Convicted Viktor Sevalnev, who commanded the 7th motorized rifle company of the so-called people's militia of the "LPR", called his wife Lilia on November 20 and said that they were going to take him away from the hospital, where he was recovering from a wound at the front, and shoot him because the soldiers of his company deserted. The recording of this conversation between Sevalnev and his wife and other materials were provided to The Insider by Vladimir Osechkin, head of Gulagu.net.
“Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s different, that’s all. We have them lethal material. The Ministry of Defense shoots people. They know we're 200 and they don't give a fuck. I would like to go back to where I was, but they won't let me. If only I knew that this is such a war. My name is Viktor Anatolyevich Sevalnev, born on September 27, 1979. Don't send people here, that's enough. They want to kill everyone, ”this is the last message that Sevalnev transmitted through his wife.
Already on December 1, a representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense told Lilia that her husband died in the DPR on November 25 from shrapnel wounds and a powerful blow to the head. He promised that soon a zinc coffin with a body and documents would be sent to her in Moscow. And he added: "Condolences, I'm sorry."
Representatives of the PMC Wagner came several times to IK-3 in the Kaluga region, where Sevalnev was serving his sentence. First, they recruited his son Oleg, who was in the same colony, for the war. When his son died during the fighting, Sevalnev decided to go to war himself. He signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense and on the night of October 3-4 he was transferred from the colony to the "coordination camp" in the Lugansk region.
Sevalnev was attached to military unit 08807 (“LPR”). He fought in the 7th motorized rifle company and when the company commander was killed, he was appointed commander because he had combat experience in Chechnya. Soon, Sevalnev was even awarded an order for the fact that the company under his command left the encirclement. In November, his company suffered heavy losses, some of the soldiers died, the rest fled.
According to Vladimir Osechkin, Sevalnev could have been “executed” for the desertion of his subordinates, just as another former prisoner Yevgeny Nuzhin was “executed” for an interview from captivity.
In mid-November, the Gray Zone telegram channel associated with Wagner PMC published a video in which former mercenary Yevgeny Nuzhin says that he was kidnapped in Kiev and will now be “tried”. After that, they smash his head with a sledgehammer. At the end of the video, the inscription "liquidated" appears.
The Kremlin did not comment on the murder of Nuzhin by the Wagnerites. “This is none of our business,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The founder of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, publicly approved the murder of Nuzhin and thereby actually admitted his involvement in it. “I prefer to watch history in the theatre. As for the sledgehammer, in this show it is clear that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but met with unkind, but fair people. It seems to me that this film is called "Dog - dog death." Excellent directorial work, looks in one breath. I hope no animals were harmed during filming,” he commented on the video.
Prigozhin denied reports of the murder of Sevalnev. “This person has never been in the ranks of PMC Wagner, he has never arrived in any training camps and has never worked in PMC Wagner,” such a message was published on his Telegram channel in response to a request to comment on Sevalnev’s story told by Gulagu.net project.
If we believe the words of the representative of the Ministry of Defense, who examined the deceased Sevalnev, the injuries on his body may be the result of a blow with a sledgehammer. “A shrapnel wound to the body, and hit the head hard, broke the skull,” he said.
According to Osechkin, “analogues of the PMC Wagner” from the “LDNR” may be involved in the murder of Sevalnev, and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation bears responsibility for his murder, as well as for the murder of Nuzhin. The head of Gulagu.Net notes that military unit No. 08807, to which Sevalnev was seconded, has nothing to do with the Wagner PMC. “His motorized rifle company included both prisoners and those mobilized from the DNR and LNR,” he explained to The Insider.
“Prigozhin is an Herbalife salesman who travels around the colonies and talks with prisoners on the same wavelength. In fact, this is a pure contract-documentary system between the Ministry of Defense, the Federal Penitentiary Service and prisoners, and they sign it with some LLC "Horns and Hooves", these documents are signed by authorized representatives from the Federal Penitentiary Service and the Ministry of Defense, so this whole story is clean water is the responsibility of Defense Minister Shoigu and Commander-in-Chief Putin, and Prigozhin is here to divert attention, ”Osechkin believes.
Gulagu.net provided The Insider with photos of the contracts that prisoners sign as they recruit for the war. These contracts are not concluded with Prigozhin and his military company, but directly with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Human rights activist Olga Romanova said earlier in an interview with We Can Explain that she personally knows about 40 cases of “executions” of convicts recruited for the war. Romanova referred to the relatives of the prisoners, who turned to the human rights organization "Rus Sitting". “In our memory, 40 people [executed] were more or less somehow confirmed. They call it “reset”,” the human rights activist said. “And he won’t get anything for it. Any FSIN responds to any inquiries about where the prisoners are, that this is a state secret.”
In mid-September, a video circulated in the media showing Prigozhin recruiting prisoners and warning them about executions. The main “sin”, according to Prigogine, is desertion: “No one gives back, no one retreats, no one surrenders. When you are instructed on surrendering, you will be told about two grenades that you should have with you. <...> For those who arrive and on the first day say: “Somewhere I didn’t go there”, we make a mark “deserter”, and after that execution follows.”
In addition to the “execution” of Nuzhin, another video was published on social networks, where the Wagnerites in Syria crack down on a deserter from the Syrian army with a sledgehammer. A fragment of this video appeared in 2017. In November 2019, the full version of this video appeared on the network. In the video, a man who was beaten with a sledgehammer lies on the ground, his head is cut off with a knife, his hands are cut off with a shovel, his body is hung by his legs, doused with gasoline and burned. All this is accompanied by insulting jokes and laughter. After the appearance of the full video, Novaya Gazeta managed to identify one of the participants - it turned out to be a Wagner PMC fighter.
Rumors about the "executions" of the Wagnerites are probably also used to intimidate relatives and extort money. In late October, the wife of convict Sergei Serbezov, who was recruited for the war, told The Insider that she had received a text message that her husband had been shot as a deserter. She and Serbezov's sister sent a message to this number asking where they could identify and pick up the body. In response, they demanded money for information about the place of burial and contacts of people who know about it. When this story appeared in the media, Prigozhin's agency RIA FAN published a video of a live Serbezov reassuring his wife that he was all right.
According to a report by analytics company NewsGuard, during the war, about 160 videos appeared on TikTok that showed or praised acts of violence committed by Wagner PMC mercenaries. Videos with the Russian-language hashtags "chvk" or "chvkvagner" scored a total of one billion views. Fourteen videos showed fragments or full footage of Nuzhin's execution. One of these videos gained 900 thousand views before the administration of the social network removed it. At the request of Wagner, the social network algorithms immediately produced videos with the tags “Wagner’s Sledgehammer” or “Wagner’s Execution”. Among these videos were videos of the killing of a Syrian. One of these videos was watched by about a million people.
Earlier, MEPs from different parties called on the European Union to include Wagner PMCs in the list of terrorist organizations. In response, Prigozhin handed over to the European Parliament a sledgehammer engraved with PMC Wagner and fake blood. Bloomberg wrote that the US presidential administration is considering recognizing the Wagner PMC as a foreign terrorist organization. If this happens, the US will be able to open criminal cases against PMCs and its members, as well as pursue their assets around the world.