Ukraine’s “Bogeyman” Rattles Sabers Against Obama

May 25, 2014 at 4:54 PM ET

A pro-Russian militia leader with an almost mythical status in lawless eastern Ukraine is now threatening to go after U.S. President Barack Obama and his so-called “Jewish-masonic lodge.” In a wildly racist online video, that uses the “N-word” to describe President Obama, he also claims that his forces have captured an American soldier.

Considered one of the top leaders of pro-Russian forces in the Donbass region, Alexander Mozhaev gained his reputation mainly because of Kiev’s claim that he belongs to the Russian Secret Service. Kiev has also circulated pictures of a heavy-bearded man resembling Mozhaev participating in the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. While the claim is questionable, it also earned him his nickname—Babai—which is Russian for Bogeyman.

Now, in an online video that’s gone viral in Russian social networks, Babai claims that his forces have captured, and perhaps already killed, an American soldier sent to help Ukrainian forces.

Using a racist Russian term for blacks, Mozhaev says the American had a skin color “just like you, Obama.” He adds, “We will send him back to you with a new hole, so that you’ll know what’s waiting for you. Remove your forces from here!”

The claim that the U.S. is helping Kiev fight the pro-Russian forces by sending soldiers has been used as an excuse by the militias to battle the Ukrainian government and call for Russian involvement. There is no proof of that on the ground.

Mozhaev is a symbol of the anarchy that exists in eastern Ukraine since the Russians took over Crimea. The 36-year-old is a proud Cossack—an ethnic minority long known as ruthless mercenaries who did what could delicately be called “police work” for Russia over the centuries, some of which included the persecution of Jews.

Babai disclosed to a reporter that he and his friends were bored and “sitting around” after the annexation of Crimea, so they decided to go where they were needed: eastern Ukraine. There, while making incoherent statements, talking about “freemasons” and “Jews,” he now leads a force 2,500 strong.

In his latest video, which was possibly posted to deny rumors that he was seriously injured, Mozhaev gives a short interview, threatening the U.S. in general and Obama in particular.

“We have evidence for American presence here,” he says. “When we arrive to Kiev and we find out that you didn’t evacuate your people yet, we’ll gather a group of Cossacks and come to the U.S. to *** your *** Judeo-masonic lodge.”

On the web, the video is used by both sides to strengthen their cases. “This clarifies the true identity of the separatists—they are fascists,” writes Alexander Khomenko on VK. “Come to Kiev. We will quickly shut down your Rambo mode.” On the video’s YouTube page, which already gathered more than 70,000 views, a pro-Russian user comments, “Congrats Babai! Beat the Jewish scumbags!” Another wrtites: “Obama, be quiet! Babai might come for you!”