In the aggressor state, they have started recruiting former Wagner mercenaries who were recruited in prisons into the Russian National Guard. This is the subject of a journalistic investigation by the Russian ‘Important Stories’.
Journalists claim that since August 2023, former prisoners who participated in the war against Ukraine as part of the Wagner terrorist group have been recruited into the Russian National Guard, also known as Rosgvardia.
Relatives of former inmates told journalists that mercenaries who were recruited into the Wagner group while serving their sentences were ‘invited to serve in Rosgvardia.’ Invitations were extended to those who had been convicted of medium or low severity crimes.
The publication managed to obtain confirmation of this directly from the Russian National Guard – in one of the Moscow units, a journalist who claimed to be a former Wagner mercenary was informed that former prisoners have the opportunity to enlist in the service, depending on the nature of the crime for which they were convicted. In Rostov-on-Don, a ‘candidate’ was offered a contract by an employee of the Rosgvardia personnel department to go and guard strategic facilities in the temporarily occupied part of Donetsk region, which is controlled by Russia.
BACKGROUND: The Russian National Guard, or Rosgvardia, is a military branch of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) formed from internal troops. Initially, Rosgvardia was created to prevent domestic unrest, but later it gained the ‘right’ to conduct military operations abroad. Its personnel have been involved in Russia’s war against Ukraine since 2014.