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“You'll be a rifleman if you have no experience, earning $3,500 a month.” How Wagner PMC recruited The Insider's correspondent

Wagner PMC does not only recruit penal colony inmates – its recruitment ads are also posted at bus stops and security companies' information boards. Journalists from The Insider called the number indicated in one of these ads. It turned out that the company was willing to hire almost anyone, and criminal record or alcohol addiction played no role. The Insider presents the dialogue with the “employer” in its entirety:

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- Hello, this is private military company Wagner.
- I was just wondering if it's really you. My friends sent me an ad, and I just wanted to get involved. This is Wagner, right?
- Yeah, that's right. What is your name?
- My name is Sergei.
- Were you in the army?
- No, I wasn't in the army, but I know that you have can hire a person with a prison sentence. I had a juvenile record.
- You have an unexpunged criminal record?
- No, it's expunged, for petty theft and hooliganism.
- What charges?
- Disorderly conduct and theft.
- Well, that's not serious. Anything else?
- There's nothing else.
- All expunged and no probation?
- Yeah.
- That's great. Look, you'll need your passport. If you have a military ID, take it, if not, don't. Passport, health insurance and a certificate from the narcologist and psychiatrist, that you are not registered with them. Next, you'll need to delete all social media accounts and messengers to avoid information leaks.
- Do I have to delete them now or when?
- Before you get here.
- Where's that?
- Krasnodar region, village of Molkino. You must come with a button phone only. On arrival you will be given all the necessary gear, and an employment contract for 6 months. You'll be earning 240,000 rubles ($3,500) a month plus bonuses. Two or three weeks of training.
- What kind of training?
- Since you have no experience, you haven't served in the army or taken part in any special operations...
- I only go shooting with my father from time to time.
- You'll probably be in the assault squad as a rifleman since you have no experience, but if you say you have experience with a hunting rifle, there might be an opportunity for you to serve as a sniper. There's usually two weeks of training there, paid for separately, and you'll get the money with your first paycheck.
- Where will they send me after training?
- After training, you will be dispatched. You will be told before signing the contract - where and how you will be dispatched.
- My mother wouldn't let me go like that. If I die, will my funeral costs be covered?
- They will, but I can't tell you the exact amount now.
- All right. I also saw that the guys who had served in Wagner were decorated with medals. Or maybe there is an award from the president?
- We have our own awards, but we don't count on ones from the ministry, because we are not part of the Defense Ministry.
- What about the strange poster my friends sent me, the one with the questions on it, do I need to answer them?
The poster in question.
The poster in question.
- What questions?
- The kind of questions they usually ask in prison, “Would you rather get stabbed in the eye by a fork or f*cked in the butt?” and “Would you rather get butt-f*cked or sell your mother?”, and the one about soap.
- This is some kind of nonsense. There is no such thing.
- I was just scared I would end up among prison thugs.
- You won't meet any prisoners here. Maybe you'll see them, but you'll be serving in a different units and won't cross paths with them.
- What if I bring in some other guys from our village?
- Make sure they haven't been sentenced for such crimes as terrorism, extremism, kidnapping and rape.
- It's something minor. If guys get off on alcohol a little, it's no big deal, isn't it?
- Sometimes they come in with a certificate from the narcologist, that they are registered alcoholics. Such things are forgiven, but guys like that need pass lie detector. There is a strict ban on alcohol, and no violations will be tolerated.
- They'll handle it. May I call them?
- Yes, of course.

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, it was reported that the owner of the Wagner PMC Evgeny Prigozhin personally recruited prisoners in Russian penal colonies, offering release in six months for participation in hostilities in Ukraine. News of the first “pardons” have appeared recently. In particular, one of the prisoners who was promised freedom by Prigozhin was Dmitry Karyagin, who had killed his own grandmother, a World War II veteran, in 2014.

PMC members killed in action are waiting for an “honorary” funeral. On January 12, 46-year-old Sergei Molodtsov was buried with honors in Serov (a city in the Sverdlovsk region). According to media reports, Sergei was recruited from a penal colony, where he was serving a sentence for the murder of his own mother.

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