Denis ‘White Rex’ Nikitin: Far-Right Designer, Fighter and Soldier


    Background and Upbringing

    White Rex was born by the name Denis Kasputin but the public knows him as Denis Nikitin (source). The word ‘Rex’ means ‘King’ in Latin, and therefore his nickname refers to him as the White King or the King of the white race. Additionally, his followers often see him wearing hats stamped with the word ‘Rex’ (source). 

    Denis Nikitin was born in 1984 and raised in Russia (source). His family were middle-class and when he was 17 years old, he moved to Cologne, Germany along with his parents. It was whilst he was living in Germany that he became involved in Soccer hooligan groups and therefore became involved in street fighting. 

    Nikitin moved to Ukraine in October 2017 (source). In 2019, the EU banned Nikitin from the Schengen area. Furthermore, Russian authorities want him charged and he is therefore trapped in Ukraine (source). In an interview with the website ‘TroubleMakers’ in 2017, Nikitin claimed to advocate for white supremacy and also referred to non-whites as “Arabs and other monkeys” (source).

    Denis Nikitin: The Soccer Hooligan

    At the age of 22, Nikitin became heavily involved in groups of local soccer hooligans while living in Germany (source). Furthermore, he continued his involvement in the hooligan scene when he moved back to Russia. Nikitin’s desire to be involved in fan groups was somewhat perplexing considering he has basically admitted to not even liking the sport that much (source). He was more interested in the violence and adrenaline of the hooligan groups that he was part of:

     “I don’t like football. I love boxing. As a supporter, chanting along with the team does not do much for me. I like the adrenaline, hunting opponents through the city, pitched battles, the action behind the football. That’s my thing.

    Denis Nikitin in an interview with the Moscow Times (source).

    Moscow Club CSKA

    When he moved back to Russia, Rex joined the Moscow ultras hooligan club, supporting CSKA (source). Significantly, CSKA is a football club associated with the Russian army (source). The most “violent hardcore” hooligans are members of the fan club.

    Member of the Köln Ultras

    Although he was living in Russia, Nikitin still maintained connections with German hooligans and would visit Germany to fight alongside fans of the FC Köln club (source). Afterwards, the police investigated Nikitin as part of an investigation into an attack on Schalke supporters in 2014 (source). He was charged but the outcome of his case is unknown.

    Denis Nikitin at the UEFA Championship, Marseille, France

    In 2016, Nikitin rounded up approximately 100 Russian hooligans and attended the European Championship in Marseilles France (source). Following the match, Russian and English fans fought and the violence left two English men in a coma. One of the English victims is still paralysed on his left side (source). Witnesses stated that the Russians were very coordinated in their violence and thus suggested that the violence was organised. Furthermore, British media obtained an interview with the alleged organiser of the group of Russian hooligans (source). The man wore a ski mask and a White Rex t-shirt and introduced himself as ‘Denis’. There are strong suggestions in the interview that this anonymous individual was in fact Denis Nikitin.

    Far-Right Fashion: The White Rex Clothing Brand

    Denis Nikitin is arguably most well-known for being the founder of the neo-Nazi clothing brand, White Rex (source). Far-right MMA enthusiasts still regard White Rex as “the most recognisable and commercially successful sports brand of the ultra-right” (source). Significantly, Nikitin released the brand on the 14th of August 2008. In the white supremacist movement, 14 is a significant number that references a 14-word slogan inciting violence against non-white people (source). 

    White nationalism and Nazism is a central themes to the clothing brand and designs consistently make strong references to Nazism. For example, one shirt shows an array of bombs that form the number 88 which is a reference to the Nazi salute ‘Heil Hitler’ (source). Experts have warned that the brand attempted to link the fitness market and combat sports to the fascist ideology of the ‘political soldier’ (source).

    White T-shirt with the White Rex badge
    White Rex T-Shirt; Credit to:

    MMA Organiser

    Under his White Rex brand, Denis Nikitin organised many mixed-martial arts (MMA) tournaments across Europe, beginning in 2011. His previous involvement in fighting helps to explain his interest in the MMA scene. Specifically, these tournaments were open exclusively to white people (source). White Rex hosted MMA tournaments in the following countries (source)(source):

    • Russia
    • Ukraine
    • Belarus
    • Czech Republic
    • Romania
    • France
    • Greece 
    • Finland 

    He also conducted MMA workshops for nationalist groups in the UK and in Switzerland (source).

    VICE News: Inside A Neo Nazi Fight Club

    Denis Nikitin’s Involvement in the War in Ukraine

    Russian Volunteer Corps

    Denis Nikitin is head of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) which fights on the Ukrainian side against Putin’s government (source). According to a senior member of the RVC, there are approximately 200 fighters within the RVC unit (source). Denis Nikitin has called for a resistance against the Russian government and stated that: 

    “​​Putin opposes nationalism. If you consider yourself a white nationalist, the war in Ukraine is your only chance. There are no other countries in the world where you can take up arms and fight for your values and ideas shoulder-to-shoulder with your fellow soldiers. That’s why I, Denis Nikitin, choose resistance”

    Russian intelligence agencies have referred to the RVC as terrorists (source) and their actions arguably serve Putin’s narratives that his war in Ukraine is fighting Nazism. 
    Nikitin’s motives in Ukraine are based on nationalistic ideals. He states that Russia should be an ethnically homogenous state and should belong to ethnic Russians (source).

    Raid on the Byransk Region

    In March 2023, Nikitin, along with 40 of his compatriots in the RVC, snuck across the border from Ukraine into Russia (source). They took photos of themselves with flags outside a Russian village post office. By carrying out the raid, Nikitin claims that his aim was to expose Russia’s weak defences and thus inspire others to join his resistance (source). 

    The governor of the border region that was raided, claimed that the attack had killed two people and injured a boy of 11 years old (source). Russian President Vladamir Putin responded to the incident, stating:

    Yet another terrorist attack, another crime…they entered the border territory and opened fire at civilians”


    Ukraine has denied any involvement in the raid by RVC despite Nikitin claiming that authorities had signed off on the operation (source).

    Prigozhin vs. Putin

    Recently, Putin accused Wagner leader Prigozhin and his Wagner forces of occupying the Rostov-on-Don area in the South before advancing towards Moscow (source). In response to the rivalry, Denis Nikitin made a comment stating that:

     “although we stand on opposite sides…and have different POV [points of view] on Russia’s future, I can call him a real patriot of Russia” 

    Nikitin is perhaps looking for an ally in the fight against Putin’s regime.  

    Connections with other Organisations

    CasaPound Italia

    CasaPound Italia (CPI) is an extreme-right party. The organisation named itself after the American fascist-regime sympathiser Ezra Pound (source). They showed extreme support for Mussolini and his nationalist social policies and host anti-immigration demonstrations. The group have the following characteristics (source):

    • Low level of trust in government
    • Welfare chauvinism that privileges ethnic Italians
    • Criticism of international capitalism 

    Nikitin knows many members of Casapound and collaborated with them to host the ‘warrior spirit’ tournament in Rome in 2013 (source). They are also linked through their involvement in fashion. CasaPound, too, has a clothing label that they use to finance their activities (source).

    Casapound banner in L'Aquila in memory of those killed in the attack on the Golden Dawn offices in Īrakleio
    Credit to: Wikimedia Commons

    National Democratic Party of Germany (MPF)

    Nikitin assisted the MPF youth wing to organise ‘Kampf der Nibelungen’, an MMA tournament held in Germany (source).

    The Azov Movement

    The Azov Movement is a Ukrainian militant group which began operations in 2014 (source). The group holds a white supremacist ideology (source). Azov had a political and a military wing which subsequently split in 2016 (source). They then integrated the battalion into the Ukrainian National Guard. Prior to the separation, the Azov movement hosted a summer camp for children and even ran two publishing houses. 

    Denis Nikitin was a key figure in the Azov movement’s outreach to right-wing extremists. He worked with the paramilitary group. Nikitin acts as a type of ambassador for the organisation (source).


    Propatria is a neo-Nazi-inspired MMA tournament which attracts white supremacists and ultra-nationalists (source). Nikitin attended a ProPatria MMA ‘Festival’ in Greece in 2015 (source).

    National Action

    National Action UK is an extremist far-right organisation and was the first of its kind to be classed as a terrorist organisation by the UK home office. White Rex trained several NA members at a Sigurd camp in 2014 (source). The camp, held in Wales, was called the ‘Sigurd Culture Camp’ and organisers designed it to enthuse a sense of racial pride in the attendees (source).

    Well-Known Associates

    Ilya Yurov

    Yurov is the former co-owner of a Russian Bank who now lives in the UK (source). Yurov expresses support for the Russian Volunteer Corps on his Twitter accounts and expresses support for the far-right nationalist movement (source).

    Robert Rundo

    Robert Rundo is the founder and leader of the ‘Rise Above Movement (RAM)’, which is a white supremacist gang (source). The gang is based in Southern California. Denis Nikitin and his far-right movement in Europe reportedly inspired Rundo (source). Nikitin and Rundo have co-hosted the ‘Active Club Podcast’ since January 2021 (source).

    Tommy Frenck

    Tommy Frenck is the owner of ‘The Golden Lion’, a guesthouse in Germany (source). His guesthouse sells merchandise, and even food, which pays homage to Hitler. He strongly believes in stopping immigration to Germany and wants the Islamic religion banned. In 2017, the Frenck organised the Rechts Rock Festival in Thuringia (source). Nikitin gave a speech to the largest right-wing extremist rock festival with an audience of 6000 people, in 2017 (source).


    Denis Nikitin, also known as Denis Kasputin or ‘White Rex’, is a far-right Russian neo-Nazi who has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in the Southern Bryansk border region between Ukraine and Russia (source). Nikitin was previously involved in violence at soccer games before branching into the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with his far-right fashion brand ‘White Rex’. Nikitin now lives in Ukraine where he runs the ‘Russian Volunteer Corps’ fighting against the Putin regime and the war in Ukraine. He does so out of a desire to create a homogenous Russian state and reduce the ‘multi-ethnic make-up’ of the state (source). There is therefore a cause for concern that Nikitin is feeding into Putin’s narrative that Ukrainian fighters are neo-Nazis – a troubling thought for those in support of Ukraine’s freedom.

    Eimear Duggan
    Eimear Duggan
    Eimear is an intelligence analyst currently pursuing the International Masters programme in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies (IMSISS). Her main areas of interest are Balkan security, European affairs, and extremism.

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