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Unauthorized Russian companies pay Russian soldiers to fight in Ukraine – Investigation

Russian oligarchs’ companies that are not under sanctions fictitiously employ Russia soldiers and pay them for fighting in Ukraine.
On the left: Oleg Deripaska and his company Rusal. On the right: Leonid Mikhelson, Gennady Timchenko and their company Novatek.
Unauthorized Russian companies pay Russian soldiers to fight in Ukraine – Investigation

Russian oligarchs’ companies that are not under sanctions, are paying volunteers, who are going to war against Ukraine as part of the Russian Armed Forces, according to the Vazhnyye Istoriyi.

According to Vazhnye Istorii, these companies fictitiously employ such volunteers and send them to the front. It increases the number of people willing to go to war, which allows the Russian authorities to refrain from active mobilization.

“We first hire (volunteers) the day before the contract is signed (with the Defense Ministry), and then we suspend the employment contract, and we have a reason to pay bonuses to our employee who went to the “special military operation” (it is the official Russian term for war). This is the scheme,” one of the recruiters who work for the Sokol battalion (part of the 108th Air Assault Regiment) told Vazhnyye Istoriyi.

Among those who sponsor fighters of volunteer battalions of the Russian army are companies of Russian oligarchs, such as Oleg Deripaska, Leonid Michelson, Gennady Timchenko. As per the investigation, some companies that formally employ military personnel are not included in any sanction lists. However, some oligarchs are.

Deripaska, as noted, is under sanctions. However, his company Rusal, whose managers are now recruiting mercenaries for the war with Ukraine, was released from sanctions after Deripaska reduced his stake in the company below the controlling one.

Novatek, owned by Leonid Mikhelson and Vladimir Putin’s friend Gennady Timchenko (both are under sanctions), is the second largest natural gas producer in Russia after Gazprom. Novatek was only partially affected by the sanctions. However, in 2022, the company increased its liquefied natural gas supplies to Europe.

According to the investigation, payments for such volunteers are much higher than for ordinary soldiers. It is about 200 thousand rubles per month in addition to payments from the Ministry of Defense.

As per Vazhnyye Istoriyi, in some regions of Russia, companies raise salaries for volunteers. For example, in Yakutia, the far east of Russia, they already offer 300 thousand rubles from the sponsoring company and 200 thousand rubles from the Defense Ministry.

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