In Russian colonies, criminals are massively recruited for the war in Ukraine with promises of freedom and money

According to the human rights activist, all criminals are taken, regardless of age, state of health and lack of military experience.

The prisoners are being recruited by the so-called “private” military company Wagner, run by billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is close to Putin and the founder of the Russian internet troll factory. His mercenaries, known for their brutality, have seen action in Syria and Africa. And since 2014 – in Ukraine. Now this army has been replenished by Russian prisoners, who are tempted by early dismissal and money, of course, if they survive.

In one of the Russian correctional colonies, prisoners are gathered to meet with recruiters from the so-called Wagner private military company, who also call themselves “musicians” or “orchestra”. The convicts are promised two hundred thousand rubles a month and a pardon if they win back from Ukraine for six months. And in case of death – 5 million rubles to the family. This zonal recruiting has been going on since early summer. The first were several dozen prisoners from the Yablonovka, Leningrad Region colony.

“It was a classic convoy, only very quick. This is the border from the Leningrad region to colony No. 2, IK-2 of the Rostov region. And there they were trained for two weeks. These were people who went through the army but never did. In two specialties – “attack aircraft” and “specialists”, but in quotation marks, because they cannot be demining specialists. That is, these are people who clear minefields with their bodies. Teams follow them. This is a classic,” says Russian human rights activist Olga Romanova.

The colony authorities later arranged for prisoners who remained in Yablonovka for an advertising campaign – a video link with a hospital in Lugansk. One of those who left is lying there with a wound. He tells how good he is there. Him, but not all. “We know about three prisoners who have already died near Luhansk. These are all from the first batch of prisoners sent to war, recruited by the Wagner PPK. There was a large meeting of prisoners; the authorities showed them a teleconference with Lugansk. From the hospital, where one of the wounded said that it was very cool to lie here in the hospital. Here you are treated, there is a connection, money is paid, let’s go, ”adds Romanova.

According to the human rights activist, all criminals are taken, regardless of age, state of health and lack of military experience. They check on a polygraph. One of the questions – “are you planning to surrender or go over to the side of Ukraine?” They do not accept citizens of Ukraine and those convicted under political articles. Information quickly spread throughout the Russian colonies. To the Urals, as the convicts say, “ches [bullshit]” went. Recruiters’ phone numbers are not hard to find. On the net, they glow with avatars with Wagner symbols. They were not surprised by the call supposedly from the colony; they were only advised to wait.

On the human rights portal Gulagu.net, there are dozens of reports about recruiting prisoners for “dirty work” to “help the motherland.” Several employees of the Tula colony immediately reported: the owner of Wagner, Putin’s favorite, billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, personally came to agitate the criminals. He served time and now wears the star of the hero of Russia. With his cynicism, he struck even the Tula jailers. Here is how one of them describes the meeting.

“The boss of the PKK Wagner came to our colony – Prigozhin himself! They gathered the entire contingent on the parade ground and began to talk about the war (he said so). About a regular weakening army and about redemption by blood. He called his organization OCG (organized criminal group). I thought it was a dream! The man, who has the star of the hero of Russia pinned on his T-shirt, clearly told everything that is happening in our country. What is in power – bandits who don’t give a fuck about all sorts of human rights organizations. He said that there would be 10-15% killed and 15-20% wounded. And the worst thing is that about 300 people out of 1,300 serving sentences went to sign up. And it’s scary that, according to the information of the escort, next time they will be taken away not by consent, but by lists,” he writes.

Unlike Prigozhin, other Wagner recruiters are more honest. They warn that the death toll will be up to 90 percent. But, despite this, hundreds of those who wish are signed up at least two dozen zones where the “Wagnerites” have visited. That this is illegal is no surprise. And, of course, no one cares that most of these disposable mercenaries will not survive. To make things move faster, recruiters fly around the zones by helicopter. In some colonies, they warn: the next recruitment at Wagner will no longer be voluntary but compulsory. And in case of death, the jailers will write – killed while trying to escape.

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