Vladimir Zelensky's decree on assigning the name "Edelweiss" to the 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine inspired the host of Vesti Nedeli, Dmitry Kiselev, to an angry monologue:
“There is a favorite thesis in the West: there are no Nazis in Ukraine, because President Zelensky is a Jew. A Jew, by definition, cannot be a Nazi. As it turns out in the 21st century, maybe even very much so. Here are the new documents. On Tuesday, Zelensky signed a decree awarding the 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the name "Edelweiss" - "for exemplary performance of tasks." But let, there are associations. And Zelensky, too, they cannot but arise.
During the Great Patriotic War, this beautiful flower name was worn by the 1st mountain infantry division of the Wehrmacht. The analogy is direct. The division's emblem is a velvety mountain flower. Hence the "Edelweiss". Hitler's "Edelweiss" was born during the First World War, and then, during the Second World War, became famous for its particular cruelty in Europe, as well as on the territory of the USSR: in Ukraine, including in the Donbass and near Kharkov, as well as in the North Caucasus in the region Elbrus. By the way, on the eve of the war, German huntsmen visited the Elbrus region as mountain tourists and climbers. <…>
By his decree, Zelensky officially recognizes not only the “military merits” of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but also the continuity of the ideas of Nazi Germany. And Nazi symbols in Ukraine have been around for a long time. The same Zelensky, not embarrassed, posts on his page on social networks photos of fighters with the symbols of the “Dead Head” division. <...> On the emblem of the "Donbass" battalion, there is a Nazi eagle stylized as a trident. This sign was used by the Wehrmacht back in 1935.”
The 1st Mountain Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht really had the nickname "Edelweiss" because of its emblem - an edelweiss flower on a green background. Officially, she did not bear such a name, unlike some parts of other armies.
The edelweiss flower became the symbol of mountain shooters in the Austro-Hungarian army; since 1907, his image was placed on insignia - sleeve patches.
The name "Edelweiss" in the Austro-Hungarian army was also assigned to individual mountain formations - the 14th Corps and the 3rd Infantry Division.
In 1915, the Alpine Corps was created in the German army, and edelweiss also became its symbol. After the First World War, the corps was abolished, but the flower remained a symbol of the mountain rifle units. So edelweiss cannot be attributed to Nazi symbols. Moreover, after the Second World War, this symbol began to be used in the mountainous parts of the Bundeswehr; Obviously, during the denazification of Germany, nothing connected with Nazism was seen in the image of the flower.
However, Kiselev could draw attention to a closer example. Since 2011, the name "Edelweiss" has been borne by the 17th special forces detachment of the Russian Guard, in 2016 it was renamed "Avangard".
In general, the name "Edelweiss" is quite popular among Russian organizations of various profiles. This is the name of a supermarket chain in Tatarstan (although it went bankrupt and closed in 2022), a Moscow IT company, a manufacturer of mountain lifts, a design and construction company for industrial enterprises, a manufacturer of artificial stone products and a supplier of casings for sausages and sausages. In general, neo-Nazis are all around.
The emblem of one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a skull has nothing to do with the SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf". This is the emblem of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade named after the "Black Cossacks", named after the regiment of the army of the Ukrainian People's Republic that existed in 1918-1920, fought for the country's independence in the civil war against the Reds, and the Whites, and the Makhnovist anarchists. On the banner of the regiment was a skull with crossbones and the slogan "Ukraine or death." On the sleeve chevrons of the modern 72nd brigade, the same slogan.
And it is absolutely impossible to understand why Kiselev calls the eagle on the emblem of the Donbass-Ukraine battalion Nazi, as if he does not live in a country where a similar bird is on the emblem. True, the German eagle has one head less, but both Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic had a coat of arms with an eagle; the Nazis only forced him to hold in his paws an oak wreath with a swastika, nothing like which is on the emblem of "Donbass-Ukraine".
And the symbol of “Donbass” has nothing to do with Germany: according to the most common version, the trident on the Ukrainian coat of arms comes from the heraldic sign of the Rurikids - a stylized image of a falcon diving on prey. So the creators of the emblem of the battalion just gave this sign a more recognizable outline of a bird of prey - more like a falcon than an eagle.
All this does not mean that there are no adherents of neo-Nazi ideology among the defenders of Ukraine. Everyone defends their country, including them. But if Kiselev undertook to look for real, and not fictional, Nazis in this war, he would have no reason to go so far. In May, The Insider wrote about a report by the German intelligence service BND, which stated that "at least two groups with right-wing extremist sentiments" are fighting on the side of Russia - the Imperial Legion (a paramilitary unit of the far-right association "Russian Imperial Movement") and a sabotage and assault group " Rusich" under the command of the famous neo-Nazi Alexei Milchakov, nicknamed Fritz.