Russian Imperial Movement

Russian paramilitary organization

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Russian Imperial Movement
Русское Имперское Движениe
LeaderStanislav Vorobyev
MotivesReconvening of Zemsky Sobor to re-establish the Russian Empire
HeadquartersSt. Petersburg
Clerical fascism
Russian irredentism
Russian nationalism
White supremacy
Political positionFar-right
AlliesAlliance for Peace and Freedom
Atomwaffen Division
Russian National Front[1]
 • Great Russia Party
 • Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers
Nordic Resistance Movement
Serbian Action
Syrian Social Nationalist Party[2]
Battles and warsCentral African Republic Civil War (2012–present)[3]
Libyan Civil War (2014–present)
Syrian Civil War
War in Donbas
Designated as a terrorist group by Canada
February 3, 2021
 United States
April 6, 2020
FlagFlag of the Russian Empire (black-yellow-white).svg

The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM; Russian: Русское Имперское Движениe, romanizedRusskoe imperskoe dvizhenie, RID)[5] is a Russian ultranationalist, white supremacist,[6] far-right paramilitary organization[7] based in Saint Petersburg. As of 2015, its leader is Stanislav Vorobyev.[7][8] It has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States[9][10] and Canada.[11]

RIM is part of a broader cluster of extreme-right "political Orthodoxy" groups in Russia that promote monarchy (specifically, by idolizing Russia's tsarist past), and draw inspiration from the violent, antisemitic Black Hundreds of early 20th century Russia.[5] Others within the movement include the groups "For Faith and Fatherland" and the modern revival of the "Union of the Russian People."[5] Websites connected to RIM espouse antisemitism.[5]


In 2008, RIM formed its paramilitary branch, called the Imperial Legion. The group maintains two training facilities in Saint Petersburg.[6] After the war in Donbas broke out in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, the RIM began training and sending volunteer soldiers to the pro-Russian groups in the conflict in July.[7] Some members of the Imperial Legion have also worked as mercenaries in the Middle East and North Africa. On January 30, 2020, it was reported that Vladimir Skopinov, who had also previously fought in Donbas and Syria, died in Libya. He was the second member of the Legion to die in Libya.[12]

On 6 April 2020, the U.S. Department of State added the Russian Imperial Movement and three of its leaders (Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariyev,[13] and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov[14]) to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list,[9] making it the first white supremacist group to be designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.[6] The group was officially designated as a terrorist group in Canada on 3 February 2021.[15][11]

Outside Russia

In 2008, RIM visited Sweden in order to attend Karl XII's Memorial Day in Stockholm together with the neo-Nazi Party of the Swedes. In the fall of 2015, it was noted that RIM had provided support to the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR), and that RIM's leader Vorobyev had visited SMR in Sweden.[7]

On 26 January 2020, a Russian man named Anatoly Udodov was arrested at the Arlanda airport after the police had discovered a cache of weapons belonging to him. The Swedish police had confiscated numerous firearms from him the previous summer due to his connections to SMR. Udodov was described as the representative of RIM in Sweden by Vorobyev and investigators believe he is the local recruiter for the RIM training camps. According to Swedish police Udodov is friends with a convicted terrorists, 23-year-old Viktor Melin. Melin was part of a group of Swedish neo-Nazis who went to Russia for military training, and upon returning was responsible for a string of bombings against minorities and political enemies.[16] RIM has also provided paramilitary training to German, Polish and Finnish neo-Nazis.[17]

Outside Scandinavia, RIM is affiliated with the Black-Yellow Alliance of Austria. Thus, on November 9, 2019 Vorobyev was invited and took part in the organization's congress, which was held in Parkhotel Schönbrunn [de], a guest house for the palace of Emperor Franz Joseph I.[18] The same month, a representative of RIM held a speech in an international conference in Madrid that was organized by the far-right Spanish political party "National Democracy" and attended by the members of Alliance for Peace and Freedom.[19] Both groups have been characterized as neo-nazi. In May 2018, German Junge Nationaldemokraten held a gathering in Riesa, Germany, where representatives of RIM took part in together with related organizations such as the neo-Nazi Serbian Action and Bulgarian National Union.[20]

On 29 April 2020, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior received an intelligence report which stated that RIM was inciting its right-wing extremist contacts in Spain to commit acts of terror, such as attacking the infrastructure, transportation system and using chemical weapons against the public.[21]

On 5 June 2020, the German magazine Focus reported that the German security services were aware of the training of German neo-Nazis in Russia. However, they could not prohibit the Germans from traveling to Saint Petersburg for legal reasons. The authorities assume that Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the camps and "at least tolerates them".[22][23] The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism described the RIM's relationship with the Russian government as “an adversarial symbiosis”; as long as they do not commit terrorism domestically, they are free to operate and offer training to militants and to send troops to conflicts abroad where Russia has a stake in.[24]

According to an investigation which was conducted by Infobae, a new Atomwaffen Division cell which is operating in Russia receives training from the group, and United States citizens who are affiliated with the group are also believed to have taken part in it.[25] Later, the National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller confirmed that American neo-Nazis have had contacts with the RIM; specifically, on previous occasions, they have traveled to Russia to train with the group.[26] According to the Center for International Security and Cooperation;

While RIM has aggressively built ties with European white supremacist groups, its outreach to U.S. organizations has historically occurred on a personal – rather than a formal or an institutional – basis. As of 2020, this pattern may be changing, given RIM’s alleged relationship with the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division’s Russian affiliate.[1]


  1. ^ a b Mapping Militant Organizations. “Russian Imperial Movement.” Stanford University. Last modified August 2020. "In late 2014, RIM joined a coalition of Russian-far right groups named the Russian National Front. As of 2020, this umbrella includes other ultra-nationalist organizations such as the Great Russia Party, the People's Militia in the Name of Minin and Pozharsky (NOMP), the Movement For Nationalization and De-Privatization of Strategic Resources of the Country, the Initiative Group for the Referendum “For a Responsible Power” (IGPR “ZOV”), the Russian People’s Council, the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers, and the Black Hundred.
  2. ^ “Russian politicians building an international extreme right alliance.” Euromaidan Press. Last modified September 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Government of Canada lists 13 new groups as terrorist entities and completes review of seven others". Government of Canada. 3 February 2021. Archived from the original on 3 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Marlene Laruelle, Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines, and Political Battlefields (Routledge, 2019), pp. 167, 202-203.
  6. ^ a b c John Hudson, U.S. labels a white-supremacist group 'terrorist' for the first time, Washington Post (April 6, 2020).
  7. ^ a b c d Nato: Främlingshatet kan gödas av främmande makt, Dagens Nyheter 2015-10-27
  8. ^ "Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev". Counter Extremism Project. Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  9. ^ a b "Designation of the Russian Imperial Movement". United States Department of State. 6 April 2020.
  10. ^ Johnson, Bethan; Feldman, Matthew (2021-07-21). "Siege Culture After Siege: Anatomy of a Neo-Nazi Terrorist Doctrine". International Centre for Counter-Terrorism: 1.
  11. ^ a b "Government of Canada lists 13 new groups as terrorist entities and completes review of seven others". Government of Canada. 3 February 2021. Archived from the original on 3 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Russian mercenary who fought in Donbas killed in Libya". UAWire. 7 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Denis Valiullovich Gariyev". Counter Extremism Project. Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  14. ^ "Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov". Counter Extremism Project. Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  15. ^ Aiello, Rachel (2021-02-03). "Canada adds Proud Boys to terror list". CTVNews. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  16. ^ ""За Рассею пострадать хочу". Почему в Швеции судят националиста из СССР". BBC News. 7 April 2020.
  17. ^ "United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists". US Department of State. 7 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Монархисты Австрии пригласили на свой конгресс главаря российских неонацистов". National News Agency of Ukraine. 7 April 2020.
  19. ^ "España, foco de la revuelta". Democracia Nacional. 7 April 2020.
  20. ^ "EUROPA – JUGEND – [RE]GENERATION.3. JN-EUROPAKONGRESS: EIN RÜCKBLICK". Junge Nationalisten. 15 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Un informe de Interior alerta de planes para esparcir el coronavirus y atacar torres de 5G". El Confidencial. 29 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Deutsche Neonazis werden in Russland militärisch geschult". Focus. 5 June 2020.
  23. ^ Pladson, Kristie. "German neo-Nazis trained at Russian camps: report | DW | 05.06.2020". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  24. ^ "The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) and its Links to the Transnational White Supremacist Extremist Movement". International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. February 5, 2021.
  25. ^ "Club Partizan, el campo de entrenamiento militar en Rusia para los neonazis del mundo (Club Partizan, the military training ground in Russia for the neo-Nazis of the world)". Infobae. June 14, 2020.
  26. ^ "FBI Worried About Clashes Between Violent Groups Before US Vote". The Globe Post. October 3, 2020.

External links

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