When Zelensky Brought a Nazi to the Greek Parliament

(Screenshot Greek Parliament TV)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brought along an Azov Nazi of Greek heritage to his speech to the Greek Parliament on April 7, 2022 and all hell broke loose, reported Joe Lauria. 

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Published April 8, 2022

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 April 7, 2022 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 neo-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.”   

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 April 5, 2022, 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. 

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, the London Daily Mail 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 is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe

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9 comments for “When Zelensky Brought a Nazi to the Greek Parliament

  1. J Anthony
    September 28, 2023 at 06:56

    How much longer will this hypocrisy be tolerated by the citizens of the West, on whose backs this travesty is being funded? The “little people” are paying for this state of permanent-warfare in the forms of price-gouging, unlivable wages, substandard public services, political turmoil, and social unrest. Not to mention a wide variety of “externalities” such as degrading eco-systems and infrastructure. And it isn’t just us western plebes, it’s those around the world, paying for this insanity in similar ways, if not worse ones. And right in front of us, our governments support and fund the worst kind of people, while at the same time telling us not to believe our eyes and ears. When has a mass-uprising ever been as necessary as it is now?

  2. September 27, 2023 at 13:55

    Thanks, Joe, for this report. I know how frustrating it must be when obvious wrongs are not only ignored by main stream media, but actually result in even more disinformation and propaganda floods to the masses. Then again, that is now par for the course with NYT and WaPo , two of the main mouthpieces for the CIA (and for that matter, the broader Security/Surveillance apparatus in general) and the neocon war-mongers at State. It’s good to call them out, but correcting their misinformation would itself be a 24 x 7 enterprise for a half-dozen people; and unfortunately, the intellectually and morally compromised, self-proclaimed ‘liberals’ haven’t a clue that they’ve been effectively brainwashed, and continue to rely on such outlets.

    The only antidote is to do what you and so many others (including myself) are doing to the best of our ability. That is to continue trying to shine light on those matters the power elites prefer to keep in darkness. To turn on lightbulbs, maybe one at a time, for the unwitting victims of that darkness.

    Keep it up, my friend. We must never give in to the discouragement that such states might tend to produce. Truth is often intentionally obscured for a time, that’s true; but it eventually is discovered.

  3. CaseyG
    September 27, 2023 at 13:30

    WHY is America sending all that money to Zylensky, when Americans are jobless and homeless?
    Besides lying about so much, O.K. he did do one funny thing from his comedy routine, pretending to play the piano with his penis. He’s also a grabby little man. When Pelosi gave him an American flag, he grabbed at it as if it was money.

    I don’t think he knows what he’s doing, and outside of the fact the the US hates Russia, it is a disaster to continue giving Zylensky so much money. He seems to run out of it so quickly—I wonder where it truly ends up—- perhaps it goes into his pocket. And Joe Biden—-you are an idiot for at this time in the earth’s history, it’s illogical to start a war in the midst of a planet going crazy with weird climate change. GREED does kill, you know.

    • Joe Wallace
      September 27, 2023 at 15:51

      Casey G:

      “WHY is America sending all that money to Zylensky, when Americans are jobless and homeless?”

      As someone remarked a few days ago, why are we sending “millions to Hawaii, billions to Ukraine?”

    • Valerie
      September 27, 2023 at 18:46

      Perhaps you haven’t seen this CaseyG; it’s even more bizarre than the piano fiasco:


  4. mgr
    September 27, 2023 at 08:22

    Lie with dogs and you end up with fleas. So, the US, Canada, and NATO are all neo-fascist collaborators; shining cities on a hill… Considering comments from the likes of Borrell, I’d say it suits them.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      September 27, 2023 at 12:18

      Thank you. You are quite right.

      • mgr
        September 27, 2023 at 12:48

        Carolyn: Thank you. Ukraine has certainly brought to light the ugly motivations of the Western powers.

        • Valerie
          September 27, 2023 at 18:32

          And strange that they support this corrupt country:


          I’ve probably posted this link before, but it never hurts to keep repeating. And take note of the date of the article.

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