The New York Times and the use of Nazi imagery by Ukrainian troops

This image of a Ukrainian soldier wearing a Totenkopf symbol posted on the Twitter account of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry was later deleted. [Photo: Ukraine Ministry of Defense]

This article was originally posted as a thread on Twitter.

The New York Times palms off the deep historical and present-day links of Ukrainian nationalism to Nazism and genocide as merely “thorny issues,” i.e., a public relations problem for media propagandists, who are trying to sell NATO’s proxy war as a struggle for democracy.

The Times references photographs showing Ukrainian soldiers who “wore patches featuring symbols that were made notorious by Nazi Germany and have since become part of the iconography of far-right hate groups.” The NYT admits that the media “quietly” deletes such photos.

The newspaper opines, “The photographs, and their deletions, highlight the Ukrainian military’s complicated relationship with Nazi imagery, a relationship forged under both Soviet and German occupation during World War II.”

Fascist iconography glorifying mass murder, “including a skull-and-crossbones patch worn by concentration camp guards and a symbol known as the Black Sun, now appears with some regularity on the uniforms of soldiers fighting on the front line...”

The major concern of the NYT is the political impact of the Ukrainian identification with Nazism and mass murder on international public opinion. It quotes Michael Colborne, who prior to the war wrote extensively on the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion:

What worries me, in the Ukrainian context, is that people in Ukraine who are in leadership positions, either they don’t or they’re not willing to acknowledge and understand how these symbols are viewed outside of Ukraine.

The NYT notes:

So far, the imagery has not eroded international support for the war. It has, however, left diplomats, Western journalists and advocacy groups in a difficult position: Calling attention to the iconography risks playing into Russian propaganda.

The Times reveals its own role in attempting to suppress the circulation of Ukrainian tweets with photographs featuring Nazi iconography that expose the fascist politics and culture that dominate the Kiev regime.

It refers to a photo posted in April by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry “of a soldier wearing a patch featuring a skull and crossbones known as the Totenkopf, or Death’s Head.”

The NYT notes, “The specific symbol in the picture was made notorious by a Nazi unit that committed war crimes and guarded concentration camps during World War II.”

Fearing the political impact of the photo, the newspaper acknowledges that it “asked the Ukrainian Defense Ministry on April 27 about the tweet. Several hours later, the post was deleted.”

The newspaper offers an apologetic account of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), writing that “its insurgent army fought alongside the Nazis in what they viewed as a struggle for Ukrainian sovereignty.”

The NYT continues:

Today, as a new generation fights against Russian occupation, many Ukrainians see the war as a continuation of the struggle for independence during and immediately after World War II.

The New York Times, it should be recalled, launched the 1619 Project to discredit the American Revolution, the Civil War and its leaders. It has encouraged the tearing down of statues that honor the memory of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant.

But it pleads for a tolerant stance toward the prevalence of Nazi ideology in Ukraine, writing that it is “difficult to easily separate, on the basis of icons alone, the Ukrainians enraged by the Russian invasion from those who support the country’s far-right groups.”