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Hoods Hoods Klan (HHK)

Insurgency Overview

The Hoods Hoods Klan (HHK), also known as the Arsenal Kyiv Hooligans, is a Ukrainian anti-fascist and anti-racist unit part of the Resistance Committee founded in 2006. Originally football ultras supporting Arsenal Kyiv, they reformed into a battalion within the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) to fight against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, even keeping the colours of their club as a battle standard. They were the first hooligan formation in Ukraine to declare themselves as anti-fascist officially.


Before the establishment of HHK, most of its founding members were active in the hardcore punk scene, participating in gigs and at various venues, where fights with right-leaning individuals were common. This shared background fostered a common culture and a sense of unity within the emerging hooligan supporter group, which began to rally around Arsenal Kyiv Football Club in the mid-2000s. Arsenal Kyiv, originally established in 1925 by workers of the Arsenal Factory and dissolved in the 1960s, was reformed in 2001. (1), (2)

Thus, the HHK’s political combat traces back to its very creation. Historically, the Ukrainian ultra scene tends to be dominated by far-right ideologies; by openly claiming to be anti-racists, the Arsenal Kyiv Hooligans immediately became enemies with most of the other football-supporting formations, and notably with the supporters of Dynamo Kyiv, their eternal rivals. (3)

As individuals, members of the HHK participated in the 2013 Euromaidan uprising. The Euromaidan movement, beginning in November 2013 in Ukraine, was a response to the government's decision to prioritise ties with Russia over European integration. This significant political protest centred in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti square, evolved from demanding EU integration to broader calls for political reform and anti-corruption measures. The protests, initially focused on EU integration, quickly escalated into a broader call for political reforms, anti-corruption measures, and the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych. Despite facing violent crackdowns, the movement culminated in February 2014 with Yanukovych fleeing the country. (1) (4)

The Euromaidan, while advancing Ukraine's democratic aspirations, indirectly contributed to the annexation of Crimea by Russia and heightened tensions in the Donbas region, leading to secessions and the War in Donbas, where individuals from the HHK also fought, notably in Donetsk. (5) (1)

The HHK took its actual form in 2022. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the group joined the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) as a battalion, before getting deployed to the Eastern front, where they still fight today. (3) (6)

Objectives and Ideology

As mentioned above, the HHK was originally an ultra organisation, fervent football fans who embrace a deep sense of community, identity, and loyalty toward their local football club.

More precisely, the HHK primarily engaged in football hooliganism, focusing on supporting their team, Arsenal Kyiv, and confronting rival fans and far-right activists. Their activities were centred around the football culture, with a notable stance against fascism, racism, and homophobia within the football community. Their involvement in physical confrontations was more about asserting dominance in the football fan scene than broader, organised, political objectives. (1)

Although the geopolitical destiny of Ukraine held importance for some HHK members, it was only upon joining the TDF in response to the Russian invasion that the group’s focus shifted significantly. Their objective transformed into defending Ukrainian territory against Russian advances, viewing the Russian military as embodying the authoritarianism and imperialism they opposed and giving a direct application of their principles in a broader geopolitical conflict. Their transition from football hooliganism to active military action implied a truce with traditionally opposed far-right groups, which are also part of the TDF. However, the HHK maintains their official stance against fascism and racism. (1) (3)

Arsenal Kyiv's professional team was dissolved in 2019, though their junior teams continue to compete in city competitions and it is unclear if the HHK maintains an active presence in the football scene while engaged in military activities. It seems that their focus has entirely shifted towards addressing the immediate concerns of the conflict in Ukraine, and yet they conserve the mention “Arsenal Kyiv Hooligans” on their Instagram page, now used to raise funds for their ongoing fights with the Russian forces. (2) (6)

Military/Political Abilities: 

Having a background in football hooliganism, HHK members have partaken in violence as civilians. As mentioned above, some affiliates had previous military experience during the Russian invasion of Crimea and the following uprisings in Donbas. The HHK is part of the Resistance Committee, also known as the Black Headquarter, a coordination body for anarchist and anti-authoritarian fighting groups within the TDF. The commander of both those organisations, Yuriy Samoilenko, died on the front on September 10th 2022. Although The HHK is under the command of the Ministry of Defense which supplies arms and ammunition, all the rest (from kneepad to medi-kit, from bulletproof vests to vehicles) come from international donations. This support can be direct or passed through Operation Solidarity, a humanitarian organisation​ which — amongst other objectives — helps anti-authoritarian fighters during the Russo-Ukrainian war. (3) (7)

Approach to Resistance

Like most anti-fascist entities, their approach to resistance is primarily violent, from fist fights near stadiums during peacetime to active military training and engagement in the Ukrainian East. The group has built up an international reputation, particularly in left-wing militant circles, giving it legitimacy to engage in interviews and public statements. (1)

International Relations & Potential Alliances 

As we have seen above, the HHK has formed alliances with various anti-authoritarian, anarchist, and anti-fascist groups within and outside Ukraine, especially through the Resistance Committee or Operation Solidarity. It is worth noticing that the HHK has made a truce with right-wing groups fighting alongside them against the Russian forces. (1) (3)

Pro-Group and Anti-Group Perspectives 

Pro-group perspectives view the HHK as a valiant force defending their country against an oppressive invader and/or against fascism and imperialism. The anti-group perspectives are more diverse. First, supporters of the Russian invasion obviously criticise the HHK defence of Ukraine. Some far-right Telegram channels also describe them as “degenerates”. Finally, criticism has emerged from the international anti-authoritarian camp as well: the HHK’s truce with right-wing formations during this wartime has led to accusations of betrayal of antifascist principles and has negatively impacted their image. (8) (9)

Works Cited (Chigaco Style)

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