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LUCIR Talk: Ghost Army - Snapshot of the Wagner Group’s Operations and Structures

Thursday 16 November 2023
Anna van Buerenplein
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG The Hague
LUC auditorium, room 2.21
Wagner Group's most wanted leaders

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in a fiery plane crash on 23 August 2023 has triggered widespread speculation about the continuity of the Wagner Group’s operations and the consolidation of power within its ranks. The status of the paramilitary cartel—that Prigozhin and Wagner’s top commander, Dmitry Utkin, helped build into a brand and a global juggernaut of covert operations—remains uncertain. Now with the demise of both men and several other key leaders of the Wagner Group, it seems all but certain that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will turn to Prigozhin’s longtime rivals in the paramilitary in Redut to continue the work Wagner started. Yet, many more questions remain not only about the future fate of the Wagner Group but about the prospects for justice and accountability for the many atrocities over the years that have been linked to irregular Russian forces in Ukraine and beyond.

New America logo

Since the launch of New America’s Future Frontlines programme in 2018, their research team has been at the forefront of evidence-based analysis on the Wagner Group and how Russia has used irregular paramilitary forces to meet its strategic ends around the world. Their very first investigative analysis, Decoding the Wagner Group, employed a unique blend of investigative reporting and open source research to trace the origins, policies, laws and practices that Russia has adopted over the last 25 years to build up its contract based military security industry. Working together with computer engineering and data-science specialists at Arizona State University via the Future Security Initiative the Future Frontlines team has since produced a hard hitting series of exposés on the Kremlin backed web of special forces veterans, military intelligence officers, separatist provocateurs, business interests, and geostrategic calculations that power Wagner Group operations in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.

In cooperation with our program partners at the Information Competition Lab at ASU, C4ADS, the War Crimes Research Office at American University, and others the Future Frontlines Senior Director Candace Rondeaux and Program Manager Ben Dalton will present research findings on identifying pathways for strategic litigation for atrocities linked to the Wagner Group and other irregular Russian paramilitaries.


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