Tsagaan Khass (White Swastika) Rebrands as Environmental Warriors

Members of Tsagaan Khass. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The leader of the Mongolian neo-Nazi group Tsagaan Khass (“White Swastika”) hasn’t changed his mind about Adolph Hitler. Indeed, Ariunbold Altankhuum, 40, is still very much in awe of the infamous dictator.

Rather, the group is merely shifting its focus away from fighting foreigners to fighting to protect mother nature.

Yes, “White Swastika” is going to save the environment by battling pollution and “foreign-owned mines,” The Guardian reports.

The group “has only 100 or so members but it is one of several groups…that are linking nationalism and resources as foreign firms seek to exploit the mineral wealth of the vast country, landlocked between Russia and China,” the report notes.

“Based in an office behind a lingerie store in the Mongolian capital, the shaven-headed, jackbooted Tsagaan Khass stormtroopers launch raids on mining projects, demanding paperwork or soil samples to be studied for contaminants,” the report adds.

Neo-Nazis are now personally invested in the well-being of the planet. What could possibly go wrong?

“Before, we used to work in a harsh way, like breaking down doors,” Altankhuum told Reuters. “But now, we have changed and we use other approaches, like demonstrations.”

Dressed in black, SS-style uniforms with replica Iron Crosses, “White Swastika”  members go about the area questioning mineworkers.

“Today our main goal is to save nature. We are doing things to protect the environment,” Altankhuum said. “The development of mining is growing and has become an issue.”

The group says it used to battle the influx of foreigners but it has since changed its position on that issue and is now more worried about pollution caused by mining operations.

“We used to talk about fighting with foreigners, but some time ago we realised that is not efficient, so our purpose changed from fighting foreigners in the streets to fighting the mining companies,” Altankhuum said.

Still, many Mongolians are concerned about foreign workers taking all the good mining jobs.

“Mining is important because it’s 90% of our economy,” said political commentator Dambadarjaa Jargalsaikhan. “But the unequal channelling of this revenue, the inequality in this country, that’s the major issue.”

But that’s not to say Mongolians are about to align themselves with Tsagaan Khass because, you know, it’s difficult to side with a group whose leader openly professes his admiration for Adolph Hitler.

“The reason we chose this way is because what is happening here in Mongolia is like 1939, and Hitler’s movement transformed his country into a powerful country,” said Altankhuum.

Click here to read more on the mining situation in Mongolia.

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Featured image Dan Chung for the Guardian.