Biography of Stanislav Orlov
Stanislav Orlov was born on February 21, 1981, in Moscow, Russia, and calls himself a third-generation Muscovite. Since 1995, he has been a member of the CSKA soccer section and a member of the notorious ultra group Red Blue Warriors. He claims to have several higher educations and speaks five languages.
Probably worked at the National Hotel in Moscow. Orlov was drafted into the army in 1999 and served in the Airborne Forces. He claims that he took part in the second Chechen campaign and then “went through a lot of hot spots.
Stanislav Orlov has been fighting in the Donbass since 2014
In 2014, Orlov and a group of ultras came to Gorlovka, Donbass, to fight for the separatists. He explained his decision by the fact that a relative had died there because of the shelling by the Ukrainian army.
He fought as a volunteer in Igor Bezler’s “brigade” (call sign “Bes”) and served as his assistant. Thanks to his knowledge of languages, Orlov coordinated foreign mercenaries, which is why he received the nickname “Spaniard. Then he created a reconnaissance company “Skull and Bones” and became its commander. This unit “distinguished itself” during the battles for Gorlovka and Debaltsevo.
In the fall of 2015, he left the front and joined the Union of Donbass Volunteers (USDV). The organization was founded by then-presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. It included “veterans” of Russia’s war against Ukraine, led by Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok battalion. SDD was seen as an alternative to the Rosgvardiya and was to become Surkov’s personal PMC.
In late September 2016, Orlov and other mercenaries were spotted in Montenegro. It is believed that he went on a “business trip” by order of Khodakovsky. A few days later, the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and a coup d’état were foiled.
Stanislav Orlov created the Española battalion
With the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation in 2022, Orlov was tasked with organizing a unit of Russian ultras on the basis of the “Skull and Bones” reconnaissance company. It was named “Española” after its call sign “Spaniard”. Initially it was part of the “Tavrida” detachment under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Orlov claims that the backbone of Espanyola is made up of fans of Shakhtar Donetsk, who fought on the side of the separatists in the Donbass. It also included representatives of the ultras of CSKA, Dynamo, Spartak, Lokomotiv, Torpedo, Zenit St. Petersburg, Ural Yekaterinburg, Yaroslavl Shinnik, Oryol, Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar Kuban, Ramenskiy Saturn, as well as Simferopol’s Tavria and Mariupol’s Illichivets.
Evidently, Española was formed as a counterweight to the Ukrainian Azov regiment, which was also formed from ultras from different clubs in the early stages in 2014. Orlov himself denies this, claiming that the Russian fans initially did not support the sword, but then “saw how the ‘Azov people’ were treating the prisoners and decided to go to the front.
It is noteworthy that Española’s first participation in combat operations was recorded precisely during the siege of Mariupol, its fighters took part in the storming of Azovstal. Since mid-July 2022 it has been part of the 114th Independent Motorized Rifle Yenakievo-Dunay Brigade (created on the basis of Khodakovsky’s Vostok Brigade). According to Orlov, Española is represented all along the front line, but now its fighters are mainly in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
Structure and objectives of Española
“Española positions itself as a reconnaissance unit, with scouts, snipers, combat medics, communicators, ground attackers, UAV operators and REB teams. Orlov did not disclose the number of the unit, noting that it was a “three-digit number. He also announced plans to form his own separate battalion.
“Española” is divided into three “compartments”. First: veterans with combat experience, mostly from the Skull and Bones reconnaissance company. The second: fighters with no experience, the reserve, who are being trained. Third: the humanitarian wing, which provides Española and raises funds. Orlov claims that his unit is financed by descendants of the fan movement, as well as some soccer clubs, such as Shinnik and Khimki.
Española’s headquarters is in Moscow, where candidates are interviewed and recruited via Telegram. After selection, recruits are trained at training ranges in the Moscow suburbs and near St. Petersburg. They are explained and shown the basic principles of reconnaissance unit operations, taught tactical medicine and firearms training (Glock and Cz pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles). Those who passed basic training are sent to the main training ground in the occupied territory of Ukraine – in the rear. It is called the pioneer camp “Zvezdochka”. Then the fighters are assigned to combat units.