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Canadian Parliament Applauding Former Nazi or Canada Applauds Nazi SS Soldier refers to the contentious event on September 22nd, 2023, in which Yaroslav Hunk, a 98-year-old man, was celebrated and given applause in a Canadian parliament session during a speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This action quickly became controversial online once it was noted that Yaroslav was a former SS Waffen soldier (the combat branch of the Nazi Party's paramilitary organization), subsequently resulting in widespread discourse, backlash and memes.
On September 22nd, 2023, the Canadian Parliament and Justin Trudeau invited Ukrainian President Zelensky to speak. Also invited was the 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunk, who was praised for his work in Ukraine fighting against the Russians prior to his immigrating to Canada in later years. The moment in which he was congratulated by the surrounding members of parliament was captured and reuploaded to social media shortly after.
On September 24th, 2023, the X account @UnityNewsNet uploaded the moment and added the key information about him previously fighting for the Waffen SS, as during that time period the Nazis in Ukraine were fighting back against the Russians who were allied forces (shown below).
A 98-year old was given standing ovation by the Canadian parliament during Zelensky's speech.
He was hailed as a hero for fighting against the Russians.
Yaroslav Hunk fought for the 14th division of the Waffen SS. pic.twitter.com/1J2lNywBM5
— UNN (@UnityNewsNet) September 24, 2023
In the following days, the Canadian government attempted damage control as the moment garnered controversy online, with Trudeau speaking out publicly against the backlash. On September 25th, 2023, X user @KanekoaTheGreat uploaded footage of Trudeau saying to stay vigilant against Russian-sponsored propaganda and that the people of Canada support those in Ukraine, causing many to call him out for perceivably dodging the blame for the incident (shown below).
NEW – Justin Trudeau blames Russian propaganda for Canadian Parliament honoring a Nazi.
"Obviously, it's extremely upsetting that this happened… this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada…
It's going to be really important that all of us push… pic.twitter.com/Zvk5ytkxmC
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) September 25, 2023
Following clips of the Parliament session on September 22nd, 2023, numerous users online reacted to the controversial moment as it spread online.
For example, content creator and YouTuber Mutahar (Some Ordinary Gamers) was one of the most vocal online voices denouncing the event, QRTing the initial video and adding on his own take in which he doubled down when receiving pushback for him saying that anyone who fought for the Nazis needs to be shot in the head (shown below).
The support shown to the Nazi by the Canadian Parliament also reignited the internet debate surrounding Nazis in Ukraine that have been shown fighting on the side of Ukraine against Russia — particularly the Azov Battalion, a former paramilitary neo-Nazi group that became a part of Ukraine's National Guard.
An ongoing issue present with the Ukraine Invasion, and often cited as one of the reasons Russia has given to justify its initial assault, images of Zelensky posing with different Ukrainian soldiers while having visible Nazi emblems and symbols started to get posted to social media again. For example, on September 24th, 2023, X user @wyattreed13 uploaded several of these photos purportedly showing Zelensky posing with and posting Nazis on his official Instagram (shown below).
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