Until recently, west European appreciation of this subject consisted of memorable re-collections of cinematic pieces such as the Charge of the Light Brigade , the Lady with the Lamp, the Odessa steps in Eisenstein’s “Potemkin” and the hammer and sickle flying over endless communal wheat fields tended by happy former serfs. But research shows that what we now regard as the geographical frontiers of The Ukraine contain a territory which has been invaded, annexed, conquered, and divided repeatedly during the past two thousand years causing much bloodshed and distress to its citizens.
Migration into and out of the region has not only involved the aboriginal Slavic peoples but Greeks, Phoenicians, Turks, Hebrews, Bulgars, Huns and the Golden Horde of Mongols. This cosmopolitan mix is most notable in the southern coastal regions and particularly so in the Crimea which, until May 1944, was the homeland of the Muslim Tatar tribes. They were then moved en masse to Central Asia this being Stalin´s punishment for alleged cooperation with the Nazi occupation forces especially in the extermination in January 1942 of the Karaites of Jewish-Khazari descent through the Einsatzgruppe 11 in Simferopol. The ethnic cleansing of the Crimea was completed in the same year by the deportation of the Armenian, Bulgarian and Greek population.Their rehabilitation was not legally allowed until the fall of the USSR.
In my essay “Babi Yar” (which was published by TPN on 04-03-2022) I tried to encapsulate the horrors of WWII in the persecution of minorities, the mass murder of Russian POWs and the relevance of this to the equally horrific incursion of this year. I am reminded of this by the words spoken in 2010 by the post-war fascist leader of the Ukrainian National Corps, Andriy Biletsky, that “our historic mission in this century is to lead white races on their final crusade against the Semite-led untermenschen”. Although this group rarely gained more than single digit percentages of the popular vote it had a powerful presence in urban politics through the repressive activities of paramilitary battalions numbering a reported 10,000 activists which policed the streets reminiscent of Hitler´s SA of the 1930s. In May 2014 these activists were joined with The Patriot of Ukraine and the SNA groups from which the crack Dnipro 1 &2 and Azov regiments were formed to battle the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and the eastern regions of the Ukraine. In November 2014 nine hundred of the most proficient Azov “volunteers” were described as “valiant warriors” and incorporated into the National Guard which assumed full responsibility for their equipment, pay and future conduct. It is this battalion which has attracted much recent publicity with critical surveys being published in Haaretz, Al Jazeera, O Público.
It is a rather contradictory fact that the fascist ideology of Biletsky´s mob was financed by the Jewish oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi who was already assisted in his criminal activity by “security forces” selected from supporters of the eight football clubs which he and several lesser oligarchs owned . He was also the owner of the popular 1 + 1 TV channel and thus previous patron of the present President and several of his ministers who had roles in a successful comedy series.
Counter accusations of the Russian and Ukrainian bosses as being neo-nazis are rather pointless as sympathisers of Hitler´s regime were roughly and terminally dealt with following WWII. Few of their descendants would wish to preserve this identification but forms of fascism and communism continue to be alive and strong in both countries.
The belligerence which commenced in February has caused a social viscosity whereby factions no longer possess transparent identities. There is a horrible suspicion that what is presented to us by the media and propaganda machines of both sides is following a sinister and wicked plot which has been pre-ordained by the elitist New World Order regardless of the death , injury and destruction caused to civilised democracy.
Roberto Knight Cavaleiro, Tomar