Episode 5: Wagner - The Rise and Fall of a Russian Mercenary Group

Episode 5: Wagner - The Rise and Fall of a Russian Mercenary Group


Dave Brown


Colin Clarke, Raphael Parens



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Guests Dr. Colin Clarke and Raphael Parens join host Col. Dave Brown and co-host Dr. Christopher Faulkner to discuss the Wagner Group’s rise and fall, as well as what’s happened to the group since the death of its leader in August 2023. Private military companies (PMCs) have been around for decades, but Russia’s use of these private military entities has become an increasingly prominent feature of its overall foreign policy, and the Kremlin has made extensive use of them across the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Ukraine. One of the most well-known of these PMCs in security circles is the infamous “Wagner Group,” which burst on the international scene in 2014, but became increasingly visible after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.



Colin P. Clarke, Ph.D., Director of Research and Senior Research Fellow at The Soufan Group (TSG), an intelligence and security consulting firm based in New York City. He is also an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) - The Hague, and a non-resident Senior Fellow in the Program on National Security at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). Prior to joining TSG, Clarke was a professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He appears in the media frequently to discuss global security, conflict, and terrorism, and is the author of several books, including After the Caliphate: The Islamic State and the Future Terrorist Diaspora.

Raphael Parens, Fellow in FPRI’s Eurasia Program and an international security researcher focused on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He specializes in African security, paramilitary groups, and Eurasian security. Raphael has been published in Foreign Affairs, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Sentinel magazine, War on the Rocks, and FPRI. His work was recently published in a French-language anthology, Les défis sécuritaires en Afrique. He has been cited in the U.S. Congressional Testimony, and he has been interviewed for a variety of pieces on the Wagner Group.

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139 MB

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U.S. Naval War College, Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups, CIWAG, Irregular Warfare, IW, Christopher Faulkner, Colin Clarke, Raphael Parens, Trident, Wagner, Prigozhin, private military, PMC, mercenary, Sahel, Africa operations, Africa Corps, CAR, Mali, Sudan, Libya, junta, MINUSMA, FTO, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, counterterrorism, armed actors

Episode 5: Wagner - The Rise and Fall of a Russian Mercenary Group