Putin’s Proxies: Examining Russia’s Use of Private Military Companies
On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. ET, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, will hold a hearing to examine how Russia has used private military companies (PMCs), including but not limited to the Wagner Group, to foment and exploit instability around the world. The hearing will also examine how the United States and the international community can hold Russian PMCs accountable for the war crimes, atrocities, and other illegal activities they have carried out on behalf of the Kremlin.
Russia has increasingly used PMCs to carry out irregular warfare operations in Ukraine, the Middle East, and north and sub-Saharan Africa in support of Russia’s strategic objectives and to project Russian influence abroad. Russian PMCs have been accused of committing systemic and grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances, and summary executions.
While the United States and its international allies have imposed sanctions against the Wagner Group and Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the group’s alleged chief manager and financier, the hearing will consider whether additional enforcement or diplomatic actions can be leveraged to hold Russian PMCs and their Kremlin enablers accountable.
Professor, Political Science Department
Barnard College, Columbia University
Associate Director, Transnational Threats Project
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Director of Research
Africa Center for Strategic Studies
National Defense University
Additional witnesses to be announced