Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed an order according to which all "volunteer detachments" that are at the front in Ukraine must conclude contracts with the Ministry of Defense by July 1. This is stated in a press release on the website of the ministry.
This will give volunteer formations the necessary legal status, create unified approaches to organizing comprehensive support and fulfilling their tasks, the release says.
“The order gives the right to all volunteers to enter into individual contracts with either volunteer detachments or with the Ministry of Defense as contracted military personnel. The conclusion by citizens of contracts with the state is, first of all, the extension of social protection and support measures established by the state to them, as well as to their family members. Thus, the order expands the possibilities of recruiting units of the Joint Group of Forces with both military personnel and volunteers, the joint use of military units and volunteer organizations,” said Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov.
Recall that the Russian authorities also call private military companies, for example, PMC Wagner, “volunteer detachments” by the Russian authorities. According to the law, PMCs are prohibited in Russia, so officials choose the definition of "volunteer detachments."
Shoigu's order may be the result of his conflict with the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and an attempt to take control of the mercenaries. In May 2023, Prigozhin recorded a video against the backdrop of corpses, where he called Shoigu and Gerasimov “bitches that are fattening in offices.” He accused the military command of not issuing shells to the mercenaries. Later, he again criticized the Ministry of Defense and urged "not to go to Red Square."