‘Ukraine Belongs to Us’

Azov Lobby Updates (early-to-mid 2023)

Ukes, Kooks & Spooks
5 min readJul 17, 2023

A recent poll found that 43% of respondents in Ukraine disagreed with the statement that “Nazi and/or neo-Nazi ideology is not widespread in Ukraine.” Meanwhile, one of two Chief Rabbis of Ukraine, the Trump-loving, January 6-cheering Moshe Azman, blessed Vladyslav Zhaivoronok, an Azov veteran and former POW who spent several months in the US since last year. Zhaivoronok, also known as “Wikipedia,” hyphenates his Azov call sign as “WP” — in his Instagram username, and on his helmet— a double entendre that also means “White Power.”

On June 27, the day after Vox Ukraine reported the above poll results and Azman blessed Zhaivoronok, the Toronto-based Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) published an effusive tribute to “our brave, relentless, and heroic” Denys Prokopenko, the famous Azov commander also known as “Redis” who recently returned to Ukraine. “Denys, we, the global Ukrainian community, rise as one to salute you on your Birthday!”

“A passion for sports has always driven Denys,” said the nationalist UWC, tacitly acknowledging that Prokopenko’s “remarkable journey” originated in far-right football hooliganism. Neo-Nazi “ultras” have always played an important role in the Azov movement. “Redis” apparently started with the neo-Nazi “White Boys Club” (WBC), which supports FC Dynamo Kyiv. The WBC also wished him a happy birthday on social media. “Albatross,” an allied group of ultras, has likewise claimed Prokopenko.

Clockwise from top-left: a group of Ukrainian soldiers repping Albatross Kyiv—their flag featuring runes appropriated by Nazi Germany; Denys Prokopenko (circled) with a group repping Azov’s Borodach Division, the symbol of which is a bearded totenkopf; and Prokopenko, apparently holding a censored flag of the Borodach Division, posing with “Dynamo hooligans,” including fellow representatives of the Albatross ultras.

Neo-Nazis and ultras in Berlin, Madrid, and Zagreb went the extra mile with graffiti dedicated to Denys Prokopenko (and in one case, the WBC). “For us it’s a great honor that Denis has come from our movement,” explained “Dynamo Hooligans,” an Instagram page with almost 12,000 followers that shared the internationally coordinated congratulations from “our comrades,” and quoted the Azov commander: “Ukraine belongs to us. Brave, real and loyal. Who have chosen honor and courage.”

Prokopenko mural by German neo-Nazis in Berlin, 2023

Two days later, another version of this Prokopenko quote was projected before an audience at Stanford University: “Ukraine belongs to us. Bold, genuine and faithful. Who choose honor and courage.” It was the second time since last year that representatives of the Azov movement — including Kateryna Prokopenko, who is married to “Redis” — spoke at the elite private university in California. This time, ironically enough, the Azov delegation met political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who is famous for writing about the “end of history.”

Mrs. Prokopenko was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Fedosiuk. On her way back to Stanford, Yulia Fedosiuk posted a selfie on Instagram with the caption, “Surf the Kali Yuga,” referencing a Hindu-inspired alt-right meme that “essentially means embracing being the bad guy and riding the wave of the dark age and what it might bring.” As someone pointed out on Twitter, the far-right Italian philosopher Julius Evola wrote about the Kali Yuga, and Fedosiuk worked for the Azov publishing house (Plomin) which regards Evola as an inspirational thinker.

Arseniy Fedosiuk, the only veteran and former POW included in the most recent Azov delegation, appears to be a Hitler-admiring neo-Nazi. Someone sent me his VK profile and a group photo of Ukrainian soldiers that facial recognition software flagged a match for Fedosiuk. On either side are individuals clearly making Nazi salutes. As for VK, there is not a lot to see, but there is more than enough to establish that Fedosiuk is a hardcore neo-Nazi. For example, a laptop sticker that says, “Das ist mein kampf…”

On the left, an image from Arseniy Fedosiuk’s VK account. One of the stickers says, “Das ist mein Kampf…” Another sticker is for the Patriot of Ukraine, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that morphed into Azov. The vest has a modern-day totenkopf patch from a neo-Nazi brand called R3ICH. On the right, posts from the neo-Nazi VK page “12 years not a slave,” which has just 225 followers — Fedosiuk is one of them. “12 years not a slave” undoubtedly refers to the dozen years that Hitler ruled Nazi Germany (1933–45).

Arseniy Fedosiuk’s stated interests on Academia.edu include “Militarism” and “Right-Wing Extremism.” Earlier this year, he received medical treatment in Israel, which Kateryna Prokopenko and Yulia Fedosiuk also visited with an intelligence officer from the Azov Regiment.

According to Prokopenko’s organization, the Association of Azovstal Defenders’ Families, the most recent delegation, which is apparently still in the US, met with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and ten members of the House of Representatives — four Democrats (Mary Kaptur, Betty McCollum, Ruben Gallego, Mike Levin) and six Republicans (Andy Harris, Joe Wilson, Mike Lawler, Ben Cline, Victoria Spartz, Greg Steube).

Several weeks earlier, Azov veteran Vladyslav Zhaivoronok (“WP”) participated in a “Ukraine Action Summit” on Capitol Hill and completed an “advocacy tour” of Hawaii. He spent several months recuperating and promoting Azov in the United States, supported by the Florida-based charity organization, Revived Soldiers Ukraine, which is led in Ukraine by Dmytro Shatrovsky, the head of the Azov movement’s “Veterans Brotherhood.” As of 2020, according to journalist Oleksiy Kuzmenko, Shatrovsky was “the head of the Public Council in Ukraine’s Veterans Ministry and a leader of the influential ‘Veterans Movement of Ukraine’.”

Zhaivoronok standing outside the Congressional office of far-right politician Paul Gosar, and a newspaper clipping from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about the Hawaii Legislature honoring Zhaivoronok.

Last year, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine established the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation (UVF), which has a supervisory board that includes representatives of the US, UK, NATO, and Azov. Earlier this year, the UVF commissioned a series of photographic portraits by Dmytro Kozatsky, the neo-Nazi press officer of the Azov Regiment that readers of “Ukes, Kooks & Spooks” may recall has visited the United States twice since 2022, both times accompanied by an Israeli-American filmmaker.

The UVF counts among its partners “Razom for Ukraine” in New York City, which has an advocacy arm that co-organized the Ukraine Action Summit. Razom gave Kozatsky a warm welcome in New York, and once organized a protest in Lower Manhattan at which demonstrators chanted, “Azov! Azov! Azov!” Razom volunteers recently created a video on behalf of the Association of Azovstal Defenders’ Families led by Kateryna Prokopenko. “Razom Advocacy” has strong ties to the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, one of the most influential think tanks in Washington.

Vladislav Davidzon, incidentally a nonresident senior fellow at the Eurasia Center, has emerged as one of the most shameless apologists for the Azov movement. In response to an article by Lev Golinkin (“Why did Stanford students host a group of neo-Nazis?”), Davidzon wrote an outrageous and bizarre “open letter” to Golinkin, in which he declared “as a proud Eastern European Jew,” simply lying to gullible readers and willful ignoramuses, “There exists no serious neo-Nazi threat in Ukraine. None at all. This is a phantom fear lurking within the minds of various fantasists and neurotics.” Projecting, and giving the game away, Davidzon actually chastised Golinkin to “stop telling fairy tales about Nazis.