Wagner Group

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
PMC Wagner
StatusDe jure dissolved in June 2023 (per Russia)
De facto active (per itself)
IdeologyRussian nationalism
Neo-Nazism (allegedly)
Allegiance Donetsk People's Republic (2014–2015)
Luhansk People's Republic (2014–2015)
Syria (2015–present)
Russia (2022–2023, 2023–present)
FoundersDmitry Utkin  
Yevgeny Prigozhin  
LeadersPavel Prigozhin
HeadquartersSaint Petersburg, Russia
Size~50,000 (December 2022)
Allies Russian Armed Forces
Syrian Armed Forces
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Central African Armed Forces
Libyan National Army
Rapid Support Forces
Mozambique Defence Armed Forces
Malian Armed Forces
PMC "Convoy"
Battles and war(s)War in Donbas
Syrian civil war
South Sudanese Civil War
Central African Republic Civil War
Second Libyan Civil War
Sudanese Revolution
Venezuelan presidential crisis
Insurgency in Cabo Delgado
Mali War
Russian invasion of Ukraine
2023 Sudan conflict
Wagner Group rebellion
2023 Tver plane crash
2023 Israel–Hamas war

The Wagner Group (Russian: Группа Вагнера, Gruppa Vagnera), officially PMC Wagner (Russian: ЧВК «Вагнер», ChVK «Vagner»),[1] is a Russian paramilitary, mercenary group, and private military company founded in 2014 by the late Dmitry Utkin and Yevgeny Prigozhin. The group is well known for its alleged involvement in war crimes and neo-Nazism. It usually fights on the side of the Russian government and is sometimes considered Vladimir Putin's private militia, although it rebelled against the Russian government briefly in 2023. The group is currently led by Pavel Prigozhin.

The Wagner Group came to prominence during the War in Donbas and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, especially in the Battle of Bakhmut.[2][3] It previously helped separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics from 2014 to 2015. Its contractors have taken part in various conflicts around the world—including the civil wars in Syria (on behalf of the Syrian Armed Forces),[4] Libya (on behalf of the Libyan National Army),[5] the Central African Republic (on behalf of the Central African Armed Forces),[6] Mali (on behalf of the Malian Armed Forces),[7] and Sudan (on behalf of the Rapid Support Forces).[8] Additional activities have been reported, though unconfirmed, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (on behalf of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo).[9] It usually fights on the side of forces aligned with the Russian government.

In 2023, the Wagner Group launched a rebellion against the Russian Ministry of Defense. The leader of the company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed that the Russian Armed Forces had attacked his forces and that Wagner was going to unleash revenge upon the Russian government. This was followed by a battle in Rostov-on-Don.[10][11] The rebellion ended after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko negotiated a peace deal.[12][13]

Following the rebellion, Wagner was de jure dissolved in Russia and many of its fighters were forced to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense. The de facto remnants of the group relocated to Belarus and set up new bases just north of the border with Ukraine.[14] Not long afterwards, the 2023 Niger coup d'état allowed a military junta to seize power in Niger. The new government allowed Wagner to establish a presence.[15] A month later, Prigozhin and Utkin were presumed dead in the 2023 Tver plane crash.[16]

After Prigozhin's death, his son Pavel Prigozhin became the new leader of the group.[17] Wagner forces began returning to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,[18] although many of the group's previous activities in Ukraine had been mostly taken over by Redut. Wagner also joined the 2023 Israel–Hamas war on the side of Hezbollah.[19]

Leadership[change | change source]

Prigozhin (left) and Utkin (right)

The Wagner Group started in 2014 when Russia took over Crimea.[20] Until 2022, it wasn't clear who started and ran the group. Dmitry Utkin and Yevgeny Prigozhin were both named as founders and leaders. During Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Prigozhin said he started Wagner and was its head. Some sources say Prigozhin paid for it, while Utkin led its military side.[21]

Yevgeny Prigozhin[change | change source]

People talked a lot about Prigozhin being connected to Wagner and Utkin.[22][23] He was called "Putin's chef" because he cooked for Putin. He was thought to give the most money and really own Wagner. He said he wasn't connected to Wagner and even sued some news sources for saying he was. In 2022, he said he started the group and called it the Wagner Battalion. He became the face of Wagner, but he wasn't in the military, so Utkin actually led the fighting.[24]

Dmitry Utkin[change | change source]

Utkin was in the Russian military before Wagner. He was a commander in special forces and fought in wars. Many say he founded Wagner and led it at first. Some say he named the group after his fake name "Wagner." The European Union put sanctions on Wagner and said Utkin was the leader. He was in charge of the fighting part, while Prigozhin owned it.[25]

Konstantin Pikalov[change | change source]

Pikalov was in charge of Wagner's work in Africa in 2019. He was in a special military unit in Russia before. After he retired, he ran a detective agency. He helped suppress opponents of a Russian-backed leader. He traveled near Ukraine a lot and was part of military actions there and in Syria.

Foreign relations[change | change source]

Allies[change | change source]

Opponents[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "What is the Wagner Group, Russia's mercenary organisation?". [1] The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  2. CGTN. "Ukraine denies Russian Wagner's claim on full control of Bakhmut". news.cgtn.com. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  3. Kiley, Sam (2023-05-22). "Wagner forces claim to have taken Bakhmut. But Ukraine's forces could still exact a heavy toll". CNN. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  4. Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (2018-05-24). "How a 4-Hour Battle Between Russian Mercenaries and U.S. Commandos Unfolded in Syria". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  5. "Libya: Russia's Wagner Group Set Landmines Near Tripoli". Human Rights Watch. 2022-05-31. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  6. "Russian mercenaries exploit African country as they fight in Ukraine". NBC News. 2023-06-01. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  7. Burke, Jason (2023-05-20). "Russian mercenaries behind slaughter of 500 in Mali village, UN report finds". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Arvanitidis, Nima Elbagir,Gianluca Mezzofiore,Tamara Qiblawi,Barbara (2023-04-20). "Exclusive: Evidence emerges of Russia's Wagner arming militia leader battling Sudan's army". CNN. Retrieved 2023-06-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Wagner Group expands influence in DRC, Africa - Robert Lansing Institute". lansinginstitute.org. 2023-01-13. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  10. "Wagner chief vows to topple Russian military leaders". BBC News. 2023-06-23. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  11. "Wagner PMC 'armed coup' attempt in Russia: all the latest news". RT International. Retrieved 2023-06-24.
  12. "Belarus deal to take in leader of Russian rebellion puts him in an even more repressive nation". AP News. 2023-06-25. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  13. "Putin Turned to Belarus Leader Lukashenko to Broker Truce Deal". WSJ. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Wagner: Satellite images reveal Belarus camp arrival". BBC News. 2023-07-18. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Niger's junta asks for help from Russian group Wagner as it faces military intervention threat". AP News. 2023-08-05. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  16. "Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead in a plane crash outside Moscow". AP News. 2023-08-23. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  17. "Russian mercenary group Wagner is back, now under leadership of Yevgeny Prigozhin's son Pavel: Report". WION. Retrieved 2023-11-05.
  18. "Some Wagner Troops Return to Ukraine to Resume Fighting, Kyiv Says". Voice of America. 2023-09-27. Retrieved 2023-11-05.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Russia's Wagner group to enter Israel-Hamas war and provide air support to Hezbollah; Pentagon expresses concern". Hindustan Times. 2023-11-03. Retrieved 2023-11-05.
  20. Andrew S. Bowen (23 March 2023). Russia's Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) (Report). Congressional Research Service.
  21. "In Prigozhin's shadow, the Wagner Group leader who stays out of the spotlight". Global News. 29 June 2023.
  22. "The man allegedly behind Russia's 'troll factory' is reportedly trying to buy the news outlet that keeps exposing his business empire — Meduza". Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  23. "Кухня частной армии". 9 June 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  24. "Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin admits founding Wagner mercenary group". the Guardian. 2022-09-26. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  25. "The Ghost of Civil War in Russia?". SCEEUS. 20 June 2023. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  26. "Not Only Wagner: Russian Offensive in Libya". Warsaw Institute. 2023-07-19. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  27. Doxsee, Catrina (2023-06-26). "Prigozhin's Uncertain Future Could Help United States Dislodge Wagner Group in Africa". Center for Strategic and International Studies.