Private military companies in Russia: status, participation in armed conflicts, the law of PMCs. Wagner Group
In our wonderful post-perestroika age, entrepreneurship not only develops at a gigantic pace, it dominates all new spheres of influence. As soon as we got used to private medical clinics, there were so-called LLCs that develop drugs and medical equipment, followed by LLC for Security and Detection. Now private military companies in Russia are trying to get legal status. Legally they do not exist, but there are few people who do not know about their existence. Despite the fact that only for “just service” in PMCs, you can earn 7 years in prison instead of a heap of money, and for campaigning you can join any of these companies or get military skills for recruits to get 15 years to get there, how to get to the PMC.Why such a gap in the views of the government and the people? What illegal actions dangerous to society are committed by PMC members? What are these companies so attractive for young guys that they are willing to risk freedom and even life, just to get there? Let's try to figure it out.
How did the PMC
It must be said that private military companies in Russia are far from know-how. Back in 1967, in the conservative and respectable England, David Sterling, a colonel in the British army, formed the first division of mercenaries who served (or worked as you like) in a private firm that did not grow flowers. Prior to this, David Sterling had created the best SAS special unit in the world, which was mainly engaged in reconnaissance and the release of hostages, and also actively involved in armed conflicts. The real colonel called his new creation Watchguard International. Its members were engaged in the Middle East and Africa for diversified military purposes.
Further, PMCs began to appear in America, France, Israel, in all countries where it was regarded as the norm. In the USA, for example, in three years, the number of volunteer mercenaries has tripled.The members of the PMCs took on any work that was difficult and risky for life, participated in military actions, for example, in Angola. Even the UN used their services.
In 2008, seventeen countries signed the Montreux document, which stipulated the duties and rights of members of PMCs, plus their practice in military operations was regulated. That is, private military companies abroad have long been legalized. Their existence is recognized as useful to society, as PMCs are able to perform the most extraordinary tasks, and in addition, they reduce the death of recruiting soldiers in the regular army.
Status of PMCs in Russia
Private military companies in Russia, or rather their types, began to appear during the period of perestroika — glorious times of permissiveness and impunity. True, at that time these spontaneous groups reminded the current PMCs only because they included strong healthy men who did not shun any “truly male” work and were paid for it.
But little by little the situation in the country was being put in order, which also affected the military groups. Now this is already a well-coordinated team, whose leadership seeks not to violate the basic principles of legislation.Yes, and they take there no longer anyone, if only the strength in their hands was, and men with an adequate psyche, who had no criminal record and were not registered anywhere.
In the government, time after time, attempts are being made to finally adopt the law on PMCs, that is, to legalize what is already obvious. The last such attempt took place in the spring of 2016, when Oleg Mikheyev and Gennady Nosovko (both are members of the “Fair Russia” and are not in the private security committees), a draft of the ChVOO (a private military security organization) was submitted to the Duma court, but the Duma decided to postpone the issue until better times, and Nosovko withdrew his project for revision. The main argument of the government’s refusal is the contradiction of the PMC law, Article 13 (Part 5) of the Constitution, although the draft included a clause prohibiting PMCs from participating in armed conflicts.
Finally, in December 2016, the government took Solomon’s decision to legitimize the activities of employees in PMCs, but the private military companies themselves would still be left to bird rights. This half-legalization looks like an amendment to the law on conscription. As soon as they are signed by the president, it will be possible to conclude short (for a month) or long (for a year) contracts to participate in the fight against international terrorism and to establish peace and security in any country where it is needed.
The scope of the Russian PMCs
Private military companies in Russia, according to knowledgeable people, are engaged in very useful activities:
- protect individuals;
- escorted convoy with valuable goods;
- ensure the safety of people working in places where the political situation is unstable;
- help eliminate panic and restore order in emergency situations (for example, terrorist attacks);
- protect important objects of any orientation (oil rigs, platforms, gas pipelines, oil refineries, civil airports and seaports);
- convoy ships in areas where pirates are operating;
- are engaged in military intelligence;
- provide various services (according to their profile) to state bodies;
- help people in disaster areas (earthquakes, tsunamis, and others);
- participate in humanitarian aid.
This list does not include the item “conduct military operations”, although there are many witnesses, of course, who do not give their names, that PMCs also take part in military actions. The most recent examples are the Donbass and Syria. There is no documentary evidence of this, there are only journalists' guesses and backroom conversations, and there are still crosses on the graves, where only the soldier’s personal number and nothing more are indicated.Even the relatives of the deceased members of the private security committees refuse to comment on the death of their loved ones and declare that they are provoked against them.
Why is the "Wagner Group" so secret
There are a lot of rumors about this PMC, in the mess of which there are even grains of truth. So, it is known for certain that the infamous "Slavic Corps" became its prototype. This PMC was officially registered, however, not in Russia, but in Hong Kong, and consisted not of Chinese, but of Russians (who previously served in SOBR, Airborne Forces, GRU). “Slavic Corps” did not hide its intentions and openly placed announcements about recruiting, promising a salary of 5,000 cu. They recruited people to guard objects in Syria. They guarded the oil fields in Dair Al-Zor. For this purpose, the fighters were given anti-aircraft guns (caliber 37 mm), PM-43 mortars without mines, three pieces of BMP-1 (one inoperative), two pieces of BM-21 with missiles without fuses. With such a wonderful weapon, PMCs, being on the march, were attacked by a gang of igilovtsevs. With great difficulty, with the support of an attack aircraft and two “Acacia” installations, PMCs managed to retreat to Tifor air base, where they took up defense.
Immediately upon arrival in Moscow, the FSB arrested everyone from the “Slavonic Corps”, including the owners. They were charged with Art. 359 and were given various terms of imprisonment, however, not all of them served them.Who is not planted, joined the new PMC "Wagner Group". No wonder she does not want to shine. But the cunning journalists still get information about this mysterious group drop by drop. So, they dug out that the leader in it is no Wagner, but Dmitri Utkin, a colonel in the reserve, a former commander of the 700th Special Forces detachment working for the Ministry of Defense. And Wagner is his call sign. All members of any PMCs give a receipt about non-disclosure of information, but, as a rule, there are frigues fighters who share some information and even show their own selfies, where they are imprinted on the background of recognizable structures. It was from such "finds for a spy" that information leaked out that the Utk PmC was involved in Syria and the Donbas. There are also rumors that Wagner’s men there were engaged in the physical elimination of people disliked by the government.
Commander of the "Wagner Group"
The journalists of “TsenzorNet” confirmed that Dmitry Utkin, who controls the mysterious PMCs, is in charge (in the photo above - on the far right). He comes from the Ukrainian village of Smolino, near Kirovograd. His mother Lyudmila lived there before. She worked as an engineer, broke up with her husband when Dima was still a kid.Lyudmila made every effort to encourage the abilities of a talented son. So, even before entering the kindergarten, he already read and wrote, and after school he went to St. Petersburg, where he enrolled in a military school. After graduation, he fought in Chechnya, retired (he is now 46 years old), tried to do business, and at the end of 2013 decided to recall his military experience again and created PMCs. Dmitry Utkin, of course, became her commander. The first baptism of the "Wagner Group" was the operation to disarm the Ukrainian military in the Crimea.
Then they helped the Lugansk groupings, who fought for the independence of their region, in the fight against the Ukrainian army. But the “Donbass voyage” of Wagner’s men is not officially confirmed anywhere. Today, Utkin’s mother moved to Russia, and two former wives of Dmitry and his two children still live in Smolino. According to the stories of one of Utkin's wives, Elena Shcherbinina, mother is the only person in the world who is afraid of a gallant colonel, he even talks to her in a whisper. She was the cause of the divorce of Dmitry and Helen. The couple broke up in 2000 and has not maintained relations since. However, fellow villagers say that Elena was never Utkin’s wife, he loves her mother very much, and his daughter Anna, born in Smolino, went to him in Russia.Utkin is now married again, his wife is a dentist and three small children.
Where to train employees of PMCs
Journalists from the Russian Internet newspaper Fontanka found out where our PMCs were preparing for military operations in Syria. Molkino (Krasnodar Territory) is the location of their camp, 40 km from the city of Krasnodar. Now there is a modern military training ground. Slightly away from the highway "Don" is its first checkpoint. Behind him - a fork. The road to the left leads to the village where the military live, and to the right already to the landfill. Near it there is a second check point. The camp was established on the farm Molkino in 2015. The territory is enclosed with barbed wire, behind it are tents decorated with the flags of the USSR, barracks, a point for cynologists, a guard tower, a parking lot for transport, and directly training complexes. Tender documents state that Molkino Molokino fighters (Krasnodar Territory) were equipped with UMU-S-127 installations (53 units) for firing at light (in the weight category) targets, UMU-T1-127 installations (40 units), necessary for training for shooting at heavy and all other targets, sets of RTK-1 (5 units), control training targets, and sets of PSO-R (2 units).It was at the proving ground near Molkino that Wagnerites advanced their skills before being sent to Syria.
Spent on the creation of such a base, equipped with advanced military equipment, 56 million rubles.
Officially, the Russian PMCs and close to Syria did not fit. But military journalists, such as Roman Saponkov, argue the opposite. He found out that the fighters were arriving in Syria at the indicated point on their own, as best they could. Saponkov says that he learns information from the locals who exactly call him where the Russian PMCs are located and what they are called. Indirect evidence that it was the “Wagner Group” that fought in Syria, helping the legitimate president Bashar Asad to fight ISIS, can be considered the invitation of Dmitry Utkin to the Kremlin and the presentation of the Order of Courage to him.
The meticulous workers of the Fontanka are trying to find more compromising evidence and catch the "Wagner group" in military operations on Syrian soil. But if these warriors really fought against ISIS there, they would deserve not reproach, but respect. A pack of nonhumans calling themselves the "Islamic state" create such atrocities that freeze blood in their veins.Their destruction of the great monuments in Palmyra is the smallest evil that they brought to the world. According to some reports, there were about 400 Wagnerites in Syria. They took part in the liberation and clearance of the beautiful city of Palmyra, for which the Ministry of Defense of Russia established two medals. How many soldiers of the group of Dmitry Utkin died there, only members of his PMC know. In late spring of 2016, Wagnerites were taken out of Syria. There remained only repairmen. But on August 1, D. Utkin was again spotted near a Russian helicopter shot down in Idlib.
What to say? The commander of the private military company PMC "Wagner Group" is again in business.
How many PMCs in Russia
There are other private military companies in our country, not just the “Wagner Group”. Among them:
- "RSB-Group". This is the PMC of Moscow. It includes two divisions - the sea, which protects ships and oil platforms, and the land, which is engaged in the exploration and protection of land facilities. In military conflicts is not involved.
- "MAP." This is the PMC of St. Petersburg. According to the statement of its leadership, the company does not violate the laws of the Russian Federation, works to protect any objects, convoys, individuals, and in addition, it is engaged in intelligence and military activities.
- Cossacks. Private security contractors in Russia as a whole consist of Cossack divisions and obey orders of the Council on the activities of the Cossacks under the President of Russia. Members of this company carry out "peaceful" tasks for the protection of borders, objects, people, and also participate in military operations. They were in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Yugoslavia.
- "Antiterror-Eagle". PMCs were organized in 1998 from former employees of the GRU, the Navy, military personnel of the reserve, are engaged in the protection of people and objects, mine clearance, the fight against terrorism.
- Redut-Antiterror. This PMC, as well as the “Wagner Group,” appeared in Syria. In addition, she worked in Iraq, Yugoslavia and many other countries.
In Russia, there are many other PMCs, more or less known and completely secret.
How is the set in the PMC
In the forums on the Internet you can see the questions of young guys about where they take in the PMCs. Some even ask for the exact address. Since these companies are officially banned, you can get there only under the patronage of those who have contact with them. Open such information is not disclosed. It is known that only citizens of Russia are taken there (Utkin, being a Ukrainian, took Russian citizenship), and preference is given to thosewho has special military training. Other admission criteria:
- the absence of any chronic diseases and health problems;
- good physical training;
- no burden of marriage;
- no criminal record.
Work in PMCs entails mostly a good salary (although everything in life is relative). So, according to some reports, if missions take place in their native land (convoy, guards, and so on), at least 80 thousand rubles are paid a month. Now you can earn such money in any reputable company. For missions abroad pay up to 500 thousand rubles. For example, in Syria, the salary was 300 tons rubles. per month. For comparison: in Iraq, fighters of PMCs Academi received from 600 to 1000 y. e. per day. If an employee in the Russian PMC is injured, he is paid a penalty, the amount of which depends on the severity of the injury. If he is killed, his family can hope for compensation of up to 5 million rubles.
Pros and cons of PMCs
Many people believe that private military companies in Russia are needed. Their advantages:
- the ability to employ former military personnel who are unable to adapt to civilian life;
- reduction of losses in the army among conscripts;
- the creation of military bases in any country of the world;
- income to the state treasury;
- solving complex problems (for example, kidnapping people abroad) without violating international law;
- reliable protection of important strategic facilities;
- Assistance in solving national security issues;
- an opportunity for the country to protect its interests without open hostilities;
- higher efficiency in comparison with the regular army.
- counterweight for the armed forces;
- the inability to fully exercise over the PMC state control;
- the high cost of PMC services;
- the emergence in the country of armed groups that the state can not control;
- the opacity of contracts concluded by PMCs;
- dedication of PMCs in state secrets;
- fears of a certain part of the population (representatives of large business) that legalized PMCs may become a threat to their activities in the face of militarized mercenaries who blindly carry out an order.