Not only rapists and murderers, but also a cannibalistic maniac went to war in Ukraine from a Russian penal colony, human rights activist Olga Romanova, head of the Russia Behind Bars foundation, told the YouTube channel “Popular Politics.” According to her, co-owner of the Wagner PMC Yevgeny Prigozhin has already recruited up to 10,000 prison inmates.
“All kinds of criminals are accepted, but preference is given to murderers, robbers and looters, as Prigozhin himself said. Those who went to prison for causing grievous bodily harm are also welcomed. And now they've started recruiting people who were convicted of rape, but they're to serve in a separate unit. We know two stories from the Saratov colonies, absolutely horrid places, there is a very special one among them. They recruited a maniac from there who had, so to speak, cannibalism in his portfolio. He also went to war”.
Romanova says the number of recruits is at least 7,000, but more likely it’s close to 10,000.
According to her, the Wagner PMC has already completed two or three rounds of visits looking for “cannon fodder”. It made its fourth visit to the Yablonevka colony in the Leningrad region. However, so far, the recruitment geography has been limited to the regions of Central Russia. “The northernmost part is Komi, Syktyvkar, the southernmost is Adygea, the easternmost is Tatarstan, the westernmost is the Pskov and Smolensk regions. For some reason, they do not go eastward beyond Tatarstan,” the human rights activist says.
Earlier, a video showing “Putin's chef” Prigozhin recruiting prisoners for the war in Ukraine at the correctional facility No. 6 in Yoshkar-Ola surfaced on social media. In it, he mentions the Wagner PMC several times, talks about the conditions of service, and also says that desertion from battlefield entails death by firing squad:
“I only want storm troopers. <...> Those who move forward, those who are the most vigorous, they survive better. Those who back up, those who don't understand what they're doing, get screwed.”
Romanova notes that prisoners sign up for the war willingly and not even for the money. “It's the relatives who want the money, and the prisoners want to get out of the matrix, to become free, to go wherever they’re sent, because any place on earth is better than a Russian prison.”