Wed. May 29th, 2024

Wagner Group leader and ex-convict Prigozhin has lost the respect of Russian prisoners who now think he’s a ‘traitor,’ activist says<!-- wp:html --><p>Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin.</p> <p class="copyright">REUTERS/Yulia Morozova/File Photo</p> <p>Russian prisoners have now turned on the Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, an activist said.<br /> Prigozhin, an ex-convict, was once popular among prisoners and recruited thousands to fight in Ukraine.<br /> SOme prisoners rioted in support of his short-lived mutiny and were disappointed he called it off.</p> <p>Russian prisoners, many of whom rioted in support of the short-lived Wagner Group mutiny, have now turned on the group's leader, an activist said.</p> <p>Olga Romanova, the head of the Russia Behind Bars prisoners' rights group, <a href="https://t.me/mozhemobyasnit/15646" target="_blank" rel="noopener">said</a> that prisoners feel "depressed" and "apathetic" and view Yevgeny Prigozhin as a traitor.</p> <p>Prigozhin launched a short-lived rebellion against Russian leadership last month but called off his men as they were marching to Moscow and agreed to go into exile in neighboring Belarus.</p> <p>Romanova noted that the prisoners don't like losers and that the word "wool" is being used in reference to him, which is slang for "traitors" who collaborate with the authorities.</p> <p>Prigozhin, who is an ex-convict himself, was once extremely popular among Russia's prison population, Romanova noted.</p> <p>The Wagner Group recruited thousands of prisoners to fight in Ukraine in exchange for freedom after completing their service. A video even showed Prigozhin <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-video-wagner-recruiting-mercenaries-russian-prison-2022-9">personally visiting prisons</a> to appeal to the convicts. </p> <p>Although Wagner never confirmed the number of prisoners they had recruited, the US intelligence community believed the group had deployed 40,000 convict fighters in Ukraine, per <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russias-wagner-mercenaries-halt-prisoner-recruitment-campaign-founder-prigozhin-2023-02-09/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reuters</a>.</p> <p>Following the failed rebellion, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/wagner-mutineers-included-russian-convicts-freed-fight-ukraine-2023-06-28/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reuters</a> found that among the mutinying Wagner mercenaries were at least three convicted criminals freed to fight in Ukraine.</p> <p>Wagner's recruitment drive was stopped by the Russian Ministry of Defense earlier this year amid Prigozhin's escalating public feud with government and military leadership.</p> <p>Instead, the Ministry of Defense began recruiting convicts for its "Storm Z" stormtrooper battalions. But several of these soldiers appear to have quickly become disillusioned, with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwV98ilu1Y0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">videos</a> <a href="https://t.me/nexta_live/55522" target="_blank" rel="noopener">circulating</a> showing them refusing to return to the frontlines due to poor conditions.</p> <p>Prisoners in Moscow and Rostov prisons had rioted in support of the mutiny, but prison authorities supported these. Many of these prisoners were angry after Prigozhin halted the rebellion and made videos criticizing him, per Romanova.</p> <p>Prigozhin criminal career began when he was 18, was caught stealing, and was given six months in prison.</p> <p>After being freed, he joined a gang in 1980. He participated in a robbery spree around Leningrad before being caught choking a woman on the street while his accomplices stole the woman's jewelry. He was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in a high-security penal colony and served 10 years.</p> <div class="read-original">Read the original article on <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/russian-prisoners-loss-respect-for-wagner-boss-ex-convict-prigozhin-2023-7">Business Insider</a></div><!-- /wp:html -->
Russian prisoners have now turned on the Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, an activist said. Prigozhin, an ex-convict, was once popular among prisoners and recruited thousands to fight in Ukraine. SOme prisoners rioted in support of his short-lived mutiny and were disappointed he called it off. Get the inside scoop on today’s biggest stories in business, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley — delivered daily. Advertisement Russian prisoners, many of whom rioted in support of the short-lived Wagner Group mutiny, have now turned on the group’s leader, an activist said. Olga Romanova, the head of the Russia Behind Bars prisoner-rights group, said that prisoners feel “depressed” and “apathetic” and view Yevgeny Prigozhin as a traitor. Prigozhin launched a short-lived rebellion against Russian leadership last month but called off his men as they were marching to Moscow and agreed to go into exile in neighboring Belarus. Romanova said that the prisoners don’t like losers and that the word “wool” is being used in reference to him, which is slang for “traitors” who collaborate with the authorities. Advertisement Prigozhin, who was himself formerly incarcerated, was once extremely popular among Russia’s prison population, Romanova said. The Wagner Group recruited thousands of prisoners to fight in Ukraine, saying they’d gain their freedom after completing their service. A video shows Prigozhin personally visiting prisons to appeal to the prisoners. Though Wagner never confirmed the number of prisoners they had recruited, the US intelligence community said it believed the group had deployed 40,000 convict fighters in Ukraine, Reuters reported. Following the failed rebellion, Reuters found that there were at least three convicted criminals freed to fight in Ukraine among the mutinying Wagner mercenaries. Advertisement The Russian Ministry of Defense stopped Wagner’s recruitment drive earlier this year amid Prigozhin’s escalating public feud with government and military leadership. Instead, the Ministry of Defense began recruiting prisoners for its “Storm Z” battalions. But several of these soldiers seem to have quickly become disillusioned, with videos circulating showing them refusing to return to the front lines due to poor conditions. Prisoners in Moscow and Rostov prisons had rioted in support of the mutiny, and prison authorities supported these. Many of these prisoners were angry after Prigozhin halted the rebellion and made videos criticizing him, Romanova said. Prigozhin’s criminal career began when he was 18 — he was caught stealing and received a six-month prison sentence. Advertisement After getting out of prison, he joined a gang in 1980. He participated in a robbery spree around Leningrad before authorities caught him choking a woman on the street while his accomplices stole her jewelry. He was sentenced to twelve years in a high-security penal colony and served 10 years of the sentence.

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