The leader of the Wagner Group of mercenaries is using the Russian assault on the Donetsk town of Soledar to “elevate his political stature and indirectly criticise the conventional Russian military,” according to an update published by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

 

About the ‘Wagner Group’ of mercenaries

  • The Wagner Group also known as PMC Wagner is a Russian paramilitary organisation.
  • Origin — The group is believed to have been founded in 2014 by a Russian veteran of the Chechen war who so admired Hitler he named the group after Richard Wagner, the führer’s favorite composer.
  • The skull is the symbol of the Wagner Group.
  • The organisation first came to the world’s attention in 2014, fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
  • The organisation has also been active across Africa in recent years — Libya, Sudan, Mozambique, Mali and the Central African Republic.
  • Today there are thought to be some 10,000 Wagner Group members.
  • The U.S. government has called Wagner a “proxy force” of Russia’s defence ministry.

 

What does the term ‘führer’ mean?

  • Führer, also spelled Fuehrer means leader.
  • It is a title used by Adolf Hitler to define his role of absolute authority.
  • As early as July 1921 he had declared the Führerprinzip (“leader principle”) to be the law of the Nazi Party.