Patrick Lawrence: Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? No, Yes, No–Yes

New York Times’ reporter’s job this week is to persuade us that all those Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi insignia and marching through Kiev in Klan-like torch parades are not what you think.

Stepan Bandera torchlight parade in Kiev, Jan. 1, 2020. (A1/Wikimedia Commons)

By Patrick Lawrence
Original to ScheerPost

I tell you, serving as a New York Times correspondent these days cannot be easy.

You have to convey utter nonsense to your readers while maintaining a straight face and a serious demeanor.

You have to suggest the Russians may have exploded a drone over the Kremlin, that they may have blown up their own gas pipeline, that their president is an out-of-touch psychotic, that their soldiers in Ukraine are drunkards using faulty equipment, that they attack with “human hordes” (Orientalism, anyone?) and on and on — all the while affecting the gravitas once associated with the traditional “Timesman.” You try it sometime.

I am reminded of that pithy passage in Daniel Boorstin’s regrettably overlooked book, The Image. “The reporter’s task,” Boorstin wrote in 1962, “is to find a way of weaving these threads of unreality into a fabric that the reader will not recognize as entirely unreal.”

Boorstin reflected on America’s resort to imagery, illusion and distortion as Washington geared up its gruesome follies in Vietnam. The reporter’s task is a whole lot harder now, given how much further we have wandered into illusion and distortion since Boorstin’s day.  

And now we have the case of Thomas Gibbons–Neff, a square-jawed former Marine covering the Ukraine war for the Times — strictly to the extent the Kyiv regime permits him to do so, as he explains with admirable honesty. This guy is serious times 10, he and his newspaper want us to know.  

Tom’s job this week is to persuade us that all those Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi insignia, idolizing Jew-murdering, Russophobic collaborators with the Third Reich, gathering ritually in Nazi-inspired cabals, marching through Kyiv in Klan-like torch parades are not what you think.

Nah, our Tom tells us. They look like neo–Nazis, they act like neo–Nazis, they dress like neo–Nazis, they profess Fascist and neo–Nazi ideologies, they wage this war with the Wehrmacht’s visceral hatred of Russians — O.K., but whyever would you think they are neo–Nazis? 

They are just regular guys. They wear the Wolfsangel, the Schwarze sonne, the black sun, the Totenkopf, or Death’s Head — all Nazi symbols — because they are proud of themselves, and these are the kinds of things proud people wear. I was just wearing mine the other day. 

A march of Azov veterans and supporters in Kiev, 2019. (Goo3, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The slipping and sliding starts early in “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History,” the piece Gibbons–Neff published in Monday’s editions.

He begins with three photographs of neo–Nazi Ukrainian soldiers, SS insignia plainly visible, that the Kyiv regime has posted on social media, “then quietly deleted,” since the Russian intervention began last year.

“The photographs, and their deletions,” Gibbons–Neff writes, “highlight the Ukrainian military’s complicated relationship with Nazi imagery, a relationship forged under both Soviet and German occupation during World War II.”

Complicated relationship with Nazi imagery? Stop right there, Mr. Semper fi.  Ukraine’s neo–Nazi problem is not about a few indiscreetly displayed images. Sorry. The Ukrainian army’s “complicated relationship” is with a century of ultra-right ideology drawn from Mussolini’s Fascism and then the German Reich.

As is well-known and documented, the neo–Nazis who infest the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the AFU — among many other national institutions — have made idols of such figures as Stepan Bandera, the freakishly murderous nationalist who allied with the Nazi regime during the war.

Recorded History Aside

The New York Times building. (Michal Osmenda, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

This history is a matter of record, as briefly outlined here, but Gibbons–Neff alludes to none of it. It’s merely a matter of poor image-making, you see. In support of this offensive whitewash, Gibbons–Neff has the nerve to quote a source from none other than Bellingcat, which was long, long back exposed as a C.I.A. and MI6 cutout and which is now supported by the Atlantic Council, the NATO–funded, spook-infested think tank based in Washington. 

“What worries me, in the Ukrainian context, is that people in Ukraine who are in leadership positions, either they don’t or they’re not willing to acknowledge and understand how these symbols are viewed outside of Ukraine,” a Bellingcat “researcher” named Michael Colborne tells Gibbons–Neff. “I think Ukrainians need to increasingly realize that these images undermine support for the country.”

[Related: Ukraine Parliament Cheers Nazi Collaborator]

Think about that. The presence of Nazi elements in the AFU is not a worry. The worry is merely whether clear signs of Nazi sympathies might cause some members of the Western alliance to decide they no longer want to support Nazi elements in the AFU.

I am reminded of that Public Broadcasting news segment last year, wherein a provincial governor is featured with a portrait of Bandera behind him. PBS simply blurred the photograph and ran the interview with another of the courageous, admirable Ukrainians to which we are regularly treated.

I hardly need remind paying-attention readers that the neo–Nazis-who-are-not-neo–Nazis were for years well-reported as simply neo–Nazis in the years after the U.S.–cultivated coup in 2014.

[Related: Caitlin Johnstone: What MSM Can No Longer Say]

The Times, The Washington Post, PBS, CNN — the whole sorry lot — ran pieces on neo–Nazi elements in the AFU and elsewhere. In March 2018, Reuters published a commentary by Jeff Cohen under the headline “Ukraine’s Neo–Nazi Problem.”

Three months later The Atlantic Council, for heaven’s sake, published a paper, also written by Cohen, titled, “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far–Right Violence (And no, RT Didn’t Write This Headline).”

I recall, because it was so surprising coming from the council. The original head on that paper was “Ukraine’s Got a Neo–Nazi Problem,” but that version now seems lost to the blur of stealth editing. 

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Then came the Russian intervention, and Poof! There are no more neo–Nazis in Ukraine.

There are only these errant images that are of no special account.

And to assert there are neo–Nazis in Ukraine — to have some semblance of memory and a capacity to judge what is before one’s eyes — “plays into Russian propaganda,” Gibbons–Neff warns us.

It is to “give fuel to his”— Vladimir Putin’s — “false claims that Ukraine must be de–Nazified.” For good measure Gibbons–Neff gets out the old Volodymyr-Zelensky-is-Jewish chestnut, as if this is proof of… of something or other.

My mind goes to that lovely Donovan lyric from the Scottish singer’s Zen enlightenment phase. Remember “There Is a Mountain?” The famous lines went, “First there is a mountain/ Then there is no mountain/ Then there is.” There were neo–Nazis in Ukraine, then there were no neo–Nazis, and now there are neo–Nazis but they aren’t neo–Nazis after all. 

A Few Considerations 

There are a few things to think about as we consider Gibbons–Neff’s story, other than the fact that it is horse-droppings as a piece of journalism. For one thing, nowhere in it does he quote or reference any member of the AFU — no one wearing a uniform, no one sporting one of these troubling insignia.

Various image-managing officials speak to him about the neo–Nazis who-are-not-neo–Nazis, but we never hear from any neo–Nazi-who-is-not-a-neo–Nazi to explain things as a primary source, so to say.

I wager Gibbons–Neff never got within 20 miles of one: He wouldn’t dare, for then he would have to quote one of these insignia-sporting people saying that of course he was a neo–Nazi. Can’t you read, son? 

For another, Gibbons–Neff resolutely avoids dilating his lens such that the larger phenomenon comes into view. It all comes down to those three unfortunate insignia in those three deleted photographs.

The parades, the corridors of neo–Nazi flags, the ever-present swastikas, the reenactments of all-night SS rituals, the glorification of Nazis and Nazi collaborators, the Russophobic blood lust: Sure, it can all be explained, except that our Timesman does not go anywhere near any of this.

[Related: On the Influence of Neo-Nazism in Ukraine, Consortium News, Joe Lauria]

Gibbons–Neff’s story follows by 10 days an even more contorted piece of pretzel-like rubbish published in The Kyiv Independent, a not-independent daily that has been supported by various Western governments. This is by one Illia Ponomarenko, a reporter much-lionized in the West, and appeared under the headline, “Why some Ukrainian soldiers use Nazi-related insignia.”

This is the kind of piece that is so bad it tips into fun. “No, Ukraine does not have ‘a Nazi problem,’” Ponomarenko states flatly, and this is the last flat sentence we get in this piece. “Just like in many places around the world, people with far-right and neo–Nazi views, driven by their ideology, are prone to joining the military and participating in conflicts,” he writes. And then this doozy, where begins a riot of irrationality:

“It is, of course, true that, for instance, the Azov Battalion was originally founded by neo–Nazi and far-right groups (as well as many soccer ultra-fans), which brought along with it the typical aesthetics — not only neo–Nazi insignia but also things like Pagan rituals or names like ‘The Black Corps,’ the official newspaper of Nazi Germany’s major paramilitary organization Schutzstaffel (SS).”

But worry not, readers. It is merely an aesthetic, part of a harmless, misunderstood “subculture”: 

“In the oversimplified memory of some around the world, particularly within various militaristic subcultures, symbols representing the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany’s Armed Forces, and the SS are seen to reflect a super-effective war machine, not the perpetrators of one of the greatest crimes against humanity in human history.”

But of course. SS insignia, Wehrmacht iconography: Seen it everywhere people admire super-effective war machines. Remember this logic next time some liberal flamer proposes to persecute a MAGA supporter who partakes of this “subculture.” 

Torchlight procession in honor of the 106 anniversary of the birthday of Stepan Bandera, Kiev, Jan. 1, 2015. (All-Ukrainian Union CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Has Tom Gibbons–Neff given us a rewrite job? Having been around the block for a good long time, I have seen this kind of thing often enough — correspondents scoring off the local dailies to look deep and penetrating back on the foreign desk.

It is also possible, assuming for a moment Gibbons–Neff’s editors still read other newspapers, that they asked him for just such a piece after seeing Ponomarenko’s. Either way, we get this in Ponomarenko’s recognizably illogical style:

“Questions over how to interpret such symbols are as divisive as they are persistent, and not just in Ukraine. In the American South, some have insisted that today, the Confederate flag symbolizes pride, not its history of racism and secession. The swastika was an important Hindu symbol before it was co-opted by the Nazis.” 

If you are going to reach, Tom, may as well reach for the stars.

We have a New York Times correspondent quoting Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and Bellingcat, an intel cutout that is part of a NATO think tank, and then rather too closely, I would say, aping a Western-supported newspaper in Kyiv. Yes, Virginia, I believe we all got ourselves one of them-there echo chambers, just the way the Deep State likes ’em.

Last March, Gibbons–Neff was interviewed by The New York Times. Yes, they do this sort of thing down there on Eighth Avenue, where they simply cannot get enough of themselves.

It is enlightening. The unfortunate Times reporter assigned as the straight man asked, as our intrepid correspondent self-aggrandized, “What have been the biggest challenges in covering the war?” Gibbons–Neff’s reply is pricelessly revealing: 

“’Wrestling with access and being allowed to go certain places to see things that you need the press officer for, or permission from the military unit,’ the fearless ex–Marine explains. ‘Ukrainians know how to manage the press fairly well. So navigating those parameters and not rubbing anyone the wrong way has always been tough.’”

Forget about bombs, missiles, gore, the fog of war, courageous sergeants, trench stench, grenades, or any of the other horrors of battle. Gibbons–Neff’s big problems as he pretends to cover the Ukraine war are maintaining access, getting the Kyiv gatekeepers’ permission to go someplace, and avoiding annoying the regime’s authorities. 

Does this tell you everything you want to know about our Timesman or what? 

It is always interesting to ask why a piece such as this appears when it does. Dead silence for months on the neo–Nazi question, and then suddenly a long explainer that does its best to avoid explaining anything. Always interesting to ask, never easy to answer. 

It could be that a lot of stuff on these awful people is sifting out from under the carpet. Or maybe something big is on the way and this piece is preemptive. Or maybe either Gibbons–Neff or his editors saw the Ponomarenko piece as an opportunity to dispose of one of the Kyiv regime’s most embarrassing features. 

Or maybe the larger context counts here. As mentioned in this space last week, the Times’ Steve Erlanger recently suggested from Brussels that NATO might do a postwar Germany job with Ukraine: Welcome the West of the country to the alliance and let the eastern provinces go for an indefinite period, unification the long-term objective.

Late last week Foreign Affairs ran a fantastical piece by Andriy Zagorodnyuk, formerly a Ukrainian defense minister and now, yes indeedy, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council. It appeared under the headline, “To Protect Europe, Let Ukraine Join NATO—Right Now.” 

Zagorodnyuk’s argument is as loopy as his subhead, “No Country Is Better at Stopping Russia.” But these kinds of assertions, dreamily hyperbolic as they may be, have a purpose. They serve to enlarge the field of acceptable discourse. They inch us closer to normalizing the thought that Ukraine must be accepted in the North Atlantic alliance for our sake, the sake of the West, no matter how provocative such a move will prove.

This suggest that Gibbons–Neff’s piece, along with the one he followed in the Kyiv paper, are by way of a cleanup job.

The Western press, working closely with intelligence agencies, did its best to prettify the savage jihadists attempting to bring down the Assad government in Damascus, you will recall. Remember the “moderate rebels?” Maybe Gibbons–Neff is on an equally dishonorable errand. 

Semper fi, huh? Always faithful to what?

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of  Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new book Journalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

This article is from ScheerPost

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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41 comments for “Patrick Lawrence: Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? No, Yes, No–Yes

  1. vinnieoh
    June 9, 2023 at 11:21

    Yes, great piece by Patrick Lawrence. While reading it yesterday I was remembering all the various stories, ‘not-stories’ concerning the US, Canada, UK, etc. all bringing Ukranian Nazis to their shores and training them for what would ultimately be their own self-destruction.

    More and more, ideology is merely the fuel used to keep the sheeple running around in feckless circles. The power-mongers could give a shit about anyone’s ideology, so long as they are willing to do their bidding, either fully aware, or hopelessly duped and betrayed.

    However, multiple centuries of history should not be forgotten; the area known as ‘Ukraine’ has been the location of much cruelty and misery, of push and shove between east and west, etc. How many are familiar with “The Pale” – that imaginary line running through ‘Ukraine” – beyond which the eastern migration of Jewish refugees from western Europe was forbidden by czarist Imperial Russia?

  2. D.H. Fabian
    June 8, 2023 at 21:03

    Why would anyone question that Nazis selected a Jewish leader, Zelensky, in a country that had been crushed underfoot by the Nazis?

  3. jamie
    June 8, 2023 at 12:43

    the core idea of “neo-nazi” movement it should not be the romantic revival of Nazi symbols, myths and history, the term “neo-nazi” should define the evolution of Nazism that allows it to adapt, survive and spread in a new environment.

    The core idea of Nazism was superiority, supremacy, systematic discrimination and dehumanization of an “inferior culture”, it is “exterminate/cancel” rather than understand those “inferior cultures”, intolerance, lack of critical thinking and holistic intelligence etc. Other prominent elements of Nazism were scientific beliefs, the desire to manipulate human bodies and mind, through genetic manipulation and artificial selection, through propaganda, manipulation of information (the true building block of life), censure and repression of anti-nazi ideology…

    Evil is evolving probably until it won’t be distinguishable from the good (apart from the trail of death and destruction left behind)

    Bring Nazism into our century and to survive it has to dress like a transhumanist, a progressist and a liberal; in those clothes hide the real neo-nazis of the 21 century;

    back then was eugenics, perhaps today is epigenetics that drive supremacy at the biological level; the idea that if we feed the human mind with the right information, behaviors, we train it to perceive, to think, to analyze according to certain “superior” ideological belief we will change and better humanity.
    To think that we will better humanity by cancelling/repressing/censuring any “wrong/bad” idea, information, ideology, critical minds, etc is just as insane as the eugenic belief of the Nazi… the “human world” is much more complex than we can possibly imagine and understand. “Homogenizing” it has never been the solution, but the problem.

    To me we are the neo-nazi; the change of heart of our media regarding Ukraine far-right, even aggrandizing them as it has happened several times in a Swiss Italian media proves it even more. But unlike the German people back in the 30’s we have the chance to prevent another human catastrophe, to fall into madness one last time.

  4. Tony
    June 8, 2023 at 10:01

    “the Totenkopf or Death’s Head”

    I was shocked to discover some years ago that this military symbol existed under the Kaisers. It can be traced back to the time of Frederick the Great in the eighteenth century. And nor was it confined to the German military.

    The Nazis seem to have had few, if any, original ideas of their own. It is like they looked for all the worst aspects of other countries and adopted them themselves.

  5. sead
    June 8, 2023 at 06:28

    It is interesting how i a guy born in Sweden raised by Serbian parent have been tought a totally different history than most countries are still denying. I have in 52 years in Sweden never seen such a onesided newsstory as about Ukraine war and have completely stopped watching Swedish news. The main goal for USA and Nato is to asap win this war before BRICS goes into action.

  6. jamie
    June 8, 2023 at 04:35

    we need “useful idiots” like Gibbons–Neff, they are just as educational as true journalist like Pilger; you can learn a great deal about our society through them; in his case we can even learn about the US military culture, what sort of people it produces; those people reflect the US military culture, built on lies, based on weakness and cowardice, based on the myth of might, bravery, efficiency…

    that’s why the next expandable people in Europe will be the poles, the US marines would not stand a chance against the Russians, they are better suited behind a desk making up story… I am sure the Russians are eager to spill American blood on Ukraine soil, to avenge their comrades and the Ukrainian brothers, to show the world that even soldiers of the “great empire” that bomb people from 1000 miles away from the battlefield can bleed and even profusely

    People like Gibbons–Neff are essential to the new world story that is now building, the Chinese or the Russians should not rush to power, should not rush the fall of the west; they should study us, gathering precious information that might prevent them to make the same mistake the western empire did

  7. June 8, 2023 at 02:21

    Here, from the northern quisling outpost of the US empire, Patrick Lawrence’s article goes looong way in confirming the depressing fact that we’re ALL living in a Global asylum, an asylum where the supposed ”wardens” are those DEFINITELY most insane, CRIMINALLY insane that is!

    (That our country [??] has fostered such disgusting characters as the figurehead of the [utterly out-of-date] North Atlantic Terror Group NATO, and the President of the World Economic Forum/Member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group – [just to mention these two], the current sycophantic Labor government- and the entire sycophantic political establishment’s enthusiastic support of the war criminal US Jew puppet in the Ukrainian den of thieves, speaks VOLUMES re. our oh-so ‘peace-loving’ society of sheeple – where the VAST majority are stumbling along in an officially induced government sponsored cognitive dissonance, simply BEGGARS belief!) . . . .

  8. June 7, 2023 at 22:44

    The world through a “looking glass” even Alice would have disdained.

  9. Robert in Portland
    June 7, 2023 at 20:36

    If you remember in the months after US-backed coup, back in 2014, MH-17 was shot down. The story in the West was that the Russians shot it down.

    That, too, was a lie.

  10. June 7, 2023 at 18:46

    Why anybody reads the NYT for anything resembling objective coverage of, or variety of opinion on, national, and, especially, international news, is puzzling. Its frequent non-factual and biased coverage is fact, from repeated claims of Iraqi WMD, providing cover for neocon warmongering; its firing of the in-house public editor, who might hold its feet to the fire; its promotion of the Russiagate hoax; to its forced resignation of an editorial-page editor for the sin of publishing an op-ed by an influential conservative U.S. senator that, horrors, offended a coterie of censorious, low-level staff.

    I won’t dwell on its sins of omission, i.e., context that might temper its biases.

  11. Jean M Freestone
    June 7, 2023 at 16:09

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    • Robert
      June 8, 2023 at 03:18

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend. No better example than our relationship with Ukraine and Russia. In a normal world Zelensky would be a pariah to be shunned like Assad in Syria. However, with a straight face our war monger politicians tell us that we have spent $100 + Billion dollars “to defend democracy in Ukraine.” And they tell us that the Nazi patch wearing Azov crazies aren’t really crazy.
      It takes quite a bit of political talent to pull that off but by golly our DC politicians are successfully doing exactly that with a majority of our citizens. This debacle of a war has been enabled by the 30 year process of dumbing down the American people.

  12. Francis Lee
    June 7, 2023 at 15:00

    In 2013 after the Kiev putsch the new ‘government’ was represented by a hotch-potch of oligarchs including, Kolomoiski, Akhmetof, Pinchuk, Poroshenko, et al, and various petty Fuhrers including Parubiy, Yarosh, Biletsky from the west of Ukraine. These violent armed Ukrainian units (these were actually based upon Mussolini’s black-shirted thugs ‘the Squadristi’ prior to WW2) were adept at terrorizing their opponents. In particular the ultra-right Svoboda Party also had a presence in the Ukrainian parliament (Rada). Svoboda is a neo-nazi, ultra-rightist, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the western Ukraine. The most important governmental post was handed to its Fuhrer, Andriy Parubiy was appointed as Secretary of the Security and National Defence Committee, which supervised the defence ministry and the armed forces. The Parubiy appointment to such an important post should be cause for international outrage. He led the masked Right-Sector thugs who battled riot police in the Maidan in Kyiv.

    Like Svoboda, Right-Sector led by their own tin-pot Fuhrer Dmitry Yarosh is like the rest of his fraternity – to wit, an openly fascist, anti-semitic and anti-Russian organization. Most of the snipers and bomb-throwers in the crowds were connected with this group. Right Sector members had been participating in military training camps for the last 2 years or more in preparation for street activity of the kind witnessed in Ukraine during the events in Independence Square in 2013-14. The Right Sector, as can be seen by the appointment of Parubiy, is not in a position to control major appointments to the provisional government but he has succeeded in achieving his long-term goal of legalizing discrimination against Russians.

    This discrimination took the forms of mass murder in the southern Black Sea port of Odessa when pro-Yanukovich supporters were attacked by fascist mobs and chased into a nearby building, a trade union HQ. The building was then set on fire and its exits blocked, the unfortunate people trapped inside were either burnt to death or, jumped out of the windows only to be clubbed to death when they landed.

    The practices of the political heirs of Bandera and Shukevyich have apparently not been forgotten by the present generation. There is a video of the incident, but frankly, it was so horrific that I could only watch it once. These barbarians were described by British journalist Luke Harding of the Guardian as being ‘’an eccentric group of people with unpleasant right-wing views.’’ Yes, they were really quite nice chaps who got a little carried away! One week later with the open support of Washington and its European allies, the regime installed by Washington and Berlin in February’s fascist-led putsch then began extending its reign of terror against all popular resistance in Ukraine. That was the significance of the events in the major eastern Ukrainian sea-port city of Mariupol less than a week after the Odessa outrage.

    The fact that the western powers are giving aid and succour to this monstrosity says almost as much about the west as it does about their choice of allies.

    • Randal Marlin
      June 7, 2023 at 16:54

      You seem to have a very good grasp of the before and after of the Maidan events. I would love to have access the video you saw, and to the source for the Luke Harding quote. Maybe you could share a few of your sources?
      Thanks in any event for a nicely detailed recap of events.

      • Francis Lee
        June 8, 2023 at 05:16

        Luke Harding was a Guardian hack at the time. I don’t know if he still works for the Guardian. Thing is I no longer read the Guardian.

        One of the best outlets regarding the conflict from 2013 to date was the Vineyard of the Saker, an American outlet which only recently ceased publication. The articles – including mine – are still available online.

        • Randal Marlin
          June 8, 2023 at 12:39


  13. Robert Emmett
    June 7, 2023 at 14:36

    Why this article (in the Times) now? I’m sure they’re well aware of the many stories in corporate mass media after the 2014 coup about signs of neo-Nazism in the then new Ukrainian government & in their militias/military (as pointed out by Patrick). And they’re also surely aware of more recent pieces in non-mainstream media amplifying the neo Nazi influence both with context & more current updates. So there is a recent historical record (for those who might think what happened 8 years ago is still relevant) that needs to be cleansed, then swabbed with a coating of neo reality, Grey Lady style.

    Great point to note how the Times story appeared shortly after one in the Kyiv daily that also pooh-poohed any serious neo Nazi connections there. If you think about it, both pieces could be seen as geared toward readerships that must have unshakeable reasons to continue unwavering, unquestioning support for the grotesque events unfolding in Ukraine. Thus the articles provide ammo to turn aside any uncomfortable evidence that might undermine those beliefs.

    And, with their one-sided stories, the Times’ so-called reporting continues to indicate to those who would question their mighty narratives you can just go suck eggs.

    Nice tip to the Donovan lyric. Of course my take about any of this “… is one man’s opinion of moonlight.”

  14. June 7, 2023 at 14:17

    Well, the NYT provided no context, when this would have been the perfect time to tell its diminishing reader-ship that the first holiday in Western Ukraine is January 1, when the birthday of Stepan Bandera is celebrated by torchlight parade. All over Western Ukraine there are streets named after Stepan Bandera, who helped Hitler invade Ukraine before he helped him kill Jews at Babi-Yar. Now, Stepan Bandera Boulevard is a way of getting to the memorials of Babi-Yar, where in 1942 over 15,000 Jews were killed by the Nazi invaders, with the help of the same locals who in 1919, carried out the pogrom of Kiev, where over 75,000 Jews perished, which then Corporal Hitler must have found inspirational.

    But the NYT did not mention this, nor did it mention the death threats that Zelensky openly received from these battalions when he tried to carry out the peace platform that got him elected in May of 2019. Because draft evasion has been so prevalent since the 2015 coup, these Nazis play an outsized role in the Ukrainian armed forces. The NYT skipped this aspect, of course, and also glossed over the fact that in Ukraine, there is no civilian control over the military, as witnessed by the fact that the Odessa murders carried out openly by Azov in 2015 went uninvestigated and unpunished, as have the countless assassinations carried out by Ukrainian security services against political officials in the Donbass who wanted and want no part of the Kiev coupsters.

    In Ukraine, force is the coin of the realm, and Azov and others like it are capable of and enthusiastic in its exertion. Now armed to the teeth, they are more lethal than ever. In the Donbass, they are replicating our Operation Phoenix (Vietnam) as well as the methods the Nazis used on civilian populations in occupied Eastern Europe. Zelensky’s ethnic identity is used to absolve fears, but it is he who has received threats and has no control over his military, as proven when a staff-sergeant at Zolote disobeyed his orders to withdraw to a perimeter set out in the Minsk Peace Accords.

    Yes, by the way, Zelensky was threatened from the floor of his own Parliament, and nothing was done to discipline or admonish the representative. That’s the kind of impunity that emboldens these neo-Nazis to operate at their basest level.

    And will the NYT ever mention Ukraine’s kill list? Daria Dugina was on it. But not now.

    • Susan Siens
      June 7, 2023 at 16:41

      I hope the NYT readership is diminishing. I used to occasionally buy a paper, mostly for the crossword or food section, but the paper is so utterly bankrupt / corrupt that there is little to read, and I refuse to spend money for something only good for lining a litter box. I can get free crappy newspapers at the Woke Co-op in Belfast for nothing.

  15. Aguilar
    June 7, 2023 at 13:29

    Excellent article. I would only add that dismissing Nazism in Ukraine simply because Zelensky is Jewish can be easily refuted. Zelensky’s primary bank roller, the powerful oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky is also Jewish. However, he’s also the primary bank roller of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. This is certainly not because he’s a closet anti-Semite; it’s purely practical. After the 2014 coup the Ukrainian military was in tatters and the government nearly bankrupt, so it was up to the oligarchs to activate paramilitary groups to fill the void in their quest to retake the eastern breakaway oblasts.

    • John Gilberts
      June 8, 2023 at 14:54

      Further to Zelensky’s backer Kolomoisky – this from Haaretz, 2014:

      Is This Man The Most Powerful Jew in the World?


      “…This April, a few weeks after his emergency appointment as governor of Dnipropetrovsk province, Kolomoisky was photographed wearing a particularly scandalous T-shirt. It combined the Jewish emblem of the menorah along with the Ukrainian ultranationalist symbol of a trident, all in red and black.

      Beneath it said ‘Zhidobandera’ – an amalgamation of a Russian-Ukrainian word used for Jews, normally regarded as derogatory, and the name of Stepan Bandera, the most controversial figure in Ukraine’s history.

      Kolomoisky serves as the president of one of the main Jewish organizations in Ukraine, and holds joint Israeli citizenship…”

  16. Rudy Haugeneder
    June 7, 2023 at 12:34

    Times change. However, Sapiens don’t.

  17. Mark Thomason
    June 7, 2023 at 12:32

    The West was prepared to use the original Nazis against the Soviets. They meant to do so. It was just that the Nazis turned on them.

    Churchill was quite clear in his approval of Mussolini, for many years, until Mussolini turned on the West with its attack on Ethiopia. He was fine with their colonial wars in Libya, but Ethiopia was too near British colonies.

  18. Rob
    June 7, 2023 at 12:05

    Patrick Lawrence, this is one of your finest works of deconstruction. Thanks for sharing it with the CN community.

    • Howard
      June 7, 2023 at 17:35

      Agree. Terrific piece.

  19. Charlie
    June 7, 2023 at 11:41

    For Canucks, see the courageous reporting of David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen, some two years ago now, who exposed Canadian military training of Nazis ie the Azov Battalion. Canadian politicians would rather cut off their own bits and pieces than tell Canuck taxpayers that their tax dollars are buying bullets for Nazis. The stench of hypocrisy begins in Ottawa. In the House of Commons.

  20. charlie
    June 7, 2023 at 11:28

    Canucks, see the courageous reporting of David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen, some two years ago now, who exposed Canadian military training of Nazis ie the Azov Battalion. Canadian politicians would rather cut off their own bits and pieces than tell Canuck taxpayers that their tax dollars are buying bullets for Nazis. The stench of hypocrisy begins in Ottawa. In the House of Commons.

  21. mgr
    June 7, 2023 at 10:48

    Do we forget that it was these same neo-Nazis-who-are-not-neo-Nazi that burned to death around 40 counter protesters at the time of the Maiden coup? Just little Nazi boys and girls having some harmless fun, I guess. Or perhaps living up to the history of the patches they proudly display.

    All the while, the MSM sinks deeper, passing through anti-journalism into outright depravity. And this is America in a nutshell, the leading light that is going to lead the world into a rosy, prosperous future (that’s a joke). In fact, upholding this vile ideology abroad for convenience, or perhaps because it fits, will only bring it home for real. So many ways that empires fall, but they all begin with an ideology that disparages humanity.

  22. Piotr Berman
    June 7, 2023 at 10:06

    Perhaps it is a wider, more complex topic, but Patrick Lawrence does not address the issue how adopting racist+anti-Communist ideology corrupted Western and inner Ukrainian conflict that engulf Ukraine and, to a degree, EU. Concepts like human rights and freedom of expression do not apply to people who use Russian language in Baltic states, Moldova and, most crucially, Ukraine.

    The most crucial step to resolve conflict in Donbas was to give the inhabitants the rights that DID exist before 2014, education for their preferred language, voting for their preferred political parties, freedom to use the symbols many of them like. Instead, Ukrainian government curtailed those write within territories under its control, with such major steps as closing “pro-Russian” TV that used Russian within hitherto allowed limits (20% of the time max), ending education in Russian at ALL levels in ANY extend, arrests of political leaders and even “suspicious deaths”. Murders of “Russian speakers” on large scale and individual scale were either not prosecuted at all, or farcically. All of that with full approval of all official Western institutions.

    Moreover, violent neo-fascists penetrated all major Ukrainian political parties and their violent “street presence” was consistently tolerated, not least because their ideological brothers and sisters were in charge of security apparatus. Minsk agreements could be fulfilled if the rights of Russian speaking leftists were restored. Any hint of that was violently opposed by neo-Nazis and less violently by “EU consensus” (and surely, by EU and UK).

    In short, NYT, as a part of Western establishment, fully absorbed intolerance that contradicts “liberal values” and has “working relationship” with neo-Nazis.

    • Howard
      June 7, 2023 at 17:48

      Yes. If there was ever a real situation to justify “responsibility to protect,” it was the official and unofficial treatment of Ukrainian Russians prior to Russia (belatedly) entering Ukraine last year. How things have been conducted since February 2022 is a separate issue.

  23. Lois Gagnon
    June 7, 2023 at 10:03

    As the multi-polar world continues to take shape, the collective imperialist West is circling the wagons in a last ditch attempt to hold off the inevitable collapse of its power. Distorting reality to the nth degree is all they have left to keep the domestic population from outright revolt.

    Covering up for Nazis is about as low as they can go. But then, the “Skull and Bones” types have always been in that camp anyways so the foundation was already laid.

    The commercial mainstream press as an institution is essentially dead.

  24. James White
    June 7, 2023 at 07:56

    So Ukraine gets its wish and is invited to join NATO. Then what? NATO troops are sent into Ukraine? World War Three? There are certainly a few lunatics who want this to happen. They all work in the Biden Regime’s State Department along with the feckless elected leaders of the U.K. Poland, Germany and unelected E.U. Fortunately that means no one in the rest of the world takes them at all seriously. And they don’t have the balls to do anything that isn’t hidden behind some Psychological Operation amplified by the demoralized legacy press. Exposed to sunlight, they are revealed to be precisely the cowards they truly are.

    • Rob
      June 7, 2023 at 12:10

      Russia has already declared that Ukraine must be neutral, and I presume that would include a rump Ukrainian state.

      • James White
        June 7, 2023 at 18:37

        From a Russian perspective, the war is being fought to prevent any future NATO membership for Ukraine. Whether Russia leaves a rump state or holds on to the whole state, the neocons are already mapping out their insurgency plan. State sponsored terrorism. Any discussion of war crimes is a farce when a member of the U.N. Security Council is also a state sponsor of terrorism. As the U.S. and now NATO clearly have demonstrated ourselves to be.

  25. June 7, 2023 at 07:15

    Patrick, I wish you could write for the NYT, but alas, this is not permitted. The news in the US has become pure propaganda and we would all be better off if people stopped paying attention to it. The best way to understand the state of the news is to realize two important things, one, the reporters are writing for the wealthy and powerful, not for everyone. Also, reporters have been made to think that they are “information warriors” on the front lines of the new information war. Their job, as dirty as it has become, is to shape public thinking to match up with endless wars of aggression. No easy task, but they have pulled it off nicely.

  26. bryce
    June 7, 2023 at 05:34

    Following the 2014 Maidan coup, Interior Minister Avakov became the sponsor and paymaster of a large contingent of street thugs and village hooligans who found a new calling as ‘neo-nazi Banderites’.. Immune from arrest and prosecution, their numbers soared as the lure of drugs and street violence attracted more and more followers..
    While the attacks on the Donbas continued, we forget that, at the same time, these Banderites were running wild on the streets of Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa; killing journalists, civilians, or anybody they chose as an opponent; knowing that they were immune from whatever law-enforcement existed at the time..
    Many of them didn’t forsee that they would be incorporated into the various neo-nazi military units being formed and activated as the Ukraine Army..

    June 7, 2023 at 02:27

    I was just going to add to Patrick’s ‘Bandera History’ by mentioning Bandera ‘worked’ at Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, after WWII, and was afforded cosy accommodations in Germany (mostly Munich) while he did so, until he was offed by the Soviets in the late ’50’s.

    Try your preferred search facility, and you’ll see what I’m referring to.

    I gave it a try, myself, as a refresher. And, look what was dished up at the very top of my search returns – the very same merged ‘radio franchises’.


    “A Ukrainian-born composer invokes the iconic World War II-era Ukrainian independence leader Stepan Bandera in his “hiphopera” for Berliners.”


  28. J Anthony
    June 7, 2023 at 02:17

    What an embarrassing piece of tripe, the NYT must assume their readers are all idiot-children, mentally, these days.

    • Susan Siens
      June 7, 2023 at 16:48

      All these great comments! I thank people for their information and insight.

      To your comment I will add that STUPID PEOPLE always assume everyone is as STUPID as they are, so we have some insight into the intelligence circulating at the NYT. It has nothing to do with IQ (I have two relatives with high IQs who are extremely stupid) but rather one’s openness to information, new ideas, criticism.

      • J Anthony
        June 8, 2023 at 06:42

        Maybe my choice of words were not so elegant, but I hastened in my comment because this is so very infuriating. The willful ignorance of so many on this topic actually leaves me speechless.

  29. Thot
    June 7, 2023 at 01:11

    “une relation forgée sous l’occupation soviétique et allemande pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale”. “, ahahaha, n’importe quoi !!! il faut savoir que l’ukraine était un satellite de l”URSS, comment dans ce cas, l”URSS aurait-elle occupée son propre pays ? soyez sérieux, enfin !

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