Vladimir Putin personally signs decrees pardoning prisoners who agree to go to war in Ukraine. This was reported by journalist Andrei Zakharov with reference to the data of the police database, which contains information about what crimes the person committed, when he was convicted, where he served his sentence and when he was released.
“The only legal way to release a rapist, murderer or thief who has been convicted firmly and for a long time is a presidential pardon. But the authorities did not want to confirm this. <...> I asked a person with access to the IBD-F [police base] to check a couple of prisoners who appeared on the video with Prigozhin. <...> Both have the same note in the IBD-F: “Released from further serving a sentence on the basis of the Presidential Decree “On Pardon”.” And the date of the decree is July 6, 2022. It is, of course, not in open registers: the next published decrees are dated July 5 and 8, and between them, judging by the numbers, there are five unpublished decrees,” Zakharov said.
Judging by the information in the database, both had a criminal record (one of the former prisoners was tried for murder , the second for robbery ).
Wagner PMC commander Andrei Medvedev, who had previously fled to Norway, told The Insider how prisoners recruited by Prigozhin write petitions for clemency before being sent to war. Zakharov also points to this:
“The pardon decree of July 6 is, of course, not the only one. Prigozhin, recruiting convicts, promises them a pardon in six months (although legally it seems to be formalized before they are sent to the front ). One of those whom I asked to see, ended up in civilian life ahead of schedule in the fall, as his leg was torn off during the war. Another appeared on a Prigozhin media video in early January, just six months after Vladimir Putin pardoned him for his willingness to go and kill his neighbors for goals that even the one who started this war cannot clearly articulate.
In January, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that pardons for recruited prisoners "are being carried out in accordance with the law" but "cannot say anything about decrees."