FC Dynamo Kyiv
Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs
Ministry of Youth and Sport
Party of Sharii
Patriot of Ukraine
Patriots - For Life
Social National Assembly
The creation of the National Corps party was announced at the party’s founding congress in October 2016, and Andrii Biletskyi was named the party’s head. The party officially registered in late 2015 under the name Patriot of Ukraine. However, the Patriot of Ukraine party was not publicly active in its first year. After the 2016 congress, it was officially renamed the National Corps.“ПОЛІТИЧНА ПАРТІЯ ‘НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ КОРПУС’ (40214321)” [POLITICAL PARTY “NATIONAL CORPS”], Ring/EDR, accessed February 9, 2021, https://ring.org.ua/edr/uk/company/40214321.
Most of the party's leaders are former members of the Azov Battalion. The party’s organizational structure was built on a network of regional branches of the Civil Corps Azov, a non-military wing of the Azov Battalion, which was established in 2014 by Biletskyi and is now defunct.In 2014, the non-governmental organization "Society for Assisting the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Navy ‘Patriot of Ukraine’" was renamed to the “Society for Assisting the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Navy ‘Civil Corps Azov’.” See: “ГО ТСЗСУТВМФ ЦИВІЛЬНИЙ КОРПУС АЗОВ” [“GO TSZSUTBMF CIVIL CORPS AZOV”], YouControl, accessed February 9, 2021, https://youcontrol.com.ua/catalog/company_details/39241844. The party’s more distant predecessors are Patriot of Ukraine, founded in 2006, as well as the Social National Assembly (SNA), founded in 2008 as an informal association of several far-right groups.As a separate organizational brand, “Patriot of Ukraine” has not been used since 2014. Oleh Odnorozhenko, a former ally and now critic of Andriy Biletsky, who was the ideologue of the “Patriot of Ukraine” in 2006-2014, tried to revive the Social National Assembly in 2017-2018. Igor Kryvoruchko, the formal chairman of the SNA in 2013, also took part in the activities of the renewed organization. See “ГО ‘СНА’” [NGO “SNA”], Opendatabot, https://opendatabot.ua/c/41680449. Both Patriot of Ukraine and the SNA maintained a neo-Nazi ideology. Biletskyi also headed both organizations.
National Corps party members are not homogeneous. After former Patriot of Ukraine members, the second most notable affiliation among the party’s founders and key members are football hooligans, including fans of Dynamo Kyiv. A high-profile member from Dynamo Kyiv is Nazarii Kravchenko, who headed both Patriot of Ukraine and Civil Corps Azov from 2014 to 2018 and was chairman of the Patriot of Ukraine political party until October 2016, but continued to serve as first deputy chairman until 2018. Serhii Filimonov, who headed the party’s Kyiv branch until the summer of 2019 also came from the football hooligan circle. Serhii Korotkykh was not a football hooligan, but instead came to National Corps through Patriot of Ukraine. He has significant influence over the party's activities, although he does not hold an official position. Previously, he was known for his involvement in neo-Nazi organizations in Belarus and Russia.See, for example: Elena Fanailova, “"Я знаю, кто участвовал в убийстве"” [I know who participated in the murder,” Radio Svoboda, November 27, 2016, https://www.svoboda.org/a/28131520.html. Media reports have accused him of violent crimes, including murder. According to Kravchenko, Korotkykh oversaw National Corps’ party financing.Nazarii Kravchenko, “Непокаране зло зростає...” [Unpunished evil grows…], Facebook, May 10, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=245118163367860&set=a.100869734459371.
Many National Corps supporters only became involved in politics after the start of the war. This is especially true of its many younger members, who are often attracted by the masculine portrayal of the party and affiliate organizations and the opportunity to be associated with veterans. Young people make up a significant portion, if not the majority, of those who participate in the party’s frequent rallies. Notably, these young people are sometimes paid to participate in these events.See, for example: Yevhen Spirin, “«Не знімайте мене, мама побачить — п*здов випише». У Києві (майже) непомітно пройшла чергова акція «Азовського руху»” [«Don't shoot me, if my mom sees — she will beat my ass.» Another Azov movement rally took place (almost) unnoticed in Kyiv], Babel, April 9, 2019, https://thebabel.com.ua/texts/28495-ne-znimayte-mene-mama-pobachit-p-zdov-vipishe-u-kiyevi-mayzhe-nepomitno-proyshla-chergova-akciya-azovskogo-ruhu.
Azov Battalion veterans make up the second largest source of National Corps’ members. The party and its affiliate organizations offer them post-war socialization and sometimes an opportunity to work as well, like at security companies. While not all National Corps members and its key figures share a neo-Nazi past, many experienced a level of indoctrination when serving in the Azov Battalion,See: Vyacheslav Likhachev, “Как делают антисемитом” [How to make an anti-Semite], Vyacheslav Likhachev’s Blog, November 19, 2015, http://vyacheslav-likhachev.blogspot.com/2015/11/blog-post_19.html. or have participated in other radical groups connected to National Corps.See, for example: Artem Furmanyuk, “Будні "патріотів" з Нацдружин. Дозвілля” [A day in the life of ‘patriots’ from the National Militias. Leisure], YouTube video, December 15, 2019, https://youtu.be/udPMOrLtzMk; Dmytro Syniak, “Півроку тому наш кореспондент записався в «Національні дружини». Ось що він там побачив” [Six months ago, our correspondent signed up for the «National Militias». Here's what he saw there], Babel, https://thebabel.com.ua/texts/26883-pivroku-tomu-nash-korespondent-zapisavsya-v-nacionalni-druzhini-os-shcho-vin-tam-pobachiv.
Ideology of National Corps Party
When National Corps was founded, its members crafted its ideology and public image as a less radical organization than Andrii Biletskyi's previous political projects. For instance, the Civil Corps inherited the neo-Nazi WolfsangelSee: “Wolfsangel,” ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/wolfsangel; “Aryan Nations,” ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/aryan-nations. For polemic purposes, radical Ukrainian nationalists claim that the symbol was created by superimposing the Latin letters “I” and “N” from the phrase “Idea of the Nation.” However, the fact that neo-Nazi groups around the world widely use this symbol is indicative of the secondary nature of such an interpretation. symbol from the SNA and Patriot of Ukraine and also used the black sun, a neo-Nazi symbol“Sonnenrad,” ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/sonnenrad. also part of the Azov Battalion’s emblem. The National Corps, on the other hand, abandoned these conspicuous symbols in favor of the traditional Ukrainian national symbol, the trident. While the manifestos of both Patriot of UkrainePatriot of Ukraine, last updated February 17, 2011, https://web.archive.org/web/20110217201916/http://www.patriotukr.org.ua/index.php?rub=doc. and the SNA,“ПРОГРАМА” [Programme], Social National Assembly, last updated April 24, 2011, https://web.archive.org/web/20110424121359/http://sna.in.ua/archives/248. dating from 2006 to 2010 respectively, were openly racist, the National Corps manifesto includes nothing of the sort.ПРОГРАМА ПОЛІТИЧНОЇ ПАРТІЇ «НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ КОРПУС» [Political Program “National Corps” Party], PDF File, http://nationalcorps.org/wp-content/themes/nk-theme/uploads/%D0%9F%D0%A0%D0%9E%D0%93%D0%A0%D0%90%D0%9C%D0%90_%D0%9F%D0%9E%D0%9B%D0%86%D0%A2%D0%98%D0%A7%D0%9D%D0%9E%D0%87_%D0%9F%D0%90%D0%A0%D0%A2%D0%86%D0%87_%C2%AB%D0%9D%D0%90%D0%A6%D0%86%D0%9E%D0%9D%D0%90%D0%9B%D0%AC%D0%9D%D0%98%D0%99.pdf. The Civil Corps was accused repeatedly of xenophobic rhetoric. For example, it carried out an anti-Muslim campaign against the construction of a mosque in Lviv,Vyacheslav Likhachev, “«Азов» против крымских татар: тоже мне, новость!” [«Azov» against the Crimean Tatars: me too, news!], Vyacheslav Likhachev’s Blog, February 4, 2016, http://vyacheslav-likhachev.blogspot.com/2016/02/blog-post.html. while National Corps appeared not to mirror this open racism. It even invited Yosyp Zisels, the head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine, to the Congress of the National Corps, though he declined the invitation.
In fact, Andrii Biletskyi, who had made openly racist and anti-Semitic remarks in the past, changed his rhetoric and has gone so far as to deny that he had ever made such comments. He soon began positioning himself as the leader of a broad, patriotic, veterans’ movement. Indeed, National Corps propaganda places its emphasis primarily on the origins of Azov. The “About Us” section of its official website states: "National Corps is a political force of a new generation, formed on October 14, 2016 by an alliance of veterans, volunteers, and civic activists. Our foundational advantage is that we are hardened by revolution and war."National Corps, accessed February 9, 2021, https://nationalcorps.org. Oleh Odnorozhenko, Azov’s deputy strategist and a former Patriot of Ukraine ideologue, even claimed that in 2015, "Biletskyi decided [...] to remove nationalism from our ideology.”Oleg Odnorozhenko, “ВІДПОВІДЬ ВБИВЦЯМ ЯРОСЛАВА БАБИЧА” [Reply to the killers of Yaroslav Babych], Facebook, June 7, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/oleg.odnorozhenko1/posts/200850480543993. According to Odnorozhenko, “during a conversation at the time, [Biletskyi] dismissed [nationalism as] “rightism” (bonovstvo) and described himself as a national-level politician who should unite the whole country regardless of ideology."Oleg Odnorozhenko, “ЯРОСЛАВ БАБИЧ” [Yaroslav Babych], Facebook, May 28, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/oleg.odnorozhenko1/posts/198027837492924. Odnorozhenko claims that Biletskyi’s pragmatic approach sparked dissatisfaction among some of Azov’s founders, which Biletskyi perceived as an uprising against him. According to Odnorozhenko, this conflict was one of the reasons Serhii Korotkykh murdered Yaroslav Babych in July 2015Babych’s widow, Larysa Babych, who also accuses Serhiy Korotkykh of the murder and Andriy Biletsky of ordering it, believes the conflict was partly ideologically motivated. See, for example: “Пресс-конференция: ‘Кто убил Ярослава Бабича? Почему чиновники правоохранительных органов саботируют расследование’” [Press-Conference: “Who killed Yaroslav Babych? Why law enforcement is sabotaging the investigation”], Ukrainian News, March 15, 2019, https://ukranews.com/news/619758-15-03-19-12-00-press-konferentsiya-kto-ubil-yaroslava-babicha-pochemu-chinovniki-pravoohranitelnyh., allegedly on instructions from Biletskyi. Other accounts suggest Babych was killed over money, while the police have investigated his death as a suicide.
Radical and Xenophobic Elements and Incidents
Despite these distancing attempts, it is not difficult to identify radical and xenophobic elements in the ideology and activities of the National Corps, especially since 2018.
In Poltava on March 31, 2018, members of the National Corps party disrupted a closed training session on the “Specifics of the psychologist’s work with representatives of the LGBT community.”“’Нацкорпус’ зірвав у Полтаві тренінг про роботу з ЛГБТ” [Natskorpus disrupted training on working with LGBT], Ukrainska Pravda, March 31, 2018, https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2018/03/31/7176395.
On May 17, 2018, a far-right group, including self-identified National Corps supporters, attacked two men with knives. One of the victims had anarchist leanings, while the other took part in environmental protests organized by left-wing activists.Chornyi Stiag, “ У Львові черговий напад ультраправих на антифашистів та екоактивістів” [Another attack by the far-right on anti-fascists and environmental activists in Lviv], Facebook, May 22, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=372733363213812&id=285537115266771.
On June 7, 2018, members of the National Corps party and its affiliated paramilitary formation, the National Militias (“Національні Дружини”), destroyed a temporary Roma settlement in Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi Park.Ania Bilous, “«Національні дружини» знищили ромський табір у Голосіївському парку” [The «National Militias» destroyed the Roma camp in Holosiivskyi Park], Zaborona, June 7, 2018, https://zaborona.com/nac-druzhyny-romy-golosiyevo. The attackers livestreamed the pogrom on social networks. In the video, they can be seen using sledgehammers and axes to destroy the settlement’s temporary structures. Many of the attackers covered their faces with balaclavas or handkerchiefs. They also filmed the Roma victims as they fled and tried to save their belongings. The attackers can be clearly heard yelling degrading racist insults at the Roma people present.“’Нацдружини’ розгромили ромське поселення у Києві (ВІДЕО)” [“National Militias” destroyed a Roma settlement in Kyiv], Hromadske Radio, June 7, 2018, https://hromadske.radio/news/2018/06/07/nacdruzhyny-rozgromyly-romske-poselennya-u-kyyevi-video.
On the day of the pogrom, leaflets were distributed in the area which read:
Gypsies in Ukrainian cities mean robberies, muggings, drug trafficking, and dirty huts. They do not care about the behavioral norms of our society. They ignore our laws. They are not trying to work. They attack citizens on the streets. Almost every Ukrainian family has been swindled by gypsy groups.See a photo of the flyer: https://hmarochos.kiev.ua/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/34688236_10156370678299941_3069167845716787200_n.jpg.
These leaflets put on full display the attackers’ explicit intentions and, in our opinion, are socially dangerous and incite ethnic hatred.
Despite a criminal case being opened over the attack, no one was prosecuted. Moreover, the police did not conduct any meaningful investigations.
On Kontraktova Square in Kyiv on August 19, 2018, three young men attacked a girl because she had died some of her hair. They hit the girl in the face with a canister of pepper spray. The attackers were wearing clothes bearing Right Sector and National Corps symbols.“У Києві невідомі у камуфляжі напали на дівчину через її зовнішність” [In Kyiv, strangers in camouflage attacked a girl because of her appearance], Glavcom, August 20, 2018, https://glavcom.ua/kyiv/news/u-kijevi-nevidomi-u-kamuflyazhi-napali-na-divchinu-cherez-jiji-zovnishnist-521613.html.
In Mariupol on August 19, 2018, right-wing extremists carried out an attack at an “anti-discrimination” punk concert at the Platform TU Cultural Center. About twenty people, whose faces were covered with balaclavas, beat up the concertgoers. Two of the attackers wore clothes bearing National Corps symbols. About ten concertgoers were injured.Platform Tiu, “УВАГА! На платформу ТЮ скоєно напад, є постраждалі!” [WARNING! There was an attack on Tiu, including injuries], Facebook, August 19, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/tumariupol/posts/2118869941689233; “Нападение на арт-платформу в Мариуполе: подробности” [Attack on art platform in Mariupol: details], Liga Novosti, August 20, 2018, https://news.liga.net/incidents/news/napadenie-na-art-platformu-v-mariupole-podrobnosti. The performers’ anti-fascist ideology or Platform TU’s previously hosted events, such as one on LGBT+ rights, apparently sparked anger among the right-wing extremists, which led to the attack.
In a 2018 country report on human rights practices in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor described the National Corps as a “nationalist hate group.”“2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ukraine,” U.S. Department of State, last updated 2018, https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/ukraine.
In the spring of 2019, National Corps held several high-profile street demonstrations aimed at discrediting the incumbent Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko. Party supporters tried to disrupt Poroshenko's campaign events and skirmished with the police.Roman Romaniuk and Roman Kravtsev, “Ігри патріотами: Як "Нацкорпус" і Аваков заганяють Порошенка” [Patriot Games: How the National Corps and Avakov Hunt Poroshenko], Ukrainska Pravda, March 13, 2019, https://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2019/03/13/7209012. Since party leader Andrii Biletskyi chose not to run for president and did not back any of the candidates from other right-wing political organizations, the National Corps largely focused on boosting its image through its election period activities. See the analysis of the 2019 presidential elections for more details.
During the 2019 parliamentary elections, some members of National Corps ran on the Svoboda party list. However, the party’s vote total did not exceed the five percent threshold necessary to enter the parliament. See the thematic report on the 2019 parliamentary elections for more details.
On March 12, 2020, a group of National Corps members tried to disrupt a presentation by the National Platform for Reconciliation and Unity, a controversial platform created to promote the reconciliation and restoration of close ties between Ukraine and Russia, and attacked Serhii Syvokho, an adviser to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (Syvokho was knocked down as he tried to leave).Serhii Denysov, “Зрив презентації «платформи примирення» Сивохо: поліція затримала 15 осіб, відкрито кримінальну справу” [Disruption of Sivokho’s "platform of reconciliation" presentation: police detained 15 people, opened a criminal case], NV, March 12, 2018, https://nv.ua/ukr/ukraine/events/zriv-nackorpusom-prezentaciji-sivoho-zatrimano-15-aktivistiv-vidkrito-spravu-novini-ukrajini-50075204.html. Following the assault, several National Corps members were charged with hooliganism, including Serhii Tamaryn, the head of the party's Kyiv branch.Emal Nabi, “Суд обрав запобіжні заходи підозрюваним у нападі на Сивохо: деталі” [Court choose precautionary measures for suspects in the attack on Sivokho: details], 24 Kanal, https://24tv.ua/sud_obrav_zapobizhniy_zahid_pidozryuvanomu_u_napadi_na_sivoho_volkovu_detali_n1297157.
Dispute Over Party Financing
Nazarii Kravchenko and Serhii Filimonov, who withdrew from National Corps in 2018 and 2019 and started a group called Honor, claim that Biletskyi and his compatriots invited them to a meeting on May 8, 2020, and beat them up.Filimonov and Kravchenko have previously also repeatedly resorted to violence against supporters of left-wing groups and everyone whom they considered to be involved in "separatism." Kravchenko and Filimonov also allegeNazarii Kravchenko, “Вчора увечорі з Serhii Filimonov були запрошені на бесіду з Андрієм Білецьким…” [Serhii Filomonov and I were invited for a conversation with Andrii Biletskyi last night…], Facebook, May 8, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=243935403486136&id=100036090331985; Serhii Filimonov, “Про Азов, Білецького і Сергій Стерненко” [About Azov, Biletskyi, and Serhii Sternenko], Facebook, May 9, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/serhii.filimonov.98/posts/241237327085474. that they were attacked because of their support for Serhii Sternenko, a former member of Right Sector who was accused of murder in self-defense. Biletskyi's former associates also believe that the attack was an attempt to monopolize far-right street politics and control over-politicized Azov veterans in particular.See, for example: Olga Omelianchuk, “«Монополізація націоналістичного руху»? Що відбувається у справі «азовців», які заявили про побиття” [“Monopolization of the nationalist movement?” What's happening in the case of the «Azovtsi» who reported beating], Radio Svoboda, May 12, 2020, https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/azov-nacionalistychnyj-rux/30607935.html. Biletskyi denied that supporting Sternenko was the cause of the conflict. Instead, he claimed that his former colleagues had violated “veteran ethics.”Serhii Ivanov, “Андрій Білецький: "азовські" розборки, справа Стерненка, Аваков, об'єднання націоналістів | EASY” [Andrii Biletskyi: "Azov" showdowns, Sternenko's case, Avakov, association of nationalists | EASY ], YouTube video, May 8, 2020, https://youtu.be/rxAMCjtpUv0.
Following this conflict, Nazarii Kravchenko released information suggesting the falsification of official sources of party financing.Nazarii Kravchenko, “Непокаране зло зростає...” [Unpunished evil grows…], Facebook, May 10, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=245118163367860. Among other things, he described how money was systematically transferred to ordinary party members who then deposited it in official party accounts as supposed donations. An investigation by the campaign finance watchdog Chesno confirmed these reportsIhor Feshenko, Nataliia Patrikeeva, Vita Dumanska, “Гроші “Нацкорпусу”: схема чи тисячі відданих партійців?” [National Corps Money: a scheme or thousands of loyal supporters?], Chesno, May 18, 2020, https://www.chesno.org/post/3987. while the Ukrainian outlet Texty had reported similar conclusions earlier.Liubov Velychko, “Всеїдність і охоронний бізнес. Хто фінансує ‘Національний корпус’” [Ubiquity and the security business. Who sponsors the National Corps?], Texty, March 28, 2019, https://texty.org.ua/articles/92374/Vsejidnist_i_ohoronnyj_biznes_Khto_finansuje_Nacionalnyj-92374. In response to these allegations, Biletskyi stated the following: “We are one of the most transparent parties. […] We have tens of thousands of activists in the party. Our minimum membership fee is 50 hryvnias. […] Due to the huge number of people, we collect quite a decent amount to party accounts.”Mykhailo Glukhovskyi and Pavlo Vuyets, "Андрій Білецький: Влада зарейдила націоналістичні гасла" [Andrii Biletskyi: The authorities have stolen nationalist slogans], Glavcom, November 29, 2018, https://glavcom.ua/country/politics/andriy-bileckiy-vlada-zareydila-nacionalistichni-gasla--548797.html.
The issue of the party’s financing has been discussed repeatedly in the media, in particular, because groups directly related to the National Corps, such as the NGO Civil Corps, have received funding on multiple occasions from the state budget,Oleksiy Kuzmenko and Michael Colborne, “Ukrainian Far-Right Extremists Receive State Funds to Teach "Patriotism",” Bellingcat, July 16, 2019, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2019/07/16/ukrainian-far-right-extremists-receive-state-funds-to-teach-patriotism. such as via the Ministry of Youth and Sport.See, for example: “Школа лідерів імені Аксьона і Хоми” [Aksion and Khoma Leadership School], National Corps, June 4, 2019, https://ndrugua.org/articles/shkola-lideriv-imeni-aksona-i-xomy. Other connections between National Corps and the government include the fact that former Azov servicemen and representatives of the National Corps allegedly have significant influence over the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs.“Ukraine’s Ministry of Veterans Affairs Embraced the Far Right - With Consequences to the U.S.,” Bellingcat, November 11, 2019, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2019/11/11/ukraines-ministry-of-veterans-affairs-embraced-the-far-right-with-consequences-to-the-u-s; Anastasiia Moskvychova, “Ветерани «правого крила», Мінвет та Bellingcat: що треба знати про цей скандал” [Veterans of the “right wing”, the Veterans’ Ministry and Bellingcat: What you need to know about the scandal], Radio Svoboda, November 26, 2019, https://www.radiosvoboda.org/a/veterany-pravogo-kryla/30293529.html.
In the summer of 2020, National Corps members and supporters carried out several attacks on political opponents that they consider representatives of “pro-Russian” forces in Ukraine.
On June 17, 2020, National Corps, along with other nationalist organizations such as C14, clashed with demonstrators from the Party of Sharii, a fringe party commonly labeled in Ukraine as “pro-Russian,” that was founded by controversial political blogger Anatolii Sharii. The nationalist extremists attempted to attack the demonstrators on the street,See, for example: Tysyachnyi, “Видео массовой драки. На первых секундах …” [Video of massive fight. In the first few seconds…], Telegram, June 17, 2020, https://t.me/Vrade_1000/188. as well as in the metro after the rally.“У центрі Києва сталися бійки між націоналістами і прихильниками Шарія” [Fights break out in downtown Kyiv between nationalists and Sharii supporters], Espreso.TV, June 17, 2020, https://espreso.tv/news/2020/06/17/u_centri_kyyeva_stalysya_biyky_mizh_nacionalistamy_i_prykhylnykamy_shariya. While the ShariiKostia Andreikovets, “ На станції «Хрещатик» прихильники Шарія побили ветерана «Азова», на «Театральній» напали на людей блогера ” [At Khreshchatyk station Sharii supporters beat up an Azov veteran, the blogger's people were attacked at Teatralnaya], Babel, June 17, 2020, https://babel.ua/news/45503-na-stanciji-hreshchatik-prihilniki-shariya-pobili-veterana-azova-na-teatralniy-napali-na-lyudey-blogera. supporters responded in kind, they did not initiate the clashes as far as is publicly known.
In Zhytomyr on June 22, 2020, National Corps member Roman Borovyk beat up the local Party of Sharii leader, Serhii Nikulin.Yevhenyia Ivanova, “В Житомире избили главу местной ячейки партии Шария” [The head of the local Sharii Party branch was beaten in Zhytomyr], Vesti.ua, June 22, 2020, https://vesti.ua/lite/criminal/v-zhitomire-napali-glavu-mestnoj-yachejki-partii-shariya. That same day, a local Party of Sharii activist and his wife were attacked in Cherkasy.Anatloii Sharii, “Ещё одно нападение на сторонников партии Шария” [Another attack on Party of Sharii supporters], Telegram, June 22, 2020, https://t.me/ASupersharij/3553. Four Azov veterans were detained on suspicion of carrying out the attack.“В Харькове избили местного координатора «Партии Шария». Накануне он заявил полиции, что ему угрожает «Национальный корпус»” [Local Sharii Party coordinator was beaten in Kharkiv. The day before, he told police that the National Corps was threatening him], Graty, June 25, 2020, https://graty.me/news/v-harkove-izbili-mestnogo-koordinatora-partii-shariya-nakanune-on-zayavil-policzii-chto-emu-ugrozhaet-naczionalnyj-korpus. The day before, Cherkasy National Corps leader, Dmytro Kukharchuk, threatened Sharii's supporters in a video posted on Telegram.Toi samyi Kukharchuk, “6 років тому я пішов на фронт…” [I went to the front 6 years ago…], Telegram, June 18, 2020, https://t.me/slipo_ck/1035.
On the night of June 25, a Party of Sharii Representative, Mykita Rozhenko, was brutally beaten in Kharkiv.“Поліція Харкова розслідує обставини нападу на представника однієї з політичних партій” [Kharkiv police investigate attack on a representative of one of the political parties], National Police of the Kharkiv Oblast, June 25, 2020, https://hk.npu.gov.ua/news/xuliganstvo/policziya-xarkova-rozsliduje-obstavini-napadu-na-predstavnika-odnijeji-z-politichnix-partij-onovleno; “У Харкові побили координатора Шарія. Хто і навіщо міг на нього нападати?” [Sharii coordinator beaten in Kharkiv: Who and why would someone attack him?], Kharkiv Today, June 25, 2020, https://2day.kh.ua/ua/u-kharkovi-pobili-koordinatora-shariya-khto-i-navischo-mig-na-nogo-napadati. The day before, he said that he had received threats from the head of the National Corps’ central headquarters, Maksym Zhorin, and the local party leader, Konstiantyn Nemichev.“В Харькове избили местного координатора ‘Партии Шария’. Накануне он заявил полиции, что ему угрожает ‘Национальный корпус’” [Local Sharii Party coordinator beaten in Kharkiv. The day before, he told police that the National Corps was threatening him], Graty, June 25, 2020, https://graty.me/news/v-harkove-izbili-mestnogo-koordinatora-partii-shariya-nakanune-on-zayavil-policzii-chto-emu-ugrozhaet-naczionalnyj-korpus. Nemichev called on Facebook for a roving “safari”-style hunt for Sharii's supporters, wished Rozhenko “good luck,” and directed people to send him information about Party of Sharii members in Kharkiv.Konstiantyn Nemichev, “Коротко про Шара*бов” [Briefly about Shara*by], Facebook, June 18, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/kostyantin.nemichew/posts/149223240021293.
In a speech before party members from Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast on June 26, Biletskyi justified the attacks on Party of Sharii supporters. Biletskyi, using a slur referring to ardent and uncritical supporters of Russia, said that “vata [cotton wool] always brings a lot of blood. This great blood, great violence, is much worse and scarier than anything they are whining about so much right now.”National Corps, “Білецький: За червоними кульками йде «русская весна». Ми відповімо на неї гарячим українським літом” [Biletskyi: A «Russian spring» follows the red balloons. We will answer with a hot Ukrainian summer], YouTube video, June 27, 2020, https://youtu.be/ADvx9v7iXAI.
On August 25 in Kyiv, members of the National Corps clashed with representatives of Patriots - For Life, an organization headed by Illia Kyva, a bombastic MP from the Opposition Platform - For Life party, the successor to ousted President Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. During this attack, according to Patriots - For Life representatives,Telekanal ZIK, “ Представники Нацкорпусу здійснили напад на членів організації "Патріоти - За життя" ” [National Corps representatives attacked members of the organization “Patriots – For Life”], YouTube video, August 25, 2020, https://youtu.be/UxTdHEURAA4. National Corps attempted to abduct or murder the organization’s coordinator, Oleh Shyriaev. Shyriaev is the former head of National Corps’ Kharkiv branch, who fell out with Biletskyi supporters in 2018. Shyriaev has also been accused of corporate raiding.“Подозреваемый в рейдерстве Ширяев стал куратором организации Кивы” [Shyriaev, suspected of corporate raiding, became a curator for Kyva’s organization], Ukrinform, August 19, 2020, https://www.ukrinform.ru/rubric-polytics/3084045-podozrevaemyj-v-rejderstve-siraev-stal-kuratorom-organizacii-kivy.html. According to National Corps representatives, however, Shyriaev and his supporters initiated the attack.Oleh Pavlyuk, “У Києві побилися ‘Національний корпус’ і ‘патріоти’ Іллі Киви” [“National Corps” and Illia Kyva's “patriots” fought in Kyiv], Hromadske, August 26, 2020, https://hromadske.ua/posts/u-kiyevi-pochubilisya-nacionalnij-korpus-i-patrioti-dijshlo-do-strilyanini.
On August 27, a group of armed men attacked a minibus carrying Patriots for Life supporters on a highway near Liubotyn, Kharkiv Oblast. They set fire to the vehicle and beat up the passengers on board. Four victims were hospitalizedSee, for example: Case 953/13912/20, Kyiv District Court of Kharkiv, August 29, 2020, https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/91213882. and sixteen suspected attackers were detained.“У Харкові суд взяв під варту 16 підозрюваних у нападі на автобус ОПЗЖ” [Kharkiv court takes 16 suspects in the attack on the OPZZH bus into custody], Depo Kharkiv, August 30, 2020, https://kh.depo.ua/ukr/kh/u-kharkovi-sud-vzyav-pid-vartu-16-pidozryuvanikh-u-napadi-na-avtobus-opzzh-202008301208662. National Corps denied involvement in the attack.“Заява Національного Корпусу з приводу подій на трасі Київ-Харків” [National Corps Statement on the events on the Kyiv-Kharkiv highway], National Corps, August 27, 2020, https://nationalcorps.org/zayava-nacionalnogo-korpusu-z-privodu-podij-na-trasi-kiiv-harkiv. However, it launched a broad campaign in support of the detained attackers. Almost immediately after the suspects were identified, the links to National Corps or related organizations had emerged publicly.Viktoriia Roshyna, “«Невідомі патріоти». Кого харківський суд відправив в СІЗО за напад на автобус ГО Іллі Киви. Спецрепортаж” [“Unknown patriots.” Whom the Kharkhiv court sent to pre-trial detention for the attack on Illia Kyva’s NGO’s bus. Special report], Hromadske, August 31, 2020, https://hromadske.ua/posts/kogo-harkivskij-sud-vidpraviv-v-sizo-za-napad-na-avtobus-patriotiv-illi-kivi-specreportazh; Viktoriia Venk, “Фото с Билецким, лекции в школах, тату с Вальхаллой. Что известно о членах "Нацкорпуса", расстрелявших автобус” [Photos with Biletskyi, lectures in schools, tattoos with Valhalla. What is known about the members of the National Corps who shot the bus], Strana.ua, August 28, 2020, https://strana.ua/news/286642-kto-rasstreljal-avtobus-pod-kharkovom-chto-izvestno-o-chlenakh-natskorpusa-.html. Notably, the head of the Kharkiv branch of the National Militias, the paramilitary wing of National Corps, was among the arrested suspects. In addition, one of the cars the suspected attackers traveled in belonged to the head of the Dnipro branch of the National Corps.