Media: “Putinʼs chef” Evgeniy Prigozhin probably personally recruits prisoners in the Russian Federation for the war with Ukraine

Anna Kholodnova

A person who speaks on behalf of Wagnerʼs Private Military Company and calls himself Yevgeniy Prigozhin recruits prisoners in Russian colonies to participate in the war with Ukraine.

This is reported by the Russian publication Mediazona.

Prisoners from the Yaroslavl and Tula oblasts of Russia spoke with journalists. They said that their colonies were visited by a short, bald man who called himself Eugeniy Prigozhin. This person offered freedom and money in exchange for participation in the war against Ukraine.

A prisoner from a correctional colony in the Russian city of Rybinsk said that all prisoners "who can walk" were gathered at the square. It was explained to them that "the Third World War is going on" and that it is possible to take part in it on the side of Russia.

For those who agree to fight, the recruiter promised 100,000 rubles a month "plus a bonus of about the same amount", and in case of death 5 million rubles will be paid to the family.

"Everything will be formalized, documents will be kept in the appropriate structures. He said that we are not cannon fodder, no. He estimated the chance of death at 15%, and the chance of injury at 25%. For desertion, he says, shooting, the same for looting and drug usage," the source of the journalists quoted the recruiter as saying.

He added that the recruiter was primarily interested in murderers and robbers, drug addicts were met with caution, as well as rapists. According to the prisoner, after that, at least 200 people from his colony went to sign up for the war in Ukraine.

Another person, who is serving a sentence in the Russian city of Plavsk, also said that the recruiter said there was a 15% mortality rate.

According to this prisoner, the man, who called himself Yevgeniy Prigozhyn, repeated: "I have special powers from the president, I donʼt care about everyone, I need to win this damn war at any cost." In Tula oblast, as well as in Yaroslavl oblast, the recruiter admitted that he himself "served a sentence in the north".

For participation in the war, he promised not only money, but also pardons, removal of criminal records, and passports for those who do not have Russian citizenship.

According to the journalists, after the arrival of the representatives of Wagner to the colonies, the prisoners were deprived of legal contact with their will. The administration set a condition: the phones will not work until the colony has the necessary number of volunteers for the war with Ukraine.