International Politics

Putin – the road to Damascus

Putin’s conducting his ideological and strategic warfare in Syria, in part using mercenaries, who previously fought against the Ukrainian army in Donbas

The Kremlin has spent from 5.1* billion to 10.3 billion Rubles to send Russian mercenaries from Wagner Group private military company (PMC), to fight in Syria. This number was reported in an investigation conducted by Russian information agency RBC.

According to the agency sources, Putin has already unofficially sent Syria up to 2,5 thousand soldiers of an as yet unnamed PMC, probably Wagner Group. The salary of each mercenary is 300 thousand Rubles, while the soldiers of the regular Russian army in Syria receive 80 thousand Rubles.

Co-owner of Moran Security Group, Boris Chikin, stated that equipment for each soldier costs up to ten thousand Rubles, including logistics, per month. Food costs about 800 rubles per day. So the price of keeping 2500 mercenaries from just one PMC in Syria is at least 170 million rubles.

Various sources and publications have reported that “Wagner” has already lost from 27 to maybe a hundred soldiers in Syria. Information about compensation for the families of the fallen varies: a source from the PMC says about 5 million Rubles, the Russian Ministry of Defence officer says about 1 million Rubles for a death,and up to 500 thousand Rubles for injury.

The sources informed me that funds for the mercenaries come both from the state and from some “private investors”. But RBC couldn’t get any clues about those “investors”, because interlocutors refused to talk about them, even off the record.

Ukrainian sources – among them media and volunteers – previously informed me about the involvement of the “Wagner group” in Putin’s hybrid “invasion” of Ukraine. The mercenaries were noted both fighting with Ukrainian army and killing leaders of the separatist forces, who became inconvenient for the Kremlin, like Bednov or Mozgovoy.

The stage is set for some more multiple state and non-state actor warfare, and it’s looking like it’s going to be big and noisy and very, very deadly, let’s hope that, at the very least, ISIS is destroyed, and Syria, eventually, gets to go back to being something like a normal country again.

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better though, it’s going to be bloody, a humanitarian crisis will likely be declared very soon, and all sorts of hollow claims will be made. The photo is of two Russian mercenaries from Wagner PMC, part of an entire division, in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor.


* One Ruble is equal to 15 cents U.S..

11 Pence in Pounds Sterling.

2 replies »

  1. Thank you, Anthony, you are so very kind, likewise, I always find out something I didn’t previously know when I read your articles. It’s a mutually beneficial activity, writing for Torchlight.


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