March 09, 2023

The Wizard and His Little Wagners


The Wizard and His Little Wagners
At the inauguration event of the Wagner Group's new youth organization. Meduza, Instagram.

The Russian paramilitary mercenary organization Wagner Group hosted an event in St. Petersburg to inaugurate its youth club, "Wagnerenyok" (Little Wagner).

Law student Alexander Tronin, a former member of the youth parliament in St. Petersburg, runs the club. Tronin's involvement began when he was kicked out of the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. After the incident, representatives of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin recruited Tronin to run their youth organization.

The youth group began its work in late January. Wagnereniok aims to recruit teens and connect them to prominent Wagner Group members, the military, and high-ranking government officials, including famous former spy Maria Butina.

Wagnereniok's VKontakte page states: "The Youth Club implements various activities and everyone can find something to their liking. Starting from military-patriotic training and volunteering, ending with a political club and debates." Participants can submit projects for funding as "patriotic projects." Wagner has previously hosted a youth hackathon meant to improve military drones. To be considered for admission, new members must contact the group on social media, bring their passports, and provide two photos and an autobiography.

The press event was presided over by Victor Shmarkovsky, a former special forces agent who reportedly puzzled the audience with claims that he uses hypnosis to recruit participants. When an attendee prompted him, the former agent said he "radiates delta waves." According to Schmarkovsky, his brain is tolerant to any blow because of an accumulation of fluid formed in a particular zone. Shmarkovsky proceeded to call himself the "child of the first atomic bomb."

You Might Also Like

Notes at the Front

Notes at the Front

Musicians have not been spared from the criminalization of protest and expression. We also share Ilya Yashin's final words.
Not That Way
  • February 26, 2023

Not That Way

Vladimir Putin revoked a 2012 decree aimed at economic integration with the EU and supporting Moldovan sovereignty.
Another Political Prisoner
  • February 20, 2023

Another Political Prisoner

A court in Barnaul sentenced an independent Russian journalist for "fake news" about the Russian army.
Bye-Bye, YouTube?
  • February 23, 2023

Bye-Bye, YouTube?

The news outlet Meduza has suggested that it is likely the Russian government will block YouTube in the near future.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955