [on the side of] Putin’s invaders?’ he said.”
Zelensky’s Spotty Sense of History
In his speech, Zelensky said:
“I have been waking up every day for more than a month thinking about Mariupol, which is being destroyed by Russian troops. There are still 100,000 people on the border with Mariupol. There is no building left. Mariupol has been destroyed …
Ukraine is one of the Orthodox countries that was Christianised by the Greeks. In Ukrainian culture and history it will be seen that we will lose a big part of history if we lose the culture brought by Greek culture.
Freedom or Death was what your revolutionaries were saying. We are shouting the same today.” [a reference to a slogan of the Greek Revolution of 1821.]
Ignoring Greece’s suffering under German Nazism was a slight made worse by bringing a Nazi along to address Greek lawmakers.
Zelensky has gotten into trouble before by referring to a nation’s history in his addresses to parliaments. He caused outrage in Israel for comparing what Ukraine is going through today to the Holocaust while completely ignoring the role Ukrainian fascists played in that Holocaust.
In his address to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday Zelensky said Russia had committed the worst war crimes since World War II, ignoring the much bigger crime of aggression by the United States against Iraq built totally on lies.
Just as Western governments and corporate media are doing, the Ukrainian embassy in Athens denied Azov is a Neo-Nazi regiment, despite sporting the Waffen-SS Wolfsangel on their uniforms and their open political alignment with Nazism. The embassy instead tried to turn the tables.
“For many years Russia tried to ‘plant’ into Greek minds the myth that ‘Azov’ Regiment is a paramilitary independent unit operating in Mariupol,” the embassy said in a statement. “The video … has nothing to do to those Nazi deeds, Russians commit on our land and against our people.”
Indeed, Western media have largely ignored the story. Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post wrote anything about what happened at the Greek parliament and The Wall Street Journal only ran a photo story that didn’t mention the controversy.
Here is the full video of Zelensky’s performance (in Greek):
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe
As always, Zelensky’s speech to the Greek and Cypriot parliaments was full of lies. “Ukraine is one of the Orthodox countries that was converted to Christianity by the Greeks.” Zelensky did not study history. Namely, Russia was converted to Christianity and all the major cities of the so-called modern Ukraine were Russian cities and there were no Ukrainians there. In addition, humiliating the Greeks, he gave the floor to the Nazis from Azov. After that, telecommunications were cut off in Cyprus, and the Greek parliament listened to the speech in disgrace and accompanied it with applause. Never before in history has there been such disgrace and humiliation for Greece and its leaders.
Zelensky is a clown of the worst kind.
He should’ve realised that the Russians were not his enemies.
He made them such by listening to the Americans who are not his friends.
He’s brought his country into this position himself and, because of that, he deserves no sympathy.
And he’s making it even worse by resorting to goading, extortion and blackmail to elicit help from the West.
Apparently it’s working on some and that’s what frightens me.
Depressing that Samaras objects to the presence of of a Nazi because it undermines the Ukrainian case, rather than posing questions about what is being supported. Hadn’t we better know? Or is it a coded comment
Thank you, Mr. Lauria, for an excellent story. Uki Nazis just can’t hide their true colors!
Something truly evil has been growing in Ukraine. You have to go outside the MSM, but some of the actions of these people really bring back the Nazi era. Carving a swastika into the body of a tortured/murdered woman. Using cluster munitions on your own civilian population, in order to blame the Russians, for example. The missile used in Kramatorsk is only employed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Letting Western Journalists photograph the remains of the missile seems to have been an error, since it included the serial number, which proves the origin (identical to the batch used earlier in Donetsk). Just one example.
Brings that downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 into perspective, doesn’t it?
It was always puzzling to me why would the Russians bring down a civilian airliner with a weapon that is signatory to them.
Also there’s the poisoning of Skripal and Navalny with a poiso0n of ostensibly Russian origin. Everyone was quick to blame Russia, but it never made sense.
Not saying that the Russians are completely innocent in what they’re doing, but the West and their clients can outplay anybody in “dirty business”.
Just four months ago, the US and the Ukraine were the only two countries on earth to vote against a UN resolution ““combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was not the first time these two nations had voted against such a resolution since 2016. Since the resolution was put forward by Russia in both instances, it nullifies any argument against the fact that this war was planned by both us and Ukraine going forward years ago. The US has removed itself from many human rights organizations over the last two decades. It wasn’t just Trump. When the only light you shine is on continuing darkness, what argument do you have for global hegemony?
love it its lovly keep it up best of luck amazing great work
Nice article. MSM is worthless.
Ukrainian Banderites, Russian Neo-Eurasianists, and Western Neoconservatives alike only seem to bring out the worst impulses in their respective societies on balance, and their maximalist rollback agendas should be resisted by those striving toward a just, lasting peace not built on the corpses of those sacrificed for ultranationalist and imperialist crusades!
Washington has so deified Zelensky, made him a media superstar, a mythical Churchillian figure before the history is even lived that it will prove to be one heavy lift to truly expose him for the fraud and evil demon that he really is, even if he has a personal history that would make Jeffry Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy cringe. Everything about him seems ruthless and sleazy to me. He is on the make for personal fame and fortune, the fate of “his people” be damned.
Come to think of it, he is deliberately portrayed as the antithesis of the absurdly demonized Vladimir Putin. So it’s Gog vs Magog, for those who see everything as the manifestation of Biblical prophecy. In that context, he is riding a tiger and personally cannot afford to stop the conflict. He becomes a poor and disgraced has-been (possibly dead but certainly a target) if he makes the shooting stop. Both Zelensky and the US have every reason to keep the war going for as long as possible with as many casualties and so-called atrocities, whether staged or not. Besides the growth of Zelensky’s celebrity and bank accounts, there is money to be made in arms sales and anti-Russian propaganda to be “catapulted,” as Dubya would have said, for the good ol’ USA.
This caught my eye:
ignoring the much bigger crime of aggression by the United States against Iraq built totally on lies.
(Your war crime is bigger than my war crime????????)
I think I have some ideas but Joe or some one please enlighten some of us that arent sure about what this part really means over here: “much bigger crime of aggression by the United States against Iraq” thank you in advance and thank you Joe for this oppressed (in the U.s. at least) story
1. The scale of the US invasion of Iraq was much, much larger and more destructive. 2. It was based on lies that Iraq was a threat to the territorial US, which it was not. Surely one would see Nazi Germany’s invasion of European countries and the Soviet Union as a bigger crime of aggression still.
This is not rational, but rather it is all about the neocon special interest group that has complete control of the government of the United States. People who never received a vote have taken control.
Roberto No Siree it is not. I agree 100%.
True.. Both to me now look like huge crimes of aggression at this point… If Ukraine would hv rolled over like Putin hoped it wouldn’t quite be the travesty it is now. What next does Putin wind it down and cut bait or will we watch Ukraine be ground into dust as time goes on. Good chance it ends up looking more and more like Iraq as this continues. We do have a clear winner in this so far: the MIC
Just as there were “moderate” jihadists in Syria it was only a matter of time before “moderate” nazis showed up in the latest imperialist spectacular.
Like that. I’ve tried to drop the “neo-” because these guys are the real deal – sadistic torturers and murderers.
Unfortunately, Zelensky’s talk was pure Greek for me literally and figuratively. There were no subtitles. It doesn’t matter. By now we know Zelensky’s totally complicit with the US propaganda machine and entwined with Ukrainian neo-Nazis to do Washington DC’s bidding. Because Ukraine’s besotted with nuclear arms and biological weapon labs (according to US State Department’s Victoria Nuland), we simply must return to the Misnk Agreement ceasefire and start honest negotiations for peace in the area.
Of Jewish background, many of my family members died at the hands of the Nazis. But I get this feeling that today ‘Nazi’ is just a curse word and so many people using it don’t even know what it stood for. ‘Nazi’ has become an every day insult with no consequences. But the Azov Battalion seems to be an entire different story – one that is causing a lot of grief yet so many either don’t see it or don’t want to see it. I suspect that with the ongoing Russophobia (pogroms) little attention will be paid what the Battalion does or who is supporting it.
Obviously Nazism is alive & well, being given BILLIONS in tax payer dollars to wreck havoc & steal Russians gas & oil. No surprise that the ‘royal’ family in Britain are actually germanic. Arming & shipping Nazis around the world, what could go wrong…
When are people going to break the code that the Ukrainians are lying S-O-S who just want governments to just give them money like Russia used to. But they were circling the drain as the poorest nation in Europe on their watch (after our coup) before the Russian invasion. Wait for when Russia stops paying them for gas transit because the EU (PACE) has decided to stop buying Russian coal, oil, and gas.
Ukraine’s Nazi problem will not be kept under wraps despite the best efforts of the empire of chaos and its propaganda system. The pain of WWll and it’s Cold War aftermath of proxy wars using fascist dictatorships to prop up capitalism are still fresh in people’s minds. Western populations have been encouraged to have a short memory regarding history. The rest of the world remembers. That is a giant miscalculation on the part of the Washington regime change in Russia zealots.
Excellent comment, Lois. I have tried to remind people that Russians and other peoples have NOT forgotten WWII, but it’s hard to get through to people who can’t remember what they ate for lunch yesterday.
Zelensky repeatedly makes blunders like this, because his CIA handlers are lousy at their jobs. Zelensky is a puppet and only sais what he is told to say.
We appear to have entered an era in which open Nazis and those who revere WWII Nazi collaborators are to be given media space with their beliefs and backgrounds either hidden or excused. Ukraine might be the most obvious example, naturally, but we see it in France with the next president possibly being a fascist, in Germany and of course in the USA. The levels of hatred for Russia, its people and its culture are now at a stage where Nazis and fascists are preferred.
What do you mean by “in Germany”? Which party in Germany is “Nazi”? To socialists everbody not in line is a Nazi. To them people who want to do something for their own are Nazis, everybody who does not agree with them are Nazis in their eyes. We are sick and tired of being called Nazis by everyone who thinks he has the right to call us that. As long as we jump when addle-brained what-you-might-call-them pull the strings, all is well, if not, we are Nazis. Stay out of other peoples affairs and let them handle their own problems. The world would be a peaceful place if everyone would adhere to it.
AAMOF, there has always been a strain of pro-Nazism in the U.S. and at very high levels. John J. McCloy served as Assistant Secretary of War during World War II under Henry Stimson. He argued successfully AGAINST bombing the rail lines that were taking the Jews to the death camps which would have drastically delayed and possibly reduced the number of victims murdered. As U.S. High Commissioner for Germany after the war in charge of “denazification”, he facilitated the release from prison of as many Nazis as he could. Later “served” on the Warren Commission.
Patton would have rather fought the “Bolsheviks” than the Germans, but was a “good soldier” and carried out his war orders against Germany. Henry Ford was a hero to Hitler who awarded him the highest medal available to a civilian. The U.S. brought many high-ranking Nazis to America and the West and put them in responsible positions such as General Rheinhard Gehlen who became the head of West German intelligence (BND) and very wealthy. We all know about Werner von Braun.
American isolationism (America First) was largely financed by the German Embassy. And let’s not forget Prescott Bush, later a U.S. Senator, who headed Union Bank before it was shut down by Roosevelt under the Trading With The Enemies Act. Bush’s Union Bank was laundering money for the Reich. The list goes on.
It is a great shame that so many people are doomed to confuse and conflate the anti-war advocacy of Smedley Butler, Charles A. Beard, and Jeannette Rankin with the views espoused by the likes of Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin, and Wallis Simpson, alongside the imperial architects you mentioned.
Look at the Allen Welsh and John Foster Dulles-Stories and their connection to the Third Reich, you’ll find a lot of surprises.
I have no problem with calling actual fascists fascists. The U.S. has been supporting fascism all over the world since WWII, which I believe makes us a fascist country, if a liberal fascist country (any actual resistance will bring the liberal veneer to a quick end). Western Europe and its white-supremacist offspring — the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand — are grotesque in their belief that other people’s resources belong to them, that everyone is supposed to bow down to them, and that they are the gods of the universe. Ever listen to a BBC “reporter” interview an African head-of-state?
I totally agree and this may be rooted in the crisis in capitalism and the need to pre-emptively root out any kind of socialist New Deal redistribution of wealth post pandemic? Just a thought.