"Don’t drink too much, don’t take drugs, don’t rape women.” That's what Russian oligarch and head of the notorious Russian mercenary company the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, told ex-convicts employed by Wagner as they departed the frontlines for some rest in Russia, according to this Washington Post article. These ex-convicts, many secretly pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in exchange for serving (aka dying) as "shock troops" on the frontlines of Russia's illegal and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine -- fought in large part by targeting, killing and torturing Ukrainian citizens -- apparently aren't subject to formal Russian criminal justice procedures, either military or civilian (shambolic and corrupt as they may be).
Instead, the Post reports that many have been executed by the Wagner Group itself for violating Prigozhin's rules. While Russia's war and authoritarian government are to be strongly condemned on legal, moral, political and ethical grounds, Russian conscripts (largely from poorer regions of Russia, as middle and upper class buy their way out or have the means to flee) are to be pitied as they are forced to fight such an immoral, brutal war. While surely many of these Wagner Group ex-convicts are violent offenders who were serving just desserts in prison, they are to be pitied as well as the rule of law in Russia continues its spiral into utter desuetude.