The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM): A Putin Regime Proxy Promoting Autocratic Terrorism and Insurgency
C/O Futures Terrorism Research Note Series
Pamela Ligouri Bunker and Robert J. Bunker
7 August 2022
The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2002 within a few years of the beginning of the neo-czarist Putin regime. That regime, with deep links into the KGB (and later FSB; Federal Security Service) state intelligence agencies, successfully subordinated post-Soviet state institutions along with plutocratic (oligarchic) and criminal societal components into an autocratic form of governance which exhibits criminal-state and kleptocratic behaviors. The RIM—and its ‘Imperial Legion’ military arm—is a right wing and Russian nationalist / white extremist organization whose policies and actions closely support the Putin regime even though it claims in its narratives to be directly opposed to it. Allowed to freely operate within Russia, train foreign fighters supporting Russian separatists in the Donbas and Luhansk, and even send fighters in direct support of Russian combat operations taking place in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and the Central African Republic (Unconfirmed), the organization must be considered a proxy arm of the Russian state—even though one that can be plausibly denied by the Putin regime.