The head of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reacted to the order of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu on the need for the “volunteer detachments” at the front to conclude contracts with the Ministry of Defense.
He said that Shoigu's orders concern employees of the department and military personnel, and noted that the "Wagnerites" would not sign such contracts. According to Prigozhin, the Wagner PMC is “organically built into the overall system” and “coordinates its actions with the generals on the right, the left, with the unit commanders,” and is also “absolutely completely subordinate to the interests of the Russian Federation and the supreme commander [Putin].”
The Ministry of Defense believes that the conclusion of a contract with him by "volunteers" will allow creating common approaches to organization between all Russian paramilitary formations. PMC Wagner department also refers to the "volunteer units." Mercenary in the Russian Federation is prohibited by law, so officials prefer to use such vague language.
Head of the public movement “Citizen. Army. Pravo" in a conversation with The Insider explained that the status of "volunteer formation", enshrined in the Russian law on defense in November 2022, was specially invented to subordinate all PMCs, "militia" and "volunteers" to the Ministry of Defense.
“The status of volunteers is very vaguely spelled out there - they seem to be military personnel - according to their duties (but a volunteer can quit after a few months), but it seems not, since a volunteer can sign a contract and become a “real” contract soldier.
Prigozhin's conflict with the Russian Ministry of Defense became apparent in May 2023. The head of the Wagner PMC complained that the department did not issue shells to mercenaries, and called Shoigu and Gerasimov "bitches that are getting fat in offices."