A(zov)mazon: Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Regiment-themed Merch Appears on US Online Retail Giant’s Site

© AFP 2023 / GENYA SAVILOVUkrainian nationalists and servicemen of the Azov battalion demonstrate in Kiev. File photo
Ukrainian nationalists and servicemen of the Azov battalion demonstrate in Kiev. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
Accused by the UN of war crimes ranging from extrajudicial killings to torture and mass looting, Azov has nevertheless enjoyed substantial support from Washington and military assistance from the Pentagon, notwithstanding a 2019 push by dozens of US lawmakers to have the group designated a foreign terrorist organization.
At least five ‘Azov Battalion’-themed t-shirts and a coffee mug have appeared on Amazon.com in recent weeks, each featuring the group’s infamous neo-Nazi fighting force’s 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich-style rune logo and the light blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.
The shirts go for the low-low price of $18.99, while the Azov “Unisex” “Support Mugs” are on offer for between $15.95-$19.95, depending on the size. All of the merch appeared on the site over the past two weeks, with the first item spotted on 3 March.
© amazonscreenshot
screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2022
Amazon users roundly condemned the retailer for offering the items. “This is neo-nazi filth. Get it off the store!” one person urged. “It’s well documented that the Azov battalion is a neo-nazi organization. That symbol is the Wolfsangel and is an original Nazi symbol used in Nazi Germany,” another wrote. “Using Ukraine conflict as an excuse for neonazi propaganda,” a third chimed in. “I don’t understand why [Amazon] is selling neo-nazi merch,” a fourth complained.
The shirts and mug are the latest merch dedicated to the neo-Nazi fighting group that’s appeared on Amazon’s site in recent years. In 2017, the retailer offered the self-published book “Valhalla Express: The story of a nationalist, revolutionary, and volunteer” (the book has since sold out or been removed).
Amazon’s Italian and UK sites have featured their own Azov-themed merch, including at least one t-shirt design and an official-looking rubber patch, with the latter described as an item used by “soldiers anti terror operation Ukraine [sic].”
Formed in late 2014 as a group of neo-Nazi volunteer paramilitaries, Azov has since grown into a full-size regiment of over 2,500 troopers and been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, giving it access to weaponry ranging from howitzers, mortars and anti-aircraft guns to tanks. The regiment is based in Mariupol, the southeastern Ukrainian coastal city presently surrounded by Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic forces. There, Azov has been accused of indiscriminately targeting civilian areas during its retreat, and of using local residents as “human shields” against Russian and Donetsk People’s Militia forces.
Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2022
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Notwithstanding its UN-documented history of crimes, and openly neo-Nazi ideology and symbols, Azov has enjoyed strong support from the US security state and the Pentagon. A 2019 attempt by a group of over three dozen Democratic members of Congress to have the regiment designated a terrorist entity alongside the likes of al-Qaeda* and Daesh (ISIS)* was shot down by the State Department. Between 2019 and 2020, Foreign Policy magazine and the neo-conservative Atlantic Council think tank lobbied to make sure the group was not designated.
Late last month, after Russia and its Donbass allies launched a military operation to demilitarize and “de-nazify” Ukraine, Facebook inexplicably removed prohibitions against praising Azov on its platform.
Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
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* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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