“Alexander Slavros,” a pseudonymous Eastern European essayist and founder of the neo-fascist forum Iron March, no longer appears online under that alias – but his ideology, rooted in thoughts of violence, racial conquest and fascist purity, is spreading.
Hatewatch analyzed Slavros’s writings, including close to 6,000 of his posts taken from a scrape of Iron March that covers its launch in 2011 until late September 2017, two months before both he and his forum disappeared from the web without warning. The scrape, which is a recording of every post on that forum cataloged by date, reveals Slavros to be a man consumed with, as he put it, a violent, “no compromise” approach to installing fascism the world over.
The rigid worldview that Slavros embodied helped spawn a series of murders and terror attacks linked to Iron March forum members, as Hatewatch reported in February. In our follow-up reporting on Iron March for this story, Hatewatch also discovered a series of bomb-making instructions posted to the site, further emphasizing the threat the Iron March community posed to innocent people.
Slavros would have either had to upload or approve of the bomb-making materials, because as its principal moderator, he kept tight control over the content allowed on the site, an extensive review of the scrape reveals.
“We don't think murder is wrong on principle and we do not believe that every human life is sacred,” Slavros wrote in an undated essay published to Iron March called “Methods, Goals and Moralizing,” which attempted to justify terrorism as a means to install fascist power. “This applies to our own people as well, just because they are kin by blood doesn’t mean they can’t be cancer to the nation which must be removed in order for Truth and Justice to triumph.”
Slavros held tightly to this extreme worldview throughout Iron March’s time online, his writings indicate, even while the lives of other forum users spiraled into tragedy.
Shadowy figures on Old Arbat Street
Slavros announced the opening of Iron March with its first post on Sept. 13, 2011, but offered little information about his identity. Instead, he appeared to approach members with the understanding that they already knew him from a previous iteration of the forum.
“Welcome all to the Iron March forum, formerly known as the ITPF forum,” he wrote, referring to a neo-fascist internet forum called International Third Position Federation. “This topic is a roll call for all veteran forum members – post here if you were back with us at the ITPF forum, all newcomers please proceed to the Introductions area.”
The same day, he divvied out potential topics of discussion to those who gathered there, focusing right away on particular interests of his, like terrorism and hardline extremist groups.
“[Anders] Breivik news,” he suggested as a possible recurring news topic, referring to the Norwegian man who murdered 77 people in a terror attack. “Others (like [Greek neo-Nazi group] Golden Dawn news) should be obvious.”
But an examination of Slavros’s internet history before he launched the forum offers a better clue about the man behind the pseudonym. In February 2011, months before launching Iron March, Slavros built a personal website for himself called Slavros.org, archives show. Slavros.org featured the same type of writing and style of artwork that were eventually showcased on Iron March. Slavros promoted both an obscure neo-Nazi group called Iron Youth on Slavros.org and, eventually, Iron March itself.
Slavros.org was registered by a man named Alisher Mukhitdinov, according to publicly available records of that website’s registration. Mukhitdinov launched the website from the Moscow neighborhood of Tverskaya, the website registry records show.
Slavros’s posts on Iron March strengthen the case that he and Mukhitdinov are the same man. He wrote about Russia with the understanding that other Iron March users knew him to be from there, for example.
“Well gents and lassies, Happy New Year to all of you. It’s already New Year in Moscow, hence the congratulations,” Slavros wrote on New Year’s Day in 2012. “This is our first New Year on Iron March and I am sure that it won’t be the last. We have much to do, expand the forum, turn it into a real community for people of our creed, work on our respective projects and forward our ideas in the world.”
Slavros also wrote long posts about Russian history on Iron March, suggesting he possessed an intimate knowledge of the country’s political struggles and wars, for example. And while American fascists of the white supremacist “alt-right” movement sometimes praise Russian President Vladimir Putin in generic terms for being a strongman, Slavros offered to forum members a more nuanced vision of the former KGB intelligence officer in his writings on the site.
“Putin is good only in so far as he keeps some sort of order and prevents Russia from collapsing, albeit he does it for his own interests rather than national,” Slavros wrote June 23, 2012. “And there are no real alternatives to him in the current political sphere here.”
The Tverskaya area of Moscow, the place from which Mukhitdinov registered Slavros.org, also appears in a propaganda video posted to Iron March in 2014, celebrating the forum’s third anniversary on the web.
The propaganda video is set to the 2005 Dave Matthews Band song “You Might Die Trying,” and in it, two masked men, dressed in black, post stickers emblazoned with Iron March’s logo in areas that appear to be around Moscow. Hatewatch determined the location where the scenes appear to take place by matching landmarks in the video to photographs of the city.
The video is intercut with scenes of far-right political marches in Europe and courtroom footage of Breivik, flashing a Roman salute. In the final clip of the propaganda video, one man can be seen appearing to guide another man to march down a street for the benefit of the camera. Alexey Kovalev, a Moscow-based reporter, reviewed the footage for Hatewatch and confirmed the location of the scene to be Old Arbat Street, an upscale area of the city filled with restaurants.
The white supremacist “alt-right” scene has long held that Mukhitdinov and Slavros are the same person and that he is a 30-year-old man who is originally of Uzbekistani origin. Hatewatch was unable to verify Mukhitdinov’s ethnic background due to a lack of publicly available information about him.
Hatewatch’s attempts to get in touch with Mukhitdinov were unsuccessful, and emails sent to accounts that were publicly linked to Slavros at the time Iron March was online yielded no reply.
It’s difficult to read Slavros’s massive output of writing on Iron March without also considering the violent actions that are linked to members of that forum.
“Violence is … legitimate in the service of Truth,” he wrote in a post titled “Next Leap” on Aug. 23, 2014, to his community.
What the capital “T” in “Truth” meant to Slavros was not always explained, but he capitalizes the word scores of times across his posts and essays, imbuing it with the kind of reverence religious people typically reserve for deities. The closest Slavros came to explaining what he meant by “Truth” – the thing he claimed would justify acts of violence by forum members – was when he laid out a series of bullet points in an undated essay called “Fascist Core,” which was also published to Iron March:
- Truth is what governs all things in life. There can be but one Truth.
- Opinions, delusions and lies are falsehoods, deviations from the Truth.
- All falsehoods come from the human mind.
- Fascism is the Worldview of Truth.
- All man-made ideologies are falsehoods.
- Truth affects everyone differently. Equality and humanism are lies.
- Human history is an increasing deviation from the Truth. Progress is a lie.
- Truth is impersonal, it serves no one’s interests.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput, a collaborator of Slavros’s who went by “Zeiger” on the forum, explained in an a companion piece to “Fascist Core” titled “What is Fascism?” that “[Truth] means understanding that everything from individuals, to nations, races and species have their place in a cosmic hierarchy. This holds true even when we’re faced with the uncomfortable notion that we’re not at the top of that hierarchy. When the social order reflects the natural order, which is to say that every member of society fulfills the role that is most appropriate to their nature, then that society has realized the fascist ideal.”
“Truth” to Slavros, framed in this context of Darwinian fascism, appears to function similarly to “purity spiraling.” Purity spiraling refers to the activity of aggressively weeding out ideas and people that are deemed to threaten the possibility of building an all-white country. For example, fascists may choose to dissociate from certain people who are not deemed to be pure of race or whose ideology is viewed by members of the group to be in some way compromised.
Slavros explicitly embraced the idea of purity spiraling when describing Iron March’s political mission to the alt-right podcast “The Nationalist Review” in 2016.
“I think part of our ‘purity spiraling’ position comes specifically from our evolution because we evolved our understanding of fascism through completely uncompromising argumentation with each other,” Slavros told the audience, regarding the origins of his forum.
But for some Iron March users who ingested his prolific writings on the site, these arguments over purity may have served as a reason to justify committing murder.
Devon Arthurs, a Florida-based forum member who also belonged to the Iron March-backed neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, shot two other members in May 2017, according to police. Arthurs was indicted for first-degree murder. Authorities committed him to the Florida State Hospital for psychiatric treatment and declared him incompetent to stand trial. Arthurs’s mental state was still being evaluated by the courts as of April 2019.
Arthurs told police the other men mocked what he described to be his conversion to Islam before he shot them. Arthurs’s roommate, Brandon Russell, also an Iron March user, was later arrested for building explosives as part of a plot to attack targets like power lines, a power plant and synagogues.
Slavros, as the leader of the forum, shrunk away from his language embracing violence following that bloodshed. He framed the incident as an “Islamic terror attack” in a May 23, 2017, Iron March post that rolls on for over 2,000 words, according to a review of the scrape. The post also shrugs off the idea that Russell could ever be dangerous.
“This is a full disclosure, nobody on [Iron March] has anything to hide regarding this incident,” he wrote. “The media narrative seems to be that this Islamic terror attack is irrelevant, and they have found some neo-Nazi terror ring. [Russell], they are alleging, had explosives but this is misleading.”
Slavros went on to frame the Florida crimes as completely dissociated from the ideology of neo-Nazism, despite the ideology ostensibly linking all of the men involved.
“Let there be no mistake about this: this was not an act of betrayal. We are not talking about traitors, we are talking about a deranged scumbag, whose tendencies were fed and further developed by his conversion to Islam, who had infiltrated a National Socialist group with the explicit purpose of destroying it from within in the name of his heretical ‘faith,’” he told forum members. “I think I can safely say that this is a unanimous sentiment of every single member of our fraternity, that this deranged scumbag and his little harem of converts deserve death.”
Radicalizing the web
Slavros’s website is affiliated with at least nine different neo-Nazi groups across nine countries, Hatewatch reported in February, and some beyond Atomwaffen Division have embraced murder or terrorism as tactics toward achieving their goals.
The Scandinavian, Iron March-linked group Nordic Resistance Movement attacked a Swedish refugee center in 2017, for example. An Iron March member of the forum-supported, British neo-Nazi group National Action was also found guilty of attacking a Sikh man with a claw hammer and a machete in 2015.
Slavros boasted publicly about how he and his site were radicalizing members down an extreme path, deepening the hatred within them.
“When Iron March was in its infancy around 2011 [and 2012] we actually started a topic which was a poll to question people, how many people thought the Holocaust was actually real. And the predominant number of people thought the Holocaust was real,” he told “The Nationalist Review” in 2016. “Then one of our Finnish users remade that test in 2014 and 2015 and the predominant number of users voted for … ‘It’s a lie. It’s a filthy Jewish lie.’”
Slavros also indoctrinated individual people outside of Iron March, bringing them into the fold of extremism.
One such case is that of Lindsey Souvannarath, an ex-internet-girlfriend of Slavros’s from Illinois who was arrested in February 2015 for plotting to shoot and murder large numbers of people at the Halifax Shopping Centre mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada. Souvannarath claimed she imagined targeting people she deemed to be “dysgenic looking” on an episode of the Canadian true crime podcast “Nighttime” published in February 2019, which she recorded from a Canadian prison, where she is serving a life sentence.
Souvannarath planned her would-be terror attack with two Canadian men, Randall Shepherd and James Gamble, and hoped to stage it on Valentine’s Day in 2015. Canadian police only thwarted the Columbine-style mass shooting plot after receiving an anonymous tip about it on Feb. 12, 2015. Shepherd is serving a 10-year-sentence for his role in the mass shooting plot. Gamble shot and killed himself before police could apprehend him.
Internet lore chronicled by VICE and other websites links Souvannarath to Iron March through the handle “ With Hate as My Sword,” which she allegedly used there. Jordan Bonaparte, who hosts the “Nighttime” podcast, told Hatewatch that Souvannarath told him Slavros radicalized her to the ideology of neo-Nazism on the website DeviantArt when she was “16 or 17” years old.
“It just happened by chance. I came across this one painting [on the website DeviantArt] and I was like woah that’s a really cool painting … and I decided to talk to the artist,’ Souvannarath told Bonaparte about being radicalized by Slavros. “The artist just happened to be a national socialist and later on through him I started to meet more national socialists and started networking through them.”
Slavros’s own words back up Souvannarath’s suggestion that he was recruiting people like her from DeviantArt at that time.
"The history of Iron March actually starts before Iron March in the sense that around 2008 a bunch of nationalists and fascists were actually using DeviantArt of all places to kind of upload our propaganda,” Slavros told “The Nationalist Review” in 2016.
Hatewatch’s scrape of Iron March also provides further evidence to support Souvannarath’s alleged connection to Iron March through several points of reference. For one thing, Souvannarath was a student at Coe College in Iowa until 2014, focused on creative writing, she told “Nighttime.” With Hate as My Sword’s posts about college link up with that timeline, and sometimes mention creative writing-related studies.
“Last semester, I was part of the editing staff for the literary magazine, and I’ll be going back to that next year. It was a poetry issue and I don’t know a damn thing about poetry, but I did my best,” With Hate as My Sword posted to Iron March in April 2013 on Iron March, for example.
Souvannarath also admired National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM), according to what she told “Nighttime.” NSBM a genre of music that is sometimes linked to hate-related violence. With Hate as My Sword similarly expressed an interest in that music at times on Hatewatch’s scrape of Iron March. With Hate as My Sword also identifies as female at times on the scrape, which was a rarity for Iron March, based upon Hatewatch’s analysis of six years’ worth of conversations on the forum.
With Hate as My Sword stopped using Iron March in late 2013, the scrape shows, less than two years before her arrest.
Bonaparte also told Hatewatch that Slavros was the person Souvannarath described when talking about her first romantic relationship in a follow-up episode of that show, which was informed by additional conversations he had with her that were not aired.
“It was just an online relationship. He kept telling me that we were going to meet in real life but of course we never did,” Souvannarath said of Slavros. “It was just a stupid, superficial relationship that I probably took too seriously for what it was.”
In February 2015, while Souvannarath’s name made international headlines for the mass shooting she planned, Slavros carried on debating and discussing the meaning of fascism on Iron March with other fascists. He never mentioned her or her arrest, a review of the scrape shows.
The man accused of murdering 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March left behind a manifesto that borrowed language commonly found on Slavros’s neo-fascist website, Hatewatch reported at the time of that terror attack.
The Christchurch shooter, whose alleged crimes took place roughly a year-and-a-half after Iron March disappeared from the web, embraced the ideology of accelerationism, which refers to the idea that Western civilization must collapse before a utopian, fascist society can be built.
Slavros shared this belief and promoted it heavily on Iron March, helping to make neo-Nazi James Mason’s book SIEGE a racist internet phenomenon. SIEGE, a manifesto originally published as a newsletter across several years during the 1980s, calls for terrorism and revolutionary acceleration in the cause of building a radical state only for whites. The book was obscure among white supremacists until Iron March helped make it a meme, Hatewatch reported in February.
Arguably no person is more responsible for propelling SIEGE and the subject of accelerationism into the consciousness of contemporary white supremacists than Slavros. During Iron March’s time online, Slavros hosted a podcast called Fascism 101 (often abbreviated as f101). In the introductory episode recorded on Sept. 1, 2015, he laid out his plan to help make SIEGE, and its calls for terrorism, more popular among white nationalists and neo-Nazis:
We’re going to be promoting, specifically on f101, I’m going to be promoting as much as possible James Mason’s SIEGE because when you think about books like Mein Kampf, they come as self-evident. They practically sell themselves. There’s really no need to promote them all that much. Whereas James Mason’s SIEGE is something that remained in the background for too long especially considering that the contents prove that this is something that could’ve solved a whole lot, many, many of the movement’s problems decades ago if only people would f------ read and listen to this man. Because basically we’ve been stepping into the same wreck for decades and not going anywhere. And this whole time we had this master work which could have told us exactly what to avoid and how to proceed further.
Slavros first started talking about SIEGE and James Mason on Iron March in 2015, the scrape shows, and even offered links of the book to his community for download in June of that year. He started to raise the subject of SIEGE more frequently over time on the forum, weaving it into busy, topical threads. Such was the case on the election night of Nov. 9, 2016, for example, when Slavros jumped into a thread to offer counterpoints to forum members who were excited about the transformative potential of a President Trump. Slavros attempted to dampen their enthusiasm and redirect their attention to Mason’s book.
“Trump isn’t the accelerationist candidate, he’s the ‘go back to sleep’ candidate,” he countered inside a thread praising Trump called “The Saxon Has Awoken.” “Has anyone f------ read SIEGE?”
Slavros similarly used Mason’s accelerationist worldview to counter forum posters late at night on Aug. 11, 2017, in a thread called “HOW R WE SUPPOSED TO WIN UNLESS WE GO TO CHARLOTTESVILLE.” The context of the thread was another forum user encouraging people to attend the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which began with a torch rally held by white supremacists that same Friday night.
Slavros jumped in the thread to call “Unite the Right” a “shit event” and discourage American forum members from attending it. He brought up SIEGE four different times by name in the thread, arguing with other forum posters about its merit.
“Literally the whole of SIEGE is about accelerating and fostering the collapse and how to play all our enemies against themselves so that we may grow strong from their weakness and smash their remains to take over,” Slavros wrote, arguing for Mason’s writing to a pseudonymous contributor to his site. “You did not read SIEGE and are a f------ liar.”
The next day, on Aug. 12, 2017, the same white supremacists clashed violently with antiracist activists. The violence that took place led to several lawsuits and criminal convictions against the white supremacists who descended on the college city. James Alex Fields, a man who marched with the white supremacists, was convicted in December 2018 of murdering activist Heather Heyer in a car-ramming attack that Saturday.
Many white nationalist leaders, including Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer and Brad Griffin of the white nationalist group League of the South, have argued in the months that followed the affair that the enthusiasm for “Unite the Right” was a mistake for the movement.
Slavros’s embrace of SIEGE that night and its calls for accelerationist violence helped foreshadow one path some white supremacists would turn onto following the Charlottesville rally's failures – underscored by terror attacks in places like Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018, or at Poway Synagogue near San Diego in April 2019.
"When I read SIEGE it was such an annoyance in some sense because I realized that we had gone through some of these stages ourselves and I’ve seen some of these things that he’s talked about in action,” Slavros told “The Nationalist Review.” “I’ve seen that these problems are the same and they still exist and people are essentially [making the same mistakes] time and time and time again. Enough already.”
Iron March disappeared from the web sometime in the final days of November 2017.
Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a neo-Nazi internet troll who provides technical support and sometimes contributes writing to the Daily Stormer, hosted a podcast with Slavros’s longtime collaborator, Chaput, to commemorate the site. The podcast, “Race Ghost Roast to Roast,” aired on Nov. 30, 2017, following Iron March’s disappearance.
Auernheimer posited on that show that the Russian government may have pushed Slavros off the web, following pressure from the international community. Chaput agreed with Auernheimer’s unproven theory.
“They found it easier to go after … Slavros the person … because there are a fair number of laws to use in Russia,” Auernheimer said. “He lives, like … with his family and whatnot. In a traditional household there. So, they have people to pressure.”
A rebranded version of Iron March called Fascist Forge appears online in its place these days, serving a small community of hardline neo-Nazis in a similar fashion. Fascist Forge showcases some of Slavros’s writing for Iron March in the form of links to downloadable essays, but his handle does not appear active on it, based upon a search of the site.
Slavros had an extensive internet history outside of the forum, which also appeared to fade away around the same time. For example, an archived snippet of conversation from his now-defunct DeviantArt page shows how deeply ingrained the language of hatred was to Slavros, even outside the racist and violent bubble of his own forum:
“Hey Alex, what do you do for a living?” a pseudonymous user asked him in a post marked Aug. 12, 2013.
“I manufacture soap and lampshades,” Slavros replied, attempting to make light of allegations that Jews were sadistically turned into such items by German Nazis during World War II.
But no other posts of Slavros’s appear on DeviantArt. No trace of him can be found on Twitter, Facebook or the white supremacist-friendly social media network Gab. In every practical way, Slavros was online one day in November 2017, and the next day he was gone.
Photo illustration by SPLC