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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Debunked: Protesters outside Russian embassy in Dublin were not chanting Nazi slogans
Putin claimed his invasion was to ‘de-nazify’ Ukraine

A VIDEO SHOWING protesters outside the Russian embassy in Dublin misleadingly suggests that the slogan they are chanting means that they are Nazi sympathisers.

The slogan is actually an anti-Russian chant that came into widespread use during Euromaidan, a series of protests against politicians who sought closer ties to Russia. There is no evidence provided in the video that the protesters are Nazi supporters.

 Two videos feature a woman, who describes herself as Russian, showing clips of Ukrainian crowds, she claims are Nazis, chanting.

 Both videos were originally posted to TikTok, though the uploader’s channel is no longer available.

However, both videos are still available on YouTube, and a copy of the second video has since been viewed more than 48,000 times on Facebook.

In her first video, the Russian woman plays a video of a protests outside the Russian embassy in Dublin and says of it: “These are the uncultured swines that are after flooding Europe. Absolutely no doubt Nazi supporters.” She goes on to call the protesters “Ukrainian fucking pigs”.

A caption on the video implies it was taken 5 months after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

 In a later video, the woman plays a clip from a rally she says is from Ukraine in 2014 (The Journal has verified that the footage of that rally was filmed in front of the Drohobych City Council in Lviv Oblast, and an earlier, clearer video featuring the same clip was posted to YouTube in March, 2014).

 The woman tells her audience: “Those are all Stepan Bandera sympathisers and supporters. Nazi group sympathisers and supporters.”

 She continues: “That was a real hate protest inciting to kill innocent Russian people. And now, in a moment, you will see a video behind me that I made about their protest in Dublin.”

The woman again plays the clip of the protest outside the Russian embassy in Dublin, and says: “Notice the similarities in the protest. The main difference: it’s in Ireland.”

 The claims feed into Kremlin misinformation about Ukraine which seeks to justify the country’s ongoing war there by claiming that Ukraine is a Nazi state. 

 Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February that his invasion of Ukraine was to “de-nazify” the country, among other war aims, and supporters of the Kremlin have regularly spread misinformation alleging that the Ukrainian leadership are Nazis. 

What the videos show

The woman is right that the earlier video, taken in Ukraine, contains images of supporters of Stephan Bandera, a leader of a far-right Ukrainian nationalist movement, who died in 1959.

A portrait of Bandera can be seen on one of the buildings in the background and one red and black flag, associated with nationalist groups, such as Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army, can be seen flying in the crowd.

However, the overwhelming majority of flags seen bear the yellow and blue of Ukraine and there is no reason to suppose that the entire crowd “are all Stepan Bandera sympathisers and supporters”.

Moreover, the question of whether Bandera should be considered a Nazi is complex.

While he, for a time, collaborated with Nazi Germany, he was also imprisoned by for years in a concentration camp by the Nazis, who opposed Ukrainian statehood.

Modern admirers of Bandera often focus on his struggles against both the Nazis and the Soviets while downplaying his connections with Hitler’s regime.

However, there is no evidence presented that the Dublin protesters support either Nazis or Bandera. No red and black flags are flown, no Bandera portraits are displayed, and no pro-Nazi symbols are visible.

The chant

 The chant heard in both clips of Ukrainian crowds is “Кто не скачет, тот москаль” or, “whoever isn’t jumping is a Moskal” – a derogatory term, originally for people from the Moscow region.

“There is a difference between ‘Moskal’ and ‘Russian’,” said Alla Pavlutska, a Ukrainian student in Ireland who helped The Journal by verifying the Ukrainian translations.

“Traditionally it meant ‘soldier of Russian Empire’,” she said, but the term is now usually used to refer to those who support Putin or the Russian invasion.

 One Russian political scientist said the “whoever isn’t jumping is a Moskal” chant, which is also popular at football games, is used primarily as a joke to get people to move and therefore to stay warm in the cold.

 Similar chants (with the word “Moskal” replaced) have been recorded in verified videos of Russian political protests, as well as of Czech sporting events since at least 2010.

Pavlutska told The Journal there was “no language of hate” in the clip taken from the Russian Embassy in Dublin.

 The videos suggesting that Ukrainian protesters outside of the Russian embassy had Nazi sympathies are therefore misleading. There is no evidence to support such a claim.

 Videos arguing that they must be neo-Nazis because they used the same chant as seen in a clip taken during the Euromaidan uprising. However, that clip simply shows one flag celebrating a Ukrainian nationalist in a large crowd with many other flags.

The chant heard at the Dublin protest is popular throughout Ukraine and has no pro-Nazi implications. 

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.