SÃO PAULO – During the last two weeks, a small group of Brazilian bolsonaristas became social media celebrities as they crossed the border into Ukraine to fight against Russia – posing with assault rifles on Instagram, reciting prayers to the special forces, and sharing video monologues praising the brotherhood of people from around the world who had gathered in a training base near the Ukrainian city of Lviv to kill Russian “communists.” The group’s inexperience was demonstrated by the fact that most of their social media posts included their geo-location information.
This all changed following a missile attack on the training base near Lviv on March 13, after which a series of more humble photos and videos began cropping up on their Twitter and Instagram feeds.
From across the Polish border, Jefferson Kleidian posted a selfie brandishing an injured pinky finger and thanking God for one more day on Earth.
Andre Hack posted that he had lost friends at the base. Twenty-eight-year-old shooting-range instructor and Bolsonaro fanatic Tiago Rossi tweeted a video saying he had fled the base immediately before the missile strike. “Our entire legion was destroyed, the information I have is that everyone died. You don’t understand what it’s like to have a fighter jet fire a missile at you. I didn’t think it was a real war,” he said.
“You guys don’t understand what it’s like to have a jet shoot a missile at you.”
So war isn’t a movie or a video game.
Brazilian describes what happened when Russians missiles hit the base where the foreign legion was deployed.
Thanks to @BrianMteleSUR for translation. https://t.co/1HFcXi6zby pic.twitter.com/DZRPDQmiDP
— Margaret Kimberley (@freedomrideblog) March 14, 2022
What were these Brazilians doing in Ukraine in the first place? In order to answer that question, one has to look back at the resurgence of Nazi ideology in Brazil and the deepening relationship between Brazil’s neo-Nazi groups, which have grown by a staggering 270% since Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019, and Ukrainian neo-Nazi organizations like Azov….