WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES - Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists On Telegram Share Graphic Images Of Russian and Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In Ukraine; Use Racial Slurs Against Fallen Soldiers, Call To Torture And Abuse Soldiers On Both Sides

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May 9, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022, has captured the attention of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and ultranationalists worldwide, with different groups and individuals closely monitoring the conflict and posting images and videos from the war on social media. Some neo-Nazis have supported Russia and others Ukraine, while some neo-Nazis have remained neutral. Neo-Nazi supporters of Ukraine have argued that Ukraine is a "white nation" fighting against a multi-ethnic Russia. The MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor has documented these reactions from both sides since the initial invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24, and has produced reports on misinformation, foreign volunteers, prisoners of war, and more.[1]

Extremists on both sides of the conflict have taken joy in sharing graphic images of dead soldiers along with racist commentary and messages that promote the desecration and mutilation of bodies from both belligerent forces. Ukrainian neo-Nazis in particular have, since the outbreak of the war, been regularly posting images of deceased Russian soldiers, celebrating their deaths and racializing them as "non-whites," "churkas," and simply as "pigs." In particular many of these posts have focused on dead Russian soldiers that appear to be ethnically Asian. Similarly, neo-Nazis have posted images of dead Caucasian Muslims, such as Chechens, and used anti-Muslim rhetoric in their posts.

Ukrainian neo-Nazis and those who support Ukraine frequently post comments and captions about Russian soldiers on Telegram with commentary meant do dehumanize them and mock their deaths. They refer to Russian soldiers as pigs and post images of charred remains with captions calling them barbecue. Neo-Nazis supporters of Ukraine have also called Russians "orcs," a reference to Lord of the Rings.

Early in the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the purpose of the invasion was to "denazify" Ukraine. This has led some neo-Nazis to oppose the invasion of Ukraine and to argue that Russian soldiers are "anti-fascists." Russia's Communist history and the use of Soviet imagery by Russian forces has also led neo-Nazis supportive of Ukraine to label Russian soldiers Communists, Bolsheviks, and neo-Bolsheviks.[2]

Russian neo-Nazis have also posted images of dead Ukrainian soldiers, at times alleging that their comrades mutilated their bodies in order to hide the fact that they are "mercenaries." Neo-Nazis on both sides have also called to murder and torture the soldiers of the country they oppose and to mutilate their bodies. 

The trend of posting images of dead bodies on the frontline of confilcts was first pioneered by Jihadis online, who would regularly post images of deceased "martyrs" who gave their lives for the cause. This was documented by the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor in a 2013 report. [3]

This report details posts by neo-Nazis based in the United States, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere in Europe that show images and video of dead combatants in the Russia-Ukraine war.

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Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Vilify Dead Soldiers, Call Them Pigs, "Orcs," And Other Names

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, neo-Nazis online have been posting photos of dead Russian soldiers and using dehumanizing terms to describe them such as pigs, hot dogs, barbecue, and "orcs."

A neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted an image of what it claims is a Russian soldier that committed suicide. The channel commented " This Russian pig hanged himself after he learnt there were no washing machines left to take home."

The same channel posted nine images showing dead Russians with the comment "Good day, pigs."

The channel also posted an image of a dead Russian soldier and wrote: "What type of orc is this? They are real Mordor ugly orcs trying to conquer white civilizations."

Crimes Against Russian Soldiers

Neo-Nazis online have posted videos of the desecration of Russian soldiers' bodies and of war crimes being committed. Pro-Ukrainian neo-Nazis have cheered on such acts and called for more atrocities to be committed against Russian soldiers and Russian citizens generally.

On two different occasions, a pro Ukraine neo-Nazi has posted a video of an individual urinating on a dead soldier. In one post the channel encouraged such behavior, writing: "Dunking on dead invaders is extremely based. Always rub salt into the wounds."

Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Images They Say Show Dead Russian Muslim Combatants, Mock Them With Anti-Muslim Phrases

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have frequently posted messages and images on Telegram mocking Muslim combatants in the war and calling for their killing. Many of these images are directed at soldiers from the Russian Caucasus, particularly those serving Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic.

Some have posted images of dead soldiers they claim are Muslim, with phrases such as "Remove Kebab." The phrase originates from a Serbian nationalist anti-Islamic song called "Karadžić, Lead Your Serbs." The song is named for Radovan Karadžić, former president of the Republic of Srpska, who is a convicted war criminal. Since the wars in the Balkans, the phrase has been adopted by neo-Nazis and white supremacists worldwide to call for the killing of Muslims. Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shooter, wrote the phrase on one of the guns he used in the attack and played the song on which it was based during his livestream of the attack.

A neo-Nazi account posted an image showing the severed leg of a combatant in Ukraine. The image includes an added graphic referencing a fast-food chain. The channel wrote: "Remove Kebab."

The same channel shared an image of a dead Russian soldier posted by a private account. The comment on the image reads: "Kebab removed."

White Supremacists And Neo-Nazis Post Images Of Dead "Antifa" And "Bolshevik" Soldiers, Call To Kill Members Of These Groups

Opponents of Russia have referred to Russian soldiers as Bolsheviks and Communists. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists online have posted photos of dead Russians, labeling them Communists and calling for the killing of other Communists as well.

Some neo-Nazis and white supremacists have also referred to Russian soldiers as "anti-fascists," a reference to President Putin's attempts to frame the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a war to "de-nazify" Ukraine and eliminate the "fascists" in the country.

A neo-Nazi Telegram channel published two posts that appear to be from the same event. The first shows a masked man decapitating a man who is tied up and then lifting his head. The channel wrote: "Antifa decapitated in Donbass."

The second image shows the same masked man holding the head up, this time, with a flag of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic in its mouth. The channel wrote: "Decapitate Antifa."

Neo-Nazi Groups Mock Dead "Asian" Soldiers

Pro-Ukrainian neo-Nazis have been mocking Russian soldiers who appear to be ethnically Asian. Some have posted images of these dead soldiers with racist comments about Asians.

A neo-Nazi account posted an image of a dead Russian soldier and used racist language to describe the soldier.

Russian Ultranationalists Post Images of Dead Ukrainian Soldiers

A pro-Russia channel posted images and videos of dead Ukrainian soldiers and wrote: "Ukrainian militants, running away from the village, threw the corpses of its colleagues." According to the post, "Before escaping, they plundered the village and smashed all the houses."

 

[1] For more on this topic, see MEMRI Reports: Neo-Nazi 'Wagner Group' Of Russian Mercenaries Claim To Be Fighting In Ukraine, February 25, 2022; American, Canadian, European, And Australian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Among Foreign Volunteers Joining Ukrainian Paramilitary Groups To Fight Russian Forces, March 2, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists In The United States, France And Australia Argue Jews Orchestrated War In Ukraine, Claim Jews Control Russia and Ukraine, Profit From The Conflict, Are Implementing 'White Genocide', March 4, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Around The World Laud Vladimir Putin And Russia, Incite Violence At Home, Call For Nuclear War; Vilify Ukraine, NATO, And The U.S., March 10, 2022; Terrorist-Designated Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) Shares Report On Pro-Russian Rally In Serbia, Held By Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Groups, March 18, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Telegram Polls Gauging Support And Opinions On Russia-Ukraine Conflict; Thousands Reply, March 21, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists On Social Media Blame U.S. And NATO For Russia-Ukraine War, Hope For Attacks On U.S., March 22, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists In U.S, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Hungary, U.K Call For Neutrality In Russia-Ukraine War, Urge 'White Nations' Solidarity,' 'No More Brother Wars', March 24, 2022; Foreign Fighters From At Least 35 Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, And Ultranationalist Groups Based In The U.S. (Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee), Canada, Poland, France, Russia, Croatia, Spain, Hungary, Belarus, Italy, Georgia, And Elsewhere Have Members Fighting On Both Sides In Russia-Ukraine Conflict, March 30, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Online Express Hope For Nuclear Escalation In Russia-Ukraine War; Call For Nuclear Attacks On U.S., Israel, And Ukraine, April 4, 2022; Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists And Other Extremists Spread Misinformation About Russia-Ukraine War, Make Comparisons To Syria; Claim Ukraine, U.S. And Syrian White Helmets Will Carry Out 'False Flag' Chemical Weapons Attack, April 12, 2022; Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists On Telegram Share Photos And Videos Of POWs In Russia-Ukraine War, Of Russian Soldiers' Capture And Killing Of Ukrainian Noncombatants, Including Children, And Of Ukrainian Soldiers' Torture And Abuse Of Russian POWs, May 5, 2022.

[2] Theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/23/back-in-the-ussr-lenin-statues-and-soviet-flags-reappear-in-russian-controlled-cities, April 23, 2022.

 

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