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Russian media: Wagner resumes recruiting in Russian cities as unit of National Guard

by Martin Fornusek November 1, 2023 2:28 PM 2 min read
A portrait of late head of Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, displayed at a makeshift memorial in Moscow, Russia, on August 27, 2023. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Wagner Group has allegedly resumed recruiting in the Russian cities of Perm and Novosibirsk as a unit of Rosgvardia, Russia's National Guard, local news sites 59.ru and ngs.ru reported on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The group's recruiter told the Perm news outlet 59.ru that the unit is now headed by Pavel Prigozhin, the son of the deceased founder of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

"We recruit those who already have combat experience, including those who have already been members of the PMC (private military company)," the recruiter reportedly said.

Wagner has, however, abandoned its previous strategy to draw recruits from prisons, 59.ru reported, citing the recruiter.

A source within the mercenary unit reportedly told ngs.ru on Nov. 1 that the recruitment has been ongoing for "two or three days," noting that convicts and sick people are not accepted. Recruits are signing their contracts with Rosgvardia, not with Russia's Defense Ministry, the source emphasized.

The Kyiv Independent cannot currently verify the information.

The Russian independent outlet IStories reported on Oct. 27 that Wagner began to merge with Rosgvardia following negotiations with the Guard led by Pavel Prigozhin and Anton Elizarov, one of Wagner's commanders.

The Russian State Duma recently adopted in first reading a bill allowing Rosgvardia to create its own "volunteer formations."

One of the authors of the bill, lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein, claimed that it has "nothing to do" with the reported transfer of Wagner under Rosgvardia, Meduza reported.

The fate of Russia's most notorious mercenary group remained uncertain following Wagner's rebellion against the Kremlin in June and a plane crash that killed Prigozhin and several other senior commanders two months later.

Some Wagner fighters were allowed to leave for Belarus or Africa, while others were offered contracts under the Russian Defense Ministry. Rosgvardia is not under the ministry's jurisdiction and answers directly to the presidential office.

Prigozhin’s death latest in a series of unsolved murders in Putin’s Russia. What’s next?
The death of an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin is not something new in history. More than 20 critics and opponents of Putin have been murdered or died in suspicious circumstances since 2000. However, the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group and o…
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