Former Russian Police Chief Killed After Heading to War Instead of Jail

( – Sometimes in life, people are forced to choose between two unsavory options, and will often choose the one that offers the quicker resolution of their problems, regardless of the risk involved. A one-time high-ranking official in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) did just that, and unlike one of Mark Twain’s quips, the reports of his death were NOT greatly exaggerated.

Eeny Meeny Miny… Wrong!

Igor Trifonov was once the head of the MVD in Yekaterinburg, Russia (named for Peter the Great’s wife Catherine I) which is one of the top five largest cities in the country with a population of more than 1.5 million. Situated just east of the Ural Mountains, the region’s mines produce the vast majority of Russia’s supply of minerals like bauxite (used to make aluminum) and vanadium (which is used as an additive to steel to increase its strength).

Trifonov was convicted of “grand corruption” concerning accepting a reported 7 million ruble bribe and was sentenced to more than nine years in prison. After Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, first the Wagner mercenary group and then the Kremlin began offering prisoners a full pardon for any crimes in exchange for six months of service in a frontline unit.

Six Months? I’m In.

The units that are made up of the people electing to exchange a prison cell for a rifle and regular Red Army soldiers assigned to them for running afoul of military laws are designated as Storm-Z companies. Reports say that they don’t necessarily receive the best equipment or training, and the way they are used by the commanding officers makes being in one of them risky, in the extreme.

In an exclusive article published on December 5, 2023, Newsweek claimed that the head of the Russian anti-corruption project told them that approximately 100,000 inmates were recruited that way, and half that number are “now free to walk the streets of Russia.” One regular Army soldier expressed the opinion that many of the commanders appear to think that those who serve in Storm-Z units are “just meat” for the proverbial grinder, according to Reuters.

That unnamed soldier alleged that at one point he stopped to help a group of Storm-Z soldiers who needed medical attention when he was ordered by an officer to simply leave them where they lay, which he said was typical of the way that officers tended to place a lesser value on their lives. The news site (the web extension for Ukrainian pages) reported that Trifonov’s attorney has not received official word from the Kremlin about the death of, as they put it, the “liquidated general.”

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