The mercenary army was created by a former caterer

Russia’s Cold War: Where Do the Ukrainians Come From? What Have They Learned about Moscow and How They’ve Solved Their Troubles?

The Ukrainians’ bodies lay side-by-side on the grass, the earth beside them splayed open by a crater. The victims were dragged to where they had died by the mercenaries.

There is no need for a grenade and the Ukrainian soldiers will just bash them in. The mercenaries realized that they had run out of bullets.

The company treated recruits who weren’t willing to fight very well, and often sent fighters into battle with little direction, according to an interview with CNN host Anderson Cooper, who is currently in Norway.

The group to cloud analysis of its exact capabilities and activities have been helped by the limited official information about the existence and ties to the Russian state.

The remnants of Russia’s civil society have been defeated over the last year by Putin’s government. Political opponents such as Navalny are in prison or out of the country. And Putin has made it clear that he seeks to reassert Russia as an empire in which Ukraine has no place as an independent state.

Why the Russian army cannot field mercenaries effectively against the Kremlin? A case study of two young army soldiers interviewed by CNN

They have a more meaningful experience than the army. He said that young army soldiers were forced to sign a contract and have no experience.

There is a myth that the Russian army cannot handle the war without mercenaries, according to Gabidullin.

The two Wagner prisoners interviewed this week by CNN spoke of huge losses as they were sent to storm Ukrainian positions, with fighters refusing to go forward instantly executed by commanders, they said.

A senior Ukrainian defense source claims that since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian government has offered bonuses to Wagner fighters who wipe out Ukrainian tanks or units.

Yusov also said that Wagner is increasingly being used to patch holes in the Russian front line. A US senior defense official confirmed that this was true, they said the Chechen fighters are more focused on the Russian offensive against Bakhmut, whereas Wagner is used across different front lines.

He says the logistical challenges have arisen due to the need to give ammunition, food and support for extended operations while Ukraine has increased its attacks on Russia.

Social media and online have spread Wagner’s invitations to contact recruiters. One recruiter contacted by CNN offered a monthly salary of “at least 240,000 rubles” (about $4,000) with the length of a “business trip” – code for a deployment – of at least four months. Cancer, Hepatitis C and substance abuse are included in the medical conditions that precluded applicants from joining.

It’s a move that would have been unthinkable months ago for the private military company once considered one of the most professional units in the Kremlin’s arsenal.

According to a prisoner rights group, the Ministry of Defense seems to be using more favorable terms in order to lure recruits and convicts from Wagner, a place that is increasingly seen as a competitor to parts of Russia.

The scale of war crimes are predicted to increase as a result of the low recruiting by the Ukrainians working on their investigations into Russian war crimes.

Robert Gabidullin: The role of demoralization and incompetence in the fighting for the Ukrainian National Defense Intelligence Service

Although direct recruitment from prisons is a new step, Gabidullin said that a criminal record hadn’t been an obstacle to employment with Wagner. He claimed to have served three years in prison for murder and told CNN that many of his predecessors had served with the group.

Wagner’s struggles in Ukraine have set in motion a wider problem: discontent in its ranks. That is important because a group depends on the appeal of its work and salaries.

From intercepted phone calls, Ukrainian intelligence services in August noted a “general decline in morale and the psychological state” of Wagner troops, Ukrainian defense intelligence spokesman Yusov said. It’s a trend he’s also seen in Russian troops more broadly.

The reduction in Wagner recruitment requirements point to demoralization too, he said, and the number of “truly professional soldiers who are willing to volunteer to fight with Wagner” is also decreasing.

Ex-commander Gabidullin, who says he talks to his old comrades on an almost daily basis, explained that this demoralization was due to their dissatisfaction “with the overall organization of the fighting: [the Russian leadership’s] inability to make competent decisions, to organize battles.”

For one mercenary who contacted Gabidullin for advice, that incompetence was too much. He told me that he wouldn’t be there anymore. I’m not taking part in this anymore,’” Gabidullin told CNN.

The mercenary who killed a soldier: The comrades, the prisoners and the trenches of a training corps

In one of the clips, a fallen mercenary is laying on the ground with his left hand touching the black earth. There were dead bodies and the flaming wrecks of armored vehicles around him. Occasional shots crackle through the smoke.

“I’m sorry, bro, I’m sorry,” the soldier’s comrade says, lightly patting his back, stripped of his shirt by the battle that killed him. “Let’s get out of here, if they shoot us, we’ll lie next to him.”

He claims that they would round up people who were unwilling to fight and shoot them if they did not fight back. “They brought two prisoners who refused to go fight They buried them right in the trenches that were dug by the training corps because they were shot in front of everyone.

Prigozhin has previously confirmed that Medvedev had served in his company, and said that he “should have been prosecuted for attempting to mistreat prisoners.”

On the war of aggression in Europe and his country of origin: wagner north norway andrei Medvedev-ukraine intl

“There were no real tactics at all. We just got orders about the position of the adversary…There were no definite orders about how we should behave. We made a plan and went from step by step. Who would open fire, what kind of shifts we would have…How it how it how it would turn out that was our problem,” he said.

He dodged bullets from Russian forces and avoided arrest at least ten times after crossing his border in a daring defection. He crossed into Norway over an icy lake using white camouflage to blend in, he said.

He told CNN that after witnessing troops being turned into cannon fodder in Ukraine, he didn’t want to go on another tour.

He started off with 10 men under his command, a number that grew once prisoners were allowed to join, he said. “There were more dead bodies, and more, and more, people coming in. In the end I had a lot of people under my command,” he said. I couldn’t tell how many there were. They were on the move. Dead bodies, more prisoners, more dead bodies, more prisoners.”


The Wagner PMC is going nowhere: a desperate search for new fighters after the fate of a Sergei Medvedev defector

But in reality “nobody wanted to pay that kind of money,” Medvedev said. He said that many Russians who died fighting in Ukraine were declared missing.

The propaganda in Russia will stop soon, the people will rise up, and a new leader will emerge, as all of us will be up for grabs.

When he was asked if he would leave if the fate of anotherWagner defector was meted on, he said that the death of Yevgeny Nuzhin made him leave.

Private military contractor Wagner will have to look for new fighters beyond Russia’s prison system, a fertile recruiting ground for the past nine months, according to its boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin said on his company’s Telegram channel Thursday: “We have completely discontinued the recruitment of prisoners into Wagner PMC. Those working for us are living up to their obligations.

Is Prigozhin ready to challenge Putin? She writes in a recent piece. “While the answer is negative, there is one important ‘but.’ It is hard to remain balanced and sane after going through the gruesome experience of meat grinder and losing a significant amount of personnel. As long as Putin is relatively strong and able to maintain a balance between groups of influence, Prigozhin is safe. Even if it wasn’t directly to Putin, the slightest easing could make Prigozhin challenge power. War can make monsters who are desperate and recklessness a challenge to the state.

After signing up between 40,000 and 50,000 prisoners from jails across Russia, the number of volunteers from prison may have shrunk so far that the campaign is no longer delivering.

The Russian Penitentiary Service released some figures. They showed that the prison population decreased by 6,000 between November and January, compared to a decline of 23,000 inmates last year.

They said that a number of prisoners with just weeks left of their sentences signed up for the program after visiting Prigozhin. They said he had arrived at their prisons in a helicopter and made bold promises about wages and other benefits, as well as a pledge that their criminal records would be expunged.

Additionally, the experiences of prisoners who completed their six-month Wagner contracts may have deterred others from joining up. Prigozhin was seen last month with some of the demobilized fighters, many of whom had clearly been wounded.

One of the lawyers who spoke to Agentstvo said the decline of volunteers from among the prison population was in part due to information about Wagner’s high casualties becoming known.

The finances of Wagner’s parent company – Concord Management – have always been very opaque, with dozens of subsidiaries involved. It’s extremely difficult to ascertain the sources of cash to sustain such a dramatic increase in Wagner ranks.

In response to CNN’s request for comment on Wagner’s decision to end recruitment from Russian prisons, Prigozhin issued a sarcasm-laced reply through the Wagner Group’s VKontakte page, and joked that millions of US citizens had applied to join the mercenary group.

Olga Romanova, who is with the prisoner advocacy group Russia Behind Bars, believes that the Russian Ministry of Defense is now in charge of any further recruitment in Russia’s prisons.

It is the last message Viktor Sevalnev would send. A convict, who had been in jail for armed robbery and assault, he was sent from prison to fight for Russia in Ukraine. Sevalnev was killed after most of his colleagues died in an assault on a factory outside Soledar.

In a last message to his wife, he said he feared officials from the Russian Ministry of Defense would soon take him from his hospital bed, where he recorded the audio message, and execute him. His body was returned to his wife in Moscow, in a closed coffin.

CNN spoke to several prisoners who worked for a unit known by its number “08807” – who all say they were employed directly by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Some held documents suggesting they were ultimately deployed to an element of the Luhansk separatist army, which has been suborned into the Russian defense ministry. The unit 08807 was deployed in October to the frontlines around Soledar, known as a “Shtrum” brigade – for storming Ukrainian lines – and suffered catastrophic casualties.

The Russian military leadership is squabbling and the defense hierarchy, which includes Sergei Shoigu, and Valery Gerasimov, are creating a resource that they can direct through the ministry, Usov said. Usov said that convicts will be used in the same manner as cannon fodder even though the ministry has fewer of them.

Grainy footage obtained by shows Sevalnev and his unit celebrating pre-deployment by dancing at a camp inside of Luhansk. It also shows them eating and joking just behind the frontlines the night before they began an assault on a key factory in Soledar, which would prove fatal for the majority of Sevalnev’s unit, survivors said.

The convicts talked about how they mistreated them on and off the battlefield, but Sevalnev’s fate stood out. According to a recording of a call to his wife from a Russian official who arranged his body’s repatriation, his sudden death was caused by injuries from bombs.

No one is being operated on at this time. CNN is not releasing his name or that of the other surviving convicts for their own safety. People with bullet wounds walk around the hospital with their limbs injured.

He described catastrophic losses before his imprisonment, as a former soldier. “Our batch was 130 people, but we also have many amputees, and we probably have 40 people left”, he added, saying many different groups of prisoners were added to their unit over time. He said his unit had only 15 survivors and that the 08807 was now called 40321, or “Storm unit.” “In short, the meat grinder,” he added. He told CNN in the past few days he had been sent back to the frontline, his injuries unhealed.

I do not have any complaints, war is war. Some people come here and hear a machine gun. It’s not good. They set everyone else up, as no one has my back,” he said. In October, this soldier was wounded in the leg, but he did not fear. soil falls down to the trench but I don’t feel any fear at all. I am not sure why it happens like this with me.

Nemes Tarimo – a young obedient student in Tanzania and his immigration status – told CNN by relatives of three convicts

The fate of convicts employed by Wagner appears to be the same according to relatives of three convicts who appeared in an August CNN report.

His brother had claimed he had gone missing for four months. He had fallen silent and was sending his brother his monthly salary, which was collected from a rented office. There was a third person in the video who was portrayed as a lucky returnee. Yet a friend described his “zombie-like” appearance, heavy drinking and urgent desire to return to the front.

The legality of the pardons has been explained by the Kremlin, as they told reporters last month that any presidential decree pardoning prisoners were likely to be classified. “There are open decrees and there are decrees with various classifications of secrecy,” he said. That is the reason I can’t say anything about them. I can say that the entire process of pardoning prisoners is carried out in strict accordance with Russian law.

Wagner’s recruitment has also snared prisoners who are not Russian, and may not have been convicted of a crime. Tanzanian student Nemes Tarimo was on an exchange in Moscow when he was apparently arrested on drugs charges and held on remand. He was convicted in March last year to seven years in jail, according to the Tanzanian foreign ministry, citing information from their Russian counterparts.

Tarimo died near Bakhmut and a memorial ceremony was held to honor him in western Russia. The foreign ministry said in a statement that Tarimo had accepted an offer to fight in return for money and his freedom, according to state TV.

His cousin Rehema Makrene Kigoga told CNN: “Since his childhood, Nemes was a very obedient boy. He wasn’t a scamp, but was a very religious person.” She also said they had heard nothing about his recruitment until after his death. When he was alive, we did not hear about it, but now that he died, we were told he had been arrested for drugs. It makes a lot of sense that it does as a family. He didn’t have a dream of becoming a soldier.

Vladimir Putin, the War of Attrition, and Democracy in the Early 2022 War: The Case of the First Mobilization and the Battle of Stalingrad

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is fond of a phrase, “the wonderful Russia of the future,” his shorthand for a country without President Vladimir Putin.

Since last February’s invasion, Putin has shrugged off protests and international sanctions. Human rights groups and media are now seen as foreign agents, or shut down entirely.

“Putin arrived in Volgograd, which was renamed Stalingrad for a few days on the occasion of the anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad,” Rogov wrote on Telegram. “The anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, which is perceived as a turning point in the Patriotic War, is, of course, used as a great allusion and patriotic warm-up before the decisive second offensive against Ukraine that is being prepared.”

In his speech at a gala concert in Volgograd, Putin made a direct link between the Battle of Stalingrad – the moment when the momentum shifted on the Eastern Front against Nazi Germany – and the war in Ukraine, warning that Russia faced a similar threat from a “collective West” bent on its destruction.

“Those who draw the European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia – and all the more irresponsibly declare this as a fait accompli – those who expect to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield, apparently do not understand that a modern war with Russia will be completely different for them,” he warned.

Alexander Baunov, a Russian political observer and commentator wrote that after the failure of the 2022) Blitzkrieg, Russia put its bets on a long war because of its superior numbers, resources and territory. The war of attrition can only be won with the approach of “Wait them out, add pressure, put the squeeze on.”

Exactly why this is risky should be clear: The first mobilization caused major tremors in Russian society. Hundreds of thousands of Russians voted with their feet. Police faced off with anti-mobilization protesters in multiple cities during protests that broke out in ethnic minority regions. Russian social media saw a surge of videos and public complaints about the lack of equipment and appalling conditions for newly mobilized recruits.


The ‘Idols’ — The First Folk Hero of the Russian Paramilitary, Yevgeny Prigozhin

Many of those advances have been led by the soldiers of the Wagner Group, a private military company. Many reports on the group focus on their brutal tactics including human-wave attacks and summary executions for deserters.

Its head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ex-convict and self-avowed financier of the Russian paramilitary, meanwhile, is alternately being talked of as a potential rival to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin or a target of assassination.

He was the first folk hero in a long time. He is the hero of the most ultraconservative part of Russian society if we don’t have any liberals in it.

Russians took refuge in a form of political apathy against that backdrop. CNN recently spoke to several Muscovites about how their lives have changed since last year, on condition that their surnames not be used over the risks of publicly criticizing the government.

Ira doesn’t have a son so she doesn’t worry about him being mobilized She said that her daughter was going to kvartirnik, informal, word-of-mouth gatherings in private apartments reminiscent of the underground performances held in the Soviet era.

Ira said she felt acute anxiety in February and March of last year, immediately after the invasion. She was worried she wouldn’t be able to pay her mortgage because she had just bought an apartment.

She said that it got worse in the spring. “Now it seems we’ve gotten used to a new reality. I started to meet and go out with girlfriends. I began to buy more wine.

The restaurants are now full, she said, but added: “The faces look completely different. What do you call people who are dubbed the ‘idols’? there are less of them.”

Russo in Ukraine War Annihilation: What Can We Expect to Learn from the Experience of the World? “What Can I Learn About Russia”

Olya said her family had decided for more domestic holidays. Europe is largely closed to direct flights from Russia, and opportunities to travel abroad are more limited.

Even though a war is going on, life is going on, Olya said. “I can’t influence the situation,” she said. “My friends say, we do what we can, what’s possible. It doesn’t help to get depressed.”

Parts of the Russian economy that were hit by sanctions are helping matters for the Russian government. The country ran a higher-than- expected deficit due to the war, and the International Monetary Fund is predicting a small return to GDP growth for Russia.

“Those who adapted quickly reorganized, they are seeing growth,” he said. “In January we concluded an unusual number of deals, and most of our activity usually picks up in February.”

“In terms of everyday life, practically nothing has changed,” he said, talking about the cutoff of Western imports. It may be more difficult if we are talking parts for a Mercedes Benz G-Class.


The fate of Bakhmut: a message from a canny politician whose warring left Ukraine in the shadow of Putin’s presidency

He said he looked for other sources of information that wasn’t state media. He acknowledged that he could be called up in the next wave.

Before last February, Russia’s budding middle class could benefit from Putin’s social contract: Stay out of politics, and you’ll enjoy life in a European-style Moscow or St. Petersburg. The bargain has left the window. If support for open-ended war can be maintained, Russia is further away from Europe.

Russia’s military lost a lot on the battlefield in Ukraine. Prigozhin – a canny political entrepreneur without any official government position – began openly taking credit for Wagner’s efforts to secure some territorial gains, particularly in the battles raging around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

“This is one of the gathering places of the dead,” Prigozhin said. “These are the guys who died yesterday due to the so-called ‘shell starvation’ By the Russian Ministry of Defence. There should have been five times fewer of them. So mothers, wives and children will get their bodies.”

Apparently, the message got through to someone. In a message and voice note Thursday, Prigozhin said a shipment of ammunition was now on its way to his forces.

It was reported that the shipment of bullets began at 6 am today, he said. “Most likely, the train has started moving … we are told that the main papers have already been signed.”

Prigozhin Needs Putin as Much as Putin Needs Him, Not Until he Sees His Death: A Video Greeting on Fatherland Day

It will be harder for Prigozhin to fall if he rises. More recently there have been indications of the Kremlin clipping Prigozhin’s wings, reportedly ordering him to halt his public criticisms of the defense ministry as well as apparently shutting down the Wagner Group’s prison recruitment campaign. Russian officials deny the reports that state media have been ordered to stop mentioning one of the men by name.

He admits that he was part of the Russian team that tried to interfere in the US presidential election.

In one recent recording, Prigozhin railed against unnamed “functionaries” – a likely swipe against Shoigu – who “have breakfast, lunch and dinner on golden dishes and send your daughters, granddaughters and whoevers to vacation in Dubai, showing no shame at all, at the very same time that Russian soldiers are dying at the front.”

These are also questions that the team of researchers that I lead at New America and Arizona State University have been researching for the better part of the last five years. What we’ve learned while uncovering the Wagner Group’s covert operations and Prigozhin’s shadowy business enterprises is that Prigozhin needs Putin as much as Putin needs him – at least for now.

It is not yet certain whether the Hoff will retain his usefulness to Putin after he has been reprimanded in public. He’s certainly shown little sign of dialing down his media campaign.

On Thursday, Prigozhin posted a video greeting on his Telegram channel to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day, a Russian national holiday. In the video, Prigozhin is shown a building in the distance that Wagner fighters claim to have taken close to downtown Bakhmut.

The men are native to the city. Their circles began to overlap after Prigozhin was released from prison after serving 9 years for assault and robbery, according to Russian court documents.

Russia War Mercenaries Prisoners: Yuevgeny Prisoner’s Journey Through the Front Line [Six months]: What is it like to be in prison?

“The basic pitch is six months: It’s going to be horrible. It’s going to be very difficult. We will shoot you if you try to run away. If you don’t give your everything, we will shoot you,” Walker says. “But you go to the front, you put in your service … after six months, you’re free to go.”

“It’s just so out of the realms of fantasy that this former convict is going to fly around prisons in his helicopter and offer people salvation for fighting for him at the front, and then lead these battalions of prisoners to their almost certain death,” Walker says. It’s really hard to believe, it’s so futuristic. But yet it has happened.”

He is a big guy. He has a shaved head. He uses quite coarse language. It’s clear he isn’t a polished guy. This is not a particularly well-educated or cultured guy. … When we were researching the article, we asked prisoners who are still in prison how they saw the guy and how they got people to agree to go with him. And they all said to us, “We could see from this guy that he was one of us. We kind of respected him because he’d also been in prison.” … They all said, You could see that he was a former [inmate], the way he talked, the way he kind of gave his word that if they fought for him, he would give them their freedom. All of these people said, “We wouldn’t trust a normal Russian official, but this guy had something about him that made us think he was one of us.” …

He’s not making a big deal of it. This is not going to be nice or will be a holiday according to him. He’s basically saying, look, you’re probably going to die. It’s going to be terrible. The fighting is incredibly intense. We’re going to throw you right in at the front line. I’ve got your back if you survive.


An investigation into the killing of a Ukrainian journalist by a communist (Yevgeny Grigoryev) Prigozhin

Perhaps a couple of weeks [of training]. All of the reports we’ve had of the way that the convicts are used by the Wagner Group is that they’re not used on sort of difficult strategic operations or anything particularly targeted and careful. They are used as cannon fodder. The Ukrainians who have been on the other side of the lines say it’s really strength in numbers that makes it so. It’s a bit of a disregard, really, for human life. And for those who have not fancied it and have decided that they want to either defect or don’t want to advance, we’ve had numerous credible reports that there’s been executions of their own people as kind of punishment for disobeying orders and to keep everybody else in line and forcing them to to sort of surge forward in these pretty grim, almost suicidal movements forward. …

People who look into Prigozhin’s activities tend to have rather worrying, sinister things happen to them. One of the journalists at Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, who did one of the biggest investigations into Prigozhin, received a severed ram’s head and a funeral wreath at his home address. It’s kind of like a Mafia touch.

Back in 2015, Alexei Navalny’s team did investigations into the conduct of Prigozhin and how he got these government contracts. And the main investigator on these was a woman called Lyubov Sobol, who is one of Navalny’s top aides. After one of these investigations came out, her husband was stabbed in the leg while arriving home and then collapsed, after an unknown attacker ran off. We were about to write an article about Prigozhin when I talked to my friend, Lyubov. She suspects that this attack was related to her investigation and that they had to rush her husband to the hospital. He received very quick medical attention. She said that the doctors told her that if it had been a bit longer, he may not have survived. He was injected with a tranquilizer that was very strong. Some pretty unnerving things could happen to you if you cross Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The fate of the Wagner Group and Prigozhin: How the US and its allies dealt with the KGB and Vladimir Putin?

How did a nation with a top ranked military and nuclear arsenal rely on a personal army of billionaires with no experience on the battlefield?

NATO will shape its response to Russian military adventurism long into the future and with it the global order, because of how the US and its allies handle theWagner Group and Prigozhin.

The same year, as an active member of the KGB, Putin started working in politics. And in 1991 the city’s late mayor Anatoly Sobchak gave Putin the job of overseeing the municipal gambling industry, along with a variety of other municipal projects.

Boris Spektor was an old school friend of Prigozhin, and he had started to dip his toe in the casino business too after Prigozhin started his hot dog stand.

Although it is unlikely that Putin and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky will broker a peace deal anytime soon, it seems certain that the Wagner Group’s murky legal status and ties to the Kremlin will eventually factor into negotiations.

What should be done? The designation of theWagner Group as a criminal organization by the US will allow the US to go after Prigozhin, but many practical pitfalls still lay ahead.

Chief among the challenges is the skepticism the US is already facing from African nations that have made common cause with Russia and the Wagner Group.

The problem of ostensible US allies is that the United Arab Emirates has quietly supported Russia in places like Libya and Sudan. There were indications in a 2020 inspector general report that the United Kingdom may have financial support for the Wagner Group.

Often these deals call for the sale of weapons and military services that cash-strapped countries in the Global South agree to buy from Russia in exchange for mining rights or oil and gas production shares.

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