Russian mercenary’s widow cynically tells journalists where they found Ukrainian soldier's skull

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The widow of the Russian mercenary Igor Mangushev, who gave a performance in occupied Donetsk carrying the skull of a "Ukrainian soldier", has cynically said that they found the skull of a fallen defender while walking around Azovstal steelworks, and Mangushev took it because "a friend's wife really wanted the skull of a Ukrainian".

Source: Tatyana Azarevich, who calls herself Mangushev's widow, in an interview with Russian propagandists

Quote: "Igor and I were walking around Azovstal steelworks. I saw a military uniform with blue insulating tape, and decided to remove the patch bearing the blood group from it as a memento or as a souvenir for someone. This is normal practice among the Russian military... I pulled it, and the bones and skull fell out of the uniform.

Igor immediately ran to the car to get a bag. He took this skull because the wife of one of his comrades really wanted a Ukrainian’s skull."

Details: According to Azarevich, Mangushev was supposed to give the skull of a Ukrainian soldier to his friend's wife, but during "poetry readings" he "got fired up" and decided that he should "perform with the skull". "He ran to the car, put on gloves and took the skull."

The Russian terrorist's wife added that they didn't need the skull and Mangushev gave it away, saying: "I just used it in a performance, it was a reference to Shakespeare".

Azarevich also does not believe that the murder of the mercenary is connected with the fact that the occupiers desecrated the Azovstal defender’s body.

At the same time, Azarevich had to hide Mangushev's body, because a bounty had been put on his skull. The occupier was cremated. His coffin was guarded due to fears that Mangushev's head would be cut off in the morgue or crematorium.

The circumstances of Mangushev's death have not yet been established, and the case, which the militants promised to start, is not being investigated.

Erik Møse, Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, said on 16 March that the Commission’s investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine had not found any evidence that Russia committed genocide in Ukraine.

Who is Mangushev?

Mangushev gained infamy after a video appeared online in August 2022. In this video, he performed on stage allegedly holding the skull of a Ukrainian soldier who died during the defence of Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

At the time, Mangushev stated that the Russians were allegedly fighting not the people, but the "idea of Ukraine as an anti-Russian state". He argued that "there can be no reconciliation, Ukraine must be de-Ukrainianised, and the Russian lands of Novorossiya [in 2014, Russian-backed separatists intended to create Novorossiya, which would have consisted of southern and eastern Ukrainian territories – ed.] must be returned."

The terrorist also said that he "doesn't give a s**t how many [Ukrainian soldiers – ed.] must be killed" and that "all carriers of the Ukrainian idea should be destroyed".

In her video, Mangushev's wife said that Bereg (Russian for 'coast', Mangushev's alias – ed.) was an active serviceman of the Russian Federation, serving as a captain of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Army of the Russian Armed Forces.

According to one avenue of investigation, Mangushev may have invented the Z symbol, which the Russians started using on their military hardware after the full-scale invasion began in February 2022.


  • On 8 February, Igor  Mangushev, a Russian mercenary and the commander of a unit of the so-called People's Militia of the "LPR" [the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic – ed.], died in a medical facility from a head wound he had sustained under unspecified circumstances in the Russian occupiers' rear in the city of Kadiivka, Luhansk Oblast.

  • On 4 February, Russian Telegram channels reported that Mangushev was taken for neurosurgery in Stakhanov [the old name of Russian-occupied Kadiivka, used by the Russian invaders – ed.] with a "penetrating gunshot wound to the head".

  • The nature of the wound indicated that the shot had been fired from a short-barrelled weapon into the occipitoparietal area, but the circumstances of what happened were unknown.

  • The wound likely was inflicted with a pistol fired at close range, and the bullet, presumably a 9mm round, got lodged in Mangushev's brain.

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