In Rostov-on-Don, at the intersection of Stachki Avenue and Zorge Street, an advertising banner appeared with a call to join the Wagner PMC, the poster contains the inscription “Motherland, honor, courage, Wagner. Join." The photo was published in the Telegram channel "Caucasus Zone". The Insider called the number listed to find out details about the recruitment.
The first correspondent of the publication introduced himself as a 22-year-old student who did not serve in the army and asked if he would be accepted into the PMC. The employee who answered the call said that in this case it is necessary to conclude a contract with the Ministry of Defense, and Wagner is taken strictly from the age of 24. He also advised the "student" to study, but to invite "friends and acquaintances from 24 years old" to the PMC.
After some time, another correspondent called to "sign up for a PMC." This time, the journalist, naming fictitious names, introduced himself as a man born in 1990, who had already served in the army. The employee sitting on the calls offered him a salary of 240 thousand rubles, monthly and additional payments, and even bonuses. Also, those who were interested in working in PMCs were explained that about the leave, "everything is decided by the management." Those who wish to get a job are offered to send passport data to the same number in Telegram.
When the correspondent asked if he could go specifically to the Donbass, the employee replied: “Do you want to go to Ukraine, to the Donbass? You’ll go to Donbass, no problem!”
Earlier in August, Rostovites noticed leaflets on the streets calling for them to join the Wagner PMC. One of the pictures was posted by the channel “Che in Rostov?”.
The recruitment of mercenaries to participate in an armed conflict or hostilities is prohibited (Article 359 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). On July 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that strengthens the responsibility for mercenarism. Recruitment, training, financing or other material support of a mercenary, his use in an armed conflict or hostilities is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 12 to 18 years. Previously, the punishment provided for from 4 to 8 years in prison.
PMC Wagner is sponsored by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a recidivist criminal convicted of theft, fraud and involvement of minors in criminal activities. Prigozhin's mercenaries are involved in many operations abroad, in many cases (such as the invasion of Ukraine) under the direct command of the GRU. He earned the nickname "Putin's chef" because he organizes Kremlin dinners. He also finances the Internet Research Agency, the largest "troll factory" in the Russian Federation. In February 2018, the U.S. District of Columbia Federal Court charged a "troll factory" with interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.