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Fascist Formations in Ukraine

Female soldier fighting for Ukraine's post-coup government stands in front of a van with a German Waffen SS insignia  and a neo-Nazi code number.
Female soldier fighting for Ukraine's post-coup government stands in front of a van with a German Waffen SS insignia
and a neo-Nazi code number.

By Peter Lee
The Guardian published an adulatory feature on “The Women Fighting on the Frontline in Ukraine”.

RELATED STORY: Ukraine's Post-Coup Government Shows its True Nazi Face: Prime Minister Invokes Nazi Era Rhetoric
One of the women profiled was “Anaconda”, fighting in the Aidar Battalion bankrolled by Igor Kolomoisky:
Anaconda was given her nickname by a unit commander, in a joking reference to her stature and power. The baby-faced 19-year-old says that her mother is very worried about her and phones several times a day, sometimes even during combat. She says it is better to always answer, as her mother will not stop calling until she picks up.

“In the very beginning my mother kept saying that the war is not for girls,” Anaconda says. “But now she has to put up with my choice. My dad would have come to the front himself, but his health does not allow him to move. He is proud of me now.”
Anaconda was photographed in combat dress resolutely holding an assault rifle in front of a rather decrepit van.

The caption read:
“Anaconda says she is being treated well by the men in her battalion, but is hoping that the war will end soon.”
As reported by the gadfly site Off Guardian, several readers posted critical observations on the van’s insignia in the comments section of the piece. One, “bananasandsocks”, wrote: “We learn from Wikipedia that the image on the door is the “semi-official” insignia of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS…” and also pointed out the neo-Nazi significance of the number “1488”.
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“bananasandsocks” seemingly temperate comment was removed by the Guardian for violating its community standards, as were several others, apparently as examples of “persistent misrepresentation of the Guardian and our journalists”.

But then the Guardian thought better of it. While not reinstating the critical comments, it quietly deleted the original caption to the photo of Anaconda and replaced it with:
Anaconda alongside a van displaying the neo-Nazi symbol 1488. The volunteer brigade is known for its far-right links.
Problem solved? Maybe not. Maybe it’s more like “Problem dodged”. Specifically, the problem of the pervasive participation of “ultra-right” paramilitary elements in Kyiv military operations, which even intrudes upon the Guardian’s efforts to put a liberal-friendly feminist sheen on the debacle of the recent ATO in eastern Ukraine.

As to “1488”, I’ll reproduce the Wikipedia entry:
The Fourteen Words is a phrase used predominantly by white nationalists. It most commonly refers to a 14-word slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.” It can also refer to another 14-word slogan: “Because the beauty of the White Aryan woman must not perish from the earth.”

Both slogans were coined by David Lane, convicted terrorist and member of the white separatist organization The Order. The first slogan was inspired by a statement, 88 words in length, from Volume 1, Chapter 8 of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf:

Neo-Nazis often combine the number 14 with 88, as in “14/88″ or “1488”. The 8s stand for the eighth letter of the alphabet (H), with “HH” standing for “Heil Hitler”.
Lane died in prison in 2007 while serving a 190 year sentence for, among other things, the murder of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg. David Lane has considerable stature within global white nationalist/neo-Nazi/fascist circles as one of the American Aryan movement’s premier badasses (in addition involvement in to the Berg murder—in which he denied involvement—and a string of bank robberies to finance the movement—also denied, Lane achieved a certain martyr’s stature for enduring almost two decades in Federal detention, frequently in the notorious Communications Management Units).
RELATED STORY: Ukraine’s Inconvenient Neo-Nazis - Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Are Not Some Urban Legend — But America's Big Media Wants To Downplay Their Significance
And David Lane was a big deal for the “ultra-right” & fascists in Ukraine, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Lane’s death touched off paeans from racists around the country and abroad. June 30 was designated a “Global Day of Remembrance,” with demonstrations held in at least five U.S. cities as well as England, Germany, Russia and the Ukraine.

Judging by this video, the march/memorial on the first anniversary of his death, in 2008, organized by the Ukrainian National Socialist Party in Kyiv, was well enough attended to merit a police presence of several dozen officers. The sountrack to the clip, by the way, is an elegy to David Lane performed by Ukraine’s premier white nationalist metal band at the time, Sokyra Peruna.

There is a photograph of a shield inscribed “1488” at Maidan.

More significantly, perhaps, the name of the armed wing of the Svoboda Party, C14, apparently invokes Lane’s “14 words” .

It should be said that Lane’s views, including those that inspired the 1488 tag, are esoteric even within the fascist/Neo-Nazi/white supremacist world he inhabited.

In a letter from prison, Lane wrote:
You know that the three greatest movements of the last 2,000 years have been Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Judaism allowed Jews to conquer and rule the world. I believe only a religious fervor can save our kind now. The 14 Words must be a divine command of Nature’s God whom we call Wotan Allfather.

As the 666 man, and the Joseph Smith of Wotanism my rewards will be zero. Death in prison, scorn from those with no vision, and hate from the stupid goyim and their kosher masters. But sometimes a man is condemned to a higher cause. And cheerfulness in adversity is still a virtue. Take care. 14 – 88

Lane composed his “88 Precepts” to instruct believers in the ways of white nationalism. While apparently riffing off the 88 word Mein Kampf passage and “88=HH=Heil Hitler”, it also refers to Lane’s numerological/messianic preoccupations.
RELATED STORY: Ukraine, a Fascist Coup?: A Photo Essay
Ukrainian fascists’ admiration for Lane is a reflection of the pervasiveness of indigenous Ukrainian fascism, which looks for models and partners internationally while drawing plenty of strength and inspiration from its own profoundly deep historical and ideological local roots.

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