‘Don’t Rape Any Broads’: Putin’s Chef Proudly Unleashes His Prison Fighters
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has proudly declared that the first group of prison inmates recruited to wage war against Ukraine have completed their contracts, had their criminal records expunged—and are now free to do as they please in Russian society.
Prigozhin personally attended a send-off of sorts for the group of mercenaries, according to footage published by Russia’s RIA Novosti on Thursday.
“Don’t drink too much, don’t use drugs, and don’t rape any broads,” Prigozhin can be seen telling a crowd of mercenaries, several of whom have missing limbs and crutches.
“They fulfilled their contracts with honor, with dignity, one of the first ... The first. They completed their work in a way that few people could,” he said.
He went on to praise the men and tell them they should be proud of their violence in Ukraine. “You have a calling. It’s genetics,” he said, adding that “they were born warriors and have seen that they are warriors.”
“If you’ve seen a person who has returned after war, and before that sat in a penal colony and then signed up as a volunteer... It must be understood that they are absolutely full-fledged members of society,” he said. “Society should treat them with the deepest respect, and they should not violate any laws.”
Backfired: Putin’s Prison Recruits Spiral Out of Russia’s Control
Asked what they plan to do now, several of the mercenaries responded that they intend to “go back” to finish what they started in Ukraine, while others said they plan to pick up with their lives where they left off.
Human rights groups say thousands of inmates across Russia were recruited to join the battlefield in Ukraine in the past several months. With the Wagner Group promising them a full amnesty upon completion of their stint in Ukraine—if they come back alive—experts have warned the result could be disastrous when they try to blend back in with society.
Even as the group announced the release of about two dozen mercenaries, the shadow army appears to have stepped up its recruiting efforts elsewhere. According to Ukrainian intelligence, the group has now set its sights on political prisoners in Chechnya.
More than 50 inmates in two separate penal colonies have been scooped up by the group so far, most of them behind bars on charges seen as politically motivated, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has previously voiced support for Prigozhin’s methods in Ukraine, praising his mercenaries as “fearless” and “true professionals and patriots.”
Behind the scenes, however, Russian security services are said to be growing weary of Prigozhin’s growing influence in the war—particularly his twisted prison-recruitment scheme. The independent outlet iStories reported last week that officials in the Federal Security Service fear they will have to take the blame if things go haywire once the freed inmates return to civilian life in Russia, while Prigozhin will lap up the glory if his mercenaries help Putin score any wins in Ukraine.
Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.
Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.