Konstanty Gebert, one of the most notable journalists in Poland, has announced his departure from what is widely regarded as the nation’s leading daily after it insisted that he refer to Ukraine’s notorious Azov Battalion as “far-right” rather than “neo-Nazi.” The Azov Battalion, a minor subsection of Ukraine’s army with a few thousand members, frequently wear Nazi symbols on their clothes and banners. Gebert, who belongs to the Judaism faith, revealed the news about his departure in his regular column, “The Weather Forecast,” something he has written for quite a long time in the left-wing newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
“We will have to part ways if we cannot come to an agreement on the basics,” Gebert remarked. He stated that instead of being a full-time staff writer, he may contribute to Wyborcza in time to come. In a press release, Wyborca said: “We regret to recognize our colleague’s choice. We are delighted with the announcement that the conclusion of a regular series of articles does not indicate the end of our partnership.” The Azov Battalion’s primary emblem is a variation of the Nazi Wolfsangel. The Wolfsangel is “one of the most prominent white nationalist emblems,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
After Russia’s takeover of Crimea back in 2014, the battalion was formed and is now part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to a representative for the Azov Battalion in 2015, neo-Nazis make up nearly 20 percent of the battalion’s recruits. In defending his nation’s February 24 attack on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned the Azov Battalion as well as other Ukrainian groups with openly neo-Nazi leaning. According to him, the mission’s purpose was to “de-nazify” Ukraine. Poland, whose decades of struggle with Russia have turned many Poles against Moscow, has been a loyal ally of Ukraine in its armed engagements.