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Ukraine’s awkward allies: The far-right Russians fighting on Kyiv’s side

By Shaun Walker

21 Sep 2023 · 9 min read

informed Summary

  1. Denis Nikitin, a Russian nationalist and former major figure on Russia's football hooliganism scene, now runs the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), a unit that fights alongside the Ukrainian army. The RDK performed several cross-border raids into Russia earlier this year before retreating back into Ukraine.

Denis Nikitin arrived for an interview at a Kyiv restaurant with a pistol strapped to his side and flanked by two armed bodyguards. It would not have been a surprising sight in wartime Ukraine but for one detail: Nikitin is Russian.

Before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Nikitin was known as a notorious Russian nationalist, who built links between far-right groups across Europe and was once a major figure on Russia’s football hooliganism scene.

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