I blogged about Wagner, the Russian private military contractor, as an instrument of President Vladmir Putin. PMCs, like Wagner, are a way that government’s secretly project power without taking responsibility.
Just as the Bush administration used Blackwater in Iraq, Putin uses Wagner in Syria and now, according to The Guardian, Venezuela.
“The order came down on Monday to form a group to go to Venezuela. They are there to protect those at the highest levels of the government,” Yevgeny Shabaev, a Cossack leader with ties to military contractors, told the Guardian by telephone.
This is a low-cost way for Putin to assert Russian influence on the situation.