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Dmitry Valerievich Utkin (1970–2023) was a Russian far right activist who co-founded and led the Wagner Group, a private military company known for its far right views and sympathies and having committed various war crimes in several countries across the world. Prior to founding the Wagner Group, he served as a Russian army officer within special forces GRU where he held the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Utkin was born in Asbest
os, a small village in Russia (known as the Soviet Union at the time). He relocated to another village called Smoline with his mother during his childhood and continued to live there for most of his life.
Affinity for Nazism
Despite the original Nazis having contempt for Slavs, Utkin was reported to be a supporter and admirer of Nazism and Nazi Germany. He was purported to have multiple Nazi tattoos, many with SS insignia. Utkin also reportedly referred to himself as “Wagner” as a call sign during his time in the Russian military and named the Wagner Group after Richard Wagner, a German musician with a controversial history of antisemitism whose music was appropriated by various far-right European movements in the 1900s, including the Nazis.
On 23 August 2023, Utkin was alleged to have died in a plane crash on the Tver Oblast along with fellow Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and other Wagner leaders. After the recovery of their remains and thorough genetic analysis, it was confirmed that the bodies in the crash belonged to them and they were officially pronounced dead.
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- Romaliyskaya, Irina (25 January 2017). "Що дядя Вова скаже, те Діма і зробить". Український слід у долі таємничого ватажка "ПВК Вагнера" (in Ukrainian). Цензор.нет.
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- "The secretive Russian mercenaries 'ordered to kill' Ukraine's president" (in en).
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- Ibrahim, Nader; Barabanov, Ilya. "The lost tablet and the secret documents".
- Cornelio, J.; Gauthier, F.; Martikainen, T.; Woodhead, L. (2020). Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society. Routledge International Handbooks. Taylor & Francis. p. 403. ISBN 978-1-317-29500-6. "Members of this organization say that one of its leaders, D. Utkin (call sign Wagner), is a rodnover, native faith believer"
- Helen Livingstone and Pjotr Sauer, Who are the other Wagner group leaders presumed dead in plane crash? The Guardian, 24 August 2023.