Wagner Group’s New Class of Recruits: Convicted Criminals

“If you desert, we will kill you.” Head of Neo-Nazi group seen recruiting at Russian Prison
Wagner Group Leader offered Russian inmates freedom to invade Ukraine

In a new widely circulated video, neo-nazi Russian mercenaries, The Wagner Group, were seen recruiting at a Russian prison. What looks to be Putin-linked businessman and Wagner affiliate Yegeny Prigozhin addresses a crowd in a prison yard. He offers the prisoners freedom if they join the Wagner group and kill Ukrainians. He then announces, “Those who arrive and on the first day say, “I must’ve come to the wrong place,” are marked as “deserters,” and that’s followed by a firing squad.”

The Wagner Group are infamous for their gruesome mercenary tactics, most recently they are allegedly behind the bombing of a Ukrainan POW camp at Olenvika, thought to be carried out to hide evidence that Russian forces were torturing and executing Ukrainian POWs, a Geneva-recognized war crime. 

Aside from their mercenary work, several leaders of the group are overt neo-nazis. Below, another Wagner Group leader, Dmitry Utkin, shows off his “SS” nazi tattoos.

Dmitry Utkin, a familiar face to SARFAN followers.

Taking dangerous criminals, arming them, and sicking them on Ukrainians only to be released back onto the streets after murder and war crimes shows how ruthless Putin’s regime is in their invasion. It also shows desperation: in an already unpopular war, radical groups recruiting inmates to fight is a new low.


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