The Daily Telegraph

Navalny mocks bid to hire convicts for war

- By Our Foreign Staff

ALEXEI Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, has mocked the Kremlin’s recruitmen­t drive in prisons for troops to deploy to Ukraine, claiming Russians who are behind bars are “only good for stealing alcohol on the front lines”.

Mr Navalny, who has been jailed for more than a year, said hopes that the war could turn Russia’s way thanks to cut-throat fighters recruited from jails is misplaced.

“Many are under the impression that these categories of convicts are brutal fighters, kind of like in Suicide Squad,” he said on social media yesterday.

“I can tell you that 90 per cent of the time a killer here is a heavy drinker who once got so drunk that he stabbed his neighbour, drinking buddy or, most commonly, his wife 18 times.”

Mr Navalny says even under Soviet rule recruiters refrained from hiring convicts for the Red Army.

“Of course, if the combat mission [in Ukraine] were to walk around the area, asking people for moonshine, the convicts would make perfect soldiers,” Mr Navalny said.

“They would also be perfect for carrying out orders to drain fuel from military hardware, sell it and use the money to buy booze.”

Mr Navalny was commenting on a video that emerged last week showing Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of a private Russian military contractor, promising convicts amnesty on their sentences if they signed up for six months to fight in Ukraine.

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