Olena Semenyaka (*1987) is one of the figureheads of the Ukrainian nationalist scene. In an interview with Oleg Odnorozhenko from 2015, at the time the deputy commander of the Azov regiment, published on the Ukrainian Traditionalist Club website, Semenyaka is introduced as "coordinator of the Department of International Relations of the 'Azov' regiment 'Azov Reconquista'."1
Semenyaka is well-integrated into neo-Nazi countercultural circles. She appeared as speaker on all consecutive events of the “Pact of Steel” (Stalevyi Pakt) conferences in Kyiv since its inception in 2016, taking place in the framework of the neo-Nazi Black Metal “Asgardsrei Festival”, for example on the topic of "Aristocracy of the Spirit and the Great European Reconquista" in 2016, and on "Wotan, Pan, Dionysus: at the gates of the Grand European Solstice" in 2017. While formerly having been a follower of the Russian far-right neo-Eurasianist ideologue Alexander Dugin, a proponent of a federation ‘from Lisbon to Vladivostok’, Semenyaka then turned into a Dugin-critic latest with the Maidan events.
Semenyaka appears as moderator and main face of the Paneuropa Conference, taking place yearly in Kyiv since 2017, bringing together pro-Ukrainian far-right groups from all over Europe and the United States. Furthermore, she has fully committed to promote and defend the idea of an Intermarium union between the Eastern European countries, reaching from the Baltics to the Black Sea: as a stronghold of conservatism against the libertine West and despised Russia to the East. In this context, she is also active for the Intermarium Support Group, a shadowy formation bringing together Azov neo-Nazis with Eastern European (para)military specialists.
Olena Semenyaka appeared as the main host of the first Paneuropa Conference on April 28, 2017, in Kyiv. It brought together representatives from various far-right European organizations.2 The 2017 edition "thematically overlapped with the 2nd conference of the Intermarium Development Assistance Group held in Kyiv the day before, on the 27th of April ."2
A summary of Semenyaka's speech in the framework of the 1st Paneuropa conference gives a good overview of her ideological positioning:
"The concluding speaker who represented the Paneuropean vision on behalf of the Reconquista movement was Ukrainian Reconquista project coordinator and International Secretary of National Corps Olena Semenyaka. Her speech had a lot of common points with that of Pascal Lassalle’s, as well as some other speeches, and was dedicated precisely to the projects of the United Europe “from the Right” by well-known theorists of the Third Way like Ernst Jünger, Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Julius Evola, Oswald Mosley, and more. The title of her speech, accordingly, was “The Third Geopolitical Way and Paneuropa.”
Olena Semenyaka reminded of the fact that an archetype of the united Europe, except for the excesses of the imperial Romanization, has always remained the Roman Empire. The Second Reich of Otto von Bismarck, in turn, has become an embodiment of the dynamic defensible power bloc. Although his wars were compared by Gustav Droysen to the “civilizational mission” of Alexander the Great who first united under Macedonia’s rule Greek poleis and then conquered Eurasia, Bismarck has chosen the so-called “little German” solution and focused on the state’s “modernization from the Right.” Not incidentally, precisely Friedrich the Great, Bismarck’s predecessor, is considered a founder of the geopolitical “Third Way.” The “Greater German” solution was revived during the first world war, went on to say Olena Semenyaka, and we are interested in its both identity-based and free of chauvinism or aggressive pan-Germanism models like that of Friedrich Naumann or Rudolf Kjellen who offered a political and military protectorate to Eastern Europe with its growing national liberation movements. Their geopolitical doctrines may be viewed as the authentic project of the European Union. Original idea of the Third Reich elaborated in the interwar period by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck also presupposed “a broad alliance” of “old” Western and “young” Eastern European nations.
Nevertheless, probably the first theorist of the united / imperial Europe beyond nationalist chauvinism and liberal cosmopolitanism was Friedrich Nietzsche, self-proclaimed “bad German, albeit a good European” who was one of the first to introduce the organic concept of the “old” vs. “young” peoples. In his opinion, Germans represented a yet incomplete, although “young” nation that preserved its vital forces. French, on the contrary, were an “older” people, which is proved by their humanism and skepticism resulting into an all-European illness of the “will’s paralysis,” but they were much more sophisticated in terms of culture and morals. That is why Nietzsche welcomed the German-French or, wider, Romano-Germanic synthesis which could enrich each side with lacking features. “Synthetic” personalities who, according to Nietzsche, productively transcended their national limitations, were Friedrich the Great, Napoleon, Beethoven, Heinrich Heine, Goethe, Stendhal, Richard Wagner.
The same division is true with regard to West and East Europe. Considering himself an heir of Polish aristocrats, Nietzsche sympathized with “young” Eastern European peoples and hoped that accumulated might of Russia would finally force Europe to become equally dangerous and powerful, thus making it abandon its “long comedy of small states and dynastic as well as democratic multi-willing.” Nietzsche’s ideas were revived in times of the first world war by Georg Simmel (“Idea of Europe,” “Europe and America in World History”). Combined with Oswald Spengler’s distinction of the “culture” as the maximum of vital powers of a cultural organism, or a being of the higher type, and the “civilization” as a phase of its collapse, when only a material and technical shell of the once creative culture remains, the difference between the “old” and “young” (or belated) nations explains why the Intermarium union plays a role of the platform for the Paneuropean Reconquista, or the laboratory of the all-European revival. Of course, underlined Olena Semenyaka, it is not a dogma, there are no such peoples sensu stricto, and modern Scandinavians, for instance, under certain conditions can regain their passionary (“Viking”) potential anew.
Post-(inter-)war theories of the united Europe suggested by Ernst Jünger, Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Julius Evola, Oswald Mosley, etc., who advocated different yet similar models of the supranational European unity, may be summarized under the idea of the Paneuropean confederation of sovereign nations which tends to the full-scale implementation of the imperium principle as understood by New Right."
In December 2017, Semenyaka headed a National Corps delegation, which was invited to a neo-Nazi conference in Zagreb, entitled "One century after the October Revolution. What can the Right learn frrom the Left?"3
Delegation of the National Corps at a neo-Nazi conference in Croatia in December 2017.
Semenyaka has since been promoting the Intermarium project on Facebook, but also through extensive travels in Europe to meet with various local far-right proponents. In February 2018 she appeared in Tallin at the Annual Ethnofutur Conference organised by Sinine Äratus, the youth-wing of Estonian nationalist party Blue Awakening, where she spoke on the “Intermarium as a Laboratory of European Archeofuturism,” and participated in the torchlight march on the occasion of the centenary of Estonia’s independence.
In May 2018 she attended the European Congress of the "Young Nationalists" (Junge Nationalisten), the youth wing of the German neo-Nazi National Democratic Party NPD, in Riesa, Germany, holding a lecture entitled "Beyond the ‘Wall of Time’: Ernst Jünger and Martin Heidegger on the New Metaphysics."4
On June 8, 2018, she appeared at the Identitarian Club house Kontrakultur in Halle, Germany, which held an “Ukrainian Evening” where she spoke on the topic of "identity, geopolitics, perspectives" and, according to information from the Identitarians, introduced the concept of Intermarium to the audience.5
On July 7, 2018, Semenyaka appeared at the neo-Nazi event "Youth in the Storm" (Jugend im Sturm) in Kirchheim (Thuringia). There exists a picture which shows her together with Hendrik Möbus, the neo-Nazi musician and convicted murderer, as well as Jerome Döring, a Leipzig neo-Nazi web shop owner and software developer, in front of the information stand of the neo-Nazi party Der III. Weg.6
Olena Semenyaka, Hendrik Möbius and Jerome Döring at the neo-Nazi event "Jugend im Sturm" in Kirchheim, Thuringia, on July 7, 2018.
From August 3-5, 2018, Semenyaka was invited to a conference organized by the German Jungeuropa publishing house, together with Valerio Benedetti and Alberto Palladino from CasaPound. She held a lecture on Nietzsche, Jünger and Paneuropa,7 and "described to German and Austrian identitarians the geopolitical, cultural and philosophical foundations of Intermarium."8
Semenyaka appeared as a key organizer of the 3rd conference of the Intermarium Support Group on October 13, 2018, in Kyiv, and of the 2nd Paneuropa conference that started two days later, on October 15. Both conferences were attended by the American white supremacist author and publisher Greg Johnson, in whose Counter Currents Semenyaka is mentioned since 2017.9
In January 2019, Semenyaka visited Rome to attend the yearly Acca Larentia march, commemorating the killing of three members the Youth Front of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), an Italian far-right party, that occurred in Rome on January 7 1978, organized by CasaPound. A video of the march is available on the Facebook page of the Karpatska Sich (Карпатська Січ), which also had sent a delegation ton Rome.10
Semenyaka was given a tour through Rome, by Sébastien de Boëldieu (aka Sébastien Magnificat),12 a CasaPound member, who appeared on the 1st Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv in 2017 as a speaker.13 He can be seen on a picture inside CasaPound, while another photo shows Semenyaka together with Yaroslav Zakalyk, a Ukrainian from Lwiw residing in Rome and his wife.
Olena Semenyaka did another trip to Germany in February 2019. First she attended a far-right rally in Dresden called “Dresden Unvergessen” (Dresden Unforgotten), which commemorates the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, organised by various far-right groups.14 On the day after, she spoke in Pirna, Saxony about the "The Evolution of the Azov Movement,"15 organized by a formation called Kraftquell (Source of Power) as well as the NPD in Saxony.16 Kraftquell describes itself as follows on its Facebook page:17
Kraftquell is a Ukrainian-Norwegian-German non-profit organization based in Germany. Our main task is the support of Ukrainian families whose fathers, husbands or brothers who are on the frontlines in the east of Ukraine. To support them, we want to help them spend some free days in Norway or Germany, to have a rest together as a family. To reach this goal, we work in groups and cooperate with our partner organization in Ukraine to establish a respective infrastructure. In our logo, the symbol of the Germano-Scandinavian 'axis mundi' of our common European homeland, the Yggdrasil ash tree, is combined with the Slavonic symbolism of Alatyr Star, a mythical stone on which the Tree of Life grows, a visualization of the unfolding Universe and an ancient sign of protection. Placed against the trunk of Yggdrasil, it symbolizes the idea of Ukraine as a shield of Europe, a protector of the European cultural and civilizational type.
On February 15, Semenyaka appeared, assumedly with her German hosts (unidentified), at the Königstein fortress near Dresden.
On 23 February 2019 she spoke on the Etnofutur III conference in Tallinn about "Mid-Europe in the Age of Caesarism and the Purpose of Ethnofuturism," organized by the far-right EKRE’s youth wing Sinine Äratus.
On March 30, 2019, Semenyaka was scheduled to talk on the Scandza Forum18 taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, this year running under the headline "Anarcho-Tyranny." The Intermarium Support Group announced her participation in a Facebook post that states:
"The event in Sweden, a strategic ally of the Intermarium Union, will be attended by a Ukrainian representative and a secretary of the Intermarium Support Group Olena Semenyaka. Other renowned speakers (Jared Taylor, Greg Johnson, Mark Collett and Fróði Midjord, the founder of the Scandza Forum) are revealed in the conference poster!"19
According to a Facebook comment by her, her lecture was dealing with "Anarcho-Tyranny (which is the topic of the Forum) through the prism of the Third Way (Spengler, Jünger, Schmitt) + Intermarium and Swedish-Ukrainian connections and the prospects for cooperation."20
As of April 2019 her two main Facebook accounts were deactivated or deleted, but she immediately opened new ones that are still active.
On May 4, 2019, Semenyaka appeared at a conference in Portugal, organized by the neo-Nazi group "Identity Shield" (Escudo Identitário).21 In the audience was i.a. "João Martins, known among the ultra-right and sentenced to seventeen years in prison (served 9 years and 4 months) for the murder of Alcindou Monteiro in Bairro Alto, Lisbon, in 1995."22 According to an article in the Portuguese Medium in May 201921:
... João Martins, [is] referred to by the authorities as the new ideologist of the extreme right and very close to the "National Renewal Party" (Partido Nacional Renovador) ... [The Portuguese neo-Nazi Mário] Machado denounced that Martins is close to Paulo Russo, founder of a Portuguese cell of the Misantrophic Division, a combat unit of the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment, which is dedicated to fighting against pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. If so, Russo is one of the leaders of a foreign paramilitary cell operating on Portuguese soil, apparently without any concrete intervention from the authorities. FlashBack is well aware that certain elements of the Portuguese far right have been sending militants to Ukraine, where they receive military training in the Azov Regiment and then return to Portugal.
Olena Semenyaka speaking at a Escudo Identitário ("Identity Shield") conference in Portugal in May 2019. In the audience João Martins.
In October 2019, she changed her Facebook cover picture, advertising the Intermarium union in big letters, going along a fist wrapped in the flags of the Intermarium countries, and the Intermarium "crest."
Intermarium banner on Olena Semenyaka's Facebook page.
Semenyaka is a member of the antifeminist group "Silver Rose" (Срібло Троянди), which in March 2020 has organized a happening, where they symbolically buried feminism.24
Ukrainian nationalists were cheering in the course of the August 2020 Belarusian color uprisings, since the (mainly US-Polish) intervention will drag Belarus away from the influence of Russia, and bring the country into the aspired Intermarium buffer zone. Semenyaka, together with her neo-Nazi friends of the antifeminist group Silver Rose, have shown their solidarity with the Belarusian uprisings, reproducing the symbols of the Belarusian protests: women dressed in white holding flowers. Much contraire to the preference for black of Semenyaka, and her feminism-burning friends.
The figurehead of the black-wearing crowd of Silver Rose is Anastasia Komisar25, who willfully plays with symbols of Nazi occultism, neo-Feudalism, anti-feminism and the like. She has a fleur de lis tattooed on her neck, wears an Azov necklace, and mixes it all up with some pseudo-occultist hogwash.
Anastasia Komisar in 2019.
In early 2021 Semenyaka made negative headlines when it transpired that she had received a fellowship grant from the Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, IWM) in Vienna, Austria, in the framework of the so-called “Ukraine in European Dialogue,” initiated by Yale historian and IWM Permanent Fellow, Timothy Snyder.26 Snyder, who has become known for denouncing Russia and Russians as “schizo-fascist,”27 had apparently no problem with bringing a real neo-Nazi ideologue onto his fellowship roster “funded by the Temerty Fund at KBF Canada.”28
After pressure from researchers, journalists, activists, as well as alumni, in a flimsy statement the IWM subsequently revoked Semenyaka’s grant, the "Ukraine in European Dialogue Junior Fellowship,"29 and pledged to review the “decentralized process for the award of fellowships to better understand how Ms. Semenyaka’s political activities escaped the attention of the concerned jury.”30 However, this lack of scrutiny seems not only to apply to Semenyaka's case. Looking around the website one can see an event announcement regarding the “hijacking” of the “reporter Roman Protasevich,” another former Azov member on whom FOIA Research had reported previously, with zero acknowledgement of his neo-Nazi ties.31
By and large, the "Ukraine in Europe Dialogue" program and its “scientific” output bear the hallmark of a reactionary bastion for Western-backed Cold Warriors and contemporary enemies of Russia. Apparently all grant holders must be staunchly anti-Soviet and anti-communist, which the IWM gives away in its faux consternation statement following the Semenyaka embarrassment: “It has championed academic debate and critical dialogue and has stood against all forms of totalitarian thinking.” This argumentative line has been staple in Western anti-Soviet agitation with a double purpose: a) to demonize the USSR by equaling it with the Nazi-regime, and b) to denigrate communism as a form of totalitarianism.
- Facebook page of Olena Semenyaka I (deactivated)
- Facebook page of Olena Semenyaka II (deactivated)
- Facebook page of Olena Semenyaka III
- Facebook page of Helena Semenyaka
- Facebook page of Helen von Graven
- Blog of Helena Semenyaka
- 1. - "Azov Reconquista: Interview with Oleg Odnorozhenko," Ukrainian Traditionalist Club, June 9, 2015. uktk.org/azov-reconquista-interview-with-oleg-odnorozhenko-text-photo-video/. - "Interview with Oleg Odnorozhenko. Part 1," Reconquista Youtube page, May 9, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBtp6DLgIck.
- 2. a. b. "1st Paneuropa Conference Report," Reconquista Europe, June 15, 2017. Archived version from June 13, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180613133924/http://reconquista-europe.tumblr.com/post/161847863121/1st-paneuropa-conference-report-the-1st-paneuropa.
- 3. Facebook post by Pascal Lassalle, January 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/pascal.lassalle.96/posts/766669533528791.
- 4. "Unsere Referenten [our speakers]: Olena Semenyaka (UA)," Europa in Aktion, January 18, 2018, https://europa.aktion-widerstand.de/2018/01/18/unsere-referenten-our-speakers-olena-semenyaka-ua/.
- 5. "Vortrag im IB-Hausprojekt: Das Regiment Asow zu Gast in Halle," Sachsen-Anhalt Rechtsaussen, June 13, 2018, https://lsa-rechtsaussen.net/das-regiment-asow-zu-gast-in-halle/.
- 6. "Spreadshirt: Antisemitische T-Shirts, Neonazi in der IT," Inventati, May 22, 2020, https://www.inventati.org/leipzig/?p=4960.
- 7. Twitter post by Jungeuropa Verlag, August, 6, 2018, https://twitter.com/jungeuropa_2016/status/1026543669556301824.
- 8. "The Azov Movement in the West: achievements in 2019," Interregnum (Blog), https://interregnum-intermarium.tumblr.com/post/184469943719/the-azov-movement-in-the-west-achievements-in/embed.
- 9. Posts tagged "Olena Semenyaka" on Counter-Current Publishing, https://www.counter-currents.com/tag/olena-semenyaka/.
- 10. Facebook post of the "Karpatskia Sich," https://www.facebook.com/karpatska.sich14/videos/378855692687948/.
- 11. "'Presente!' Nationalrevolutionäre Aktivisten beim 'Acca Larentia' Gedenken in Rom," Der III. Weg, January 12, 2019, https://der-dritte-weg.info/2019/01/presente-nationalrevolutionaere-aktivisten-beim-acca-larentia-gedenken/https://der-dritte-weg.info/2019/01/presente-nationalrevolutionaere-aktivisten-beim-acca-larentia-gedenken/.
- 12. Facebook post by Olena Semenyaka, 10 January 2019, https://www.facebook.com/olena.semenyaka/posts/2302191273124405.
- 13. "1st Paneuropa Conference Report," Demon of an Old World (undated), https://demonofoldworld.tumblr.com/post/161878114630/reconquista-europe-1st-paneuropa-conference.
- 14. Facebook post by Olena Semenyaka, 15 February 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2357170200959845&set=a.173886785954875&type=1&theater.
- 15. "'The Evolution of the Azov Movement' at the event of NPD in Saxon Switzerland," Interregnum on Tumblr (Blog), 21 February 2019, https://interregnum-intermarium.tumblr.com/post/182962639724/the-evolution-of-the-azov-movement-at-the-event.
- 16. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2362659820410883&id=100000006657027&refid=28.
- 17. Facebook page of "Project Kraftquell," https://m.facebook.com/projectkraftquell/.
- 18. Scandza Forum Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ScandzaForum.
- 19. Facebook post by the Intermarium Support Group, January 30, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/intermariumsupportgroup/photos/a.172349573457635/284174035608521.
- 20. Facebook post by Olena Semeyaka, 30 March 2019, https://www.facebook.com/olena.semenyaka/posts/2421422897867908?comment_id=2421441984532666&reply_comment_id=2421636284513236&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D.
- 21. a. b. Flashback Observatório, "Extrema-direita novamente às turras entre si," Medium.com, May 22, 2019, https://medium.com/flashback-observat%C3%B3rio-antifascista/extrema-direita-novamente-%C3%A0s-turras-entre-si-1427874cbdf7.
- 22. a. b. Ricardo Cabral Fernandes, "Publico (Португалия): Misanthropic Division* — мост, связавший португальских и украинских неонацистов," Inosmi.ru, July 19, 2020, https://inosmi.ru/politic/20200719/247777577.html.
- 23. Cristiano Pereira, "Neonazi italiano discursa em quartel de bombeiros português," JN, September 25, 2015, https://www.jn.pt/nacional/neonazi-italiano-discursa-em-quartel-de-bombeiros-portugues-4797531.html.
- 24. Facebook post by Срібло Троянди, March 8, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/sriblo.troyandy/posts/2618955424990324.
- 25. Anastasia Komisar's Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/anastasia.komisar.1.
- 26. "Timothy Snyder," Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen / Institute for Human Sciences, https://www.iwm.at/fellow/timothy-snyder.
- 27. John Connelly, "Public Thinker: Timothy Snyder on Russia and 'Dark Globalization,'" Public Books, July 12, 2018, https://www.publicbooks.org/public-thinker-timothy-snyder-on-russia-and-dark-globalization/.
- 28. "Ukraine in European Dialogue," Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen / Institute for Human Sciences, https://www.iwm.at/program/ukraine-european-dialogue.
- 29. "Ukraine in European Dialogue Junior Fellowship," Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen / Institute for Human Sciences, https://www.iwm.at/program/ukraine-european-dialogue-junior-fellowship.
- 30. "The IWM Revokes Olena Semenyaka’s Fellowship with Immediate Effect," Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen / Institute for Human Sciences, https://www.iwm.at/index.php/news/iwm-revokes-olena-semenyakas-fellowship-immediate-effect.
- 31. "The Hijack: Europe, Belarus, and the Abduction of Roman Protasevich," Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen / Institute for Human Sciences, https://www.iwm.at/index.php/news/hijack-europe-belarus-and-abduction-roman-protasevich.