“I am a true mercenary and a patriotic soldier. I believe that great Russia is like an octopus. Its duty is to extend its arms across the world, and Syria is a part of it. We must win the war there. The problem is that fighters at the Wagner private military company (PMC) are not as competent as they should be.”
“I paid the price for my convictions and lost my kidney. It was necessary to send out a cry for reforming this army so that it is able to restore the greatness of Russia everywhere.”
Those are the statements that were reported by people who had met with Marat Gabidullin, a prominent member of Wagner PMC, over the last two days in Moscow.
Gabidullin was recently the victim of extensive harassment over his memoir, “Ded Martin” (Grandpa Martin), which was sent to a publishing house in Siberia. Apart from Russian parties threatening his family, Gabidullin also had his book withdrawn from publishing.
The memoir exposed undisclosed details about the work of Wagner PMC in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and possibly Sudan.
In “Ded Martin,” Gabidullin talks about the horrors he braved after joining the Syrian war in 2015.
A landmine explosion in March 2016 cost Gabidullin his kidney and damaged his liver.
He also goes over his work as a special advisor to the alleged owner of Wagner PMC and business magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin in 2017.
After being injured, Gabidullin assumed training “ISIS hunters” in Syrian boot camps in 2018. Shortly after, he retired and devoted his time to writing his personal memoir.
It is noteworthy that Gabidullin’s social media accounts are filled with pictures of him posing with fighters, soldiers, and Syrian Army officers.
Comrades who were in Gabidullin’s unit were affected by his statements in both the memoir and an interview he had with “Meduza,” in which he recounted how a Russian airstrike mistakenly struck their positions.
He also recalled details of how some brothers in arms decapitated Syrian Army soldiers and beat them with sledgehammers to set an example for others who were thinking about deserting their positions at ongoing battles in the Homs countryside.