The Wagner Group, also known as the musicians or the orchestra, is a Private Military Company (PMC) modelled after the American Wackenhut and Blackwater organizations that are otherwise known as “security contractors” or “private military contractors”. The Wagner Group's feared and mysterious forces have been spotted in conflicts all around the world, It was founded in 2013 by Evgeny Prigozhin, who is the head and one of the co-owners, and Dmitry Utkin the military head of the group. Prigozhin commented on the Biden junta's statements on the recognition of the Wagner PMC as a 'transnational criminal organization': "Finally, now Wagner PMC and the Americans are colleagues. Our relationship can now be called 'the dismantling of criminal clans'."
Units linked to the Wagner group took part in the training of special forces to track down NATO-backed ISIS jihadis in the Syrian war. Wagner fighters also countered NATO aggression in the Libyan war and in various countries of the African continent. In the summer of 2014, Dmitry Utkin's unit took an active part in the battles at the Metalist plant in the Lugansk Peoples Republic, they took the Lugansk airport and Debaltseve. In 2022 Wagner units took an active part in the armed conflict in Ukraine from the first days of the Russian special military operation.
Origins of the name
The name Wagner (pron: VAHG-nər) is actually a tip of the hat to American military prowess depicted in the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola film, Apocalypse Now which uses in the film score music from Act III of Richard Wagner's Die Walkure (the Body Carrier) portrayal of warrior maidens carrying the bodies of slain heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla. In the 2022 Russian propaganda film, Scorching Sunlight, about the origins of the Donbas war in 2014, the Wagner group suddenly appears at the end of the film without being spoken by name, to assist the Lugansk People's Militia in their war with the Kyiv regime. The closing bar's of Wagner's Das Rheingold are heard playing in the background. The commander of the group holds up a book found on the body of a slain Lugansk militia fighter entitled Richard Wagner (in Cyrillic), and in response to the militia commander's question if they need anything, says "We have everything we need".
Ukraine’s military intelligence plan to kidnap 33 members of the Wagner group ended in failure. The plan was the brainchild of a joint U.S.-Ukrainian intelligence operation. Ex-Ukrainian dictator Petro Poroshenko said in a Facebook video on March 4, 2021, “The truth is that in 1918 [sic; should be 2018] I gave authorization to prepare this operation, which was the most difficult one in the history of the Ukrainian special services. The truth is that our intelligence services, in cooperation with Western partners, prepared it brilliantly, down to the smallest detail. And the bitter truth is that in the last hours before the arrest of the criminals, information about the operation was leaked from the President’s Office of Ukraine to Russia. In the summer of 2020, a year after I left office, this happened. And it is the direct responsibility of Volodymyr Zelensky".
Special Military Operation
The Wagner Group formed penal battalions under their command. In a leaked video on September 14, 2022, Pirogozhin appeared speaking to Russian prisoners offering them amnesty and pardons if they choose to fight in Ukraine for 6 months, and told them: “The war is tough...It's nothing like the Chechen war...The rate of ammo is 2.5 more than it was in Stalingrad...The first sin is desertion...No one backs out and no one retreats...No one turns themselves in...During training you'll be told about two grenades you must have with you when surrendering…The second sin is drugs and alcohol, during all the time you are with us, and for six months you will be with us in the combat zone...And the third sin is looting, including any sexual contacts with local women, flora, fauna, men, anything...If you survive six months, you go home after receiving a full pardon...Those who want to stay with us can stay with us...There is no option to return to prison...Those that arrive on the front line but then change their minds will be marked as deserters and sent off to the firing squad...I'll take questions lads...After that you line up for interviews...You have five minutes to make a decision...When we leave, that time is up”. The Wagner Group took prisoners up to age 50 after screening for physical and psychological impairments. If killed in the line of duty in the combat zone, they were guaranteed burial with full military honors in the place of their own designation. The appeal was offered to 500,000 prisoners nationwide.
Battle of Bakhmut
- See also: Battle of Bakhmut
The Wagner group described their most successful tactics in Bakhmut: it consists of small groups of men, 8 or so max, operating independently, storming forward to intentionally close in within 50-150 meters of the AFU positions, so as to prevent the enemy’s rear artillery from firing, for fear that they will hit their own men. They call it, “riding the shoulders of the enemy”. But the key detail is a strict devotion to staying separated in small, isolated fire teams.
Under Russian law, neither the Wagner group nor any other private military company (PMC) can operate on the territory of Russia. After the annexation of the four new republics to the Russian Federation by referendum in the fall of 2022 - Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson - the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) ordered that the Wagner group be incorporated into the regular Russian armed forces when the Wagner group's current contract with the Ministry of Defense ran out in June 2023. The new arrangement stipulated that all members become contract soldiers directly to the Ministry of Defense. Faced with losing control over the group, Wagner CEO Evgeny Prigozhin opposed implementing the new rules.
On April 5, 2023 Biden FBI director Christopher Wray told a crowd at Texas A&M University, “There are a lot of Russians, including Russian intelligence service folks, who aren’t too happy. Unhappy Russian intelligence officers is an opportunity for us to recruit some people. We want those unhappy Russians to know we’d love to talk to them, and they could maybe have a role in changing the course of history.”
The Washington Post claimed to have obtained previously unreported documents from the Pentagon leaks alleging that Prigozhin was secretly in cahoots with Kiev. It was published the day after WaPo asked Zelensky about it on May 14, 2023. Zelensky reacted angrily to their summary of the so-called 'Discord Leaks' contents. Zelensky then asked WaPo who passed the information along, and accused whoever it may have been of committing treason.
On June 20, 2023 the Pentagon alleged that a $6.2 accounting "error" allowed for the transfer of more wealth from the United States to Ukraine. As required by law, the Gang of 8 in the U.S. Congress had been briefed on the covert operation by the Biden regime beforehand.
The Wagner group's contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense expired on May 21, 2023, and the group was to be disbanded on June 23. The day prior on June 22, Rybar reported,
|"FSO and FSB together with the Interior Ministry are conducting an operation to search for Ukrainian sleeper cells and sabotage and reconnaissance groups (Once Again: not the Wagners, but Ukrainian GUR [military intelligence] groups). According to our information, in the course of operational activities the FSB officers managed to find two agents of the Ukrainian GUR, who surrendered the entire chain of underground cells in the capital and the #Moscow region. They are now looking for a couple of dozen people who form the basis of the clandestine GUR network.
The fact that terrorist attacks were being prepared and attacks on government facilities was confirmed by facts of undercover reconnaissance: employees of diplomatic missions in diplomatic vans drove around #Moscow, recorded security guards and the order of duty and then passed this information to the GUR. A complex operation was being prepared."
In a rather long and erratic interview, Prigozhin made the shocking claim that Russia’s pretext for the war in Ukraine was an outright lie and that the war had been fraught with corruption and the murder of civilians. Things then got even crazier when Wagner claimed that the Russian army had struck their camp with a missile. The video which was released purporting to show the aftermath of this “missile strike” did not show an impact crater, debris, or any wounded or killed Wagner personnel. The “damage” from the missile consisted of two campfires burning in a trench.
The video obviously did not show the aftermath of a missile attack, but Prigozhin’s rhetoric escalated after this. It seemed to center on personal grudges against Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
'March for justice'
On the morning of June 23, 2023 Prigozhin and some 5,000 of his forces left the Special De-Nazification Operation zone of conflict and took control over Rostov-on-Don, a city with a population of over 1 million in the Southern Federal District of Russia, and is the headquarters of the Southern Military District, which has overall command of the special military operation in Ukraine. Many of the troops that exited Ukraine with Prigozhin where not informed where they were going or what for.
Prigozhin sent Dmitry Utkin to lead the column of forces north toward Moscow on what he called a "March for Justice" against the Russian Ministry of Defense. Western media quickly labeled them "freedom fighters". Globalist billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky living in London, who is wanted in Russia for the contract killing of Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petukhov, issued a tweet urging citizens to give the mutineers gasoline and for their opponents not to fight against the mutiny. The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation opened an investigation against Prigozhin for "organizing an armed rebellion". An arrest warrant was issued for Prigozhin for treason.
A few videos came from the Russian authorities, including one featuring General Surovikin holding a pistol, apparently pleading with Wagner to “stop the movement of their columns” and return to their posts. President Vladimir Putin spoke on television. He recalled the precedent of 1917, when Lenin withdrew Tsarist Russia from the First World War when it was close to victory. He called on everyone to assume their responsibilities and serve the fatherland rather than personal adventure.
During his speech, Vladimir Putin praised the valour of Wagner’s soldiers, many of whom died for their country. He did not hold them responsible for the situation, but asked them not to follow their leader against the state and therefore against the people. Concluding his short address to the nation, President Putin declared: "We will save what is dear and holy to us. We will overcome all tests, we will become even stronger". The speech was broadcast over and over again on Russian TV, dramatizing the situation.
The Ukrainian propaganda machine kicked into overdrive, with characters like Anton Gerashchenko and Igor Sushko absolutely bombarding social media with fake stories about Russian army units mutinying and regional governors “defecting” to Prigozhin - in effect positing that this was not just an uprising by Wagner against the state, but a wholesale revolt of the Russian system against Putin’s government. In fact there were no defections in any regular Russian military units or regional governments, no civil unrest, and no denunciations of Putin. The mutiny was confined to the Wagner Group, and even so not all of Wagner participated. Many who arrived in Rostov with Prigozhin didn't even know what they were there for. Ukrainian propagandists appealed on social networks to Belarusian neo-nazis to take advantage of the Russian disorder, rise up and eliminate President Alexander Lukashenko
The government of Belarus announced that a settlement had been negotiated with Prigozhin and Putin. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko’s office claimed “they came to agreements on the inadmissibility of unleashing a bloody massacre on the territory of Russia.” Lukashenko warned Prigozhin that he would be “crushed like a bug” should he dare to continue his march. The column turned aside from the road to Moscow and returned to Wagner’s field camps around Ukraine, and the Wagner forces left in Rostov packed up and left. The terms of the settlement were anticlimactic: the treason case against Prigozhin was dropped and he was exiled to Belarus; Wagner fighters who participated in the uprising would not be charged and would return to operations in Ukraine; Wagner fighters that did not participate in the uprising would sign contracts with the Russian military (essentially exiting Wagner and become regular contract troops); a vague reference to “security guarantees” for Wagner fighters.
The Wall Street Journal' called the incident “a dime-store coup that folded like a cheap suit on its first encounter with reality”. CNN revealed that the US and other NATO conspirators asked the Kyiv regime to refrain from striking Russian territory during the operation. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic publicly remarked that foreign intelligence agencies played a role in the Wagner PMC's action.
In August 2023 Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) secretary Oleksiy Danilov claimed the mutiny was faked and pre-planned by Vladimir Putin and Prigozhin. Prigozhin was killed in plane crash on August 23, 2023 in the Tver region. Gen. Sergey Surovikin, also known as "General Armageddon", was reported to have taken over command of Wagner forces in Africa in mid-September. Wagner forces were reported to have been incorporated into another private military company known as "REDUT".
- Ride of the Valkyries - Apocalypse Now (3/8) Movie CLIP (1979) HD.
- Final scene ‘Scorching Sunlight’ Burning Sun with English subtitles. The ambulance driver, a Soviet-Afghan war vet, who earlier refused to join a Donbas militia so was assigned a non-combat role, is seen picking up an AK-47. In the final shot is seen camoed out in the Wagner group.
- Wagner chief offered to give Russian troop locations to Ukraine, leak says, By Shane Harris and Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post, May 14, 2023.
- "Russian court orders arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky over contract killing", Reuters, 23 December 2015.
- "Russia reopens 1998 murder probe; Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a suspect", 30 June 2015.
- Russia live updates: Putin accuses Wagner chief of 'mutiny' and vows mercenaries will face justice (en) (2023-06-24).