PMC Wagner Center began its work in St. Petersburg. In fact, a large office building, in which they promise to provide free space for the media, bloggers, developers of military technologies, organizations for patriotic education and military training. The project is overseen by the notorious Wagner PMC (despite the fact that there are no legitimate PMCs in Russia) and businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
On the opening day, several dozen people came to the skyscraper on Zolnaya Street in the Nevsky district of St. Petersburg. The visitors were shown several drones, apparently created by the future resident, and had a short tour of the building, so far almost empty.
Applications for free office space are collected through a special website. It was announced that more than 1000 applications had come. But for now, the relationship is one-way. As one of the entrepreneurs who proposed his project told Novye Izvestia, they have not yet contacted him and answered the letter. But those who came to the opening themselves did not receive any answers either.
- We have a company, we are developing a face recognition system, we already have commercial orders, with whom can we talk about the possibilities and conditions of placement? the man asked the girl at the information desk.
- I can only take a business card from you, I will pass it on to anyone who needs it, if they contact you, - the employee of the center answered.
Unexpectedly for himself, an invited blogger, a member of the board of the Internet Initiatives Development Fund Ruslan Ostashko, who was supposed to speak as part of a lecture program, also had to be responsible for such applications.
- We want to make a film about biathlon, can you help?
- Equipment will be provided here, including for filming, there will be a concert hall, everything is possible, - Ostashko answered.
- Will you take a children's dance group for 20 people from us?
- The plans include a cultural center, - the blogger answered, - the number of applications is already in the thousands. One company applied for 200 jobs and, as far as I know, was approved. Can it be imagined in a modern capitalist society that a company is planted in a modern office for free? Now you all have come and look with such eyes: what is this? A modern, beautiful building with good intentions. How will it be implemented? Since we will do it ourselves, opportunities are given here. We are used to the fact that free cheese is only in a mousetrap, but this is not so, free air is ours! In St. Petersburg, a center for freedom... of creativity and thinking has been opened. There is only one condition - to work for the good of your country, to do what will make tomorrow better than the previous one.
A reasonable question immediately arose, and with what ideology will they recruit residents and how to select them.
- Let's put aside ideological disputes, - answered Ruslan Ostashko, - the contract is concluded for a year, and the residents must prove themselves, practice is needed, it is necessary to show the result.
And then the conversation completely slipped into a gloomy channel, they started talking about those “who put spokes in the wheels” and whether these people threaten projects.
Do you remember what happened to the movie? What if it's the same? asked one of the audience.
We are talking about the film "The Best in Hell" about the fighters of PMC "Wagner". The pre-premiere screening at the Rodina cinema center broke down a few hours before the event. Representatives of the state cinema said that everything was canceled and the screening had to be urgently transferred to a private cinema.
- Remember, Ruslan Ostashko answered the concerned guest, - we are not trying to hide the problem, there is no point in hiding the problem, but how strong is our society? Strongly! The center is worth it. And then the question to the society, if we need it, should we defend it?
- Society is society, but who sits at the top... - the man did not let up.
- But we solved the problem with the film, and we will solve the rest, we always go through overcoming, - the speaker tried to turn the conversation off the slippery topic.
- And why overcome... Maybe it's easier to remove those who put sticks in us?
- We have elections. I am not campaigning, but everyone understands everything, - the blogger put an end to the conversation.
The very thing that everyone understands is the long-standing conflict between businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, the patron of PMC "Wagner" and, accordingly, "Wagner Center" and the governor of the northern capital Alexander Beglov. The parties have long been at odds. The media close to Prigozhin criticize the governor, this wave was especially strong last winter, when the city was covered with snow, and road and utility services could not cope with this collapse. At the same time, several clips by Sergei Shnurov were released in which the situation with garbage and snow in St. Petersburg is ridiculed, as well as Beglov personally. Prigogine denied this creativity several times and stated that Shnurov composed these songs on his own initiative. This summer, the city authorities deprived Prigozhin's company of a promising plot of land near the village of Gorskaya. A year ago, it was promised to an entrepreneur for the development of tourism, and now the city has announced a Gazprom project on this land. One of the latest attacks is Prigozhin's statement to the Prosecutor General's Office against Alexander Beglov. The press service of the merchant did not disclose the essence of the claims, but the very fact of such an appeal speaks volumes.
As the press service of the center told Novye Izvestia, only the second floor is open, where journalists and bloggers are accommodated. But they promise to populate the remaining areas in the coming weeks.
“We received a lot of applications for the placement of the center, we are sorting applications, who is interesting to us, who could be interested in us,” the source said, “media and bloggers were placed on the second floor, and everything else will be filled in the near future. We have several areas: IT, engineering, UAVs, robotics and primary military training. Perhaps we will expand further, but so far we are interested in these topics”.
The company noted that if the residents show themselves in some special way, then the issue of investing in their projects may be considered.
However, all these assurances do little to explain how various business and cultural projects and start-ups are connected with one of the combat units of the NVO, which is currently storming Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
The figures of the Russian opposition see in such a "legalization of PMCs" the start of an ambitious political project associated with the name of Prigozhin.