War in Ukraine: A jailed Russian serial killer dreams of joining the Wagner militia

War in Ukraine: A jailed Russian serial killer dreams of joining the Wagner militia

Strange desire to engage in murderous battles, especially at a time when Russia is not in a position of strength. Even stranger interview, because the soldier’s apprentice, who is given the floor by state television, is anything but a stranger to the Russians. As reported by “Le Figaro”, the man has “a rather difficult CV”. He is neither more nor less than the most important serial killer in the history of Russia, and from the prison where he has been imprisoned for ten years, he presented his candidacy.

“I don’t think it will be difficult to learn everything new,” he says, referring to his military training and the technical development of radio and electronic equipment over the past decade. A sentence that seems harmless, but has everything it takes to give you goosebumps: what this man had learned and practiced, who often used his police car to get closer to his victims, the women he had previously calmed down in order to kill them , maim and rape.

He was unusually sentenced to life imprisonment several times, first, Le Figaro reminds us in 2015, “for the murders of 22 women, then again in 2018 for 56 other murders committed between 1992 and 2007”. Before confessing to two others, committed in 1995, earning him a new conviction in 2021. A total of more than 80 murders of women, most of them in the Siberian city of Angarsk. The necrophile assassin claimed to “cleanse” his town of women “of the bad life,” into which he categorized prostitutes or those who went to cafes alone.

Prison recruitment campaign

Is there a risk that the Wagner Group, which has not reacted to his proposal for the time being, will take this “application” seriously?

It is undeniable that the head of this private militia, Yevgeny Prigoyine, a businessman close to Vladimir Putin, appealed to the detainees to even go to prison – while the Russian prison is particularly well known for its violence, as researcher Anna Colin Lebedev notes in, among others her book “Never Brothers” (Le Seuil) – to offer them this market: Do you want to go out? We offer you a six-month assignment as a mercenary with us. But not all will come back alive. Prigojine also warned that anyone who changed their mind there would be considered a deserter and promised to the firing squad.

It was the state broadcaster Rossiya-1 that gave him the floor and sent a journalist to interview him.

However, as Le Figaro recalls, Wagner’s boss, who demands strict discipline from his troops, warned: “No alcohol, no drugs. No looting, including sexual contact with local women. “. This last point seems to rule out one Mikhail Popkov in particular.

“The Worst of Our Monsters”

But the strangest and most interesting thing for us is the context in which this character expresses himself. Recall that it was the state broadcaster Rossiya-1 that gave him the floor and sent a journalist to interview him. In an excerpt from the video with English subtitles broadcast by the Twitter account of a Belarusian TV channel, we see this, a very attentive young man seated in front of a desk and, in the opposite shot, Popkov speaking through bars, in a part of the room, which seemed to form a kind of cage. A banner announces the interviewee’s name – “Mikhail Popkov” – and position – “serial killer”.

We can therefore discern at least as much a message as an information in this confusing exchange. A propaganda message – we are on state television of an autocratic power – intended to be heard above all outside Russia’s borders. Nicolas PoincarĂ©, analyzing it as such on BFM, sums it up as follows: “We are ready to send you the worst of our monsters”.