A Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Group Is Organizing Violence On Fb
Despite his best efforts to oust him from the platform, Ukraine’s right-wing group that connects with white Americans is using Facebook to recruit new members, plan violence, and spread its right-wing ideas around the world.
Although it banned Azov’s group and its leaders more than a year ago, Facebook continues to benefit from ads recently launched by the right-wing organization on Monday.
As of July, Azov, the first to attack Russia in 2014, launched a dozen Facebook pages. Alla Zasyadko, a 25-year-old member, has used one to post 82 ads on social media, paying Facebook about $ 3,726, according to the advertising library on the platform. Many advertisements require street protests against the Ukrainian government. One of the advertisements encourages children to enroll in training programs for patriotic youths. The same training included weapons training.
Zasyadko did not respond to a request for comment.
A Facebook spokesman told BuzzFeed News, “Azov Battalion is banned from our platform and we remove any representation, praise or support when we are notified.”
At the time of publication, Azov’s main Facebook page, the Ukrainian Corps – the same name as the National Corps – was still in operation.
Facebook has been widely criticized for allowing U.S. right-wing military agencies to create and advertise ads on the platform. Some of these groups resorted to violence during the Black Lives Matter protests, encouraged civil war, and allegedly plotted to capture and assassinate elected political leaders. Facebook said last month it removed thousands of pages and groups linked to “military bases.” Many of those pages and groups were removed when BuzzFeed News brought them to Facebook.
But moving right-wing extremists off of social networking sites has been difficult, many of which re-emerge within days or weeks after being removed.
Facebook banned the Azov group, which has a large number of members who promote the beliefs of the new Nazi religion, in April 2019. The company removed several pages related to the group, including those run by senior officials and various branches it leads.
But since July 16, the group has been using the new Ukrainian Corps website. The site does not attempt to conceal that it belongs to the Azov National Corps – it clearly outlines actions by National Corps leaders, links to Azov websites and e-mails, and sends photos of members in uniform at meetings and burning trips.
Facebook has no reason not to know that Azov’s move is dangerous. After a brutal uprising against the Roman and LGBTQ people in Ukraine by members of the National Corps and its armed forces, National Militia, the United States Ministry of Culture called the National Corps a “hostile group.”
Matthew Schaaf, head of Ukraine’s civil rights office and overseeing the group, said Azov’s failure to mobilize people through economic media was a threat.
“Over the past few years, members of the Azov alliance have used violence against high-risk groups in Ukraine and intimidated government officials, with journalists being an important tool in preparing this and sharing their results,” Schaaf told BuzzFeed News. “Much of what he does is followed by the false stories he told before or after television.”
Azov began in 2014 as a dedicated military force that helped Ukraine defend itself against Russian attacks by a separatist militant group. The battalion symbol is similar to that of Wolfsangel, a symbol used by the German army during World War II. Although human rights groups criticized the tort and war crimes in the early months of the Ukraine-Russia war, in late 2014, the Ukrainian National Guard incorporated the Azov militia into their stronghold, calling it the Azov group.
The military has become a staunch supporter of the Kremlin government, with Russian President Vladimir Putin using the group to justify their Ukrainian insurgency as an anti-fascism. Although the group is not well known in Ukraine, its political affiliations are Nazi. In 2010, the founder of the military, Andriy Biletsky, said that Ukraine should “lead the world’s purest nations in the final war … against Untermenschen led by the Semites. [subhumans]. ”
Biletsky could not be reached for comment.
While the regiment is still looking for Biletsky to strengthen him, he has moved into politics; he served as a member of the Ukrainian parliament from 2014 to 2019 but could not make a choice. He is now leading a National Corps party, which has not been successful in getting members elected but is using media methods to try to expand support. He was one of the founders of the Intermarium, which builds white and Nazi bridges in Western Europe and the US.
Although Facebook has already removed the Intermarium pages, a new Intermarium page was created on Sept. 9. of Kyiv.
After being banned, Semenyaka also fraudulently opened Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Semenyaka did not respond to a request for comment.
Thanks to the media coverage, the National Corps has been rife with white supremacists in the US, including the Rise Above Movement of California, whose members took part in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but saw allegations of wrongdoing. then he fell. In April 2018, RAM founder Robert Rundo traveled to Kyiv and took part in the Azov militia. In October, the FBI wrote that it believed Azov would play a “role in educating and establishing a culture of violence in the United States.”
Last month, Ukraine expelled two American clerics allied with the US Atomwaffen Division who sought to establish a branch of what happened with Azov fighters to become “fighters”.
Azov is using Facebook to grow beyond Ukraine’s borders, experts say. “The use of violence and the possibility of being able to mobilize a large number of young people, especially those who are ready for violence, are all supported by social media,” Schaaf said, “empowering them.”