Wagner’s Prigozhin wants at least 33,000 more convict recruits to his PMC

17 April, 07:10 PM
Yevgeny Prigozhin against the background of the graves of the Russian occupiers (Photo:Фокус)

Yevgeny Prigozhin against the background of the graves of the Russian occupiers (Photo:Фокус)

The owner of Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is looking to recruit at least 33,000 Russian convicts, Russian news website Mediazona reported on April 17.

At least 22,000 people had disappeared from Russian prisons between October and November 2022, Mediazona reported in November.

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) stopped publishing data on prisoners in January 2023, though some regional offices continue to release statistics.

Comparing data on the number of convicts in 35 Russian regions as of early 2022, the publication notes that the number of people has decreased by 17,000 people.

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The largest number of prisoners disappeared in Samara Oblast, where 10,200 people were held in prisons in early 2022, with just 7,500 people incarcerated in early 2023.

There were also more than a thousand fewer people in prison colonies in Chelyabinsk (1,574) and Kirov (1,153) oblasts, as well as in the Republic of Tatarstan (1,040).

Mediazona noted that official data in some regions may differ from the real situation.

For example, the number of convicts in Yaroslavl Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Krai has almost not changed, though these regions saw active recruitment of prisoners for use in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Wagner PMC announced in February that they would stop recruiting mercenaries from Russian prisons. After that, media reported that the prisoners were being recruited directly by Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

Prigozhin said on April 14 that Moscow should end the war against Ukraine and focus on consolidating the territorial gains it still holds on to.

Prigozhin’s press service posted a message via Telegram, where he argues that the Russian “government and society now needs a firm end” to the war, with his “ideal option” centered around “announcing the conclusion of the Special Military Operation, in which Russia has achieved the results it wanted.”

On April 17, former Wagner PMC commanders confessed to committing massive war crimes against Ukrainians, including the execution of over 20 children and the detonation of a pit containing more than 50 wounded POWs.

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