Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company (PMC)


Author: Andrew S. Bowen
Page Range: 389-394
Published in: Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, 38#4
ISSN: 1057-2295

Table of Contents


Russia utilizes private military companies (PMCs) to project power globally. These outfits range in size and scope and act as an unofficial (albeit nominally illegal) tool of Russian foreign policy. PMCs also appear to pursue semi-independent objectives, including monetary gain and political advantage within Russia.

The most prominent Russian PMC is the Wagner Group, headed by Kremlin-connected businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. Instead of a single entity, the Wagner Group is more of an umbrella organization for multiple entities, operations, and actors overseen by Prigozhin. During Russia’s war in Ukraine since early 2022, the Wagner Group’s role has increased and, in some areas, supplanted that of the Russian military. Beyond Ukraine, Wagner operates in multiple countries, particularly across Africa. Wagner’s rise has resulted in increased competition from other Russian agencies and political elites.

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