New methods of pressure were put on Russian prisoners when recruiting for the war, the Agency writes , citing two lawyers and a human rights activist familiar with the situation. The security forces threaten that in case of refusal they will start new criminal cases with subsequent new terms.
Lawyer Yana Gelmel spoke about similar cases in the colonies of the Samara and Rostov regions, the Krasnodar Territory and the republics of the North Caucasus. “The operatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the FSB come, promise to bring up old cases ten or twenty years ago, for which the statute of limitations has already passed, they scare that they will initiate cases against those who refuse to go to war,” she said.
According to Gelmel, the new methods appeared due to the fact that there are much fewer people wishing to enlist in the ranks of Wagner PMCs than they were in the summer and autumn of last year. According to the interlocutors of the Agency, recruitment is most active in the regions located near the border with Ukraine, since from there prisoners can be quickly delivered to the front.
In addition, they recruit people under investigation sitting in a pre-trial detention center. They are promised that their cases will be closed before going to trial. Agency sources are aware of this practice in SIZO-1 in Samara and SIZO-5 in Moscow.
In early February, Mediazona reported that Wagner PMC recruiters began to go around the colonies in the second round, where they had already recruited prisoners last year. However, this time there are much fewer people who want to go to the front, because rumors of heavy losses reach the prisoners.
Olga Romanova, the head of the Russia Sitting Foundation, said that out of 50,000 prisoners sent to the front, about 10,000 remain there.