Recently on the streets of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, there have been walking “non-French-speaking white men with military bearing, but without a military uniform,” writes the French Le Monde. The newspaper calls them “Russian mercenaries”, the Russian Foreign Ministry – “civilian instructors”. But no matter how you name this man’s work, it is very badly combined with the current Russian legislation.
According to the Paris press (its interest in the subject is understandable: the Central African Republic is part of the “French world”, the former colony of France), the base of “Moscow envoys” is located 60 kilometers from the capital of the CAR, on the territory of the Berengo estate, once the president’s residence, and then the emperor of the country Jean-Bedel Bocassa. Who, by the way, is buried in the same place, in the estate.
On their mission, however, there are different opinions. “Responding to the relevant request of the president of the CAR, the Russian side decided to provide Bangui with free military-technical assistance,” reads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s explanation of “publications on the nature and content of Russia’s bilateral relations with the Central African Republic.” – With the consent of the UN Security Council Committee 2127 from the presence of the Ministry of Defense of Russia for the needs of the Central African Army in late January – early February this year. a batch of small arms and ammunition is delivered. With the knowledge of this Committee, 5 military and 170 Russian civilian instructors were sent to train servicemen of the CAR. ”
According to the information of French journalists, the tasks of “instructors” are far from being limited to mentoring: the Russians have replaced Rwandan soldiers from the UN peacekeeping contingent, who previously guarded Tuader. Now the Rwandans guard the far approaches to the power, while “people from Moscow provide personal protection to the president, with unlimited access to his working schedule and environment.” And there is someone to protect him from. The bloody ethnic and religious conflict has been blazing in the country for 15 years now. Under the control of the government there are only the capital and the adjacent areas. The rest of the territory is the battlefield of the hostile forces: the Muslim formations and the opposing squads of the Christian militia “Anti-balaka”.
The administration of the Tuader, writes Le Mond, confirms the arrival in the republic of a detachment of Russian military specialists.
The president in connection with this got an adviser from Russia, coordinating the work of bodyguards. The same person is an intermediary in the contacts of Moscow and Bangui in the defense and economic spheres. According to the publication, five “Moscow envoys” are regular military intelligence officers. The rest allegedly work for two private military companies – Sewa Security Services and Lobaye Ltd. However, most experts are sure that this is the so-called “Wagner group”, which, according to numerous sources, can be connected with the businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, also known as the “Kremlin chef.”
The Wagnerites were also noticed in the neighboring African state, Sudan. There is no official information, but in the expert environment, their presence in this country is the secret of the Polishinel.
The Wagner Group, a private military company with close ties to the Kremlin, which was active in Syria, sent an unknown number of employees to the Sudan, “the well-known US intelligence and analytical company said in a January Stratfor report. “The deployment of the group is not surprising, given the decades of close ties between Khartoum and Moscow and in the light of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to the Kremlin in November.” “The first party of Wagner has already been sent to Sudan,” Igor Strelkov, ex-defense minister of the DNR, confirmed at the same time in January. “And one more is preparing to go to the Central African Republic.” As in the water looked.
The situation in the Sudan is also far from stability: in the province of Darfur, there is an inter-ethnic conflict between the parties, government forces, pro-government Arab detachments and insurgent groups of the local Negro population. But such difficulties hardly scare “musicians” – the so called fighters of the “Wagner group”.
In comparison with their previous, Syrian and Donbass missions, African “tours” for all the complex regional specifics are a resort holiday.
“The recruitment, training, financing or other material support of a mercenary, as well as its use in armed conflict or military actions, is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of four to eight years,” says Article 359 of the Russian Criminal Code. To the mercenary for participation in military actions it can be as severe as seven years of prison.
There is also participation in military operations, the material compensation received for this, and the lack of registration from teh authorities that were provided with “international assistance”. And the very chapters they do not wear epaulettes and do not perform “official duties”. Yes, officially there is no “Wagner group” at all. If someone thinks that according to the 359th they do not put anyone at all, then he is very mistaken: the article 359, is not the most “used”, but not “dead”.
According to the court department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, last year three people were sentenced to different terms of imprisonment, in 2016 – two, in 2015 – eight. By the way, two of the mercenaries sentenced by Russian courts fought in Syria on the side of Assad. We are talking about Vadim Gusev and Yevgenia Sidorova, the leaders of the Slavonic Corps, Slavonic Corps Lmd., A private military company registered in Hong Kong, but consisting of former Russian military men.
The incident was in the fall of 2013. According to available information, PMC has signed a contract with the Syrian Ministry of Energy to protect oil deposits in the Deir ez-Zor area. However, having arrived at the place of service, Russians, there were two and a half hundred people, were dragged into clashes with the superior forces of the Islamists. Having lost six people wounded and not having received support from the government troops, the corps completed its mission ahead of schedule and returned to Russia in full force. And immediately upon arrival at home, Gusev and Sidorov were arrested by the FSB. In October 2014, they were sentenced for “mercenary” to three years in prison. But, for the sake of justice, this is the only case when “soldiers of fortune” of Wagner was subjected to repression. Actually, even in the case of the “Slavic Corps”, the reason for the persecution was, apparently, not so much in the actions themselves – otherwise, it would probably have been lost not only to the leaders, but also to the subordinates – how many in their untimely time.
“Slavs” climbed, as they say, across the bat in hell – before it was given the highest blessing for the use of “soldiers of fortune” as an instrument of Russian foreign policy. The crucial moment for mercenaries can be defined quite accurately – the spring of 2014. It is about the events in the southeast of Ukraine, which resulted in a de facto separation from the country of its two regions. The role that the citizens of the Russian Federation played in them can be safely called a key one.
In fact: if it had not been for the raid of the Strelkov group on Slavyansk, which became the catalyst for the military-political disengagement, it is quite possible that no “people’s republics” would have arisen. And if it were not for the numerous followers of Strelkov who rushed from Russia to the rescue of the “rebellious Slav brothers”, the “DNR” and “LNR” could not have held out for more than four years – a couple of weeks. The participation of these people in the war in the Donbass is recognized in Russia quite officially. “We have never said that there are no people there who deal with certain issues, including in the military sphere, but this does not mean that there are regular Russian troops there,” Vladimir Putin said at one of his large press conferences. Ever since, from the first battles of the “Russian spring”, the runaway “internationalist warriors” are clearly divided in Russia into two categories. Those who are for “ours” are “volunteers”, and the rest are mercenaries