What do private military companies do, what is the difference between them and mercenaries, how does the market for such services grow in the world, the RP talked with the head of RSB-group Oleg Krinitsyn
Even 60 years ago, almost all the armies of the world were conscripts and state, then in some Western countries began to move to professional armies, but in the XXI century, non-governmental units began to play an increasing role during military conflicts. Sometimes they are ordinary mercenaries, but more often specialized commercial organizations - private military companies (PMCs).
Particularly active services PMC use the United States; according to the Washington Post, as of December 2006, there were 100 thousands of mercenary fighters in Iraq, many of whom were employees of Blackwater - 21 contained one thousand records of former members of elite special forces, FBI and other law enforcement agencies in its database.
The company received notoriety in September 2007, when 17 civilians were killed in fierce shooting on an area in the center of Baghdad. Iraqi government revoked Blackwater license; the license was later restored and finally revoked already in 2009. Despite scandals and a bad media reputation, Blackwater continued to exist, changing its name to Academi.
Critics accuse PMCs of attacking civilians, smuggling and other crimes related to hostilities, but Pentagon officials insist on the impossibility of ensuring security during long-term operations solely by the army. According to official data, the number of private contractors in Afghanistan as of May 2013 reached 110 thousands, of which 30 thousands were US citizens.
In addition to military contracts, the field of operations of PMCs is very wide: the fight against sea pirates, the protection of infrastructure in the “hot spots”, training and training of personnel in developing countries. Over the past ten years, the market for hiring private soldiers has grown dramatically and "weighs" no less than $ 100 billion, the Economist publication cites UN statistics.
PMCs exist in many Western countries, primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. There are also Russia, among the largest and most successful on the domestic market, commonly called “RSB-Group”, “Tiger Top Rent Security”, “Ferax”, “Antiterror-Orel”. The employees of these companies worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kurdistan and other dangerous regions.
But the existence of Russian military companies is not nearly as cloudless as their Western counterparts, like Fontanka. The never-before-used article on “mercenarism” (359 CC) was applied specifically against the employees of PMCs — the deputy director of the Moran Security Group, Vadim Gusev, and the personnel officer of the organization Yevgeny Sidorov. They were arrested in connection with the case of the “Slavic Corps” - allegedly the detainees tried to create a two-thousand detachment of mercenaries-Russians in the service of the Syrian government.
About the place of the Russian PMCs on the world market "Russian Planet" talked with the head of the "RSB-Group" - professional military Oleg Krinitsyn.
- Who do you compete with in Russia and abroad?
- In Russia, we now have no competitors. There was a professional and resource-intensive company Moran Group, but for several reasons it stopped working. There is another company from St. Petersburg, registered in the "gray" offshore of Belize - the so-called VST. But we do not consider it a serious competitive company. The methods of our work are completely different. Despite the fact that the head of this company, Alexey Yartsev, as well as me, is a reserve officer and has good experience, we still focus on the legality of our actions in all areas. We often receive resumes from former and current employees of VST with a request to hire them, which in principle confirms the correctness of our actions in organizing the work of all security systems for our clients.
Abroad, very strong positions are occupied by British, American, Australian, New Zealand, Israeli security companies, which, in principle, is ensured by the strong positions of these states at the international level. They take customers with the image and “state roof”, the Russians with excellent preparation, unpretentiousness, low prices and reliability. But we are losing heavily in this market due to the fact that the Russian state has missed the opportunity for the timely entry of Russian security agencies and PMCs into the international market. I am sure that a powerful Russian PMC, for example in Syria or Libya, could radically change the course stories.
In our country, a priori, there is no PMC in pure form. PMCs are a highly organized structure whose main task is to provide combat operations (logistics, collection and destruction of unexploded ordnance and mines, removal from the battlefield and repair of damaged equipment, food for military personnel, logistical support, protection of military facilities and warehouses, prisons, etc.) d.) PMCs are created and used in the interests of the state. The tasks of our company are not attacking, but constraining. That is, we prevent capture, attack, attack, etc., and if necessary we enter into firing contact. Can we be called PMCs? Rather yes than no. The work is built on the army principle: unity of command, elements of intelligence, disinformation, group commanders, fire and tactical training. The lack of tasks unusual for servicemen (like whitewashing curtains, painting grass and insane drill on the parade ground) plus the very structure of the business process, the experience abroad in areas with high terrorist activity suggest that we are more mobile, more professional and more experienced than usual Russian private security companies with “tired shift workers”.
- From whom do you get orders? Russian government, foreign governments, private companies? Do you have to interact with law enforcement agencies or other government agencies?
- The main customer of our services is, of course, private companies, individuals. There are preliminary orders from both the ministries of defense and the ministries of internal affairs of various states. They are more connected with the services of military consulting. We cooperate with law enforcement agencies of other states. However, if there are attempts to recruit or incomprehensible contacts, we unequivocally report to our authorities responsible for the security of the state. First of all, despite the fact that we are reserve officers, we remain officers, we remain cogs of the very security system of Russia, and even being in civil status we are all part of this system. However, the Russian government or our state bodies did not contact us with orders.
- What are the important objects guarded by RSB-Group? Is the information correct that your company was guarding oil rigs in Iraq? What can you tell us about the operations of RSB-Group in this country?
- No comments. You may hear about our projects soon. About some work you will not hear at all. The British are very jealous of the work of Russian security companies, especially in such a profitable zone of instability as Iraq, and in various ways, including dirty technologies, they are trying to squeeze the Russians out of this market, which, incidentally, happened to Moran Group. in Nigeria.
- How is the activity of Russian PMCs regulated by law? Does PMCs have the ability to use heavy weapons and military equipment?
- As I said above, Russia does not officially have PMCs, there is no “Law on PMCs," and since, nevertheless, we are adherents of the Byzantine Empire in legal aspects, everything that is not prohibited is permitted. In my opinion, PMCs should have a light Aviation, helicopters, small arms, grenade launchers type GP-25 and GR-30 plus group weapon types of rocket launchers, AGS-17, LNG-9, large caliber machine guns caliber 12,7mm and 14,5 mm, BTR-90 and BMP-3. Enemies, terrorists, shahids are well armed and prepared, they attack first and, as practice has shown, have a huge time advantage. Major military operations must still be conducted by regular army and other special units. PMCs are an auxiliary, but very important element in the conduct of hostilities in general. PMCs can also act independently, but under a contract with the state.
- Then to the activities of Western military companies. For example, how do you evaluate the operations of Blackwater (now Academi) in Iraq?
- Western companies act in accordance with the doctrine of their country. For example, the US has an offensive doctrine, respectively, and Blackwater’s actions in Iraq were attacking: preventive shooting, rude and boorish behavior on a public road while escorting columns, relations with the local population are built on the strength and superiority of their company. And one should not forget that the Blackwater in Iraq was actively “protected” the Pentagon (it also became the main customer of the Blackwater services). Take, for example, the case when 17 civilians were killed in Falluja. Blackwater employees thought that a young Arab, holding a mobile phone to his ear, was trying to activate an explosive device (landmine) on the route of the convoy. None of the Americans was convicted and held accountable. At that time, they spread immunity. Western PMCs are tough and effective due to the fact that their state is behind their backs.
If, nevertheless, to reveal the tasks of PMCs in Iraq, performing the tasks of the Pentagon, then Blackwater led actions against the anti-occupation forces. That is, the armed forces of the PMCs are already global police forces that carry out the tasks of fighting and physically exterminating all those who disagree and resist the creation of an anti-state and defend their statehood from the global aggressor. Western PMCs already carry out this function and are ready to do it in any region and for any country of the customer. Unlike the armed forces of the state, focused on the protection of state national interests, they are absolutely cosmopolitan. Their goal is not protection, but destruction, the destruction of everything statistically on a global scale.
- What are the fundamental differences between the domestic and international markets of private military structures, based on your work experience?
- In Russia, private security firms work hand-and-foot with poor “Law of the Chod”, “Law on Arms” and many incomprehensible instructions that employees of the licensing and permitting department cannot always interpret. Abroad work is easier. The laws are almost perfect and are not so ambiguously interpreted as in Russia. There are no problems with the legal acquisition of weapons either, and we are not talking about a strange device called IL-79, from which you can only frighten especially impressionable offenders, and we are talking about more serious weapons like the Glock-17, the civilian versions of the popular M-16 rifles, FAL, etc. In addition, a huge number of rifle clubs abroad, in which every owner of a weapon can come and receive skills of safe handling of weapons not for 50 rubles for a cartridge (as it happens in all shooting galleries in Moscow, with factory price in 5 rubles per cartridge).
- What are the prospects for the military services market? Forecast of its further development.
- In my opinion, the forecast in Russia will not be entirely comforting. A moment will come when, under pressure from certain lobbies, something like the “PMC Law” will be adopted, but most likely it will be a cumbersome, clumsy structure with “wedding generals”, something like a la FSUE “Guard” , which, not having strong competitors in Russia, will begin to grow not up, but to be heard in width. I would very much like to believe that I am mistaken in forecasts. However, having the data that I receive, I am afraid that everything will go this way. In general, PMCs are a very effective instrument of influence. The epoch of local and corporate wars is coming, where PMC services will be in special demand.
- The fight for the market of military services: how and by whom will the African failed states be divided (Sudan, Libya, Somalia)?
- Libya is already under the Americans. The training and preparation of the "new army" of Libya are engaged in the French. Sudan (North Sudan) is interesting in terms of oil pumping, it is there that oil refineries and access to the sea, to the oil sea terminals. South Sudan - oil production. But a large number of gangs and political groups such as Al-Qaida and Al-Shabab make it difficult to extract and transport it to Northern Sudan. Here for PMCs a lot of work. Somalia. Somalia is now in the position of the “elusive cowboy joe”. It seems to be there, but nobody needs it, because the Somali government controls only its palace and several quarters in Mogadishu. With whom to negotiate? Who will pay for PMC services?
- Is there a danger of Chinese (Indian, Arab) PMCs entering the world market of military services?
- This is not a danger, it is a predictable process of integration into this market. Chinese PMCs have been operating in Africa for a long time, providing security for the oil pipeline in Burma, and in Eritrea they provide security to more than 26 000 Chinese who have already established their own city there. They are engaged in gold mining, minerals.
- Where is the line between the legal activities of private security companies and mercenarism?
- There is a clear definition of mercenarism both in the criminal code and in international law. One of the most distinctive features: participation in hostilities on the territory of a foreign state as a third party, not being a combatant. And all these actions must be paid by the customer. There have been cases when PMCs in Africa stopped the war, brought order to Sierra Leone, where UN forces and local authorities were powerless. The borderline can be determined by lawyers. There is a formal contract with the state security structure - everything is in order. There is an opposition order to overthrow the government - a mercenary. There are many more nuances. To understand them, you must carefully read the Criminal Code and try to apply to their actions.
- Your opinion on the scandal with the “Slavic Corps”, how serious is the presence of Russian mercenaries in Syria?
- I would not indiscriminately call the "Slavic Corps" mercenaries. It is possible that the investigating authorities of the FSB found elements of mercenary in their actions, but it should also be noted that this “article” is quite exotic for Russia and our investigating authorities do not have enough experience to study such crimes. However, we often hear that Chechens are fighting in Syria on the side of Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra, etc., for the money they kill civilians, rape, pervert over the corpses ... Russian Wahhabis also participate for money in this war, but we have never heard about the prosecution of these people or of any investigative actions. Let's hope that common sense will triumph and the arrested guys - Sidorov and Gusev - will soon be released from Lefortovo; In addition, it should be noted that these are not the worst members of our society and have done a lot for Russia and raising the image of our country as employees of the Moran Group.
- What is known about the Russian-speaking mercenaries during the Libyan campaign?
- They are. And they will always be. Russian-speaking mercenaries. And it doesn’t matter that they can come from Western Ukraine, from Transnistria, the Baltic States, Chechnya, Dagestan, the Crimea - the main thing is that the local man hears Russian speech. There is no question for me, rather, for the law enforcement agencies of these entities. The main underlying reason, of course, is the desire to earn money, perhaps to become a shahid, to help “brothers in faith.” But thanks to this cunning step, Russians in Libya are not loved today.
- Who can become an employee of RSB-Group, what are the selection criteria?
- It is difficult and easy at the same time to become an RSB employee. All the basic requirements for the employee are in our section "Jobs" on the site. We need trained and tactically competent officers with combat experience. They are internally disciplined, educated people, with good life and professional experience. But there are a number of problems when working with this category of employees: as a rule, poor knowledge of English, the experience gained prevents them from restructuring and understanding that today they are no longer in the army, but work in a commercial organization with other statutory tasks. The state does not stand behind them, and the best protection is compliance with the current legislation in the country of residence. However, there are cases when, when conducting a commercial course in fire training, our instructors highlight promising shooters. If a person speaks English and passed a psychological test (and by the way, it should be noted that we have a very difficult psychological test that is used when testing officers of the SVR and FSO - 566 questions, 45 minutes are given for the test), in this case the chances of becoming ours employee increase by 99%. Several of our employees came to our company along this path.
They may be inferior in tactical training to our former officers, but they very diligently study everything necessary for work and have good prospects. The advantages of such employees are that we initially teach them “for themselves”, give the necessary tactics, practice, instill our corporate culture and knowledge. Several times a month, our employees are trained both in theory and in practice. We need reliable, competent and professional staff. A day comes from 15 to 20 requests to e-mail: "How to get to you?" We do not answer such questions and immediately send to spam. If applications of the applicant come in, but without accompanying documents, such letters are also not considered. The fact is that if a candidate is not attentive and cannot clearly read and understand the requirements and conditions for admission to work, which are detailed on our website www.rsb-group.ru, then we believe that we do not need such an employee. His carelessness can do a disservice in the future. And since all our work is related to weapons, attentiveness and diligence is a fundamental factor.
- In what hot spots did your employees have to work: did you have to use weapons, conduct long battles?
- We do not participate in battles and try to avoid them, after all, fighting is not our job. Our task is to professionally ensure the safety of the customer and save the lives of our employees. Employees of the RSB Group worked and work in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and other Arab countries, as well as carry out armed security and protection of civilian naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and other pirate-dangerous areas of the oceans. There were cases when they engaged in armed clashes with armed groups, fulfilling the conditions of the contract for the protection and defense of the property and employees of the customer. There are no losses and injuries among the employees of RSB Group.
- What special equipment do you use?
- We use only weapons approved by the laws of the host country. For example, according to the law of Oman it is forbidden to use automatic weapons. Private security companies are advised to use semi-automatic weapons with a caliber of no more than 7,62 mm. However, I know that our colleagues from Israel use automatic weapons, machine guns and even grenades in the protection of ships. It's easier for them. Their country has been at war for more than 50 for years, and the state empowers its security structures to use weapons that are most effective in suppressing terrorists. We also use body armor, minimum 3 protection class, steel or Kevlar helmets, radio communications, satellite phones, special unloading and climbing systems, collimator sights, acoustic guns HyperSpike (non-lethal weapons). If necessary, we can also use UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to gather intelligence.
- Since June 2013, RSB-Group has been ensuring the maritime security of Gazprom’s gas and oil refineries. Your opinion about the incident with the Greenpeace activists at the Prirazlomnaya platform.
- I want to make a correction. Today, RSB-Group does not ensure the maritime safety of the Prirazlomnaya platform, although initially a subsidiary of OAO Gazprom addressed us with such a request. The necessary work was carried out, the calculation of forces and means was carried out. It is necessary to understand that the Prirazlomnaya platform, despite the fact that it is now on a solid concrete base and it is easiest to call it more like a pier, is in its essence a ship, and it was assigned an IMO (registration number). By sea rules, on a ship (if it is not passenger), it is strictly forbidden to transport passengers. However, now, according to my data, there are more than 200 service personnel and about ten PSC guards on the platform.
And I do not exclude that the guards in this chop are very decent people, but decent people are not a specialty. Each security guard must have a seaworthy book, seafarer's ID, SSO courses (Ship security officer onboard a ship), and they must take special SOLAS and STCW 95 courses (survival rates on a ship: the actions of each team member in the event of a breach on the vessel, fire, flooding, safe leaving the vessel, working with lifeboats, etc.).
Without these minimum documents, the security guards of the PSC do not have the right to be on board the ship, even in the economic zone of the Russian Federation. Without these elementary skills, in the event of a man-made disaster, they will be like ballast and will be among the first candidates for death at sea. And most importantly, this private security company lacks elementary experience in the fight against piracy. I'm not talking about armed pirates. The analysis of the video recordings of the Greenpish attack on the Prirazlomnaya platform shows that the security from the PSC was dormant, stupidly looking at the Greenpeepers on the platform, someone was shooting all the events on the phone for the home archive.
I believe that sooner or later, such an irresponsible attitude towards the protection of such an important object as the Prirazlomnaya platform can play a cruel joke with the customer of security services.
I am sure that if, at that moment, specialists from the RSB-Group were fighting against pirates at Prirazlomnaya, the events would have turned out quite differently. Using UAVs and HyperSpike acoustic guns, as well as employees trained under the “combat swimmers” program, we could provide a safety zone around the platform with a radius of at least 300 meters not only on the water surface, but also under water (by law, this is no less than 500 meters).
Elementary defensive booms for boats and divers were not delivered. Our experts, who analyze the events, have many questions and complaints in the organization of the Prirazlomnaya security system. If a subsidiary of Gazprom nevertheless decided to work with RSB-Group, as originally planned, then Russia would not have had such image risks and discussions in the global media about this incident. However, the customer made a “temporary” decision while using the ground chop, despite the risks and higher cost of services.