Enemies on the street, brothers in the war: The “Espanyol” squad of Russian hooligans in Donbass

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, many representatives of football fan groups from Russia went to Donbass as volunteers. Among them are supporters of the Moscow giants CSKA and Spartak, St. Petersburg Zenit and other clubs.

They united in one “team” which they called “Espanyol”. The division was formed by representatives of the hardcore agitators’ cores and is called so because of the nickname of its leader – the famous “army man” the Spaniard.

There are strict rules and hierarchy in the organization. It includes only veterans with military experience and also has a humanitarian segment that is responsible for raising funds and material aid.

The football squad is well prepared, and a Spartacus fan nicknamed Monson (due to his resemblance to the famous MMA fighter) is already piloting a military quadcopter.

Other volunteers at Espanyol are fans of Rostov, Ural, Rotor, Amkar and several other teams. After the training they undergo, they are usually divided into small infantry reconnaissance and assault groups or sent to sapper and engineer work.

“Fans of different clubs gathered here. In civilian life we ​​were at enmity, we were enemies on the street, but here we have a united team and we are like brothers. One for all, all for one,” says a member of the squad.

“We have representatives of many “firms” – guys from St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, etc., who support Torpedo or Lokomotiv. Guys from Volgograd, Tver and several other cities arrived. They gathered in Moscow and arrived at the unit along with the humanitarian help. My goal is to gather all football boys who have the desire around one structure. We know each other since we were children and we know who is capable of what,” said the Spaniard in an interview with URA.RU.

According to him, despite the fact that fans support different clubs, feuds at Espanyol on football grounds have been eradicated.

“After every conflict inside, there are consequences, and I say goodbye to these people. If they allow themselves stupid quarrels in these times, then there is no point in further cooperation with them. This is a clear sign that they will push us out and disappoint us in the most the wrong time. We only need people who have made a responsible decision, control their body and mind and can think adequately,” the leader explains.

Fan volunteers appeared in the DPR as early as 2014, although the Espanyol division was only formed after the invasion at the end of February.

“Among the fans, there are many people who have everything: business, family, work, etc. – explains the Spaniard. – They would like to help, but they cannot physically tear themselves in two. These people help us by providing night vision devices, drones and other necessary things. There is no need to pour them all into Ukraine. They are also useful to us from the homeland.”

Recently, fans of Zenit sent an armored bus, and supporters of CSKA – bulletproof vests, helmets and sets of essential items.

Thanks to the people of Zapalyankov, dozens of tons of food products were sent twice to the suffering population in the region.


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