GRU in control of Russia’s Redut PMC – report

Investigators tell how the Russian GRU created a phantom PMC to recruit Russians for the war against Ukraine
Investigators tell how the Russian GRU created a phantom PMC to recruit Russians for the war against Ukraine

Ukrainian journalists have exposed the clandestine nature of the Redut Private Military Company (PMC), linking its operations to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff (GRU). A special investigative project ran by RFE/RL unveiled Redut as a disguised mechanism to recruit troops for the ongoing war against Ukraine.

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Described as a “phantom” PMC, Redut stands as a covert armed formation manipulated and financed by Russian intelligence officers. The structure is intentionally obscured as a private venture, with some recruiters even referring to it as the “Redut system,” said the journalists.

The report estimates that the Redut system encompasses a minimum of 20 Russian armed formations with diverse profiles. The numerous associated units deliberately maintain a low profile, complicating efforts to ascertain their precise numbers. Figures circulating in different sources range from 7,000 to 25,000 fighters.

“All these units share one thing: the scheme through which they contract with so-called ‘volunteers,” said the investigators.

“A mercenary signs a contract with a nonexistent company, affiliates with a ‘virtual’ or existing military unit, and ultimately receives money from the Russian Ministry of Defense. This mechanism is called the ‘Redut system.”

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Financial incentives for mercenaries within this system remain consistent, with recruiters offering sums between RUB 110,000 and 220,000 (approximately $1,200-$2,500) for participation in combat on Ukrainian soil – triple the average Russian salary. Furthermore, members are promised substantial payouts for injuries or fatalities.

The investigative spotlight falls on Sergei Drozdov, identified as a potential architect of the recruitment system. Leaked information from the Russian tax service database disclosed Drozdov’s income from the Military Academy of Russia’s General Staff in 2021.

Currently holding the acting chief position of the 2nd department of the Main Organizational-Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Drozdov is implicated in recruiting for “private military companies” and “volunteer formations.”

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Col. Alexei Kondratiev, a former GRU employee who served from the late ‘90s until 2010, surfaces as a key figure in the creation of Redut PMC, allegedly playing a pivotal role in its inception, according to the investigation.

Five recruiters from varied units confirmed that the recruitment system under the Redut scheme is orchestrated by both the Russian Ministry of Defense and the GRU.

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“Most of the units that journalists call ‘private military companies’ are simply military personnel under the control of the Russian Ministry of Defense,” a confidential source connected to the GRU said.

The recruitment activities of the Russian battalion Espanola, which targeted women for assault units, were previously linked to Redut PMC through signed contracts.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine