Denis Valiullovich Gariyev

Denis Valiullovich Gariyev is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the U.S. Department of State and the Imperial Legion, the paramilitary arm of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM).“United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists,” U.S. Department of State, April 7, 2020, https://www.state.gov/united-states-designates-russian-imperial-movement-and-leaders-as-global-terrorists/. The RIM is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization responsible for providing paramilitary-style training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists.“Designation of the Russian Imperial Movement,” U.S. Department of State, April 6, 2020, https://www.state.gov/designation-of-the-russian-imperial-movement/.

The RIM seeks to create a “mono-ethnic state” led by a “Russian autocratic monarchy,” preferably descended from the Romanov dynasty that led Russia before the 1917 revolution.Lester Feder, Edgar Mannheimer, Jane Lytvynenko, “These Swedish Nazis Trained In Russia Before Bombing A Center For Asylum Seekers,” BuzzFeed News, July 22, 2017, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/lesterfeder/these-swedish-nazis-trained-in-russia#.jmj8rBGYv. Although the group is not sponsored by the Russian state, the RIM has allegedly recruited and trained Russian fighters for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.Humeyra Pamuk, “U.S. designates Russian ultra-nationalist group as terrorist organization,” Reuters, April 6, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-designation/u-s-designates-russian-nationalist-group-as-terrorist-organization-u-s-official-idUSKBN21O1UQ.; Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Will Give Terrorist Label to White Supremacist Group for First Time,” New York Times, April 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/us/politics/terrorist-label-white-supremacy-Russian-Imperial-Movement.html. The RIM’s training network includes two facilities in St. Petersburg, one called Partizan, which are allegedly used to prepare people for “global chaos” through training in woodland and urban assault, tactical weapons, and hand-to-hand combat training.“United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists,” U.S. Department of State, April 7, 2020, https://www.state.gov/united-states-designates-russian-imperial-movement-and-leaders-as-global-terrorists/.

Additionally, the RIM has supported the efforts of neo-Nazi organizations in Scandinavia.“U.S. Will Give Terrorist Label to White Supremacist Group for First Time,” New York Times, April 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/us/politics/terrorist-label-white-supremacy-Russian-Imperial-Movement.html. In late 2016 and early 2017, three members of the extreme right-wing Nordic Resistance Movement carried out a series of bombings in Sweden. Two of the perpetrators, Viktor Melin and Anton Thulin, had previously attended Partizan and Swedish officials believe it aided in their radicalization.J. Lester Feder, Edgar Mannheimer, Jane Lytvynenko, “These Swedish Nazis Trained In Russia Before Bombing A Center For Asylum Seekers,” BuzzFeed News, July 22, 2017, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/lesterfeder/these-swedish-nazis-trained-in-russia#.jmj8rBGYv.

The RIM’s official website, Rusimperia.info, is now defunct, however, another website Rusimperia.org, features similar posts, calling on Russians to organize and march together to liberate Russia for the restoration of the monarchy. One such event has been planned for November, 4, 2020.“Russian Empire,” Russian Empire Independent Russian News, https://rusimperia.org/.; “RUSSIAN MARCH NOVEMBER 4 !!! COLLECTION AT M. OCTOBER FIELD !!!,” Russian Empire Independent Russian News, https://russkiymarsh.org/.

In 2009, Gariyev allegedly became disenchanted with political activism and redirected his attention towards helping Russian men legally procure and properly handle guns. Shortly afterwards, he began to conduct gun training courses for civilians. In 2014, war broke out in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian military, heightening ethnic divisions among Ukrainians and Russians.“Conflict in Ukraine,” Council on Foreign Relations, https://www.cfr.org/interactive/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/conflict-ukraine. At the onset of the crisis, Gariyev started to train Russian volunteers to fight alongside the Imperial Legion, the paramilitary arm of the RIM. According to Gariyev, Ukraine is a “pseudo-nation invented by the Soviets” and the Ukrainian ethnic group is a fabricated distinction. In 2015, Gariyev and others in Imperial Legion, stopped traveling to fight in Ukraine, considering the conflict to be encumbered by the interests of Russia, Ukraine and the West.Andrew Roth, “A right-wing militia trains Russians to fight the next war — with or without Putin,” Washington Post, January 2, 2017,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-right-wing-militia-trains-russians-to-fight-the-next-war--with-or-without-putin/2017/01/02/f06b5ce8-b71e-11e6-939c-91749443c5e5_story.html.

On April 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Stated designated Gariyev as an SDGT for being one of the RIM’s leaders and for providing training for acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The designation is the first time the U.S. government has listed a white supremacist group.“United States Designates Russian Imperial Movement and Leaders as Global Terrorists,” U.S. Department of State, April 7, 2020, https://www.state.gov/united-states-designates-russian-imperial-movement-and-leaders-as-global-terrorists/.

United States

The U.S. Department of State designated Denis Valiullovich Gariyev as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on April 6, 2020.“Designation of the Russian Imperial Movement,” U.S. Department of State, April 6, 2020, https://www.state.gov/designation-of-the-russian-imperial-movement/.

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