May 25, 2023 - The raid into Russian territory by two anti-Putin Russian militias based in Ukraine has cast a spotlight on the groups, whose existence until recently was denied by the Kremlin
The two groups that claimed responsibility – Liberty of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) – describe themselves as Russian armed dissidents. Together with a third party, the National Republican Army (NRA), they agreed the Irpin Declaration in August 2022, to establish the principles of Russian armed opposition against the regime of Vladimir Putin on both sides of the front.
The RVC claimed responsibility for an attack on two villages in Bryansk Oblast in March 2023, while the NRA is allegedly responsible for the murder of right-wing journalist Darya Dugina. However, possibly the most active group is the Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists, a loosely structured grouping that has existed since at least 2020 but has engaged in partisan activity since the invasion of Ukraine. It is believed to have been responsible for attacks on railway and telecoms infrastructure, as well as numerous arson attacks on Russian military commisariats across the country.
- Belgorod raid: Who are the fighters infiltrating Russia from Ukraine? (BBC)
- Leader of cross-border raid warns Russia to expect more incursions (Reuters)
- Who are the Freedom of Russia Legion and other armed fighters in Belgorod? (Reuters)
- “Irpin Declaration” on the Cooperation of the Russian opposition against Putin’s regime (Kyiv Post)
- Russian opposition group posts video of what appears to be an antiwar flag above Moscow following purported cross-border raid (Business Insider)