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Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), a far-right paramilitary of Russians fighting on the side of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, claimed yet another attack on Russia’s FSB border service. Per a September 27, 2023 post to its Telegram channel, RVC’s attack “reduced [FSB’s] number,” although these claims could not be verified.
Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), a far-right Russian paramilitary fighting on the side of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, claimed it killed two members of Russia’s FSB security service while attempting to breach the Ukraine-Russia border. RVC posted photos of the obituaries for two FSB officers as part of its September 4, 2023 post to Telegram. However, its claims could not be verified.
Russian authorities acknowledged an attempt to breach the border in Russia’s Bryansk region, though no mention was made of the far-right paramilitary.
Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), a far-right paramilitary of Russians fighting on the side of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, claimed partial responsibility for a drone attack on a “military facility” in Russia’s Kursk region, per an August 30, 2023 post on the group’s Telegram channel. RVC’s claim could not be verified.
An August 27 drone attack in Russia’s Kursk region was reported by Ukrainian media and acknowledged by Russian authorities; however, no mention was made of RVC.
Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary unit Rusich announced it will halt all “combat missions” in Ukraine until the Russian government sees to the release of Yan “Slavyan” Petrovsky, a founding Rusich member allegedly arrested in Finland. Rusich’s August 25, 2023 announcement to its Telegram channel came one day after the Wagner-linked Telegram channel “Grey Zone” reported on Petrovsky’s arrest, suggesting he faces possible extradition to Ukraine. Petrovsky has since received an outpouring for support from Wagner-linked and pro-Russia channels alike.
Yan “Slavyan” Petrovsky, a founding member of Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary unit Rusich, was arrested in Finland in July, per an August 25, 2023 message from Rusich’s Telegram channel. Additional messages from the Wagner Group-linked channel “Grey Zone” claimed Petrovsky may face extradition to Ukraine and called on supporters to rally for the Russian government to bring him home.
The presumed death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin sparked an outpouring of anti-government outrage from far-right Russian militant groups involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. From neo-Nazi paramilitary Rusich to the US-designated terrorist group Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), all parties commonly expressed certainty of the Russian government’s responsibility while celebrating Prigozhin’s life.
Prigozhin loyalists threatened a second revolt on Moscow following their “confirmation” of the paramilitary leader’s death, according to August 23, 2023 messaging from a pro-Wagner Telegram channel. The channel, “Protest Movement ‘Wagner, Play,’” directly named Russian President Vladimir Putin as responsible for the “vile sabotage” that led to Prigozhin’s death, promising “punishment.” It is unclear if or to what extent the channel is connected to Wagner Group.
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private plane shot down by “air defense systems subordinate to the Russian Ministry of Defense” in Russia’s Tver Region, north of Moscow, per August 23, 2023 reports circulated by Wagner-linked Telegram channels. Supporters of the paramilitary group framed the event as “not surprising,” speculating it to be President Vladimir Putin’s revenge for Prigozhin’s short-lived rebellion against the Russian government on June 23-24.
Rusich, a Russian paramilitary led by neo-Nazi militant Alexei “Serb” Milchakov, once again commented on torturing captured soldiers, stating in an August 13, 2023 Telegram post that “captivity should be feared more than death.” The sentiment is consistent with previous claims of torture and execution made by Rusich, which has documented summary execution and recently called for the killing of Ukrainian women and children.
Rusich, a Russia-based neo-Nazi militant unit active in Ukraine, claimed the need to “kill all enemies regardless of gender or age” in an August 4, 2023 post to its Telegram channel. Rusich has gained a reputation for its brutality in Ukraine with claims of torture and summary execution of Ukrainian POWs.
A newly surfaced video appears to show Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and founder Dmitry “Wagner” Utkin addressing Wagner soldiers in Belarus, marking the former’s first significant video appearance since his failed revolt against the Russian government. In it, Prigozhin claimed the group would contribute to Belarus’ military standing, embrace a “new path” in Africa, and “maybe” rejoin the Russia-Ukraine conflict at some unspecific point. Utkin promised briefly that “the biggest work in the world will be done very soon.”
The July 19 video comes two days after another video announced Wagner will close its “Molkino” training base at the end of the month—a development Prigozhin acknowledges in this latest speech.
The Wagner Group paramilitary will permanently shut down its “Molkino” training base in the Russian town of Molkin, per a July 17, 2023 video circulated by several Wagner-associated Telegram channels. The base, which Wagner Group has reportedly used as its primary training site, is set to close at the end of July 2023. Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin did not appear in the video.
Denis Kapustin (AKA “Nikitin” or “White Rex”), the neo-Nazi leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) paramilitary fighting on the side of Ukraine, called on extremists from “both sides” to stop “mocking the memory of our fallen right-wing comrades.” The July 11, 2023 post on Kapustin’s Telegram channel was met with a mix of agreement and doubt that Russia-aligned far-right groups like Rusich would do the same. In a July 12 reply posted to its Telegram channel, Rusich claimed that it would honor Kapustin’s proposal.
Yevgeny Rasskazov (AKA Topaz), a Russian military commentator and member of neo-Nazi paramilitary Rusich, posted a rare English language message aimed at Westerners. Drawing on an array of popular far-right conspiracist narratives, the lengthy July 8, 2023 post told Westerners that “the war for Russia is a war for the freedom of your country.” The message, posted to the Topaz Telegram channel, drew support from self-described Americans, some of whom praised Russia as today’s Nazi Germany and mused about “armed civil unrest.”
Topaz, a popular war blogger and outspoken member of the pro-Russia neo-Nazi paramilitary Rusich, called on Russians to “add fuel to the fire of contradictions” in western countries amid violent protests in France, per a July 1, 2023 post on his Telegram channel. The call inspired many of Topaz’s subscribers to volunteer their help in the post’s comment section.
Pro-Russia paramilitary Wagner Group announced it would suspend its recruitment efforts in Russia’s regions, citing a temporary pause in its involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as its move to neighboring Belarus, per a July 2, 2023 post on Telegram.
“Antifascist Information Agency,” an online Russian publication trumpeting pro-Kremlin narratives, described Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s death as an opportunity for current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to consolidate her voter base in a June 13, 2023 article. Despite its “antifascist” branding, the outlet resembles other Kremlin-aligned propaganda operations, producing high volumes of content glorifying Russia’s activities in Ukraine while discrediting Western values and geo-politicking.
“Foundation to Battle Injustice” (FTBI, Фонд Борьбы с Репрессиями), a propaganda project linked to Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, spreads Kremlin-aligned narratives under the guise of a “human rights” organization. Headed by a US-convicted Russian money launderer, the project focuses on American foreign policy hypocrisy and domestic issues alike, describing “Biden’s America” as a “dictatorship.” FTBI also solicits communication from Russian victims of “Russophobia” abroad, requesting their email addresses, phone numbers, and descriptions of their incidents via a special contact form.
FTBI has been promoted by several Kremlin-aligned American influencers, some of whom maintain tens of thousands of followers on various social media sites.
Following Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived revolt between June 23 and 24, 2023, several far-right Russian paramilitary groups issued statements of support of Prigozhin on social media. The messages—made across the peak of Wagner’s escalations and the days of their early aftermath—varied between support and condemnation of Prigozhin’s actions. However, virtually all expressed common contempt for Russian military leadership. At least one group, “Espanola,” used the event toward recruitment outreach to disaffected Russian soldiers.
The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) lamented the rapidly escalating conflict between the Russian government and Wagner Group forces, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin. While RIM corroborated Prigozhin and affiliated factions’ accusations against Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and other military leaders, it accused Wagner Group of its own reckless pursuit of “political points.”
RIM’s statement came just after Wagner Group announced its revolt—and shortly before it claimed seizing a military base in Russia and embarking on a short-lived “march of justice” toward Moscow. Wagner Group framed its escalations as responses to an alleged Russian military attack against Wagner forces in Ukraine. Russia’s alleged strike came after Wagner Group and other paramilitaries rejected the government’s mandate for “volunteer” soldiers to sign contracts with Russia’s formal armed forces.
Ahead of the 2024 Presidential Election, Kremlin-aligned Telegram channels are meddling again US domestic affairs by attempting to skew public opinion in favor of Donald Trump.
The efforts are perpetuated by Russian channels, including one with over a half million followers. Related messages have paid little to no mention of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, instead focusing on US-specific conspiracy theories and culture wars—at times directly boosting Trump’s own denunciations of “political persecution” against him.
Far-right paramilitaries fighting on behalf of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are seeking to dissuade Russians from joining the formal military, urging instead to join their ranks. Such groups have included Wagner Group generally, as well as Rusich, a Wagner Group-affiliated paramilitary led by a neo-Nazi; and Espanola, an ultranationalist paramilitary. These outreach appeals come days after the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that all “volunteer” soldiers would be required to sign contracts with Russia’s formal armed forces.
Russian Volunteer Corps (Русский Добровольческий Корпус, RVC), a far-right Russian paramilitary fighting on the side of Ukraine amid the Russia-Ukraine War, brought a captured Wagner Group fighter into its ranks, per a video posted to its Telegram channel on June 11, 2023. Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin shortly after confirmed the POW as one of his own and threatened him with “a punishment worthy of a traitor.”
Kremlin-aligned group Cyber Front-Z (КИБЕР ФРОНТ Z) continues to recruit “patriots” while broadening its presence around Russia, per recent posts to its Telegram channel and VK account. The group, which lists “information warfare” and “cultural and patriotic projects” as its main functions, has furthermore documented expanding outreach activities across several Russian cities and Russian-occupied Crimea. It has also documented further activity at a St. Petersburg headquarters of the Wagner Group, which it boasts sponsorship from.
Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), a far-right paramilitary of Russians fighting on the side of Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war, coordinated military activities with Polish Volunteer Corps (PVC), per a June 4, 2023 post on RVC’s Telegram channel. PVC is a group comprised of Polish volunteer soldiers also fighting on the side of Ukraine.
Russian paramilitary Wagner Group announced that "active recruitment" to Africa continues. The message, posted on May 30, 2023, has circulated on several Wagner-branded VK pages and a Telegram channel and details contract specifics and contact information via phone, Telegram, and WhatsApp. This latest outreach was accompanied by a video, in which a Wagner fighter describes his new role in Africa after his contract in Ukraine expired.
Online influencer “Topaz,” an outspoken member of Russian far-right paramilitary Rusich, announced a fundraising drive for drones “that will be used for murder,” per a May 29, 2023 post to his Telegram channel. The announcement listed a Russian credit card number and target sum of money to be raised.
Edited footage of Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sparked an ongoing wave of threats across Russia-aligned Telegram channels. The edited clip includes Graham’s utterance about “Russians dying,” which pro-Kremlin channels spun as celebration of Russian’s deaths, giving way to all from conspiracist and antisemitic musings to calls for American deaths, retaliation, and another 9-11.
An Iraqi citizen died last month fighting with the Russian Wagner Group in the war-torn Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, marking the first known case of a Middle East native killed in the conflict. The fighter, identified as Abbas Abuthar Witwit, died from a “severe wound” on April 6 during “fierce” battles in the city.
Responses from Shi’a militant outlets have amplified the news, praising Witwit in Kremlin-aligned terms as a fighter for a “multipolar world.”
Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer and hawkish agitator popular in Kremlin-aligned social media circles, formed an alliance with far-right Russian figures seeking more extreme action in the Russia-Ukraine war, per an April 2, 2023 post on Girkin’s Telegram channel. The alliance, named “Angry Patriots Club” (Клуб рассерженных патриотов, APC), was established in partnership with pro-Russia extremist group Other Russia, among others. In 2022, a Dutch court found Girkin, along with two others, guilty of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed all 298 passengers and crewmembers.
“Russian Volunteer Corps” (Русский Добровольческий Корпус, RVC), an ultranationalist paramilitary made up of Russians fighting on the side of Kiev in the Russia-Ukraine war, claimed it crossed the border into Russia’s Belgorod region as part of an offensive. RVC’s message came the same day Belgorod officials announced that a Ukrainian “sabotage group”—reportedly comprised of RVC and another paramilitary called Liberty of Russia Legion—had engaged with Russian forces there.
Russian Imperial Movement (RIM)—a far-right Russian group designated by the US as a terrorist organization in 2020—announced an upcoming “drone pilot training course.” The course is slotted for May 26-May 28, 2023, and will include building instructions for use in battle, per a message from RIM’s military training wing, Partizan.
“North-Slavic Community” (Северо-Славянская Община, NSC), a Russian ultranationalist paramilitary linked to the Wagner Group, announced a fund-raising drive for a “humanitarian trip” to cities in occupied Ukraine. NSC described the initiative in a May 15, 2023 post to its Telegram channel and VK page.
NSC has permanently stationed at the Wagner Group’s headquarters St. Petersburg, Russia, and regularly held events at the location since January 2023, documenting lectures, weapons courses, and other activities. In this time, North-Slavic Community has functioned as a de facto mouthpiece for Wagner Group’s recruitment calls, fundraising campaigns, and military activities.
Interbrigades, the paramilitary wing of Russian ultranationalist group Other Russia, boosted the recruiting efforts of “Donbass Volunteer Union” (Союз Добровольцев Донбасса, DVU) on VK and Telegram. Active since 2015, DVU is a Kremlin-aligned separatist group that “unites defenders of the Russian world” and assists “in the employment of volunteer [fighters] and militia,” per its social media biography sections.
Kremlin-aligned communities lambasted a video posted to Telegram by the CIA on May 15, 2023, in which the agency encourages Russians to reach out with sensitive information and share the “truth.” In response, pro-Kremlin bloggers and influencers circulated parody videos focusing on social strife in the US while encouraging viewers to instead assist Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR.
Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary group Rusich lauded the Wagner Group while accusing Russia’s military brass of “treason to the Motherland.” The statements echo Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s ongoing rants against Russia’s military leadership, the most recent of which issued as Ukrainian forces make significant counter-advances in the war-torn city of Bakhmut. Rusich has been reported as an associated faction of the Wagner Group.
Following a meeting with Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, Cyber-Front Z (КИБЕР ФРОНТ Z), a pro-Kremlin group active primarily on Telegram and with limited presence on VK, has declared its registration as a public organization in Russia, marking yet more status elevation for the group. Cyber-Front Z has served as a Wagner mouthpiece over the past year, regularly calling for recruitment into Wagner’s ranks, spreading news of the PMC’s military activates, and glorifying Prigozhin.
Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), designated as a terrorist group by the US in 2020, has broadcasted donation and recruitment calls across social media platforms such as Telegram, VK, and YouTube. On April 18, 2023, Denis Gariyev—head of the Imperial Legion, RIM’s paramilitary arm—appeared as a guest on RIA Katysha (РИА Катюша), a “patriotic internet media channel” boasting over 54,000 subscribers. Gariyev called on able-bodied Russians to participate in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin denied his network’s involvement in Sudan following reports it has supplied weapons to Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary. Prigozhin issued the statement in a series of posts on Telegram and VK, in which he also offered to mediate negotiations as clashes between RSF and government forces escalate in the capital of Khartoum.
The conflict broke out last weekend, pitting army units loyal to Sudan’s military ruler, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, against the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the ruling council.
A message circulating across several Wagner Group-linked VK accounts and Telegram channels called on members to join the paramilitary organization for roles “around the world.” The message did not specify the country, conflict, or initiative to which such recruits would be deployed. However, group admins indicated that Wagner would take foreigner fighters, a trend SITE reported on last year.
Interbrigades, the paramilitary wing of unregistered Russian political party “Other Russia,” is calling for funds to finance its drone reconnaissance activities in Ukraine. In an April 14, 2023 post on its Telegram channel, Interbrigades listed electronics, drones, and spare drone parts, among other desired items, providing credit card and contact information for those wishing to contribute. The post, which has garnered over 10,000 views, also includes a video boasting previously acquired equipment intended for use on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces.
Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a US-designated terrorist organization, established a new branch dedicated to cyber-attacks against Ukrainian websites. Dubbed “Imperial Cyber-Legion” (Имперский Кибер-Легион), the branch promotes successful cyber-attacks and publishes instructions for others to participate in attacks.
Imperial Cyber-Legion, which also serves as a mouthpiece for RIM’s broader messaging campaign, complements RIM’s Imperial Legion paramilitary branch and Partizan military training center.
Cyber-Front Z (КИБЕР ФРОНТ Z), a pro-Kremlin group which works closely with Wagner and recruits for the paramilitary, promoted theories of US-developed bioweapons in Ukraine on its 120,500-thousand subscriber Telegram channel.
Both Interbrigades and Española, ultranationalist pro-Kremlin paramilitaries, are active in the war against Ukraine and have posted regular calls for donations and equipment, as previously reported by SITE. On April 30, 2023, Interbrigades posted a message to its official accounts on Telegram and VK featuring three “Española drone pilots,” indicating that fighters were training in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Donetsk and that Interbrigades had provided Española with equipment.
Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a far-right Russian group labeled by the US as a terrorist organization in 2020, created a fundraising Telegram channel to outfit its Imperial Legion paramilitary wing, which is currently fighting in Ukraine.
Created on April 9, 2023, the channel was dubbed “Imperial Legion.Behind the Lines.” (Имперский легион.Тыл.) and featured on RIM’s official VK page and Telegram channel. Its posts list items needed for paramilitary activities in Ukraine and donation instructions, including credit card numbers, contact information, and physical addresses.
“Russian Legion” (Русский Легион), the paramilitary wing of ultranationalist group Russian National Unity (Русское Национальное Единство, RNU), documented a “humanitarian” tour of Russian-occupied Ukraine. The update was made on April 29, 2023, to its 14,000-member VK page and 610-subscriber Telegram channel, the former of which it uses to raise funds.
RNU, based in Moscow and founded in 1990 by far-right ultranationalist Alexander Barkashov, espouses highly nationalistic and expansionist views, claiming the Russian people were “chosen to preserve True Orthodoxy.”
Wagner Group Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that his forces killed a “citizen of the USA” in the ruined Ukrainian city Bakhmut. In a video appearing on a pro-Kremlin Telegram channel on May 16, 2023, Prigozhin displayed what appears to be the identifying credentials of Nicholas Dwain Maimer, a “reserve retired” U.S. Army staff sergeant.
“Topaz,” a prominent Russian war commentator and member of neo-Nazi paramilitary group Rusich, made a series of posts in support of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, suggesting Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu’s “execution” may be warranted. The posts to his 75,000 subscriber Telegram channel were made in reference to a scathing video address by Prigozhin, in which he lambasted Russia’s top military brass and threatened to take his forces out of the war-torn Ukrainian city Bakhmut.
Wagner Group leaderYevgeny Prigozhin triggered calls across pro-Russia Telegram channels for a “people’s revolt” against the “traitors” in Russian military leadership. Such messages were made after Prigozhin threatened to withdraw from the hotly contested Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, citing a lack of logistical and material support from Russia’s top military brass.
The Russia-based neo-Nazi group Rusich announced it would be conducting a series of comprehensive military training course for beginners in St. Petersburg, which are set to take place over the rest of April.
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