Russian convicts freed to fight

Russian convicts freed to fight

Russia has been releasing prisoners to fight in Ukraine for more than a year, while, originally offering them a pardon and freedom after six months, even if they have been convicted of a violent crime.


When the mass recruitment of Russian prisoners started in the summer of 2022, it was led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the head of the Wagner private military group, while, Prisoners were offered a clean record, full pardon and allowed to go home after six months on the battlefield.


For, Prigozhin, before he died in a plane crash in August, said that almost 50,000 Russian prisoners had been dispatched to the front line under this deal, and similar figures have been cited by human rights activists, while, thousands of those prisoners died, but others, including dozens convicted of violent crimes returned home, with some going on to re-offend and even commit murder.


The Russian military took over the scheme in February 2023, initially offering the same incentives as Prigozhin, and the arrangement meant prisoners released to fight could go home after six months and were in a more privileged position than regular soldiers. That upset men who had been mobilized and their families.

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