Revival of Nazism in Europe
History and Modernity
Great Patriotic War
Even 10 to 15 years ago, a discussion on neo-fascism, fascism and Nazism in Europe did not seem relevant, as neo-Nazi and neo-fascist organizations were generally a marginal phenomenon. And it is surprising that these poisonous seeds gave rise to powerful shoots in such a short time. Today, Nazism manifests itself everywhere in Europe. The topic of fascism in Europe is not just relevant, it is crying for attention.
Over the past 10 years, more than 50 neo-Nazi and neo-fascist parties took part in parliamentary and municipal elections in Europe - in other words, these parties are now seeking legalization. Often, they mask themselves so as to not seem like followers and agents of the policy and the line of the ideology that characterized the Nazis in Germany, Italy and Spain. But their essence, which is primarily expressed in intolerance towards others and adherence to nationalist or totalitarian ideology, remains.
The whole archipelago of groups and structures that often, but not always, use ultranationalist and neo-fascist slogans, is becoming increasingly more apparent. One of their important mobilizing resources is the so-called "hate music”. These are diverse groups of sports and music fans, skinheads, who are prone to violence, but lack a strong ideology.
And finally, there are neo-Nazis – ideologically-charged and mobilized right-wing radical groups. Not only do they not hide their “brown” roots, they are actually proud of them. In Germany alone, there are 165 such groups, while the number of related web-sites has long exceeded one thousand. They include those affiliated with the Ukrainian paramilitary group the Right Sector and dozens of others that came to the fore in Ukraine.
What is behind such a rapid renaissance of neo-Nazism?
Neo-Nazism takes advantage of the growing structural tensions inside welfare states, which were seriously impacted by the global recession. Unemployment and the rising dissatisfaction with the policies of austerity are accompanied by the awareness of one’s own helplessness in the face of sharply declining living standards. Similar sentiments in the 1920s and 1930s brought fascism to power.
Disappointment in the political class and traditional parties is also a factor.
Another impetus for neo-Nazism is labor migration to Europe. Harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric, which offers simple answers to complex questions, is fast rising in popularity. For certain groups of marginalized young people, including those from the once-prosperous middle class forced to sink to a lower "social floor", immigrants and other "aliens" are the obvious culprits of their troubles. This primitive logic becomes a reference point for the assertion of a negative identity. Group cohesion of ultra-radicals is constructed upon this identity.
Terrorism, mainly associated with Islamic extremism, also leads to a strengthening of nationalism. On the one hand, the global terrorism network in Europe generates a symmetric neo-Fascist “network response" in the form of local self-defense, which the authorities do not control. On the other hand, the state’s main forces are still focused on the fight against terrorism and extremist activities of Islamic ultra-radicals. Neo-Nazis are wrongly considered the lesser evil.
The threat of neo-Nazism manifests itself especially strongly in the so-called “failed states”. A striking example of this is Ukraine, a country which, it would seem, received a powerful anti-Nazi and anti-fascist vaccination during the Second World War. Alas, this country has now found itself largely under the influence of neo-fascists and neo-Nazis.
The political basis for the rise of fascists in the 1930s was the legalization of extremist forces. Having been recognized legally, the National Socialists’ next step was to debar traditional parliamentary parties, and take power themselves. All of these factors are present in modern Ukraine.
From the economic point of view, we have the same context of a global crisis and the same military escalation that is seen as a way out of this protracted crisis.
Politically, there are the same extremist political forces that are integrated under the Right Sector brand. Right Sector’s military groups imitate the SA storm troopers, who cleared the way to power for the Nazi Party in the initial phase of German fascism.
We see the same large-scale financial support from the West - loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Ideologically, there is the same ideology of Ukrainian ethnocentrism, which was shaped quite a long time ago. The story of the great ancient Ukraine has long been composed and legitimized in Ukrainian textbooks.
A shield is raised that depicts figures associated with bloody Nazi atrocities during World War II. Back in 2008, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych were both included in the list of 12 greatest Ukrainians. It is striking that the West prefers to ignore this direct appeal of modern Ukrainian nationalists to Nazi criminals. Modern apologists of Ukrainian nationalism are trying to disassociate these characters from the Nazis. However, their direct statements leave no doubt as to the similar nature of Ukrainian nationalism and German Nazism of the World War II period.
Stepan Bandera: "Active enemy forces should be destroyed through any available methods, in accordance with the international laws of war. The general objective is to remove from the territory of Ukraine the largest possible number of hostile Muscovites, as to not waste larger resources on maintenance of prisoners of war or the interned in the difficult conditions of a struggle”. Another prominent Ukrainian nationalist Jaroslaw Stetsko wrote: "I maintain my position on the extermination of the Jews and the feasibility of applying German methods of extermination of the Jews to Ukraine....".
Decades have passed, and the new leader of Ukrainian Nationalists Oleg Tyagnibok, appealing to his spiritual forerunners, reproduces the essential contents of the Nazi concept: "They were not afraid, just as we should not be afraid, they took the Jews by the neck and ... fought the Muscovites, the Germans, the Jews and other scum, who wanted to take away our Ukrainian fatherland ... Ukraine should finally be given to Ukrainians ... you ... are the mixture, which the Muscovite-Jewish mafia, who is running Ukraine today, is most afraid of."
A monument to Simon Petliura, who was personally implicated in the mass murder of Jews, was recently installed in Rivne. A decision was made to erect another such monument in Kiev. Streets in Kiev and in a number of cities in western Ukraine carry his name. Last year, four monuments to the heroes of Ukrainian nationalism, including Simon Petlyura, Eugene Konovalets, Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera, were installed in the US, in the town of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Next to them is a monument in honor of the Act of Restoration of the Ukrainian state on June 30th, 1941.
The question arises whether Americans know the biographies of the historical personalities that are being immortalized there. The Act was proclaimed in Lviv on the day of its occupation by the German troops. The document contained the following provision: "The newly created Ukrainian Government will work closely with the National Socialist Greater Germany, which under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler is creating a new order in Europe and in the world, and is helping to free the Ukrainian people from the Muscovite occupation”.
Alas, the West denies the corrupting influence of neo-fascists on Ukraine. In 2014, the UN General Assembly voted on the draft resolution against the glorification of Nazism. The author of the draft was Russia. The United States, Canada and Ukraine voted against, while the EU, including Germany, abstained.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said: “For many years Europe has been turning a blind eye to the fact that this ideology [fascism] is acquiring new supporters… who are already not only marching with slogans glorifying Nazi criminals, but are a ‘live’ manifestation of fascism.”