Russian Pardoned Convicts Freed to Fight in Ukraine Cause Fear By Returning to Society

Volgograd, Russia – Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, convicts released from Russian prisons to join the fight and subsequently pardoned by President Putin include individuals with a history of serious violent crimes, such as serial killers and ritualistic murderers. Once released from their military service, these dangerous criminals are reintegrated into Russian society, causing fear among the public.

One such case is that of Denis Zubov, a convicted serial killer sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murders of three people in Volgograd. Initially, the killings were believed to be random, but the discovery of mutilated bodies led investigators to suspect the work of a serial killer. DNA evidence eventually linked Zubov to the crimes, and he confessed to the murders in 2016.

Families of Zubov’s victims were horrified to learn that he had been released from prison to fight in Ukraine and subsequently pardoned by Putin. However, their fears were alleviated when a Russian independent news website reported the discovery of Zubov’s grave in a Volgograd cemetery by activists. It was confirmed that Zubov had been serving with a private military company and was killed in combat in early 2023.

This case is not isolated, as other convicted criminals released to fight in Ukraine have also been pardoned, including individuals responsible for ritualistic murders and cannibalism. The Kremlin has defended the practice, claiming that these prisoners can “atone for their crimes on the battlefield” by fighting for Russia.

To date, several cases of dangerous convicts being released to fight in Ukraine and later pardoned have been reported, raising concerns about the reintegration of violent offenders into society. These developments have sparked fear and outrage among the public and the families of the victims, highlighting the complexities and implications of using convicted criminals in military conflicts.