Soldiers of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian) at a funeral ceremony
The divisional insignia was based on the flag and the coat of arms of the city of Lviv. The 14th SS Division was one of the largest all-volunteer military units formed by Nazi Germany on the occupied territories.
Members of Ukraine's neo-Nazi organizations carrying the insignia of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS during a commemoration ceremony in Lviv in 2010
The most common neo-Nazi emblem you will find in Ukraine today is the inverted version of the Wolfsangel - an old German heraldic emblem. Both Wolfsangel and its mirror image have been used in insignia designs of various SS and Wehrmacht units. The inverted Wolfsangel forms letters "N" and "I", which in Nazi symbolism represented the term "Nationale Idee" - a concept frequently used by NSDAP ideologists.
The inverted Wolfsangel seen on a flag during a demonstration in Kiev.
The exact reason for the popularity of the Wolfsangel among Ukrainian neo-Nazi is not known. The most likely explanation is that the symbol may be perceived as bearing similarity to Ukraine's coat of arms - the trident. Various versions of Wolfsangel were seen during the recent protests at the Independence Square (the Maidan) in Kiev.
The most prominent use of the inverted Wolfsangel was on the official logo of the Social-National Party of Ukraine formed in 1995, which later morphed into the "Svoboda" party headed by Oleh Tyahnybok.
Oleh Tyahnybok at a "Svoboda" party meeting.
Himself an admirer and proponent of the ideals of National-Socialism, Tyahnybok nevertheless took care to cleanup the party's image and replaced the Wolfsangel logo with something less obvious. However cosmetic were these changes, they allowed "Svoboda" to gain mainstream acceptance in western parts of Ukraine.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz (right) is meeting Arseniy Yatsenyuk (left) and Oleh Tyahnybok (center) in Kiev, December 2013
A different symbol widely used by Ukraine's neo-Nazi organizations is based on the Celtic cross - another ancient symbol put to use in Nazi Germany. The most common version of the design seen on flags, arm patches and other neo-Nazi paraphernalia in Ukraine is the simplified Celtic cross.
Here you can see the Celtic cross design on the shield of one of the protesters in Kiev attacking the riot police
The eighth letter of the Latin alphabet is "H" and for neo-Nazis worldwide the number 88 represents "HH", or "Heil Hitler". Interpreting this symbol requires some education and so it has not been commonly used by Ukrainian neo-Nazis. However, in the past couple of years it appears to have gained in popularity.
Swastika, the Celtic cross and 88 are seen on the wall of the Kiev city administration building vandalized by the Euromaidan protesters. The number 14 represents the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS.
Ukraine's rich history of collaborationism with the Axis powers during the Second World War left a deep scar in the fabric of the Ukrainian society to this day. Unfortunately for all of us, the threat of resurgent fascism in Ukraine is not a Kremlin fantasy. On the other side of the world political leaders claim that Russia is tarnishing its image by resorting to military intervention in Ukraine. What do they say about people who live in glass houses? By "standing shoulder-to-shoulder" (McCain, 2013) and "working hand-in-hand" (Kerry, 2014) with the unelected nationalist government in Kiev, Washington politicians would be well-advised to tone down the rhetoric and consider their own image.