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Putin's Friends The Rotenbergs Planning To Create Their Own Private Army

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Putin's Friends The Rotenbergs Planning To Create Their Own Private Army

What is known.

Billionaires Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, close to President Vladimir Putin, decided to create their own private army based on PMCs of football fans, three knowledgeable sources told Important Stories.

We are talking about the Española PMC, a volunteer detachment of Russian football fans fighting in Ukraine. The sponsor of this structure is the head of the security service of the Russian railway monopoly Russian Railways, Viktor Shendrik, the publication’s interlocutors say.

According to them, Shendrik is a protege of the Rotenbergs in the leadership of the state monopoly, which is a key customer for billionaire companies. Before that, he worked in their security service and was connected with entrepreneurs in a common business.

“Española” was created by football fans, mainly those of Spartak FC, then the Rotenbergs came there with the idea of bringing the PMC under themselves. Now many large companies are creating their own private armies, and the brothers want to make their own private army based on the “Española”, a source told Important Stories, adding that Shendrik was chosen specifically for this.

Shendrik graduated from the Golitsyn Military Institute of Border Troops and served in the Vympel special forces unit of the FSB, which is called “intellectual special forces.” He was engaged in business — together with the Rotenberg brothers and with the family of Senator Pavel Fedyaev. In 2016, he became the head of the Russian Railways security service.

At the same time, Shendrik is a wealthy man. According to leaked data on the income of Russians, in 2021 alone he earned more than 2 billion rubles.

The volunteer formation of radical football fans “Española” is part of the Vostok battalion of the so-called DPR. In February 2023, the structure called itself a private military company. It includes units of reconnaissance, attack aircraft, artillery, electronic warfare, unmanned aerial vehicles and snipers.

“Española” is part of the Redut PMC of the Russian Ministry of Defense. This means that fighters sign military contracts with Redut. “Española” is commanded by Stanislav Orlov, nicknamed the Spaniard, a CSKA football fan who has been fighting in Ukraine since 2014. “Española” fighters took part in the assault on Azovstal, fought in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia directions, near Vuhledar, and also near Avdiivka.

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