Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Another terrorist training camp held at a Russian Orthodox Church near Moscow

E.N.O.T. trainee at the Church of St. Nikita the Martyr.
Another terrorist training camp held at a Russian Orthodox Church near Moscow
Article by: Alex Leonor
Training Commences at the Church of St. Nikita the Martyr

The group E.N.O.T. Corps is a group of irregular fighters who fought in Ukraine alongside the “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” (“DNR” and “LNR”) and Russian troops. From 21-22 November they held a training camp and “military games” at a Russian Orthodox Church. This is not the first time that E.N.O.T. has held similar events on Church property, but this time photos and videos of the event belie any possibility that the Church was not involved in the terrorist training event. The event was held at the Church of St. Nikita the Martyr in the small town of Byvalino, located about 80 km East of Moscow (homepage for the Church is here:

Participants are Blessed
The main event of the training was a grand game of laser tag
According to their website, a fighting group directly from the LNR was present at the event. The participants in the event were blessed by a priest from the Church of St. Nikita the Martyr and then addressed by Vladimir Khomyakov, a leader of the Radical Russian Orthodox movement “People’s Cathedral.”
In a blog post, the E.N.O.T. group is very explicit about the purpose of the training:
“The Donetsk youth came to be trained to kill enemies, and their commanders came to share their experiences of this. All of them are well aware that life itself is likely to test them on all this material, because the enemies of Russia have always been numerous. The current geopolitical situation is no exception. Today like never before our people must be strong so they can respond honorably to foreign challenges.”
Borodai at the Event

InformNapalm has an engrossing article about E.N.O.T. Corps and other Russian “private military companies” and their relationship to Russian security organs and the legal framework supposedly used to govern these groups. Calling them “private military companies” may be legally correct but confuses the issue. This activity, and others similar to it, could be an attempt by the Russian state to imitate Iran’s strategic success building and using irregular militias in the Middle East. The “Russian Hizballah” was not as effective as planned in Ukraine in 2014, and had to be rescued by regular Russian troops, but the war is not over, and irregular groups like the ones used in Donbas are now fighting in Syria, and could potentially head wherever Russia needs boots-on-the-ground and implausible deniability. As with the last training event by E.N.O.T., the Kremlin operative and former DNR “Prime Minister” Alexander Borodai was present at this event.

A moment from the war games

E.N.O.T. Corps and groups like it are non-state (or, officially
non-state) military groups that take part in violent activities in other countries that are (officially) not sanctioned by any state. According to a recent article in, the group has eliminated pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine that did not toe the line and join the appropriate fighting groups when Moscow said so.

They have posted videos online showing them training irregular soldiers in Eastern Ukraine from the same groups that kill Ukrainians who do not cooperate politically with the Russian invasion. E.N.O.T’s postings on social media are steeped in a radical Russian Orthodox outlook. In fact, in October they complained that the fight in Eastern Ukraine was not considered a “Holy War” by the Russian Orthodox Church (previous article about this here, towards the bottom.)

In sum, if one were to say that E.N.O.T Corps is not a terrorist group, one would have to define “terrorism” in a very unusual way. One wonders if E.N.O.T Corps would be listed as a terrorist group if it conducted the exact same activities but was a Muslim group rather than a Christian group.

Does the Russian Orthodox Church support E.N.O.T Corps and groups like it? If not, perhaps they can politely ask them to not hold terrorist training camps on church property, or at least admonish them against mutilating corpses found on a battlefield.

A video of the event.
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here