Former Wagner Commander Seeking Asylum Detained in Norway

Andrei Medvedev, a former commander for Russian private military contractor Wagner Group who defected to Norway, was detained by Norwegian authorities on Sunday and taken to a detention center. However, his lawyer said his chances of being deported are "zero."

Former Wagner Commander Seeking Asylum Detained in Norway
Image credit: AP [via Fox News]

Facts

  • Andrei Medvedev, a former commander for Russian private military contractor Wagner Group who defected to Norway, was detained by Norwegian authorities on Sunday and taken to a detention center. However, his lawyer said his chances of being deported are "zero."
  • Medvedev, who was previously held in a safe house after crossing the Russia-Norway border two weeks ago seeking asylum, is now being held under the Immigration Act. The move comes after "police concluded his situation was very dangerous," according to his lawyer.
  • As Medvedev has said he is ready to tell everything he knows about Wagner Group and its owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, the National Criminal Investigation Service — which investigates war crimes — said it's questioning him as a "witness."
  • Human rights advocate Vladimir Osechkin said Medvedev had been the commander of fellow mercenary Yevgeny Nuzhin, whose execution for defecting to the Ukraine military had been posted online by channels believed to be tied to Wagner.
  • Osechkin claimed to have fled after refusing "to participate in maneuvers of Yevgeny Prigozhin..." By his own account, he has also said he approached the first house he found after crossing the border.
  • The Wagner Group mercenary group reportedly includes a significant number of former Russian convicts who are recruited in prison. The group has also reportedly grown its presence in Africa as well.

Sources: NBC, BBC News, FOX News, Newsweek, CNN, and Guardian.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by BBC News. By his own account, Medvedev is now seeking asylum after witnessing the Wagner Group's terroristic methods. Medvedev is one of many young Russians who were forced into the military at 18 years old. What makes him different, and hopefully deserving of asylum, is that he refused to commit the atrocities ordered by his superiors.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Grayzone. Atrocities are certainly being committed by Russia, but the mainstream media has actively suppressed any similar tactics used by the other side. In Ukraine, several opposition politicians and human rights advocates accused of being "pro-Russian" appear to have been kidnapped, tortured, or mysteriously found dead. If the West cares about global human rights, both sides must be investigated and held to account.