The Misanthropic Division is a world-wide neo-Nazi network, which in 2014 emerged in Ukraine, some of whose members fought as mercenaries against pro-Russian separatists in the war in Donbass. The Misanthropic division is closely linked to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, now part of Ukraine's National Guard. It fights for the independence of Ukraine - both from Russia and the European Union - with the goal of establishing a Nazi state.12
Amnesty International accuses them of serious human rights violations. The division maintains networks in Europe, USA, Canada, South America and Australia, which are also used to train and recruit fighters.3
Its members are considered racist and prone to violence. Among other things, they glorify National Socialism and the Waffen-SS. The Misanthropic Division is using a logo that is inspired by the Totenkopf (death's head) symbol that was one of the most readily recognized symbols of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS).
A network map exists from within the Misanthropic Division itself, showing the international structure and internal hierarchy.
Network map of the Misanthropic Division International.
According to research by Belltower News, the Misanthropic Division recruits members from the international national-socialist-black metal (NSBM) scene. Liaison persons are the neo-Nazi Hendrik Möbus, convicted of murder, Alexei Levkin, singer of the band M8l8th and organizer of the NSBM festival Åsgårdsrei, and Famine, singer of the French black metal band Peste Noire. There are further connections to the Identitarian Movement and to the extreme right-wing party Der III. Weg.4
In 2014, following the Maidan events in Ukraine, the right-wing extremist Björn Sigvald from Geneva founded a Swiss chapter of the Misanthropic Division as a direct offshoot from the Ukrainian neo-Nazi militia which fought against Russian separatists in the Ukraine, which he had joined. Sigvald's neo-Nazi past can be traced back to the Hammerskins of Geneva, and according to the Swiss TdG, the newly-foundd Swiss MD included members from Geneva, Valais, the canton of Vaud and St. Gallen, among them three men from the military: a chief sergeant major, a chief sergeant and a sergeant.5
Pictures of the Misanthropic Division Schweiz were published by the French-speaking Renversé. They show that Sigvald and his compatriots of the Misanthropic Division have a strong propensity to the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene. Sigvald can be seen on a picture with Ludovic Van Alst alias Famine, the singer of Peste Noire and Audrey Silvain, former member of Peste Noire.6
Björn Sigvald (second from right) with Ludovic Van Alst alias Famine, the singer of Peste Noire (in the middle) and Audrey Silvain, former member of Peste Noire (second from left).jpg
On March 21, 2015, the Italian Misanthropic Division member Francesco Fontana was spotted at a neo-Nazi rally in Newcastle, United Kingdom, the so-called "White Men March," where a participant held up a flag of the Misanthropic Division, with the slogan "Killing for Odin" ("Töten für Wotan").7
Francesco Fontana at a neo-Nazi demonstration in Newcastle on March 21, 2015.
According to a report by Hope Not Hate8:
Fontana first turned up in this country at a National Action rally in Newcastle in 2015. He was there to recruit their hard-line members to go and fight in the Ukraine. He was less than impressed. He later replaced former British National Party (BNP) member and at that time the UK’s leader of MD, Chris Livingstone, with former C18 member Rob “the postman” Gray. ... other notable supporters of MD in this country include Wayne Bell (aka Jarvie) who can often be found wearing an MD t-shirt, and the violent Polish neo-Nazi Radziu Rekke (aka ‘Raddik’) who lives in Manchester and the jailed Lawrence Burns.
In March 2015 the Ukraine group published the "14 Points of the Misanthropic Division International."9
14 Points of the Misanthropic Division International
Developped by MD Internal Commission leaded by Joao and Bruno. Approved both by Europa and East MD board. We say thank for this excellent work and the magic final number that sorted out wink emoticon.
14 points to live and to die for:
1. Misanthropic Division is a NS Brotherhood exclusive to european and eurodescendent men. We live accordingly the principles of Nature and we denounce the modern political and corrupt system with his multicultural society.
2. Misanthropic Division is composed with people who refuse this repugnant modern world. Our misanthropy is a cry of hatred towards human weakness and all that oppose traditional values based on the laws of Nature. The main purpose of NS is the Ubermensch, deprived of weakness, defects and ugliness.
3. Misanthropic Division is nietzschean and promotes the revival of our primordial religions, that of our ancestors. Therefore, Misanthropic Division rejects all beliefs and religions strange to our ancestral heritage.
4. Misanthropic Division members are free to join and to be part of any other political organisations that promote our Cause, but always bearing in mind their allegiance to Misanthropic Division principles and brotherhood.
5. As a brotherhood, all Misanthropic Division members must be treated as equal by all national chapter members. No offense or disrespect will be tolerated to other member or Chapter of our Misanthropic Division brotherhood. Those who violate this basic principle will face disciplinar sanctions and may be expelled from Misanthropic Division.
6. Internal Rules are full responsability of each Misanthropic Division Chapter. New members should prove their intents to join Misanthropic Division for, at least, one year.
7. Misanthropic Division Chapters should struggle by all means necessary and whatever it takes to rebuild a common european society, based on Family, Folk and Tradition; protecting our European Culture and Identity.
8. Misanthropic Division main purpose is the immediate support of military in ATO - AZOV and DUK – without forgetting that they are fighting and representing our cause.
9. All Misanthropic Division Chapters should produce their own local propaganda, according to the national situation of each country.
10. Misanthropic Division is neither a gang or a terrorist organisation. Misanthropic Division members are political soldiers promptly to fight for a worldview. As so, Misanthropic Division denounce gang behaviour (drug consumption/dealing, robbery, etc) as part of modern decadence.
11. We should defend the integrity of all European ethnicities ,Languages and Traditions as our own Heritage.
12. Family is the basic cell of a community, as so all Misanthropic Division members put their families as a priority, since in our families lies the future of white children and consequently of our Race as a whole.
13. It is mandatory to Misanthropic Division members to assist our members who are facing judicial problems or are behind bars, as well when a member or a family member needs help in any form may it be.
14. All MD brotherhood members will proceed with Honour and Loyalty, remembering that UNITED WE WILL WIN!
In May 2015, lib.com published an article on a series of neo-Nazi protests in front of the US embassy in the United Kingdom in support of the imprisoned neo-Nazi Gary Yarbrough, organized by the UK branch of the Misanthropic Division.10 According to the article:
These protests have been organised by Chris Livingstone, a former BNP regional organiser who is now head of Misanthropic Division's UK branch. Misanthropic Division is a pan-European network which recruits people to fight for the Azov Batallion a neo-Nazi paramilitary division fighting in the conflict in Ukraine, linked to the Ukrainian state but containing volunteers from all over Europe.
Among the groups to support these events are National Action, a rapidly growing neo-Nazi youth group which has hoovered up the core of the BNP's former youth division and a number of young fascists drawn into far-right activism by the English Defence League. Other groups to have members attend these protest include National Front, British Movement, New British Union of Blackshirts, British National Party, British Voice, Racial Volunteer Force and Creativity Alliance.
Neo-Nazis protesting in front of the US embassy organized by the Misanthropic Division ca. 2015.
It was also in May 2015 that the first trace of the "Misanthropic Division Deutschland" appeared in Germany. An antifascist portal noted that the MDD had a vk.com profile at the time, on which the group was advertising neo-Nazi events in Thuringia.11 The profile (MD Deutschland) does not exist anymore, but other Misanthropic Division profiles do, even though MD is banned in Russia, from where vk.com operates.12
Misanthropic Division Deutschland advertising a neo-Nazi event incl. Thorsten Heise, David Köckert, Safet Babic, Tobias Kammler as speakers.
Misanthropic Division advertising the neo-Nazi event Thüringer Heldengedenken.
On August 2, 2015, several members of the Ukrainian section of the MD were spotted in London, interrupting a pro-Novorossiya demonstration in front of the Ukrainian embassy, together with the Italian (former) Avanguardia Nazionale member Francesco Fontana.13
According to an article in the Brazilian journal Zero Hora14:
Investigations indicate that Italian activist Francesco Fontana was in Brazil at the end of 2015 to recruit young people to fight in the Ukrainian civil war. The armed movement to which he belonged, called Misanthropic Division, is linked to the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi brigade incorporated into the Ukrainian armed forces.
December 2016, the Civil Police performed eight raids in seven cities in Rio Grande do Sul with the objective of preventing possible actions of an armed movement that was holding meetings with neo-Nazis in Rio Grande do Sul. A man was arrested in Cruz Alta for illegal possession of ammunition. The police seized from him vast amounts of material apologetic of Nazism. The operation was carried out in Cruz Alta, Caxias do Sul, Passo Fundo, Erechim, São Nicolau, Viamão and Canoas. The police also seized documents, computers and ideological propaganda material from other suspects.
A Brazilian police investigator, Paulo César Jardim, when performing the raids among neo-Nazis, stumbled upon the Brazilian branch of the Misanthropic Division.16 According to the Financial Times, the Brazilian MD had been "recruited by rightwing extremists in Ukraine to fight against pro-Russian rebels in the European country’s civil war," and that "Ukraine’s Misanthropic Division ... an ultranationalist paramilitary group aligned with Kiev, was behind the recruitment drive." At the time it was not known whether Brazilians were fighting in Ukraine, but apparently, an Italian recruiter [Francesco Fontana] had come to Brazil to win over neo-Nazi there for the Ukrainian cause.16 The German Deutschlandfunk reported shortly after17:
According to information from the local police, an Italian member of the group has been recruiting young men for at least ten months in southern Brazil to fight in the Ukrainian civil war. The Italian has since left Brazil. According to reports, he had promised the right-wing extremists money and military training. At least one of them had fought in Ukraine, and five others had at least been in Europe.
The raids were triggered by indications of planned attacks in southern Brazil. The state of Rio Grande do Sul is considered a stronghold of the Brazilian neo-Nazis. Approximately one hundred thousand people are attributed to the radical right-wing scene there. In early January there were two attacks on a cultural center in Sao Paulo, for which the "Misanthropic Division" is held responsible.
According to a the report on the human rights situation in Ukraine by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from May 16 to August 15, 201818:
In a worrying trend of discrimination and violence against members of the Roma minority, the OHCHR documented three attacks on Roma settlements in Kiev, Ternopil and Lviv, allegedly perpetrated by members of radical right-wing groups. The most serious case occurred on 23-24 June 2018, when a group of young men attacked a Roma settlement in Lviv, stabbing one man to death and injuring three others, including a 10-year-old boy. [...] All the perpetrators were between 16 and 20 years old and claimed to be members of the newly founded radical right-wing group "Sober and Angry Youth" (Nüchterne and wütende Jugend). The new group reportedly has links to the Misanthropic Division, an ultra-nationalist group with links to the Azov Volunteer Battalion, which took responsibility for an attack on an LGBTQI activist in Lviv in March 2018. As of August, six suspects were in custody and two were under house arrest.
In a video, suspected members of the division confess to the killing of Russian militia leader Arsen Pavlov, who died when an explosive device in the elevator of his home in October 2016 detonated. However, the authenticity of the video is unclear.1920
In May 2019, the antifascist website LSA Rechtsaussen reported that the NPD politician Patrick Freutsmiedl was connected to the Misanthropic Division Germany21:
With Patrick Freutsmiedl, an enthusiastic fan of international right-wing terrorism and supporter of the Misanthropic Division Germany, is running as a candidate for the NPD. On the Russian social media platform VKontakte, he runs the "Misanthropic Info Deutschland" profile.22 The Misanthropic Division is a paramilitary Nazi subgroup of the Ukrainian paramilitary Azov Battalion, which has good connections to the Identitarian Movement, CasaPound and the German micro-party Der III. Weg. The group fights under the slogan "Killing for Wotan." Freutsmiedl shared a photo on his UK profile in honor of the Columbine mass shooter Eric Harris with the hashtag "#NaturalSelection." He also follows the site "Brenton Tarrant Fans Support Community," which glorifies the deed of the New Zealand right-wing terrorist. On this profile he is also friends with Denis Klare from Staßfurt, "Imperial Officer" of the National Socialist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Germany, who is under investigation by the criminal police LKA Baden-Württemberg for "forming a criminal organization."23
NPD politician Patrick Freutsmiedl with Misanthropic Division Deutschland flag in March 2019.
In January 2020, a case made headlines in the United Kingdom, in which an "alleged neo-Nazi accused of encouraging people to rape police officers and commit terror attacks has appeared in court," who was apparently affiliated with the Misanthropic Division.24 According to the Independent24:
Andrew Dymock, 22, is facing charges for promoting a neo-Nazi group online, and is said to possess far-right literature, clothes and flags. He was studying politics at Aberystwyth University at the time of the 12 alleged terror offences ... Prosecutors alleged that he possessed literature, clothes and flags linked to the extreme Misanthropic Division, Atomwaffen Division and Sonnenkrieg Division groups.
In February 2020, Jarrett William Smith, a U.S. soldier sympathetic to the Misanthropic Division, "pleaded guilty to unlawfully distributing instructions for making explosive devices over social media."25 According to an article by ADL25:
Smith was associated with the neo-Nazi organization Feuerkrieg Division at the time of his arrest... According to the indictment, Smith provided instruction via a Facebook chat on how to construct a variety of explosive devices, including a cell phone detonator for an IED and a home-made grenade, and provided a recipe for creating improvised napalm. Additional allegations focus on Smith’s expressed desire to find more “radicals” and travel to Ukraine to fight with paramilitary group the Azov Battalion ... Smith also expressed admiration in these chats for other notorious white supremacist groups and figures, including neo-Nazi organizations Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and the Misanthropic Division, an Eastern European neo-Nazi group, as well as Robert J. Mathews, the leader of the white supremacist terrorist group the Order, which operated in the Pacific Northwest in the early to mid-1980s.
In July 2020, the Russian messenger app Telegram booted the account of the Misanthropic Division and of other far-right and neo-Nazi groups.26
- 1. Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Ulla Jelpke, Andrej Hunko, Wolfgang Gehrcke, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion DIE LINKE – Drucksache 18/4308 – Der ukrainische Bürgerkrieg und die rechtsextreme Szene," Deutscher Bundestag, April 1, 2015, http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/045/1804536.pdf.
- 2. Peter Schaber, "Töten für Wotan," Junge Welt, Februar 14, 2015, p. 12.
- 3. Susann Witt-Stahl, "'Asow' zu Gast in Dortmund," Junge Welt, March 2, 2016, https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/282014.asow-zu-gast-in-dortmund.html.
- 4. Sabri Deniz Martin and Simon Hemmers, "Wie ein rechtsextremes Freiwilligenregiment mit Black Metal Nachwuchs rekrutiert," Belltower News, August 12, 2020, https://www.belltower.news/ukraine-wie-ein-rechtsextremes-freiwilligenregiment-mit-black-metal-nachwuchs-rekrutiert-102385/.
- 5. Christine Talos, "Des soldats sympathisants d'un réseau néonazi," TdG, December 12, 2017, https://www.tdg.ch/suisse/soldats-sympathisants-reseau-neonazi/story/13706280.
- 6. "Björn Sigvald : le néo-nazi genevois parti combattre en Ukraine," Renversé, August 31, 2020, https://renverse.co/infos-locales/article/bjorn-sigvald-le-neo-nazi-genevois-parti-combattre-en-ukraine-2739#nb10.
- 7. Twitter post by Associazione Nazionale Partigiani d'Italia Brescia, March 25, 2015, https://twitter.com/AnpiBrescia/status/580729015725625344.
- 8. "Russian court sentences members of a neo-Nazi terror group also active in the UK," Hope Not Hate, June 22, 2017, https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2017/06/22/russian-court-sentences-members-neo-nazi-group-also-active-uk/.
- 9. "14 Points of the Misanthropic Division International," Ukrainian Crusade, March 26, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20170620215802/https://ukrainiancrusade.blogspot.com/2015/03/14-points-of-misanthropic-division.html.
- 10. Anonymous, " Neo-Nazi groups to protest outside US embassy," May 13, 2015, https://libcom.org/news/neo-nazi-groups-protest-outside-us-embassy-13052015.
- 11. "Misanthropic division deutschland postet termine," linksunten Archiv, May 29, 2015, https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/144618/.
- 12. Search results for "Misanthropic Division" on vk.com, https://vk.com/search?c%5Bq%5D=%22misanthropic%20division%22&c%5Bsection%5D=people.
- 13. "UK: *EXCLUSIVE* Far-right group disrupt Novorossiya protest outside Ukrainian embassy," Ruptly, Aug 2, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQJpyK5zRxA.
- 14. a. b. "Focos de radicalismo racial em Caxias do Sul," Zero Hora, January 15, 2017, https://www.unicamp.br/unicamp/sites/default/files/2017-01/impressao_boxnet_2017-01-16_-_13h03m28s.pdf.
- 15. "Focos de radicalismo racial em Caxias Do Sul," Gauchazh, https://gauchazh.clicrbs.com.br/especiais/neonazismonors/focos-de-radicalismo-racial-em-caxias-do-sul.html.
- 16. a. b. Joe Leahy, "Brazil neo-Nazi claim challenges myth of nation’s racial harmony," Financial Times, January 10, 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/f9ee01ca-ce49-11e6-864f-20dcb35cede2.
- 17. "Ukraine-Krise: Brasilianische Neonazis kämpfen gegen pro-russische Rebellen," Deutschlandfunk, January 12, 2017, https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/ukraine-krise-brasilianische-neonazis-kaempfen-gegen-pro.1818.de.html?dram:article_id=376230.
- 18. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine 16 May to 15 August 2018," United Nations, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/UA/ReportUkraineMay-August2018_EN.docx.
- 19. Daniel Wechlin, "Tod eines russischen Propaganda-Helden," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 17, 2016, https://www.nzz.ch/international/aktuelle-themen/anschlag-in-donezk-tod-eines-russischen-propaganda-helden-ld.122530?reduced=true.
- 20. "'Motorola': Ukraine rebels accuse Kiev over commander's death," BBC, October 17, 2016, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37676607.
- 21. "Kommunalwahlen 2019: NPD, rechte Tarnlisten und Einzelbewerber," LSA Rechtsaussen, May 23, 2019, https://lsa-rechtsaussen.net/kommunalwahlen-2019-npd-rechte-tarnlisten-und-einzelbewerber/.
- 22. Profile of "Misanthropic Info Deutschland" on VKontakte, https://vk.com/public136396496.
- 23. Lars Wienand, "So präsentiert sich der Ku-Klux-Klan in Deutschland," t-online.de, January 17, 2019, https://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/id_85099334/wer-steckt-hinter-dem-deutschen-ku-klux-klan-.html.
- 24. a. b. Lizzie Dearden, "‘Neo-Nazi’ politics student appears in court accused of encouraging terror attacks," Independent, January 3, 2020, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/neo-nazi-student-trial-andrew-dymock-system-national-action-a9269091.html.
- 25. a. b. "U.S. Army Specialist with Links to Neo-Nazi Group Pleads Guilty," ADL, February 11, 2020, https://www.adl.org/blog/us-army-specialist-with-links-to-neo-nazi-group-pleads-guilty.
- 26. Rita Katz, "Neo-Nazis Are Running Out of Places to Hide Online," Wired, July 9, 2020, https://www.wired.com/story/neo-nazis-are-running-out-of-places-to-hide-online/.