We’ve known for decades that Russia operates differently from the rest of the world, and that’s a fully immersive situation if there ever was one.
The Kremlin isn’t your typical, benevolent government entity. In fact, the sorts of behavior that we see from Vlad Putin and his cronies are far more akin to that of a villain in a James Bond movie than it is of a global superpower.
Now, as if to prove the point, there are reports that Russian soldiers are being executed by their own nation for cowardice.
A captured Russian soldier has said he witnessed the execution of his fellow troops after they displayed fear on the battlefield in Ukraine.
After his interview began to circulate on Ukrainian Telegram channels, independent Russian news outlet Nestka identified the individual as Vladislav Izmailov, a 26-year-old former convict from the city of Samara in Russia’s southwest.
Izmailov claimed to have been recruited by the notorious mercenary unit, the Wagner Group, on September 27, when its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, visited his prison.
He said he was offered offered a contract for six months in exchange for freedom and exemption from criminal punishment, and that some 300 people from his colony agreed to fight in Ukraine.
The story is grim.
When pressed on the reports that Russian men are being executed if they attempt to abandon their positions on the front line, Izmailov said he witnessed the deaths of two soldiers in his unit after they displayed fear in battle.
“In the first assault, I was the second group. The evacuation team was ahead of me. There were two people there who were just scared. Artillery worked. They were frightened – [their] first time in the war. And then these two were ‘nullified’ at the base,” Izmailov said.
“They were digging their own grave, they were simply shot and buried.”
The news gruesomely illustrates just how desperate Russia has become in Ukraine, with Putin and others quite obviously finding themselves backed into a corner.