NewsRussian military personnel's crime spree: The hidden cost of the Ukraine war at home

Russian military personnel's crime spree: The hidden cost of the Ukraine war at home

Russians returning from war are a problem for the Russians themselves.
Russians returning from war are a problem for the Russians themselves.
Images source: © Unsplash | Filip Andrejevic

1:39 PM EST, December 22, 2023

Questionable practices by Russian army personnel since the beginning of the war in Ukraine have arisen. The recruitment of teenagers, abducted foreigners, the utilization of mercenaries from the Wagner Group, or criminals for whom enlisting to fight in Ukraine is their only shot at freedom - myriad such situations abound.

While data on weapon-related crimes ceased being published by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, it doesn't imply that such records stopped being maintained. The mere fact that they were expunged from records and general crime statistics does nothing to prevent access to them.

As reported by Belsat, a significant uptick in the number of such offenses in the Belgorod, Bryansk, and Kursk regions, which directly border Ukraine, had notable influence. The data suggest these regions serve as a buffer zone between war-torn Ukraine and a seemingly "peaceful and safe" Russia.

Shocking figures: Russian army causing trouble at home too

The aforementioned Belsat cites the Telegram channel Viorstka providing extraordinarily tragic statistics. According to November 2023 data, crimes involving weapons in the Belgorod region escalated 17-fold over just 12 months, and 7-fold in the Bryansk region. The record in the Bryansk region is equally grim, with a 5-fold increase in robberies.

Increased crime rates are not isolated to the border areas. Following the aforementioned border regions is the Sakhalin region which, despite a notable climb in such crimes, experienced an "only" 116.7 percent surge.

Most Russian sources point fingers at Wagner Group mercenaries, known for their path of atrocities and robberies on their way home from the front. However, they're not alone. A significant number of detained soldiers were drafted from prisons. Over 100 cases of this type of recidivism have been recorded.

By October 2023, as noted by Agienstwo portal journalists, an additional 27 civilian murders were reported on Russian territory, committed by Russian army soldiers. These are not isolated cases or mere "incidents" - it's a serious problem that’s generally not spoken about.

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