In addition to sick prison inmates and other criminals, the Wagner group now wants to specifically recruit raped prisoners for the Russian war in Ukraine. The aim is to create a whole new unit from the raped men.

The Wagner mercenary group has been recruiting men for the Russian war of aggression in the Ukraine for months. No means is too good for them: In addition to sick prison inmates, they freed men from Africa who had already been imprisoned for murder and rape, among other things. But now the notorious Russian group is going even further, apparently specifically recruiting raped inmates to start a new unit, the Roosters.

Rape among male inmates is not uncommon in Russia. The victims of such rapes are often excluded and beaten – they are considered “insults” or “roosters” in Russian prisons and form the lowest rank in the prison hierarchy. The Wagner group wants to take advantage of this and turn them into mercenaries in the Ukraine war.

Rapes between prison inmates are part of a power struggle in Russian prisons. Accordingly, raped men are considered the weakest link in the prison hierarchy. They are literally untouchable unless they are raped, according to a military researcher and author who tweets under the name Chris O. Wiki. Other well-known military experts also like to refer to his assessments.

Thus, the prisoners regard the status of “rooster” as a contagious disease. Since Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigoshin urgently needs new mercenaries, this is probably convenient for him.

But the men should not simply be integrated into the existing Wagner troops: “The prison regulations state that you are not allowed to shake hands with people of low social status, take objects from them or sleep with them in the same corridor or in a bunk”, wrote Prigozhin’s press service on Telegram in mid-November. The rest of the prisoners would live together, while the “roosters” would be separated from them,” Prigozhin’s press service said.

He points out that other mobilized detainees would find it unacceptable to give a “rooster” ammunition, share food with him or bandage his wounds. The only people who are allowed to associate with “roosters” are other “roosters”. Prigoshin further explains that they would not accept any “Hahne” into existing Wagner troops, but would form their own “Hahnen Division”.

And this already seems to be reality: in a video that has now surfaced, a Wagner convict talks about how Wagner mobilized the raped men. The convict reports that during a recruitment exercise at his penal colony, a Wagner representative told his group that the “roosters” were being recruited separately from another “rooster.”

And the tasks of the “roosters” are said to differ from the other mobilized inmates: according to the recruits, they are “only good for digging trenches and toilets,” reports the inmate. Because the same thing would happen to them in prison too: they would do that being forced to sleep on the floor next to open toilets, writes Chris O. Wiki.

The military expert also believes it is possible that the “roosters” could also be sent into battle as cannon fodder. But if the “roosters” were only used to dig holes, their untouchable status might make them safer than their more privileged counterparts, who are routinely implicated in suicidal attacks on Ukrainian positions, according to Chris O. Wiki.

Wagner boss Prigozhin could also have been a victim of prison rape in the past. In a video that is currently circulating on social media, Sasha Kurara reports that Prigozhin was at the bottom of the prison hierarchy.

Kurara claims to have spent some time in prison with Prigozhin. Kurara claims that the Wagner boss gave him oral sex several times in prison. Whether Kurara’s statement is true or not, it is clear that he wants to humiliate Prigozhin.

During the course of the war it was repeatedly reported that the shortage of personnel was causing massive problems for Putin’s army. To alleviate the shortage of personnel, the Wagner troupe recruits mercenaries for direct combat at the front. The untrained prisoners are said to be at the forefront of an attack as “shock troops” and often have to pay for it with their lives, even if the operations are successful. The recruitment of prisoners for the Russian armed forces is correspondingly important.

This is sold to the men as a way to redeem themselves. Because the conditions in Russian prisons are so bad that the convicts are likely to see almost anything as a better alternative. And as raped prison inmates, the “roosters” have it particularly hard, making them more likely to embrace that possibility.

Wagner – Putin’s Secret Army: An Insider’s Account