Finnish neo-Nazis have attended paramilitary training courses for years at a camp near St. Petersburg which is closely connected to the white supremacist organisation Russian Imperial Movement, according to a report in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement, led mainly from Sweden, have been receiving training at the ‘Partizan’ camp since at least 2016, HS writes, citing a report by the Swedish evening newspaper Aftonbladet.
The camp was founded in 2012 and operates quite openly in Russia, with its website clearly explaining why it offers combat training courses.
“No century has passed without global wars and the ring of ‘hot spots’ around Russia is tightening. Our task is to improve the level of national security by educating enlightened citizens through military training courses,” the camp’s website states.
The courses are led by Denis Gariev, Director of the Russian Imperial Movement’s military wing, according to HS. Gariev and two other leaders of the movement were identified by name when the U.S. State Department classified RIM as a global terrorist organisation in April.
Finland’s Supreme Court placed a temporary ban on the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement in March 2019, but the group’s members are still believed to be active and sometimes operate under the new name ‘Towards Freedom’ (or Kohti vapautta in Finnish).
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) did not wish to comment on the attendance of Finnish neo-Nazis at the camps when contacted by Helsingin Sanomat.
“We do not comment on the activity of this camp in any way to the public,” communications expert Anni Lehtonen told HS. “But Supo is interested in the matter.”