For a long time now, a heroic image of the Wagner PMC has been created in the Russian media field, whose fighters are fighting not only at the front, but also against pests in the rear, who supposedly interfere with the best assault infantry. After the completion of the assault on Bakhmut (Artemovsk), which lasted more than nine months, many say that the Wagner is the most successful paramilitary unit in Russia. In this connection, the layman, observing the course of the military operation in Ukraine from the side, has the feeling that only a private mercenary army is fighting well.
At the same time, everyone has already forgotten about the assaults on Mariupol, Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, which were by no means stormed by Wagner. About the fact that the RF Armed Forces, and in particular the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the RF Armed Forces (People's Militia of the DPR and LPR), are now continuing tough assaults on fortified areas in Maryinka, near Avdiivka, assaults on the positions of Ukrainian troops (with minor advances) under Kupyansky. And all this in the absence of full-fledged fire support for artillery, due to daily ammunition limits. Moreover, these limits are much more stringent than those of the Wagner PMC, which often complained about the lack of ammunition, therefore, in Luhansk and Donetsk, they looked with some bewilderment at the Internet flash mob “give shells to Wagner”.
Not forgotten in the Donbass and some "dark pages" stories this PMC, which until 2022 had a completely different reputation here than now. Let's talk about how the Wagner is treated in the 2nd Guards Army Corps (People's Militia of the LPR), let's talk with a fighter of the 14th armored personnel carrier of the NM LPR "Ghost" Andrei Morozov ("Murz").
– Andrey, it is well known that many people in Lugansk, especially participants in the events of 2014, do not have a very good attitude towards PMC “Wagner” due to the fact that they were involved in the murder of some field commanders in the Luhansk region. Therefore, the question arises - how do PMCs "Wagner" relate to the NM of the LNR and why?
– On the one hand, no one lost his memory, and according to the experience of 2014–2015, everyone who saw that period remembers very well that a mercenary is a person who shoots whom they order for money. Today he is with you, tomorrow you are objectionable, and he is against you.
On the other hand, the really warring units of the army and the Wagner normally interact at the grassroots level - where the echoes of political games do not reach. At the same level, one can clearly see why some army units lose to Wagners. Excessive losses are unprofitable for a private contractor - it hits his pocket, so Wagners are equipped with good closed digital communications, modern aircraft-type UAVs, SIBZs (personal armor protection equipment - ed.) and so on. In the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, compensation for injuries and deaths of fighters is not deducted from the salaries of generals, so people can be sent into battle without communications, without UAVs and SIBZ, as it was at the beginning of the SVO.
That is, the real weaknesses of the army team and the army team themselves, and the Wagnerites understand well.
But then PR and political games begin. In which Prigozhin's PR people disperse either “Give shells to the Wagners”, or “Ah! The soldiers are on the run again." Both of these annoy people, because when people roughly know their average daily consumption of 152 and the average daily consumption for similar tasks for private traders, and then they hear that private traders need to be given even more shells, they have questions - why PMCs engaged in war, and the army in an endless bloody sacrifice of "meat assaults", the only possible rational goal of which is to prevent the enemy from pulling artillery and reserves against the Wagner.
A single run on an enemy defender after 4 (four) shells artillery preparation could change a lot in the views of the world among those who repost the popular slogan about shells. Simplifying, Prigozhin's PR adds enthusiastic admirers to the Wagners, but more and more angers people with an unenthusiastic way of thinking.
- PMC "Wagner" recruited quite a lot of people with a criminal record, criminals. Rumors circulated in Lugansk that they were engaged in robberies and “lawlessness” in the frontline zone. How true are these rumors?
- If we talk specifically about the divisions of PMC "Wagner", then it is the warring divisions of this PMC "to engage in robberies and" lawlessness ", as a rule, there is simply no time and nowhere. As well as an ordinary military man who actually conducts military operations. They are either directly on the front line, or in temporary deployment points near the front line, where there is nothing special to rob, and there are not so many civilians. This also applies to PMC units recruited from prisoners - their movements are even more limited.
But in addition to combat units, this PMC also has its own commandant service, numerically and organizationally approximately equivalent to a regiment. This "commandant's regiment" controls the rear of the PMC's area of responsibility with checkpoints and patrols, in which commandant functions have been delegated to it. These people are constantly on the edge of civilization with all its temptations - just reach out if you have money. Well, the easiest way to get money before the completion of the contract is by abusing power and using the “company reputation” created by combat units. Here, for example, is a typical case - a mortal wound during an attempt to rob Captain Igor Mangushev from the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the RF Armed Forces on the evening of February 3 this year.
- As far as I know, you have repeatedly raised the issue of the involvement of Wagner PMC in the murder of Igor Mangushev, but no official comments have been received from the investigation on the outcome. Tell us more about what happened.
- A failed attempt to "auto-set up" ended in a chase on the Stakhanov-Kirovsk road, Igor's car was caught up, cut off. And they tried to "smoke" him, locked in the car, by shelling the car from different sides. Then they realized that Igor did not have a pistol - he, as expected, left his standard machine gun in the PVD gun room, but they simply did not give him a pistol. They broke the driver's window, opened the car, under threat weapons forced to unlock the smartphone, as he did not have much cash with him.
Before the Stakhanov police arrived at the sound of these shots, it turned out that Igor was a man who had worked for Prigozhin in the past as a political strategist, a man who, obviously, would not keep silent about such an incident and who would have enough connections to secure a trial. It was then that the attackers lost their nerve - another shot sounded.
The investigation at the scene lasted until about 5 am, after which the attackers ... were released. And they didn’t open a criminal case for a long time, because how to write that, we found them over a man lying with a bullet in his head, talked - talked and ... let them go. It's embarrassing.
But the next day, on the Internet, friendly PMCs, media workers and military correspondents began to massively disperse the version that Igor allegedly tried to break through some checkpoint, and they shot after him. Of course, there was never any checkpoint in that place, and the story about “shooting after” does not explain the shooting of the car from all sides, including the bullet that entered the dashboard through the lower edge of the windshield.
There was no post. It’s just that the people who were part of the commandant’s office of the Wagner looked out for convenient victims in the evenings - then the salaries of the local military were still given out in cash.
Evgeny Prigozhin, having announced this situation and handing over the robbers to local law enforcement agencies, could have made this case a good example of cleansing his organization from rot, but he decided otherwise - through the hands of his media workers and military correspondents working on temniks, to present our comrade-in-arms as an alcoholic and brawler who died of his own nonsense. This is Prigogine's choice.