April 29, 2024

Returning Home to Kill


Returning Home to Kill
Jail cell. The Russian Life files

On April 25, Vyorstka revealed that some 107 persons have been killed and 100 others have been gravely injured by soldiers returning to Russia from Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The Russian independent news outlet obtained these numbers after analyzing judicial records and news stories from the media.

According to Vyorstka, soldiers committed at least 84 crimes that led to casualties, including 54 murders with 76 victims. According to the publication, prisoners who were pardoned in exchange for military service were more likely to commit murder than other former soldiers. 18 deaths were recorded as cases of grievous bodily harm. Eleven people died as a result of 9 traffic violations. Two former soldiers who were ex-convicts supplied drugs to minors, resulting in two deaths. 

Research by Vyortska demonstrated that former prisoners who committed these crimes after returning home received sentences averaging 6- to 11-years, while other former soldiers received 7.5 to 10 years in prison. In cases of bodily harm resulting in death, former Wagner Group mercenaries were less likely to receive longer sentences.

Russian Life has previously reported on the concerning trend [also this story from our print magazine] of former prisoners who served in Ukraine returning home and killing. In Yakutsk, an ex-convict killed a 34-year-old man, as well as a 64-year-old woman who won "The Best Teacher in Russia" competition. Near Nizhny Novgorod, convicted murderer Oleg Grechko burned his sister alive upon returning from Ukraine.

Women's rights groups have simultaneously noted increased domestic violence cases from veterans, some of which have led to murder. In Nizhny Novgorod, Alexander Mamayev, a veteran who was not a former prisoner, killed his wife Yekaterina while his 6- and 7-year-olds were in the apartment. 

In January 2024, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree halting the pardoning of prisoners. Contracts now offer "conditional releases" and don't end until the war in Ukraine is over. 

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