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How Many Private Military Companies Does Russia Have?

According to reports, there are over 37 Russian-owned PMCs present in 34 countries in the world today. These Russian-owned PMCs were established mainly to carry out hybrid wars without direct state involvement, as such not causing open aggression.

Aside from the fact that they were created to avoid direct state involvement, another reason for their creation is to conduct some vital combat operations in different parts of the world, circumventing the UN Charter and possible sanctions.

Truth be told, these PMCs play very vital roles when it comes to forwarding Moscow’s policy objectives and advancing Russian national security interests across the globe.

Even though they are more or less considered illegal under Article 13.5 of the Russian Constitution; it is pertinent to note that all these Russian-owned PMCs are loyal to the Kremlin in one way or another, as such the members of these organizations are barely prosecuted unless the PMC leader falls out of favour with the Kremlin.

Nevertheless, owing to the clandestine nature of these entities, it is very challenging to get comprehensive and up-to-date information about them.

Top Russian-Owned Private Military Companies

  1. Wagner Group

This is one of the most popular private military companies in Russia and the organization is renowned for its alleged ties to the Russian government.

Note that they have been involved in a good number of conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, and Africa. They are known to operate with a degree of secrecy. The group’s boss is Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is now deceased was a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Same as with PMCs from other countries, Wagner Group is made up mainly of a select group of veterans who undergo specialist training.

  1. RSB Group

Another top private military company in the country, they offer a wide range of services including security, logistics, and training.

This private military company has made a name for itself due to the numerous services it has offered in conflict zones around the world.

RSB-Group specializes in the protection of gas and oil pipelines and vessels and is made up primarily of former GRU and FSB officers (about 250 people).

  1. Moran Security Group

Moran Security Group for a very long time has been providing security services, risk management, and training to clients who can afford their services. Note that they majorly take part in protecting Russian assets abroad.

  1. Antiterror-Orel

One private military company that has remained very active and popular in Russia and international markets, they are a unit mostly made up of ex-Russian special forces.

They started operating in 1998, and employ ex-officers of the GRU or special FSB unit called Vympel. They are known to specialize in anti-terrorism and security consulting.

  1. N.O.S. Group

Another well-known private military company in the country, their mercenaries have taken part in Russian activities in Ukraine (Donbas) and Syria. This company has also carried out operations in Tajikistan and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Its main tasks include stopping illegal migration and fighting organized crime and drug trafficking. Aside from offering security and protection services, they also take part in protecting Russian businesses globally.

  1. Cassocks

Another private military company with direct links to the Russian authorities, they are made up of ethnic Cossack subunits, and their activity is controlled by the Presidential Council for Cossack Affairs.

This private military company has been present in Donbas, Crimea, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. Officially, the services they offer include territorial defense, border protection, and fighting terrorism.

  1. Redut

Redut is the Russian word for “redoubt,” a defensive military fortification or stronghold. According to the Russian-language newspaper Novaya Gazeta, this PMC was first reportedly involved in guarding facilities established by Stroytransgaz, an engineering and construction company originally established by Gazprom but later acquired by Kremlin-connected billionaire Gennady Timchenko.

Their headquarters is located in Kubinka, a Moscow region town that is close to the home base of the 45th Special Forces Brigade of Russia’s Airborne Forces and the company thrives by recruiting soldiers on Russian social networks.

  1. Evro Polis

This company is well known for the security services it offers, which more or less include close protection and risk assessment.

They are known for being present in regions with Russian interests and are well renowned for providing discreet and tailored security solutions.

Evro Polis generated $134 million in gross sales and $90 million in profit in 2020 alone from getting back oilfields from ISIS during the Syrian Civil War, the Financial Times found, despite the company being sanctioned by the U.S. years earlier.

  1. Baltic Champs

This is another private military company well known for its affiliation with the Kremlin government. They take part mainly in maritime security and the protection of naval assets.

They are very active in regions that boast of Russian maritime interests. They offer their unique services to both public and private maritime entities.

  1. Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana

Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana has been referred to as Russia’s quasi-private Interior Ministry security force. Note that they take part in security for non-state entities.

They are often considered as Russia’s Blackwater, for-profit men of war who are always prepared to take themselves where the military can’t, won’t, or isn’t capable of moving to.

Since they don’t have Russian military uniforms, the Russian government is always quick to deny they are part of the Russian military. While a good number of them are Ukrainian citizens, they are legally allowed to perform services to the Russian fleet.