War in Ukraine: What is the “Russian Volunteer Force”, the neo-Nazi group accused of “terrorist attacks” in Russia?

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The Russian Voluntary Force is fighting Vladimir Putin’s Russia like Jupiter strikes on Russian soil. For its part, the Kremlin claims that Kyiv is behind these “terrorist attacks”. Who is “RDK” really fighting for?

The war would have gone beyond Ukrainian borders. Thursday, March 2, 2023 Vladimir Putin condemned a “terrorist” attack in the Bryansk region of southwestern Russia, near the border between Belarus and Ukraine. The attack was claimed by the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), described by the Kremlin as “saboteurs”.

Far-right Russian armed group

The Russian Volunteer Force is an armed organization created in August 2022 by Russian Denis Kapustin, also known as Nikitin. It is composed almost exclusively of Russians who immigrated to Ukraine and identified themselves with far-right ideology. This political affiliation distinguishes it from other organizations opposed to the Kremlin, such as the “Freedom for Russia” brigade, which is made up of deserters and volunteers from the Russian armed forces.

Another video of a different group of alleged “Russian Volunteer Corps” fighters near an alleged Russian mailbox in Bryansk Oblast. Gunshots are heard in the background. pic.twitter.com/FQpw8h4fbw

— Dimitri (@wartranslated) March 2, 2023

According to one of its commanders, the militants could be said to be “associated with the conservative right wing of the political spectrum”. RDK’s symbols even take on a fantasy linked to Nazi ideology. In fact, the fighters appropriated the symbols of the Russian Liberation Army, also known as the Vlasov Army, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. Among these symbols, for example, the “spike” used as the logo of far-right Russian Marshal Viktor Larionov.

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A well-known neo-Nazi leader

The group’s founder and leader, Denis Kapustin, is known as a neo-Nazi figure in Russia. He made a name for himself, particularly within far-right hooligan movements – in Germany and Russia – and organizing MMA fights. In a long article on Russian terrorism from 2018, Guardian It was specifically reported that Denis Kapustin had a portrait of Joseph Goebbels, one of the key leaders of the 3rd Reich, framed in his room.

Denis Kapustin reportedly arrived in Ukraine in 2017 to join other far-right Russian friends living in Ukraine. Among them, we can mention, for example, Sergei Korotkic. The latter was very close to the Azov brigade – a Ukrainian battalion created in 2014, independent Ukrainian media pointed out. Jaborona – The majority of members adhere to an ideology close to neo-Nazism. Ideas close to Denis Kapustin and members of the Russian Volunteer Corps.

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War in Ukraine: What is the Azov Regiment, the ultra-nationalist battalion that has become a symbol of Mariupol’s martyrdom?

Not annexed to Ukraine

If the RDK is fighting the regime in Russia, no links between the organization and the Ukrainian military have been proven. So it cannot be precisely said that the Russian Voluntary Force is acting at the behest of Ukraine as the Kremlin claims. Kyiv denies any interference in Russian territory. In the words of Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Ukrainian government, the RDK is made up of “people who take up arms against the Putin regime and those who support it.” But certainly not under the command of Ukraine.

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However, there is a suspicion due to the connections between Denis Kapustin, the head of the Russian Volunteer Force, and the Ukrainian military. the world and AFP This ambiguity makes it possible to feed Vladimir Putin’s campaign to justify the invasion of Ukraine by having to fight “Nazis running the country”.

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