Novaya Gazeta: "Wagner" finished the game

Wagner PMC ChVK mercenaries

Mercenaries were forbidden to take loans and visit Europe: who are these people?

Novaya Gazeta – Denis Korotkov – December 13, 2021

Original article

The European Union recognized that wagner’s PMC exists, and announced sanctions, which included eight people and three organizations. Of the eight, four were awarded a ceremonial photo with the President of Russia. At least two of them were awarded the highest distinction for heroism.

Famous photo from the Day of Heroes of the Fatherland in the Kremlin. From left to right: Andrei Bogatov, Andrei Troshev, in the center Vladimir Putin, to the right Alexander Kuznetsov, far right – Dmitry Utkin (Wagner). Four are already on the EU sanctions lists.

EU sanctions are divided into four topics:

  • Ukraine
  • Libya
  • Syria
  • and human rights violations.

A total of three organizations and eight people, including the Heroes of the Russian Federation.

The shortest list is Libyan.

Alexander Kuznetsov (Ratibor)

Responsible for the actions of the Wagner group, which “threatens peace, stability and security” in Libya, the European Union has appointed Alexander Kuznetsov, better known by the call sign Ratibor, the commander of the first Wagner assault squad. In the past, a special forces major from Solnechnogorsk near Moscow, in 2008 Kuznetsov unsuccessfully came under criminal investigation for robbery and kidnapping. He was released from prison on parole in 2013, in 2014 he already fought with Wagner. For his deeds in southeastern Ukraine and Syria, he was awarded an unprecedented set of awards for an “official” serviceman: four Orders of Courage. Information about awarding him the title of Hero has not yet been confirmed.

There are three characters in the “Ukrainian” list, and one of them is actually Wagner himself, aka Dmitry Utkin. Lieutenant Colonel of the reserve, former commander of a separate detachment from the Pskov special forces brigade needs no introduction, his call sign (which he has not used for a long time in operations) has become a world brand. Utkin received from the President of Russia at least four Orders of Courage, and judging by rumors, the title of Hero of Russia. But, as in the case of Ratibor, we have not yet received sufficient confirmation of the heroic title.

According to the document, Utkin “was personally present on the battlefield in Ukraine, coordinated and planned the activities of the Wagnerites.”

Dmitry Utkin (Wagner)

“Given his commanding position, he is thus responsible for active actions that undermined and endangered the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.” As far as we know,

Mr. Utkin’s business interests are limited to a couple of grocery stores registered to his wife, which are unlikely to need European lending, so the sanctions will not greatly upset him.

Denis Kharitonov is a deputy of the Duma of the Astrakhan region from United Russia, a functionary of the Union of Donbass Volunteers, a veteran of Wagner, one of the thirty-three “soldiers of fortune” detained by Lukashenka’s special services near Minsk in July 2020. Why exactly he was honored to get on the sanctions list is not entirely clear. Probably as one of the few obvious and documented Wagnerians who have made an official political career.

Sergey Shcherbakov is also one of the thirty-three “tourists”. Not a commander, not a deputy, not a public figure. Most likely, his tongue let him down. Judging by the documents published by Ukrainian journalists, when Shcherbakov, on behalf of the already defunct BY THAT TIME PMC “MAR”, was recruited “to protect the Venezuelan oil fields”, he spoke too colorfully about his successes in air defense, describing how he personally shot down Ukrainian pilots in the Donbass. The European Union personally accused him of shooting down two attack aircraft and one helicopter (which looks like an exaggeration).

Two Heroes of the Russian Federation are responsible for Syria at once.

The first is Andrey Troshev. A former paratrooper artilleryman who continued to serve in the St. Petersburg police special forces. The commander of the SWAT of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the North-Western Federal District finished his service in the rank of colonel of the police. His officer past deserves respect: artilleryman Troshev received two Orders of the Red Star for Afghanistan. But Hero – already as a pensioner, as they say, for the storming of Palmyra in 2016. The EU considers him the “executive director” of a PMC with the call sign Sedoy, and, according to our information, this is an accurate definition.

Andrey Troshev (Gray)

Andrei Troshev, despite his high rank, is not a very public figure and, possibly, ceases to play a leading role in the “company”, as those involved call Wagner’s PMCs. In addition to participating in Wagner’s Syrian epic, Andrei Troshev was remembered for his embarrassment in July 2017, when

an ambulance allegedly took him to the hospital in a state of alcoholic coma.After examining the patient, the doctors were surprised to find maps of Syria, documents for the purchase of weapons and equipment, as well as large sums in rubles and dollars.

A few hours later, the incident was settled, but a trace of this story remained in the police reports.

The second Hero is Andrey Bogatov. The personality in its own way is no less colorful. In the past, he was also a paratrooper officer, a participant in a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia, after being discharged into the reserve, he worked as an electrician at a factory in his native Stary Oskol. In 2014, everything changed, and Bogatov headed the 4th company of Wagner. After being seriously wounded, he lost an arm but remained in the ranks, commanding a security company of an oil refinery in Syria.

Andrey Bogatov

Among the famous commanders of the Wagner group, Bogatov is perhaps the most open. With the Hero’s Star on his chest, he is an indispensable participant in the patriotic events of Stary Oskol, a candidate in the elections to the State Duma from the Rodina party. Willingly gives interviews.

Companies against which sanctions have been imposed “for Syria” are well-known

  • «Euro Policy»,
  • «Velada»
  • “Mercury”.

The most famous of them, acting, as we understand, as an almost official version of the “Wagner Group”, of course, “Euro Polis”. Registered in the summer of 2016 in Krasnogorsk near Moscow on the obvious Zitz-chairman, the company did not show signs of life for six months. On January 16, 2017, Oleg Erokhin became the general director – a retired policeman from St. Petersburg, a former Sobrovets, then an operative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the North-West, a good friend of the future Hero of Russia Andrei Troshev and Arkady Gulyaev, known as the head of the Concord security service of businessman Prigozhin. On January 19, the owner of Euro Policy LLC changes – the only participant is CJSC Neva, headed by Valery Chekalov, one of the top managers of the Concord system since the beginning of the tenths.

In December 2016, during the visit to Moscow of the Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ghanem, under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Energy, a stunning agreement was prepared between Euro Polis and the Syrian General Oil Corporation, according to which

The Russian limited liability company undertook to conduct military operations to liberate oil and gas fields from IG (banned in Russia). And then they are guarded and defended, receiving 25 percent of the spoils in excess of the cost of conducting hostilities. And Euro Polis coped.

Mercury and Velada are two companies that in December 2019 received concessions from the Syrian parliament for the development of three blocks of oil and gas fields. Looking closely at these firms, it was quite easy to establish that the structures of the same Concorde were visible behind them, that is, Yevgeny Prigozhin, as Novaya Gazeta told.

A separate block of sanctions is devoted to human rights violations in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan and Mozambique.

For the first time, the EU defines the Wagner Group:

“The Wagner Group is an unincorporated private military organization based in Russia, which was established in 2014 as the legal successor of the Slavic Corps. It is headed by Dmitry Utkin, and financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Through the establishment of local businesses and with the support of local authorities, the Wagner Group finances and carries out its activities.

The Wagner Group has been responsible for serious human rights violations in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan and Mozambique, including torture and extrajudicial executions, summary or arbitrary executions, and assassinations.”

For the sake of order, we note the inaccuracy: the Wagner group has a very indirect relation to the “Slavic Corps”, which tried to operate in Syria in 2013, and certainly is not its legal successor either in a strictly legal or in a conceptual sense. Many members of the Slavic Corps did find themselves under the command of Wagner (the former company Slavcorp) in 2014 in southeastern Ukraine, but that’s a completely different story — with other organizers, different sources of funding, and other goals. But, in our opinion, this is the only inaccuracy in the wording.

In addition to the company as such, there are three main violators of human rights in the list.

The first is naturally indicated by Dmitry Utkin. Who, as a commander, “is responsible for serious human rights violations committed by this group, including torture and extrajudicial executions, summary or arbitrary executions and killings.”

It is emphasized that Utkin, according to the EU, was involved in the torture and murder of “a Syrian deserter by four members of the Wagner group in June 2017 in the governorate of Homs, Syria.”

As stated in the document, “according to a former member of the Wagner group, Dmitry Utkin personally ordered to torture the deserter to death, as well as to film this act.”

Recall that the murder of a Syrian named Hammadi occurred in July 2017. In the fall of 2019, Novaya Gazeta established that this crime was committed by members of the Wagner group near the Syrian al-Shaer plant.

We have identified and named one of the killers, Wagnerian Stanislav Dychko.

Stanislav Dychko. Still from Syrian film

Stanislav Dychko became the second in the EU list.

The third is Valery Zakharov. Until recently, he was a security adviser to the President of the Central African Republic.

Thus, the EU believes that Valery Zakharov is responsible for the murder of Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko and Alexander Rastorguev in July 2018. Although it was not without mistakes: Zakharov never served in the FSB, his service took place in the operational-search units of the St. Petersburg police and customs, and now he has already left Africa.

Now the persons listed in the list are not allowed to cross the border of the European Union, do business with European companies and receive loans. It seems like a formality, especially since they didn’t do it anyway. Rather, it’s a manifesto. Perhaps quite personal. A famous photo taken on Heroes of the Fatherland Day in the Kremlin shows five people. In the center is Vladimir Putin. To his right and left are Dmitry Utkin, Andrey Troshev, Alexander Kuznetsov, Andrey Bogatov.

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