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Russian Paramilitary Organizations - Page One

Russian Private Military Companies, Page 1 of 2 pages

Last modified: 2024-07-06 by valentin poposki
Keywords: paramilitary organizations | wagner group | private military companies | pmc |
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Introduction: Russian Paramilitary Companies and Organizations

As the United States withdrew its military forces from parts of world it produced a power vacuum that has attracted other world powers to attempt to expand their influence into these areas. Russia under the control of Vladimir Putin is one such contender. Instead of deploying conventional Russian soldiers, Moscow has turned to special operations forces, intelligence units, and private military companies (PMCs) like the Wagner Group to do its bidding in many places. They are using these low-profile, deniable forces like the PMCs to do everything from providing foreign leaders with security to training, advising, and assisting partner security forces. In doing so they have faced the same problems the United States did in their Vietnam operations, the escalation of the need to use more conventual military forces. Private Russian mercenaries have been used in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Venezuela, just to name a few. With operations now suspected or proven in as many as 30 countries across four continents, PMCs are likely to play a significant role in Russian strategic competition for the foreseeable future.
Source: Paraphrased from CSIS Center for Strategic & International Studies: The Expansion of Russian Private Military Companies.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024


PMC Wagner Group
ЧВК Вагнера

According to Wikipedia "The Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, [is] a Russian paramilitary organization [and is] also described as a private military company (PMC), a network of mercenaries, and a de facto unit of the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) or Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU." (source)

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
Images are based on this photo and this photo located by William Garrison, 31 May 2023.

The Wagner Group, also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner (ChVK being the Russian abbreviation for "Private Military Company"), or CHVK Vagner (ЧВК Вагнера ChVK Vagnera, Частная Военная Компания Вагнера), is a Russian paramilitary organization. Some have described it as a private military contracting agency (of mercenaries), whose contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts, including operations in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Syrian government, as well as in the war in Donbas in Ukraine aiding the pro-Russian separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics from 2014 to 2022.
William Garrison, 10 March 2022

Now, the Wagner group flag that we have not reported previously, is the one featuring the organization's official logo on black background. Notice that they refer to its troops ironically as "musicians" on their recruitment ads, since Wagner was a renowned musician.
The logo featured a black circle with two crossed swords pointing downwards and around the outer circle, the following inscription on top ЧВК Вагнер (PMC Wagner) and counterclockwise their slogans: Кровь, честь, родина, отвага (Blood, Honor, Homeland, Courage).
Sources:
   1. Wikipedia: Wagner Group.
   2. You Tube: Wagner Group fighters seen planting their flag in Bakhmut.
   3. Russia's Wagner chief mocks Zelensky on Bakhmut.
Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023

A black-field flag with allegedly the official logo of the Russian-oriented "Wagner Group" militia around the city of Bakhmut, Eastern Ukraine; c. May 2023.
Source: https://sofrep.com/news/bakhmut-captured-wagner-group-claims/
William Garrison, 31 May 2023


Variant Wagner PMC flag used by Yevgeny Prigozhin

image by Zachary Harden, 7 July 2023

It seems this variant Wagner PMC flag was seen being used by Yevgeny Prigozhin in his home office and is being sold on the public market. (source)
Zachary Harden, 7 July 2023

Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin (Евге́ний Ви́кторович Приго́жин) is a Russian oligarch and the founder of the Wagner Group PMC. He was a "former" close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin and sometimes called "Putin's Chef," because he owns catering companies which provide food services for the Kremlin. However, in June of 2023 he refused to renew Wagner Group contracts in Ukraine with the Federation government claiming that the "...government justifications for the Russian invasion of Ukraine were based on lies." Criminal charges were filed against Prigozhin by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for inciting "an armed rebellion." PMC Wagner troops then withdrew from Ukraine and headed home towards Moscow. President Putin declared this action treason, and vowed to crush the uprising. However, after emergency negotiations the Putin Government dropped charges against Prigozhin, and although he still remains "under investigation," everything (as of now) have cooled down. (source)
Pete Loeser, 14 July 2023

Update: "On 23 August 2023, Prigozhin and Wagner commanders Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov died in a plane crash in Russia, leaving Wagner's leadership structure unclear. Western intelligence reported that it was likely caused by an explosion on board, and it is widely suspected that the Russian state was involved."
On 26 August 2023, following Prigozhin's death in a plane crash in Tver Oblast, Putin signed a decree ordering Wagner Group fighters to swear an "oath of allegiance" to the Russian state. This new oath applies to all PMCs, including those fighting in Ukraine."
Source: Wikipedia: Wagner Group
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024


Wagner PMC "Volunteer" Flag Variant

image by Pete Loeser, 13 July 2023
Based on this photo located by Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023

This Wagner PMC "Volunteer" Flag reverses the crossed swords (handles down) and uses a different variant center design of the organizational emblem. It shows the word ДОБРОВОЛЬЦЕЙ (VOLUNTEERS) instead of the organization's name across the top of the emblem. (source)
Esteban Rivera, 24 June 2023


PMC Wagner Group Shoulder Patch

image located by William Garrison, 10 March 2022
Source: Russomilitare Russian Military Equipment

The Wagner Group or PMC Wagner is believed to have been founded in 2014 by a Russian veteran of the Chechen war who named the group after Richard Wagner, the German führer's favorite composer. Not surprisingly, the skull is one of the symbols used by the Wagner Group. Many smaller PMC also operate under the larger Wagner Group protective umbrella. There are thought to be more than 10,000 Wagner armed "consultants" contracted by them today.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023


PMC Wagner Coffin Drape

Pete Loeser, 30 June 2025
based on this photo.

This combined Wagner and Russian National flag (with the vertical stripes irregularly sized) was apparently cobbled together for use as a coffin flag, probably a one-of-a-kind hand-made variant.


PMC Wagner ISIS Hunters

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2023
based on this photo and this photo located by William Garrison, 10 March 2022 and 24 June 2025.

The images above have "ISIS Hunters" on the top line, and an Arabic slogan at bottom - seen c2017 in Syria. Both flags read on the top line: "ISIS Hunters" (English), with a bottom line transliteration of "Sa'idu Da'esh" or "Sayeedu Daeish" or in Arabic: "داعش ص."
The ISIS Hunters formation was first seen in early 2017, as the Syrian government and its allies began their major push through the eastern deserts towards Deir az-Zor province. Apparently the group was set up with the intention of fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in particular. Their flag has been reported in two versions - red and black. Source: ISIS Hunters.
William Garrison, 10 March 2022 and 24 June 2023

According to RBK TV, the PMC Wagner trained a Syrian Army unit called the ISIS Hunters, which was also fully funded and trained by Russian special forces. The ISIS Hunters were one of the leading units during the capture of the al-Shaer gas fields from ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in late April 2017. After this they were one of the PMCs put in charge of guarding the refineries, with ISIL occasionally making attempts to retake the fields, each time being beaten back. (source)
Pete Loeser, 12 July 2023


Wagner Group "Musician" Flags

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 August 2023
Based on this photo.

The mercenary soldier on this green flag is holding a violin. The Wagner PMC Group ironically calls their mercenaries "musicians" and likes to show them "plucking" (playing) stringed instruments. The flag includes the phrase "The flag the whole world knows" in Russian.
Pete Loeser, 30 August 2023


Musician (ZOV) Z Flag Variants

    images by Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024
Based on this photo and this photo.

Several variants of the mercenary soldier holding a violin exist. The first example has the word ДОБРОВОЛЬЧЬ (VOLUNTEER) across the top of the emblem. The Russian initials "ZV" (or ZOV) stands for "CALL" in English. I need a little help here understand exactly what it means.
Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024


Wagner Group Z Flag Variants With Telecommunications "Call Me" Gesture

It should be noted that the telecommunications "Call Me" sign has different meanings elsewhere. It is called the Shaka sign in Hawaii; known and used popularly as the "hang loose" gesture. It is also the Chinese number gesture for "six" and in New Zealand used as a gang salute by the Mongrel Mob street gang. Jambo is also a Swahili greeting or salutation.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024

images by Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024
Based on this photo.

The first Wagner Group flag with the "Call Me" hand sign has both Солдат удачи which means "Soldier of Fortune" in Russian and the same words in English.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024

    images by Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024.

These Wagner Group Flags all contain the "Call Me" hand sign. Hopefully this can be explained better after further research.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024


PMC Wagner Group Commercial Variants

    images by Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

There is a wide selection of commercial Flag Manufacturer's PMC Wagner Group variants being sold both in the Russian Federation and world wide.
Here are some examples, they are not official to my knowledge but being marketed as both flags and banners.
Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

    images by Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

Wording in Russian you should look for are: Вагнер which is "Wagner" in Russian, and Частная Военная which is "Private Military" in English.
Pete Loeser, 15 July 2023

    images by Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024
Based on this photo and this photo.

These Flags are being sold as "PMC Redoubt Military Intelligence" or "Special Forces" Flags. This needs further exploration.
Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024

    image by Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024
Based on this photo and this photo.

Группа Вагнера means "Wagner Group" in Russian.
Pete Loeser, 30 June 2024

    images by Pete Loeser, 28 June 2024
Based on this photo and this photo.


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