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Russian mercenaries in the Donbas

Russ­ian mer­ce­nar­ies in the Donbas

Who they are, where they came from, what they represent


Although Vladimir Putin has so far stopped short of a full-scale inva­sion of East­ern Ukraine, he has used mer­ce­nar­ies trained by the Russ­ian mil­i­tary to orga­nize anti-government acts in the region. Who are these sol­diers and where did they come from? A num­ber of web­sites and blog­gers have pro­vided pro­files of some fight­ers. It is evi­dent from these pro­files that the core group was trained by Russ­ian mil­i­tary instruc­tors, mostly in Krasnodarskii Krai in the Kuban. Some of the fight­ers have dubi­ous pasts, all hold extrem­ist right-wing views.

One blog­ger writes that the upris­ing in the Don­bas is dri­ven by socio-economic griev­ances rooted in poverty, cor­rup­tion and local mis­rule. He argues that far-right forces from Rus­sia have taken con­trol of the upris­ing and are try­ing to chan­nel the population’s anger and frus­tra­tion by get­ting them to sup­port a Russ­ian nation­al­ist plat­form. So far the expected wide­spread sup­port has not mate­ri­al­ized. Despite the ‘ref­er­en­dum’ of May 11, polls con­sis­tently show that the vast major­ity of peo­ple in the Don­bas region oppose both sep­a­ratism and Russ­ian rule. The blog­ger argues that when the extrem­ist views espoused by many of the mer­ce­nar­ies become bet­ter known there will be even less sup­port for the inter­ven­tion­ists (Tolko­va­tel, http://​ttolk​.ru/​?​p​=​2​0​508). In Slo­viansk the recent attacks upon and loot­ing of Romani (Gyp­sies), dis­tri­b­u­tion of anti­se­mitic leaflets, and hunt for Ukrain­ian speak­ers is in line with the racist views of these mer­ce­nary forces (See http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​p​r​o​-​r​u​s​s​i​a​n​-​s​e​p​a​r​a​t​i​s​t​s​-​l​o​o​t​-​a​s​s​a​u​l​t​-​r​o​m​a​n​i​-​i​n​-​s​l​o​v​i​a​n​sk/)

Over the last few years Russ­ian author­i­ties have nur­tured far-right para­mil­i­tary groups by sup­port­ing recon­struc­tion­ist groups (who rebuild tsarist mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions and reen­act bat­tles), knife-fighting clubs, biker gangs (the Night Wolves are Putin’s favourite gang), and detach­ments of Cos­sacks. Vladislav Surkov is con­sid­ered the first to come up with the idea of plac­ing extreme right-wing groups ‘at the ser­vice of the Moth­er­land.’ In the century’s first decade, as deputy-head of the Pres­i­dent Putin’s admin­is­tra­tion with respon­si­bil­ity for inter­nal pol­i­tics, he decided to dis­rupt polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion groups of all kinds (from fol­low­ers of Eduard Limonov’s National Bol­she­vik party to antifas­cists) by using vio­lent gangs recruited from foot­ball fans. Then the neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion BORN (Bat­tle Orga­ni­za­tion of Russ­ian Nation­al­ists) appeared, and imple­mented more rad­i­cal ways of ‘solv­ing’ the ‘oppo­si­tion prob­lem’ by killing human rights activists and jour­nal­ists (See Lynch, http://​balka​nist​.net/​r​i​g​h​t​-​w​o​r​l​d/2).

Here are some of pro­files of indi­vid­u­als fight­ing in the Donbas.


1. Strelkov-Girkin
The leader of the ‘Don­bas self-defence’ force is Igor ‘Strelkov.’ His real sur­name is Girkin. He was born in 1970, and comes from Moscow. An avid recon­struc­tor of his­tor­i­cal events, he loves to dress up in the uni­forms of the White armies who fought in the South, and to reen­act the cam­paigns of the Vol­un­teer Army of South Rus­sia from the period 1918-1920. He took part in reen­act­ments of the ‘War of 1916’ in 2009 and the ‘Civil War’ in 2010. He has also par­tic­i­pated in reen­act­ments of Russia’s impe­r­ial wars.
From June 1993 until July 1994 he served as a rifle­man in a com­pany of guards. Then in 1995 he was on con­tract ser­vice, mainly as deputy com­man­der of a pla­toon. His last ser­vice was ‘direct­ing the strug­gle against inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism’ while work­ing for the Russ­ian FSB (Secu­rity Ser­vice). It is rumoured that he was fired from the FSB in the autumn of 2013.




[Strelkov dur­ing var­i­ous reen­acted battles]

The SBU (Ukrain­ian Secu­rity Ser­vice) calls him an agent of Russia’s GRU (Main Intel­li­gence Direc­torate) and says he has vis­ited Ukraine on a num­ber of occa­sions, trav­el­ling on a Russ­ian pass­port. The jour­nal­ist Oleh Kashin has stated that Strelkov was intro­duced to him as a mem­ber of the GRU on 2 March, dur­ing nego­ti­a­tions over the Crimea (See Kashin’s inter­view,  http://​sput​niki​pogrom​.com/​r​u​s​s​i​a​/​1​1​6​7​3​/​t​h​e​y​-​s​a​y​-​i​t​s​-​p​r​e​t​t​y​-​b​e​a​u​t​i​f​u​l​-​i​n​-​m​a​g​a​dan).

Strelkov has given inter­views to broad­cast­ers as a mil­i­tary expert. In 2013 dur­ing one broad­cast on the Arab Spring he dis­cussed anti-partisan war­fare in the fol­low­ing terms: ‘The basis for suc­cess in wars of the new type is [to under­stand that] these are pre­ven­ta­tive, spe­cial­ized, not large-scale mil­i­tary oper­a­tions. Hav­ing removed a few lead­ers in time, per­haps not always through legal means, these oper­a­tions pre­serve thou­sands and thou­sands of lives, entire regions. This is pre­cisely how the armed forces and spe­cial oper­a­tions of Israel oper­ate, and the results are obvi­ous: in spite of the hos­tile envi­ron­ment, the safety of Israeli cit­i­zens is much higher than in any other coun­try of the Far East’ (Strelkov pro­file, Crime​.in​.UA, http://​crime​.in​.ua/​s​t​a​t​t​i​/​2​0​1​4​0​4​2​9​/​s​t​r​e​l​k​o​v​-​p​o​r​t​ret). Clearly, he is capa­ble of lead­ing a cam­paign of assassinations.

Strelkov-Girkin took part in the Crimean events of February-March 2014. He arrived there in late Feb­ru­ary, shortly before the build­ing of the Crimean par­lia­ment was occu­pied. The SBU has informed that at the begin­ning of March 2014 he received an order from Moscow to begin large-scale ter­ror­ist oper­a­tions in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (See Ukrain­ska Pravda, 16 April 2014).

Strelkov has given an inter­view in which he describes his ‘Don­ests self-defence’ force in the fol­low­ing way: ‘This home­guard has many vol­un­teers from other regions. The detach­ment with which I came to Slo­viansk was formed in Crimea. I will not hide this fact. They were all vol­un­teers, and two-thirds were cit­i­zens of Ukraine.’ He goes on to claim that many of these peo­ple, who ‘are now cit­i­zens of Ukraine,’ fought with the Russ­ian armed forces in Chech­nia and the Mid­dle East. Some fought in Iraq and Yugoslavia in the ranks of Ukrain­ian forces. Some were even in Syria’ (Strelkov-Girin inter­view, http://​www​.kp​.ru/​d​a​i​l​y​/​2​6​2​2​5​.​7​/​3​1​0​7​725).

But where did the para­mil­i­tary forcess that have appeared in Ukraine and are active in the ‘Don­bas self-defence’ come from?  Below is a now well-known pho­to­graph of one of the first Russ­ian mil­i­tary groups sent into the Don­bas. Mem­bers of this group were soon involved in the dis­tur­bances in Slo­viansk and Kram­a­torsk. Var­i­ous sites have iden­ti­fied these men and posted their profiles.


Many trained in Belorechensk in the Krasnodarskii Krai region of the Kuban with a com­pany called the ‘Terek Wolves.’ Two of these men, Babai and Pono­maev, are eas­ily iden­ti­fied on the pho­to­graph. In other pho­tographs the insignia of the ‘Terek Wolves’ can be seen on many of them.


The sym­bol derives from that of Andrei Shkuro‘s ‘Terek Wolf Com­pany,’ a detach­ment of emi­gre Cos­sacks who fought for Nazi Ger­many dur­ing the Sec­ond World War (Babiak).  Shkuro com­manded a ‘Cos­sack Reserve’ that was deployed in Yugoslavia against Josip Tito’s par­ti­sans and was exe­cuted on 17 Jan­u­ary 1947 by the Soviet Union.


2. ‘Babai’-Mozhaev
‘Babai’ (real name Alek­sandr Mozhaev) has become some­thing of a celer­ity in the Russ­ian media’s pro­pa­ganda cam­paign in sup­port of mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in the Don­bas. The blog­ger Tolko­va­tel informs that most peo­ple with his pro­file would have avoided pub­lic­ity: Mozhaev is wanted in Rus­sia on crim­i­nal charges (for either hooli­gan­ism, or attempted mur­der). Forced to flee crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings, he first went to Crimea and from there to the Don­bas (http://​ttolk​.ru/​?​p​=​2​0​508).



Despite his grey beard, which makes him appear fifty, Mozhaev is only 36. After serv­ing in the Russ­ian army, he made money in small-time crime and trained in mil­i­tary activ­i­ties. He lived in Belorechensk in Krasnodarskii Krai, where he trained with the ‘Terek Wolves.’ It turns out that many of these ‘sol­diers of for­tune’ are from Belorechensk and were trained in the same com­pany by two for­mer spe­cial ser­vices men (report­edly FSB offi­cers). Tolko­va­tel states that although Mozhaev defines his views as monar­chist, ‘this does not pre­vent him from pos­ing against a back­ground of Nazi regalia.’


3. ‘Dingo’-Evgenii Pono­marev
Born in Belorechensk, the 39-year-old Pono­marev was an offi­cially reg­is­tered Cos­sack with a police badge. Offi­cially reg­is­tered Cos­sacks receive finan­cial and orga­ni­za­tional help from the gov­ern­ment, includ­ing a monthly salary, for police work. These Russ­ian Cos­sacks from the Kuban were hired for police work dur­ing the Sochi Olympics. Some were video­taped beat­ing the Pussy Riot mem­bers who tried to stage a protest. Pono­marev was an active mem­ber of the ‘Terek Wolves’ and can be seen in the ini­tial group pho­to­graph above. The blog­ger Tolko­va­tel describes him as ‘a neo-Nazi.’



[First: shown stand­ing next to ‘Babai.’ Sec­ond: in his Cos­sack uniform]

4. ‘Berkut-Kobr’-Tkachenko
The nick­name of this ‘sol­dier of for­tune’ is ‘Berkut-Kobr’ (also known as Vladislav Valenti­novich Tkachenko). Born in 1975 in Omsk, he fought in Chech­nia and is trained in gun shoot­ing and knife-fighting. He likely also spent time train­ing in Krasnodarskii Krai.



The pho­to­graph above (first) shows him pos­ing in the uni­form of a ‘Cos­sack’ and the sec­ond one shows him in the uni­form of the Ger­man Wehrma­cht, the army of Nazi Ger­many. There are allegedly also pho­tos in which he wears a Nazi SS uni­form (See Berkut-Kobr, http://​www​.gar​mata​.org/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​d​i​v​e​r​s​a​n​t​i​/​s​e​p​a​r​a​s​t​i​/​1​1​0​-​b​e​r​k​u​t​-​k​o​b​r​-​t​e​r​o​r​i​s​t​-​c​h​a​s​t-2).

Rus­sians from the Kuban Cos­sacks served Hitler dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. In fact, over a mil­lion Rus­sians served in Hitler’s armed forces. Ger­man sta­tis­tics from 1943 place the fig­ure at 800,000. An estimted 120,000 served in Andrei Vlasov’s Russ­ian Lib­er­a­tion Army (ROA) and another 120,000 in var­i­ous Russ­ian SS divi­sions. A list of these is avail­able in NovaUkraina​.org http://​novaukraina​.org/​n​e​w​s​/​u​r​n​:​n​e​w​s​:​1​9​5​1​5C2 (in Ukrain­ian). Below (first) is a pho­to­graph taken of  Cos­sacks in Hitler’s army. Some Cos­sack for­ma­tions were part of Vlasov’s mil­i­tary for­ma­tion. On the sec­ond one is a recruit­ment poster for Vlasov’s army; it calls for vic­tory at any price.



[Source of photo: NovaUkraina​.org http://​novaukraina​.org/​n​e​w​s​/​u​r​n​:​n​e​w​s​:​1​9​5​1​5C2]

Much of this imagery and many of the slo­gans have been appro­pri­ated by today’s Russ­ian mer­ce­nar­ies. It is inter­est­ing that the Russ­ian sol­diers who fought for Hitler also wore the St. George ribbon.


 5. ‘Evgen Zloi’-Tarasov
‘Evgen Zloi’ (real name prob­a­bly Tarasov, Tarasenko, orTara­siuk) was born in Sim­fer­opol in 1985. He fin­ished school no. 3 in the city.


[Source Evgen Zloi web­site: http://​vk​.com/​i​d​2​2​9​6​8​5​502]

On the pho­to­graph above he is shown with an auto­matic rifle stand­ing in front of the gov­ern­ment build­ing in Slo­viansk. The site that ini­tially broke this story indi­cates that he is wear­ing the St. George rib­bon and pen­dant (http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​e​d​-​t​h​e​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​m​e​n​-​o​f​-​v​k​o​n​t​a​k​te/). If this is true, the pen­dant in ques­tion might look like this:


The above image is among the pho­tographs on Evgen Zloi’s webpage.


Another ver­sion of the pen­dant is taken from the web­site of Anton Moro­zov, also a mer­ce­nary in the ‘Terek Wolves.’ The image in the cen­tre is a swastika and is the offi­cial logo of the neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion called Russ­ian National Unity.

Racist imagery can also be found on the site of ‘Evgen Zloi.’ The fol­low­ing is an example:



Evgen-Zloi’ claims to belong to the ‘Don Cos­sacks of Crimea.’ He also did his train­ing in the Cos­sack detach­ments of Kuban (prob­a­bly with the Belorechensk ‘Terek Wolves’). Tolka­chov describes him as ‘a neo-Nazi of the Slavic type.’ The blog­ger means that ‘Slavic’ is treated by these peo­ple as a racial cat­e­gory, in the same way as ‘Ger­manic’ or ‘Aryan’ was by Hitler’s Nazis.


6. Tikhon Karet­nyi
This indi­vid­ual has also been iden­ti­fied as train­ing with the Belorechensk ‘Wolves’ and has been described as a Slavic neo-Nazi.


[Source: http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​e​d​-​t​h​e​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​m​e​n​-​o​f​-​v​k​o​n​t​a​k​te/]

It is not known where he worked recently or how he made his liv­ing. How­ever, he is in close con­tact with the other men who were involved in the action in Slo­viansk, and the SBU has sug­gested that he is prob­a­bly one of the peo­ple in the group photo at the begin­ning of this article.


7. Zheka Kovalov (Evgeny Kovalyov) 


[Source: http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​e​d​-​t​h​e​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​m​e​n​-​o​f​-​v​k​o​n​t​a​k​te/]

Another fighter from Belorechensk, he is shown above wear­ing the insignia of the ‘Terek Wolves.’ His web­site allegedly con­tained Nazi and ultra-nationalist sym­bols. If so, they have been removed. It is replete, how­ever, with mil­i­taris­tic, sex­ist, racist, and homo­pho­bic post­ings. One image cel­e­brates Stalin as ruth­less manager:


The cap­tion reads: The Russ­ian team needs a trainer like Stalin: ‘If you don’t win gold, we’ll send you to dig for it!’


The quo­ta­tion from Vladimir Zhiri­novsky reads: ‘Don’t force chil­dren to learn Eng­lish. Let them learn how to use a Kalsh­nikov machine gun. Then the whole world will start speak­ing Russian.’


The cap­tion reads: ‘An insult to a person’s exter­nal appear­ance is the deep­est, because no one chooses how they are born.’ The crowd of chil­dren doing the insult­ing are of Asian appear­ance, while the insulted boy is Cau­casian. [Source of images: Evgeny Kova­lyov, http://​vk​.com/​i​d​1​8​1​9​1​4​606]

8. Anton Morozov


[Source: http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​e​d​-​t​h​e​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​m​e​n​-​o​f​-​v​k​o​n​t​a​kte/]

Moro­zov is from Irkutsk. In his youth he was a mem­ber of the National Bol­she­vik party, which blended fas­cist with bol­she­vik ideas and sym­bols, and crit­i­cized Putin. Moro­zov then he moved into Dugin’s Eurasian Union. He pro­motes a ‘healthy style of life’ and is a rod­nover (a mem­ber of the ‘native believ­ers,’ a neo-pagan sect). Known in his home town for burn­ing the Israeli flag in pub­lic, he has spent time in semi-legal para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions. Morozov’s web­site con­tains some anti­se­mitic imagery.


The above pho­to­graph por­trays two Has­sidic Jews and the cap­tion reads: ‘Two Poles meet by acci­dent: Rabi­novich and Martsinkevich.’


In the above he is shown burn­ing the Israeli flag.


9. Edvard Pitersky


Piter­sky iden­ti­fies him­self as a res­i­dent of Kharkiv and a mem­ber of the Oplot fight club. Accord­ing to one source, he is a mem­ber of the ‘Anti-fascist move­ment of the South-East‘ and the ‘White Legion,’ a neo-Nazi com­mu­nity (http://​euro​maid​anpr​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​4​/​2​3​/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​ed/).


10. Olga Cherk­erdes
The blog­ger Tolko­va­tel presents Olga Chek­erdes as a rare exam­ple of a woman in the mas­cu­line world of mer­ce­nar­ies. Accord­ing to him, she was born in Sev­astopol, where she par­tic­i­pated in para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions. She con­sid­ers her­self a mem­ber of the ‘Don Cos­sacks of Crimea,’ and in recent years has trav­elled to Belorechensk for train­ing with the ‘Wolves.’ She ide­al­izes Gen­eral Piotr Kras­nov, who agreed to orga­nize and head Cos­sack units recruited from anti-bolshevik emi­gres and Red Amy pris­on­ers of war who were of Cos­sack back­ground. The Nazis required Kras­nov to fol­low their polit­i­cal line and to main­tain a Cos­sack sep­a­ratist orientation.






11. ‘Krasnyi’-Andrei Krasil­nikov
Tolko­va­tel reports that Russ­ian doc­u­ments were appar­ently found on one of the indi­vid­u­als who burned in the Trades Union Build­ing in Odesa belonged to Andrei Krasil­nikov (nick­named ‘Kras­nyi’). Born in 1966, he came from Nizh­nii Nov­gorod, where he worked in the militia’s crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion unit.

On 31 August 2004 he was given a con­di­tional sen­tence of three years impris­on­ment by the Nizh­nii Nov­gorod court and banned from serv­ing in any law-enforcement agency for two years. His con­vic­tion was for beat­ing three work­ers in the Gorky auto­mo­bile fac­tory in August 2003. The mili­tia accused them of steal­ing machine parts from the fac­tory. When they refused to ‘con­fess’ they were beaten on the legs with steel pipes. They lodged com­plaints, were again sum­moned and beaten with steel pipes, and again lodged complaints.

Even­tu­ally, on 16 July 2004 the head of the mili­tia detach­ment was found guilty and sen­tenced to four-and-a-half years impris­on­ment and given a three-year ban from serv­ing in law enforce­ment. The deputy head, the chief inspec­tor of crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions, and Krasil­nikov him­self, who was the lead crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tor in this case, all recveived sim­i­lar con­di­tional sen­tences and bans.

Tolka­chov describes these indi­vid­u­als as déclassé ele­ment who became mer­ce­nar­ies to make money and demon­strate their worth. They serve the Russ­ian mil­i­tary, which finances, arms, and directs them.

A num­ber of researchers have con­firmed the alle­giance of these indi­vid­u­als to far-right ide­olo­gies, includ­ing neo-Nazism. Some, like Tolka­chov, feel that such views doom their upris­ing to fail­ure. The blog­ger writes: ‘The tor­mented, impov­er­ished, strongly pro­le­tar­i­an­ized soci­ety of Don­bas will never accept a right-wing ide­ol­ogy. It is clear that these peo­ple [the mer­ce­nar­ies] will not be able to entice the masses.’ This may in the long term prove cor­rect. How­ever, it should be noted that the deep-seated resent­ment of this pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to search for polit­i­cal expres­sion. The Party of Regions is now dis­cred­ited. So is the com­mu­nist party, in both its Ukrain­ian and Russ­ian ver­sions. For many decades it has rep­re­sented ‘a par­ody of a social move­ment,’ to use Tolkachov’s words. The blog­ger con­cludes that at this moment of cri­sis the peo­ple of the Don­bas are being encour­aged to fight a myth­i­cal ‘fas­cist’ gov­ern­ment in Kyiv while being led by ‘pro-Russian’ mil­i­tary lead­ers who  hold extreme nation­al­ist, and in many cases neo-Nazi views.

It is clear that para­mil­i­tary, pro-fascist groups are being used by the Putin admin­is­tra­tion to desta­bi­lize East­ern Ukraine. More­over, the orga­nized Russ­ian fas­cist move­ment is inter­ven­ing directly into Donetsk.  Alek­sandr Barkashov, who in 1990 founded the polit­i­cal party and para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion called Russ­ian National Unity, has been recorded as instruct­ing a pro-Russian leader in Donetsk to forge the results of the ‘ref­er­en­dum’ of 11 May.



[Above: Barkashov at a meet­ing of his organization]

On 7 May 2014 the Ukrain­ian Min­istry of Defence inter­cepted a phone con­ver­sa­tion between Barkashov in Moscow and Dmytro Boitsov, the leader of the unreg­is­tered orga­ni­za­tion ‘Ortho­dox Don­bas,’ in Donetsk. In the con­ver­sa­tion Boitsov says that his peo­ple are call­ing off the ref­er­en­dum because they feel it can­not be con­ducted suc­cess­fully.  Barkashov tells him that he should for­get about vot­ing for ‘fed­er­al­iza­tion’ and pro­ceed with a vote for the ‘Donetsk People’s Repub­lic.’ He should stop wor­ry­ing about count­ing use­less ‘papers’ and should sim­ply fill in the vot­ing slips to pro­duce what­ever result he con­sid­ers appro­pri­ate. Barkashov sug­gests either 89% or 99% in favour. The audio record­ing is avail­able with sub­ti­tles in Eng­lish at: http://​euro​maid​anpr​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​5​/​0​7​/​r​u​s​s​i​a​-​o​r​c​h​e​s​t​r​a​t​i​n​g​-​d​o​n​e​t​s​k​-​r​e​f​e​r​e​n​dum.

In one of his inter­views Barashov has stated: ‘I am not a fas­cist, I am a Nazi’ (Laqueur 189). Dur­ing the con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis of 1993, he led his organization’s fight­ers against Boris Yeltsin’s forces in an attempted defence of the Russ­ian White House. Charged with orga­niz­ing and incit­ing mass dis­or­der and ille­gally bear­ing arms, he was impris­oned, but early in 1994 the Russ­ian par­lia­ment granted him amnesty. In Feb­ru­ary 1999, an opin­ion poll ranked him among Russia’s ten most rec­og­niz­able politicians.

The his­to­rian Laqueur says that Barashov was born in 1953 and that his grand­fa­ther was one of the ‘purg­ers’ in the ter­ror of the 1930s. An elec­tri­cian by train­ing, he has no higher edu­ca­tion. He served in the army as a karate instruc­tor. Many mem­bers of his orga­ni­za­tion work as secu­rity offi­cers and armed guards.

Barashov believes that a giant con­spir­acy (‘total geno­cide’) against the Russ­ian peo­ple aims to destroy its ‘racial core’ (‘geno­type’). Laqueur writes:  ‘Hence the demand to intro­duce eugenic prin­ci­ples into the future Russ­ian state and the vir­tual ban on mixed mar­riages. There will be two classes of cit­i­zens, Rus­sians and non-Russians, with the lat­ter being mere inhab­i­tants and not shar­ing cit­i­zens’ rights. The prop­a­ga­tion of demo­c­ra­tic, human­ist, and inter­na­tion­al­ist val­ues will be a crime’ (Laqueur 189-90).

It remains to be seen how this ide­ol­ogy will play out in the Donbas.


Myroslav Shkan­drij





Tolko­va­tel blog. ‘Russ­ian Sol­diers of For­tune in the Don­bas.’ 5 May 2014 <http://​ttolk​.ru/​?​p​=​2​0​508>


Lynch, Lily. ‘A Russ­ian Neo-Nazi and Sus­pected Spree Killer in Ser­bia.’ Balka­nist. 27 August 2013 <http://​balka​nist​.net/​r​i​g​h​t​-​w​o​r​l​d/2>

Insur­gents Iden­ti­fied: The Green Men of VKon­takte.’ Infore­sist. 23 April 2014 <http://​infore​sist​.org/​z​n​a​k​o​m​t​e​s​-​b​l​i​z​h​e​-​o​p​o​z​n​a​n​y​-​v​s​e​-​c​h​l​e​n​y​-​d​i​v​e​r​s​i​o​n​n​o​j​-​g​r​u​p​p​y​-​n​a​-​d​o​n​b​a​s​se/>


Babiak, Mat. ‘Insur­gents iden­ti­fied.’ Ukrain­ian Pol­icy <http://​ukraini​an​pol​icy​.com/​i​n​s​u​r​g​e​n​t​s​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​f​i​e​d​-​t​h​e​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​m​e​n​-​o​f​-​v​k​o​n​t​a​k​te/>


Rus­sia Orches­trat­ing Donetsk Ref­er­en­dum.’ Euro­maid­anpr <http://​euro​maid​anpr​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​5​/​0​7​/​r​u​s​s​i​a​-​o​r​c​h​e​s​t​r​a​t​i​n​g​-​d​o​n​e​t​s​k​-​r​e​f​e​r​e​n​dum>


Laqueur, Wal­ter. Fas­cism: Past, Present, Future. New York: Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press, 1996.


Igor Strelok pro­file. Crime​.in​.UA < http://​crime​.in​.ua/​s​t​a​t​t​i​/​2​0​1​4​0​4​2​9​/​s​t​r​e​l​k​o​v​-​p​o​r​t​ret>


Oleh Kashin inter­view  <http://​sput​niki​pogrom​.com/​r​u​s​s​i​a​/​1​1​6​7​3​/​t​h​e​y​-​s​a​y​-​i​t​s​-​p​r​e​t​t​y​-​b​e​a​u​t​i​f​u​l​-​i​n​-​m​a​g​a​dan>


Strelkov-Girin inter­view  <http://​www​.kp​.ru/​d​a​i​l​y​/​2​6​2​2​5​.​7​/​3​1​0​7​7​25/>


Berkut-Kobr dossier  <http://​www​.gar​mata​.org/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​d​i​v​e​r​s​a​n​t​i​/​s​e​p​a​r​a​s​t​i​/​1​1​0​-​b​e​r​k​u​t​-​k​o​b​r​-​t​e​r​o​r​i​s​t​-​c​h​a​st-2>



  1. Excel­lent! Good facts on the ground are so hard to find in this nasty war of words going on against Ukraine, that a clear, suc­cinct and accu­rate arti­cle like this is priceless.

  2. Yeah. Only main prob­lem of this arti­cle is that it’s using blogs and forums as infor­ma­tion sources, the accu­racy and cred­i­bil­ity of which is 50/50 at most.

    • 50/50 really? You obvi­ously don’t have a TV or have been off planet. I rec­og­nize some of these pho­tos from live TV feeds I have seen over the last 6 weeks . Get a life (or a TV)

  3. Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky

    Wish that all media pick up on this impor­tant pre­sen­ta­tion,
    great piece of in depth jour­nal­ism. Bravo.

    • There are many more, but this one is so true about west­ern Ukraine. Me and my wife met a cou­ple from west­ern Ukraine, and 2 years ago they pre­tended not to under­stand Russ­ian, when I started my con­ver­sa­tion in Eng­lish I real­ized that they were new­bees but was patient enough to wait , before they switched to Russ­ian. There is hate against any­thing Russ­ian in the west of Ukraine. Fuck them , I have no respect to nazi sup­port­ers. They’ll burn in hell ! But the kids , why kids , why do you have to put Nazi uni­form and make them salute, I have so many videos where 8-11 year olds march and salute , this is pathetic. Wel­come to Europe Nazi scums.

  4. The fake + the photoshop !

  5. Ha ha ha what a piece of crap arti­cle, with no sup­port­ing fact. Every sin­gle state­ment is “backed” up by “rumor says”.…..nice try!

    But, for­get this garbage arti­cle, I have a ques­tion for my Ukrain­ian friends.…

    QUESTION: Which coun­try does Rus­sia bor­der with?

    ANSWER: Whichever coun­try Rus­sia wants!

    So long my Ukrain­ian friends, come to Crimea for a nice vacation.…don’t for­get your pass­ports though :):):)

  6. thanks for the arti­cle. I am a tad ripped among whether uni­forms are essen­tial. I have a son ready to com­mence school and this uni­form con­cern has been on my own thoughts for a while

  7. Thank you for the aus­pi­cious writeup. It in fact was a amuse­ment account it.
    Look advanced to far added agree­able from you!
    How­ever, how can we communicate?

    Take a look at my web site: kids hair

  8. I thought Cos­sacks were good that really takes it to the heart.

  9. So where have they all gone? They were around for the open­ing act in 2014. But the 2015 cast were dif­fer­ent and this is 2016 with no end in sight. Where do all those Russ­ian Nazis go?

    It’s obvi­ous that the nation­al­ity is far more impor­tant than the polit­i­cal dimen­sion oth­er­wise they might have joined forces with their western-Ukrainian ‘kam­er­aden’ and ‘putsched’ EUkrainia into the first mod­ern state to res­ur­rect the swastika.

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