Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has many supporters. A number of paramilitary, ultra-nationalist groups are also fighting alongside the Russian army. The Wagner group is also one of the best-known. The so-called “Task Force Rusich“, a special unit of brutal neo-Nazis, has also sent its mercenaries to the front. But views on warfare differ.
The important Rusich fighter Yevgeny “Topaz” Rasskazov has criticized the Russian military strategy in no uncertain terms, declaring the mobilization a failure and accusing those conscripted of acting. But what is behind the group that is so clearly critical? At the top is a man who became known for cutting off the head of a puppy and hitting a German right-wing politician.
The history of Task Force Rusich begins in St. Petersburg in 2014 at the latest. Its founder Alexei Milchakow rallies fighters for the war effort in Ukraine. He is said to have completed relevant military training beforehand. He now leads the paramilitary unit together with Jan Petrowski, they have known each other since 2011. Both are networked with ultra-nationalist Russian organizations. t-online has followed the tracks of the brutal mercenaries in recent years.
A posting on August 5, 2011, made Alexei Milchakov known throughout Russia. The then 20-year-old had circulated photos of himself and the severed head of a dog, which he dangled by the ears in front of the camera. He had slaughtered the animal with a knife and explained that this is how you should deal with the rabble on the street, with dogs as well as with the homeless.
Photos of him are also circulating, showing him heavily armed in a Bundeswehr uniform in front of the flag of the paramilitary “Russian National Unity”.
It is also known that Milchakow owned weapons from an early age so he himself claims to have shot at Antifa and is said to have been involved in a robbery. Today his old social media profiles, which could prove this, have been deleted or made private. But there are screenshots. These show that he called himself “Fritzpz88” at the time and stated, among other things, that he spoke German and Norwegian. He presented himself as a fan of Adolf Hitler and photographed himself with a swastika flag.
The National Socialist gun enthusiast ended up in the military. It was initially quiet around him – until 2014. He himself documented how he went to the Donbas with a convoy for so-called “humanitarian aid” to go to war. He fought there in the “Fledermaus” battalion, the rapid reaction force of the pro-Russian separatists in the Luhansk region.
In Russia at the time, his action was immediately criticized: “A fascist and butcher from St. Petersburg went out to fight for the insurgents,” wrote the second-largest Russian daily “Moskovsky Komsomolets” in July 2014. Meanwhile, Milchakov posted his “bat”. -ID with the number 1488. That too is a clear code of racism and admiration for Hitler.
He led an operation that established his reputation as a merciless brutal: In an ambush on a highway, his troops defeated a Ukrainian volunteer corps, also notorious for atrocities, killing dozens of men there. Milchakov takes no prisoners.
There is a photo of Milchakov in front of a burning corpse from the fight on the highway. A second man also poses in front of the body. This is his comrade-in-arms Jan Petrovsky, both fighters look content.
Milchakov also circulated photos of a severed ear. Since then he has been considered a war criminal. On February 16, 2015, the then 24-year-old landed on the EU sanctions list with “ministers” and high-ranking military officials from the self-proclaimed Donbas republics. “I’m a Nazi. I like cutting off human ears, and not just ears. And the smell of burning human flesh is delicious,” he says in an interview in a suit and tie.
During the operation, they carved a symbol into the face of a fallen soldier. It’s the sign under which the cruel work of Milchakov and Petrovsky has stood since 2014: the Kolvorat, an eight-armed Slavic swastika, the sign of “Rusich“.
Petrovsky’s nickname is “Slav”, Milchakov calls himself “Serb”. “Kosovo is Serbia” is tattooed on Milchakov’s forearm. He poses next to a woman named Dragana Trikovic. She belongs to the so-called “Eurasian Movement” of the Russian fascist Alexander Dugin and maintains connections to German AfD politicians.
Milchakov and Petrowski themselves came into direct contact with a right-wing German party: when NPD members attended a meeting in St. Petersburg in March 2015 called the “Russian Conservative Forum,” the two paramilitaries were prominent on the list of participants. Milchakov said: “If Hitler had died in 1939 and if the Soviet Union hadn’t lost so many people because of him, he would be one of the best leaders.”
Almost all high-ranking neo-Nazis took photos with them. The head of the NDP, Udo Voigt, did not come, but two other party friends at the time, Karl Richter and Jens Puhse did. They have different views today: Richter has since left the NPD, which he considers not radical enough, and was on the podium at a pro-Russian demonstration in September. Puhse clearly distanced himself from the Russian war of aggression and called for solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
After that, little was heard from the “Rusich” fighters: from the summer of 2015, they stopped fighting in the Donbas. Petrovsky moved to Norway and became involved in the scene of the “Sons of Odin”. This militia from the neo-Nazi scene is international. The German branch included a number of men who also made the headlines: as suspected terrorists of “Group S.” they are in court in Stuttgart. However, Petrovsky got into trouble with the authorities in Norway and was arrested in October 2016 and deported to Russia.
Milchakov continued to be active in his Russian homeland and in Belarus and was the focus of the UKZS state security service, which acts as part of the FSB in Russia against extremists and members of the opposition. UKZS forces arrested organizers of training camps where Milchakov had trained young people. The authorities took action against the fact that 12- to 18-year-olds should learn uncontrolled in camps “to destroy enemies effectively”. Milchakov remained unmolested. In the meantime, Putin himself has set up a youth army, “Junarmiya,” by decree, which is intended to get young people excited about the military. Your instructor: Milchakov.
According to US information, before he was injured during a deployment in the Donbas in the spring, his death had even been falsely reported from Syria: “Rusich” had fought against the IS with “Wagner” mercenaries, including near Palmyra. Milchakov sent a photo of life from a Russian train. He and his people apparently remained on the radar of the German secret service. In May 2022, the BND reported that neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine were involved in the war on the Russian side and made headlines around the world.
Security services have taken notice of photos posted from Berlin: “Rusitsch on Tour”. Alleged supporters had photographed themselves in various places with the “Task Force” badge. The pictures from the German capital were taken against the background of the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. It is said that there is no particular danger. Supporters of the so-called “Islamic State” had also made propaganda in this way from various places in Germany.
The photos could also be meant as an attempt at a threat: “Rusitsch” has shown increased interest in the West in recent months. There was a call from the mercenaries in the Telegram channel to provide them with information on troop movements, depots, and border posts from the Baltic States. It is information that the Russian secret service should actually have. Experts told the British “Guardian” that this is a sign that the neo-Nazi troops are becoming increasingly independent of the Russian state. The statement leads back to “Rusich” fighter Topaz and his telegram posting: dissatisfaction with strategy and actions in the war against Ukraine.