It has come to the attention of our organization, the Ukrainian Students Association at Stanford (USAS), that false and intentionally misleading information has been spread about a recent event on campus in which a Ukrainian defender and two members of the Association of Azovstal Defenders’ Families spoke about the horrors of Russian captivity and Russian aggression. We provided our comment upon a media request before the event, but it was omitted and never made available. To reiterate, the purpose of the event was to hear about the experience of a defender who survived one of the most crucial battles in the Russo-Ukrainian war and to give the Stanford community the opportunity to ask questions. The activists spoke about the importance of defending Ukrainian sovereignty in order to ensure the freedom and safety of all the peoples of Ukraine. The accusation that this event had any affiliation with nazism, fascism, or any extremist ideology is entirely fabricated and completely unfounded.
USAS is a multinational, multiethnic group committed to fostering equality, inclusion, and justice for all peoples. We condemn all forms of extremism, fascism, neo-nazism, and antisemitism. Our organization would under no circumstances invite any group or individual that upholds any of these hateful and condemnable ideologies. Our organization takes its cues today from Jewish leaders in Ukraine, including the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine who hosted and blessed defenders of Azovstal.
We want to emphasize that USAS is very proud of its Jewish membership and leadership. Our organization stands proudly with the Jewish community of Ukraine as well as the American-Jewish community. We believe that freedom for Ukraine means the freedom of every single ethnic and religious community. Our organization has zero tolerance for hate speech and hate crimes, and we are especially concerned about the recent rise of antisemitism on university campuses across the United States. We are grateful for all of the help and support that the Jewish community around the world provides to Ukraine and Ukrainians in these difficult times.
The Azov brigade has a strong position against nazism, and our organization would never have invited the speakers if we had reason to believe otherwise. We also recognize the importance of constructive feedback and dialogue. The entire video of the event is uploaded on YouTube, and we invite everyone to watch the full recording, as well as that of our previous event with Azov defenders in 2022.
We also suggest the following sources. We sincerely thank everyone for their engagement and commitment to democracy and freedom.
The New York Times “Last Stand at Azovstal”
NPR “Putin’s claim of fighting against Ukraine ‘neo-Nazis’ distorts history, scholars say”
The Jerusalem Post “Ukraine’s Azov Regiment visits Israel: ‘Mariupol is our Masada’”
Times of Israel “After 4 months in Russian solitary, Ukrainian officer visits Israel, tells his story”
Wall Street Journal “A New Masada Is Born in the Ukraine War”
The Atlantic “Ukrainians are defending the values Americans claim to hold”
Lens (Monash University) “Much Azov about nothing: How the ‘Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ canard fooled the world”
TabletMag “The Defenders of Mariupol”
Factcheck.org “The Facts on ‘De-Nazifying’ Ukraine”
Religious Information Service of Ukraine “Chief Rabbi of Ukraine asks Israel to save Azov servicemen”
SaluteUkraine “Chief Rabbi Blesses Azov Brigade Soldiers”
Vox Ukraine “Manipulation: Nazi ideas are widespread in Ukraine — Deutschland-Kurier”
Ukraïner “No, the members of Azov aren’t neo-Nazis”
Krytyka “Too Much Ado About Ukrainian Nationalists”
Euromaidan Press “How the West enabled genocide in Mariupol with its misguided Azov obsession”
Euromaidan Press “What is Azov Regiment? Honest answers to the most common questions”
The Washington Post “Months after Russian invasion, Meta is tweaking its content policies”
Reports disproving Russian propaganda fake reports on Nazis in Ukraine: https://tinyurl.com/5y35zxk5, https://tinyurl.com/bdhy2kj3, https://tinyurl.com/4ppr8ue8, https://tinyurl.com/4m6bhmvy, and a database that collects and disproves Russian “fakes”, filtered by a search result “nazi ukraine,” and that contains 223 entries as of July 13, 2023 — https://tinyurl.com/j57s7v8s.