Back in December we compiled some search terms and sources where you readers could do your own research and due diligence reporting in an effort to help us highlight further neo-Nazi and Russian far-right movements. Within that article we briefly mentioned Reverse Side of the Medal (RSOTM). RSOTM is an online forum for current and former PMC contractors and their supporters, and they typically congregate to exchange neo-Nazi and other extremist ideology while posting pictures of dead enemy combatants or worshipping their own war dead as heroes. It’s interesting to see their unfiltered opinions on such topics, and they aren’t shy about expressing themselves, usually in rhetoric that echoes their hostile ideologies. Because these insights lend well to our research, we tend to keep an eye on the group and not too long ago we came across an interesting post. Who else should appear but the usual suspect, war criminal, and acclaimed neo-Nazi Dmitry Utkin, the notorious warlord of the PMC Wagner.
Utkin was featured in a post by the group’s most prominent administrator, Maksim Fomin, who posts under the pseudonym Vladlen Tatarsky. The post is an excerpt from a book featuring a young Utkin in Botlikh Rayon, Dagestan from 21 August 1999. The caption under the photo reads that the commander of the 584th Company, Dmitry Utkin, occupied positions of the fighters atop Kharama Mountain. The photo is from a book by V. Galimov titled ‘An Officer’s Notebook’ and was posted by Tatarsky to show how diligently Utkin has been fighting on the front lines for years.
Now readers, given the type of person we all know Utkin to be, one has to wonder how influential this man was during his time in the military and how much influence he exerts over his troops within Wagner. Given that he always seemed to be in a leadership role, how much of his hateful neo-Nazi ideology seeped out into his troops, slowly corrupting their own views of the world? The photo might be from 1999 but it’s likely that Utkin’s career spans several years before this period as well since it’s reported he participated in the First Chechen War in the mid-90s. During his time in, operating unrestricted, leading, socializing, and influencing his troops, who’s to say how much of his hateful ideology he managed to spread? When we see the far-right movements in Russia today, can we not say that people like him likely influenced members of these current movements? Its this domino-like effect that requires us to stay vigilant and point out vile people like Utkin every chance we get, to try and prevent them from spreading their ideologies unrestricted and corrupting newer generations.
Are we off-base in our assessment here? We’d like to hear from you guys so please reach out and let us know! As always, stay informed, be safe, and if you have any ideas for articles in the future never hesitate to get in touch. Also we’re trying to be more active on Twitter, so if you’d like to give us a follow reach out @SARFAN_Jan. Take care SARFAN fans!