4 December 2019 — Grayzone
By Ben Norton
Neo-Nazis from Ukraine have flown to Hong Kong to participate in the anti-Chinese insurgency, which has been widely praised by Western corporate media and portrayed as a peaceful pro-democracy movement.
Since March 2019, Hong Kong has been the site of often-violent protests and riots that have run the city’s economy into the ground. The US government has funded many of the groups leading the pro-Western and anti-Beijing movement, and opposition leaders have coordinated closely with conservative political figures in Washington like Marco Rubio and Steve Bannon, lobbying for sanctions and other punitive measures against China.
Numerous delegations of far-right groups from across the world have traveled to Hong Kong to join the violent insurgency against Beijing, in which secessionists have attacked police with bows and arrows, shot gasoline bombs out of catapults, and burned numerous people alive.
With their flamboyant waving of US and British colonial flags and tendency to belt out the American national anthem on megaphones, anti-China separatists in Hong Kong have made themselves a magnet for the US far-right. Staff of the website InfoWars, right-wing social media personality Paul Joseph Watson, and the ultra-conservative group Patriot Prayer are among those who have made pilgrimages to the protests.
The latest collection of extreme-right activists to reinforce the ranks of the Hong Kong separatists are from Ukraine. They call themselves Gonor and have tattoos on their upper torsos with undeniable symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism.
These extremists previously fought in a notoriously brutal neo-Nazi militia called the Azov Battalion, in Ukraine’s war against pro-Russian militants.
The Azov Battalion is an explicitly fascist paramilitary group that organizes around neo-Nazi ideology. After a Western-backed 2014 coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected government, Azov was incorporated into the Ukrainian national guard. It has received support from the US government, which has armed and advised the neo-Nazis in their fight against Moscow.
While Western governments and corporate media outlets portray China as an authoritarian regime that treats Hong Kong like a colony, these violent Ukrainian fascists took advantage of the region’s autonomy to gain entry through its borders. It is unlikely they would have been admitted to mainland China, or to the Western European countries that routinely refuse visas to political extremists.
The presence of Ukrainian regime-change activists in the Hong Kong protests is further evidence of the alliances that anti-Chinese activists in Hong Kong are building with other right-wing, US-backed movements around the world, sharing tactics to weaken and destabilize countries targeted by NATO.
Ukrainian fascists join Hong Kong insurgency
On December 1, the far-right activist Serhii Filimonov posted photos on Facebook showing himself and three Ukrainian friends upon their arrival in Hong Kong. The images were accompanied by the anti-Beijing’s unofficial slogan: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong!!”
Stand With Hong Kong is also the name of a Western-backed organization that has been lobbying the governments of the US, Britain, Germany, Canada, and Australia to impose sanctions and take punitive action against China.
In a video they posted on social media, the Ukrainian white supremacists revealed that they had obtained a press pass, misleadingly portraying themselves as journalists.
Joining Filimonov on the trip to Hong Kong was a notorious extreme-right Ukrainian activist who goes by the name Maliar. Maliar is popular on Instagram, under the name xgadzillax, where he has more than 23,000 followers. (Maliar has a distinctive scar on the left side of the neck, which makes him easy to recognize in photos.)
Besides the swastikas inked into his skull, Maliar had the Nazi symbols tattooed on his right leg, next to an algiz rune, another common white supremacist emblem.
Several photos show that at least two of the Ukrainian fascists in Hong Kong have tattoos reading “Victory or Valhalla,” the title of a compilation of writings by the notorious American white supremacist David Lane, whose neo-fascist terrorist group The Order murdered a liberal Jewish radio host and planned more assassinations of left-wing Jews.
Lane, who was convicted to 190 years in a US prison for numerous crimes, created the most famous white supremacist slogan, known as the 14 Words — which inspired the name of another Ukrainian neo-Nazi group called C14.
Filimonov, who also has a large following on Instagram, where he uses the name Sunperuna, published a photo showing the phrase “Victory or Valahalla” emblazoned on his chest.
The book “Victory or Valhalla” is dedicated to “Aryankind.” In its pages, its author says he is committed to preventing the “imminent extinction facing the White Race” and the “Judeo-American/Judeo-Christian murder of the White race.” The screed is replete with homages to Nazis, and the back cover shows a photo of Lane’s body in his coffin, wrapped in a Confederate flag.
These Ukrainian fascists were such fans of the book that they permanently tattooed its title on their bodies.
Maliar, the other member of Gonor who joined the Hong Kong protests, has “Victory or Valhalla” inscribed conspicuously on his neck.
Journalist Morgan Artyukhina identified another member of the far-right Ukrainian contingent in Hong Kong as Serhii Sternenko. Artyukhina noted that Sternenko is a former leader of the Ukrainian fascist group Right Sector, which burned down a trade union building in Odessa during the 2014 coup, killing 42 people.
Neo-Nazis take campus
On December 2, the Ukrainian fascist visitors posted photos of themselves on the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), a site of violent protests.
PolyU has been a crucial base of operation for the separatist uprising. A total of 3,989 petrol bombs, 1,339 pieces of explosives, and 601 bottles of corrosive liquid were recovered at the school, as of December 2, according to reports.
Serhii Filimonov (the first on the left in the photo above) has faced legal troubles in the past, appearing in court for allegedly brawling with police.
Other members of Gonor have published photos on Instagram holding guns.
A video posted on Instagram in 2015 shows Maliar and a friend in a “White Rebel” Confederate flag t-shirt surrounded by guns and tasers.
Gonor’s symbol draws on many of the same far-right ultra-nationalist themes, with three white knives centered on a black flag.
Gonor’s Telegram channel offers members a front row seat to an orgy of violence. It has published dozens of videos of Hong Kong insurgents, heroizing them for shooting arrows and carrying out brutal attacks on state security forces.
Ukrainian regime-changers build networks with Hong Kong secessionists
Despite all of this publicly available evidence demonstrating the open fascism of the Ukrainian hooligans in Hong Kong, the Kiev-based Free Hong Kong Center published a statement on Facebook defending and whitewashing Gonor.
The organization confirmed that the extremists did indeed fight with Azov “during the first period of the war” against pro-Russian separatists, but claimed that they have been unaffiliated since 2015.
The Free Hong Kong Center described the neo-fascists as “activists of the Revolution of Dignity and as well as veterans of the defending war with Russia.” Absurdly, the center declared that they “assured us they are really against nazism and another kind of alt-right ideology.”
“A lot of people were disappointed by the tattoos of these guys,” the Free Hong Kong Center conceded. But they insisted “that all symbols are from Slavic paganism.”
The Free Hong Kong Center is a project of an NGO called the Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine. In addition to building links with anti-Beijing forces in Hong Kong, the project says its mission is to “counter Chinese threats to Ukraine.”
The Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine is a pro-European Union advocacy organization which is a member of the European Liberal Youth and the International Federation of Liberal Youth, both of which are funded by the EU.
The main coordinator of the Free Hong Kong Center is a Ukrainian activist named Arthur Kharytonov, who is also the president of the Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine. Kharytonov was deeply involved in the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, which led to the 2014 US-backed coup. He then set up the league in 2015.
Kharytonov and his organization have been frequently amplified in US government-funded Ukrainian media outlets such as Hromadske. In these softball interviews with a highly sympathetic press, Kharytonov likens the anti-Russia protests in Ukraine to the anti-China protests in Hong Kong, and calls for closer bonds between them.
On 6th year anniversary of #Euromaidan revolution, Ukrainians showed solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong. We invited main coordinator of Kyiv-based Free Hong Kong Center, Arthur Kharytonov to draw parallels between the events in #Ukraine & #HongKong.https://t.co/MMJkPLmeQC
— Hromadske Int. (@Hromadske) November 25, 2019
Kharytonov and these Western government-backed organizations are part of a growing network of Ukrainian regime-change activists who are organizing with secessionists in Hong Kong, holding and sharing insurgency tactics.
As the US and NATO-led unipolar hegemonic order that has dominated the world since the end of the Cold War begins to crumble, and as a rising China and Russia seek to restore a multipolar global system, Washington and European nations are constructing a latticework of movements to undermine their adversaries on their frontiers.
This global network is marketed as the advance guard of global liberalism, but as events from Ukraine to Hong Kong have revealed, fascism is festering at its base.