Russian Attack Destroys Ukrainian Metal Merch Shop Tied to Artists With Racial Prejudice
Kolovorot, a heavy metal merchandise shop located in Kharkiv, Ukraine, has been destroyed as a result of the brutal invasion by Russian forces, in which civilian areas have been heavily targeted, despite the Russian government alleging otherwise. Both the shop and the Metal East Nove Kolo festival, which is largely organized at the place of business, are connected with artists with well-known racial prejudices and far-right political extremism, including anti-semitism, white supremacy and national socialism.
On the morning of Feb. 24, Russia officially invaded areas of the eastern Ukrainian border as president Vladimir Putin alleged his wartime objective was to "denazify" the neighboring country while coming to the aid of its self-proclaimed independent territories that had been formed by separatists.
Putin's claim has been widely regarded as bogus and insincere, masking a much more entangled and complex list of reasons, but the proliferation of Nazi ideologies by far-right extremists in Ukraine, however, is legitimate.
The Azov Battalion, a militia group that is an official member of the Ukrainian National Guard, was formed by a known white supremacist who has openly supported national socialism. Elsewhere, heavy metal artists with similar ideological affiliations are quite prevalent and occupants of the worldwide black metal sect dubbed NSBM — national socialist black metal.
Kolovorot's business dealings involved dozens of metal artists, many of which are not enmeshed with far-right extremists or politics and prejudice of any sort. One group frequently touted by the metal merchant was Nokturnal Mortum, whose past lyrical themes pertained to anti-Semitism. Current vocalist Knjaz Varggoth also was a previous member of the band Aryan Terrorism, a live member of Russian national socialist band Temnozor, and Warhead, who, in 2003, issued an album titled Aryan Nation's Rebirth.
Nokturnal Mortum were also tabbed by the Metal East Nove Kolo festival's organizers as one of the acts at the intended live event in June later this year. The shop's name also graced the top of a flyer for a 2019 show featuring Nokturnal Mortum, Graveland (a Polish black metal band with lyrical themes dealing in aryanism) and Burshtyn (a Ukranian black metal band formed by ex-members of pro-national socialist group Dub Buk).
Varggoth distanced himself from these political affiliations in 2014 by stating he no longer discusses his views, however, Nokturnal Mortum have continued to engage in activities with other notable NSBM artists, evidenced by the aforementioned 2019 show.
On Facebook, the festival lamented the destruction of the Kolovorot shop in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city and one that has been continuously shelled by Russian invaders who remain intent on capturing cities as part of the ongoing war.
"It is the very small part of the results of Russian invasion in Ukraine," read part of the post, which was accompanied by photos of the carnage.
"We are all in Ukraine now. We continue to fight for our land. We ask bands which have played at our festival, bands with which we have cooperated via Musical Hall/Kolovorot, all the customers and fans to spread the word and to help stop war in Ukraine. We will definitely win. And then we will see you all at Metal Fest: [Nove Kolo] and in the renewed Kolovorot," the statement continued.
It is important to note that in this reporting, Loudwire is not alleging the owners and operators of Kolovorot nor the Metal East Nove Kolo festival explicitly share the same ideological and political viewpoints of select aforementioned artists.
Nokturnal Mortum also shared evidence of the widespread destruction in Kharkiv, urging support for Ukraine and called the shelling of civilian areas "absolutely expected war crimes from these [Russian army] losers."