The death penalty for corruption, the expansion of presidential power, and the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia – these are just a few of the policies proposed by the National Corps, a newly established right-wing political party created by the Azov Battalion.

The battalion, a Ukrainian National Guard unit often described as supporting neo-Nazi ideology and accused of human rights violations, presented its new political party and its rather radical statute on Oct. 14.

The political convention in Kyiv gathered around 292 delegates from all regions of Ukraine. Azov’s commander, Andriy Biletsky, was unanimously elected as the party leader for a four-year term.

“We will be different from other parties. Everyone will see it in 3-4 months. We won’t be a party for TV debates. We want to work on real projects and implement them ourselves, be it in the environment, or security, or extremely important issues of the moment,” said Biletsky in interview with Hromadske Radio.


The National Corps backs constitutional changes, including the expansion of presidential powers by granting the president the authorities both of commander-in-chief and head of the government. The party also wants to start a public debate on the restoration of the death penalty for treason, and for embezzlement by top-ranking public officials.

Moreover, the party wants Ukraine to rearm itself with nuclear weapons, and nationalize companies that were public property in 1991 when Ukraine gained independence.

In foreign policy, the National Corps supports the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia until its forces leave Crimea and the Donbas, and Moscow pays war reparation. In the meantime, Ukraine should focus on developing comprehensive cooperation with the Baltic and Black sea states.

Finally, the National Corps called for citizens to have the right to armed self-defense, which became a matter of debate in Ukraine in 2015.

Azov’s nationalist convention culminated with the Nation March in the evening, which it organized together with the Right Sector, another far-right organization.


An estimated 5,000 people walked with torches and flags from the Mother Homeland monument to St. Sofia Square chanting “Death to the enemies!” and “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes!”

“I joined the march because I believe in a free Ukraine,” said one young man wearing a face mask with the yellow and blue emblem of Azov Battalion, which resembles a Wolfsangel, a symbol associated with Nazism. “We have friends and relatives who fought or fight in the east. Our ancestors were Cossacks and also defended our homeland. We must never forget them.”

The launch of the party and march coincided with the Defender of Ukraine Day, a newly-established holiday that replaced a Soviet Defender’s Day that used to be celebrated in February. Ukrainian government chose Oct.14 as the date for the new holiday as it is an Orthodox holiday of Pokrova, or Intercession of the Theotokos, the holiday that was most sacred to Ukrainian Cossacks.

The government replaced the old Soviet holiday with the new one in an attempt to distance Ukraine from Russia after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the start of the Kremlin-instigated war in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of nearly 9,600 people to date.

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