La ronde des prisonniers: The Wagner Group Recruits Shock Troops at Penal Colony № 6

La ronde des prisonniers: The Wagner Group Recruits Shock Troops at Penal Colony № 6

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Electronic painting

A reconstruction from a video uploaded to Kremlin Whispers of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the de facto leader of the Wagner Group, recruiting Russian prisoners at penal colony № 6 (Исправительная колония) in the city of Yoshkar-Ola in the Mari El republic (about 400 miles east of Moscow) with an offer of unconditional freedom after serving 6 months as 'shock troops' in the war in Ukraine. NGOs say about 7K-10K prisoners have been recruited. Full translated speech transcript.

Translated transcript of Yevgeny Prigozhin Speech

Courtesy of @maryilyushina

"I represent the private military company, Wagner, maybe you've heard of it. The war is tough, doesn't look anything like the Chechen war. The rate of spent ammo is 2.5 more that it was in Stalingrad. The first sin is desertion. No one backs out and no one retreats. No one turns themselves in. When you will be undergoing training, they will tell you about the two grenades you'll have to have if you turn captive. The second thing 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 is marauding, including any sexual contacts with local women, flora, fauna, men, anything. The minimum age that we accept is 22. If you are younger, then we need a paper signed by one of your relatives saying they don't mind. Maximum age is approximately 50 but if you are strong we will do basic tests right here during the interviews, we see how strong you are. Physical form is crucial here. Then we'll make a decision. The first convicts who fought with me, that was on June 1, at the Vuhlehirska power station, with 40 people from St Petersburg. High-security colony, recidivism. 40 people entered the enemy trenches, cut them up with knives, there were 3 dead and 7 wounded. Out of the 3 dead, one was 52, he served a 30-year long sentence already. He died a hero.

We take a very careful look at those who are jailed under 228 [drug charges], just based on whether there was addiction or not. If we have questions, while we are preparing to take you away, we reserve the right to do a lie detector test here and check how stable you are.

We also are very careful when it comes to those imprisoned on sex-related charges. We understand there can be mistakes.

Who we are looking for? Exclusively "shock troops." 60% of my guys are that and you will be among them and there won't be any difference between you and them. You will be treated equally and sometimes we are even more tolerant towards you compared to people have been fighting with us for a long time and have gone through dozens of wars. Fire support platoons and other units that provide the offensive I have in the PMC. We have aircraft of several types, MLRS, tanks, there is everything you need in order to be an effective offensive.

Those who move forward, those who are the most brazen, they survive more often. Everyone who backs down and does not understand what to do, of course, they get into a scramble. After | tell you everything, there will be an interview. For a limited time | will present, after that several people will stay here and they will talk to each of you in the span of 2-3 hours, they will look you in the eyes and ask a few questions. All dead, the bodies are being delivered to locations that you indicate in your will, to your relatives or they are buried wherever you say. Everyone is buried in the Alleys of Heroes in the cities where they exist. Those who don't know where to bury them, we bury them near the Wagner's Chapel in Goryachiy Kluch.

Next, in six months you go home after receiving pardon. Those who want to stay with us can stay with us. So you have no option to return to prison. Those who arrive [to the frontline] and on the first day say this is not a place for them we mark them as deserters and that is followed by an execution by firing squad.

Guys, if you have questions ask. After that you line up for the interviews. You have five minutes to make a decision. When we leave, that time is up. After that it's all up to luck. Regarding trust and guarantees, do you have anyone who can get you out of prison alive? There are two who can get you out of prison - Allah and God. | am taking you out of here alive. But it's not always that I bring you back alive. So, guys, any questions?"