Republicans and Democrats alike have rallied in support of Ukraine after Russia's unprovoked invasion, but the war is tearing apart white nationalists and other right-wing extremist groups.
The war has exposed longstanding fault lines within the white nationalist movement, whose adherents are viewing the conflict through the “framework of antisemitism [and] pro-authoritarianism,” according to one expert who monitors these groups, and the resulting conflicts could splinter their fragile alliances, reported The Daily Beast.
“The division within the movement is pretty stark,” a spokesperson for one unidentified white nationalist group told the website.
White nationalists can't decide whether Vladimir Putin's stated goal of "demilitarizing and denazifying" Ukraine is a direct attack on their own ideals or a battle against "globalist" -- by which they mean Jewish -- threat to white Christian civilization.
“Which of these two… factions… should Whites support?” asked one poster on a white nationalist forum. “None, they’re both as bad as each other….”
Some have denounced the Russian president as a member of a "globalist" cabal, and they have accused Putin of using the war to divert attention from the elitist plot to manipulate the pandemic to force a "great reset" to weaken the U.S. and the West.
Still others believe "Putin is a Christian King sent by God to free Christendom from the clutches of the Jewish homo agenda," as one prominent white nationalist recently put it.
“A lot of white nationalists have pre-packaged narratives that leave them unsure how to interpret this,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “This is a totally confusing picture for a lot of them to look at."
Experts say the current schism is a common reaction to large-scale events, such as the aftermath George Floyd's murder, when white nationalists split over challenging police authority, but any situation where ill-informed bigots become riled up presents the possibility of violent overreaction.
“It may make some people feel the need to double down and perhaps even act out on their beliefs,” said Amy Cooter, a sociologist who studies white nationalists.