Analysis comment

Anger and denials over ‘nazi flag’ at TUC Ukraine fringe

Ukrainian miners’ union has links to far right

Amid widespread anger at the TUC’s motion of support for the anti-union Ukrainian regime, the appearance of a ‘nazi flag’ – apparently held up by a member of the AWL (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, which has been accused of pro-imperialist views – at a fringe event yesterday at this week’s TUC conference in Liverpool has raised more questions about the links of those pushing the motion:

The symbol is, in fact, the flag of the Ukrainian NPGU mining union, as a number of heavily pro-Ukraine accounts quickly responded, claiming that the image is a representation of a mining drill bit – but the objection does not resolve the questions about the presence of the the flag at a TUC event, because of the NPGU’s linked

According to an article on the World Socialist Website (WSWS) last year, NPGU president Mykhailo Volynets is a ‘self-acknowledged’ asset of the US government – with links both to the neonazi ‘Azov’ group and the ‘National Endowment for Democracy’, which is widely accused of being a ‘CIA front’ and using its activities against regimes the US dislikes:

Sotsyalyni Rukh also regularly promotes NPGU miners’ union president Mykhailo Volynets, who is a self-acknowledged US government asset. Volynets was awarded the AFL-CIO George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award for his support in the US-backed “Orange Revolution” that took place in Ukraine in 2004. In one 2015 article, Sotsyalyni Rukh featured Volynets “marking May Day by laying flowers at the monument to Ukraine’s revolutionary national poet, Taras Shevchenko.”

According to a March 2022 report by Covert Action Magazine, Volynets was photographed meeting with fascist Azov Battalion leader Ihor “The Suffocator” Kniazhanksy and attended a meeting in 2014 with American Federation of Teachers president and National Endowment for Democracy executive board member Randi Weingarten. Volynets is quoted in a 2005 [US-funded and CIA-linked broadcaster] Radio Free Europe article as saying, “Our protest movement grew into a workers’ movement. The Solidarity Center visited us,” and soon the leaders of “the strike committees became leaders of trade unions.”

The 2021 USAID report on the activity of Solidarity Center in Ukraine also states that the US government is working with the German government to develop grassroots forces on the ground in Ukraine: “The SC [Solidarity Center] program is designed to work with direct beneficiaries, who are primarily independent trade unions of Ukraine. SC also engages to varying extents with civil society organizations, the ILO Office in Kyiv, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Ukrainian Parliament and other foreign and local institutions present in Ukraine.”

Mykhailo Volynets (second left) with Azov’s Ihor “The Suffocator” Kniazhansky [Photo: Covert Action Magazine]

The NPGU symbol may be a drill-bit, but it also bears a strong resemblance to the so-called Sonnenrad (sunwheel or ‘black sun’, which has been described by US Jewish organisation the ADL as a ‘symbol of hate’:

A version in yellow, bearing an even stronger resemblance to the NPGU emblem, also appears on the crest of the ‘Azov’ group:

Whether or not the NPGU symbol resembles the ‘sonnenrad’ by design, the union’s links to the far right and the involvement of US intelligence services via alleged fronts and the TUC’s readiness to accommodate such groups and the motions they are pushing is a cause for concern for anyone not ready to swallow official propaganda uncritically – let alone the fact that the Zelenskiy regime used the Russian invasion as a pretext for an anti-worker law that immediately removed workers’ employment and collective rights last year and to seize control of critical media outlets.

SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you’d like to help it keep revealing the news as it is and not what the Establishment wants you to hear – and can afford to without hardship – please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep doing its job.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

%d bloggers like this: