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“They offer contracts to everyone”: How Wagner PMС is recruiting mercs among incarcerated Russian soldiers who refuse to go to war

Russian servicemen who are incarcerated in Luhansk Region for refusal to return to the combat zone are being recruited to Wagner PMC, the notorious Russian private military company. The Insider learned it from a soldier who had managed to get out of the “special camp” in Krasnyi Luch.

“Everyone was offered to sign a contract with Wagner. They said: ‘If you agree, you get five days of leave – ten if you need – to take care of things. Then you get two weeks of boot camp, and off you go. In two days, your contract with the [Russian] Armed Forces will be terminated, and you’ll join the PMC. They’ve got all the equipment, everything,’” the serviceman said.

He claims to have received the offer straight from Col. Oleg Nechiporenko, the executive officer of the 51st Air Defense Division (Military Unit 42352) for military policy education. As an alternative to the PMC, Nechiporenko offered him to join the 57th Bikin Brigade (located in the town of Bikin, Khabarovsk Territory).

The interviewee quotes their conversation as follows:

“Come over to Wagner PMC! We need guys like you.”

“Look at me! I’m not Wagner material.”

“Join the paratroopers then.”

“I’d make an even worse paratrooper.”

The serviceman also recalls meeting a Wagner PMC representative with an alias Advokat, who announced that the PMC was expanding and hiring. “From what I understood, they weren't expanding but rather making up for the losses. He said: ‘Come on, man, take the offer. You're an okay kid, I can see that from the get-go. What are you doing fussing and wasting your time?’ He started advertising the PMC. I understood that what he was saying was too good to be true,” The Insider's interviewee said.

According to him, the “special camp” where the “balkers” are kept has military psychologists who are trying to intimidate the soldiers or get them to accept “particular offers”. “Some of the younger guys have shared that the psychologists are trying to convince them. They present the information very negatively, going for intimidation, so to say. To get the guys to reconsider and go back,” he says.

As we learned from him, the camp also has officers of the Eastern Military District, “a commission on political education”, who are also working to convert the “balkers”.

You can listen to the complete interview with the serviceman and learn more details in The Insider's news stream (in Russian).

The Insider has already written about Russian soldiers who refused to wage war in Ukraine and are being kept in custody in Brianka, Luhansk Region. They are being beaten and pressured to return to the front line by Wagner PMC fighters and Ministry of Defense officers: Col. Nechiporenko and Lt. Col. Tumanov. Russian military commanders are denying their involvement with the facility, claiming that the contract soldiers have been detained by the Luhansk military.

According to eyewitnesses, the “special center” in Brianka is holding at least 130 prisoners on a permanent basis. When some are taken to the front line, news ones are brought in. The Insider has released information on 17 of the prisoners.

First, the “balkers” were transferred to Brianka, where they spent about a week, then to Krasnyi Luch, another community in the Luhansk Region controlled by the so-called LPR.

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