neo-nazi group continues to operate

the ukrainian azov movement, which the state department calls a "nationalist misanthropic group," advertises, organizes violent actions and spreads far-right ideas. despite facebook's attempts to remove her from the network, this extreme right-wing ukrainian violence propaganda group with ties to american white supremacists uses this platform to recruit new members, organize violent actions and spread its far-right ideology around the world.

although facebook banned the az movement and its leaders from using its social network more than a year ago, facebook continues to profit from the ads of this far-right organization. another such announcement was posted online as recently as monday.

since july, the "basics", formed in 2014 during the russian invasion of ukraine, opened at least a dozen new pages on facebook. a member of this organization, 25-year-old alla zasyadko posted 82 ads on the social network, paying the company at least $ 3,726, which is confirmed by the facebook ad library. many of these announcements have called for street protests against the ukrainian government. in one ad, children are invited to enroll in patriotic youth training courses. the program of such courses includes training in shooting from small arms.

did not respond to a request for comment.

a facebook spokesperson told buzzfeed news: “the az battalion is not allowed to use our platform and we remove content that represents, praises and supports this movement when we this content is known. ”

at the time of this article's publication, the main page of the“ basics ”movement on facebook (it is registered there as“ ukrainian corps ”, which resembles the name of the political branch of this movement“ national corps ”) was active.

facebook has been heavily criticized for allowing right-wing militant organizations in the united states to post ads and organize events online. some of these groups have committed violence during black lives matters (blm) protests, called for a civil war, and allegedly conspired to kidnap and murder elected political leaders. last month, facebook said it had removed thousands of pages and organizations associated with "militarized social movements." many of these pages and groups were removed from this social network after buzzfeed news pointed them to facebook.

but it was not so easy to completely banish right-wing extremists from this social network, and many of them began to appear there again a few days or weeks after being removed.

in april 2019, facebook imposed a ban on the az movement, many of whose members hold neo-nazi beliefs. the company has removed several pages associated with it, including the pages of its executives and the various divisions they lead.

but since july 16 this movement has opened a new page, calling itself the "ukrainian corps". people who post materials there do not hide their affiliation with the "azov" party "national corps". they openly discuss the activities of the "national corps" and its leaders, there are links to azov's websites and postal addresses. it also contains photographs of members of the movement in military uniform at rallies and torchlight processions.

facebook must know that the basics movement is dangerous. after members of the national corps and its paramilitaries launched a series of attacks on roma and lgbt people in ukraine, the us state department called the organization a "nationalist misanthropic group."

matthew schaaf, who heads the ukrainian branch of the freedom house and has a close watch on the organization, said that the abc's ability to mobilize people through social media poses a threat to society.

“over the past two years, members of the basics-related groups have been using violence against vulnerable groups in ukrainian society and threatening civil servants. social networks are an important tool for them to help organize such actions and discuss their results,” said shaaf "buzzfeed news". “before such attacks and after the commission of these crimes, propaganda materials on this topic often appear on social networks.”

"the basics" emerged in 2014 as a volunteer battalion that helped defend ukraine from an attack by russia and its henchmen from among the separatist forces. the battalion's emblem is very similar to the wolfsangel symbol, which was widely used by the german military during the second world war. although human rights organizations accused the battalion of torture and war crimes in the first months of the russian-ukrainian conflict, the ukrainian national guard officially included it in its ranks, renaming it the azov regiment.

this military unit has become the kremlin's favorite bogeyman. russian president vladimir putin took advantage of the existence of this group and justified his attack on ukraine on the fact that he was fighting fascism. this organization is not very popular in ukraine, but its connections with neo-nazis are not a secret. in 2010, the creator of the battalion, andrei biletsky, said that ukraine should "lead the white races of the whole world in the last crusade ... against the subhumans led by the semites."

it was not possible to get comments from bilecki.

the regiment still draws inspiration from this man, but he has already gone into big politics. from 2014 to 2019, biletsky was a member of the ukrainian parliament, but has not yet been able to be re-elected. he now heads the national corps political party, which largely unsuccessfully promotes its members to elected office and uses social media to gain support. he is also one of the founders of the "intermarium" project, which builds ties with white nationalists and neo-nazis in western europe and the united states.

although the pages of "intermarium" were previously removed from facebook, on september 9 a new one was created under the same name. it was started by elena semenyaka, secretary of the "national corps" for international affairs. the page contains news and information about extreme right-wing and neo-nazi leaders in europe and advertises "cultural events" in the kiev branch of the party.

after the ban, the semenyaka also opened new accounts on facebook and instagram under a pseudonym.

she did not respond to requests for comment.

thanks in part to social media, the national corps has been able to connect with white nationalist organizations in the united states, including the california rise above movement, which in 2017 participated in a right-wing rally in charlottesville, virginia ... charges were brought against them for these actions, which were later dropped. in april 2018, the founder of the rise above movement, robert rundo, visited kiev and took part in the work of a fight club organized by the “basic” fight club. the fbi believes that the "azov" is engaged in "the preparation and radicalization of american organizations of white racists."

в прошлом месяце украина депортировала двоих американских неонацистов, связанных с базирующейся в сша неонацистской группировкой atomwaffen division (дивизия ядерного оружия). эти люди пытались создать на украине местное отделение своей организации, чтобы вместе с боевиками «азова» получать боевой опыт.

«азов» при помощи фейсбука расширяет свою деятельность за пределами украины, и это вызывает все большую тревогу у экспертов. «они используют насилие и могут собирать большие толпы, в основном из молодежи, готовой к применению насилия. и социальные сети способствуют этой деятельности, — сказал шааф. — а это придает „азову" силу».

источник: buzzfeed

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