“Ready for Valhalla”. Confessions from an Azov volunteer

His name is “Woland“. Or at least that’s how the Ukrainian volunteer of the Azov Battalion he called himself into battle. And that’s how she decided to sign the volume Valhalla Express (Historic Italy), brought to our country by Andrea Lombardi.

We know nothing about “Woland”. Almost. We know his birthplace (Černihiv, in the north of the country) but not his years. We know that he participated in theEuromaidan and who joined the Second Company of the Azov Battalion, fighting a Mariupol, Ilovais’k and Shyrokyne. And finally, assuming and not granted that he is still alive, that since the summer of 2015 “Woland” has become one of the heads of the Černihiv section of the “Azov” Civil Corps. This is his biography. Or rather: this is the frame in which we must insert the picture of his life, collected precisely in Valhalla Express.

An (almost) normal childhood

“Woland” is a boy like any other. He studies and does not even do badly in school. He may not be a workaholic of books, but he takes his results home. And that’s what he counts. He wants a normal, middle-class life for himself (“I dreamed of a family, a job, a car …”), but something goes wrong. When, in the third year of university, a Russian professor insists that “i Khokhly (Russian derogatory term for Ukrainians, ed), as he had baptized us, were responsible for all the problems of the Russian people “.” Woland “opposes, but with poor results. Indeed, he gets only one: he is summoned, together with the teacher, by the vice-principal. words that the two pour out against him, there are only two that remain etched in him: Mein Kampf. Sure, the boy has already heard them uttered. He knows that text was written by Adolf Hitler, but he never read it. So she starts looking for the volume and finds it. She starts reading it and appreciating it. But then she falls into oblivion. At least for a while. “Woland” is expelled from university and approaches the Ukrainian far right: “I only had questions and I was looking for answers. They made me read the right books and on the net I found the forums of organizations of all kinds”, we read in Valhalla Express.

Patriot of Ukraine

“Woland” is an eternal dissatisfied. He looks for something without ever finding it, at least until he meets the “Patriots of Ukraine”, a Ukrainian paramilitary organization: “At the time, (…) they were very different from all other right-wing organizations. The structure was military with a clear hierarchy, discipline and ideology “, writes the author in Valhalla Express. Their ideology was rooted in “Ukrainian Social-Racial Nationalism, not to be confused with National Socialism”. For us it is a play on words. For “Woland”, the two ideologies are completely different: “The Social-Nationalism it is exactly nationalism, but modeled on social grounds, the attempt to build a national state on the principles of social justice. And National Socialism is, as terrible as it may sound to some, pure socialism, but in a peculiar state, with a mixture of national identity, anti-Semitism and racial theories. And socialism is a form of transition between capitalism and communism, having in itself all the negative aspects of the first and the second phenomenon. “This is the thought of” Woland “. There is not only the theory for the” Patriots of Ukraine “. There is also practice. A lot of practice, made up of military exercises and marches, some of which are exhausting. The members of this group dream of a different Ukraine. Social-nationalist. Or National Socialist. And they do everything to succeed: “At the time we tried twice to make the revolution break out, not by starting it, but by trying to put ourselves at the head of it.” The results, however, do not come. The right opportunity comes with Euromaidan.


Between the end of December 2013 and the first months of 2014, Independence Square in Kiev is full of people. They protest, initially peacefully, against Viktor Janukovich. The then Ukrainian president was bringing Ukraine closer to the European Union but then, after being recalled by Moscow, he takes it all back. Dissatisfaction is great. Ukrainians, especially students, take to the streets. The police, at least initially, tolerate protests. Of course, there is no shortage of batons. But everything seems to be “normal”. Then, however, the tones rise. And the far-right exponents see a possibility in the protest: “We used to pass ourselves off as normal supporters of the EU and supplied our group with those provisions”. The clashes with the police are becoming more and more intense. And Pravy Sektorthe Ukrainian far-right group, begins to become a point of reference for many, including “Woland”: “We made homemade bulletproof vests, shields and chose the most suitable protective goggles. At the time on Maidan square they sang every hour a hymn and the opposition clowns were listened to on stage, while we were not even allowed to come near us. The active part of the crowd built barricades, transforming the Maidan into a kind of fortress “.

Until the time comes Pravy Sektor, who sets out: “We all have a threatening aspect – says” Woland “- It is clear that we are not there to sing hymns and to dance. The supporters of peaceful protests try to stop us, branding us as provocateurs, but we are now unstoppable . We push them away, the most violent of them get a blow to the head “. They force their way through and gain more and more consensus every day: “A small group of people, under certain circumstances and decisions, can divert the protest in the desired direction.” And so it is also in Maidan. Far-right groups ride the revolt. After years of failure, this time they manage to achieve their goals.

The Azov battalion

What happened after the Euromaidan events is well known. War. Especially in the south of the country. “Woland” does not hold back and enlists as a volunteer in the newborn Azov Battalion: “We gather and listen to the speech of the Battalion commander. His words affect me deeply. I am not a pagan, but I imagine my ancestors waiting for me in the Valhalla, even though I hadn’t really wanted to see them yet. In battle! Everyone rushes to the means of transport. The sky is clearing. The cry echoes: ‘Al Valhalla!’ A convoy is forming, let’s go to our first one. combat”. And he will see many, Woland. Especially in Mariupol, where today the remains of the Azov Regiment are locked inside the Azovstal steel mill.

In eight years of conflict, the Azov battalion is fighting in the hottest areas of the Donbass. It is one of the toughest regiments and, according to various reports of theOsce and of Amnesty International, it also stains itself with terrible crimes. In particular, the battalion would make recurring use of physical torture And psychological.

Black men (yesterday and today)

This is the story of “Woland”. A story that takes us to the present day. When Fausto Biloslavo went to Ukraine in 2014 he documented not only the facts of the Euromaidan, but also the birth of Azov. A reportage entitled Black men“because of the color of their uniforms and because they are part of the Ukrainian and European far right”.

Like Francesco F., with a past in the national avant-garde: “On the barricades of Piazza Maidan I found myself by chance fascinated by a people’s revolution. And by the young centuries of Pravi sektor (formation of the Ukrainian nationalist extreme right) with shields together with the babuckas who brought tea at 17 below zero or the busy girls filling empty bottles with petrol to turn them into Molotov cocktails. comedy. It was no longer a game. What was I supposed to do to go home and leave the comrades of the Maidan barricades? ” Like Francesco, also many volunteers from all over the world, many of whom had sympathies for Nazism.

Today, Azov is no longer a battalion, but a regiment. He has changed his skin. At least apparently. But yours songs continue to cheer on Stepan Bandera, Ukrainian collaborator. In his coat of arms stood the black sun (now removed), used first by the Thule Society and then by the SS. However, after an accurate graphic restyling, the Wolfsangel remains, the wolf hook, which was the initial emblem of the National Socialist party and one of the many runic symbols used by the SS. Black men, he had called them Biloslav many years ago. Maybe they are still today. They just aren’t scary anymore.

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