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The Wagner Files Internal documents reveal how the mercenary group operates


April 26, 2023   6 mins

The Wagner Group might be a gang of hired murderers, but it is also a well-oiled machine: peel back its layers of barbarity and you’ll find a slick private military company with plans to expand its influence throughout the world. Experts, including US Congress, have long argued that Wagner is controlled by the Russian special services, specifically the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence, commonly known as the GRU.

But this is wrong. I have been investigating Wagner for six months, and both sources in Ukraine and documents shown to me by the Dossier Center, an investigative project set up by Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, tell a very different story. The company has never been under the GRU; nor does it report to the Ministry of Defence, with which it now has an increasingly fractious relationship, or any law enforcement or government agencies. In fact, unlike other Russian private or quasi-private military companies, such as Redut, it is funded and run by a single individual: Yevgeny Prigozhin, who in turn answers only to one man: Vladimir Putin.

Wagner, then, is vital to understanding the Kremlin’s emerging global strategy. Its mercenaries are not only butchering in Ukraine, but are also being deployed across Africa as the Kremlin seeks to hoover up the continent’s resources. As violence strafes Sudan, reports, backed up by my contacts on the ground, claim that Wagner supplied Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces with surface-to-air missiles in its battle for control of the state against Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. The group is also helping to prop up the regime in Syria and is busy meddling in Baltic states as well.

Late last year, as the war in Ukraine intensified, Prigozhin, who holds no official position, was considered by many to be more powerful than most federal ministers. Some argued he even held more sway in the Kremlin than Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But even if Prigozhin wouldn’t take orders from the Ministry of Defence, Russian sources tell me he would work with it when it suited his needs.

At the direct request of Putin or his office, the Ministry was forced to provide support — including weapons, tanks, fighter jets and military bases — to Wagner. In return, Prigozhin’s units would sometimes find themselves under the operational control of the Ministry of Defence or the Russian special services: this has been the case in Syria since February 2022. For the most part, however, Wagner remains an independent entity, which suits Prigozhin perfectly. If the invasion goes wrong in Ukraine, he won’t be the person responsible; if it goes well, he can point to his role in any success.

For the first time, documents handed to me by the Dossier Center reveal how Prigozhin finances Wagner, as well as many of his other projects. It is a web of dark money that spreads through dozens of countries. Prigozhin is linked to several hundred companies registered in Russia that received government contracts for various state functions, such as building military camps, organising rubbish collections, and supplying food for the military, hospitals and schools. From 2011 to 2018, these companies received more than 5,000 Russian state contracts worth 209 billion rubles (£2 billion), with some of these profits going to projects involving Wagner and so-called “political technologists” — those whom the Kremlin puts in charge of influencing political systems — abroad.

Contracts are generally awarded on a non-competitive basis, but none of Prigozhin’s companies have ever been severely penalised for this behaviour. Due to the legal simplicity of registering new companies in Russia, his firms can dodge sanctions easily. Once a company has been sanctioned, its cash is simply moved to the balance of another of Prigozhin’s companies (as yet unknown to the authorities) — and the trading can begin again. Prigozhin’s internal documents on his many African and Syrian projects illustrate this cash flow, freely paying the necessary expenses for projects in countries of interest to him, including in cash.

In Africa, as the crisis in Sudan shows, Wagner is fast making the region’s many problems worse. Sources in the Central African Republic have confirmed that Prigozhin recently paid bribes to political influencers and local military leaders, while further reports suggest the group is planning to increase its level of activity in Libya (possibly, due to elections that are scheduled for summer 2023). When I was in the region last year, a contact who had recently been inside Burkina Faso (which had just experienced a coup) showed me photos of streets filled with Slavic-looking tough guys.

This all benefits Prigozhin, who is also growing fat off oil and mining concessions in Syria and Africa. In 2019, the Syrian parliament signed contracts for the development of three blocks of gas and oil fields with two Russian companies, Velada and Mercury, both of which are affiliated with Prigozhin. The monthly share of Prigozhin’s structures from the extraction of natural resources is likely to be about $20 million.

One former Wagner commander who fought in Syria recently told me how Prigozhin’s office in the country is in a room rented from the Russian Foreign Ministry in the centre of Damascus, where large amounts of cash are kept for necessary expenses (salaries, recruitment of locals and so on). He explained how the battalion commander once took out about $200,000 for expenses. The cash itself is transported in and out of Syria on private jets used either by Prigozhin or by his many underlings.

Prigozhin knows the value of hiring fighters who have served in some of the toughest places on earth and earned a reputation for viciousness. He pays them well — often more than what is stated in their contract — via both bank transfers and bundles of cash from one of his offices. According to contracts signed by the fighters, relatives or other preselected individuals could collect cash from the offices on their behalf. However, in 2020, security measures were tightened, and Wagner employees are now required to present a badge with an identification number to receive their pay in cash.

Of course, nothing is ever simple, or pleasant, with Prigozhin. As a compulsive micro-manager, he is known to punish employees with large fines for petty disobediences and offences: excessive use of alcohol, drug use, improper use of social media and so on. He is also known to be violent with those who work for him.

Sources in Ukraine tell me that Prigozhin would regularly liaise with high-ranking generals from the Ministry of Defence, including General Sergei Surovikin, the man in charge of Russia’s “special Military Operation” in Ukraine from October to January 2023. Things have not gone well for Russia in Ukraine, which is why Surovikin was replaced, and Prigozhin has repeatedly publicly criticised the Ministry of Defence for its performance — he ridiculed the regular army, claiming his own Wagner units were far superior.

Relations between Wagner and the defence ministry worsened throughout early 2023, especially over the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut, where both the Russian military and Wagner is battling to claim credit for the city’s eventual fall, as I discovered when I reported from there earlier this year. According to an April 2023 British intelligence report, relations between the two have become so factious that “Russia’s military leadership likely wants a replacement PMC that it has more control over”. But it was also at pains to point out the difficulties. “No other known Russian PMC currently approaches Wagner’s size or combat power,” it concluded.

If this seems like a chaos of internal conflict, it’s one that may well have approval from the very top. Putin has praised Josef Stalin on several occasions — and Stalin, perhaps more than anything, relied on internal rivalries to maintain control. In this context, Prigozhin’s repeated criticisms of the Ministry of Defence are beneficial to Putin, not only for pointing out mistakes that might be corrected, but for pushing it to perform better (while ensuring that neither side becomes too powerful). It is, in effect, win-win for Putin.

But for the rest of the world it is not. Wagner and Prigozhin now face allegations of terrorism, political assassinations and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Last November, UK law firm McCue Jury and Partners announced it was suing Wagner on behalf of Ukrainian victims who have fled to the UK. Jason McCue, a senior partner, told me that the decision to pursue the claim was an easy one. “They have committed war crimes in Bucha… They are the ones who identified civilian targets so the Russian military could strike them. And then there are the numerous documented acts of torture they have committed against both soldiers and civilians.”

And this catalogue of allegations seems destined to swell. Since last year, the number of mercenaries has at least tripled. These recruits not only increased their military capability in general, but also gained vital experience of participating in larger scale operations, such as in Bakhmut. Their equipment has also been diversified, with greater numbers of high-tech heavy weapons flowing in. Wagner is now no longer merely a private military company, but an army.

Behind them stands Prigozhin, a man whose political ambitions, and presence in the Russian public consciousness, has never been greater. Russian aggression is growing globally, and as the Wagner Files reveal, a globally connected, well-funded private army is now at its forefront.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

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Walter Lantz
WL
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

A few months ago Freddie Sayers interviewed economist Louis Gave re: Ukraine. Gave was of the opinion that the West was in trouble because flighting Climate Change and Putin is effectively a two-front war. That view made sense to me because the climate issue has clearly devolved into an extremely expensive an divisive moral crusade. There’s been widespread economic damage especially in the demonized ‘deplorable’ class while eco-carpetbaggers have been getting rich. 
So what does that have to do with the Wagner Group? The article appears to be well-researched and offers up a believable account of how the group works and for whom. They are nasty. Point taken, but I found this recent article explains further about why they are messing around in Sudan and other African countries: csis.org/analysis/how-does-conflict-sudan-affect-russia-and-wagner-group. Apparently gold mining and a possible Russian naval base are the key attractions in Sudan.
China wasn’t mentioned specifically but IMO it seems obvious that the on-going campaign to hoover up valuable resources in Africa (and elsewhere),which China has been very active for years, is quickly establishing the financial bedrock for global realignment that would make China and Russia the leaders of BRICS and Co. Ltd. 
In the meantime two recent US initiatives in Africa come to mind. Last September John Kerry warned Africans, of which over 600M have no access to electricity at all, not to depend on fossil fuels and that international financing would be limited to green energy. Not good news for African countries sitting on untapped oil resources.
Then a month or so ago VP Kamala Harris (remember her?) does a whistle stop tour in Africa. I’m not sure why because even Americans don’t listen to her unless they happen to be in the funny memes business. She blathered on about Alphabet rights literally while Ghana was debating a bill to restrict those rights even further. 
Outside of the Anglosphere and EU bubble there is a large part of the world that is not interested in Alphabet rights, DEI and ESG. They don’t debate gender – they’re quite sure what a woman actually is. Rules based international order? No thanks. Many of these countries are sitting on valuable resources that could bring growth and prosperity and they aren’t much impressed by morality lectures from jet-setting, over-stuffed westerners warning them to “not live it up like we do – it’s bad for the planet”. Meanwhile, Russia and China are showing up in these countries with muscle and money, doing deals and not worrying about social justice.
I don’t think that asking hard questions about the repeated leadership fails in the West makes one a Putin apologist. As a Canadian I seriously doubt that anyone in our government can remember when they last told the truth about anything. As to Ukraine, that the Russian invasion is indefensible seems to be an easy point but aside from the obvious destruction and human suffering you need a truckload of salt to swallow the news stream we’ve been fed over the last year from either side. We know Russia is still there. Everything else is a guess.
IMO, Wagner Group operations, and by extension increased Sino Russian influence, belong in the same category as Brexit and Trump. They are/were treated as new challenges when they are actually the result of old problems not addressed. 

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

You are correct – Kamala ‘word salad’ Harris is our nation joke…and just think she’s the step-in for ‘Dementia’-ed Joe who says he’s running for a second term….God Help Us

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

…sorry tro repeat, but the West has become over-feminized, so in the cycle of Yin and Yang, we have chaos ahead for quite a while.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

You are correct – Kamala ‘word salad’ Harris is our nation joke…and just think she’s the step-in for ‘Dementia’-ed Joe who says he’s running for a second term….God Help Us

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

…sorry tro repeat, but the West has become over-feminized, so in the cycle of Yin and Yang, we have chaos ahead for quite a while.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

A few months ago Freddie Sayers interviewed economist Louis Gave re: Ukraine. Gave was of the opinion that the West was in trouble because flighting Climate Change and Putin is effectively a two-front war. That view made sense to me because the climate issue has clearly devolved into an extremely expensive an divisive moral crusade. There’s been widespread economic damage especially in the demonized ‘deplorable’ class while eco-carpetbaggers have been getting rich. 
So what does that have to do with the Wagner Group? The article appears to be well-researched and offers up a believable account of how the group works and for whom. They are nasty. Point taken, but I found this recent article explains further about why they are messing around in Sudan and other African countries: csis.org/analysis/how-does-conflict-sudan-affect-russia-and-wagner-group. Apparently gold mining and a possible Russian naval base are the key attractions in Sudan.
China wasn’t mentioned specifically but IMO it seems obvious that the on-going campaign to hoover up valuable resources in Africa (and elsewhere),which China has been very active for years, is quickly establishing the financial bedrock for global realignment that would make China and Russia the leaders of BRICS and Co. Ltd. 
In the meantime two recent US initiatives in Africa come to mind. Last September John Kerry warned Africans, of which over 600M have no access to electricity at all, not to depend on fossil fuels and that international financing would be limited to green energy. Not good news for African countries sitting on untapped oil resources.
Then a month or so ago VP Kamala Harris (remember her?) does a whistle stop tour in Africa. I’m not sure why because even Americans don’t listen to her unless they happen to be in the funny memes business. She blathered on about Alphabet rights literally while Ghana was debating a bill to restrict those rights even further. 
Outside of the Anglosphere and EU bubble there is a large part of the world that is not interested in Alphabet rights, DEI and ESG. They don’t debate gender – they’re quite sure what a woman actually is. Rules based international order? No thanks. Many of these countries are sitting on valuable resources that could bring growth and prosperity and they aren’t much impressed by morality lectures from jet-setting, over-stuffed westerners warning them to “not live it up like we do – it’s bad for the planet”. Meanwhile, Russia and China are showing up in these countries with muscle and money, doing deals and not worrying about social justice.
I don’t think that asking hard questions about the repeated leadership fails in the West makes one a Putin apologist. As a Canadian I seriously doubt that anyone in our government can remember when they last told the truth about anything. As to Ukraine, that the Russian invasion is indefensible seems to be an easy point but aside from the obvious destruction and human suffering you need a truckload of salt to swallow the news stream we’ve been fed over the last year from either side. We know Russia is still there. Everything else is a guess.
IMO, Wagner Group operations, and by extension increased Sino Russian influence, belong in the same category as Brexit and Trump. They are/were treated as new challenges when they are actually the result of old problems not addressed. 

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Required reading for the remaining Putin apologists. And anyone who thinks that the current Russian regime are on the side of less developed countries.
Please continue with these articles.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

However Wagner & Co did save Mr Assad from those simply appalling Saudis and their cronies.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

And saved the people of Aleppo from their city.
Barrel bombs macht frei !!

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

And saved the people of Aleppo from their city.
Barrel bombs macht frei !!

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Nuance is not your thing right Peter?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

However Wagner & Co did save Mr Assad from those simply appalling Saudis and their cronies.

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Nuance is not your thing right Peter?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Required reading for the remaining Putin apologists. And anyone who thinks that the current Russian regime are on the side of less developed countries.
Please continue with these articles.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Looks like the new face of reality.
And it looks very much like a re-run of the really bad parts of the Renaissance, with mercenary groups pillaging their way through a good part of the developing world.
The New Landsknechts, with a latter-day Wallenstein far worse than the original.
So be careful what you wish for.
When you cry out for “a multipolar world,” one of those poles will undoubtedly involve out-of-control mercenaries like these.
We already saw that in Africa in the 60’s. But this will be far worse.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

No doubt Prigozhin will suffer Wallenstein’s fate, which I seem to recall was rather ‘messy’?

RM Parker
RM Parker
11 months ago

One may only hope. Unfortunately, I suspect that his “liquidator” will probably take up the reins and exceed the excesses of his predecessor.

RM Parker
RP
RM Parker
11 months ago

One may only hope. Unfortunately, I suspect that his “liquidator” will probably take up the reins and exceed the excesses of his predecessor.

B Emery
B Emery
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Looks like the new face of reality.

You are probably right. I didn’t come to apologise for putin. I just want peace. It seems increasingly unlikely that is possible.
I liked the Tottenham article, I just came here by accident, from the bottom, with a Tottenham mentality and mouth.
Nobody was doing the peace argument very well. I probably didn’t either. I’m letting it go.
Much respect, from Tottenham.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  B Emery

Muggers are pacifists as are most criminals; they want you to hand over your valuables without fighting to defend them. The most successful criminals are very good at assessing the risk and avoid being hurt. Criminals are very discerning at choosing victims; those who will hand over valuables with little risk to themselves.
When Churchill created the Commandos , a force to ” Butcher and Bolt ” and the SOE to ” Set Europe ablaze ” he knew exactly what he was doing. Sec LT Robert Shepperd of the SOE said ” We were gangsters with the knowledge of gangsters but the behaviour, if possible of gentlemen”. An SBS sergeant said we knew we were physically and pschologically stronger than the Germans.
If one wants civilisation to thrive then one needs civilised people to be better at fighting than the savages.Attila The Hun, Genghis Khan and Timur The Lame demonstrated when this did not happen.
The West, by by turning wolfhounds into lapdogs has turned them into starters for wolves. There are plenty of regimes who will happily employ The Wagner Group.
The problem for the West is that the ruling class is a mixture of self hatred because it is unheroic, naivety, hubris, a belief in it’s moral and intellectual superiority, gullibility, a desire to protect it’s security and comfort at all costs and weakness. This means it is completely incapable of recognising the danger of The Wagner Group or similar types;understanding it’s appeal to certain regimes and defeating it.

B Emery
B Emery
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

This means it is completely incapable of recognising the danger of The Wagner Group or similar types;understanding it’s appeal to certain regimes and defeating it.

I understand. I think I agree to be honest.
It’s not really my day job this business. In case you couldn’t tell. I think we have been distracted, I feel like we may have massively underestimated the situation I think. I’m not sure. That was my main worry I suppose, it’s hard to do the anti war argument without the let’s play nicely and look at all sides argument. I don’t think I always did that the right way, I don’t personally think we will be negotiating anything now, and perhaps we shouldn’t. I’m out my depth now really, I don’t have the time I had, I’m leaving it with Mr logan. I think he was right, the old world has gone.

I like that Shepperd quote, thanks for the time gentlemen.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  B Emery

Anybody who isn’t for peace, and doesn’t strive to bring it about in the best way they understand, is an idiot.
But we have to try and understand the world with our very limited and very varied faculties.
That includes my own (often very bad) take on things.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Dictatorships can be very peaceful provided one obeys the rules of the dictator. What happens if one wants to be free to think and act without reducing the freedom of others?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Dictatorships can be very peaceful provided one obeys the rules of the dictator. What happens if one wants to be free to think and act without reducing the freedom of others?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  B Emery

Anybody who isn’t for peace, and doesn’t strive to bring it about in the best way they understand, is an idiot.
But we have to try and understand the world with our very limited and very varied faculties.
That includes my own (often very bad) take on things.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“When Churchill created the Commandos , a force to ” Butcher and Bolt ” and the SOE “

That did rather provoke the OKW to issue the infamous Commando Order, and was really worth it?

I wonder how many “Commandos” were thus killed, when they could otherwise have been treated as POW’s?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

The Commando Order was given in 1942. Hitler gave an earlier order to kill all survivors of ships which had been sunk by U Boats; nazis obeyed , officers and gentlemen did not..

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Not many Officers & Gentlemen on H.M.S. Baralong as I recall.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Not many Officers & Gentlemen on H.M.S. Baralong as I recall.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

The Commando Order was given in 1942. Hitler gave an earlier order to kill all survivors of ships which had been sunk by U Boats; nazis obeyed , officers and gentlemen did not..

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

…Orwell said it the best “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”…we would do well to remember that advice…

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

…in other words, it’s overly feminized.

tim richardson
TR
tim richardson
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Wait, so you’re saying Attila The Hun, Genghis Khan and Timur The Lame were uncivilized savages?

B Emery
B Emery
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

This means it is completely incapable of recognising the danger of The Wagner Group or similar types;understanding it’s appeal to certain regimes and defeating it.

I understand. I think I agree to be honest.
It’s not really my day job this business. In case you couldn’t tell. I think we have been distracted, I feel like we may have massively underestimated the situation I think. I’m not sure. That was my main worry I suppose, it’s hard to do the anti war argument without the let’s play nicely and look at all sides argument. I don’t think I always did that the right way, I don’t personally think we will be negotiating anything now, and perhaps we shouldn’t. I’m out my depth now really, I don’t have the time I had, I’m leaving it with Mr logan. I think he was right, the old world has gone.

I like that Shepperd quote, thanks for the time gentlemen.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“When Churchill created the Commandos , a force to ” Butcher and Bolt ” and the SOE “

That did rather provoke the OKW to issue the infamous Commando Order, and was really worth it?

I wonder how many “Commandos” were thus killed, when they could otherwise have been treated as POW’s?

R S Foster
R S Foster
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

…Orwell said it the best “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”…we would do well to remember that advice…

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

…in other words, it’s overly feminized.

tim richardson
tim richardson
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Wait, so you’re saying Attila The Hun, Genghis Khan and Timur The Lame were uncivilized savages?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  B Emery

Muggers are pacifists as are most criminals; they want you to hand over your valuables without fighting to defend them. The most successful criminals are very good at assessing the risk and avoid being hurt. Criminals are very discerning at choosing victims; those who will hand over valuables with little risk to themselves.
When Churchill created the Commandos , a force to ” Butcher and Bolt ” and the SOE to ” Set Europe ablaze ” he knew exactly what he was doing. Sec LT Robert Shepperd of the SOE said ” We were gangsters with the knowledge of gangsters but the behaviour, if possible of gentlemen”. An SBS sergeant said we knew we were physically and pschologically stronger than the Germans.
If one wants civilisation to thrive then one needs civilised people to be better at fighting than the savages.Attila The Hun, Genghis Khan and Timur The Lame demonstrated when this did not happen.
The West, by by turning wolfhounds into lapdogs has turned them into starters for wolves. There are plenty of regimes who will happily employ The Wagner Group.
The problem for the West is that the ruling class is a mixture of self hatred because it is unheroic, naivety, hubris, a belief in it’s moral and intellectual superiority, gullibility, a desire to protect it’s security and comfort at all costs and weakness. This means it is completely incapable of recognising the danger of The Wagner Group or similar types;understanding it’s appeal to certain regimes and defeating it.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

No doubt Prigozhin will suffer Wallenstein’s fate, which I seem to recall was rather ‘messy’?

B Emery
B Emery
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Looks like the new face of reality.

You are probably right. I didn’t come to apologise for putin. I just want peace. It seems increasingly unlikely that is possible.
I liked the Tottenham article, I just came here by accident, from the bottom, with a Tottenham mentality and mouth.
Nobody was doing the peace argument very well. I probably didn’t either. I’m letting it go.
Much respect, from Tottenham.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

Looks like the new face of reality.
And it looks very much like a re-run of the really bad parts of the Renaissance, with mercenary groups pillaging their way through a good part of the developing world.
The New Landsknechts, with a latter-day Wallenstein far worse than the original.
So be careful what you wish for.
When you cry out for “a multipolar world,” one of those poles will undoubtedly involve out-of-control mercenaries like these.
We already saw that in Africa in the 60’s. But this will be far worse.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

How does a law firm in Britain sue a Russian mercenary group? In what court would such a suit be heard? And if whoever sits in judgement rules in favor of the plaintiffs, how is the penalty enforced? Seems a futile exercise, rather like when my former New Hampshire town issued a proclamation claiming George W. Bush to be a war criminal. Whether he was or wasn’t isn’t for me to say but it was utterly toothless and, as we can see, has had zero impact on the former president.

Patrick Heren
Patrick Heren
11 months ago

You’ll get nowhere asking straight sensible questions like that.

Patrick Heren
Patrick Heren
11 months ago

You’ll get nowhere asking straight sensible questions like that.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

How does a law firm in Britain sue a Russian mercenary group? In what court would such a suit be heard? And if whoever sits in judgement rules in favor of the plaintiffs, how is the penalty enforced? Seems a futile exercise, rather like when my former New Hampshire town issued a proclamation claiming George W. Bush to be a war criminal. Whether he was or wasn’t isn’t for me to say but it was utterly toothless and, as we can see, has had zero impact on the former president.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago

Didn’t the US and Blackrock produce the blueprint?

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago

Didn’t the US and Blackrock produce the blueprint?

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
11 months ago

For people involved in anything in many parts of Africa the activities of the Wagner group have been known for years. I am not going to name any names but there are some highly respected and publicly quoted companies as well as private ones who use their services to protect their interests in Africa. Their methods have always been barbaric but until now, when they are on the doorstep of Europe in Ukraine, the powers that be have chosen to turn a blind eye. It is interesting to note, on that subject, that Macron pulled the French Army out of Mali when the government entered into a contract with the Wagner group. It is also interesting to note that the Wagner Group have been far more effective against civilians and ill-trained armies than it has been against the well-trained, armed and motivated Ukrainian army.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
11 months ago

For people involved in anything in many parts of Africa the activities of the Wagner group have been known for years. I am not going to name any names but there are some highly respected and publicly quoted companies as well as private ones who use their services to protect their interests in Africa. Their methods have always been barbaric but until now, when they are on the doorstep of Europe in Ukraine, the powers that be have chosen to turn a blind eye. It is interesting to note, on that subject, that Macron pulled the French Army out of Mali when the government entered into a contract with the Wagner group. It is also interesting to note that the Wagner Group have been far more effective against civilians and ill-trained armies than it has been against the well-trained, armed and motivated Ukrainian army.

Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago

You could also give some balance to your repeated analysis embedded in the Deep State of the West by commenting on the CIA’s ops. ” Agreed about Wagner but what about the CIA? And the machinations of the Vicki Nuland set of the State Department?
Conversations with the Crow” by Gregory Douglas is a good start. Of course that may mean biting a hand that feeds …

Last edited 11 months ago by Sayantani Gupta Jafa
J Guy
J Guy
11 months ago

#whataboutism

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  J Guy

Dismissing S. Gupta Jafa’s comment with a hashtag is pretty lazy. Whataboutism is just another way to denigrate comparisons, which are perfectly legitimate, rational ways to ask questions and draw conclusions.
The CIA is a dangerous organization run by a notoriously corrupt State Department. What about that?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago
Reply to  J Guy

Dismissing S. Gupta Jafa’s comment with a hashtag is pretty lazy. Whataboutism is just another way to denigrate comparisons, which are perfectly legitimate, rational ways to ask questions and draw conclusions.
The CIA is a dangerous organization run by a notoriously corrupt State Department. What about that?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Gasp!
What a scoop!
Viktoria Nuland–the leader of an international terrorist/mercenary group!?!?
Who could have suspected what lay behind those cookies?

Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Vicki Nuland is a extremist as far as most of the non West is concerned. Not however for Langley Park poodles who abound here!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I see her name crops up in connection with the current troubles in Sudan

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

Hilarious that Putin was dumb enough to think that Victoria–or even the whole CIA–could manufacture Maidan.
But Putin really does think that only spies and soldiers have agency in the world. Hence his confidence that his spies and soldiers could take Ukraine in three days.
There’s dumb.
But when you think like Putin & Co…
Dumbest.

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

There you go again Oswald Mosley in Adolf jackboots

Sayantani Gupta Jafa
SG
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

There you go again Oswald Mosley in Adolf jackboots

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I see her name crops up in connection with the current troubles in Sudan

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Hilarious that Putin was dumb enough to think that Victoria–or even the whole CIA–could manufacture Maidan.
But Putin really does think that only spies and soldiers have agency in the world. Hence his confidence that his spies and soldiers could take Ukraine in three days.
There’s dumb.
But when you think like Putin & Co…
Dumbest.

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Vicki Nuland is a extremist as far as most of the non West is concerned. Not however for Langley Park poodles who abound here!

J Guy
TG
J Guy
11 months ago

#whataboutism

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Gasp!
What a scoop!
Viktoria Nuland–the leader of an international terrorist/mercenary group!?!?
Who could have suspected what lay behind those cookies?

Sayantani Gupta Jafa
Sayantani Gupta Jafa
11 months ago

You could also give some balance to your repeated analysis embedded in the Deep State of the West by commenting on the CIA’s ops. ” Agreed about Wagner but what about the CIA? And the machinations of the Vicki Nuland set of the State Department?
Conversations with the Crow” by Gregory Douglas is a good start. Of course that may mean biting a hand that feeds …

Last edited 11 months ago by Sayantani Gupta Jafa
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

The real danger for Russians is that many other Russian businesses are recruiting their own PMCs.
They may say they are going to send them to fight in Donbas. But when Putin goes, the oligarchs may well turn on one another, and be at every other throat.
Once the normal, legal norms go in any society, bad actors appear almost as if by magic.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you mean Lucifer.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

…no no no, that’s Al Gore.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
11 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

…no no no, that’s Al Gore.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you mean Lucifer.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

The real danger for Russians is that many other Russian businesses are recruiting their own PMCs.
They may say they are going to send them to fight in Donbas. But when Putin goes, the oligarchs may well turn on one another, and be at every other throat.
Once the normal, legal norms go in any society, bad actors appear almost as if by magic.

R S Foster
R S Foster
11 months ago

…so far as I recall, in the early years of the Czarist Empire the Hetman of various Cossack communities gave direct personal loyalty to the Czar not the state (to the extent that the two were distinguishable)…and on that basis defended and extended the “All the Russias” abroad and crushed rebellion at home…so this seems to reflect Putin’s enthusiasm for history.

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
11 months ago

…so far as I recall, in the early years of the Czarist Empire the Hetman of various Cossack communities gave direct personal loyalty to the Czar not the state (to the extent that the two were distinguishable)…and on that basis defended and extended the “All the Russias” abroad and crushed rebellion at home…so this seems to reflect Putin’s enthusiasm for history.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.” His family was even more screwed up than Joe Biden’s with suicides, murders and alcoholism claiming victims. Putin is cut from the same cloth, and it will be up to history to tell the story–if there is anyone left to tell it.

Jerry Carroll
JC
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.” His family was even more screwed up than Joe Biden’s with suicides, murders and alcoholism claiming victims. Putin is cut from the same cloth, and it will be up to history to tell the story–if there is anyone left to tell it.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

The most worrying part about all this is that giant Russian companies like Gazprom are also creating their own merc companies.
If you thought the 90s were bac, with assassinations of individual oligarchs/mafiosi, after Putin goes, you may well see whole regiments of mercenaries start warring against one another.
Russia has been headed down a very dark path since 2014, and it soon may reap the whirlwind.

Stevie K
Stevie K
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I am sad to say, but I think we are going to be entering a period of widespread warlordism in many less stable parts of the world

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Stevie K

That is a very percetive comment and also very worrying.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Stevie K

That is a very percetive comment and also very worrying.

Stevie K
Stevie K
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I am sad to say, but I think we are going to be entering a period of widespread warlordism in many less stable parts of the world

martin logan
ML
martin logan
11 months ago

The most worrying part about all this is that giant Russian companies like Gazprom are also creating their own merc companies.
If you thought the 90s were bac, with assassinations of individual oligarchs/mafiosi, after Putin goes, you may well see whole regiments of mercenaries start warring against one another.
Russia has been headed down a very dark path since 2014, and it soon may reap the whirlwind.

Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
11 months ago

The Americans need to take him off the board.

Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
11 months ago

The Americans need to take him off the board.