Notorious ultra-nationalist leader Aleksandr Muzychko has been shot dead by Ukrainian special forces after going on the rampage amid Ukraine's current turmoil. Muzychko’s death followed many years of unpunished militant activity in neo-Nazi organizations.
Born in Russia’s Urals in 1962, Muzychko served his military duty in Tbilisi, Georgia, and then got his first experience of warfare in Afghanistan as he served side-by-side with fellow Soviet troops.
As the Soviet Union fell, Muzychko joined the militant wing of the radical nationalist Ukrainian UNA-UNSO organization to fight against his former fellow citizens.
Aleksandr Muzychko (C) with members of UNA-UNSO in Kiev.
Serving as combat instructor, propagandist and recruitment officer, Muzychko soon rose up the ranks of neo-Nazi groups.
Muzychko attends a meeting of Ukrainian nationalists, 1990s
Muzychko, who also went under the name of Sashko Bilyi, came to prominence for his part in the first Chechen War, in which he headed a militant group of Ukrainians fighting alongside the Chechen separatists.
Aleksandr Muzychko aka Sashko Bilyi in Chechnya
Muzychko personally tricked Russian forces into a deadly ambush and bombed Russian tanks – acts he later proudly admitted in interviews on camera.
According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, in 1994-95 Muzychko tortured and killed at least 20 captive servicemen, breaking officers’ fingers, poking their eyes out and cutting the throats of some of his victims.
Aleksandr Muzychko posing with a dagger in Chechnya.
Returning to Ukraine, Muzychko started a business and engaged in criminal activities. In the local underworld he acquired the reputation of a shell-shocked psychopath, frequently indulging in aggressive and violent behavior.
Muzychko attacking procedural solicitor in prosecutor office in Rovno in February 2014.
Despite several criminal cases launched against him by the local authorities, Muzychko got away with most of his antics, portraying himself as an icon of Ukrainian nationalism.
Parade of Ukrainian nationalists with veterans of Nazi units and Aleksandr Muzychko (L)
However, he had to serve a three-year jail term in the early 2000s for kidnapping and torturing a businessman, from whom Muzychko and his accomplices were demanding money.
Right Sector coordinator Aleksandr Muzychko posing with a young member of nationalist organization.
Muzychko again rose to prominence amid the recent anti-government riots in Ukraine as radicals quickly hijacked the protest movement.
Aleksandr Muzychko (C) with members of the Right Sector group on Kiev's Independence Square.
Here we see him brandishing a Kalashnikov, shouting: “I dare you to take my gun!” to a group of horrified regional deputies…
Ukrainian nationalist Muzychko armed with AK-47 threatens Rovno regional parliament on February 26, 2014.
And here, he’s threatening to drag a local prosecutor to a lynch mob “like an animal” because the clerks’ “f**king time is over”…
In yet another clip, we see Muzychko vowing to fight “communists, Jews and Russians” with a gun in his hand in a speech on Kiev's Maidan (Independence Square).
But intoxicated with the atmosphere of lawlessness in Ukraine, Muzychko failed to realize when enough was enough, even for the “allied” coup-imposed authorities in Kiev.
Right Sector neo-Nazi coordinator Aleksandr Muzychko.
Promising to hang the country’s interior minister “like a dog” for daring to threaten to arrest him, Muzychko proclaimed there was no higher authority in Rovno than his Right Sector thugs.
Afraid of persecution, he then claimed in YouTube videos that special operations of the Kiev government and the Russians are waged against him.
Muzychko was shot dead during a Ukrainian police raid in Rovno on March 25, with controversy immediately surrounding his death.
Russia, which earlier put Muzychko on an international wanted list for his militant activity in Chechnya, has said it will not recognize the nationalist leader is dead until an official notice arrives from Kiev.
But although the thuggish figure in military fatigues did have a history of “resurrections” to escape the rule of law, it appears this time that Muzychko/Sashko Bilyi is gone for good. His legacy may be dividing an already polarized country, even in death.