Russian soldiers are mutinying due to conditions, and babushkas continue their protest over the loss of sons. The Russian army struggles to continue executing President Vladimir Putin’s orders. As video emerges of generals being harangued by conscripts and professional soldiers alike, many think the Russian Army is quickly eroding.

Hours after some of the new 300K conscripts arrived on the battlefield in the Luhansk region on November 1, they were handed a few shovels and ordered to dig trenches through the night. The digging was abruptly interrupted before dawn as Ukrainian artillery shells decimated the unit. Called up on October 16 – only 15 days prior, Aleksei Agafonov, stated that, “A Ukrainian drone first flew over us, and after that their artillery started to pound us for hours and hours, nonstop.” So distraught after surviving the barrage, Agafonov, reported the events over the phone to The Guardian, a British daily newspaper.

Details quickly emerged from the event, confirming the nightmare of every Russian conscript’s wife and mother. Agafonov stated he had seen “men being ripped apart” and the unit’s commanders had abandoned them just before the shelling started. The reservist was a called up with 570 men from his home city of Voronezh in south-west Russia. Only 130 survived. According to Russian independent Russian news outlet, Verstka, wives and mothers are pleading to rescue the mobilized men. Young men will surely find these events another reason to leave the country and for babushkas to protest.

Ukraine continues to put pressure on the Russian Army as it retreats from Kherson across the Dnipro River, back into Russian held territory. Some say the only thing keeping the Russian Army afloat is the contract organization, Wagner Group. The last few months, the Wagner Group has come out of the shadows and into the forefront of Russian military news. However, details of misconduct and poorly handled situations are constantly in the press, continuing to haunt and tarnish Russia and the Wagner group image.

What is the Wagner group?

Allowing for plausible deniability, the Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization, described as a private military company (PMC). It is a network of mercenaries and the private army of Putin, even though private military contractors are officially forbidden in Russia. Because it supports Russian interests, the Wagner Group receives military equipment from the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and trains on Russian installations, while remaining a comfortable distance away from Russia, officially.

Ironically, the Wagner Group is reported to have elements linked to neo-Nazis and far-right extremists, Putin’s number one reason for the invasion of the Ukraine. During previous deployments, Wagner operatives have committed war crimes, including rape and robberies of civilians, murdering of captured POWs, and torturing of accused deserters. Just last week a Russian deserter was captured and filmed, while gruesomely tortured and killed by Wagner Group operatives. Posting of the film on Russia social media made international news. Adding insult to injury, the Wagner groups logic was for the military to see the result for Russian army defection.

Win, Lose, or Draw, Wagner Group Will Benefit

No doubt tremendous money is flowing into the pockets of Yevgeny Prigozhin, widely believed owner of Wagner PMC and businessman with close links to Putin. Additionally, members are comparatively paid well with much better benefits, than the military conscripts. However, other significant advantages in the future are instore for Wagner Group.

With Putin’s insatiable desire for more territory, conscription, mobilization, and coercion, there are more Russian men under arms than any time in recent history. War veterans will have a need for employment when the war is over. With a Kremlin connection as an auxiliary force used to pursue geopolitical goals, work for the Wagner Group will continue for some time. For many Russian NEXGEN veterans, joining a PMC like Wagner with greater pay and insurance may be desirable option.

And what other activities does Kremlin money pay Wagner Group to perform? Last Monday, the day before the United States midterm elections, Wagner Group founder Prigozhin, admitted to interfering in U.S. elections, stating on Russian social media, “We have interfered, we are interfering and we will continue to interfere – carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”


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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at