Who is Kirill Kolchin? Russia’s homegrown Nazis come to light amidst Ukraine war
Vladimir Putin may claim to 'denazify' Ukraine, but it appears he's willing to overlook Russian Nazis, and even put them in positions of power
On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought war back to Europe with his "special military operation" in Ukraine. At the time, Putin claimed the goal was to "denazify" the country, hoping to use Adolf Hilter's ideology as an excuse for his invasion. Ironically, however, it appears that Russia is the one with a Nazi problem, as revealed by the presence of Kirill Kolchin - a former Russian diplomat to the United Nations.
Ever since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, neo-Nazis have quickly moved out of the shadows and into the public, not just in the US, but globally. Rather than be condemned, they've been co-opted by far-right governments and politicians, very rarely being shunned. However, few countries seem to have as big an issue as Russia. On March 7, Russian warlord Vladimir Zhoga, a well-known Neo-Nazi was killed in Ukraine. Earlier in February, the infamous Neo-Nazi mercenary unit Task Force Rusich also made waves for entering the Ukraine conflict.
These are just two of the many examples coming out of Russia in the aftermath of Putin's war declaration. The latest is that of Kolchin, as uncovered by The Daily Mail. Here's everything we know about him, amidst Putin's brutal war that strongly echoes the atrocities of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Who is Kirill Kolchin?
According to The Mail, Kolchin was a former member of Russia's diplomatic support staff at the country's mission to the United Nations. He arrived in New York in 2019, along with his wife and two children, before leaving just six months later in February 2020. While he has set his Instagram profile to private, its description still reads "father OSS and huckster", while using the iron cross logo, infamously co-opted by the Nazis as war medals during World War 2.
The OSS is a reference to Old School Skins, a Neo-Nazi group. The Mail claims he appears on OSS' Instagram page, but we have not been able to verify this because the photos uploaded usually blur out the faces. One of those appearances, in July 2019, allegedly shows Kolchin holding an OSS sticker in front of Nazi uniforms in Kaliningrad, Russia. A person bearing a strong resemblance to Kolchin does appear on several photos uploaded by OSS, but we cannot say for sure if it is him.
Because of this, we have no way to tie Kolchin definitively to the OSS, apart from his Instagram profile description. Little else is known about him since he maintains a very low profile online. His wife's Instagram account has plenty of photos of him, but they are usually from the family's many trips around the world, indicating they are nothing more than an ordinary family.
It is unclear where he is now, and what he is doing. But, his ties to the OSS certainly present strong evidence of Russia's Nazi problem. This isn't even a new problem. As The Conversation notes, Russia has a long history of cultivating Nazis at home and using them to create a far-right national identity. "Putin’s weaponization of neo-Nazis was always a risky strategy, but it was not irrational," the publication wrote, adding, "they were ideal accomplices".