Hundreds of foreign volunteers have joined Ukraine’s eastern separatists in the last few years. The Kiev government claims they are puppets of Putin, used to expand the Russian empire. The volunteers describe themselves as modern versions of the left-wing International Brigades from the Spanish Civil War.
Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Spaniards, Brazilians, and others can be found in the ranks of separatist militia units. Despite the guns and uniforms, few get to see the front lines. The separatists prefer to put them to work away from the fighting in ruined villages where they soak up Novorussia propaganda and take pictures of homeless refugees. They tell their compatriots back home about the horrors of a united Ukraine in internet chats and interviews.
The volunteers are men, mostly young and right-leaning despite the rhetoric about fighting fascism. Margarita Kaempfer-Seidler is a rare female volunteer. This blonde 45-year-old German former paramedic has been all over the internet condemning Kiev, fascism, NATO, the EU, and America.
Who is she and why does she support Ukrainian separatism?