Abstract: The Russian Imperial Movement has taken advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to further its revanchist goals of conquering the Donbas and “Novorossiya” while expanding its international footprint both politically and militarily. The Russian Imperial Movement gained useful combat experience through the participation of personnel from its paramilitary arm, the Russian Imperial Legion, in the invasion. With the Wagner Group’s resources waning, there may be an opportunity for RIM/RIL to deepen its involvement in Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. This could bolster the group’s recruitment, paramilitary capabilities, and thus increase the broader threat it poses. However, the organization may face sanctions in the future from the Russian state if the Kremlin continues to clamp down on Russian pro-war ultra-nationalist elements.

The outbreak of post-Maidana hostilities in 2014 saw Ukraine become a hotspot for ideological militias on both sides of the conflict, and Russia’s February 2022 invasion brought this to a whole new level. Russian President Vladimir Putin created a storm of controversy when he declared “de-Nazification” as one of the “Special Military Operation’s” objectives. Putin was referring to hardline nationalist fighters from Azov, Freikorps, Right Sector, and other formations. However, many were quick to point out the irony of his statement, considering Russia has various far-right elements fighting in and alongside its armed forces, including the neo-Nazi Rusich organization and volunteers from the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM).1 RIM had been active in Ukraine since 2014, when it deployed its paramilitary arm, the Russian Imperial Legion (RIL), to support separatist forces in the Donbas.

According to RIM’s telling of its organizational history, the group’s combatants were in Ukraine from 2014 to 2017.2 After time spent operating in Syria, Libya, and possibly the Central African Republic, the Russian Imperial Legion returned to Ukraine in 2022 to join the invasion and continue frontline operations.3 RIM views the Russian war effort as an opportunity to help reconquer “Novaya Rossiya” (New Russia), a large swath of eastern and southern Ukraine. “RIM describes itself as an imperialist, ultra-reactionary, Russian Orthodox, fascist, anti-liberal, and anti-communist organization.”4

RIM and its Partizan training organization have links to some of these groups fighting on the Russian and separatist side, including the neo-Nazi Rusich Sabotage Assault Reconnaissance Group. In fact, Rusich leader Alexey Milchakov apparently met his friend and second in command Yan Petrovsky while volunteering with the Imperial Legion-linked Aid Coordination Center of Novorossiya (KTsPN) in June 2014.5 Moreover, on Milchakov’s Vkontakte social media page, he stated that he and Petrovsky formed Rusich after going through the Partizan paramilitary training program in 2014.6 The findings of an analysis by New America Foundation found significant online overlap between members and supporters of RIM, Rusich, and two of Russia’s VDV airborne paratrooper units as well as geolocation evidence that RIL and Rusich share training grounds in Saint Petersburg.7 Partizan Center described the shooting range used by both as under the control of the “the Ministry of Emergency Situations.”8 A post on Rusich’s VK page once announced a coalition of “Right-wing detachments on guard of the Russian spring,” which was composed of six groups to include the Imperial legion.9

Further, RIM has built a robust online and real-world propaganda apparatus to recruit, fundraise, and broadcast its members’ battlefield heroics.10 It is an organization that has connections to the Russian Ministry of Defence and a new policy requires RIM and other volunteer detachments to sign contracts to comply with the Russian state.11 The Imperial Legion has developed relations with the military establishment as well as Donbas separatist groups and irregular formations such as Wagner and Rusich.12

Photos posted by the organization show RIL fighters operating near Vulhledar in Donetsk Oblast and elsewhere.b Aside from its links to hard-right separatist militias in the Donbas, RIM reportedly has transnational relations with extreme far-right European organizations such as the Nordic Resistance Movement and has trained members of such groups from Denmark, Slovakia, Germany, and elsewhere.13

This article will add original research to the existing literature and fill open-source knowledge gaps related to RIM and RIL’s roles and history in Ukraine’s 2014 post-Maidan conflict and since the February 2022 invasion. A significant number of Russian-language materials were used for this study, with an emphasis on primary sources from the VK and Telegram pages and channels used by RIM, RIL, and the Partizan training network. It will examine RIM’s origins, history, leadership, ideology, and involvement in the Donbas War and the subsequent February 2022 invasion. Along the way, it will look at RIM/RIL’s propaganda activities, international influence operations, and the potential threat its members and allies pose abroad.

RIM emerged in the early 2000s as a political movement and later expanded its international ties and created its paramilitary branch, RIL. Two figures, Anatoloyevich Vorobyev and Denis Valliullovich Gariyev, are examined as they are essential to understanding the rise of RIM and RIL. The Russian Imperialist Movement’s revanchist ideology is likewise important in understanding why the organization and its armed wing are aligned with Moscow’s war efforts in Ukraine, despite its suspicions of the Kremlin. Stanislav Vorobyev sees “the stability of anti-Russian regimes on all the territory inhabited by the Russian ethnos” as the greatest threat to Russia.14

Certain events, too, have influenced the evolution of the organization, including the 2014 Maidan Revolution and the subsequent Donbas conflict as well as Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Put together, these aspects and details inform a threat analysis based on RIM’s working relationship with the Russian government, its ideology and intent, as well as its operational capacity.

Origins and History
The Russian Imperial Movement was formed around two decades ago but gained increased attention from Western security officials and researchers in the mid- to late 2010s, with the group being designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity by the U.S. Department of State and the Canadian government in April 2020.15 Individual designations were placed on RIM leaders Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariyev, and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov.

These designations arrived in the broader context of rising concern over Russian meddling in Western political affairs and the emergence of the semi-state Wagner Group (which are unrelated as organizations) to further Kremlin interests abroad. As the designation itself outlined, RIM itself has expanded its influence beyond Russian borders and has possibly trained foreigners, including two members of Sweden’s Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), who, between September 2016 and November 2016, went on to bomb a cafe and tried to bomb a migrant center and attempt to blow up a refugee camp site.16 During the trial, Swedish prosecutors said the perpetrators may have learned bomb-making at RIM’s Partizan training center. A RIM leader spoke at an NRM-hosted event called “Nordic Days” in 2015, and RIM has reportedly provided financial support to the NRM.17 In September 2017, a RIM representative also spent time networking in the U.S. with the national socialist Traditionalist Worker Party.18

RIM and its military wing, Russian Imperial Legion (RIL), have developed a robust online media apparatus, a real-life on-the-ground networking campaign, and a sizable and growing Internet following within Russia and internationally.c This includes websites, VK pages, and Telegram channels for RIM, RIL, and the still active Partizan training network that are geared to recruit, spread messages, fundraise, and show its members’ activism, training, and battlefield activities.d

Russia has a diverse ecosystem of ideologically extreme far-right paramilitary groups, including the overtly neo-Nazi Rusich, the survivalist network WPRS (White Power Rangers Squad), the hooligan formation Espanola, followers of the Russian National Unity movement, RIM/RIL, and more.19 While RIM is sometimes labeled as a neo-Nazi movement, the outfit more accurately describes itself as an imperialist, ultra-reactionary, Russian Orthodox, fascist, anti-liberal, and anti-communist organization.20 RIM certainly appeals to white identity in wanting a “mono-ethnic state” and some of its members may harbor neo-Nazi beliefs, but efforts are made to distinguish its ideology, which is most focused on reviving and fighting to protect the Russian people and the Orthodox faith both at home and abroad. RIM aspires for a political system based on Tsarist Russia rather than Nazi Germany.21 With this said, RIM certainly works with an international coalition of neo-Nazi groups.22

RIM has overtly stated its ambitions to “continue to establish contacts with right-wing, traditionalist and conservative organizations around the world” to “share the experience of political [and] information warfare and joint squad tactics training.”23 RIM uses both activism and military means to project power and influence abroad.24 To increase its reach, RIM has aligned with the Russian political party Rodina (The Motherland-National Patriotic Union) to establish the World National-Conservative Movement (WNCM) conference series to rally against the values of “liberalism, multiculturalism, and tolerance.”25 In 2015, the movement brought together 58 organizations from North America, Europe, and even Chile, Japan, Mongolia, Syria, and Thailand.26 One commonly circulated photo from a conference shows Rusich leaders Alexey Milchakov and Yan Petrovsky posing with American extreme far-right “race realist” Jared Taylor.27

RIM has been somewhat critical of the Kremlin for quite some time, but the relationship seems to be getting closer in ways—especially since the invasion—as the Imperial Legion further expanded its role in Russian-involved armed conflicts.28 e The Imperial Legion deepened connections with Russia’s military establishment through its role in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and unconfirmed reports of operations in the Central African Republic.29 Despite this, frustrations exist. On June 11, 2023, RIM complained on Telegram about Russian President Vladimir Putin continuing his policy of not killing Ukraine’s political elite and Western leaders visiting the country—in that case, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.30

In regard to Ukraine, RIM took part in counter-revolutionary activism during Maidan, joined early in the war in the Donbas, set up a training center in Ukraine for local separatists, and is involved in the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine. Moreover, the organization has long identified the “Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine” as high-ranking enemies.31 The Ukraine campaign fits seamlessly with the group’s imperialist mindset to reconstitute “Novaya Rossiya” (New Russia), a sweeping area of eastern and southern Ukraine. RIM has confirmed taking casualties during the war and is positioned in southern Ukraine and the Bakhmut area, where it is involved in defensive operations against Ukraine’s ongoing offensive.32

The Russian Imperial Movement claims its true roots emanate from the First Congress of the All Russian Party of the Monarch Centre, which occurred in 1991.33 This event happened in the Kschessinska Mansion built for Mathilde Kschessinska, a ballerina of the Imperial Ballet who likely owed her wealth to the romantic affairs she had with three Grand Dukes of the Romanov family, including the future Tsar Nicholas II.34 The Congress was likely held at the mansion due to its association with the Russian Empire.35

RIM’s predecessor organization, Russian National Salvation Front, was founded in 1992 but according to RIM was banned in 1994 by the Boris Yeltsin government.36 In 2002, RIM was formed as a successor organization to the All-Russian Party of the Monarchist Center.37 This was when the movement replaced its title of the ‘All-Russian Party of the Monarchist Center’ with the ‘Russian Imperial Movement.’38 In the same year, the Russian Imperial Movement also started publishing its magazine, Imperial Courier (renamed Imperial View in 2010).39

In 2007, RIM established an international department and began to conduct its first foreign missions.40 It is unspecified what this at the time entailed, but one can assume this referred to efforts by the organization to establish links with foreign far-right organizations and enlarge its reputation abroad. An expansion of these departments eventually occurred between 2015-2018 into France, Germany, Bulgaria, Spain, and Sweden.41 Thereafter, RIM further intensified its activity in supporting likeminded movements in the United States.42

RIM Leader Stanislav Vorobyev (right) wearing a uniform with a Russian Imperial Legion patch on his shoulder in a picture posted on the RIM Telegram Channel on May 18, 2023. The accompanying RIM Telegram post claims that RIL members who temporarily returned from the front have been presented awards (as shown in this picture).

The Russian Imperial Movement is best encapsulated as an organization with firstly political elements and secondly paramilitary elements in the form of the Russian Imperial Legion (RIL). While the former is a necessary component that provides the ideological basis to enlarge its reach within Russia and across the world, the latter has been invaluable in establishing its role within many of Russia’s military interventions. In examining the Russian Imperial Movement and the Imperial Legion, it is essential to look at the two figures that lead them.

The Political Leader: Stanislav Anatoloyevich Vorobyev
RIM leader Stanislav Anatoloyevich Vorobyev was born on June 2, 1960.43 At the age of 22, he graduated from the Faculty of Law at St. Petersburg State University, which was known as Leningrad State University at the time.44 It is during this period that he may have begun to work in the Russian prosecution service and then at a law firm.45 He was also a member of the national committee for the ultra-nationalist movement (which translates to “State Power”) and a former chairman of its Leningrad regional branch.46

Before becoming the lead figure within RIM, Vorobyev was an executive director on the board of its predecessor organization, the All-Russian Party of the Monarchist Center. Vorobyev is currently a member of the Main Council of the Union of Russian People and editor-in-chief of RIM’s numerous papers. Vorobyev has claimed to have been imprisoned for his political activities within RIM, including for taking part in protest marches and other gatherings with ideologically aligned individuals.47

Vorobyev’s dogmatically ideological predisposition is a defining feature of his role as a founding figure and the intellectual core of RIM. His belief in Russian Orthodox Christianity is demonstrated by the content of his written material and his common practice of singing prayer hymns before the start of certain interviews, including with figures such as Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, a former GRU Spetnaz and military intelligence officer who is a reactionary figure with a close relationship with RIM and who has lectured at its Partizan training center.48 Vorobyev’s reactionary and monarchist views are also evident in interviews and written works, in which his critical views of the Putinist political system appear. Vorobyev’s criticism has included allegations of Russian elections being rigged and heavily influenced by government corruption.49

Vorobyev has strong views about various geo-political matters. He believes the battle for the “Russian Spring” (a term used to refer to the start of so-called Russian separatist activity in eastern Ukraine in 2014) was not lost due to the resistance of Ukrainian forces or the U.S. State Department, but because of Kremlin treachery. Vorobyev argues this treachery was the reason Russia did not annex territory outside of Crimea.50 He has also claimed that socialism and liberalism are destructive ideologies that the West intends to export to Russia and use to destroy it.51

Vorobyev has been connected to an array of figures that fomented radical sentiment in Russia and participated in military activities within Ukraine since 2014. He has shared platforms with Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov.52 Another Vorobyev close associate is a notorious former FSB officer and commander of so-called separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, Igor Ivanovich Strelkov.53 Their association can likely be explained by the fact that Strelkov shares Vorobyev’s reactionary and imperialist views and may have commanded forces fighting for RIL in eastern Ukraine.54

The Paramilitary Leader: Denis Valliullovich Gariyev
Few details exist on RIL leader Denis Gariyev’s early life. He was born on March 11, 1978. It is also likely that he graduated from the Faculty of History at St. Petersburg State University, though it is unclear when his studies concluded. Gariyev may have worked as a secondary school teacher during the early 2000s and possibly owned a chain of fitness businesses. He appears to have experience as a hand-to-hand combat instructor, though it is hard to establish when this began.55

Gariyev is a RIM coordinator and the highest-ranking figure in RIL, where he serves in a command role. Gariyev was likely to have joined RIM at the time of its founding in 2002 and became the head of its youth department in 2008.56 Gariyev was eventually made the Assistant Head of the Representative Office State Humanitarian Support Committee of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in Russia,f but it is unclear whether he occupies this role presently.57

Unlike Vorobyev, Gariyev seems to be less engaged with RIM’s political activism and is instead more involved in training individuals in hand-to-hand combat, handling legally acquired firearms, and instructing military courses run by RIM’s training center.58 Gariyev’s experience likely led to his participation in RIL operations within eastern Ukraine from 2014-2015 and, since Russia’s widened invasion, training many members in ‘Partizan.’59

RIL leader Denis Gariyev. This screen capture is from a video posted on RIL’s Telegram channel on July 26, 2023.

RIM is best conceptualized as an ideologically anachronistic and extreme far-right entity. A central feature of RIM’s dogma is a staunch commitment to monarchism in the model of Tsarist Russia. This is made clear by the political program of RIM advertised on its website. According to it, the “highest form of government is the Empire” and “the imperial (royal) power that is the ideal of state structure in Orthodoxy.” The latter appears to allude to the belief in the divine right of kings as a central source of authority for a monarch installed in a remade Russian Empire.60

Naturally, the commitment to the reforging of the Russian Empire also makes RIM an expansionist and militaristic organization at its core. As shown by RIL’s involvement in Ukraine, RIM is committed to the restoration of all lands that belonged to the Russian Empire in the past, referring to them as ‘Malo-Rossiya’ or ‘Lesser-Russia.’61 Unsurprisingly, this has informed RIM’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in 2014, as well as RIL’s involvement in it.

The central narrative within RIM’s texts and videos is anti-communism. The Russian Revolution is depicted as a mortal blow to Russian society by its members, who believe that Bolshevism has “held back and corrupted” the “fatherland.”62 Moreover, RIM has claimed that Marxist theorist Karl Marx was the greatest example of “Russophobic scum.”63 As is common for extreme far-right organizations, RIM’s anti-communism also incorporates elements of anti-Semitism.64

Like many other extreme far-right organizations, RIM’s members have also displayed other traditionally reactionary political views, including xenophobia toward migrants from Central Asia to Russia, especially Muslims.65 These concerns are the result of religious intolerance toward Muslims, (RIM text often intentionally and inaccurately refers to them as Wahhabists), racism toward non-white people, and concerns about the demographic replacement of ethnic Russians. RIM is explicitly pro-natalist, frequently citing concerns about high abortion rates in Russia. RIM has also made numerous associations between homosexuality and satanism.66 In terms of organizational culture, there is an emphasis on fitness and mixed martial arts (MMA) as seen with other hard-right groups such as the Ukrainian Azov Brigade and the Russian Volunteer Corps.67 This, together with Partizan’s ban on alcohol and cursing, is geared toward instilling discipline.68

RIL personnel in Kharkiv Oblast. The picture was posted on RIM’s Telegram channel on August 8, 2022.

Post-Maidan Ukraine Involvement
There is a limited amount of open-source information regarding the involvement of RIM in the events leading up to the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the group’s initial involvement in eastern Ukraine. When Maidan kicked off, prominent RIM figure Stanislav Vorobyev expressed concern about the actors involved being “anti-Russian [antirusskii]” and a threat to the Ukraine’s Russian population, with this leading him to see the instability as an opportunity to exploit the situation as part of the revival of Russia as a “great power.”69 In RIM’s words, it was proactively involved in supporting various anti-Maidan and pro-Russian movements within Kyiv in February 2014.70 However, it is unclear which exact organizations it worked with. Some assume RIM has been involved more directly in the annexation of Crimea, but the extent and scope of that involvement remain unclear.71

Curiously, RIM claimed it helped organize Russian separatists in Sevastopol, Crimea, and Simferopol in March of 2014, just after Crimea was annexed.72 Thereafter, it went on to establish the “Homeland” party movement for “New Russia/Greater Russia” in April of the same year.73 Before May 2014, the general trend of RIM’s involvement in the fomenting of instability within Ukraine seemed relegated to that of engaging in radical politics. Yet, from May 2014 onward, RIM’s involvement in Ukraine departed from what previously appeared to be just political involvement. May 2014 saw RIM form a training center for those wishing to fight in eastern Ukraine and the formal organization of RIL fighters that were later deployed there.74

RIM senior operative Alexander Zhuchkovsky was one of the earliest members to arrive in Ukraine to fight alongside separatist leader Igor Girkin’s men and others on May 18, 2014. Zhuchkovsky headed operations to supply Russian guerillas and separatists with cell phones, uniforms, radios, and more.75 From the time he arrived in mid-May 2014, Zhuchkovsky described how RIM’s “Right View” website was able to raise money for a BTR-80 and two BRDM-2s and give the armored personnel carriers to the DPR militiamen.76 He also claimed that RIM recruited, trained, equipped, and sent approximately 20 groups to fight in the Donbass War.77 He noted that one of these RIM groups even arrived early enough to fight in the conflict’s initial big formal battle in Slavyansk.78

RIL’s first recorded losses were reported to be in the fighting that took place during the siege of Slovayasnk—the nascent phase and cradle of the Donbas War—in 2014.79 It is highly likely that they were involved in operations in the area and commanded by then-FSB agent Igor Strelkov.80 Sometime in February 2015, other RIL fighters were reported to have died during the Battle of Debaltseve against Ukrainian forces.81

Later in 2015, RIL withdrew from Ukraine, but many of its fighters may have joined various LPR/DNR pro-Russian forces to continue their involvement in the region.82 There are a range of reasons why this may have occurred. In an interview, RIL leader Gariyev stated that he “stopped travelling to Ukraine” in 2015 because of the belief that the conflict became co-opted by the government and oligarchic interests in Russia, Ukraine, and the West.83 An alternative reason for RIL’s withdrawal may have resulted from measures taken by the Russian state to consolidate control over LNR/DNR territories by removing semi-autonomous militant groups like RIL and installing fully-controlled ones in their place. Supporting evidence of this may exist in reports concerning the alleged purging of “rogue” separatist commanders by Russian intelligence services.84

It is worth noting that RIL is believed to have operated in several other countries before 2022. According to RIM’s social media posts, RIL personnel were involved in operations in Syria, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Libya from 2015-2022.85 Though details are absent regarding the nature and extent of RIL’s involvement in operations in CAR, there is evidence suggesting its involvement in Syria and Libya.86 In its own words, RIL deployed in Syria as part of its “Crusade” to protect the Christian faith against “Islamist hordes.”87

Little known is about RIL’s possible presence within Syria in the past, but based on the reports of one combatant who died in Libya, RIL was involved in fighting within Palmyra and convoy protection.88 According to Gariyev, some personnel trained at Partizan went on to fight in Syria as part of various private military companies (PMCs).89 Even fewer operational details exist regarding RIL’s involvement in Libya, but it is likely that any involvement of its personnel involved the support of Russian-backed General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) since this faction was receiving support from the Russian state and the Wagner Group.90 Posts by RIL’s Vkontakte social media account suggest that at least two RIL combatants were killed while fighting in Libya.91

Role in Russia’s “Special Military Operation”
RIM and its RIL military arm have expanded operations and influence inside Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion deeper into Ukraine.92 RIL is estimated to have trained several hundred fighters, runs training programs outside St. Petersburg, and is still, and seemingly more deeply, connected to the Russian state.93 RIM seemingly maintains ties with the Russian military and intelligence apparatus,94 and, as an example, the Legion posted a photo of former Russian Spetsnaz Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov—an associate of the notorious Donbas separatist commander and ex-FSB officer Igor Strelkov—giving a lecture and military-tactical instruction to RIL trainees at the organization’s Partizan training camp in early April 2023.95

On June 10, 2023, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the desired implementation of a policy “requiring all ‘volunteer detachments’ to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense.”96 This would further integrate groups like Wagner, Rusich, and the Imperial Legion into Russia’s official military apparatus. Indeed, this move by Shoigu is likely one contributing factor that led to Wagner engaging in its June 2023 mutiny against the Russian state, before it aborted its march on Moscow. Interestingly, some RIL members have been documented expressing a rather negative view toward the June 10, 2023, policy change. For example, RIL combatant Vladislav Efremov voiced his frustration with the Defense Ministry’s poor management of Russian regular forces and its aim to consolidate control over volunteer formations previously outside its control.97

Efremov’s criticism was not limited to the matter of volunteer formations signing contracts with the MoD. Supposedly speaking from personal experience, Efremov claimed RIL “looked insanely good” compared to mobilized individuals in the 155th Separate Marines Brigade during offensive operations in Vuhledar during the time of January and February 2023.98 Disparaging comments were also made by Efremov about the near-suicidal nature of service in the Russian military, the need for GRU units to acquire drones through “humanitarian means,” and the absence of unencrypted communications systems.99

Though Efremov’s comments may not uniformly represent the views of all RIM or RIL members, they do follow a pattern of broader criticism by RIM/RIL of the MoD and the Russian state, more recently taking the form of lambasting the government for the arrest of ‘legendary’ separatist leader Igor Girkin and the Ministry of Defence’s disregard for the value of the lives of Storm-Z units made up of convicts.100 g RIM and Girkin have close ties, and when the organization was sanctioned by the U.S. government, he showed his solidarity, saying “I take the opportunity to congratulate my esteemed comrade-in-arms of [RIM] on receiving a high award — official recognition of their ‘terrorist organization’ by the enemies of Russia and the Russian people.”101 It is also worth noting that prominent RIM leader Alexander Zhuchkovsky arrived in Slovyansk on May 19, 2014, to fight alongside Igor Girkin and his men in the early days of the Donbas conflict.102

Noteworthily, RIM’s members were quick to make remarks regarding Wagner’s mutiny in mid-June 2023 against the Russian state. While not fond of the MoD, RIM has also been critical of Wagner’s recently deceased founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Prigozhin was described on RIM’s blog shows as having no desire to change the “Russophobic regime” in charge.103 Additionally, in a video commenting on the situation, Gariyev suggested that Prigozhin was either “willingly or unwillingly” contributing to the instability needed for the West to succeed against Russia regarding the invasion of Ukraine. He also claimed that, despite the likelihood of such an attempted mutiny occurring, neither the MoD nor the FSB was adequately prepared to deal with it. He emphasized in the video that this was all the byproduct of an increasingly corrupt and failing Russian state with no ideological foundation except for the pursuit of wealth.104 Despite this, after Prigozhin was killed on August 23, 2023, in a suspiciously timed plane crash, RIM credited him with “perhaps being the only effective manager in the entire Putin regime” and that “Putin, consciously or unconsciously, lost, in fact, his only military support … who, on his orders, without hesitation would perform any, even the dirtiest work.” RIM stated that they were not grieving over Prigozhin’s death, but noted that Kremlin infighting was making the Russian government weaker. 105

RIM emphasizes the importance of combat and partisan skills, sending its fighters to participate in and network at shooting competitions.106 RIL shooters placed second in a May 2023 competition hosted by Academy Tactical in Serpukhov.107 RIL is well-armed and operates heavy weaponry and armored vehicles. Its arsenal includes a range of mostly Russian military-standard automatic, sniper, and recoilless rifles, shotguns, pistols, rocket and anti-tank launchers, infantry fighting vehicles with mounted cannons, tanks, multiple rocket launcher (MLRS) systems, and anti-drone weapons.108 Partizan also runs a course that trains drone operators with the purpose of sending some graduates to Ukraine.109

RIM seems to receive various forms of support from the Russian Department of Defense, but what is certain is that the group has multiple income streams and fundraising campaigns to help sustain its battlefield operations. Insight Intelligence has noted how:

RIM’s resources come primarily from public donations from identity-based support networks. Fundraising activities include a public concert organized by the group in 2016. Online channels also appear to help RIM gather donations. One of RIM’s leaders, Alexander Zuchkovsky, “has repeatedly used his account on Russia-based social media platform VK, formerly known as VKontakte, to fundraise and recruit for RIM.”110 h

RIM has fundraised on its VK and Telegram channels and has solicited donations from supporters in the Russian diaspora community in France and Russian parishes.111 RIL has also fundraised for medical supplies for Ukraine that according to the group were previously useful during time spent fighting in Syria. In addition, fundraising was done to equip fighters in Ukraine and those set to deploy from Partizan. Items purchased include helmets, thermal imagers, camouflage nets, weapon cleaning supplies, lights for trenches, food, hygiene products, and even vehicles.112 RIL has used Russia’s Sberbank for financial activities and often purchases equipment through the Russian website combat-center.113 Zhuchkovsky, who was sanctioned by the United States as a RIM member in June 2022, has also promoted Project Terricon to collect cryptocurrency donations for Donbas militia groups.114

RIL participated in important battles such as that for Bakhmut, according to its social media posts and Partizan.115 RIL has generally operated within the Donbas in both offensive and defensive operations during the widened invasion of Ukraine. RIL performs diverse military activities and has made posts about sniper teams on the frontline and photos of its fighters in trenches during battle.116

RIL also participates in online discourse within the Russian military sphere. For instance, on May 31, 2023, the Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel commented on the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and Freedom of Russia Legion’s raid of Russia’s Belgorod region.i RIL called the Freedom of Russia Legion and RVC “traitors of [the Russian] people and the Orthodox Faith,” threatening that “sooner or later, we will meet them.”117 Interestingly, the overall commander of the Freedom of Russia Legion, Maximillian Andronnikov, was a former member of RIM.118

RIL has continued to build local ties in Russian-occupied territories. The fighters attend church services in these areas and interact with parishioners and residents.119 Furthermore, RIL has posted photos showing its fighters delivering humanitarian aid funded and provided by the group’s supporters to locals.120

In May 2022, the German news magazine Der Spiegel obtained a confidential intelligence report that was shared with German ministries by the BND (German foreign) intelligence service on the presence and activities of Rusich and RIL fighters operating alongside Russian forces in Ukraine.121 According to Der Spiegel, the BND did not know “Whether this decision [to join the conflict in Ukraine] was made at the request of or in consultation with the Russian leadership.”122 RIL leader Denis Gariyev told his fighters to “be patient” in early March 2022, announcing the group’s intent to enter the war. By mid-March 2022, a RIM flag was being flown in occupied Donetsk.123

Der Spiegel reported that the BND stated that Gariyev, his deputy, and two other RIL/RIM members were wounded in the invasion’s early phase.124 RIL was deeply involved in the assault on Vuhledar, in which Russian forces suffered heavy losses.125 Its Telegram channel commemorated a RIL fighter who had trained in the organization six years prior and died during the local offensive on the town in March 2023.126

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, RIM has again expanded its military footprint in the region. RIL, its military wing, has gained significant battlefield experience. Moscow’s war aims largely align with RIM’s interests and ideology as it provides the opportunity to formally annex “Novaya Rossiya.” Though critical of the Russian establishment, RIM views the “Special Military Operation” as a war to protect the Russian Orthodox religion and the ethnic Russian people who must be brought back under the wing of what the group views as their homeland.

As the conflict continues, more and more fighters have been recruited and gone through the Partizan training camp, growing RIL’s ranks. Adding to its regional ties from the post-Maidan civil war, RIL has also deepened its roots in local communities within occupied Ukrainian territory and has sought to spread its ideology within the broader Russian military sphere. RIM views the conflict as part of the “rebirth” of the Orthodox faith and Russian people, recently calling for more chapels to be built in occupied Ukrainian territory to accelerate this process.127

Given RIM’s international reach, the organization could pose a continued or greater threat to Europe and the West. RIM is well-suited for gray zone warfare: it is nationalistic, has war-trained fighters and an intelligence apparatus, and fiercely dislikes NATO. Like Wagner in its earlier days, RIM is an irregular formation that could provide some plausible deniability. If the war ends badly for Moscow and it concedes its current—and possibly future—occupied territories, RIM may even become a security threat to the Russian state itself. RIM has staked a hardline stance in demanding that all of Novaya Rossiya be conquered and integrated into Russia. Its diverse criticisms of the Russian government may be a sign of things to come. On the other hand, if Russia is successful in annexing the Donbas or “Novorossiya,” RIM could become hero-type figures and attract more reverence.

RIM poses a multifaceted threat to Ukraine and the West. The organization is in a position to enable terrorism by training Western individuals and groups using the experience accrued by RIL personnel. The organization can transfer knowledge to Western extreme far-right groups to utilize that knowledge (as they possibly did with the Nordic Resistance Movement).128 RIM has established links with other extremist groups to push out its message and enable a broader wave of radicalization in the West. This could allow it to radicalize Russian diasporas in places such as Germany, eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

With the Wagner Group’s resources waning, there may be an opportunity for RIM/RIL to deepen its involvement in Russia’s efforts in Ukraine. This could bolster the group’s recruitment, paramilitary capabilities, and thus increase the broader threat it poses.     CTC

Lucas Webber is a researcher focused on geopolitics and violent non-state actors. He is a co-founder and editor at militantwire.com.

X: @LucasADWebber

Alec Bertina focuses on Russian non-traditional security actors within his research. Currently, he is an All-Source Analyst at Grey Dynamics and an analyst at Militant Wire. Whilst primarily focusing on Russian PMCs, he also focuses on Russian far-right groups and Russian internal security forces. Bertina has a BA in Politics and International Relations and an MA in International Security from the University of East Anglia. X: @bertina_alec

© 2023 Lucas Webber, Alec Bertina

Substantive Notes
[a] The Maidan Uprising occurred after Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, in November 2013 “refused to sign the long-awaited Association Agreement with the European Union, shortly thereafter receiving a loan from the Kremlin.” See Alisa Sobolieva, “EuroMaidan Revolution,” Kyiv Independent, August 18, 2023.

[b] A post on the Imperial Legion’s VK page posted pictures of its fighters in trenches with weapons and called for more “political and religious nationalists” to join RIL.

[c] RIM and RIL have actively posted on their affiliated social media accounts throughout the time this article was researched and written.

[d] RIM has two Telegram channels: One was created in April 2023, since gaining over 250 subscribers, while its main channel has grown to 2,700 subscribers. The Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel was created in March 2023 and has grown to over 2,000 followers. The Partizan training camp Telegram channel has over 3,910 subscribers. On VK, Partizan has almost 60,000 followers, RIM has 22,100 followers, and the Imperial Legion has 6,800 followers.

[e] Researcher Heidi Beirich of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism told Voice of America that the Russian government has a relationship with RIM, although at times the group’s symbols and propaganda have been banned. Veronica Balderas Iglesias, “How Russia Uses Neo-Nazi Groups to Spread Chaos,” Voice of America, June 23, 2022.

[f] The Donetsk People’s Republic is an illegitimately formed region of eastern Ukraine shortly after the 2014 annexation of Crimea and Russia’s low-intensity invasion.

[g] On July 26, 2023, RIM posted an image on its Telegram channel complaining about Girkin being in prison while the Azov leaders who had been taken prisoner during the siege of Mariupol were set free.

[h] In September 2014, Zhuchkovsky told Der Spiegel he had raised more than 30 million rubles, the equivalent then of 630,000 euros, through the internet since the spring. Pavel Lokshin, “‘Putin ist eine Marionette des Westens,’” Der Spiegel, September 7, 2014. See also Robyn Dixon, “Inside white-supremacist Russian Imperial Movement, designated foreign terrorist organization by U.S. State Department,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020.

[i] RVC and the Freedom of Russia Legion are organizations made up mostly of Russian dissidents. See Tom O’Connor, “Meet the Russian Rebel Groups Waging War from within Putin’s Own Borders,” Newsweek, April 13, 2023.

[1] Don Rassler, “External Impacts and the Extremism Question in the War in Ukraine: Considerations for Practitioners,” CTC Sentinel 15:6 (2022).

[2] “Our History,” Russian Imperial Movement website, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, captured May 15, 2021.

[3] Ezel Sahinkaya and Danila Galperovich, “Radical Russian Imperial Movement Expanding Global Outreach,” Voice of America, May 9, 2020.

[4] Lucas Webber and Alec Bertina, “Russian Imperial Movement Deepens Involvement in Ukraine War,” Jamestown Foundation, May 17, 2023.

[5] “Syria’s Energy Protection Racket: Digging into Wagner Group Social Networks,” New America, June 8, 2020.

[6] “Wagner Group Contingent Rusich on the Move Again,” New America, January 26, 2022.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “DShRG Rusich: a neo-Nazi unit in the service of the Russian armed forces,” Molfar, January 12, 2023.

[10] “Russian Imperial Movement,” Stanford University, February 2021.

[11] Sinead Baker, “Russia’s defense ministry is pressuring volunteer brigades fighting in Ukraine to fall under its command, but at least one is resisting,” Business Insider, June 13, 2023.

[12] Sara Downing, “The Wagner Group: Paramilitary Terrorism,” FDD, September 29, 2022.

[13] “The Russian Federation’s Ongoing Aggression Against Ukraine,” U.S. Mission to the OSCE, U.S. Department of State, June 23, 2022.

[14] “Russian Imperial Movement,” Stanford University, February 2021.

[15] “United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists,” U.S. Department of State, April 7, 2020; “Government of Canada lists 13 new groups as terrorist entities and completes review of seven others,” Government of Canada, February 3, 2021.

[16] Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Samuel Hodgson, and Colin P. Clarke, “The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) and its Links to the Transnational White Supremacist Extremist Movement,” ICCT, April 24, 2020.

[17] Elizabeth Grimm Arsenault and Joseph Stabile, “Confronting Russia’s Role in Transnational White Supremacist Extremism,” Just Security, February 6, 2020.

[18] Casey Michel, “Russian, American white nationalists raise their flags in Washington,” Think Progress, September 22, 2017.

[19] Lucas Webber, “Rusich: Russia’s neo-Nazi militia with broader ambitions,” UnHerd, December 16, 2022; Lucas Webber, “Rusich and WPRS Ultranationalists Fighting for Russia in Ukraine,” EMAN Network, February 2, 2023.

[20] Webber and Bertina.

[21] “Alexander Zhuchkovsky,” Counter Extremism Project, n.d.

[22] Veronica Balderas Iglesias, “How Russia Uses Neo-Nazi Groups to Spread Chaos,” Voice of America, June 23, 2022.

[23] Michel.

[24] Yassin Musharbash, “The Globalization of Far-Right Extremism: An Investigative Report,” CTC Sentinel 14:6 (2021).

[25] Arsenault and Stabile.

[26] Anton Shekhovtsov, “Russian Politicians Building an International Extreme Right Alliance,” Interpreter, September 15, 2015.

[27] Lucas Webber and War Noir, “Operations and Weapons Profile of Russia’s Controversial Rusich Reconnaissance, Sabotage, and Assault Group,” Militant Wire, January 2, 2023; Amna Naqaz, “‘People like you’: White nationalist Jared Taylor to Muslim-American journalist,” ABC News, March 21, 2017.

[28] Webber and Noir.

[29] “Russian Imperial Movement,” Stanford Mapping Militants Project, last updated February 2021; Pamela Ligouri Bunker and Robert J. Bunker, “The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM): A Putin Regime Proxy Promoting Autocratic Terrorism and Insurgency,” C/O Futures Terrorism Research Note Series, August 7, 2022.

[30] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram channel, June 11, 2023.

[31] “Inside the Russian Imperial Movement,” Soufan Center, April 2020.

[32] Russian Imperial Legion, post made on Imperial Legion Telegram Channel, May 18, 2023; Bunker and Bunker.

[33] “Our History,” Russian Imperial Movement website.

[34] Kschessinska Mansion, Saint Petersburg, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, captured on March 25, 2023.

[35] “Our History,” Russian Imperial Movement website.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] “Dossier, Vorobyov Stanislav Anatolyevich,” Zampolit.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Sava Fedoseev, “State Department VS RID. Interview with Stanislav Vorobyov,” Rosanov Club, October 25, 2020.

[46] “Dossier, Vorobyov Stanislav Anatolyevich;” Fedoseev.

[47] Vasily Kryukov, YouTube Channel, “Stanislav Vorobyov RID – CIA, FSB and religious war with Ukraine (Stream),” Yandex Video, February 9, 2023.

[48] Special Channel, “Stanislav Vorobyov and Vladimir Kvachkov on the future Russian,” Yandex Video, May 9, 2020.

[49] Fedoseev.

[50] “Interview with Stanislav Vorobyov (RIM),” Imperial Cossack Union website, December 6, 2018.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Russian Imperial Legion, image of Colonel Kvachkov giving a lecture at the Partizan training center on Imperial Legion Telegram Channel, April 2, 2023.

[53] David Marples, “Igor Strelkov – Moscow agent or military romantic?” OpenDemocracy, June 13, 2014.

[54] Special Channel, “I.Strelkov, V.Kvachkov, S.Vorobyov: Who will get Russia?” Yandex Video, May 10, 2020; “SBU counterintelligence uncovered the Imperial Legion, an organization of Russian Nazis that helped Girkin and the DNR,” TSN.UA, April 19, 2019.

[55] “Eur-Lex, Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/2477 of 16 December 2022,” Official Journal of The European Union, December 16, 2022; Dima Schultz, “Interview with the head of the military sports club ‘Imperial Legion’ Denis Gariev,” LiveJournal article.

[56] Editorial Novorosinform, “Denis Gariev: State Department declared RID ‘terrorists’ for Novorossiya and opposition to globalists,” New Russia, April 9, 2022.

[57] Ibid.

[58] “Denis Valiullovich Gariyev,” Counter Extremism Project, n.d.

[59] Rigort, “Interview with Denis Gariev, Head of the Imperial Legion,” LiveJournal, December 29, 2014; Denis Valiullovich Gariyev,” Counter Extremism Project, n.d.

[60] “Political Program,” Russian Imperial Movement website, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, archived March 30, 2022; Dmitry Polevschikov, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte social media account, June 28, 2023.

[61] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram, November 10, 2019.

[62] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte social media account, July 4, 2023.

[63] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte social media account, July 4, 2023.

[64] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte social media account, July 4, 2023.

[65] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte, July 2, 2023; Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte, June 30, 2023.

[66] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram account, July 11, 2023; Vadim Vasilyev, post by Vadim Vasilyev on his social media account, Internet Archive Wayback Machine, archived on January 20, 2022.

[67] “Fight for the white race. How the Russian neo-Nazi Denis Nikitin promotes his ideas in Ukraine, and why the Azov Regiment,” Zaborona, June 12. 2020.

[68] Robyn Dixon, “Inside white-supremacist Russian Imperial Movement, designated foreign terrorist organization by U.S. State Department,” Washington Post, April 13, 2022.

[69] Robert Horvath, “The Euromaidan and the crisis of Russian nationalism,” Routledge, 2015.

[70] “Our History,” Russian Imperial Movement website.

[71] Bunker and Bunker.

[72] “Our History,” Russian Imperial Movement website.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid.

[75] “Alexander Zhuchkovsky,” Counter Extremism Project, n.d.

[76] Alexander Zhuchkovsky, 85 Days in Slavyansk (2022).

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Oleksandr Demchenko, “The Russian Imperialist organisation has become a terrorist organisation. How it fought in Ukraine,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 7, 2020.

[80] “SBU counterintelligence uncovered the Imperial Legion, an organization of Russian Nazis that helped Girkin and the DNR.”

[81] Demchenko; Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram account, July 11, 2023.

[82] “Canada blocked the “Russian Imperial movement,” Kommersant, February 5, 2021.

[83] Andrew Roth, “A right-wing militia trains Russians to fight the next war — with or without Putin,” Washington Post, January 2, 2017.

[84] Jack Losh, “Is Russia Killing Off Eastern Ukraine’s Warlords?” Foreign Policy, October 25, 2016.

[85] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram account, July 11, 2023. There is no publicly available open-source evidence of RIM operating in CAR, but some analysts believe it has. Voice of America cites Soufan Center analysts in Ezel Sahinkaya and Danila Galperovich, “Radical Russian Imperial Movement Expanding Global Outreach,” May 9, 2020.

[86] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte social media account, April 12, 2021.

[87] Russian Imperial Legion, post made on the Russian Imperial Legion’s Vkontakte social media account, April 10, 2019.

[88] UA.Wire, “Russian mercenary who fought in Donbas killed in Libya,” Internet Archive Wayback Machine, archived on April 7, 2020.

[89] “National International: the incredible adventures of Russian imperials in Europe,” News.RU, April 13, 2020.

[90] “Wagner: Scale of Russian mercenary mission in Libya exposed,” BBC, August 11, 2021.

[91] Russian Imperial Legion, post made on Russian Imperial Legion’s Vkontatke, January 27, 2020.

[92] Kacper Rekawek, “A Trickle, Not a Flood: The Limited 2022 Far-Right Foreign Fighter Mobilization to Ukraine,” CTC Sentinel 15:6 (2022).

[93] Katie Bo Lillis, Kylie Atwood, and Alex Marquardt, “Russian intelligence agents believed to have directed White supremacists to carry out bombing campaign in Spain, US officials say,” CNN, January 23, 2023; “United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists,” U.S. Department of State, April 7, 2020; Dixon.

[94] Lillis, Atwood, and Marquadt.

[95] A photo of former Russian Spetsnaz Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov giving a lecture to RIM was posted on the Partizan Telegram channel on April 3. Also “Spain jails letterbomb suspect to avoid ‘flight to Russia,” AFP, December 1, 2023.

[96] Guy Faulconbridge, “Prigozhin says Wagner will not sign contracts with Russia defence minister,” Reuters, June 11, 2023.

[97] Russian Imperial Movement, post made on Russian Imperial Movement’s Telegram channel, June 11, 2023.

[98] Russian Imperial Movement Telegram channel, post forwarded from Vladislav Efremov to RIM’s channel, June 11, 2023.

[99] Russian Imperial Movement Telegram channel, post forwarded from Vladislav Efremov to RIM’s channel, June 11, 2023.

[100] Post made by RIL on August 2, 2023. Shortly after his arrest, the online RIM sphere circulated an image of Igor Girkin as King Leonidas of Sparta.

[101] Dixon.

[102] Zhuchkovsky, 85 Days in Slavyansk.

[103] Russian Imperial Movement’s website, “A Couple Brief Thoughts On Prigozhin,” Archive Today Webpage Capture, captured on July 12, 2023.

[104] Russian Imperial Movement, video posted on Russian Imperial Movement’s Vkontakte, July 1, 2023.

[105] Post on RIM Telegram Channel, August 25, 2023.

[106] RIM’s Partizan Telegram channel posted photos of its fighters at shooting events on May 16 and May 31, 2023.

[107] RIM’s Partizan Telegram channel posted a photo of its members wearing medals on May 16, 2023.

[108] War Noir, Lucas Webber, and Alec Bertina, “The Russian Imperial Legion’s Weapons Arsenal in Ukraine,” Militant Wire, June 15, 2023.

[109] RIM’s Partizan Telegram channel advertised the course on June 6, 2023.

[110] Elena Martynova, “Russian Imperial Movement,” August 18, 2022.

[111] A June 9, 2023, post on the Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel stated how Russian supporters in France supplied the group with medical supplies.

[112] RIM posts links to items on combat-center.ru for its supporters to purchase for them. Russian parishioners purchased communications equipment according to a July 28 post on RIM’s Telegram channel.

[113] RIM often provides its Sberbank address for donations on its Telegram and VK pages. A July 13 Telegram post, for example, included banking information was posted to fund communications equipment. A June 15, 2023, post asking for medical supplies on the Partizan Telegram channel listed Sberbank as the financial institution.

[114] “U.S. Sanctions Members of Russian Violent Extremist Group,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 15, 2022; “$2 Million and Counting: How Dozens of Pro-Russian Groups Are Using Cryptocurrency Donations to Fund the War in Ukraine,” ChainAnalysis, July 29, 2022.

[115] Partizan, post made on the training center Partizan’s Telegram channel, April 24, 2023.

[116] Noir, Webber, and Bertina.

[117] The threat was posted on the Russian Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel on May 31, 2023.

[118] Andrew Roth, “‘We are Russians just like you’: anti-Putin militias enter the spotlight,” Guardian, May 24, 2023.

[119] A post from May 29, 2023 on RIM’s Telegram channel discussed its fighters going to mass to commemorate three fighters who died near Bakhmut.

[120] A June 9, 2023, post on the Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel stated how Russian supporters in France supplied the group with medical supplies.

[121] “Russian Neo-Nazis Participate in ‘Denazifying’ Ukraine,” Der Spiegel, Moscow Times, May 23, 2022.

[122] Fidelius Schmid, “Zahlreiche Neonazis kämpfen in der Ukraine für Russland,” Der Spiegel, May 5, 2022; “Russian Neo-Nazis Participate in ‘Denazifying’ Ukraine – Der Spiegel,” Moscow Times, May 23, 2022.

[123] Mark Towsend, “Russian mercenaries in Ukraine linked to far-right extremists,” Guardian, March 20, 2022.

[124] Schmid.

[125] Russian Imperial Movement Telegram channel, post forwarded from Vladislav Efremov to RIM’s channel, June 11, 2023.

[126] Posted to the Imperial Legion’s Telegram channel on May 29, 2023.

[127] From a July 28, 2023, post on RIL’s Telegram.

[128] Gartenstein-Ross, Hodgson, and Clarke.

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