Civil rights activist: Russia recruits soldiers in prisons

Civil rights activist: Russia recruits soldiers in prisons

Suspects and defendants are also recruited with the promise that their criminal cases will be dropped, says Olga Romanova.

According to human rights activists in Russian prisons, volunteers are being sought specifically for Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Russian civil rights activist Olga Romanowa, who lives in Berlin, reported on Facebook that suspects and defendants were also recruited with the promise that, in return, criminal cases would be dropped. There are at least examples of detention centers around Moscow.

“But I think it started everywhere,” wrote Romanova, who is considered a respected expert on prisoners’ rights in Russia. There is no general mobilization in Russia for the war in Ukraine that has lasted nearly six months. That’s why the army and President Vladimir Putin depend on volunteers. A sign of understaffing at the front is that authorities in many regions have started using street advertising to promote a mission in Ukraine. Cities and regions assemble their own battalions.

look for volunteers

Since almost all prosecutions in Russia end in a guilty verdict, suspects and accused now apparently have a choice: war or prison. The founder of the Gulaga.net project created to combat violence in Russian prisons, Vladimir Osechkin, while in exile in France, confirmed recruitment practices in prisons. There is also information from St. Petersburg, Ryazan, Tver and Bryansk.

According to the internet portal Meduza, there were already reports in the Russian media in early July about the search for volunteers in various prison camps of the huge empire. Thus, the private mercenary organization “Wagner” is said to have recruited criminals for use in war.

Internet portal Mediazona reported that businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, wanted by the US and considered a “Wagner” financier with the best contacts with the ruler Vladimir Putin, would have recruited volunteers in prison camps. In return, they were promised a monthly salary of 100,000 rubles (1,600 euros), bonuses, payments to families in the event of death and amnesty.

(APA/dpa)