PMC Wagner Group


I have found Yevgeny Prigozhin to be quite an interesting character. He leads Wagner Group, a private millitary contractor involved in the original Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2014, Syria, and various African nations. He was imprisoned in the 1980s in Soviet Russia for robbery and release in the 90s and became one of the "New Russians" - those who made their wealth (often in a criminal manner) after the Soviet collapse during the "crazy ninities".

Prigozhin who is said to understand the prison culture recently recruited prisoners to fight in Ukraine. I found his carrot and stick approach of motivating prisoners to fight for Wagner to be quite interesting - he offers them the chance to work with him, fight for Russia, and receive forgiveness and reintegration into civilian society. Disobedience, on the other hand receives the death penalty. Prisoners where recruited on a volunteer basis, many had life sentences to serve. After 6 months at war, prisoners receive a full pardon - if they can survive. Wagner has taken very heavy losses to it's prison units.

His PMC's often ruthless tactics seem to be quite effective - Wagner seems on the verge of seizing Bakhmut - the first major victory for Russia in many months. Prigozhin is often openly critical of the conventional armed forces and has at times accused them of depriving him of munitions in an attempt to sideline him. Definatley a rough around the edges kind of a guy - but he is giving the Ukrainians and NATO a hell of a fight.


Orthodox Inquirer
Wanted to make a post on the Wagner group since they have been getting press lately. Unsure exactly how this group works vs the normal armed forces of Russia.


Gold Member
Putin likes Wagner, to some extent, as far as I can tell, because he is effective at recruiting prisoners. Putin has said publicly that every "prisoner is worth 2 or 3 babes on their mother's breasts."

Putin is 100% pragmatic and utilitarian with his approach - he is protecting Russian youth demographics by using old prisoners as cannon fodder. Pardoning a murderer so that young Russian men can avoid the frontline is completely worth it. For every pardon, 10x other prisoners are killed. This also frees up space in the Russian prison, helps reduce prison costs, and makes room for other dissidents that may need to be thrown in prison during the course of the war.

On a practical level, it makes perfect sense.
There is definitely a power struggle between the traditional Russian army, Wagner, and to a certain extent, the Chechens.

Private military companies are technically illegal in Russia. Wagner is registered as a cook and janitorial company. That’s why you will hear references to Wagner’s “cooks” or “janitors” seizing villages in Ukraine.

The reasons for Wagner’s success in Ukraine is complex, but I think you can look at their charismatic leader that believes in the cause vs the massive, faceless and corrupt bureaucracy of the Russian military.

The use of prisoners for combat is controversial in Russia. Some were petty criminals, but others who joined the Wagner ranks did horrible things in their previous lives, and then they go into combat and do even more horrible things, and if they live, they get pardoned and released back into society in Russia. Do you really think that someone like that is going to be a good neighbor and stay out of trouble? Some will change, but most will go back to their old ways.

This war has the potential to grind on for years. I’m hindsight, the 6 month service requirement in exchange for a pardon and freedom was way too short.

The Russian military is more than happy to let Wagner grind it out and take mass casualties too.