Ukraine | 01/31/2022

Ukraine 2022 January

The ultra-right and the war

Since the beginning of the year, the main topic of Ukrainian politics has been the escalation of relations with Russia due to the concentration of troops near the Ukrainian border and the possibility of a full-scale invasion, fully covered by the Western press. The aggravation began back in 2021, but it did not draw much attention from the far-right at the beginning. Sceptical assessments of the possibility of a full-scale war with Russia dominated in most of the far-right online sources. A similar situation with the concentration of Russian troops on the border in April-May 2021, which never developed into anything bigger, had an impact. However, the situation changed in January, and many far-right organizations actively joined the military preparations.

The most active in this account is the National Corps. The National Corps began establishing a system of Defense Headquarters in all regional centres of Ukraine, where it attracted both its own activists and veteran volunteers, already after the spring aggravation of 2021. These headquarters have no legal authority, yet the National Corps insisted that the local authorities should incorporate them into the city’s territorial defence system. The Total Resistance initiative was created as a supposed alternative to the official territorial defence. Today, all of these initiatives and parallel structures have intensified.

For example, regular military training sessions attended by hundreds of people are held at the Atek factory (a ruined enterprise that was taken over by the National Corps through dubious methods and became the main base of the Azov Movement in Kyiv). Leader of the National Corps Andriy Biletsky took part in the round table “Unity of the People. Protection of Democracy. Defense of the State” together with many famous Ukrainian politicians.

Other far-right organizations, such as the Carpathian Sich, Freikorps, the Right Sector, and others, also conduct military training and mobilize their activists.

In January, the YouTube channel of the most odious Russian neo-Nazi and member of the National Corps, Sergey Korotkikh, also came to life after a long pause. In his videos, Korotkikh talks about the basics of guerrilla warfare against the Russian military.

In general, we can conclude that the threat of war plays into the hands of the ultra-right and allows them to return to big politics, mobilize their own assets, and attract new supporters.

Rebranding of Tradition and Order

Tradition and Order, an organization that is known for numerous attacks on the LGBT+ community, feminists, and left-wing activists has split into several organizations. On January 19, an official presentation of the Conservative Party, a new project of former Tradition and Order leader Bohdan Khodakovskyi, was to have been held. However, the presentation was cancelled due to the aggravation on the border.

Another part of Tradition and Order joined the organization Ukrainian Flag led by Christian Udarov. The activists of the Ukrainian Flag have now begun to actively intervene in Kyiv’s developments and the activities of certain private businesses. There is a high probability that the actions of the Ukrainian Flag have more financial than ideological motivation. Honour versus the National Corps

National Corps vs Honor

In January, the conflict between representatives of the National Corps and its former members, who founded their own organization, Honor, continued. The conflict began in 2020 because of different positions on the case of the nationalist Serhiy Sternenko, whom Honor supported, while the National Corps did not. The conflict quickly turned into a violent confrontation on both sides. An 18-year-old member of Honor was attacked in the clash. Also, the leader of the organization Serhiy Filimonov (aka Son of Perun) reported that his family home and the apartment of another Honor activist Ihor Potashenkov (aka Malyar) were attacked. At night, red paint was sprayed at the windows and a severed pig’s head was thrown into the yard. Later, unknown persons, probably members of the National Corps, burned down the organization’s vehicle.