Soldiers of Odin

Soldiers of Odin

People wearing teeshirts with Soldiers of Odin logo
Formation October, 2015[1]
Founder Mika Ranta
Founded at Kemi, Finland
Type NGO[1]
Purpose Neighborhood Watch

Soldiers of Odin (SOO) is an international anti-immigrant street patrol group founded in Kemi, Finland in October 2015.[1][2] The group was established as a response to thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Finland amid the European migrant crisis.[3] SOO have indicated a desire to improve people's sense of security, if necessary, by intervening in threatening situations and by reporting incidents to the police. Their stated purpose is to protect people, especially women, from criminal immigrants, but also “to help everyone regardless of their ethnic background”.

SOO have denied claims of being a racist or neo-Nazi group in interviews and on their public Facebook page.[3] However, the group's founder, Mika Ranta, has connections to the far-right Finnish Resistance Movement[3] and a criminal conviction stemming from a racially motivated assault in 2005.[4][5] According to the Finnish public broadcaster Yle, an alleged restricted Facebook page for selected members of SOO suggests that racism and Nazi sympathies are rampant among higher-ranking members.[3] The group's nature has raised concerns of anti-immigrant vigilantism.[2]


SOO was founded in the town of Kemi in Northern Finland (on a route for migrants from Sweden) in October 2015 in response to an almost ten-fold increase in the number of migrants to Finland following the European migrant crisis in 2015.[2] The founder is Mika Ranta, who while a self-declared neo-Nazi and member of the Finnish Resistance Movement maintains that his personal views do not represent the group as a whole.[6]

The group gained momentum in 2016 after incidents such as the New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany and several other countries including Finland, the January 2016 stabbing death of Alexandra Mezher at an asylum centre, and other migrant-related crime incidents.[2][7]

On 15 March 2016, Soldiers of Odin announced on their Facebook page that they had intervened in a scenario of attempted sexual harassment of two underage girls by two refugees, and a local woman had called the police to arrest the refugees, after which the police had thanked Soldiers of Odin. Further investigation on 16 March 2016 revealed that neither the police nor any bystanders had any knowledge of the event. On 16 March Soldiers of Odin admitted that one of their members had fabricated the story out of his own imagination. The group apologised for the misleading announcement and said that the member would be expelled.[8]

The group's number of Facebook likes in Finland alone was more than 46,000 in October 2016.[9] The group claims to have 600 members in more than 25 cells across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Hungary – and in Britain, Ireland, Canada, and the United States.[10][11] The group began patrolling in Norway in February 2016 (profiled temporarily in the start-up phase by Ronny Alte, a former leader of the Norwegian Defence League and Pegida activist).[12][13][14][15][16] The group started up patrols in Sweden in March 2016, marching in several cities and towns.[17][18][19]

According to Yle the Soldiers of Odin have connections to the racist MV website, and have been promised good visibility in it.[3] In addition to being racist and fascist, MV website and its owner Ilja Janitskin has strong pro-Russia ties. [20]

In September 2016 a Soldiers of Odin group began patrols in Vancouver, Canada, but claimed to be independent and not affiliated with racist and biker groups.[21]


The Finnish National Police Commissioner, Seppo Kolehmainen, caused confusion when he initially welcomed the establishment of street patrols.[22] In response, the Minister of the Interior, Petteri Orpo, said: "In Finland it is officials who oversee and take care of order in society. It is a simple matter and we will stick to it."[23] Finnish Security Intelligence Service regards the group as unsettling.[24]

In Norway local police initially expressed mixed reactions to the group, with some departments saying they would send marching members away, while others said the group was unproblematic.[25] It caused some controversy when Progress Party MP and spokesperson for justice Jan Arild Ellingsen applauded the establishment of the group, saying they should be "praised". Government and party leaders quickly distanced themselves from his comments, stating public security to be the responsibility of the police.[26][27]

The Estonian Prime Minister, Taavi Rõivas, criticized the group saying: “In the Republic of Estonia law and order is enforced by the Estonian police. Self-proclaimed gangs do not increase the Estonian people’s sense of security in any way; rather the opposite.”[28]


In spring 2016, the Finnish patent and registration bureau accepted a request to register "Soldiers of Odin" as a trademark for clothes, footwear and headgear. The owner of the trademark, however, has no connection to the vigilante street patrol group, and is using the name "Soldiers of Odin" as a brand for clothes as a statement against racism and to bring the authorities' decision to accept Soldiers of Odin as a registered organisation into question.[29]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Soldiers of Odin registers as NGO, warns Loldiers against using spoof name". YLE. 15 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell (13 January 2016). "Anti-immigrant 'Soldiers of Odin' raise concern in Finland". Reuters.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Soldiers of Odin's secret Facebook group: Weapons, Nazi symbols and links to MV Lehti". YLE. 16 March 2016.
  4. "Police Commissioner: Street patrols have "no special rights"". YLE. 5 January 2016.
  5. "Kaikilla Joensuussa partioivan Soldiers of Odin -ryhmän pomoilla useita rikostuomioita". MTV3. 5 January 2016.
  6. "Finland's 'Soldiers of Odin' face off against huggy ladies". Yahoo News. 9 February 2016.
  7. "Soldiers of Odin: The far-right groups in Finland 'protecting women' from asylum seekers". The Independent. 1 February 2016.
  8. Soldiers of Odin myöntää: Ahdistelutarina oli lööperiä - "Pyydämme kaikilta anteeksi", Iltalehti 16 March 2016. Accessed on 17 March 2016.
  9. Soldiers of Odin on Facebook
  10. "Finland-based Soldiers of Odin are neo-Nazi White Supremacist led vigilantes". Mail Online. 4 February 2016.
  11. "'Soldiers of Odin': Finnish anti-migrant group with 'extremist features' takes to patrolling streets". RT International. 14 January 2016.
  12. "'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway". The Local. 15 February 2016.
  13. "'Soldiers of Odin' anti-immigrant group spreads from Finland to Norway as one of its 'patrols' operates in the country for the first time". Daily Mail. 15 February 2016.
  14. "Her patruljerer "Soldiers of Odin" for første gang i Norge [Here, the "Soldiers of Odin" patrols in Norway for the first time]". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 15 February 2015.
  15. "Nå har"Odins soldater" etablert seg i Norge. - Vi er snart representert i hver krik og krok av landet". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 23 January 2016.
  16. "Alte er kastet ut av Odins soldater [Alte kicked out of Soldiers of Odin]" (in Norwegian). NRK. 26 February 2016.
  17. "Anti-migrant group 'Soldiers of Odin' expands street patrols to Sweden". Russia Today. 24 March 2016.
  18. "Soldiers of Odin patrullerade i centrala Göteborg [Soldiers of Odin patrolled in central Gothenburg]". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 26 March 2016.
  19. "Soldiers of Odin etablerar sig i Sverige - högkvarteret i Finland". Yle (in Swedish). 18 April 2016.
  21. Azpiri, Jon (20 September 2016). "Critics raise concerns about B.C. chapter of Soldiers of Odin". Global News.
  22. "Police Commissioner: Street patrols have "no special rights"". YLE. 5 January 2016.
  23. "Orpo disappointed by police chief's street patrol comments". YLE. 6 January 2016.
  24. "Yle paljasti Soldiers of Odinin suljetun Facebook-ryhmän kuvia ja viestejä – Supo: "Aineisto puhuu puolestaan"". 16 March 2016.
  25. "Politisjef om Odins soldater: – Uproblematisk at de trygger byer og tettsteder" (in Norwegian). 18 February 2016.
  26. "Soldiers of Odin create political poison in Norway". The Local. 24 February 2016.
  27. "Anti-immigrant 'Soldiers of Odin' expand from Finland to Nordics, Baltics". Reuters. 2 March 2016.
  28. "Estonian PM condemns Soldiers of Odin". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  29. Hallamaa, Teemu (16 May 2016). "Soldiers of Odin rekisteröitiin tavaramerkiksi" (in Finnish). Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 17 May 2016.

External links

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