Russian pro-war Telegram channels and so-called war correspondents released a video statement by Tatiana Azarevich, who calls herself the wife of Igor ‘Bereg’ Mangushev and asserts that her husband was attacked and almost killed outside combat. Azarevich also insists that Mangushev is a Russian army captain, serving in the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Army of the Russian Armed Forces. According to earlier reports, Mangushev was fighting in Ukraine as a mercenary.
“On the night of February 4, 2023, my husband was wounded in the head under unknown circumstances, in the rear, in the town of Stakhanov in the Luhansk People's Republic. According to the doctors, he sustained a penetrating gunshot wound, with the bullet stuck in his brain. Presumably, it is a 9-mm pistol bullet. To my knowledge, although more than 24 hours have elapsed since he was found wounded and was hospitalized, no steps have been taken to investigate the incident. There is still no criminal case, despite the nature of his wound suggesting an attempt on his life. Or even an execution. The doctors believe that the shot was fired at close range, at a 45-degree angle downwards to the back of the head. Moreover, my husband is yet to be transferred to an adequate medical institution, though the doctors believe he is stable enough to be transported. The hospital he is in refuses to operate on him, citing the lack of technical capabilities and necessary equipment.
I, Tatiana Azarevich, appeal to the command of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Military Prosecutor General's Office, the Investigative Committee, the FSB, and any relevant authority with a request to find out why there is no investigation and why my husband is not getting proper medical assistance. I request that you do everything in your power to ensure due investigation, bring the perpetrators to justice, and establish the circumstances of the incident. I also ask for the necessary medical assistance to be provided to my husband.”
The first reports of neo-Nazi commander Mangushev wounded emerged on February 4, when “war correspondents” and pro-war channels wrote he’d been admitted to the neural surgery ward in Stakhanov, “LPR”, with a penetrating gunshot wound to the head. It was reported that the shot was fired «from a short-barreled weapon, presumably with a 9 mm bullet, at close range, from behind to the occipitotemporal area of the head, with the wound channel slanted downwards at 45 degrees.»
Mangushev is known as the former leader of the Yenot (“Raccoon”) PMC, which emerged from the nationalist movement Svetlaya Rus and the Rezerv Association of Military Patriotic Clubs. The “raccoons” took part in military campaigns in Eastern Ukraine and Syria and helped with the annexation of Crimea. He also openly admitted his affiliation with Evgeny Prigozhin’s “troll factory”. At Prigozhin’s behest, he put together a paid provocation against opposition politician Lyubov Sobol during the Moscow City Duma election, inventing a hoax about an underground “factory” faking signatures to support her candidature. According to Novaya Gazeta, “Operation Lyubov” earned him around $4,200.
In August 2022, Mangushev did a stand-up session with a human skull in his hands. On stage, he claimed he was holding the skull of a Ukrainian soldier killed at Azovstal and said that all Ukrainians must be exterminated. “Our was is a war against an idea. The idea of Ukraine as an anti-Russian state. Why can there be no reconciliation? Ukraine must be de-Ukrainized. The Russian lands of ‘Little Russia’ must be retrieved,” argued Mangushev. “Everyone who considers themselves to be Ukrainian will be eliminated,” said he.