How do they find out about the death
More often than not, relatives of prisoners recruited by Wagner PMCs do not learn about their deaths from PMCs. There are several ways to find out if relatives are alive. First of all, you can seek help from groups to search for prisoners fighting against Ukraine. One such closed Telegram group has 477 members, most of them women. Often, they learn about the death of relatives only when they stop receiving their salary. Recruited Wagner PMCs, before being sent to war, draw up a power of attorney for relatives so that they receive payments instead of them. When mercenaries die, relatives stop receiving money. At the same time, the PMC does not inform them in any way about the death, they have to confirm the information about the death themselves.
“After death, they must pay both funeral expenses and help relatives cover the costs of burial. But, judging by the stories of women whose stories I read in the chat, the state often hushed up the death of relatives in PMCs, and their status remains unconfirmed. This allows not to accrue funeral payments, and they also stop accruing salaries. It turns out that they are aware of their death, ”a relative of one of the dead prisoners told The Insider.
If you ask the members of the group how to find out about the condition of a warring relative or get an answer to a question about a salary, you will most likely be sent to a certain Sergey. Members of the group also call it "Information" or "Service 200". His number in GetContact is displayed as "Sergey Po Podichimi". In the databases, the number is listed as belonging to Sergei Viktorovich Rakitin or Andrey Olegovich Beker and registered in the Krasnodar Territory. Both Rakitin and Becker are listed in the Peacemaker database as members of the Wagner PMC. Becker's profile indicates that he had a conflict with a bank that he deceived for money.
Sergey allegedly has access to the lists of the dead and should help with the search for relatives. In fact, judging by the messages of the chat participants, you should not rely on it. Sergey may not answer for two months, it is impossible to get through to him, and his answers are often limited to a monosyllabic “Wait”. The message, written by the author of The Insider on behalf of the daughter of a recruited prisoner, he also did not respond.
Another way to find out about the death of a relative is to check the cemeteries of Wagner PMCs. Often, mercenaries are buried on them not only without funerals and other honors, but even without informing relatives. So, at the beginning of the year, a cemetery appeared in Mavrino near Moscow with 27 graves, decorated with wreaths with the PMC logo. “The only thing we can assume is that they are Wagnerians. We were not recommended to climb into this topic. So far none of their relatives have contacted us. They appeared during January. I'm not here all the time. They could have brought earlier, ”a priest of the local church told M1.ru.
How (not) getting paid
In order to receive a salary for a relative in PMC Wagner, you need not only to get through to the “accounting department”, but also to go for the money. Mercenaries are paid exclusively in black - in cash and in envelopes.
“If a prisoner wrote a power of attorney, then the trusted person will be called - usually within a month - and they will clarify in which city it is convenient to receive money. Then the cashier calls and calls for a salary. Only cash. If you miss the call of the cashier, then the salary is transferred to the next month. If there is no power of attorney, and the fighter did not return alive, then the one for whom the will is written will receive the salary, everyone must write it. The salary for the month is issued after the 20th day of the next month,” one of the relatives of the recruited prisoners writes in a chat.
In order to receive coffin, the relatives of the recruited prisoners need to contact the "curator". By the way, the relatives themselves do not use the word "coffin" - only "funeral". But even getting them is often a problem. Sometimes, as in the case of "Sergey", the relatives of the victims are given promises that are very reluctantly fulfilled, and sometimes they are completely deceived. One of the chat participants said that she received 100 thousand rubles less for her husband's funeral. In some cases, relatives living in the regions need to go to the nearest city with a "cash desk". So, apparently, the Wagner PMC points responsible for accounting are called.
Also in the chats of relatives, it is customary to scold the Russian Ministry of Defense, which does not provide PMC Wagner with shells. And the founder of PMC Yevgeny Prigozhin, on the contrary, is respectfully called Yevgeny Viktorovich and praised - despite all the problems with payments and obtaining information.
How is the return
In chat rooms where the wives and relatives of the recruited prisoners write about their return or non-return from the war, a special atmosphere also reigns. Grieving women rejoice if their spouses remain alive and omit the details of their biographies. Women try not to talk about the fact that they killed people in Ukraine. Many write about the "defense of the Fatherland." Those who raise the issue of ex-prisoners' pasts are quickly silenced by other women. One of the dialogues:
- A killer came into the ECB, he works as a security guard in a shopping center. Above, the girl wrote about him. What to expect from him? How did he get there?
- I just read your comment and I do not quite understand something. What do you care about this guard? Moreover, he has already redeemed "his own". There is no need to force something out of the ordinary bad in advance.
For most of them, mercenaries recruited in the colonies are victims of circumstance. Often, however, after returning, men begin to live the same life that brought them to prison. Relatives of former prisoners write about their problems with alcohol, bad behavior and even drug overdoses. Of such cases of returning to crime, the recent story of Ivan Rossomahin, a resident of the village of Novy Burets, stands out. In 2020, he was sentenced to 14 years in a strict regime colony for murder, but two years later he was released with the help of the Wagner PMC. Returning from the wars, Rossomahin at first simply kept his native village in fear, and then killed the woman.