Above photo: Azov Battalion. From NEXTA TV.
On the 7th March Maria Varenikova in The New York Times wrote that billboards were being put up along roadsides in Ukraine with “gigantic block letters” telling ordinary Russian residents of Ukraine in “profanity-laced language” to get out.
This is part of an increasingly vitriolic campaign targeting the resident Russian population of Ukraine, the largest single Russian community outside of Russia in the world. In the 2001 Ukrainian census, 8,334,100 identified as ethnic Russians, 17.3% of the population. (Wikipedia)
Driving it is the apparently widespread belief among Ukrainians that the Russian population is at best, lukewarm opponents of Putin’s invasion and at worst, enthusiastic supporters of it.
According to Varenikova, the lack of popular Russian opposition has been evident in the small anti-war protests that have been staged in Russia itself in recent days. In a conflict now rife with contradictions, this view runs counter to the reports in western media of widespread unrest in Russia over the war, requiring brutal police action to suppress it.
The existence of protestors on Russian streets doesn’t impress Ukrainian writer Andriy Bondar either; he wrote on his Facebook page, in response to what Varenikova calls “a thinly attended anti-war rally in Moscow” broken up by riot police: “We are very worried about you. It’s so cruel they use rubber sticks, those terrible riot police.”
In Varenikova’s article, Kyiv psychologist Olha Koba is quoted as saying that “anger and hate in this situation is a normal reaction and important to validate.” Though she thinks Ukrainians should channel it into something more effective, like making incendiary bombs.
The Ukrainan psychologist asserts, “When people are happy about the death of Russian soldiers, it is explicable”.
These officially approved, or rather manufactured, shifts in human values have been accompanied by reports of discrimination against African and Asian nationals, mainly international students. It has been apparently cheaper for poorer foreign students to study there than in Western Europe. These students have been among the refugees fleeing to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Moldova.
As has already been reported by Popular Resistance, African and Asian people were forcibly prevented from boarding trains and buses leaving Ukrainian cities, priority being given to white Ukrainians. Those who reached the Polish border were to face further delays, as well as verbal and physical abuse from the border guards.
The bottom line is that ramping up nationalist fervour in Ukraine dovetails with the NATO ground plan, which long predates the present Russian invasion.
The CIA’s overseeing of a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to Yahoo News (01.13.22), started in 2015 and was initially based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S.
Right up to the present, on 8th March Nexta TV, which is affiliated to the Belarusian opposition, wrote on Twitter “A shipment of NLAW grenade launchers and instructors from #NATO countries arrived in #Kharkiv. The Azov regiment was the first to learn about new weaponry” They attached photos of NATO instructors training members of the Azov battalion, who are wearing neo-Nazi insignia.
The Azov has been involved in recruiting foreign fighters for some time now, according to one them; Swedish citizen Mikael Skillt, then a 37-year-old, who joined it in 2014. He trained as a sniper in the Swedish army and described himself as an “ethnic nationalist”. He fought against the Donbass separatists on the front line with the battalion. I have not been able to confirm whether he is still fighting, but this was reported by stalkerzone. org
“Mikael Skillt is a sniper of the Azov battalion, a former colleague of Nazis from the Ukrainian ultra-right C14 group, the members of which are suspected of murdering the publicist Oles Buzina. He participated in the capture of the office of the Communist Party of Ukraine after the victory of Maidan.”
U.K.’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at the end of last month that she would “absolutely” support Brits making their way to Ukraine to fight Russian troops. However, the Government now offers contradictory advice to British nationals thinking of fighting, not to travel to Ukraine. Notwithstanding, according to Yahoo news on the 9th March, a number of serving members of the British Armed Forces have reportedly already gone AWOL to do just that.
Ukraine’s president said more than 16,000 foreign nationals had so far volunteered to join Ukrainian forces.
These developments are running in tandem with, according to The Wall Street Journal, “one of the largest and fastest arms transfers in history.”
The Journal noted: “In Poland, the provincial airport of Rzeszow located about 60 miles from the Ukrainian border has been so crowded with military cargo jets that on Saturday some flights were briefly diverted until airfield space became available. On the country’s highways, police vehicles are escorting military transport trucks to the border, with other convoys slipping into Ukraine via snow-covered back roads through the mountains.”
Plenty of fuel to add to the fires of war.