A week ago, one of the thieves in law tried to launch a “kite” * on approving the participation of convicts in the so-called “SMO”. Now he has been stripped of his status by the thieving elite. They have condemned the participation of prisoners in “not our war”. It seems that the thieves’ world, against the background of Prigozhin’s removal from the “SMO”, has decided to show the Kremlin that it condemns the authorities’ violation of the previous status quo.
The storyline: On Saturday night, a “thieves’ kite” began to spread among inmates in Russian federal penitentiaries. Most of those dubbed “thieves in law” by the media spoke out against the inmates getting involved in the war against Ukraine. With this decision, the leaders of the criminal world have decided to dot their “i’s” and cancel the recent decision of one of their former “colleagues”, who has fallen under the dependency of the Russian Federal Security Service. About a week ago, on the dictation of agents, he tried to “fly a kite” about supporting those who are going to war. Like the man’s status itself, his decision has now been de facto annulled. The “kite” from the “thieves’ mass” explicitly states that shedding the blood of innocents, where women, old people and children are dying, is not human, and that this war is “not ours”, because a decent person cannot be hired to kill other people.
- For the first time, the “SMO” and the participation of convicts in it provoked an open and rather harsh reaction from the shadowy criminal world, which is in fact a very influential part of Russian society. The participation of decent thieves in the war was categorically condemned as “not ours” and “not human”.
- Moreover, a member of the thieves’ community who apparently collaborated with the authorities and sent an unauthorised “kite” to support participating in “SMO” has been stripped of thieves’ status. This sends a clear signal: participating in the “SMO” as “not our” war is now going to be strictly condemned by the thieves’ world.
- The essence of what is happening goes deeper than simply recognising the war as unjust by the thieves’ world and condemning some in the community for cooperating with the authorities. The Kremlin has broken an unspoken status quo in which the convicts fought under Prigozhin’s leadership. Recruiting in the PMC “Wagner” had not previously been condemned by the thieves’ world. What is more, Prigozhin himself has gained quite a lot of influence in the thieves’ world. There was a sharp reaction when there was a blatant “crackdown” on Prigozhin. Members of volunteer groups were forced to sign up with the Ministry of Defence. The thieves’ world supported Prigozhin in his conflict with one of the “Kremlin Towers” through such a “kite”.
- Such a conflict between the thieves’ world and the authorities will have far-reaching consequences: the “SMO” is recognised as a war “not on concepts”. An unjust war in which convicts cannot take part. A huge mobilisation resource (remember that it was the PMC “Wagner” that demonstrated the effectiveness of the “cons” participation and the ineffectiveness of the Ministry of Defence during the fighting for Bakhmut) will be largely lost: convicts will have to choose whether they are willing to join the category of declassified elements in the thieves’ world for the sake of freedom and money. And the choice for the “decent thieves” will be an obvious one. Another scenario: the pressure on Prigozhin will stop, he will increase his influence, and the thieves’ community will see its own interests in Russian society (and possibly in politics).
- Echoes of inter-ethnic conflict in the struggle for spheres of influence are also evident in these events. The competition between Kadyrov’s Chechen group and Prigozhin’s PMC “Wagner” for spheres of influence in certain areas is evident. (It should be noted that Prigozhin was not allowed to “take under protection” the Belgorod region and Kadyrov’s Akhmat was allowed to defy him – in fact, an ethnic Chechen armed formation now controls a predominantly Russian-populated area). The emergence of such a categorical response to the “SMO” as the aforementioned “kite” may also be explained by the unease of the Russian thieves’ community that an ethnic Caucasian group has been given a rather large piece of Russian territory.
* Reference: Kite: 1. an ultimatum and binding instruction from an authoritative convict, usually in the form of a jail kite(a message written on paper, which is folded into a triangular kite), and flown to convey information to a recipient in a cell by means of different mechanisms (roads), holes in walls, or other ingenious prison devices.