The United States and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a United Nations resolution Wednesday on, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The resolution passed 130-2.
The resolution featured 70 fairly bland statements condemning the crimes of Adolf Hitler, while also expressing concern at the rise of contemporary Neo-Nazi groups.
“Neo-Nazism is more than just the glorification of a past movement, it is a contemporary phenomenon with strong vested interests in racial inequality and an investment in gaining broad support for its false claims of racial superiority,” the document warned, expressing its alarm that, in many parts of the world, it is on the rise. “Even where neo-Nazis or extremists do not formally participate in government, the presence therein of extreme right-wing ideologues can have the effect of injecting into governance and political discourse the same ideologies that make neo-Nazism and extremism so dangerous,” it added.
Just two countries voted against the Russian resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism & neo-nazism” at today’s #UNGA75.: Ukraine and the US.
Whatever about Ukraine. But America? It now hates Russia so much that it refuses to condemn Nazism just to spite Moscow? pic.twitter.com/HxNHOueYWV
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) December 16, 2020
This is far from the first time the U.S. has voted against resolutions like this one. Indeed, every year since 2014, it has done so. In its justification for doing so, it labeled the resolution nothing more than a “thinly veiled attempt to legitimize longstanding Russian disinformation narratives smearing neighboring nations under the cynical guise of halting Nazi glorification.” The resolution does not, however, name any states, only speaking in generalities.
Russia was indeed one of 24 countries sponsoring the document this time around, a move the U.S. sees as an effort to use the U.N. to delegitimize the U.S.-sponsored government of Ukraine, as well as a number of pro-U.S., anti-Russia Baltic governments, all of which have ties to the modern far-right.
One of the many dirty secrets from the Second World War is that great numbers of Ukrainians and other ethnic nationalist groups in the USSR rose up to work with Nazi Germany in order to rid themselves of Moscow’s rule. Much of their work included rounding up millions of Jews, gypsies, leftists, homosexuals, and other groups, sending them to concentration camps. With the fall of the USSR in 1991, many of these groups came to the fore again, rewriting their own history to present themselves not as collaborators, but nationalist heroes, struggling under a dual occupation from Germany and Russia, rebranding themselves as respectable conservatives.
Perhaps the most prominent example of Neo-Nazi power is Ukraine, where the U.S. helped engineer an uprising that brought about a pro-Washington government. In 2015, that new government banned Soviet iconography, made sympathy for communism illegal, and began officially rehabilitating Neo-Nazi groups who participated in genocide in World War II, honoring their supposed sacrifice and patriotism.
While this could be seen as another example of Donald Trump refusing to condemn the far-right, it is highly doubtful that the incoming Biden administration would have voted any differently. Indeed, in 2014, Biden himself traveled to Ukraine to participate in the revolution, helping to unite the opposition to pro-Russian President Yanukovych, forcing him to flee the country.
Displaying a level of interference in foreign politics even the most strident of Russiagate proponents could only dream of, Biden later boasted that he personally ordered Yanukovych to resign. Just months later, Biden’s son, Hunter, was placed onto the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, earning $50,000 per month, despite having no background in energy, nor any knowledge of the region or its languages.
Since Yanukovych’s overthrow, Ukraine’s government has been relentlessly pro-European; one reason, perhaps, why virtually every European nation (including Germany) decided to abstain from voting “yes” earlier this week.
While in Ukraine, the future President-elect of the United States also met publicly with neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the Freedom Party, a man who had previously called for a war on the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” and on the “Jewish oligarchs who control Ukraine.” While the Freedom Party holds limited political power, other ultranationalists have been appointed to key positions in the government, and the far-right wields considerable influence over the public discourse inside the country and is able to draw huge crowds to their rallies.
The U.S. government paid for the training of much of the new Ukrainian military, including the now semi-official Azov Batallion, a Nazi paramilitary group that uses iconography from the Waffen SS. In 2018, the FBI found that many of the leaders of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, had, in turn, been trained by Ukrainian neo-Nazis.
There appears to have been zero coverage of the vote in the mainstream corporate press, with no mention of the resolution in the New York Times, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, or MSNBC, and no relevant results on Google News either. Considering Biden’s questionable connections to the country, the less news about Ukraine, for him, the better.
Feature photo | Volunteers of the ultra far-right Azov Battalion at a rally marking Fatherland Defender Day in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2016. Efrem Lukatsky | AP
Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.