Violence-Oriented Right-Wing Extremist Actors in Russia: The Other Russia of E. V. Limonov – Part 1

October 11, 2023
Matus Trubac  —  Research Intern

During the past decade and a half, extremist non-state actors in Russia have become a central element of the violence-oriented transnational right-wing extremist milieu. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and, particularly, its re-invasion of the country in 2022 have afforded these actors far greater opportunities to operate and increase their influence than before. This blog is the first in a series in which CEP aims to highlight some of the key actors, analyze their extremist ideology, their modus operandi, and transnational role.


The Other Russia of E.V. Limonov is an extremist group in the Russian Federation founded in 2010 but denied official registration as a political party in 2011. It subscribes to National Bolshevism, and promotes the reunification of Russia with territories inhabited by Russian speakers in post-Soviet countries, by force if necessary. It has a paramilitary wing called the Interbrigades, formed in 2014. The group does not have direct links with the Russian state, but it has been sending fighters to the war in Ukraine since 2014. These volunteers fight in the forces of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk republics. The Other Russia’s armed wing also includes foreign fighters from several countries, such as Spain and the Czech Republic.

The party was renamed from “Other Russia” to “The Other Russia of E.V. Limonov” after the 2020 death of its founder, Eduard Veniaminovich Savenko, known by his penname Eduard Limonov. Limonov had also led the predecessor to Other Russia, the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), which he co-founded with Russian far-right ideologue Aleksandr Dugin on May 1,1993. The NBP had cells not only in the post-Soviet space (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, and the Baltic states), but also in Israel, Sweden, Canada, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and Poland. The Russian government banned the NBP in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010, Limonov participated in the anti-Putin coalition also called The Other Russia, which included right-wing and left-wing extremists. In 1992, Limonov fought alongside convicted war criminal Radovan Karadžić in the Bosnian War.

Limonov was a poet in Moscow in the early 1970s, but in 1974 he emigrated from the USSR to New York. He lived in poverty and made acquaintances in the Socialist Workers Party. Limonov left the U.S. in 1980. He remained stateless for 13 years until he gained French citizenship. In addition to the Bosnian War, Limonov participated in post-Soviet conflicts in Tajikistan, Abkhazia, and the Trans-Dniester. In 1992, Limonov was named security minister in a shadow cabinet formed in Russia by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a far-right populist. In 2001, Limonov was arrested for smuggling AK-47s and other weapons into Russia. While imprisoned, he wrote a series of lectures that outlined National Bolshevism.

The Other Russia, and especially its predecessor the NBP, have staged multiple direct-action operations that turned violent. These include the 2006 occupations of the Ministry of Finance and a military recruitment center in Moscow. Since the Russian re-invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the group cofounded and allied with the pro-war pressure group Club of Angry Patriots, has organized meetings and press conferences for it, and has protested against the arrest of pro-war Putin critic Igor Girkin (a.k.a. Igor Strelkov).

While The Other Russia has staged pro-democracy protests in the past, the group is ultranationalist, xenophobic, and racist. Its ultimate goal is the establishment of a racially pure white Russia that belongs solely to the Russian people and is ruled like a Stalinist dictatorship or North Korea. Additionally, the group is openly imperialist and works to reunite Russian-speaking territories with Russia through force.

National Bolshevism

The Other Russia follows the syncretic ideology of National Bolshevism. Limonov integrated Bolshevism with modern nationalism, sought to reverse privatization, and employed shock aesthetics drawn from avant-garde punk counterculture. It is openly anti-American and anti-West and has advocated for violent revolution.

At the same time, the group seeks to reunite Russia with Russian-speaking territories in Ukraine, Belarus, Transnistria, and Kazakhstan. It supports the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine. In a 2020 interview, Limonov stated, “Crimea is not enough, we need North Kazakhstan, the whole of Donbas.” It believes that all those who speak Russian belong to one Russian state and are part of the Russian World. Its members have spread antisemitic narratives, and its pursuit of democratic channels is solely for the purposes of establishing a nondemocratic Russia that belongs only to the “worthy.”

The group’s ideological narratives combine elements of National Bolshevism, Stalinism, Leninism, Russian irredentism, anti-globalism, anti-Americanism, and anti-oligarchism.

Organizational Structure

At the founding of the party in 2010, Limonov was elected chairman of the executive committee, in which several seats were also held by previous members of the NBP. Limonov resigned in 2016, whereupon he appointed Aleksey Volynets, Alexander Averin, and Andrey Dmitriev as acting heads. As of August 15, 2023, the party representatives are Nikolai Avdyushenkov, Mikhail Aksel, Kirill Imashev, Andrey Dmitriev, Alexander Kamensky, Dmitry Sidorenko, Andrey Skovorodnikov, Yuri Staroverov, and Olga Shalina. Other notable members include writer Alexander Pelevin and influencer Zemfira Suleimanova (killed in Donetsk in August 2023).

At least two members of the group, Mikhail Aksel and Evgeny Mikhailov, were also the co-founders of the Club of Angry Patriots together with Igor Girkin. The Other Russia has helped the club organize conferences in the same hotel in which the party was founded in 2010. Party members have been arrested for protesting against Girkin’s detention, and the party has sought to build broad support for Girkin.

In 2014, the group formed the Interbrigades, its paramilitary wing named after units set up by the Communist International to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The current coordinator of the Interbrigades appears to be Yuri Staroverov. The Interbrigades arrived in Donbas in 2014, where, according to former member Zakhar Prilepin, they facilitated the transport of 2,000 volunteer fighters to the front without the direct help of the Russian government. In 2015, they sided with Igor Plotnitsky, the former head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic. They resumed their activities in Donbas in 2022 and are involved in both fighting and the delivery of military supplies and humanitarian aid.

The Other Russia secures funding from member dues and donations, recruits from inside and outside of Russia, and has obtained military training for its members. The group’s membership includes foreign fighters from Spain, the Czech Republic (including Pavel Kavkaz), Latvia, and other countries.

Key leadership positions are currently held by:

  • Yuri Staroverov (coordinator of the Interbrigades, head of the Nizhny Novgorod branch)
  • Mikhail Aksel (party coordinator, Moscow)
  • Andrey Dmitriev (party coordinator, St. Petersburg)
  • Olga Shalina (head of the Moscow branch)
  • Andrey Skovorodnikov (head of the Krasnoyarsk branch)


Irrespective of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, The Other Russia will continue to exist with more trained fighters and military equipment. Unless checked, it can become more dangerous and potentially bring its extremist ideology into mainstream Russian politics.

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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