Dmitry Utkin was born 11th June 1970, in Asbest – Sverdoslk Krai, from an Ukrainian mother and an unknown father. Lived in Psosk and then Saint-Petersburg. Former lieutenant-colonel in the Russian army, he is now operational chief of Wagner PMC, to which he gave his codename.
He is known to be openly neo-nazi as his tattoo demonstrates: the Reichsadler (nazi eagle) and the Shutzstaffel symbol.
- Deployed in combat during the two Chechen wars in the 1990’s
- Mutated in Pechory, near the Estonian border, in the 2000’s. There, commanded until 2013 the 700th battalion of GRU Spetsnaz; 3rd detachment (unit 75 143) of the 2nd brigade of Special Forces.
- Reserve officer after 2013, he incorporated the Moran Security Group PMC and was part of the first Russian mercenary contingent sent to Syria. He commanded there the “Muzhitskaya Company” of the Slavonic Corps. Former Wagner member Marat Gabidullin accuses him of having dirtied the reputation of the PMC on this occasion, by protecting 4 mercenaries that tortured, decapitated and burned a deserter in Al-Chaer near Palmyra.
- He was seen in 2014 alongside pro-Russian separatists in Crimea. It is the first time Wagner Group is being employed under this name. The combat unit is on the frontline during the events of that year in the Donbas, notably during the capture of Lugansk airport and the destruction of a IL-76 of the Ukrainian army on the 14th of June. The adoption of the war name “Wagner” as an homage to Hitler’s favorite composer seems to date from this period.
- In 2015, Utkin is found back in Syria when Russia launches its intervention in support of Bachar al-Assad.
Links with the Kremlin
- After leaving the army, he might have kept close links with high ranking officials in the Ministry of Defense.
- On the December 9th 2016, he received from the hands of Vladimir Putin the distinction of « Knight of the Order of Courage » for the actions of the PMC in Syria, during a ceremony in the Kremlin. A picture shows him next to the Russian president. It demonstrates the relation between Wagner and the highest authorities, even though the latter keep denying the existence of mercenaries in Russia.
- Dmitri Utkin is very discret and doesn’t possess an accessible OSINT numeric surface.
- He was seen in November 2021 in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, probably for a high level encounter with the local authorities over whom the PMC has gained a tremendous influence since its first deployment in 2018.
Part of the Prigozhin galaxy
- Evgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch close to the Kremlin and funder of many pro-Russian influence network over the world, is sanctioned by the EU and the USA for financing the Wagner Group.
- In November 2017, Dmitri Utkin becomes general director of Concord Management & Consulting, one of Evgeny Prigozhin’s many companies.
- On December 13th 2021, he is hit by EU sanctions alongside 8 other PMC members in a package targeting the Wagner Group and 3 related firms for:
- Human Rights violation, torture, executions and murder;
- Destabilization activities in several countries.
- He is the target of a lawsuit filed by Russian NGO Memorial and the International Federation for Human Rights.