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Campus Censorship: Emerson College Refuses to Publish Piece Against Azov Battalion

By Lily Goldklang6/8/2022
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This article was originally written by Lily Goldklang in mid March of 2022, just weeks after the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine began. Amidst a sea of pro-Ukraine propaganda articles in the Emerson College newspaper, The Berkeley Beacon, the author wished to provide an alternative viewpoint and was offered to do so in the form of a Letter to the Editor. While in contact with those who worked for the publication, all seemed well, and the Letter to the Editor was on track to be published. However, In exchanges between the author and the Editor in-Chief at the time, Lucia Thorne, the author was told, despite prior contradictory statements, that the piece would not be run. It appears the article was published and promptly removed on March 31, 2022.

Letter to the Editor:

Ukraine’s Nazi Gangs Cannot Be Ignored

Hello. My name is Lily Goldklang and I am a first-year political communications major at Emerson College. I am writing today because I have been deeply disturbed by the coverage from The Berkeley Beacon as well as the rest of the U.S. mainstream media on the current conflict in Ukraine. As someone of Jewish-Ukrainian heritage, I have been following the situation in Ukraine post-2014, and I can confidently say there are important facts being consistently excluded from the coverage of the current situation in Ukraine. I suppose I’ll start with 2014, as the current conflict has roots that can be traced directly back to the events of that year.

Upon the prior democratically elected Yanukovych government’s refusal to sign an agreement for European integration, protests broke out. Very quickly, these protests were co-opted by Western Intelligence agencies and the Obama administration in order to orchestrate a pro-NATO coup against the government.

The Ukrainian government tried to negotiate and come to an agreement with the protesters, which they did. New elections were scheduled to be held very shortly, but before this could happen, people waving Nazi swastikas and the flag of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, a Nazi collaborator group from World War II, stormed the parliament and overthrew the government, with the backing of the U.S. and NATO. The opposition was not able to remove Yanukovych from office constitutionally, so they did it extra-legally, and violated the very 1996 constitution they claim to uphold today.

It is important to note that Ukraine is a very divided country, and always has been. There are many people in the west who consider themselves to be European, and there are many people in the east who consider themselves to be Slavic and in many cases Russian. Before 2014, the results of every election could be observed on a map as being split down these lines, between a pro-EU candidate and a more pro-Russia candidate. It is important to note this because, after the 2014 Euromaidan coup, the new Kiev government began to crack down on speakers of the Russian language, effectively attempting to outlaw the Russian language.


Maps of 2010 and 2004 Ukrainian elections. Regions with blue electoral results are predominantly Russian speaking.

In addition, since 2014, countless portraits and statues have been erected of Stepan Bandera, a leader of the previously mentioned OUN. Immediately upon the start of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Stepan Bandera declared his eager willingness to collaborate and help the Nazis in any way possible and did exactly that.

Bandera and the OUN slaughtered tens of thousands of Jews and Poles living in Ukraine at the time as well as committed other atrocities. But with the defeat of Nazism came the defeat of Bandera, his army, and his image as well, at least until 2014. Today, both in Ukraine and at pro-Ukrainian rallies alike, the flag of the Banderites can be seen, with a red stripe on top and a black stripe on the bottom.

Amid all of this, the rehabilitation of the criminal fascists of World War II, the restriction of the Russian language, and the violent undemocratic overthrow of the government, the people’s of the eastern region of Donbas, who voted 80-90 percent for the deposed Yanukovych, and the people of the Crimean peninsula, primarily Russian speaking regions, seceded. Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation, and the newly proclaimed People’s Republics in Donbas voted to declare themselves independent.

Almost immediately after the 2014 coup, a civil war had broken out in Ukraine, and the new pro-Western Kiev government sprung into action. Firstly, the Nazi Azov Battalion was officially integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, waving the swastika, Ukrainian, and NATO flags all together. Additionally, one of the first priorities declared by the new regime was to join the EU and NATO, the latter of which from its conception has been an explicitly anti-Russian alliance. Many people throughout Ukraine were not happy with the violent overthrow of their elected government, and not everyone went along silently.

One of the more harrowing stories from the initial aftermath of the coup is the Odessa Trade Union House Massacre. In the city of Odessa, many people were not happy with the new regime that had been installed, and so they took to the streets to protest. A coalition of leftists, socialists, communists, orthodox christians, Russian speakers, and others took to the streets to demand their rights be respected, but pretty quickly they encountered the Banderite fascist militias roaming the country.

Groups like the Right Sector and the Azov Battalion attacked the protesters, and they soon attempted to flee for their lives. The protesters hoped to seek refuge in the Odessa Trade Union House, but the fascist gangs had other plans. They lit the building on fire and burnt the protesters alive. When someone remarked how there were women and children in the building, a Ukrainian nationalist replied, “They are not women and children. They are separatists.”


The Azov Battalion, an Official arm of the Ukrainian state and military since the 2014 coup.

The Russian government, for the past eight years, has been trying to negotiate with Kiev time and time again. In 2015, Ukraine and Russia signed the Minsk agreements, which declared that the eastern regions of Ukraine would be given more autonomy but would gradually be brought back into the fold. However, the Ukrainian government soon openly declared its intent to not follow these agreements and began shelling Donbas relentlessly. Since 2014, at least 14,000 people have been killed in Donbas by the Kiev regime, many of them being civilians and children. In fact, there is a monument in Donbas to the children who have been killed by the Ukrainian government and its newly integrated fascist militias and battalions.


Monument to the children killed by the Kiev regime, “Alley of Angels” in Donetsk, DPR.

If the claims from Russia of Ukraine being infested with Nazis is merely “Putin Propaganda,” then why was it widely acknowledged before Russias Denazification Operation began? Why would President Zelensky himself make light of it in a 2014 comedy routine of his, in which he supposedly reads a letter to his uncle and aunt? In the routine, he remarks he has been in the ranks of the Banderites as it is the only way to make a career in Ukraine, when speaking of “our president” he defers to Barack Obama as “the most important one,” and he even jokes that Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is sold out in Ukraine! Zelensky was clearly aware of the situation and circumstances of the 2014 coup because as any good comedian knows, good comedy pokes fun at reality, not fiction. In addition to the current president Zelensky’s statements, we can also take a look at the former president, Petro Poroshenko. In 2014, he referred to the Azov Battalion as “our best warriors.”

Lastly, a claim that is often made by defenders of the Ukrainian regime today is that it cannot be antisemitic or Nazi-infested, as the president is Jewish. A strange claim because it’s doubtful the people making this argument would make the same claim about America: we can’t be racist because we had a Black president. Such arguments are obviously not sound and are meant as a diversion from the issue at hand.

In an article by independent journalists Max Blumenthal and Alex Rubinstein, entitled “How Ukraine’s Jewish President Made Peace with neo-Nazi Paramilitaries,” they clearly show how Zelensky reneged on his campaign platform of peace and reconciliation with Russia after being unable to confront and challenge the neo-Nazi gangs roaming the country. Zelensky was threatened by Azov should he have pushed any further with peace. Also, a Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch named Igor Kolomoyskyi is a financial backer of Zelensky and the Azov Battalion alike.

Ultimately, war is horrible, and all our sympathies should be going out to civilian casualties on both sides, the civilians that have been killed for eight years in Donbas, and the civilians that are unfortunately being killed in other areas currently. But for people to reduce this conflict to merely Putin’s individual personality rather than legitimate strategic and security concerns, for those who suddenly have become peace activists despite not having mouthed a word about the countless countries and people America has bombed and destroyed, and for those downplaying the dark side of the Ukrainian government, this is a case of mass hysteria and deception by the mainstream media on a level surpassing Iraq.

Lily Goldklang is a leading member of the Center for Political Innovation and the John Brown Volunteers. A person of Jewish background, Goldklang has a deep interest in political journalism and is a Political Communications student at Emerson College.