Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has gone scorched earth on two former prison-inmates-turned-mercenaries who spoke publicly of the group’s war crimes after they were cut loose.
Alexei Savichev and Azamat Uldarov made headlines earlier this week with an interview to the human rights group Gulagu.net in which they gave firsthand accounts of allegedly watching battlefield executions and being ordered to kill Ukrainian civilians—including children. Both men are now in hiding somewhere in Russia after saying they’d been bombarded with threats from Wagner and told to rescind their testimony.
Prigozhin, who has already repeatedly denied their allegations and suggested it’s all part of a smear campaign possibly involving Western intelligence agencies, has now called on Russia’s top prosecutor to step in—claiming the two whistleblowers, “under foreign influence,” may be preparing “terrorist attacks” or “murders” on Russian soil.
The Wagner boss made the claim in a letter to Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov published by his press service Thursday. In a separate statement, Prigozhin suggested the two whistleblowers should not be trusted because they were, according to him, “prison bitches.”
“None of their statements has anything to do with reality. Absolutely complete nonsense and total fiction,” he wrote.
Resorting to prison slang, the mercenary boss said employees of the federal prison service may have been involved in a scheme to blackmail former prisoners using “kompromat” like prison rape videos. He suggested the two whistleblowers were ensnared in such a scheme–and then bizarrely cited “prison etiquette” to suggest the two should have been killed in prison.
“Uldarov carefully concealed [the fact that he was raped], which is a gross violation of prison ethics and, according to prison codes, is punishable by death. Alexei Savichev, according to information received from him, was raped in the ‘White Swan’ prison and concealed this fact, which, according to prison codes, is also punishable by death. They deceived their cellmates, as they continued to live like men in the zone,” he wrote.
He went on to rail against the two using homophobic slurs: “It’s not for nothing that most of the population of Russia has always lived according to the rules, because a fag always stays a fag. [Being a] faggot is a state that cannot be changed. And what we see with the changing of their testimony every five minutes is called ‘faggot behavior.’”