How It Really Happened In Syria: A PMC Overly-Dramatic Retelling With Bonus ISIS Hunting Stories

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How It Really Happened In Syria: A PMC Overly-Dramatic Retelling With Bonus ISIS Hunting Stories

A screenshot of the memoir cover from Instagram. Click to see full-size image

On December 2nd, the outlet Meduza published an interview with a Russia-linked private military contractor, who allegedly took part in the Russian campaign in Syria.

Meduza is a neo-liberal website based in Riga. However, its content is exclusively in Russian. It is heavily anti-Russian biased and receives funding for its propaganda work against Russia from Western special structures. It also has links with Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is hiding in London and sponsoring various neo-liberal organizations and grant-suckers to promote anti-Russian narratives inside Russia.

The person in question is an individual named Marat Gabidullin, who, according to Meduza, was a member of the mythical Wagner PMC. He even wrote a book about it.

Gabidullin gave an interview to Meduza special correspondent Liliya Yapparova.

The interesting fact is that Gabidullin himself did not use the term “Wagner” in the interview. The open secret is that such ‘private military company’ does not officially exist and this is just a brand adopted by Western diplomats and mainstream media to call groups of Russia-linked private military contractors that operate around the world. Nonetheless, this does not stop the ‘democratic press’ from spreading the ‘Wagner’ myth.

Gabidullin talks about the experiences behind his memoir, how he came to the decision to go public about authoring the book, and why he hopes the publication will bring the Wagner PMC’s alleged owner — Russian catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s Chef” — “to his senses.”

The interview, and Gabidullin’s entire book is a nice preview of the current narratives in mainstream media regarding “Wagner”, Russia-linked PMCs, and the greatness of US soldiers and Apache helicopters that are impossible to defeat, and more.

According to his story, he spent 5 years in Russia’s Airborne Forces, and then he allegedly became a PMC in 2015. He reportedly signed a contract with Evro Polis — a Russian firm linked to billionaire oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin, which is allegedly under contract with the Syrian government to liberate and protect oil fields in Syria.

It is interesting, however, that Evro Polis was formed in the summer of 2016, but he somehow signed a contract with it in 2015.

“Evro Polis OOO is a company based in Russia, with its head office in Krasnogorsk. It operates in the Coal Mining industry. The company was established on July 13, 2016,” as the website EMIS sets out.

“Their openness and directness was immediately to my liking,” he recalled in conversation with Meduza. “Nobody hid the possible consequences — they spoke honestly: ‘Guys, you’re destined for war [in places] where our state has interests. Prepare yourselves for the fact that this could turn out badly for you. Fatally.”

His tale is quite dramatic.

Meduza’s article is filled with claims about Wagner, about Prigozhin and more. Notably, in the entire interview Gabidullin doesn’t mention the word Wagner, not even once. He doesn’t mention it in the English version, nor in the much longer Russian version of the interview.

According to the interview, it even turned out that Prigozhin himself read a part of his book, and asked for the entire thing. He even gave him ideas for his creative pseudonym.

“Prigozhin came up with this pseudonym for me. ‘Martin’ is the name of my alter ego in the book, and ‘Ded’ was my own call sign. They called me that because I was the oldest [in my unit]: I was [born] in 1966 after all. My beard is already gray.”

Prigozhin has allegedly known about the book for quite some time:

“Back in 2017, when I was working as his assistant, he familiarized himself with the draft. At first I gave him a piece about Palmyra — he read it and asked for the entire book: ‘Everything you wrote, give it here’.”

I just wanted him to read it. [This] proceeded from the fact that there was a lot of happening in Syria that he didn’t really know about. At the time a lot of people had latched on [to the PMC] and were actually stealing money from Prigozhin — only he never wanted to admit it. Somehow he had this wild conviction that he was doing well. Although our logistics services bought knee pads for working in the garden instead of tactical ones. These were honestly pillows for roaming vegetable patches — you [can’t] fall on rocks in these, but according to the documents they were the real deal. Explicit theft!”

And Prigozhin, who is allegedly one of the many subjects of “evil overlord Vladimir Putin” actually wanted “the truth to come out” – the truth for his alleged clandestine PMC which he vehemently and continuously denies is even remotely related to.

Below are some quotes from the book:

In Libya, according to Gabidullin, Russia-linked PMCs lost quite a bit of fighters. Meduza says Wagner lost members, but the interviewee himself never mentions that name. According to the interview, the PMC leader allegedly stopped being a “commander” and began being a “businessman.”

“As a tactician and a strategist he covers all of our generals. But there were times when he could have demanded more resources for fulfilling tasks from the senior leadership. But he didn’t use this commander’s right: he simply didn’t want to argue with his superiors. And the guys just ended up turning into cannon fodder. In 2017, for example, you couldn’t go take oil fields with such weapons and amounts of ammunition — it’s simply impossible. But the military said to go. When the mortar operators just don’t have enough mines and you drive people “forward and forward,” you aren’t a commander any longer. You’re a businessman: take the [oil] fields and you’ll receive a prize. In the end, the soldiers stopped trusting their commanders — and this isn’t even the only reason. Since 2018, some of the commanders have taken up half the bonus funds allocated to the unit, and the rest — crumbs — is distributed to the combatants.”

He even had some shocking questions asked about the contractors that were allegedly sent to Libya:

“In 2019, I got an order to send Syrians from our “ISIL Hunters” unit to Libya immediately. When they got there, I got a call from “Pioneer” [a commander]: “Listen, those ones you sent, can they be used as suicide bombers?” What kind of normal person asks that! Moreover, about my guys.”

Then he alleged that PMCs were doing the brunt of the fighting in Syria, not the Russian military.

“For a second week, “Martin” was at the Khmeimim military base among Russian soldiers — clean, well-groomed, and well-fed ones. The residential units had air conditioning, sports facilities, showers, cafes — legionnaires could only dream of such conditions. The tank museum, which was organized on taxpayers’ money, had pedestals and obelisks — all of these strange decorations caused the mercenary to ask only one question: “What, they have nothing else to do? The eastern bank of the Euphrates has been lost, for the second year you can’t come within 200 kilometers outside of Idlib!” Later, a colonel admits to “Martin” that he joined the prestigious Syrian trip thanks to a bribe amounting to a first month’s salary in a hot spot.”

In his interview then he partakes in some more insults regarding the Russian armed forces:

“The paratroopers and marines are lazy bones who are swimming in fat on that base,” Gabidullin said, when asked about Russian air base operating in Khmeimim, Syria.

“I heard how our soldiers in Khmeimim boasted of their exploits: ‘We completed such a task: we sat in secret all night!’ That means they were sitting in a security outpost.”

In 2019, Gabidullin allegedly was in Khmeimim Airbase and was responsible for taking care of the bodies of contractors who have died in the fights, according to his story.

“I was immediately faced with the fact that as it turns out, we can’t bury our soldiers in a dignified manner. We [at the base in Khmeimim] didn’t have any options — only a refrigerator. They had to be taken to the hospital in Latakia, so that the Syrians could wash them with a hose, put them first in antediluvian zinc coffins, and then into plywood boxes. Of course, there was no one to apply makeup or bring the body back to a normal state.

I never thought it would be so difficult to do this work. […] How many people died like that? Providing exact data is like giving the government agencies a reason to make claims against me. But many people died.”

He then, couldn’t really say anything but tell the Riga-based outlet that these deaths were hidden by the Kremlin, since this was the legacy of the previous, Soviet regime.

Gabidullin said that it’s “our only legacy passed on from one regime to another: hiding the truth from ourselves.”

“They were ashamed to say that there were deaths in Czechoslovakia [in 1968], they were ashamed to say that there were deaths in Afghanistan. The whole world knows that a Russian PMC is fighting — only our people wouldn’t recognize us,” he says. “And after that no one will give the dead a star posthumously, no one will provide for their relatives.”

The Russian version of the interview has some more interesting claims that were not translated into the English one.

Notably, he insulted Suheil Hassan, the commander of the Tiger Forces.

According to Gabidullin, Hassan was “a parasite” who was simply being protected by Russia’s “GRU”.

“Or the same Suheil. Our relationship with him began with Akerbat: the PMC took him, but the guys were ordered to retreat to the starting point – and then Suheil’s column approached and began to clear the empty city under television cameras.”

So, according to his story, the Tiger Forces, one of the most adequate Syrian factions in the fight against the terrorists in the hot phase of the war in Syria, were actually freeloaders and PMCs did the fighting.

Other stories that somehow didn’t make it in the English version, likely because they sounded a bit too far-fetched.

His scariest fight was allegedly versus the US, because the Apache helicopters were so impressive that they were impossible to hit.

The ISIS Hunters also did no fighting, they actually took photos of themselves in Palmyra after the PMCs won the fight.

Some commanders allegedly took half the bonuses and gave no funds to their subordinates.

The entire interview is filled with quite a bit of inconsistencies, and as mentioned Gabidullin makes no mention of actual Wagner or anything of the sort, this is added entirely by Meduza. After Meduza published the Gabidullin interview, more than 20 websites, including Express Gazeta, Pravda.ru, and Dni.ru, published articles claiming that Vladimir Lorchenkov — a Canadian writer of Russian origin — “uncovered a lot of inconsistencies and falsehoods” in the mercenary’s story. Furthermore, the publishing house that was to publish the book said that the author himself decided to stop the publication. According to Meduza, of course, that’s just the regime operating to censor it, despite the ‘owner’ of the mythical Wagner PMC – Yevgeny Prigozhin allegedly encouraged the author to do so.

It is interesting to recall how “Reverse Side Of the Medal”, a Telegram and YouTube channel known connections to Russian PMCs, described the role of Yevgeny Prigozhin, “Putin’s Chef”, reacting to the interview. Below is a direct translation of how “Reverse Side Of the Medal” describes him.

An attempt to link the personality of businessman Prigozhin and PMC Wagner:

Listen, neither we nor any of our comrades have ever seen him, except in the photo in your investigations. He did not give us battle tanks. I did not see off the last journey. Didn’t meet me from the plane. His name was not seen on any papers. (He) didn’t hand over chocolates. All the tools we use and the prizes received for their use were donated by the Syrian side as a token of gratitude. We are sure that if this Prigozhin was not somewhat close with Putin, no one would be interested in his personality at all, the binding of his person is simply politically beneficial. And, even assuming that Prigozhin, of whom you never cease to dream, has some connection to this organization and is (in your words) its sponsor, then it turns out that he is not an oligarch (as you write), but a patron of the arts. Who else in Russia gives private money for the fight against terrorism? But this is us figuratively. Let’s repeat where we started – we are not familiar with him.”

The existence of Russia-linked private military contractors and their participation in the conflict in Syria and developments in some other countries around the world are an open secret. In Syria, where Russia-linked PMCs played a role in defeating ISIS and other terrorists, they operate in the so-called ‘gray zone’ as officially they do not exist (private military companies are banned in Russia). At the same time, in the event of Syria, these PMCs are used as a useful tool of the war on terror and the implementation of the Russian foreign policy in the region. In most other regions where they were spotted, these PMC groups have a similar role. This is the key difference between Russia-linked PMCs and their Western counterparts. While Western PMCs are ready to fight for any side that pay money, Russia-linked contractors are often the providers of the interests of Russia-linked business and, in some cases, even the Russian state.

At the same time, the shady status of these PMCs plays its own negative role allowing mainstream organizations to fuel various speculations and create fairy tales about the ‘Big Bad Russians’ that came to destroy ‘democracy’ (it remains unclear where they found it) in the Middle East and Africa. As always in the recent years, the Russians appeared to be effective on the battlefield, but weak in propaganda.

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Cromwell

I would say this is total fantasy,the only thing that makes sense is this comes out of the Nazi state of Latvia.

Harry Smith

If PMC are so effective, why then USA couldn’t overthrow Maduro?

occupybacon

Because nobody controls their drugs dosage and they brag on twitter before going to action.

Assad must stay

Hahahahhaha

Lone Ranger

That guy is the military version of Navalny.
90% lies 10% Truth.

Cromwell

He probably lives with his Mum and gets dressed up at weekends and goes charging about his local woodland.

roland

And what’s your involvement being in this conflict? I dare say that guys done a lot more than you in this war. If I had seen action in a warzone and then saw that comment you made while sitting safely behind your computer screen I would give you a good slapping.

Volker

IMO 90% Lies 5% Exaggeration and 5% Truth at most.

roland

There probably is a lot of bullshit in that book but I would say there would be truth in it too truth that is worth listening to.and one things for sure being a merc is thankless and dangerous work and it must be hard to find the motivation to fight when you know noone in the world gives a shit about you.

Icarus Tanović

99% lies. Just like that guy that claimed that he’s most deadlies sniper in history, and lied that he smacked Jesse Ventura too. In the end the bum haven’t been in Army/Navy/Marines at all.

occupybacon

Ahh Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian billionaire with only father Jewish, but not his mother… very strange for a Putin’s friend :D

Mark M. Nobelman

I am going to be completely fair in my assessement of the situation first of all kudos for the editor for providing a very balanced take on the syrian war from the PMC point of view and this is a fact that I knew all a long.

1. I have been telling this to the Iranians, Hezbollah and the SAA who technically lost the war in 2015 to the rebels that the so-called hero Solemni actully sold the RED-territories that is held by Assad entirely to Russia once he went to Moscow in 2015 to convince Putin to intervene and he had to come concession and as you can see Prigozhin Is there to collect the energy rights which is the oil because Solemni signed all the oil and energy rights to the Russians.

2. I hear alot about Armenia selling themselves out but the once who truly sold themselves out is the Iranians, Hezbollah and SAA they completely sold the territory to the russian and all the energy rights. The Turks knew this all along that the red-territories are indeed in Russian hands hence why they negotiation with Russian regarding anything from the red-territories and the same with the Americans who have a deconfliction zone between them. In Armenia’s defense it is only a tiny space in artskah but here the Russians gained a large territory plus its energy rights. Vladimir Putin is the direct defacto leader in Damascus.

3. They wanted initially to fight back against protesters but somehow ended up in an occupation and this should serve as a hard lesson for them that the world is indeed a ruthless place and that everyone is looking out for him self just like how that company came in to collect Russian assets which is the energy rights sold to them.

How did the Iranians, Hezbollah and SAA make this massive mistake and lose their sovereignty in the process because they were in a position of desparation instead of fighting for themselves they put themselves in a whole another mess.

You gotta learn one thing in this world ”Never ever debat yourself with anyone even if he has more strength then you just fight them and self-determination. Never accept to become the supporting role in your own movie or battle but the protagonist. It is just shame that a country of Iran’s magnitude got sidelined like that and got nothing out of Syria. They are supporting role and the Russians are the men in the house

Dawn

lol :)) no wonder no one listen to what you are telling mate..

Mark M. Nobelman

Doesn’t matter as I only touched upon the truth and something everybody already knows

Bill Wilson

Putin was only concerned about retaining the naval base in 2015 and getting the cowardly Alwite militias engaged in the fighting assisting the SAA. Iran was more concerned about getting repaid for their loans of fuels and money to Damascus so insisted to obtain control of Syria’s mineral resources. Assad wisely awarded the restoration of the oil and gas fields to Russian companies then awarded the Iranians with a few phosphate mines and rebuilding a destroyed thermal electrical generation plant east of Aleppo. The Russians got a lot done while the Iranians did next to nothing so lost control of the mines and the contract to rebuild the generation plant. Assad then gave the Iranians a concession for cell phone services that was operated by Syrians so couldn’t be fucked up by the Persians.

Mark M. Nobelman

I just wanna highlight that most of his accounts here align mostly with Rebel accounts of the battles and recordings of the battle grounds.

This man’s credibility is legit because the ememies side even confirm some of his tales to be ground factual and there were even few of the PMC who split from the PMC and joined the rebels

HB_Norica

Just to be clear …. you were able to make this assessment from reading the article ???

I read it and all I got was “now theres a pile of unsubstantiated horse shit masquerading as journalism”

Mark M. Nobelman

I know the editor didn’t initially like what this private contractor had to say but he still shared his point of view which is completely factual and seems legit as it matches what the rebels have been saying for years now and also matches the US accounts of Deir-Ezzor his definitely legitimate and candid about the events he witnessed

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda

Sound like some truth, some BS.

He claimes to have worked as Prigozhins assistant in regards to PMC matters after his injury. Could be possible, according to his story he signed up even before the formal formation of the group, was one of or the oldest and had a leader position.
Funny though, that he declines to provide any evidence at all on this.

But it is a story that must be verifiable as truth or lie one way or the other.
So it should be possible for us to know the truth at some later time.

Still, the whole situation of PMCs being illegal and an open secret in Russia is not helpful for anyone. Not for the legionaires, not for the PMC leadership (Prigozhin or not, though it must be someone close to Putin, and why not someone like Prigozhin who Putin trusts more than nearly anyone) and certainly not for the military and political leadership.

Such a situation breeds ineffiancy, corruption. Soldiers must be controlled by the military and state leadership, if they should act as effeciant tools to further the interests of that state.
This situation of PMCs being illegal and at the same time aimed to be used as military tools can not be sustaiable.

Just make it official, change the damn law, and integrate them into the official command structure of the miliary.

To this report: I would advise to keep an open mind. There are certainly some nice nuggets of information in it, if one seperates it from the hyperbole and infowar of this western sponsored news outlet and of the framing that SF does too.
I guess we can find the whole truth in some years time.

big lebowski

They need the plausible deniability.

Everyone knows that the Russian PMCs in Libya are doing Russia’s bidding.

But none can prove this and Russian MoD can deny it.

Cromwell

comment image

roland

One thing I have learnt to do is to always listen to what the enemy is saying because a lot of it often has a lot of truth to it.and let’s face it Russia did not really try to get rid of the jihadists. I am really angry at them these days. Those jihadist are mostly running around in old pick up trucks armed with light weopons as if the Russians with their military, tech, and intelligence assets couldn’t have completely defeated the jihadists by now.this war should be over by now and Russia is to blame for the needless deaths that are occurring.

David Parker

Jihadist head choppers only lightly armed? The turks own the air over their heads, Turkish drones have cost the SAA 5 to 1 in material losses. The Turks jam the S-400 and own the battlefield. They can do anything they want to the SAA, only the threat of direct Russian counterattack keeps Erdogan from a full scale invasion of Syria.

Servet Köseoğlu

He claims that Wagner’s leaders never considered that Turkey might become involved in Libya, and that the Libya mission was organized by idiots

Translation:

Wagnerovski getting cut off and encircled in Tripoli by an unprecedented assault by Turkish army which mobilized the small portion of Syrian mercenaries with support of Tb2 drones covering up the sky.

As expected, the mighty battle-hardened Syrian warriors encouraged by Turkish support and sympathy are lead in combat by their fearsome godlike war chiefs who ride across the battlefield on their pulse pounding chariots striking fear and panic attacks in the hearts of degenerate Wagnerovski pυssies…xD

Icarus Tanović

The punk from London have stolen multi billion dollar worth of Russia’s wealth. Now he’s wanted in Russia as a criminal, so no wonder that he kinda doesn’t likes Russia.

Assad must stay

I wish london would make him go back to russia, so he would get fried, hahahahahahaha

Shlomo Shekelstein

Yeah, “his” book, he’s a new Tolstoy.

Just an old grizzled merc telling ‘his war stories’ while sharing a bottle of vodka with CIA provocateurs from Riga. Or 2-3 bottles of vodka….

Volker

Probably just a grift to make some money, I bet this so-called ‘Book’ is ‘Highly Likely’ co-fabricated by some fanatical russophobe ‘Ghost Writer’ from the UK’s Deep-State propaganda/disinfo off-shoots ‘Integrity Initiative’ + ‘Institute for Statecraft’ the two infamos creators + bullshitter organizations who invented the Scripal + Navalny Poisoning Hoaxes.

Assad must stay

What a bunch of bullshit, hiw is this guy not ashamed of himself?