How to Mainstream Neo-Nazis: A lesson from Ukraine’s C14 and an Estonian think tank
Ukraine’s Education Assembly (Освітня асамблея) is officially registered (archived copy) as a “community organization” in Ukraine. On its face, nothing about how they describe themselves sounds particularly worrisome, as seen in the group’s description of itself on their website:
“Education Assembly is a project whose goal is comprehensive youth development (…) The project takes the form of lectures and seminars, held in a cozy and friendly atmosphere. Here we have the best speakers, willing to share their knowledge and experience across a variety of fields. The initiators of Education Assembly are active youth who are aware of the importance of knowledge in the contemporary world and strive to make this knowledge accessible to all.”
Take even a slightly more focused glance at the organization, though, and things will start to look different.
You’ll probably notice that Education Assembly’s logo resembles that of a Ukrainian neo-Nazi group, C14. The lower half of Education Assembly’s logo, a black-and-white globe, is exactly the same as C14’s, as are the black bars above the globe where Education Assembly’s name is written.
A comparison of Education Assembly and C14’s logos, from Estonian news site Delfi.
You’ll likely find out that one of Education Assembly’s co-founders, Yevhen Karas, is actually the notorious leader of C14, a group that’s been identified as neo-Nazi by former members and experts of extremism — and a group that earned international headlines for insigating a pogrom against a Roma camp in 2018.
You’ll also see that their other co-founder, Mykola Panchenko, is also a member of C14. You’ll surely find photos from Education Assembly’s office in central Kyiv, where a larger logo of theirs is visible in social media posts; the logo’s outer edges resemble a sonnenrad, a well-known symbol used by neo-Nazis and far-right extremists the world over, …read more