Russian Imperial Movement
Group Financing Profile
It wasn’t Atomwaffen, the Order of Nine Angles, or even the Ku Klux Klan; instead the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) was the first white supremacist group to be designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. Canada also listed the organization in 2021. Based in St. Petersburg, RIM promotes Russian nationalism and seeks to fuel far-right ideologies. The group has trained terrorists across Europe, sent pro-Russian militants to engage in the Ukraine conflict, and even had members work as mercenaries in North Africa. How does RIM have the resources to maintain a global reach? The following profile explores RIM’s financial activities in-depth, and outlines what we can expect from the group in the future.
The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) is a far-right, neo-Nazi and white supremacist organization based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since leader Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev founded the group in 2002, RIM has operated throughout Western Russia as well as in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya. While the group initially attracted little attention both domestically and internationally, it gained prominence in 2014 when it began supporting separatists in Ukraine. The armed wing of RIM, known as the Imperial Legion, set up a training base in St. Petersburg to prepare Russian militants to fight in Ukraine. After asserting a leadership role in the transnational white supremacist movement in 2015, RIM attracted additional attention. The organization now maintains ties with neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups across Europe and the US.
RIM’s resources come primarily from public donations from identity-based support networks. Fundraising activities include a public concert organized by the group in 2016. Online channels also appear to help RIM gather donations. One of RIM’s leaders, Alexander Zuchkovsky, "has repeatedly used his account on Russia-based social media platform VK, formerly known as VKontakte, to fundraise and recruit for RIM.” Since 2014, Zuchkovsky has allegedly managed to raise US$3 million to purchase weapons and military equipment for RIM members. In a 2014 interview, he also indicated that he raised nearly $500,000 to support Russian separatists in Ukraine. He further led an operation to send supplies such as “radios, uniforms, cellphones, drones, binoculars … and even soap, batteries and toothpaste.” Zhuchkovsky continues to be a key RIM fundraiser and has been listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US.