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Russian Paramilitary Organizations

Last modified: 2023-07-22 by valentin poposki
Keywords: paramilitary organizations | wagner group |
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PMC Wagner Group
ЧВК Вагнера

According to Wikipedia "The Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, [is] a Russian paramilitary organization [and is] also described as a private military company (PMC), a network of mercenaries, and a de facto unit of the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) or Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU." (source)

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
Images are based on this photo

The Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner (ChVK being the Russian abbreviation for "Private Military Company"), or CHVK Vagner (ЧВК Вагнера ChVK Vagnera, Частная Военная Компания Вагнера), is a Russian paramilitary organization. Some have described it as a private military contracting agency (of mercenaries), whose contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts, including operations in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Syrian government, as well as in the war in Donbas in Ukraine aiding the pro-Russian separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics from 2014 to 2022.
Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022

Now, the Wagner group flag that we have not reported previously, is the one featuring the organization's official logo on black background. Notice that they refer to its troops ironically as "musicians" on their recruitment ads, since Wagner was a renowned musician.
The logo featured a black circle with two crossed swords pointing downwards and around the outer circle, the following inscription on top ЧВК Вагнер (PMC Wagner) and counterclockwise their slogans: Кровь, честь, родина, отвага (Blood, Honor, Homeland, Courage).
Sources:
   1. Wikipedia: Wagner Group.
   2. You Tube: Wagner Group fighters seen planting their flag in Bakhmut.
   3. Russia's Wagner chief mocks Zelensky on Bakhmut.
Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023


Variant Wagner PMC flag used by Yevgeny Prigozhin

image by Zachary Harden, 7 July 2023

It seems this variant Wagner PMC flag was seen being used by Yevgeny Prigozhin in his home office and is being sold on the public market. (source)
Zachary Harden, 7 July 2023

Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin (Евге́ний Ви́кторович Приго́жин) is a Russian oligarch and the founder of the Wagner Group PMC. He was a "former" close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin and sometimes called "Putin's Chef," because he owns catering companies which provide food services for the Kremlin. However, in June of 2023 he refused to renew Wagner Group contracts in Ukraine with the Federation government claiming that the "...government justifications for the Russian invasion of Ukraine were based on lies." Criminal charges were filed against Prigozhin by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for inciting "an armed rebellion." PMC Wagner troops then withdrew from Ukraine and headed home towards Moscow. President Putin declared this action treason, and vowed to crush the uprising. However, after emergency negotiations the Putin Government dropped charges against Prigozhin, and although he still remains "under investigation," everything (as of now) have cooled down. (source)
Pete Loeser, 14 July 2023


Wagner PMC "Volunteer" Flag Variant

image by Pete Loeser, 13 July 2023
Based on this photo located by Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023

This Wagner PMC "Volunteer" Flag reverses the crossed swords (handles down) and uses a different variant center design of the organizational emblem. It shows the word ДОБРОВОЛЬЦЕЙ (VOLUNTEERS) instead of the organization's name across the top of the emblem. (source)
Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023


PMC Wagner Group Shoulder Patch

image located by Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022
Source: Russomilitare Russian Military Equipment

The Wagner Group or PMC Wagner is believed to have been founded in 2014 by a Russian veteran of the Chechen war who named the group after Richard Wagner, the German führer's favorite composer. Not surprisingly, the skull is one of the symbols used by the Wagner Group. Many smaller PMC also operate under the larger Wagner Group protective umbrella. There are thought to be more than 10,000 Wagner armed "consultants" contracted by them today.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023


PMC Wagner Coffin Flag

image by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2025
based on this photo.

This combined Wagner and Russian National flag (with the vertical stripes irregularly sized) was apparently cobbled together for use as a coffin flag, probably a one-of-a-kind hand-made variant.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2025


PMC Wagner ISIS Hunters

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
based on this photo and this photo located by Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022 and 24 June 2025.

The images above have "ISIS Hunters" on the top line, and an Arabic slogan at bottom - seen c2017 in Syria. Both flags read on the top line: "ISIS Hunters" (English), with a bottom line transliteration of "Sa'idu Da'esh" or "Sayeedu Daeish" or in Arabic: "داعش ص."
The ISIS Hunters formation was first seen in early 2017, as the Syrian government and its allies began their major push through the eastern deserts towards Deir az-Zor province. Apparently the group was set up with the intention of fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in particular. Their flag has been reported in two versions - red and black. Source: ISIS Hunters.
Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022 and 24 June 2023

According to RBK TV, the PMC Wagner trained a Syrian Army unit called the ISIS Hunters, which was also fully funded and trained by Russian special forces. The ISIS Hunters were one of the leading units during the capture of the al-Shaer gas fields from ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in late April 2017. After this they were one of the PMCs put in charge of guarding the refineries, with ISIL occasionally making attempts to retake the fields, each time being beaten back. (source)
Pete Loeser, 12 July 2023


PMC Wagner Group Commercial Variants

    images by Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

There is a wide selection of commercial Flag Manufacturer's PMC Wagner Group variants being sold both in the Russian Federation and world wide. Here are some examples, they are not official to my knowledge but being marketed as both flags and banners.
Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

    images by Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

Wording in Russian you should look for are: Вагнер which is "Wagner" in Russian, Группа Вагнера which means "Wagner Group," Солдат удачи which is "Soldier of Fortune," and Частная Военная which is "Private Military" in English.
Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023


Task Force Rusich
Associated with PMC Wagner Group

image by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
based on this photo located by Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022 and 24 June 2025.

The black-field flag of "Task Force Rusich" with white logo of the Norse "Valknot" or "knot of the slain", associated with the afterlife, partially surrounded with a white-wreath, an alleged off-the-books "mercenary" unit of the lead pro-Russian "Wagner Group" - active in the pro-Russia Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, c. 2014 & March 2022. (Source: https://www.thedailybeast.com)
Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022

The neo-Nazi Task Force Rusich was accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine during peak fighting between Russian separatist forces and the Ukrainian military in the summer of 2014. It was reportedly still operating in Ukraine as late as 2022.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023


North Slavic Community
Associated with PMC Wagner Group

image by Pete Loeser and Rob Raeside, 8 July 2023
Based on this photo located by Bill Garrison, 25 November 2022

A different-looking "Wagoner Group" logo centered in the middle of a Russian flag for the Russian "Wagner Group" shown outside "PMC Wagner Centre", which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group: Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022 - Photo credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK (source)
Bill Garrison, 25 November 2022

This is a flag of the North Slavic Community (Северо-Славянская Община) - a Cossack' organization of Sankt-Petersburg and Leningrad region. There are two types of Cossack organizations in Russia:

  • Official - they have Statutes, uniform, flags from the president
  • Unofficial - self-proclaimed and self-directed
The North Slavic Community is an example of an unofficial Cossack community, usually considered ultra-rightist. I don't think they officially take part in conflicts as separate groups, but they do have their own special military training center and many veterans of previous conflicts as members.
Here are more images of their flags: (image #1), (image #2), and (image #3).
Victor Lomantsov, 2 July 2023

I will attempt to describe the shield in the center of this Russian tricolored flag. The oval-shaped badge has a large weathered upward facing silver arrowhead ( ) with a left-upward crossed sword (point at top, handle at bottom) and a right upward slanted mace (head at top). A beaded rope circles them. The surrounding Russian text is О Б Щ И Н А (Community) on top and Северо - славянская (North - Slavic) on the bottom. A white and black circle surrounds the whole.
Pete Loeser, 8 July 2023


RSB-Group - Russian Security Systems
РСБ-Групп - Российские Системы Безопасности

image by Pete Loeser, 22 July 2023
Based on this image located by Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022 and the discussion below

This flag is displayed by Russian mercenaries in Libya (c2019) who are probably affiliated with the "Wagner Group." The top line of flag appears to read: "____(__)URRY CONSULTING COMPANY" and bottom line reads: "_____NOT ANGELS...BUT WE ARE HERE".(source)
Bill Garrison, 10 March 2022

The flag belongs to the RSB-Group. The text on the flag is "PRIVATE MILITARY CONSULTING COMPANY" "WE ARE NOT ANGELS, BUT WE ARE HERE."
Zachary Harden, 30 May 2023

Zach is correct. This flag is an "English variant" of the Russian Private Military Company (PMC) called the RSB-Group (Russian Security Systems). In Russian: РСБ-Групп (Российские Системы Безопасности) The origin of the photo this the RSB-Group website on their Mine Clearing page. From there it appears in numerous other places. I add that the RSB Group (Russian Security Systems Group) was established in 2005 and provides military related services such as marine and land operations, technical protection, training and consulting, intelligence and analytics, mine clearance, etc.
Their flag with its horizontal background that features the distinctive design pattern of the Regimental banners and flags of the Imperial Russian Army and Navy and displays a very similar color composition (of red and green stripes) as to that of the Border Troops (formally designated Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation) because the RSB Group founder served in that Branch.
For additional information go to the RSB-Group (official website) or Russian Wikipedia: РСБ-Групп (in Russian).
Esteban Rivera, 31 May 2023

Russian Border Guard Flag (1999-2003)
   
RSB-Group Logo on website
(not used on the flags)
(The Border Guard flag image was provided by Kazutaka Nishiura, 23 May 2010)

Same RSB-Group Flag (with Russian text)

Oleg Krinitsyn, owner of the RSB-group, said he sent his "contractors" to eastern Libya in 2019 to do mine clearance work and they were pulled out after having completed their mission. As Esteban explained the flag itself is basically a defaced Russian Federal Frontier Service (or "Border Guard.") flag.
It replaces the Guard's double-eagle symbol with the private company's own "Batman-like" emblem and, in this case, uses English text. Notice that the variant flags use a simplified RSB-Group division emblem from that shown on the RSB-group website.

image by Pete Loeser, 22 July 2023
Based on this photo located by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023 (source)

Like the Wagner Group, the RSB-Group is another unofficially Russian Federation sanctioned Private Military Consulting Company. They often work under the Wagner umbrella as sub-contractors. The top line of Russian text is ЧАСТНАЯ КОНСАЛТИНГОВАЯ ВОЕННАЯ КОМПАНИЯ meaning "PRIVATE CONSULTING MILITARY COMPANY." The bottom line is МЫ НЕ АНГЕЛЫ...НО МЫ ЗДЕСЬ which means "WE ARE NOT ANGELS...BUT WE ARE HERE."
You can clearly see the variant logo used on the flags in this photo.

Sources: 1. Interview with Oleg Krinitsyn, 2. RSB-Group Website, and 3. RSB Group Photo Gallery
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023


Swastika flag in Ukrainian colors

image by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
based on this photo located by Bill Garrison, 12 March 2022

Source: https://eurasiantimes.com
(the photo lists this source, but the flag doesn't appear in the article)
Bill Garrison, 12 March 2022

This flag is clearly derived from the national flag of Ukraine, either by Ukrainian ultra-rightists (which do exist, regardless of Russian propaganda) or by Russian propagandists who wish to attribute such a flag to its alleged users.
Tomislav Todorovic, 12 March 2022

A reverse search using Google images retrieves the very same photo from hundreds of blogs etc... but I have not found any mention of its source. No date either.
The photo is widely used to illustrate the "de-nazification of Ukraine" sought by the Russian invasion.
Ivan Sache, 13 March 2022


Russian Volunteer Corps
Рýсский добровóльческий кóрпус

   
images by Pete Loeser and Tomislav Todorovic, 25 June 2023
Based on this photo and this photo located by William Garrison and Esteban Rivera.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) (Русский добровольческий корпус, РДК), was founded in August of 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine to fight against the forces of Vladimir Putin. The group is not a part of the Ukrainian armed forces but a far-right group of fighters, mainly citizens of the Russian Federation who live in Ukraine. They should not be confused with the original Russian Volunteer Corps, or Markov Division, who fought in the Russian Civil War in the years 1917-1920.

The emblem used on their flag is a sword superimposed on a shield charged with a chevron. This resembles the emblem of a Russian neo-Nazi emigrant organization named "Russian Center," which was founded in Kyiv in 2015, whose emblem has the ring instead of the shield, a differently shaped sword and lacks a double border [1]. This, in turn, seems to have been derived from the emblem of an earlier emigrant organization named "White Idea," which was active between two World Wars [1]. It is quite possible that the same people were involved in founding both the Russian Center and the Russian Volunteer Corps.
The photos available online reveal two variants of the flag. Both are shades of blue, one rather dark and one much lighter. Depending on the lighting conditions, the darker blue flag may look almost indistinguishable from black, however, if a source of light is behind the flag, it looks much lighter and transparent.
Sources:
   [1] Wikipedia: Russian Volunteer Corps
   [2] GOROD SUMY.ua website
   [3] 24 Kanal television station website
   [4] Liepajniekiem.lv website
   [5] BBC Ukraine website
   [6] Ukrinform news agency website
   [7] Spektr website
   [8] Zaborona website
   [9] Znaj.UA website
Tomislav Todorovic, 02 July 2023

Additionally, the Russian Volunteer Corps - RVC (Рýсский добровóльческий кóрпус - РДК) has been fighting alongside Ukraine since 2014 and is currently considered to be (operationally speaking) part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine (aka Ukrainian Foreign Legion).
The group was established on December 27, the same day as the Russian Liberation Army, only 72 years apart (RVC in 2014 and ROA in 1942).
Their previous flag was a St. Andrews (Saltire) black background and white cross and was used between 2014-2022 when they were embedded as part of Azov Units. They claim a lineage in the continuation of both the Russian Liberation Army as well as both, the Volunteer army (Добровольческая армия) and Markovtsy (Марковцы) derived from General Serguéi Leonidovich Markov, the latter two which were Russian military formations that took part on the 1917 White movement (Добровольческая армия) side during the Russian Civil War (1918-1922), also known as White Russia or Russian White Army, later to be known as the Russian State (officially Росси́йское госуда́рство) (1918-1922) itself a failed attempt at a continuation of the Russian Empire which finally succumbed to the Bolsheviks and led to the establishment of the Soviet Union (1917-1991).
Sources:
   1. Russian Volunteer Corps Website
   2. Wikipedia: White Movement
   3. Wikipedia: Russian Civil War
   4. Wikipedia: Russian Volunteer Army
   5. Wikipedia: Russian state (1918-1920)
Esteban Rivera, 30 March 2023