Vatnik Soup
Soup number108
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Vatnik’s professionDebunk
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In other languagesEdelweiß Neonazieinheit (de)


In today’s #vatnik soup and the edition of “You pronounced this nonsense, not me”, I’ll discuss the rather novel “Edelweiss neo-Nazi unit” narrative that was also repeated in Putin’s speech of 21 Feb, 2023.

It’s worth noting that this part of the speech was borrowed from one of Putin’s propagandist, Dmitry Kiselyov, who claimed on state TV that Ukraine is “legalizing the fascist Edelweiss [unit]”. He’s a propagandist that deserves his own soup entry in the near future.

But let’s review what Putin said in his speech:

"Recently, one of the brigades of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, I’m ashamed to say, was named Edelweiss, same as a Hitler’s division that participated in the deportation of Jews, executions of prisoners of war, and punitive...

... operations against partisans in Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Greece. Neo-Nazis do not hide whose heirs they consider themselves to be. It is strange that no one in the West notices this."

Here Putin refers to the Ukrainian 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade unit specialized in mountain warfare. They have a long history of defending Ukraine: already in 2016 they were defending Donbas, and later they helped the Ukrainian war effort in Marinka, ...

Popasna, Mariupol and Bakhmut. On 14 Feb 2023, president Zelenskyy awarded the unit with a honorary title “Edelweiss”. This immediately got the attention of Russia’s propagandists, trying desperately to connect it to Nazi Germany.

There was a unit in the Wehrmacht (the armed forces of Nazi Germany), 1st Mountain Division, that really used the Edelweiss, a mountain flower, as their insignia. But the unit itself was never named that, unlike many other units around Europe. Some examples include the ...

...Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, Swiss Army generals and the 21st Rifles Brigade of Poland. Edelweiss was first adapted in Germany as an emblem already in 1907 and yet again in 1915. Incidentally, Edelweiss Group is also the name of an (evil neo-Nazi?) Indian company.

And here comes the funny part: Russia’s 17th special purpose detachment of Rosgvardia was named the Edelweiss (later changed to Avanguard) until 2018. Another Russian Edelweiss unit was the special forces of the Altai Republic in Southern Siberia, which also changed its name.9/11
Yet again, Russian propaganda doesn’t hold up against scrutiny. Of course their target audience resides in Russia, where this type of rhetoric will be very effective, as it is yet another “evidence” that they are fighting the “evil Nazis” again, ...

10/11 they did during the “The Great Patriotic War”. So, now that Putin has materialized this trope, one can expect more of “Edelweiss neo-Nazis” BS in the future, too.

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