Cover Osteuropa 11/2022

In Osteuropa 11/2022

Russia’s Irregular Armies
The “Wagner” Example

Andreas Heinemann-Grüder

Deutsche Fassung


The importance of irregular military companies in Russia’s policy to extend its influence has increased since the annexation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine in 2014-2015. Russia’s military companies are an expression of how business and siloviki have merged to form so-called “siloarchs”. They are the Russian regime’s shock troops for ousting Western powers and pro-Western politicians in the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, they are war profiteers and serve as task forces for missions involving increased risk and a need for secrecy. These military companies act in coordination with the Ministry of Defence, the FSB, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the presidential administration in the Kremlin. Thus, they are not private. They practice an exterminatory way of war that is based on and further develops experience gained in the Chechen wars.

(Osteuropa 11/2022, pp. 127–156)