Former members of the brutal Wagner Group who’ve been attempting to return to “normal” life back in Russia are finding it tricky to find employment.
A bunch of them have been chatting on online forums and sharing their experiences, and they’ve been telling each other that they’ve been forced to take on roles as cabbies, construction workers and doormen.
And a number of employers are refusing to give former Wagner members interviews, even though they’ve been pardoned for their crimes – including, it seems, Burger King, reports Newsweek.
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A lot of the fighters recruited for the brutal mercenary group had been released from prison, where they’d been serving time for serious crimes including murder.
They had been given pardons on condition they signed up to fight with the private army in support of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Wagner was under the ultimate control of Yevgeny Prigozhin, but he was killed last month when his plane came down north of Moscow after he’d led a short-lived coup attempt against his former pal, Vladimir Putin.
Many observers blame Mad Vlad for his death as the Russian dictator has a long track record of wiping out his enemies and those he considers to be traitors.
After Prigozhin was wiped out, the Wagner members who’d taken part in the aborted coup attempt were not charged.
But they have still found it hard to secure jobs back on civvie street, according to the independent Russian-language news outlet Mozhem Obyasnit (“We Can Explain”).
Svetlana, the mum of one Wagner fighter, said her ex-convict son wanted a job at a factory that builds kamikaze drones, but bosses there wouldn’t even accept his application.
Another woman said her husband was unable to get a job as a security guard at a factory and was instead working as an unlicensed taxi driver.
Meanwhile, a recruitment agency working on behalf of a military engine factory told Mozhem Obyasnit that candidates with convictions for theft, drugs or murder wouldn’t be eligible for jobs, even if they’d been pardoned.
And a recruitment agency for Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport – ironically, the airport where Prigozhin’s doomed flight took off from – says it’s been told by Russian intelligence services not to employ anyone who’s been part of Wagner.
But perhaps the clearest signal that these former mercenaries are pariahs even within large parts of Russian society is that they have been told they can’t even make Whoppers at Burger King.
An agency recruiting for a BK franchisee in the country told Mozhem Obyasnit: "We still have couriers; maybe they'll hire a courier."
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