Ukrainian neo-Nazis associated with a US-backed militia joined the anti-China protests in Hong Kong, just weeks after hosting an “Academy of Street Protest” in Kyiv.
Members of a Ukrainian neo-Nazi group called “Honor” or “Gonor” have recently joined the violent anti-Chinese protests in Hong Kong, which have turned the city into a state bordering to civil war.1 The group included Igor Malyar,2 Sashko Lysy,3 Vasyl Chuchupak,4 and Serhii Filimonov,5 who had founded Gonor in 2015. Upon closer inspection Gonor members turn out to be hardcore neo-Nazis. Many of them have their bodies covered with tattoos sporting neo-pagan and neo-Nazi symbols and references.
Filimonov has multiple tattoos, for example a lettering reading “Victory or Valhalla” around his neck,6 so does his companion, Igor Malyar7 - a homage to the notorious American white supremacist David Lane, who had published an eponymous book. Sashko Lysy has a swastika tattooed directly on his heart.8
That they all may have a knack for brutality can be deducted from various pictures on Facebook. One shows Serhii Filimonov tearing a shocked looking person by his hair.9 Igor Malyar’s profile picture shows a man, potentially him, attacking a police squad with a chain.10
At least four of the Hong Kong visitors have been associated with the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary group Azov Battalion, or its successor, the National Guard, today Ukraine’s gendarmerie. There are various photos of them in military garb,11 posing with the Azov flag,12 or taking part in a conference of the National Guard.13
The Azov Battalion has formed during the Western-backed coup against Ukraine’s government under Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, but has its roots in a Ukrainian neo-Nazi hooligan group dating back to the 1980s.
There has surfaced ample evidence that the Azov Battalion had received support from the US government, which has armed and advised the neo-Nazis in its proxy war against Russia. US support of the Azov Battalion had been outlined by journalist Max Blumenthal in a 2018 article:14
The story of how American arms began flowing towards the Nazi-inspired militia began in October 2016, when the Texas-based AirTronic company announced a contract to deliver $5.5 million dollars worth of PSRL-1 rocket propelled grenade launchers to “an Allied European military customer.” In June 2017, photos turned up on Azov’s website showing its fighters testing PSRL-1 grenade launchers in the field. ...
In an interview last December with the US-backed Voice of America, AirTronic Chief Operating Officer Richard Vandiver emphasized that the sale of grenade launchers was authorized through “very close coordination with the U.S. Embassy, with the U.S. State Department, with the U.S. Pentagon and with the Ukrainian government.”
Finally, this January, the transfer of the lethal weapons to Azov was confirmed by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRL). Aric Toler, a DFRL researcher, asserted that “the US Embassy did absolutely help facilitate this transfer, and I’m not sure if they were aware that Azov would be the first to train with them.”
But back to Filimonov and his Gonor crew. On November 2, 2019, Filimonov was leading an “Academy of Street Protest” in Kyiv, Ukraine, as photos on his Facebook page reveal.15
The event was highly advertised in Kyiv, entire walls being covered with the event posters, showing a Molotov cocktail emblazoned with the “Gonor” logo.
A mere month later, on December 2, 2019, Filimonov posted pictures on Facebook that show him and his Gonor crew participating in the protests in Hong Kong. On one of the pictures they are posing in front of the Hong Kong polytechnic university.16 A mere two weeks prior, a showdown between the police and students had taken place there, during which more than 1,000 students were detained and thousands of weapons were seized.17 According to the South China Morning Post “a total of 3,989 petrol bombs, 1,339 pieces of explosives and 601 bottles of corrosive liquid were found at PolyU.”18
Several Gonor members wore t-shirts sporting the Molotov cocktail design, which had already been used for advertising the “Academy of Street Protests” a month prior.19
It is unclear what exactly was their mission in Hong Kong. That they were certainly up to no good is shown by photos that they shared on Facebook.
Sashko Lysy posted a picture of a burning metro station.20 The subtitle was simply “Gonor,” accompanied by a flame emoticon. Whether they have themselves participated in violent riots is not documented. There are pictures of them facing squads of riot police but not attacking them.21 It is rather likely that they had visited Hong Kong to hook up with like-minded individuals, providing strategical support.
Only four days after their arrival in Hong Kong, Filimonov apparently traveled to France to join the Gilets Jaunes protests, a protest movement that is also known for its violent riots.22
The Ukrainian nationalists of the Gonor group are not the only foreign far-right figures which have joined the Hong Kong protests in the past months.
According to the journalist Ben Norton:1
The first upheavals in Hong Kong started in March 2019, simultaneous to the US efforts to start a new “Cold War” with China. These include the revival on March 25, 2019, of a decades old Cold War foreign policy advisory group, the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), which has singled out China as the foremost enemy of the Western world. Chairman of the CPD is an American anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, while far-right rabble-rouser Steve Bannon has also joined the roster.23
Founded in December 1950 by former Under Secretary of the United States Army, Tracy Voorhees, in its first incarnation the CPD promoted the Truman Administration's remilitarization plans contained within NSC 68, which were proposed by Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson.24 According to scholar Ernest R. May, NSC 68 "provided the blueprint for the militarization of the Cold War from 1950 to the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s."25 The CPD was privately revived in March 1976, and after Jimmy Carter won the election, went public again, spending the next four years lobbying, particularly against a détente with Russia and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) agreement. This iteration of the CPD provided 33 officials to the Ronald Reagan administration. In June 2004, a third incarnation of the CPD addressed the War on Terrorism, before its current fourth composition with its anti-China focus.
National Endowment for Democracy
Some of the groups at the heart of the recently erupted protests have received significant funding from the U.S., for example from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a thinly veiled front for U.S. supported regime change operations worldwide. NED’s long-standing man in Hong Kong, Martin Lee, had already in 2017 “urged handing the torch of the democracy movement to young leaders like Joshua Wong,” today the most prominent face of the Hong Kong protests.26
Much has been speculated about Joshua Wong being a US regime change puppet. Mingling with regime changers from all over the world seems one of Wong’s main occupations. On a picture from September 2019, during an event in Germany, Wong appeared among White Helmets chief Raed Al Saleh, Kiev’s putschist mayor and former boxing champ Vitali Klitschko, and anti-Muslim Iranian-Austrian rabble-rouser, Mina Ahadi.27
There should bee no doubt that the NED is a US secret service front. MintPress News had published a brilliant exposé of the NED’s dark machinations:28
The NED was founded in 1983 following a series of scandals that exposed the CIA’s blood-soaked covert actions against foreign governments. ‘It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA,’ NED President Carl Gershman told the New York Times in 1986. ‘We saw that in the Sixties, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.’ Another NED founder, Allen Weinstein, conceded to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’
Interesting are also the many apologist voices that have come forward to defend the Hong Kong visit of the Gonor group, outrightly denying that they are neo-Nazis. Most prominent among them the Kyiv-based Free Hong Kong Center (FHKC),29 run by one Arthur Kharytonov, which, apparently since June 2017, is churning out insidious anti-Chinese propaganda.
The FHKC had published a lengthy statement regarding the neo-Nazi group’s appearance in Hong Kong, going as far as stating that “these people are really activists of the Revolution of Dignity as well as veterans of the defending war with Russia.”30
From another one of these apologists,31 Bennett Murray, a “former Vietnam Bureau Chief for DPA who just quit and [is] in the process of transitioning to Kyiv,”32 one can learn that Kharytonov had been part of “Joshua Wong’s circle.”33 Kharytonov just recently stated that “Ukraine’s Euromaidan inspired protesters in Hong Kong opposing Chinese influence, and that the film ‘Winter on Fire’ was widely watched by protesters,”3435 the Netflix US/UK/UA whitewash account of the 2013 Euromaidan protests.
A voice of sanity had commented on the FHKC website: “After ‘winter on fire’ heard there’s been a 5 year civil war and 50,000 dead and Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe, now Hong Kongers want to bring that to the richest and safest city in Asia. clever.”36
- 1. a. b. Ben Norton, “Ukrainian neo-Nazis flock to the Hong Kong protest movement,” The Grayzone, December 4, 2019, https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/04/ukrainian-nazis-hong-kong-protests/.
- 2. Facebook profile of Igor Malyar, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013447534637.
- 3. Facebook profile of Sashko Lysy, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009680417163.
- 4. Facebook profile of Vasyl Chuchupak, https://www.facebook.com/vasylchuchupak.
- 5. Facebook profile of Serhii Filimonov, https://www.facebook.com/serhii.filimonov.98.
- 6. Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov, November 7, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=155957138946827&set=pb.100035976248323.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 7. Facebook post by Igor Malyar, August 19, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=514731382318442&set=pb.100013447534637.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 8. Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov, June 18, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=126178861924655&set=pb.100035976248323.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 9. Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov, May 3, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=112267493315792&set=pb.100035976248323.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 10. Facebook post by Igor Malyar, October 27, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=357749741349941&set=a.357749758016606&type=3&theater.
- 11. Twitter post by Igor Malya, June 13, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=452452225213025&set=pb.100013447534637.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 12. Picture is subtitled “4 years old”, Twitter post by Igor Malya, May 5, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=436110746847173&set=pb.100013447534637.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 13. Twitter post by Andrey Malkov (Андрій Мальков), October 14, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1958109501130684&set=t.100009680417163&type=3&theater.
- 14. Max Blumenthal, “The US is Arming and Assisting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, While Congress Debates Prohibition,” The Grayzone, April 7, 2018, https://thegrayzone.com/2018/04/07/the-us-is-arming-and-assisting-neo-nazis-in-ukraine-while-congress-debates-prohibition/.
- 15. Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov, November 2, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=154869545722253&set=ecnf.100035976248323&type=3&theater.
- 16. Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov, December 2, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=161098541766020&set=pb.100035976248323.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 17. Ben Westcott, Jessie Yeung and Steve George, “Hong Kong police surround university as violent standoff with students continues,” CNN, November 19, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/hong-kong-protests-live-nov-18-intl-hnk/h_7806c2a38f45d96f5f2b6eb1236e7ead.
- 18. Danny Mok, “Hong Kong protests: more petrol bombs and offensive weapons found at Polytechnic University on SundayHong Kong protests: more petrol bombs and offensive weapons found at Polytechnic University on Sunday,” South China Morning Post, December 2, 2019, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3040136/hong-kong-protests-more-petrol-bombs-and-offensive-weapons.
- 19. Twitter post by Сергій Стерненко, October 24, 2019, https://twitter.com/sternenko/status/1187318879401533441.
- 20. Twitter post by Sashko Lysy, November 20, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1027409947591676&set=pb.100009680417163.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 21. Twitter post by Sahsko Lysy, December 2, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1028900847442586&set=pb.100009680417163.-2207520000..&type=3&theater; Twitter post by Sashko Lysy, November 30, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1027409964258341&set=pb.100009680417163.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.
- 22. Facebook post by Serhii, Filimonov, December 5, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=161725225036685&set=a.103428507533024&type=3&theater.
- 23. "Members of the Committee," Committee on the Present Danger: China, https://presentdangerchina.org/members/.
- 24. Jerry Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment (South End Press, 1983), ISBN 0896081818.
- 25. Ernest R. May (ed.), American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1993), with complete text of NSC-68.
- 26. “Martin Lee on the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule in Hong Kong,” National Endowment for Democracy, June 20, 2017, https://www.ned.org/democracy-story/interview-with-martin-lee-democracy-activist/.
- 27. Twitter post by Morgan Artyukhina, December 3, 2019, https://twitter.com/LavenderNRed/status/1201930176352923648.
- 28. Alexander Rubinstein & Max Blumenthal, “Pierre Omidyar’s Funding of Pro-Regime-Change Networks and Partnerships with CIA Cutouts,” Mint Press News, February 20, 2019, https://www.mintpressnews.com/pierre-omidyar-funding-of-pro-regime-change-networks-and-partnerships-with-cia-cutouts/255337/.
- 29. Facebook page of the Free Hong Kong Center, https://www.facebook.com/pg/ufhkc/about/?ref=page_internal.
- 30. Facebook post by the Free Hong Kong Center, December 2, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/ufhkc/photos/a.468815556801405/1009071022775853/?type=3&theater.
- 31. Twitter post by Bennett Murray, December 2, 2019, https://twitter.com/BDMurray/status/1201536300605755392.
- 32. See self-description on Bennett Murray’s Twitter profile, https://twitter.com/BDMurray.
- 33. Twitter post by Bennett Murray, December 2, 2019, https://twitter.com/BDMurray/status/1201538437540728832.
- 34. Twitter post by Hromadske International, November 24, 2019, https://twitter.com/Hromadske/status/1198661516024799234.
- 35. “The Sunday Show: Euromaidan and Solidarity with Hong Kong, Land Reform in Ukraine, and MH17 Developments,” Hromadske International, November 22, 2019, https://en.hromadske.ua/posts/the-sunday-show-sixth-anniversary-of-euromaidan-and-land-reform-in-ukraine.
- 36. Comment by Tom Guendert on the Facebook page of the Free Hong Kong Center website, December 4, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/ufhkc/posts/1009820786034210?comment_id=1010328262650129.