The number of Russian prisoners has dropped by 23,000 in just two months, a decline blamed mainly on the war recruitment campaign run by the private military company Wagner, reports the independent Russian publication Mediazona, which specializes in Russian law enforcement and the prison system.
As of early September, Russia had nearly 348,000 male inmates in prisons and labor camps. That number dropped by 10,000 prisoners in early October and another 13,000 by early November, Mediazona learned from data obtained from Russia’s Penitentiary Service.
The Wagner Group began recruiting inmates in August. “Those who do not want Wagner and the prisoners to fight in Ukraine, those who talk about this topic and do not want to do anything, who do not like this topic, let’s send your children to the front! Either Wagner and the prisoners, or your children! You decide for yourselves,” Evgeni Prigozhin, the founder of the mercenary group, said in September.
The number of Russian prisoners has never decreased so strongly in recent years, not even during amnesties, notes Mediazona.
On October 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia’s “partial mobilization” action would end in two weeks. From the start, the 300,000 figure was met with skepticism, with the Russian newspaper Novaia Gazeta reporting on September 22 that the real target was one million.
The Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, showed on Saturday, November 19, that the covert mobilization that Russia is still conducting and preparation for a new wave of mobilization will likely worsen the overall quality of Russian troops sent to fight in Ukraine.
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Source From: Libertatea