How Russians end up in a far-right militia fighting in Ukraine
the #Russian_Volunteer_Corps (RVC), a unit made up of Russians fighting against their own country alongside Ukrainian forces.
The RVC was founded by Moscow-born Denis Kapustin, also known as Denis Nikitin or by the nom de guerre White Rex. The Antifascist Europe monitoring project says he is a neo-Nazi and white supremacist.
Nikitin, who declined to be interviewed for this article, has frequently described himself as a nationalist fighting for a Russia that belongs to ethnic Russians though has rejected the neo-Nazi and white supremacist characterisations.
[...] The presence of Russian far-right groups on both sides of the conflict is also a sign of an ideological fracturing of Russia’s ultranationalist movement, said political scientist Mark Galeotti, head of London-based Mayak Intelligence consultancy and author of several books on the Russian military.
Groups seeking a restoration of Russia’s historic power are facing other outfits, like the RVC, that oppose Putin’s invasion and want to see a smaller, ethnic Russian state, he added.
“Some think that Ukraine’s struggle against the evil Russian empire is their cause. And there are some who think that fighting for the motherland is their cause,” said Galeotti, naming the #Rusich_Group and #ENOT_Corp among far-right paramilitary units fighting on Russia’s side.
[...] The RVC hit the headlines in March when it claimed responsibility for a cross-border raid into Russian territory, which Putin denounced as a terrorist attack and said the fighters involved had opened fire on civilians in a car, including children. The governor of the border region said the attack had killed two people and wounded a boy of 11.
A senior member of the RVC called Vladimir, with the nom de guerre Cardinal, told Reuters via Signal call in February that the unit numbered up to 200 fighters, though Reuters was unable to independently verify that figure.