Autonomous Nationalists (Serbia)
Azov Civil Corps
Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists
Dagger and Stylus ("Stylet i stylos")
Legio Hungaria (Hungary)
The leader of Karpatska Sich is Taras Deiak. Other prominent members include: Khrystyna Haranchevska, Davyd Sidak and Anton Badyda. The organization runs a number of sub-projects, including the travel club Edelweiss, the cultural-art project Stylet i stylos (“Dagger and Stylus”) and the charitable foundation National Renaissance. Karpatska Sich is mainly active in Uzhhorod, a city located in the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. However, its members sometimes travel to other Ukrainian cities, such as Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv, as well as abroad.
Karpatska Sich was established in 2010 as a “patriotic sports organization.” There is practically no information available about the group’s early years. However, since at least March 2013 its members (along with other far-right groups) have participated in marches to mark the anniversary of the formation of the original Ukrainian nationalist organization Karpatska Sich in 1928.“В Ужгороді сучасна «Карпатська Січ» відзначила 75-річчя створення історичної «Карпатської Січі»” [In Uzhhorod the modern Karpatska Sich marked the 75th anniversary of the creation of the historical Karpatska Sich], Zakarpattia Online, November 11, 2013, https://zakarpattya.net.ua/News/116308-V-Uzhhorodi-suchasna-Karpatska-Sich-vidznachyla-75-richchia-stvorennia-istorychnoi-Karpatskoi-Sichi-FOTO. Since 2017, the organization has also invited right-wing radicals from Hungary and Serbia to attend the march.“В Ужгороді на чорний марш націоналістів "Карпатської Січі" приїхали побратими з Угорщини та Сербії (ФОТО)” [Confrères from Hungary and Serbia came to the black march of the Karpatska Sich nationalists in Uzhhorod], Mukachevo.net, March 19, 2017, http://www.mukachevo.net/ua/news/view/197173.
During a torchlight procession in Uzhhorod on March 13, 2016, members of Karpatska Sich called for violence against ethnic Hungarians.“Прокуратура розпочала кримінальне провадження за антиугорські вигуки на смолоскипній ході в Ужгороді" [Prosecutor’s Office launches criminal proceedings for anti-Hungarian statements at the torchlight march in Uzhhorod], Zakarpattia Online, March 17, 2016. https://zakarpattya.net.ua/News/153394-Prokuratura-rozpochala-kryminalne-provadzhennia-za-antyuhorski-vyhuky-na-smoloskypnii-khodi-v-Uzhhorodi. In response, the Zakarpattia Regional Prosecutor’s Office initiated criminal proceedings against the group for violating Article 161 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which protects against violations of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality, religious beliefs and other identifying factors.
In October 2017, members of Karpatska Sich attempted to disrupt a march in LvivYaryna Voloshyn, 2017, “Спроба нападу на магазин” [Attempted attack on shop], Facebook, October 14, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/yarynavoloshyn/videos/vb.100022424031167/121162691974531/?type=2&theater. led by the left-wing nationalist group, Autonomous Resistance. They later attempted to attack the Autonomous Resistance office.Karpatska Sich, “Карпатська Січ напала на офіс антифа. Львів. 2017р. #карпатська_січ” [Karpatska Sich attacked antifa office. Lviv, 2017. #karpatska_sich], Youtube, May 20, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfpK64ojsck.
On March 8, 2018, International Women’s Day, members of the organization attacked a feminist rally, dousing its participants with red paint, according to a report by Amnesty International.Amnesty International Ukraine, 2018, “ Увага! Ми оголошуємо АКЦІЮ ТЕРМІНОВОЇ ДОПОМОГИ активісткам та активістам за права жінок” [Attention! We are calling for URGENT ASSITANCE for activists and women’s rights activists], Facebook, March 15, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/amnestyua/posts/10155717638928978. Over the next few days, Karpatska Sich also threatened local activists who participated in the Women’s Day march.Taras Deiak, 2018, "Лавочка прикривається!” [The store is closed!], Facebook, March 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=583370558722399&set=a.167720173620775.1073741830.100011483810655&type=3.
In particular, Karpatska Sich targeted Oleksandr Peresoliak, a local politician and member of the Civil Oversight Council at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). On March 12, 2018, the group launched a manhunt in search of Peresoliak,Oleksandr Peresoliak, 2018, “Тільки що керівник Карпатської січі Тарас Деяк…” [The leader of Karpatska Sich Taras Deiak just…], Facebook, March 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/peresolyak/posts/2069021803125931. which provoked unrest in Uzhhorod.Nastya Bachynskaya, 2018, “Усім апологетам ГО "Карпатська Січ"” [To all of the apologists for the organization Karpatska Sich], Facebook, March 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/groups/ridnemistouzhhorod/permalink/1613314718746795/.
On March 13, Karpatska Sich attacked another civil society activist, Ivan Danatsko, according to an activist quoted in the media. Danatsko had filed a complaint with the police earlier about an upcoming rally that the right-wing group was organizing, on the grounds that it would likely involve neo-Nazi symbols.“Urgent Action: Police Must Protect Women’s Rights Activists,” Amnesty International, March 16, 2018, https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2018-03/UA05718.pdf. See also Iryna Breza, 2018, “Учасники акції на захист прав жінок в Ужгороді заявляють про щоденні погрози” [Participants of Uzhgorod Women's Rights Rally Report Daily Threats], Radio Svoboda, March 14, 2018, https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/29100350.html. Ukraine’s Parliament banned both Nazi and communist “propaganda” in 2015.
That same day, a group of unidentified people attacked activist Ivan Diulai from behind. He had also attended the feminist march on March 8.Breza, 2018. Ferents Baki, a civil society activist and associate of Peresoliak and Danatsko, also reported being attacked that day.Ferents Baki, 2018, “13.03.2018 року, мене переслідували члени ГО "Карпатська січ"” [13.03.2018, members of the organization Karpatska Sich attacked me], Facebook, March 14, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/FerentsBaki/posts/10216117193823792.
Due to pressure from Karpatska Sich and the local police, the human rights and LGBT+ organization Nash Mir (Our World) decided not to hold a round table discussion in Uzhhorod on March 14, 2018.Aleksander Dmytruk, 2018, “На Закарпатті радикали зірвали дискусію ЛГБТ-центру: поліції нічого невідомо” [In Zakarpattya Radicals Disrupted a Discussion at LGBT center, Police Unaware], Hromadske, March 14, 2018, https://hromadske.ua/posts/na-zakarpatti-radykaly-zirvaly-dyskusiiu-lhbt-tsentru-politsii-nichoho-nevidomo.
On March 19, 2018, members of Karpatska Sich, along with members of the far-right group Sokil, disrupted a lecture on the use of gender-specific professional titles in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Olga Surovska, “Феміністки радикалам не друзі. Як далеко зайдуть націоналісти Франківська у боротьбі за сімейні цінності?” [Feminists are not friends of radicals. How far will the nationalists of Franvisk go to fight for family values?], Reporter, April 4, 2018, http://report.if.ua/akcent/feministky-radykalam-ne-druzi-yak-daleko-zajdut-nacionalisty-frankivska-u-borotbi-za-simejni-cinnosti/.
In October 2018, the organization participatedKarpatska Sich, 2018, “Paneuropa II Post-Conference Highlights,” Telegram, November 6, 2018, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/1244. in the second Paneuropa Conference, an event for far-right groups organized in Kyiv.Olena Semenyak, “2nd Paneuropa Conference was held in Kyiv,” Ukrainian Traditionalist Club, http://uktk.org/2nd-paneuropa-conference-was-held-in-kyiv/ (accessible via cache https://web.archive.org/web/20191219054501/http://uktk.org/2nd-paneuropa-conference-was-held-in-kyiv). The conference is hosted by the Reconquista Club,Michael Colborne, “Friday Night Fights with Ukraine’s Far Right,” The New Republic, July 9, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154434/friday-night-fights-ukraines-far-right. a bar and martial arts club frequented by right-wing groups. The club itself belongs to the radical right-wing Azov movement.
On November 11, 2018, at the invitation of the Polish far-right group Szturmowcy, the organization took part in the “black column” march in Warsaw, to mark Polish Independence Day.Karpatska Sich, 2018, “Вогонь білого повстання палає найяскравіше саме на сході Європи!” [The fire of the white uprising burns brightest in Eastern Europe!], Telegram, November 5, 2018, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/1243.
In April 2019, Karpatska Sich held its first conference – the Sword of Europe. It was attended by representatives of far-right groups from Hungary (Legio Hungaria), Poland (Szturmowcy), the Czech Republic (NSF) and Serbia (Autonomous Nationalists), as well as members of the Russian political émigré community known as the Russian Center. The conference participants organized a so-called “Radical Alliance March” in Uzhhorod, a procession for alleged “European fraternity.”“Учасники маршу європейського братерства Radical alliance” [Participants in the Radical Alliance European fraternity march], UNIAN, April 14, 2019, https://photo.unian.ua/photo/876244-uchastniki-marsha-evropeyskogo-bratstva-radical-alliance. The event included the burning of a European Union flag.
The one-day conference was allegedly intended to “unite sincere nationalist movements to effectively counter the civilizational threats of our time.” In addition to establishing ties between ultra-right organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, the event’s professed objective was to discuss the “dictatorship of so-called ‘political correctness.” The conference participants also announced plans to create a joint online news resource, as well as paramilitary groups and a fund to help “repressed” members.“Русская делегация на конференции "Меч Европы" и марше "Радикального Альянса"” [Russian delegation at the Sword of Europe Conference and Radical Alliance march], Russky Tsentr, July 14, 2019, http://russ.center/ru/russkaya-delegaciya-na-konferencii-mech-evropy-i-marshe-radikal-nogo-al-yansa. At the time of writing, there was no indication that they had acted upon any of these statements.
Members of Karpatska Sich attempted to disrupt the Equality March in Kyiv, an annual part of Kyiv Pride, on June 17, 2018,“У зіткненнях під час "КиївПрайду" затримали 6-х закарпатців з "Карпатської Січі"” [Six Karpatska Sich members detained during clashes at Kyiv Pride], Zakarpattia Online, June 17, 2018, https://zakarpattya.net.ua/News/182639-U-zitknenniakh-pid-chas-KyivPraidu-zatrymaly-6-kh-zakarpattsiv-z-Karpatskoi-Sichi-FOTO. and again on June 23, 2019.Karpatska Sich, 2019, “Смерть лгбт!” [Death to LGBT!], Telegram, June 23, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/2231.
On October 19, 2019, the organization uploaded a video showing its members threatening a Middle Eastern man.Karpatska Sich, “Нещодавно Ужгородом прокотилася чергова новина про безчинства "гостя" з Близького Сходу” [Recently, in Uzhhorod, more news broke about the outrageous 'guest' from the Middle East], Telegram, October 19, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/2403. The organization also claimed to be patrolling Uzhhorod to protect the city from so-called “ethnic crime.”Karpatska Sich, “Патрулі Карпатської Січі відбуваються все частіше” [Karpatska Sich patrols are taking place increasingly often], Telegram, March 2, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/1865.
On October 23, 2019, Karpatska Sich, as well as members of other neo-Nazi groups, took part in a march in Budapest to commemorate the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Occupation.Karpatska Sich, “23 жовтня. Будапешт.” [October 23. Budapest.], Telegram, October 23, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/2406. Some of the march’s participants attempted to set fire to the city’s Aurora Jewish community center;JTA, “Activists say neo-Nazis tried to torch a Jewish centre in Budapest,” Jewish News, October 24, 2019, https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/activists-say-neo-nazis-tried-to-torch-a-jewish-centre-in-budapest/. however, whether members of Karpatska Sich participated in the arson remains unconfirmed.
A variety of factors suggest that Karpatska Sich maintains a neo-Nazi ideology,“Rahowa in Kyiv,” Karpatska Sich (official website), June 19, 2019, http://karpatskasich.com/articles/item/86-rahowa-in-kyiv. including its use of neo-Nazi symbols such as the Celtic cross and the numbers 14/88.Taras Deiak, 2017, “Неділя недільою, а Карпатська Січ проводить страйкбольну гру." [Sunday is Sunday, but Karpatska Sich is holding an airsoft game], Facebook, August 20, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/taras.deiak.1/posts/491954511197338.Misha Balla, 2017, “На страйкбольному турнірі.” [At the airsoft tournament], Facebook, October 4, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=605657583157670&set=a.601708660219229&type=3&theater.Karpatska Sich, “Наша пропаганда на вулицях!” [Our propaganda on the streets!], Telegram, July 2, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/2253.
The following is an excerpt from the organization’s website, describing its ideology and aims:
“We will not allow globalism, liberalism, capitalism, leftism, LGBT and [feminist] activism, and other types of perversions to exist peacefully and reproduce on our land. Our movement educates new Ukrainians—a strong, just people—of Truth, Faith and Honor [sic], without the substandard values of provincial complexes, that is, the real national elite.”“Про нас” [About Us], Karpatska Sich (official website), http://karpatskasich.com/about-us.
In addition to cooperating with the aforementioned foreign far-right organizations, Karpatska Sich has used its social media platforms to promote the manifesto of the Christchurch Shooter, who carried out deadly attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019.Karpatska Sich, “Закликаємо всіх щирих націоналістів придбати єдиний в наявності український переклад маніфесту…” [We urge all sincere nationalists to buy the only available Ukrainian translation of the manifesto…], Telegram, August 14, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/2281. The organization also openly supports the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn;“Карпатська Січ: неонацисти, які прикриваються націоналізмом” [Karpatska Sich: neo-Nazis covered up by nationalism], Nihilist, November 15, 2017, https://www.nihilist.li/2017/11/15/karpats-ka-sich-neonatsisti-yaki-prikrivayut-sya-natsionalizmom/. the Italian neo-fascist organization, Casa Pound;Karpatska Sich, “НАЛАГОДЖЕННЯ ПАРТНЕРСЬКИХ СТОСУНКІВ З ПРАВИМИ РУКАМИ ЄВРОПИ ПРОДОВЖУЄТЬСЯ»» [Continuation of partnership relations with Europe’s right-wing movements continues], Telegram, January 5, 2019, https://t.me/karpatska_sich/1616. and the dictatorial Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.Hanna Hrytsenko, 2018, "«Карпатська Січ», Башар Асад и Кремль" [Karpatska Sich, Bashar al-Assad and the Kremlin], Nihilist, May 14, 2018, https://www.nihilist.li/2018/05/14/karpats-ka-sich-bashar-asad-i-kreml.
In conjunction with other Ukrainian far-right organizations, Karpatska Sich also participates in demonstrations against the LGBT+ community and feminist activists. However, the group often acts independently, since it is based in a city far from the main centers of right-wing radicalism in Ukraine (Kyiv and Kharkiv). Locally, Karpatska Sich collaborates with the Uzhhorod branches of the right-wing nationalist political parties, Svaboda, and Right Sector, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Azov Civil Corps.“«Карпатська січ»: чому такі радикальні, чого прагнуть, та які зв’язки із Тягнибоком» [Karpatska Sich: Who are these radicals, what do they want and what are their ties to Tyahnibok], Reaction.org.ua, 2018, https://www.reaction.org.ua/blogs/karpatska-sich-chomu-taki-radikalni-chogo-pragnut-ta-yaki-zvyazki-iz-tyagnibokom/.
According to local activists, Karpatska Sich leader Taras Deiak, has been involved in various corruption scandals.Denys Gorbach, “Entrepreneurs of political violence: the varied interests and strategies of the far-right in Ukraine,” Open Democracy, October 16, 2018, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/entrepreneurs-of-political-violence-ukraine-far-right. Furthermore, the organization is known to act with impunity and has been allowed to commit acts of violence without police intervention.Oleksandr Peresoliak, 2018, “Тільки що керівник Карпатської січі Тарас Деяк…” [The leader of Karpatska Sich Taras Deiak just…], Facebook, March 12, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/peresolyak/posts/2069021803125931. Regional media also tends to avoid publishing criticism about the group.