Sunday, July 14, 2024

The Wagner group

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The Wagner group or private military company’s mutiny in Russia came as an egregious incident to the rest of the world. 

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Of all the places in the world, Russia was the least possible place where such can incident could have been expected to occur. Nevertheless, the mutiny took place with ubiquitous ramifications.

Under a deal with Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko, the controversial leader of this group-Yevgeny Prigozhin will move to Belarus.

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The deal envisaged that those mercenaries who didn’t participate in the insurrection attempt will be allowed defense contracts with the Russian defense ministry.

Those who participated in the insurrection will, because of ‘their service record’ will not be prosecuted.

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With so much transpiring, it is necessary to understand the nature of PMCs and its nature.

Private Military Companies-what is it?

Private Military Company or PMCs as a term is typically seen in Hollywood war movies like Zero Dark Thirty or in highly popular first person shooter games like Medal of Honor Warfighter 2010 and Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare series.

In recent pop culture, the memory of the PMC Shadow Company came with the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (2022).

Private Military Companies, therefore, refer to private entities in the defense sector of any country with a strong defense ecosystem, or to borrow the concept from former US president Dwight D Eisenhower- military-industrial complex.

These PMCs are composed of former defense personnel, mainly officers who have substantial strategic and military experience on the battlefield.

Such experience also includes planning, operations, logistics etc.  They are neither like the regular army nor lawless private militias.

While they are subjected to strict regulatory and disciplinary control from the defense and security ministries of a concerned country, they, nevertheless remain private.

Only a few countries in the world have PMCs at present, these include US, Russia & China (possibly).

PMCs- Shady entity

Private Military Companies are shady entities.

This is evident from the fact that their nature of operations, personnel’s rank and file, composition, logistics are kept under wraps, often deliberately.

The US defense ecosystem is the quintessential evidence of this PMCs ecosystem.

Former defense personnel have floated numerous PMCs and are earning billions from either US government contracts or on active involvement in operations.

These PMCs like the BlackWater PMC in the US has been accused of gross human rights violations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, a substantial portion of the US involvement in Syria was aided by PMCs.

It is, therefore, very clear that they are shady by nature and have little accountability and transparency in terms of their operations and functions.


The Wagner group has a substantial involvement in Russian operations in Syria, Libya, Malawi and in other parts of Africa.

What happens to its fate is anybody’s guess.

But, what is clear is that PMCs are controversial entities, but in India, at present, its formation appears to be a distant prospect as the Indian defense sector is booming.

Nevertheless, transparency and accountability must be ensured.





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