40,000 Of 50,000 Russian Criminals Wagner PMC Has Recruited Have Died Or Deserted – OpEd


Eighty percent of the 50,000 Russian prisoners the Wagner PMC recruited to fight in Ukraine with promises that they would have their sentences commuted have died or deserted, the Olga Romanova of the Russian Behind Bars organization says, leaving only about 10,000 still in the ranks of Prigorzhin’s force.

A large number of those no longer with the Wagner force have deserted, Romanova continues, with many of them fleeing back to Russia and carrying their weapons with them, likely for use in future criminal endeavors (meduza.io/news/2023/01/23/rus-sidyaschaya-iz-50-tysyach-zaklyuchennyh-zaverbovannyh-chvk-vagnera-na-fronte-ostalis-tolko-10-tysyach-ostalnye-libo-pogibli-libo-dezertirovali).

She notes that the figures she gives are based on outside observations because the Wagner group does not provide any data, routinely reports deserters as having died and even has returned empty coffins to family members in what is an increasing effort to hide losses from desertions (meduza.io/feature/2023/01/20/dozhd-chvk-vagnera-vozvraschaet-pustye-groby-rodstvennikam-byvshih-zaklyuchennyh-pogibshih-v-ukraine).

Romanova’s figures have been partially confirmed in the past by US and UK officials (meduza.io/news/2022/12/23/v-sovete-natsbezopasnosti-ssha-zayavili-chto-chvk-vagnera-otpravila-na-voynu-40-tysyach-rossiyskih-zaklyuchennyh).

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *