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The Russian Volunteer Corps and its neo-Nazi leader
On Thursday morning, March 2, a few dozen armed men crossed over from Ukraine and raided two small towns in the Russian border region of Bryansk. The militants — described as “Ukrainian saboteurs” in hurried Russian news reports and later identified as soldiers in the so-called Russian Volunteer Corps — posed for some pictures, recorded a few breathless videos, and retreated back into Ukraine in short order. Conflicting reports followed about clashes with the incursion group: the Russian authorities said a couple of motorists were killed, but there are some odd inconsistencies in the footage later released by the Federal Security Service, while the militants themselves say they got into a shootout in one town but didn’t see anyone killed.
The March 2 incursion itself is fairly underwhelming, and it’s hardly the first of its kind in the Bryansk area, where Russia’s border with Ukraine is notoriously hard to defend. What makes the raid stand out is the leader of the group behind it: Denis Nikitin, a Russian neo-Nazi with a long history of far-right activism across Europe and especially, most recently, inside Ukraine.
For more about Nikitin and the Russian Volunteer Corps, The Naked Pravda spoke to journalist Michael Colborne, who heads the Bellingcat Monitoring Project and authored the 2022 book From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Movement and the Global Far Right.
Timestamps for this episode:
- (3:56) What is the Russian Volunteer Corps and who is Denis Nikitin?
- (13:49) What is Denis Nikitin’s ideology?
- (20:19) The ties between the Russian Volunteer Corps and Ukraine’s Armed Forces
- (24:23) Previous border incursions into the Bryansk region
- (30:57) Probably not a Russian false flag
Production, sound editing, and mixing by Kevin Rothrock
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