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"National squads": Who marched into Kyiv and why did it happen?

Author : Tetiana Sviatenko

About 600 Members of the "National squads," power branch of the neo-Nazi "National Corps" party, have held swearing-in ceremony and walked through the center of Kyiv, wearing uniforms
11:11, 2 February 2018

Read the original text at 112.ua.

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A few days ago, about 600 Members of the public organization "National squads" have held swearing-in ceremony, walked through the center of Kyiv, wearing uniforms, shot the whole ceremony and posted this video on the internet. The video is really spectacular, and the fact that it has attracted a lot of attention is logical. Moreover, the "National squads" organization is a power branch of the nationalist party "National Corps" (which has been described as “openly neo-Nazi” by the New York Times and banned from receiving American military training by the U.S. Congress. – Ed.) of Andriy Biletsky.

"National squads" intend to patrol the city and fight crime, and to help the police.

Related: Nationalists on march in Kyiv: Triumph of the will

112.ua has found out who these people are, why have they gathered and, in general, how lawful it is.

So, according to Ihor Vdovin, spokesman for the "National squads", the organization has been created a year ago, and it is even registered by the Ministry of Justice.

"I do not understand why the reasons for such an informational boom. Perhaps because now, there is no plenary session at the Verkhovna Rada, so you and your colleagues need to fill your media content, and you have decided to take our topic in order to have something to discuss," Vdovin replied.

"In general, these are ATO veterans, in particular, those who served in the Azov regiment, as well as other servicemen. We have members of organizations from Donbas, from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is patriotic youth, particularly senior students, journalists, historians, and even managers. People, who are not indifferent to the fate of our country, people who are frightened by what is happening in our streets. We have returned to the 90s years, by the level of crime," says Vdovin.

Related: Azov regiment in Donbas already uses US lethal weapons, - Bellingcat

A couple of days ago, the head of the National Police, Serhiy Knyazev has convincingly asked everyone to stop manipulating the notion of "criminality of the 90s." He has even quoted the figures in terms of contract killings, but here we get a more vivid image.

On the other hand, it still makes sense to speak about the street crime, the rate of which is really growing. Moreover, the algorithm for possible interaction with the police at the "National squads" looks like this: "If we see an offense, we fix it, call the police and transfer the attacker to the police. There was a beautiful oath. We wanted to show that we were a disciplined force. Without any slogans, without provocations, without pyrotechnics, we have just orderly and beautifully showed people that we are here and that we are able to protect them, both in cities and in the villages."

That is all. What have the 90s to do with the redistribution of property and other "delights" of grabbing assets?

Related: Azov holds rally near Sberbank in Kyiv

And every "patriotically minded citizen" can help the police a part of the "National squads": "A person might fill out the form on our website. Then we conduct an interview. If we see that this person can benefit the country, a person is passionate, he wants to change something, this applies not only the military, the ATO members but to all patriotic citizens."

However, it is necessary to pay membership fees; "National squads" does not pay a salary. Its members live for private structures financing.

Press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Artem Shevchenko answered how lawful is this. He says, walking in the streets (even in a line and uniform) is not a crime, until the law is broken.

"If they (representatives of the "National squads") declared something that would fall under the article of the Criminal Code, for example, "Down with the State of Ukraine!" or any other slogan that falls under, for example, inciting ethnic hatred, then we would react," Shevchenko explains.

Related: Azov regiment holds torch march in Kharkiv

"If a person says: "I want to help the police," this is not a reason for the police to say whether he will or will not do it. If he helps the police within the law, it will be excellence. If he violates the law, he will be brought to justice just like all the other citizens," Shevchenko commented on the initiative of the "National Squads" to jointly combat the crime.

"People put on a form, marched without violating public order, without using prohibited symbols, and made a really talented video without even broadcasting it on TV, but in their own social networks, and all the journalists began to discuss this – this is not a problem of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it is a problem of our journalists and bloggers," Shevchenko states.

Related: Who are the men in Ukraine’s Azov battalion?

He also recalled the position of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in this regard – any paramilitary groupings and formations cannot exist in the country. "The monopoly on power belongs exclusively to the state and its authorized bodies - the National Police, the National Guard, if we talk about the observance of public order in the streets, it will always be like this. And he as a minister guarantees that this will be the way it is."

Well, no matter how illogical our spokesmen seemed to be in discussing the oath of the "National Squads", it is still worthy of attention, at least for the understanding of who walks the street in military uniform and considers himself a representative of power.

Related: 300 “Azov” servicemen arrived in Odesa to maintain order and security

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