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The Insider: Russian gang leader killed in Ukraine receives posthumous medal for courage

Russian gang leader Ivan Neparatov, who was previously sentenced to 25 years behind bars, posthumously received a medal for courage by order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Insider news outlet reports. He also received “for blood and courage” awards from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (“DPR” and “LPR”).

The reporters came across Neparatov’s birth and death certificate. The documents state that he was killed on 5 August in the city of Artemovsk (Bakhmut), Donetsk region, from a shrapnel wound to the head. The Insider also published photographs of the medal for courage and an excerpt form the president’s decree on awarding Neparatov “for bravery and heroism during the fulfilment of tasks of the special military operation”.

Ivan Neparatov was sentenced to 25 years for robbery and for murdering five people. He didn’t serve even half of his sentence: in 2022, he was sent to the war in Ukraine. Immediately after his death, the murderer has become a national hero: Putin awarded Neparatov with the medal for courage.

Neparatov and eight members of his organised crime group were convicted in 2013 in Russia’s Sergiev Posad. According to the prosecution, in August 2009, Neparatov and his accomplices attacked a Ukrainian national and stole 176,000 rubles (about €3,900 at 2009 value) from him. In the same year, members of his gang carried out an armed robbery in the village of Svatkovo and beat up a man and a woman living in the house they robbed.

In March 2010, Neparatov killed his acquaintance who refused to drive the gang members to the location of another robbery. He was kidnapped, beaten and stabbed 88 times with a knife, the investigators stated. A local businesswoman was also killed by the gang in a planned attack. Besides, Neparatov killed three people who owed him money: in all three cases, the sum did not surpass 10,000 rubles (about €250 at 2010 value).

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‘Thieves, swindlers, criminals, outlaws, killers — all are welcome’

We interviewed a PMC fighter about the relationship between ‘soldiers of fortune’ and convicts turned fighters & about real wages being earned at war

Earlier, several media outlets reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch often referred to as “Putin’s chef” and the alleged owner of the Wagner Group, a mercenary organisation, visited prisons in person to recruit convicts to fight in the Ukraine War. Mediazona news outlet wrote about this in early August.

“I have special authorisation from our President, I don’t give a fuck about anyone, I just need to win this war at any price,” a convict from Russia’s Plavsk cited Prigozhin.

IStories earlier revealed that The Wagner Group offered convicts from two penitentiaries in Saint Petersburg to go to Donbas to “help detect Nazis. “They were offered 200,000 (€3,400) in cash for serving for six months and amnesty should they survive.

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To war or to prison?

Many Russian armed groups accept anyone as “cannon fodder” for Ukraine War, including convicts and severely ill. We tried to become volunteer fighters

The Wagner Group has visited no less than 17 prisons and recruited at least a thousand convicts for the Ukraine War, Russia’s independent media report. Moreover, a prison in Rostov-on-Don has a special training facility where those who had agreed to join the Wagner Group are forced to train for 20 hours a day with short meal breaks. The first group of convicts had already left for the battle zone on 20 July.

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