Ukraine’s Young Falcon’s
A Sokil woman member looks through the sight of a sniper rifle at a forest training camp on the outskirts of Kyiv.
The Sokil (Falcon) nationalist youth organisation’s predominantly teenaged members are trained in Ukrainian nationalist history, self-defence, combat first aid, mixed martial arts, military tactics and how to handle weapons by veterans of Ukraine's five year long war with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.
The origins of the Sokil nationalist youth groups dates back to the First World War period when they were banned after the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe. The Sokil organisation in Ukraine was reinstated in 2006. Today, the organisation is training young members to defend their country from possible invasion by Russia and educating them in socially conservative nationalist ideology.
Emphasis on clean living and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and drugs is part of their training and an important ideology of the movement. For the parent’s of many of the children who join, the nationalist youth groups are viewed as a healthy and positive influence on their development.
There are now many patriotic youth organisations in Ukraine and across Europe, particularly in the eastern and Baltic states. Their primary goal is to preserve the traditional values of their societies. All these groups have core political goals in common - they are anti-immigration and do not want western Europe’s ideology of liberalism and multiculturalism to take root in their countries.
The youth movements are attracting many new members and their political position, once perceived as radical, is increasingly seen by many Europeans as not only valid, but increasingly as desirable and the norm.
In Ukraine, presently at war with Russia-backed separatists in the east, the nationalist movements and their youth wings are viewed by the government as ideologically crucial with some organisations even receiving government funding. - 0 seconds