The American founder of US-based militant neo-Nazi group The Base is directing the organisation from Russia, a BBC investigation has found.
Rinaldo Nazzaro, 46, who uses the aliases “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf”, left New York for St Petersburg less than two years ago.
The Base is a major counter terrorism focus for the FBI.
Seven alleged members were charged this month with various offences, including conspiracy to commit murder.
Court documents prepared by the FBI describe The Base as a “racially motivated violent extremist group” that “seeks to accelerate the downfall of the United States government, incite a race war, and establish a white ethno-state”.
The group – founded around July 2018 – gains followers online, communicates using encrypted messaging applications, and encourages members to engage in paramilitary training.
The leader’s real identity had long been a mystery.
However, multiple images and videos of Nazzaro – taken over several years in both the USA and Russia – show the man known to be The Base founder, who goes by the two aliases.
He has previously used photographs of himself when promoting the group online
Last year Nazzaro was listed as a guest at a Russian government security exhibition in Moscow, which “focused on the demonstration of the results of state policy and achievements”.
A video posted online in March 2019 shows Nazzaro in Russia wearing a t-shirt bearing an image of President Vladimir Putin along with the words “Russia, absolute power”. [Continue reading…]