The 'Russian Volunteer Corps' Unit Reveals Goals Of Conducting Reconnaissance And Diversion Missions In Ukraine And Russia; Fundraises Using Cryptocurrency And Recruit On Telegram

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May 31, 2023

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) is a military unit founded by Russian expatriates fighting on the side of Ukraine. Among the group are some individuals who previously fought in the Azov Regiment). The RDK is part of Ukraine's Foreign legion, which is a recognized division of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (ZSU) and is subordinate to the general military command. However, according to the head of the RDK, until August of 2022 the RDK cooperated with the ZSU but was not recognized as an official unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Some of the unit members have been fighting against Russian troops since the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbass in 2014.

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Head of the RDK and another RDK member holding the unit's flag (stylized badge of the 1930s paramilitary youth organization "White Idea") during the group's infiltration mission into Bryansk Region in Russia on March 2, 2023.

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The head of the group is a Moscow native and neo-Nazi who gained notoriety as a white supremacist activist and as the founder of a white supremacist clothing brand and MMA promotion. He is also a former associate of Russian neo-Nazi and skinhead Maxim Martsinkevich, aka "Tesak" ("Hatchet").

The RDK have conducted several reconnaissance and diversion missions in the Russian regions of Bryansk (in March) and Belgorod (between May 21 and 26). In an interview to a YouTube channel on May 26, the group's leader stated that the unit pursues a variety of goals during such missions, including propaganda and political goals, "to proclaim ourselves as a force that is ready to fight for the future of Russia without Putin and Kremlin's power." He argued that the Russian residents of the regions bordering Ukraine believe that they have given up their many of their political and civil rights in exchange for a false feeling of safety. By entering Russian territory, seizing vehicles, and producing videos of their exploits, RDK strives to demonstrate that the state is not capable of ensuring safety for its citizens. "Our enemies are certainly not only 'siloviky' (security officers), but also members of the party in power, all advocates, all propagandists and ideologues of this regime, thus we have a lot of targets [...] Our task is to justly punish all those who unleashed this war" concluded Nikitin. During the interview, he also stated that several of the RDK fighters are located in Russian territory. The group's leader referred to the latter as "armed underground."

Group Fundraises Using Cryptocurrency

The unit collects funds to purchase equipment through its Telegram channel, using private personal accounts at Ukrainian banks as well as cryptocurrency.

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Screenshot of RDK page on Telegra.ph blogging platform listing bank and cryptocurrency accounts for donations

Recruitment

RDK is also engaged in recruitment. On Telegram, the unit's channel published a call for recruitment on April 11, 2023. Among the requirements for potential candidates, the post lists being between 18 to 45 years of age, good physical fitness, support for the RDK and Civic Council goals, stress tolerance, lack of bad habits (alcohol or drug addictions). The priority is granted to recruits that had carried out partisan activities on the Russian territory, possess combat experience, have experience of military service or service in law enforcement agencies.

The post contains an image and a caption. The text on the image says, "Recruits Wanted." The caption reads: "Russian Volunteer Corps along with Civic Council formally announce recruitment drive."

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The image depicts RDK fighters.

 

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