What happens to Wagner’s mercenaries? Against all expectations, since August, some of them have been called to serve in the national guard, a real internal army, directly attached to Vladimir Putin. According to the Russian investigation site Important Storiesthe “Rosgvardia” brings into its ranks former mercenaries from the Wagner military company, currently being dismembered since the death of its founder Yevgeny Prigojine.
The profiles of these mercenaries are surprising for future officers supposed to be guarantors of national order. For the most part, they are former prisoners, pardoned then recruited by Prigozhin for the Ukrainian front in 2022. From now on, the latter can be hired despite their criminal record, because access to the military route was granted to them recently. Since the beginning of September, a decree now authorizes the registration of prisoners. After signing a contract, the former mercenaries are authorized to leave for the Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia in order to “monitor strategic installations”, explains Important Stories.
The national guard appears to be a good compromise for these former officers, who obeyed the orders of Prigozhin or his neo-Nazi co-founder Dimitri Outkin, both fiercely opposed to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu until their death in the Russian sky, August 23. But even today, this rivalry remains perceptible. Wagner executives thus called on the mercenaries to look for work “elsewhere [qu’au sein de l’armée russe]” due to competition with the Russian Defense Ministry.
In Africa and the Middle East, Wagner’s structures are already being taken over on behalf of Russian foreign intelligence, the GRU. The integration of former mercenaries for “Rosgvardia” is part of the Kremlin’s strategy to preserve “Wagner know-how”, while keeping under control potential “rebels” who, despite the death of their mentor Prigozhin, never renounced their “march on Moscow”.