Analysts have warned that Russia could strike back by demanding a network of white supremacist groups to carry out terrorist attacks in the West.


  • As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is delayed, the Kremlin may call on armed groups to instigate violence in the West, experts warn.
  • A former US intelligence official has warned that Russia is likely to promote “political violence.”
  • The two Russian groups currently fighting in Ukraine have links to far-right groups in the United States and Western Europe.

A steady supply of Western weapons has allowed Ukraine’s underpowered army to hold back Russian forces and inflict thousands of casualties during the ongoing war.

However, experts are increasingly concerned that the delayed Russian invasion could allow the Kremlin to choose retaliation against the West, not only by economic and diplomatic means, but also by instigating a violent attack on the core of the NATO alliance.

The tool they may be trying to exploit is a network of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups that have built up decades of ties in Russia, Western Europe, and the United States.

“They did that in most of Europe before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that today,” said former National Security Director Chris Chivvis. From 2018 to 2021, the European Commission’s intelligence officer told Insider.

He incited “political unrest, political violence” and warned against “efforts to incite these groups to achieve political effects in European countries, and possibly the United States.”

The Russian embassies in London and Washington DC did not respond to requests for comment from insiders. Insider could not be contacted due to the clandestine operation of the group mentioned in this story.

Neo-Nazi militants fight Russian forces in Ukraine

The Kremlin tried to portray the invasion of Ukraine as an attempt to “denazify” the state. But analysts say the military is fighting alongside groups that openly support neo-Nazis and white supremacy, exposing the emptiness of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda.

The group not only has broad ties with far-right extremists across the West, but also has deep ties with Russia’s military and intelligence agencies, experts told Insider.

While maintaining plausible denials, experts say it could provide the Kremlin with a potential path to violence and chaos in Western countries that provide Ukraine with key diplomatic and military support.

I don’t think there is anything beyond Putin’s paleness. Colin Clark


One such threat is previously deployed Acts as a proxy for the Kremlin in conflicts in Syria, Libya and Mali.

Its fighters are associated with a series of atrocities in Ukraine. German intelligence service They said they took part in the massacre of civilians in the Bucha during the Russian occupation of the Kyiv suburbs in March.

A mural praising the Russian Wagner group and their mercenaries fighting in Ukraine on March 30, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.

A mural praising the Russian Wagner group and their mercenaries fighting in Ukraine on March 30, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Pierre Chrome/Getty Images


The group does not secretly support Nazi ideology, with leader Dmitry Utkin photographed with a Nazi insignia tattoo, and their warriors adorning their vehicles with neo-Nazi runes. According to a report by the Italian think tank ResPublica,

Rusich, a Wagner affiliate deployed in Ukraine, also uses Kolovrat, the Slavic version of the Nazi swastika, as a symbol to publicly show off its ties to neo-Naziism.

Colin Clarke, head of research at Soufan Group, told Insider that the Kremlin could either deploy Wagner’s fighters to carry out terrorist attacks in the West, or delegate them to combatants to encourage their contacts in the West to commit violence on their behalf.

“Russians send people to Europe to beat people,” he said. Germany Western officials are linked to Russian security services.

“I don’t think there’s anything that isn’t pale with Putin. It’s just a question: Does this make any tactical sense? And if you think about how resonant terrorism resonates, I think the psychological impact if that happens is a completely different thing. The dimension of the conflict,” he said of the possible impact of a Russian terrorist attack in the West.

But Jason Blazakis, a terrorism expert at the Middlesbury Institute, said Russia would mark a serious escalation in its confrontation with its NATO allies, and was skeptical that Russia would deploy fighters for a direct strike.

edge

Photo taken on February 28, 2015 shows a member of the Russian Empire Movement, a Russian nationalist group, walking near a banner reading “God.Tsar.Nation.We are Russia, God with us” at a training base in St. Louis. . St. Petersburg.

OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images


Instead, he said, Russia is likely to try to wreak havoc through a “direct relationship” between Russian and Western extremists.

Many Western far-right and white supremacists respect Putin’s Russia as a bastion of white identity. They see the Ukrainian conflict as a civil war between liberalism and Russia’s traditional hierarchical system.

Blatkazis said of the relationship between Russia and white supremacist groups, “What people should keep in mind is that Russia is actually providing assistance that fits the legal definition of sponsoring terrorism.”

Links with the West, including the United States

Wagner Group and its affiliates are not the only threats, and rival organizations are brokering alliances with violent right-wing extremists across the West.

Aleksei Milchakov and Yan Petrovsky – founders of the Wagner-affiliated Rusich group – It is known that they met in The training center of the Russian Empire Movement (RIM), a white supremacist organization dedicated to the restoration of the Russian Empire.

RIM has aggressively developed international connections by attracting dedicated extremists from across Europe and the United States to paramilitary training camps near St. Petersburg. A security analyst says:

Like Wagner’s group, fighters from eastern Ukraine displayed the group’s banner in a photo posted on the group’s Telegram channel, believed to have deployed fighters to Ukraine, which was reviewed by an insider.

nordic resistance

Members of the neo-Nazi organization Nordic Resistance Movement hold banners during a protest in Fredrikstad, about 90 kilometers south of Oslo, on October 27, 2018.

ORN E. BORGEN/NTB scanpix/AFP via Getty Images


Swedish officials said in a 2017 lawsuit: group trained extremists A native of the Far-Right Nordic Resistance, who carried out attacks on refugee centers in 2016 and was involved in violent far-right conspiracies in Germany and Spain. Also in 2016, RIM leaders traveled to the United States to meet Matthew Heimbach, an American white nationalist. International Center for Counter-Terrorism 2020 report.

In 2017, the State Department designated RIM as a terrorist organization for the first time on a white supremacist group.

Despite the sanctions, the group’s leader Stanislav Vorobyev Said in a recent interview about “verification” The podcast said he continued to be in contact with far-right extremists in the United States, but declined to provide details.

Clark said his main concern is potential contact with groups like Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi terrorist group linked to a series of violent conspiracies.

“The ultimate end game is to maintain these relationships because we may need to cash out the chips someday,” he said, describing the possibility of a pro-Russian terrorist attack by an American as “worst case scenario realized.”

He raised the prospect of the possible psychological impact of “a neo-Nazi man in Virginia who launched the attack on orders from the Russians and was probably paid or trained”.

“That’s a big deal.” He said. “It’s a big deal.”



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