Ukraine embraces far-right Russian ‘bad guy’ to take the battle to Putin – POLITICO

From football fields to the battlefield

Kapustin, 40, was born in Moscow. He moved with his parents at the age of 17 to Cologne, Germany, where he quickly developed a fearsome reputation as a street-brawling white power skinhead, always ready to pick a fight with everyone, especially with Antifa activists. He told POLITICO he wasn’t happy with the decision, missing his friends and feeling disconnected.

It has long been prominent in the scene of European soccer hooliganism and far-right martial arts fight clubs, participating in riots at the UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament in the French port city of Marseille . After he moved to kyiv, Germany canceled his residency in 2019 and imposed a ban on him entering the Schengen area for “efforts against the liberal democratic constitution.”

He has ties to American neo-Nazi groups and co-hosted a podcast in 2021 with Robert Rundo, founder of the Rise Above movement, who participated in the Charlottesville white supremacist rally.

Nevertheless, Kapustin bristles at being called a neo-Nazi himself, even if he remains vague about what he is. He enjoys sparring with Western journalists, seeing how many of them feel embarrassed to interview him, torn between disapproval of his far-right ideology and hooligan history and their sympathy for him. Ukraine, not wanting to give the country a bad image in the eyes of the Western liberal public.

“Will you try to remain impartial?” he asks. “This is a very funny position for you and your colleagues because you have all been trying to portray us in a bad light for years. Neo-Nazis, racists, white supremacists, horrible guys, blah, blah, blah. And then comes the darkest hour in Ukraine’s modern history. And suddenly the eternal villains turn out to be brave, courageous, determined, stubborn and heroes. And they’re like, “Geez, how should I write about them?” »

Kapustin fully enjoys his notoriety. “Throughout my life, I always wanted to be the Hollywood bad guy. Darth Vader is my ultimate inspiration. When I was seven years old, I watched Star Warsand I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is so cool,'” he says.


Back to top button