Volunteers appeared in 2019 as a youth movement of the Combat Brotherhood organization, which receives multimillion-dollar grants from the state budget. Gradually, it turned into a de facto unit of the "Young Guard of United Russia" (MGER). The head of the MGER, Anton Demidov, manages, among other things, the Volunteer Company. The salaries of members of the organization are paid in envelopes, formalizing it as material assistance. To do this, the “volunteer” must write an application for its provision to the MGER. Members of the organization earn from 30 to 120 thousand rubles a month.
In "Rota" there is a hierarchy by levels: from B0 to B5. At the same time, at the zero level is the extras, which the permanent members of the "Volunteer Company" recruit on the street and through acquaintances, and at the fifth level is the head of the MGER and the "Rota" Anton Demidov.
One of the main occupations of the members of the organization is attending protest rallies and events with the aim of provoking the audience. Sergey describes it this way: “Conditionally, they start yelling “we are for Putin”, so that a fight happens, the cops come, they twist everyone, then we are released.”
In order to avoid being detained by the police at such actions, the “volunteer” must say a code phrase that law enforcement officers know. In February 2021, during protests against the sending of Alexei Navalny to a colony, the code was the phrase "Bryansk-Sever". The way an activist of the "Volunteer Company" says it in front of the police was filmed. It went viral and became a meme. After this incident, the phrase was changed to “I have to go to Kostroma,” a Sirena source said.
Members of the organization regularly undergo "professional" training. Before significant events, they are driven to trainings, where they are instructed on how to behave at protest rallies. At the same time, according to Sergei, they were told that they were not arranging provocations, but were fighting them. In particular, the “fight against provocations” is to pull people out of the crowd and assist in their detention.
The “volunteers” are helped to maintain physical fitness in their own fight club, where they are taught various martial arts.
In addition to petty mischief at opposition rallies, they work as extras and assistants at pro-government events. For example, they helped the organizers of the 20th Congress of United Russia. From this event, Sota has a photo at its disposal, in which “volunteers” “throw a ridge” against the background of the official banner of the congress: according to Sergey, there are people in the organization who are fond of the topic of nationalism, but there is no confirmation of this in social networks, one of the rules - do not discredit the "company".
Rapid Response Groups (RRT) of the "Volunteer Company" carry out major provocative events. In particular, it was they who poured paint over the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta and Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, and in July 2022 they placed a tombstone for the “Institute of Family and Family Values” at the EU Delegation in Moscow. In addition, “volunteers” are engaged in writing custom comments on social networks on the instructions of the management. The Volunteer Company trolls promote state narratives.
With the outbreak of the war, activists of the “company” began to be sent to the occupied territories. For example, in Mariupol they were involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid, the resettlement of refugees and police assistance. “Stress-resistant, healthy, without tax debts” were sent there. Now “volunteers” continue to be recruited to be sent to the territory of Ukraine, only as military personnel. They are promised to be sent to an "elite unit" in which some representatives of the organization's leadership also serve.