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Russian WMMA pioneer joins political group defending Russia from pro-democracy protesters

Russian female mixed martial artist Julia Berezikova has joined a patriotic group aimed at protecting Russia from pro-democracy protesters.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Last year, the Maidan protests in Kiev successfully led to the ejection of former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and the Ukraine have since been at odds, and that had helped bring about ‘patriotic' Russian groups such as ‘Anti-Maidan.' The group, which is named in reference to square where the protests took place in Kiev, was created to hinder pro-democracy protestors, and now features the likes of Russian WMMA pioneer Julia Berezikova.

"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first," said Dmitry Sablin, previously a long-standing MP from President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. "It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."

Apart from the female fighter, the group also features several Russia politicians and "The Surgeon," leader of the biker gang ‘Night Wolves.' The have opened up group memberships to the public for any like-minded citizens to join. The aim is to defend Russia against those who "threaten its constitution." While their aim is to do so in a civilized manner, they are not against the use of violence when necessary.

"Maidan in Kiev did not appear just like that. Everyone was paid, everyone was paid to be there, was paid for every stone that was thrown, for every bottle thrown," said Sablin, "We need to strangle all these all at the start."

Bereznikova, one of the main Russian celebrities featured in the group, is a decorated sambo, boxing, and judo champion, as well as one of Russia's pioneers in WMMA. She holds a 7-4 professional record, with losses to Tara LaRosa, Julie Kedzie and Rosi Sexton. She most recently faced upcoming UFC strawweight title challenger Joanna Jędrzejczyk at Fight Nights 12 in Moscow, whom she lost to via unanimous decision.

"Personally I am a fan of the civilized, democratic intelligent way of deciding conflicts, but if we need to take up weapons then of course I will be ready," said Julia Bereznikova.