German Neo-Nazis are reportedly receiving paramilitary training in St.Petersburg, Russia, a report published Friday by German news website Focus revealed. The training is being provided by a club outside the city known as “Rezerv” or “Partizan.”
Some of the Germans being trained are reportedly members of Young Nationalists, the youth wing of Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party. Other participants are involved in The Third Way, an anti-semitic political party influenced by Nazism. The German participants are reportedly being trained in weapons and explosives, along with styles of close military combat.
Some of the trainees at the camp have joined pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine. Swedes and Finns have reportedly taken part in training at the camp and joined the militias.
The camp is operated by the Russian Imperial Movement, an ultranationalist and far-right paramilitary organization. The U.S. Department of State has designated RIM as a terrorist organization, but the group has not been deemed illegal in Russia. RIM ultimately seeks to bring back the Orthodox Christian monarchy in Russia.
Paramilitary training is not prohibited in Russia. German authorities have frequently worried that far-right extremists could be receiving training abroad.
Germany’s relationship with Russia has been mixed in recent years, with Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 drawing condemnation from Berlin. In May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “pained” by reports that she was targeted by hackers thought to be with Russian military intelligence.
However, Germany and Russia continue to have close economic ties. The two nations are currently working together to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.