Mikhail Popkov, the worst serial killer in Russian history, wants to join Wagner’s militia
So far he has been convicted of 78 murders of women but confessed to 83. One thing is certain, former police officer Mikhail Popkov is one of the most gruesome killers Russia has ever known. And in hopes of regaining his freedom, the man who was sentenced to life in prison formulated his request to fight against the Wagner group in Ukraine.
We know that Evguéni Prigojine’s proposed deal in Russian prisons – a six-month battle on the front lines in Ukraine against auto-release – to replenish the ranks of his personal Wagner militia generated some calls. This weekend, one of them prompted an unexpected response.
On Sunday, Mikhail Popkov did appear on state television, and announced his intention to join a mercenary force to fight the Ukrainians there. The man is famous in Russia: he is without a doubt the worst serial killer in their history.
An assassin’s route
Mikhail Popkov is now 58 years old. He was born in the factory town of Norilsk in Eastern Siberia, famous for hosting one of the most sinister gulags of the Stalin era. He then sailed to eastern Russia and became a constable in Irkutsk. But the police officers turned into predators. Then explaining his crimes by his hatred of “reckless women” – as noted here by CNews – he used his official car to drive prostitutes, barmen, or passersby to remote places, killing them, mutilating them, and possibly raping them. During the period running from 1992 until his arrest in 2012.
Mikhail Popkov was first sentenced to the first life sentence for 22 murders in 2015, then a second after he confessed to about 50 more. Recognized as the author of 78 murders, he has confessed to five more, a chilling number of 83 victims. The massacre prompted public opinion to forge two nicknames for him: “the werewolf”, and “the madman from Angarsk”. And it was therefore to this man that Russian state television conjured a spittoon in a prison near Kazakhstan on Sunday so he expressed his desire to join the ranks of Wagner’s group on the Ukrainian front.
In this interview, which is delivered in a tweet below, Mikhail Popkov fired back at journalists behind bars. He seems to struggle to express himself, and occasionally, judging by the catch subtitles, he makes some odd reflections and turns. The interview begins with this broad question: “What is your dream?” “Put myself in the army,” replied the prisoner. But this one continued: “If I said that it was my wish, I would not be completely sincere. After all, this is not a video game, this is not a novel, a superhero story.”
A moment of clarity? Somewhat cynically as he added: “But staying true, and to be honest and objective, if I have to wait again during the January-February period, the coldest period – for me, ice, nothing could be worse – I’m signing straight away.” “It’s just that getting out of the cold trench to enter the warm room, how long can you last?” he asked.
Wagner’s recruitment policy failure
Without knowing whether he was referring to his career as a cop or an assassin – or both – Mikhaïl Popkov continued further: “And if I think about my military profile, I believe it’s wanted nowadays.” “Of course, the technique is a little more modern these days – radio waves and all – but even though I’ve been in prison for ten years I don’t think I’d have much trouble getting back out there,” believes it’s good to assert.
It remains to be seen whether Russia and Wagner’s group are so desperate to access the serial killer’s nomination. The recruiting campaign organized by Wagner in the prisons of the Russian Federation was nevertheless a bitter failure. According to figures released by the Ukrainian presidency, and recorded Monday by TF1, of the 38,000 soldiers from prison deployed to the front by Yevgeny Prigojine’s militia, 29,000 are out of action.