Aris Roussinos: Inside the nationalist militia on Ukraine’s frontline

Freddie Sayers speaks to UnHerd’s Aris Roussinos, reporting from the frontline of the war in Ukraine.

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00:00 – 00:24 – Introduction
00:24 – 01:51 – Aris Roussinos outlines his time on the front line of the Russia-Ukraine War
01:51 – 05:38 – Why has Russia changed its strategy in this war?
05:38 – 09:08 – Are Western armaments making a difference in the conflict?
09:08 – 12:44 – Aris explains Ukraine’s Right Sector and a typical mission with them
12:44 – 22:48 – Are Right Sector Nazis?
22:48 – 26:41 – What has Aris’s time with Right Sector been like on a human level?
26:41 – 29:11 – Who are Ukraine’s nationalist hipsters?
29:11 – 35:45 – Is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine encouraging a new Ukrainian national identity?
35:45 – 38:01 – Concluding thoughts

#UnHerd #Ukraine #Russia

Written by UnHerd


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  1. Interesting "PR" effort to white wash/sugar coat this group and I have the following remarks:

    1. Aris' portrait of "middle class (non) neo-na$!s" differs quite a bit from how he described himself A$ov in the video aired on 15 March tittled "the true about neo- na$$ in Ukraine". He said straight forward what they were. And this group does not differ from the other. The BBC has also similar appreciations of this group from 8/4/2 years ago. But now all seem to forget about that.

    2. There are no "free" and "relax" interpretations about na$is emblemas. They are what they are and they mean what they mean. If propaganda wants to sugarcoat their meaning into making people believe that it is OK. It is not OK, period. There is no excuse for it. If you chose to tattoo yourself with it, you know what you are doing. And you are telling what you are.

    3. Groups like this one were qualified as terrorist organizations. So soon we should expect Al q··$D and other terrorist organizations to be freedom fighters again, depending on how they can be exploited?

    4. Again I think you forget that almost 1/3 of this country is inhabited by people that are russian speakers and also russian ethnically. How these Ukranian "nationalist" relate to people from other ethnicities? what are they opinion about people who want to speak, communicate and educate themself in their mother tong different from ukranian? Because most of these "nationalist" come from other regions away from the dombass.

    5. The industrial heart of Ukraine is in the Dombass, how is that country going to move forward once all that is lost?

    6. The assistance Ukraine is currently receiving, is not help but loans … and now it goes by around 100-200 billion? How are they supposed to pay that once they lose or win? There is something very dodgy here. The US, UK and Europe don't print money free of charge.

    7. What did Ukraine achieve in the last 8 years? Seriously, corruption levels are higher, after 2014 some 3-5 million people with qualified jobs left the country (middle hipster neo na$i class arose quite a bit?), industrial output fell, bio lab research increased, living standards fell and last year by November, they were the poorest country in Europe. Neo – na$is extremist group were incorporated into the army. This is more like a disaster rather than some achievements for a country let a lone a "shiny democracy".

    It does not sound like the shiny example of democracy the US et. al. want us to believe Ukraine is and Russia is afraid of.

    It looks more to me like a failed state after a US/UK military intervention à la Irak/Syria/Libya.

    You know what happened with the remnants of an extremist group starts to fight back its former patron.

  2. Aris sounds like a classic Stockholm Syndrome individual… Also, "I'm not a nazi, I just have a nazi tattoo to look badass" – Awkward… This war is only moving in one direction; and that's to create more problems for Ukraine and its people… Supporting these militias is a bad idea for the long run… Short term views on this are childish, in my opinion…

    Freddy is amazing! What an interviewer!!! Great job

  3. Taking about unhe(a)rd stories. Please devote an episode to Turkey's actions. Here is a country that did to Cyprus what Russias does to Ukraine 50 years ago (and still does), a country that occupies a part of Syria and a country that uses the same rhetoric as Putin against Greece. Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership because of a couple airspace violations, Turkey is doing 10ths of these daily for decades in the Greek airspace. Turkey's president and ministers are publicly threatening Greece almost daily, they have made clear that they will try to take big parts of Greek territory, especially the islands and yet the all so sensitive eu has no problem keeping excellent relations with the country and of course selling it weapons. This feels like 5 minutes before the Ukraine invasion and yet no one cares. Erdogan is no different to Putin. He has been imprisoning his opposition, public servants, militants, Journalists (foreign and local) at will. His rhetoric is more aggressive than Kim Jong-Un and the western world doesn't move an eyebrow! p.s and of course every measure/sanction imposed on Russia, gets bypassed thru Turkey in plain sight, supposedly a NATO ally!!!

  4. If the commander was a member of the French foreign legion previously living in Provence, making comparisons with WW1, why is he in Ukraine? Because he is a noble soul? Or because he is a career hired gun?

  5. I am surprised that there is no dislikes for what this interview deserves. I hope that there is no Russian money behind this. There is an obvious agenda behind your questions Freddie. It's extremely disappointing that conservative as I considered you Freddie to be should go in a package with the fascist, bandit, autocratic regime supporter or collaborator (are you?).

  6. Very interesting, thanks! What struck me was the utter hypocrisy of the West. If these Right Sector types hadn't been wearing Nazi symbols, but Che Guevara tee shirts and pictures of Stalin, that would be fine. Hmmmm….

  7. Aris: « They are not nazis, they are not nationalists… » really ? What about the nazis tattoos and symbols as well as the Bandera allegiance ? Come on Aris, are you gaslighting your audience or maybe you feel threatened ?

  8. So these people didn’t burn Russian speakers alive in trade union building in Odessa? Or ban speaking of Russian in schools? Or ban all Russian music, history and culture?

  9. After having interviewed so many voices of this conflict, I'm having a hard time dealing with what seems blatant understanding and even white washing of national socialism. Either Aris is not able to speak freely or he's been corrupted, any way, sad to see how he struggles or not with word salads and half truths to appear neutral with a mercenary of a death squad.

  10. A couple of years ago Aris published a piece in Harper's about his time with the Azov Battalion. In that story, Azov's national socialist baggage was explored in depth. And the piece ended with Aris getting weird looks from the Azov regulars when they found out he was Greek. Fast forward to 2022 and Right Sector's links to ultranationalist and antisemitic Stepan Bandera are completely downplayed. What gives? What exactly has changed?

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