On February 8, Russian Nazi Igor Mangushev, notorious for publicly mocking the skull of what he claimed was an Azov fighter, died from the effects of a gunshot wound to the head he received a few days earlier. The Russian media that reported it called the shot to the back of the head "mysterious."
On February 4, Mangushev, whose real name is Reimer (nom de guerre "Bereg"), was taken to the neurosurgery of the occupied town of Stakhanov with a bullet stuck in the brain. Based on the nature of the injury, it can be safely assumed that Mangushev was forced to his knees and shot in the back of the head with a pistol.
On February 5, his wife Tatyana Azarevich recorded a video message “ to the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry, to the leadership of the military prosecutor’s office, the Investigative Committee and the FSB, and in general to everyone who this may concern ... ” The woman claims that "according to the doctors, the shot was fired at close range in the back of the head at an angle of 45 degrees from top to bottom." And not in a combat location, but "in the rear, in the city of Stakhanov, LPR, under unspecified circumstances."
“Although almost a day has passed since he was wounded and hospitalized, no investigative actions have been taken so far. And moreover, no criminal case has been opened, although judging by the nature of the injury, there was an attempted murder and even execution,” Tatyana Azarevich said weeping. She also said that her husband, "an active serviceman of the Russian army, captain of the 4th brigade of the 2nd Army Corps, 8th Army of the RF Armed Forces " "was denied a surgery, citing a lack of technical capability and equipment"...
A few months earlier, speaking on stage with a skull in his hand, Mangushev said, "We will burn your houses, kill your families, take away your children and raise them to be Russians." "Poor Yorick! A goblet will be made from his skull. Possibly." The skull of Mangushev himself is no longer fit even for a goblet as it has a 9mm hole...
Our interest in the story is not sparked by revenge. It is yet another illustration of the practice of extrajudicial executions in Russian PMCs (Private Military Companies, the 21st-century privateers) fighting in Ukraine. And a vivid showdown of the bloody competition between them. Mangushev has been the founder of the PMC "ENOT” (translated as “raccoon"). He was presenting himself as "in the past - the captain of the people’s militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic." The "ENOT” PMC had been created with the blessing of the FSB. His life story testifies to the nature of these PMCs, which, in fact, are organized criminal groups. It is not for nothing that the head of "ENOT” Roman Telenkevich (Vodyanoy) was sentenced for 13 years for organized crime by Russian court in March 2022.
Russia is fraught with PMCs that advertise themselves aggressively. They have army weapons, grenade launchers, artillery, armored vehicles, drones and even aircraft. In fact, these are the gangs to which Putin’s regime has given the unwritten right to serve justice and carry out death penalty. That is why the murder of Mangushev is not being investigated by anyone.
Another case of extrajudicial execution, which also became known on February 5, is the radio interception of “Wagner” PMC employees, in which a certain “Wagner” commander transmits an order to shoot the commander of an assault group.
Proton: Let's be more careful, don’t fucking be fast cocks!
Acrobat: Proton, they shoot from all sides because everyone is fucking moving. Everyone is moving!
Proton: Yes. Acrobat, write down. From the commander: tell Coyote to shoot the fuck Ustinov, take his group and start the assault. Acknowledge?
Acrobat: Here it is. Tell Coyote to shoot Ustinov's group and to start the assault?
Proton: No! To shoot Ustinov, to take his group and go to the assault.
Acrobat: Perhaps we can go to the 5th. Poor reception, breaking down.
Proton: Ok, let's go to the 5th.
Acrobat: What to convey?
Proton: Are you here?
Acrobat: Yes, yes, yes. What to convey?
Proton: Tell Coyote that he’s doing the following: shoots Ustinov, takes his radio, of course, and gives it to whoever it will be necessary. And Ustinov's group moves forward independently and clears the houses.
Acrobat: Yes, I received it.
Proton: Moreover, I seem to have already cleared one [house]. You can safely jump over there and move forward, damn it. But if he doesn't fucking shoot him there, or fucking Ustinov somehow gets here, then he's going to die in a slow death. So, pass it on, motherfucker.
Acrobat: Yes, I acknowledge.
As can be understood from this fragment, Ustinov was unable to raise his group to attack under fire. And he shot no one in his group as for this. So, let's shoot Ustinov! The new group commander will clearly understand - shoot your own, make them assault, despite the heavy fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or else get shot by your superiors.
From the reaction of the one who received such an order, one can understand that this practice is used not only for fighters recruited at the penitentiaries. Those hired from among civilians are shot in the same way. Moreover, “Acrobat”, for some reason, was not even surprised when he misinterpreted the words of “Proton” and understood them as an order to shoot Ustinov’s ENTIRE group…
Such orders are just business as usual for Russian PMCs. Because of the personnel they consist of.
As per the sentence of the Moscow Court, "ENOT" PMC was an organized criminal community, operating under the guise of "ENOT” PMC.
"Wagner" PMC is the same thing, but on an unprecedented scale. With the official blessing of the Kremlin, tens of thousands of armed bandits, including repeat offenders, thieves, murderers, received weapons in their hands to kill with impunity.
"Wagner" ads are trying to present the PMC as a SERVICE, which contrasts military bureaucracy with private initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. “Our business is death, and the business is going well,” Wagner writes on its chevrons.
And it is true. To grow the "business", the state gave Prigozhin & Co. full access to convicts, modern weapons, and even the institution of pardons. Putin personally, pardons murderers and rapists by non-disclosable decrees.
That is, a PMC, in which their own members are killed without trial or investigation, is not a wartime occurrence. It is already the norm of Putin's model of the Russian state. It’s approved at the highest level.
Wagner's ads and HR marketing also relied on state honors and awards with decoration ceremonies carried out by Putin himself. Noteworthy, the analysis of the relevant Russian media reports reveals that state medals are awarded mainly posthumously, or to the wounded returning to PMCs.
Persons who are useful in promoting PMC recruitment efforts predominate among the recipients of state awards who are living and uninjured. For example, MMA fighter Hayk Gasparyan convicted of robbery, who received an award from Putin on New Year's Eve. His name began to be used in Wagner advertising after that.
Interestingly, the former MMA fighter was the only Wagner staff member among the large number of awardees from the Southern Military District who were presented with state awards before the New Year. And that is despite the casualty stats in PMCs suggest much more "heroism" than that in regular military units.
The “Russia Behind Bars” Foundation published statistics on the Wagner PMC for March-December 2022. According to their data, more than 42,000 convicts were recruited from penitentiaries, and only about 10,000 convicts (24%) survived.
106 former convicts (0.25% of recruits) completed the Wagner contract and went into civilian life - one in 400 (!).
Apparently, these figures became the reason that the flow of prisoners to the "Wagner orchestra" began to dry up. On February 9, the Wagner press service even announced that they had stopped recruiting convicts. But in the first few months, the marketing worked. And thanks to this effort, the Russian Federation saved on feeding tens of thousands of murderers, robbers and rapists. The cost of their funeral fell on the shoulders of local authorities.
It’s also noteworthy that Moscow is not interested in the exchange of captured PMC mercenaries in POW swaps.
Evgeny Nuzhin was the only PMC participant in the POW swap. He was exchanged in order to be killed for the show, without trial or investigation, with a sledgehammer, filming on video. The video was intended, as it’s become clear now, for their own, as a deterrent of surrender: "If you surrender, you’ll die anyway!"
Russia opened a Pandora's box, depriving the state of monopoly on justice, the ability to pass sentences and to carry them out. PMCs kill people, not caring about the rule of law, justice, human rights and other achievements of the "rotten Western civilization." Moreover, PMCs do this not only in combat areas, but also in the rear, as the cases of Mangushev and Nuzhin have demonstrated.
We Ukrainians are not in a position to feel sorry for the Russians. Yet, the "delegation" of the most important function of the state - justice - to bandits, is an obvious harbinger of a serious internal political conflict. What’s happening in Russia now can result in a turbulence which the whole of Europe will feel the spillover of, due to the size of the Russian Federation.
State power relies on four pillars: justice as the system of collision of freedoms of different individuals, army as the system of containment of other states, economy as the system of arranging benefits for its citizens, and culture as the system of promoting ethnic and political values that are favorable to the state.
In Russia, the army proved to be incapable! The economy is slowly slipping into the abyss! Justice is rented out away to criminals! And after the mysterious death of gay artist Boris Moiseev, there is hardly need to talk about culture in a modern sense in Russia...
What has become of the Russian Federation now – with its continual turbulence on our borders – is not the utmost danger. The greatest danger is the nuclear weapons located on the turbulent territory. Imagine what will happen if armed and accustomed-to-lawlessness PMCs overthrow Putin's clique of seniors with KGB background.
If Putin still has at least some restrictions due to his life experience and his longing for membership in world leaders’ club, the bandits have no such brakes. And of course, the West will be compelled to use its missiles in response...
That is why it is now extremely important to convince the West, which is still afraid of "escalation," that the denuclearization of Russia should be its main goal in this war. Not even the expulsion of the aggressor from the Ukrainian territory, but stripping the aggressor of nuclear weapons. Because there is less and less understanding of who actually leads the Russian Federation today. A dog wags the tail, or the tail wags the dog? And it becomes more and more obviously dangerous what will become of this country tomorrow.
Serhiy Harmash, "OstroV"