The Kremlin sees itself on the rise

VPerhaps a state television appearance by Mikhail Popkov best shows what the hour has come. The “Angarsk sex offender” is considered by crime statisticians of Russia worst serial killer. Between 1992 and 2010, the former police officer murdered at least 79 women and a colleague in and near the southern Siberian city. He raped almost all of the victims and killed them with a wire noose, hatchet, chisel and screwdriver.

When he was caught, Popkov said he wanted to “cleanse” Angarsk of women with erratic lifestyles. Sentenced to life imprisonment twice, he regularly confesses to other crimes. Because then Popkov will be transferred from the penal camp to the regional capital of Irkutsk for further examinations. He gets easier prison conditions there – and attention.

But instead of details about two other murders that Popkov recently admitted, state television was now interested in the question of whether he had a “dream”. “To join the army,” the serial killer replied to the reporter through bars. Perhaps “no one will invite him,” said Popkov. But his military specialization, “radio electronics and so on”, is “quite in demand now”. He will “certainly learn quickly” about the innovations of the past ten years he spent in prison. State television promptly reported that Popkov had nothing against being used in the “SWO”; which stands for “special military operation”, the Ukraine war.

The Kremlin wants to demonstrate unity

Actually, the army would not be the serial killer’s contact person, which is not allowed to take people like him. But Yevgeny Prigozhin’s “Wagner” mercenaries. According to media research, there are a number of murderers among the prisoners, who the entrepreneur recruited by the thousands. Some were posthumously decorated, others were pardoned after losing a limb or surviving six months in combat. Reports about this come from Prigozhin himself. His mixture of using convicts and staging was so successful that Russia’s defense ministry is said to have started recruiting from among convicts itself.

It was at least until last Friday evening in a constant struggle with Prigozhin. It was primarily about “mistakes” or “successes”, ultimately about the position at the court of the President Wladimir Putin. Prigozhin’s rise there was recently announced by Andrei Turchak, General Secretary of the powerful party “United Russia”, citing the mercenaries’ practice of killing “traitors”: Turchak called a regional deputy from Kursk in western Russia, who broadcast boozy New Year’s greetings from a Mexican beach in a video clip sent home to resign, citing “Wagner’s sledgehammer” as an incentive.

But after the most recent roundabout struggle between the military and paramilitaries, it seems as if the “Angarsk sex offender” had correctly recognized the signs of the times with his desire to join the army instead of “Wagner”. It doesn’t matter whether Russia’s “heroes” come from the armed forces or from “Wagner,” Putin’s spokesman said. Dmitry Peskov, on Monday. He dismissed reports of a conflict between the military and “Wagner”: Everyone was promoting a “common cause,” Peskow said. “Everyone is fighting for their homeland, that’s how you have to look at it.” Apparently, in an effort to portray the Ukraine war as a “people’s war,” the Kremlin has ordered the dispute to be put to rest and to demonstrate unity.

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