Sculls, Bones and Anti-NaZi

According to one of the figurative definitions, the alchemical marriage is the “combination of something that cannot be combined”, a good example of which may seem to be the participation of the so-called “Hispaniola” military detachment in the elite “Vostok” battalion under the command of Alexander Khodakovsky.

The video with Igor Mangushev, heading the so-called Russian “Raccoon private military company PMC”, in which he obviously coslplayed Hamlet onstage of one of the Donetsk club, making a speech in front of the DPR veterans, generated a strong reaction not only from Ukraine and worldwide (Ukraine had addressed the UN on the matter) but also within the DPR “Donetsk Peoples self-proclaimed Republic”.  A performance by whether a militant or a Moscow spin doctor Mangushev, who ascribed to himself the authorship of the idea to use “Z” letter as the Russian patriotic symbol, looked really disgusting. Yet the worst part was not even that he held a skull in his hand claiming it belonged to the “Azov” soldier he had killed himself, but that he warned of the similar fate awaiting everybody who had the idea of ukrainianism in the head. Hall reacted to those words with laughter and cheers. A couple of years ago this would have been unthinkable. But as of today there were some Donetsk and Russian bloggers, who had supported Mangushev, or, like the infamous Vladlen Tatarsky, a war correspondent and an ex-con, refused to condemn. Some people take this event as the evidence of Russian Nazism, others – like a bad taste standup by an individual. All this really looks like an amateur regional standup comedy show, however, much more grave evidence of the developing armed ultra-right movement in Russia and its clients are coming from different sides, in particular, from the “Vostok” battalion native to Mr. Tatarsky.    

According to one of the figurative definitions, the alchemical marriage is the “combination of something that cannot be combined”, a good example of which may seem to be the participation of the so-called “Hispaniola” military detachment in the elite “Vostok” battalion under the command of Alexander Khodakovsky,  one of the most intelligent military figures in the limelight of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Donbas Peoples Republics. At the beginning of the separatist movement, Khodakovsky was the head of the “A” Special Operations Center of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Donetsk oblast, which indicated his serious legal background and managerial qualifications. Having had an engaging style, he at the time had written quite a few works on the moral downfall of the Ukrainian state that had allowed development of fascism in the country. Now the tone of his texts has changed, and his focus has been realigned in a way that he ceased to notice that people around him were built the way  his long-time rivals from the nationalistic formations of Ukraine were built. “Hispaniola”, formed from the Russian soccer fans, is a separate detachment in the composition of “Vostok” and keeps reporting to its leader Stanislav Orlov, a.k.a. “the Spaniard”. 

Alexander Khodakovsky (with the dog) and Oleg “the Spaniard” Orlov

The off-pitch medium worldwide has always been an incubator of the ultra-right agenda. These are the communities of people who love to gesture a lot and being prone to group violence in form of a street fight they cherished so much. The soccer fan groups in Europe make up the whole networks of complicated unions and confrontations where, nevertheless, there is a trade union solidarity spirit seems to be present, creating the environment for circulating the most radical ideas. In 2014 according to “Novoye Vremya” media outlet, it was ultra-right ultras who had become the power resource of Maidan that ousted president Yanukovich. The soccer fans of the most of the Ukrainian soccer clubs had made the primary backbone of the Maidan’s “fighting hundreds”, and then, moved to creating a line-up of paramilitary groups like the infamous “Pravyi (Right) Sector”, then joining the ranks of the Ukrainian army with special privileges of ideologically motivated units, like the “Azov” regiment.  Stanislav “the Spaniard” Orlov acquired his nickname more than twenty years ago when he had joined the fan movement that spawned the people whom he now fights against.

Stanislav Orlov and Graham Phillips, British journalist

When in summer of 2014, Orlov, together with a handful of his people, arrived in Donbas in order to participate in combat against his ex-colleagues in the shop, he had to solve a tough problem of finding the niche. For obvious reasons, the attitude towards right ultras in that region, whom he had blamed in the beginning of the war, was sharply negative. Orlov could not join the majority of organizations, which at that time were mostly turning to Soviet symbols and rhetoric. Other obvious representatives of the right wing pro-russian organizations were various Cossacks like war parties of N. Kozitsyn and P. Dryomov. However, it was difficult for people from the soccer fan groups to join their ranks due to traditional confrontation with law enforcement (as in Russian Federation the Cossack movement had been actively engaged in collaboration with law enforcement bodies), and because the regional origin was “wrong”. But nevertheless, “the Spaniard” found refuge under Igor “Demon” Bezler, who had controlled  the city of Gorlovka. Bezler had been pointedly refusing to obey the self-proclaimed authorities of DPR, and from the very beginning he’d been openly executing the pro-ukrainian activists, while sticking to the far right nationalist rhetoric. Who was the alternative for the Russian cousins of the Ukrainian ultras to join with?

After Bezler had left DPR (this was preceded by a conflict with Khodakovsky), Orlov, for some time, had been connected with the region. According to media reports, in  2014-2015 he had been serving as commander of the reconnaissance division in the DPR’s 1st army corps. After the full-scale invasion commenced, “the Spaniard” name again got into media with the information that his “Hispaniola community” was recruiting soccer fans to serve in the Russian Army, within the “Tavrida” army group. In mid-July it became known that “Hispaniola” was assigned to the Khodakovsky’s “Vostok” Battalion. According to Orlov, the “Hispaniola” fighters are highly qualified technically since the focus of his detachment is utilizing modern warfare, particularly, small drones, and electronic warfare equipment.       

Together with integration of “Hispaniola” Khodakovsky’s public rhetoric also changed. If previously his messages were addressed to the rights and aspirations of the region’s population, frequently criticizing the established practices in DPR, no he has turned towards more security and nationalistic grounds. Thus, he started to express doubts in the necessity of restoring the dismantled monuments to Lenin and bringing back the names of Soviet figures to cities and streets. In 2014, recall, anti-Maidans were gathering supporters largely around the idea of unacceptability of such renaming, which had been implemented by the central Kiev authorities without hearing the opinion of local communities. Moreover, people had been gathering at the foot of the monuments to Lenin. 

Now, the ex-SBU officer, who in has time had written quite a few works on how to fight the Ukrainian nationalism, as the ideological follower of rather the German nationalism is reporting that the Battalion has again recruited volunteers from the soccer fan community, making PR for the “Hispaniola” Telegram channel. The ultra-right background, as well as the “Death’s Head” as the official symbol of the community apparently don’t bother him at all. The black flag with “Adam’s Head” has been not once appearing in the Russian history, while everybody who used it in the early twentieth century in the course of  WWII was on the side of Nazi Germany. Later, the “Death’s Head” became the SS symbol. According to researchers, the symbol was borrowed by the German Nazis from B. Annenkov, a Cossack ataman of the Civil War times, who was notorious for his implacable cruelty towards communists and Bolsheviks (however, he rather became infamous for the atrocities against peasants occurred to be within his reach).  

the ataman, could’ve been detained as the Ukrainian nationalist for his tattoos. 
Annenkov’s flag and the motto 100% is a match with the SS symbols.

“Hispaniola” uses the exact copy of the promoted symbol flag by Ya. Baklanov, a general of the Caucasian war, referring to adherence to the Orthdox patriotic tradition. However, this flag symbolic goes back to numerous reactionaries and collaborator organizations, and using it there is equivalent to swastika being explained as the ancient solar symbol. Anyway, the swastika in its variants is being used one way or another within the community members.

Pic from the community Telegram channel

Now, major official Russian propaganda would in every way label the Ukrainian Army soldiers as “nationalists”, “nazis”, “militants”, “punishers”, and “terrorists”. They, according to the Russian media, are being continuously “liquidated”, “neutralized”, and “denationalized” – they use all the dictionary of euphemisms just to avoid the “kill” verb. Justifying this mass murder takes not only the abstract security concerns over Russia, but it would be an unacceptable moral character of those being killed. Saying they’re all entirely adherent to the ultra-right ideologies, their body symbolic tattoos are a proof. Yet, at the same time, the similar minded people are being engaged into the DPR combat units. Judging from the fact, they are being visited by D. Pushilin, the Head of nowadays DPR, and S. Kirienko, the high-ranking official from Russia, this activity had been authorized at the highest level. While for the same tattoos with symbolic any Ukrainian prisoner could lose his life, the “Hispaniola” ultras are getting modern technical means from the distinguished guests as a gift. Considering how often the Russian diplomacy had been complaining about the “West’s double standards”, this inconsistency looks ridiculous, yet, the whole thing is not funny at all. 

It is really tough to address chauvinism and downright nazi tendencies of today’s Russia. Surely, there are plenty of things to be claimed from Ukraine.  They begin to argue with us in this way, that this is actually the normal response to the cannibalism performed by the Ukrainian bloggers and public figures, or the military. We could be reminded of meat-eating thing, when a Russian tanker’s bone was barbequed and eaten in front of a camera, and the tortures of the Russian prisoners, also taped and recorded, and reckless claims in the media. Well, no surprises here. We’ve always said that the dehumanization spiral is a vicious circle devouring more and more share of Russian and Ukrainian population. The ruling class of the both parties uses the most egregious cases to justify the same phenomena developing in their own neighborhood.  From the Ukrainian statehood standpoint, the gravest problem is that for one of our cannibals Russia is ready to field four more for a fight merely due to the demography reasons.

However, the organized recruiting from the soccer fan communities does not seem like an immediate reaction. Faced with strong resistance in Ukraine, the Russian establishment could’ve come to conclusion that the Ukrainian management methods of society are fully functional allowing keeping the regime viable even under military defeats and economic turmoil. Russia needed its own ultra-right highly decorated “Azov” regiment, ready to fly into Valhalla for the glory of Holy Russia and to please the boss. This tendency means nothing good for the Russians. Organized and numerous ultra-right groups are like a genie from a bottle, who once released could never be forced back. Yes, they could fulfill the wish in form of keeping the power, but they would kneel the regime to force achieving their own goals. But their goal is the eternal WAR. 

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