Recruiters from the Russian private military company the Wagner Group began coming to Russian penitentiaries again, where they had already recruited prisoners to the war in Ukraine, reports the news outlet Mediazona.
The inmates told reporters that now the recruitment process takes place in a less "solemn" environment. Prisoners are no longer lined up on the parade ground, and the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, does not fly in by helicopter.
In addition, 50 or 75 percent fewer inmates now agree to go to the war in Ukraine in comparison with the fall and spring. Prisoners also began to wonder how many percent of those who had previously agreed to fight had come back alive.
Trust in recruiters was also undermined by news in the media and telephone conversations with those who went to war. Only 20% of those who went to Ukraine reportedly survived in the fights for Bakhmut.
In November 2022, Mediazona reported that in September and October 2022, the number of detainees in Russian prisons decreased by 23 thousand people. After that, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service did not update the statistics for two months, and at the end of January it released new data, from which shows that the number of prisoners stopped decreasing after a record drop in the fall.