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‘Continuing War by Other Means’: The Case of Wagner, Russia’s Premier Private Military Company in the Middle East | Jamestown Foundation

‘Continuing War by Other Means’: The Case of Wagner, Russia’s Premier Private Military Company in the Middle East | Jamestown Foundation

The decimation of the Wagner Group PMC near Deir el-Zour (a city in eastern Syria, some 450 kilometers from Damascus) in early February 2018,[i] has highlighted the role Russian mercenaries play in the Kremlin’s foreign policy. But the broader phenomenon of Russian PMCs, including the Wagner Group, is highly complex, as exemplified by the nervous and incoherent official reaction to the deadly Deir el-Zour clash;[ii] the re-initiation of a highly contradictory debate on the legalization of PMCs in Russia by all key ministries/institutions/fractions (including the siloviki, or security services personnel); as well as the alleged assassination (officially identified as a suicide), in April 2018, of Maxim Borodin, a Russian journalist who had been investigating Wagner. The sense of confusion surrounding the activities and roles played by Wagner in Syria was further increased by the ensuing comments of prominent Russian conservative military officers. For instance, Colonel General (ret.) Leonid Ivashov, currently serving as the president of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems (and well-known for his anti-Western posture), claimed that the official version of the deaths of Wagner fighters at Deir el-Zour was a “purposeful distortion” by the Russian media and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.[iii] Similarly, authoritative Russian media started to question whether the Wagner Group may have been “set up.”

Source: ‘Continuing War by Other Means’: The Case of Wagner, Russia’s Premier Private Military Company in the Middle East | Jamestown Foundation

 

 

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