The Azov Regiment is not neo-Nazi, extremist and far-right: what is this special forces unit really?

Views: 3155
30 April 2022
Mariia Zolkina

Head of Regional Security and Conflict Studies at the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Source: Twitter page

Azov Regiment continues to be absurdly accused of being “neo-nazi/extremists/far-right”. Working with Western media as an expert I state: journalists in many cases do not dig deep, don’t understand context and use myths about Azov without attempt of fact checking.

Here is a Where are media often wrong?

1. Biletsky isn’t a leader of Azov. He neither commands it, nor influences commanders. He has no formal relation to regiment, which is part of National Guard of UA. He is leader of party “National corpus”, but commanded Azov only several months in 2014.
No, Azov isn’t a military wing of the party “National corpus”. Azov was founded by Biletsky, and he has been benefiting from its image since than. There are personal links btw former and current soldiers of Azov, but that doesn’t mean Azov is guided or commanded from outside.

2. Current Azov Regiment is a unit of other people, than in 2014. If some soldiers back in 2014 had far-right views, they anyway left the unit. By the way, soldiers and guards  of Ukraine cannot be members of any political party.

3. Azov Regiment doesn’t conduct any political activity. They kept silence about military issues and were not public until full encirclement of Azovstal. Even now in their videos they show situation in Mariupol, cause there is no other source of info, no media.  They don’t make political statement. They ask only about extraction for soldiers, and evacuation for civilians.