A new Russian mercenary force ‘Patriot’, aligned with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD), is currently operating in Syria, providing competition to the ‘Wagner Group’ run by Dmitry Prigozhin, otherwise known as ‘Putin’s Chef’.
Mercenary forces are technically illegal in Russia but have been allowed to operate abroad, and grow in stature and importance. The concept allows the Kremlin ‘plausible deniability’ in regions such as East Ukraine.
Recently, Wagner Group was caught up in a battle with American airpower and special forces supporting certain groups in southern Syria. The resulting engagement saw hundreds of Russian mercenaries killed and wounded.
Russian independent news outlet Dozhd TV (Rain) reported, “On the existence of “Patriot” correspondent Rain reported during the preparation of the report “Voenokomat Russia” interlocutor in the security services market, the officer of the Ministry of Defense and representatives of veteran organizations. The military company is also mentioned along with the Wagner PMC in the appeal to the authorities signed by retired colonel Leonid Ivashov, head of the international public organization “Honor and Homeland” Vladimir Petrov and chairman of the All-Russian Officers’ Committee Yevgeny Shabayev. All three confirmed Rain that they knew about the existence of the Patriot PMC (private military company).
“The statement contains a demand to determine the legal status of Russians who have been fighting in the PMC, it is planned to send it to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Supreme Court and the president in the near future, Shabaev said. The authors warn of the impending crisis in the veteran movement: the “All-Russian Officers’ Assembly” has received complaints for three years from the wounded in the fighting in Syria, who do not receive “social, rehabilitation and economic support” from the state due to a lack of legal status among PMC employees.”
“Patriot” is formed, among other things, from regular Russian military servicemen, Shabayev said: “It’s mainly professional citizens who, according to our information, are still serving in the Defense Ministry.”
“The Ministry of Defense officer, comparing the new PMC with the “Wagner group”, noted that the “Patriot” paid more and set combat tasks better. According to Shabaev, “depending on the specialization, salaries can reach from 400 thousand to one million rubles. The work takes a month or two, there are no longer contracts here,” added Dozhd.
“As stated in the appeal of the All-Russian Officers’ Assembly, Patriot is not the only new PMC. “There are other companies that enter the market – their exact names we do not know, but we know that they are entering Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei. Now there is a whole range of consultations on African countries, “Shabaev said.”
“One of the PMCs, which does not yet have a name, protects the construction of a Russian base in Burundi, Rain said to the Defense Ministry. Two hundred specialists – security, geologists, engineers, builders – coordinate their actions with the Foreign Ministry, the Military Space Forces (VCS) and the FSB. The existence of a Russian security project in Burundi was also mentioned in conversation with Rain by the head of the Ukrainian PMC Omega Consulting Group, Andrei Kebkalo,” wrote Dozhd.