Tracking Wagner Representative Oleg Milkov’s Travels

The regional representative of the Wagner Group in the Oblasts of Arkhangelsk, Kirov and Murmansk, Russia is a man named Oleg Vladimirovich Milkov. 

Born in 1972, Milkov currently resides in the city of Kotlas in Arkhangelsk oblast. A document leaked by VCHK-OGPU, a Telegram channel which specializes in insider leaks from Russia, and verified by open-source investigative reporting outlet Nordsint, lists Milkov as the regional representative of Wagner in the Russian oblasts of Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Kirov.

In 2014, Milkov appeared in images alongside members of the Prizrak Brigade, a militia and infantry unit of the Luhansk People’s Republic. Images also place Milkov in Crimea during 2014. 

Milkov is also a bodybuilder, and traveled to Spain in 2018, where he competed in the European Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation’s Bodybuilding Amateur Championships. Corporate registration data shows that Milkov is the president of the bodybuilding club, the “Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness of Kotlas”, in his home city of Kotlas, Russia. Milkov also founded a private security company, Arsenal LLC, which is registered in Volgoda oblast and had a revenue of 15 million rubles (approximately $169,000 US dollars) in 2023. According to a March 2015 news release, Milkov was also the head of a Cossack Organisation, the “Northern Department”, across an unidentified period.

In July 2019, Milkov participated in the Shiyes landfill protests, a series of environmental protests in Shiyes, Russia which were intended to oppose the construction of a landfill near Shiyes railway station and encourage waste reform across Russia. Milkov was seen at a demonstration in Moscow, where protestors called for governmental change and the removal of United Russia, the current governing party. The next day, Milkov, along with others against the construction of the landfill, met with members of the Left Front, a Russian far-left political party opposed to Vladimir Putin. 

Milkov, along with his wife Snezhena Milkova, were subsequently convicted of theft of budget funds in October 2019, originating from an incident in 2016 where the two allegedly falsified documents and received funds from a grant which they spent for their own personal use.

In 2022, Milkov’s phone number was released by the Wagner Group as a regional representative and recruiter for Arkhangelsk oblast. Milkov is responsible for recruitment activities, as well as organizing public events and helping former mercenaries of the group obtain awards. Milkov also made his VK account private; the account now displays the name “Ali Ignorenko”, and shows a picture of Milkov wearing a Wagner Group patch.

In September 2022, Russian news site reported that Milkov had filed a complaint against Russian activist Anna Stepanova, who like Milkov was also against the construction of the Shiyes landfill. In his complaint, Milkov wrote about a lack of patriotic ideology and asked the administration of Vladimir Putin to censor “anti-state Internet resources”. As a result, Stepanova was fined 60,000 rubles (approximately $700).

On December 15, Milkov and his wife posted Instagram stories showing the pair traveling to Istanbul, Turkey. Milkov’s wife posted a video of the pair boarding Severstal flight D2116 at Veliky Ustyug airport. 

The reason for Milkov’s visit to Istanbul was the 2023 President Santonja World Cup, organized by the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB), which took place at the Green Park Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey from December 15 to 17, 2023.

Milkov is seen on his wife’s Instagram story, competing at the 2023 President Santonja World Cup.

An IFBB notice from March 1, 2022 states that “Any Russian or Belarusian athlete willing to participate at any IFBB events may be allowed to do so on an individual basis, under the IFBB flag (not representing Russia or Belarus), and won’t wear national uniforms, or clothes containing any national symbols or colors of the Russian or Belarusian flags.” On March 8, 2022, IFBB fully banned athletes from Belarus and Russia; this prohibition was lifted in July 2023, when IFBB repermitted Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete individually under the IFBB flag and together under a Russian or Belarusian national flag for specific invitational events at the discretion of the national organizing committee.

A post by the Russian bodybuilding foundation on Instagram shows Milkov alongside other competitors from Russia holding flags at the Santonja cup, which the post states is the “Russia team.”

Milkov (1st from left) is seen posing with other Russian competitors.

The IFBB has not responded to multiple requests for comment regarding Milkov’s participation at the 2023 President Santonja World Cup.

Apart from his recent visit to Turkey, Milkov has also traveled internationally multiple times since the start of the war in Ukraine. According to leaked records by Ukrainian hacking group Kiborg provided exclusively to Nordsint, Milkov and Milkova traveled to Dubai in December 2022 alongside their daughter, and also traveled from Russia to Antalya Airport in Turkey on three occasions in 2023.

Milkov’s travel amidst his current activities in regards to Wagner Group raises certain questions. Milkov is one of 30 regional representatives of the Wagner Group, and is not under sanctions by any country.