News: Former Wagner commander flees to Norway and seeks asylum

Death has been described as a bend in the road after a long journey called life. In India, where afterlife is a continuation of the life here, death has been described in the Bhagvadgita as being akin to changing your clothes. After the previous one gets soiled, you put on a clean new shirt. The Russian territory has mostly two kinds of weather, very cold or extremely cold. In either, a bath is generally out of the question and changing clothes without taking a bath more so. It is thus that the Indian version of death is not very appealing to the Russians. The West is more focussed on frequent changes for career advancement; in the West, death is the blind curve on the mountain road. It is more like a change of job; you move from familiar to the unfamiliar, with its baggage of hopes and fears. That is what the head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin (YP), had in mind as he looked at the pile of bodybags of his recruits from the prisons. For an ordinary human being suffering from the debilitating human disease called emotions, it would be a sad moment – the “do and die soldiers” attracted towards him by the lure of a few thousand dollars for sustaining their families, now lying cold and still in the darkness of the bags. The least they would have expected from their commander was a salute as a farewell. But their commander is no soldier; he is a billionaire businessman better known as Putin’s chef. To prove the point, he has millions of dollars worth of catering contracts for the Russian state. His mercenaries stoke fights in the countries of pompous dictators in Africa and then support at least one side, if not both. For that privilege, the host dictator lets him plunder gold and diamonds of the nation.

Most of those in the bodybags were convicts. YP had gone to the prisons and had lectured them that they could serve the motherland as he was serving by becoming rich. For the killers among the convicts, there was the additional lure of killing as many as one can, not only Ukrainians or the Westerners who had come to assist them. It was always a pleasure to kill the latter particularly because there were a lot of dollar bills in their pockets and their weapons were proud keepsakes. But the convicts could also kill Russians, as they had done before their conviction, but now for the patriotic reason of preventing their retreat or surrender to Ukraine. No proof of guilt was needed and the convict’s word was the clinching evidence. So the convict shall be the accuser, prosecutor, witness, judge and the executioner, all rolled into one. Happiness is the name of the road that leads to Wagner.

There were a few inconveniences, minor for the most part. The prisons were reasonably warm and the bed was reasonably dry. The frontier was snow bound and obviously, the trenches could not be heated. In addition, there was slush and mud. The few bullets that each convict, now called a soldier, was given were spent on firing at the sounds made by Ukrainian guns, mostly invisible because the perfidious Americans make them so long-range. It is thus that no bullets were left for killing Ukrainians and the Russians who have as much love for life as anyone else and retreat as the former advance on the trenches of the latter. The name of the game was slaughter and there was no level playing field. Ukrainian ammunition appeared to be never-ending, maybe it breeds. Russia’s stuff, much of it of WW II vintage was good for making a light and sound show, if you were not very particular about the target. Zelensky is making a lot of song and dance about residential areas being hit. Well, the idea was to kill Ukrainians and they happen to live in residential areas.

Former Wagner commander Medvedev has fled to Norway. He says there were two minor inicdents that made him lose his faith in his chef chief. When YP saw the pile of bodybags, he smirked, “That is the end of their contract.” Medvedev must be hypersensitive to words; what YP said was essentially true. The departed had just changed their jobs even though they were still wearing Wagner shirts. The shirts were a parting gift. Maybe, Medvedev has swallowed too much of political correctness. If that is the case, then it was a mistake for him to be born in Russia that alongwith China makes a fourth of humanity where political correctness on the part of the Party or military is an offence. For the rest of the population, it is an offence not to be politically correct. Call Putin’s “Limited Military Invasion” a “war” and you will be gifted a bodybag.

The other incident which disturbed Medvedev and made him leave his motherland was again a routine punishment for desertion. One of the loyal soldiers took a sledgehammer and bludgeoned the deserter, a fair dessert for not liking Russia’s decade old field rations and making a sprint across the battle frontier for hot food. Yet, Putin and YP are not upset over the escape of Medvedev, a missed drop in the ocean, as the rest invariably get the sledgehammer. They are upset because the dogs failed to catch him, the barbed-wire fence was loose enough to let him pass through and the bullets from the watch towers just whizzed by him. Some heads, including those of the dogs, shall roll. When gods are angry, only some sacrifices placate them. As for Medvedev, he has promised to “tell all” about the Wagner group. That may not be enough; defectors always have to tell more than what they know. Now that he has access to unrestricted internet, he has the opportunity of being creative and enlarge the canvas of what he knows.

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