Yes, It’s (Still) OK To Call Ukraine’s C14 “Neo-Nazi”
This week, a Ukrainian court ruled it’s not OK to call a neo-Nazi group a neo-Nazi group.
In May 2018, a tweet from Ukrainian independent media outlet Hromadske, on its international English-language Twitter account, described C14 as “neo-Nazi.”
“Neo-nazi group C14 has seized a former militant of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Brazilian Rafael Lusvarghi, and were going to hand him over to #Ukraine’s Security Service, one of the group members posted on Facebook,” the tweet read, referencing C14’s extralegal seizure of a Brazilian man who had allegedly fought with Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine.
In response to this tweet, C14 sued Hromadske. On August 6, 2019, a court in Kyiv ruled in C14’s favour.
As Hromadske’s own story on the verdict reports: “[the] court noted that the information circulated by Hromadske back in May 2018 “harms the reputation” of C14 and ordered Hromadske to refute the information and pay 3,500UAH ($136) in court fees to C14.”
But, as we explain here in this brief investigation, the phrase “neo-Nazi” should be used to describe C14. The group’s past and present use of common neo-Nazi symbols and its violent rhetoric and actions make one thing clear: it’s completely justifiable, despite what a Ukrainian court has just ruled and despite their efforts to sanitize their public image, to call C14 “neo-Nazi.”
Who calls neo-Nazis by their name?
The ruling shocked human rights groups, journalists and other observers both inside and outside of Ukraine. Even the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media tweeted its concern about the ruling, arguing that it “goes against #mediafreedom and could discourage journalistic work” in Ukraine.
Despite losing the court case, Hromadske has pledged to appeal, and doesn’t appear to be backing down. One of their first …read more